Category Archives: Uncategorized

We are Experiencing Technical Difficulties

Ladies and gents, please bear with us. We’re actually posting this from the mill-driving computer in the shop, as the laptop has been poisoned.

Test Pattern

This is what caused the delay of the AM post… we lost the laptop to a full glass of Dr Pepper last night and that put paid to today’s scheduled programming. We will either have the machine replaced or repaired by Thursday… until then, we’ll be working on the standby machine (minus our deep local archives of photos, ebooks, etc).

If you think this is frustrating for you… try being us. 

Friday Tour d’Horizon, 2016 Week 01

A new year, and a new resolution about this piece: Less wordy in the comments, more links. Let’s see how we do on that!.


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

We’re also reorganizing this section. All the technical and industry stuff will come first, legal and policy stuff, afterward.

Kel-Tec Production

Kel-Tec Sub-2000s in a clever rack, that looks like it was a laser cut in house. Tim's photo.

Kel-Tec Sub-2000s in a clever rack, that looks like it was a laser cut in house. Tim’s photo.

Tim at Full30 (yeah, the guy from Military Arms Channel) visits Kel-Tec to find out why they’re not making enough of their popular weapons, and finds out they’re making about 50k a year of some of the “unicorns,” like the KSG. If you don’t have one, it’s because other folks want ’em, too.

(Of course, he doesn’t mention the production rates on the RFB or RDB). He also mentions en passant that over 30,000 IWI Tavors sold in the US in its first year — interesting, eh? Those three million background checks in December weren’t all on ARs — who knew?

Low Cost Lightweight

At Full 30 (again), Matt builds a lightweight AR to try to square the circle of two incompatible goals: light weight and will cost. He sourced his parts carefully and built the lower from a James Madison Tactical polymer 80%. Did he do it?

You have to click over for the details, but we will tell you his final weight was 5.3 pounds without sites, and his final cost was $862 without sights. Adding sights brought the cost up to over $1100. His full bill of materials is at the end of his post.

Get Beck! Get Beck! Get Beck to Where You … have huge subsonic bullets

This is a SHOT Show introduction, so it’s not on Beck Defense’s website yet, but thanks to a Lancer media event, everybody seems to have a piece of the story of the new Beck .510 subsonic round, which aims to do for your .308 AR lower what the .300 Blackout/Whisper does for an AR-15 lower. It’s subsonic with 690 grains, and

  • The Gun Collective — some stout neckbeard fires one shot with it on a ~10 second video.
  • Soldier Systems — Lancer is making the mags, you know, like the spares you can’t get for your MPX?
  • Tom McHale at OutdoorHub has more details.
  • TFB has, as usual, a good report with some pics of the ammo.

The Gun Shop in Mexico

Mexico City Gun StoreDefinite article definitely intended because it is the gun shop. In he whole country. Run under ultra-strict gun laws by the Army. Miles Vining at TFB has the story. Best line, from the shop manager, Coronel de Ejercito Méxicano Raúl Manzano Velez:

The federal firearms law forbids us from advertising so as not to promote rampant gun buying.

The bureaucracy is so thick, it’s no wonder criminals turn to the ATF for their assault rifle needs. And Mexico has a level of gun violence that would make Crips and Bloods from Chicongo lose their lunch. What, don’t those Messkin criminals obey the laws?

Meanwhile the Mexican criminals…

mexico torched luger… are just rolling their own, including cheesy zip guns clearly manufactured in haste to profit from a gun buyback. (This is an old post from TFB, but seems a good follow-up to the gun shop story).

Most of what they turned in was crap, as usual, but not all of it, including the luger torched in this thumbnail and some MP. 28s.

Hey, Let’s Ban Ammunition!

From the Undead Clinton Administration comes Billy Jeff’s queen of the Consumer Product Safety Commission, Ann Brown, explaining that All You Need Is Love all you need is to give CPSC authority to ban bullets, and presto! No internet sales, because nobody buys ammo online by mass murderers, and no more suicides because the 21,000 depressed people who shoot themselves every year will be unable to buy bullets, which will cure their depression!

Yes, she is an idiot. Somewhere a drum circle is missing its soprano tom-tom. The piece appeared in the WaPo and the WaPo syndicated out to the rest of the far left, like this paper in Massachusetts (where you need a may-issue license to buy ammo already… even model-rocket engines. Wait, I think they took model-rocket engines off the list. Don’t tell Ann Brown).

Even in the Springfield, MA, paper, the comments are running about nine to one against, and it’s the most commented story on the paper’s site at the moment.

Also in the Post — more Confiscation

Post columnist Fred Hiatt called for “Prohibition. Mass buyback. A gun-free society.”

Joe Huffman has the story and the link (another hangover from December), and the only suitable reply: No. “[T]he U.S. isn’t going to have a gun free society in his lifetime.”

According to radio talker and author Mark Levin, the push behind the recent release of thousands of armed felons boils down to one four-letter word: race. There’s audio and a partial transcript at Daily Caller.

Obama’s letting criminals out on the street and he signed into a law, a law that reduces mandatory sentences in some cases for violent gun offenders.

So what we need here you see? We need more gun control. That will fix everything.

We have individuals who will violate existing criminal statutes and have demonstrated they’re violent with weapons. And sentences have been reduced retroactively and prospectively for people who commit crimes with weapons, particularly with drug offenses. Why is that an exception? Oh I don’t know? Must be race.

While Levin’s certainly on target about the effect of this law, he’s off base in blaming it entirely on President Obama. The whole Washington Establishment worked hard on this, including professional cuckolds Chinless Mitch and No-Ball Paul Ryan.

Usage and Employment

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

Retired Lobsterman vs. Career Criminal … and Landlord

Shot burglar (and friend of the landlord) Christopher Wildhaber.

Shot burglar (and friend of the landlord) Christopher Wildhaber. Now he gets to add a shoulder shot to his extensive collection of mug shots.

The Park Street Apartments in the beautiful coastal town of Rockland, Maine, get hit by burglars a lot. The landlord is too cheap to install normal security locks. Some of the tenants think he’s in cahoots with the burglars.

If he didn’t want that idea to spread, he probably shouldn’t have reacted the way he did to what happened when career criminal Christopher Wildhaber invaded the home of retired lobster fisherman Harvey Lembo. Lembo, who was also a policeman in his working years, had been robbed of his medications, $1k cash, and his safe-deposit-box key the month before, had just bought a gun that day in case of a reoccurrence. He’s a vulnerable target: a nearly deaf old man who depends on a wheelchair for mobility. But he wasn’t going to be a defenseless targer: one shot later, Wildhaber passed through the county hospital on the way to the county jail, on the way back to the state prison where he’s spent the bulk of his adult life.

The landlord’s reaction? Evict Lembo.

Russ Gagne, a spokesman for the shadowy corporate owner of the building, Stanford Management (was it this Stanford Management? No wonder they have an affinity for crooks; Stanford’s doing 110 years in the Federal pen), explains:

We have house rules that prohibit firearms on the property. It’s in the lease. … It’s really for the safety of all the tenants.

And the burglars, right Russ? Your pals the burglars?

If you’re really concerned about the safety of the tenants, how about some lights, locks, alarms? But you’re not, are you.

Updates: Harvey Lembo sued Ripoff Russ and Sketchy Stanford for depriving him of his rights. Stanford’s slimy lawyers got the case into court on Christmas Eve, hoping Lembo’s attorney wouldn’t show.  He did, and they went forward with a motion for dismissal. No answer from the judge yet.

The anti-gun attorneys trying to get Lembo thrown out are James Bowie and J. William Druary. They are also claiming that Lembo was not harmed because, so far, they’ve only threatened him.

Cops ‘n’ Crims

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

You Can Always Trust the FBI

500px-US-FBI-ShadedSeal.svgWell, maybe except for when the retired FBI agent interferes in his daughter’s international custody battle (for her stepkids!) by beating her husband to death with a baseball bat.

Father and daughter have always done things together, but this is probably their first joint indictment.

There’s More Ways for a Cop to Die on Duty than you think.

On Catalina Island in California, there’s a tight bond between the commercial boat captains and crewmen and the men of the harbor patrol (seagoing cops) — because, at least partly, they’re the same guys. So in December, 2014 when the harbor patrol tried to tow the dive boat King Neptune, which had slipped its mooring in a once-in-a-lifetime storm, the guy who jumped to the King Neptune was not just a harbor cop, but also a part time skipper of that very boat. (The boat’s owner was out that night too, on the fire boat). But things just kept getting worse. He couldn’t get the King Neptune under power — the shafts were wrapped with rope, presumably from the mooring — and towing attempts rather predictably failed (it takes a lot of power to tow a large boat, and the King was 62 feet long and 72 gross tons).

Without power, he couldn’t surf the boat on to the beach, and it broached and was slammed against rocks. He had one last chance, a desperate leap to dry land — and he fell short, falling between 72 tons of wind-driven ship and hard, hard rocks. In the morning, there was nothing left of King Neptune but a debris field, and his funeral was held on a sunny day.

That’s how fragile life is. And this guy’s life, and his heroism, were spent in an attempt to save a boat… whereas the boat was properly the insurers’ problem from the moment the mooring let go. But what else could he have done, being the kind of guy he was?

NTSB final report, published 27 Oct 15:

Is Illinois Weird, or is Weird Illinois?

Here’s the meat of it, from Fox News:

A man who authorities say was wearing a homemade tactical-style vest, carrying a BB gun and taking photographs of schools was shot and killed by police in a far suburb of Chicago Wednesday.

Sounds like a nutcase. They tried to tase him, but his clothing and homemade armor protected him from that. Not against on a real gun, though.

Dressing up like a Man With A Gun and drawing the attention of cops is somewhere out beyond “risky” and well into “stupid.”  Hell of an epitaph, guy.

Also, once Officer Friendly has decided you’re going into custody, fighting any more will just get you into custody with injuries — maybe fatal ones. Despite that, every cop has runner stories and fighter stories, and you know where they all end? Yep, in custody. Of the jailhouse or the ME.

A Dog Story in Which No Dogs Were Harmed

Vidal mugshotYep, this bewildered-looking doper (who’s actually a career criminal, only not in prison because New York never applies their gun laws to actual criminals) didn’t attack the service dog of a disabled veteran in the upstate town of Fayetteville, NY. Nope, Dominick Vidal beat up the veteran. Why? American Mirror quoting a news story (they link to several):

Police say Vidal told them he became angry with the victim and punched him twice in the face after he told his daughter she could not pet his dog since it was a service animal

Sure, that’s both a rational response to being denied something you want, and a great example to set for your kid.

Incidentally, it is always bad form to pet a service dog or MWD. Potentially confuses the dog, who’s there for a reason, not to entertain you. At least the kid asked — she has more class than her dad.

He was caught in March, 2013, stoned out of his gourd, with a stolen, loaded Browning .22. If he was a licensed gun owner in NY and it was his own gun, he’d still be in Upstate Correctional Facility, the grim pile that replaced Sing Sing as a jitbag warehouse. But as a career criminal, he gets professional courtesy from the system. This is normal in gun control states, and we’ve never understood it.

Not Police Work’s Finest Hour

tl;dr: The Cherokee County, KS, Sheriff’s Office, thought a guy was where he wasn’t; and after they figured out he wasn’t there, they pretty much destroyed the house in their anger. Techdirt (which has libertarians-against-all-cops leanings):

They used a thermal imaging camera and thought they detected someone hiding in the attic. So, the standoff began, with the sheriff confidently stating they’d be able to wait out the fugitive member of the local gang concern, “Joplin Honkies,” thanks to the department’s bench depth.

Five hours later, Sheriff Groves admitted that the man the occupants of the house had already stated wasn’t in the house was, in fact, not in the house.

Left unmentioned was the damage done to the house in search of the fugitive who wasn’t there. Law enforcement officers fired flash bangs into the home and used an armored vehicle-mounted ram to punch holes in the attic. The officers also tore apart the inside of the home in their futile search.

Lord love a duck. You know, a lot of these things that drive a wedge between the law officers and the public would be helped is the cops would just admit they screwed up and apologize. It would go a long way with the people who are persuadable. (Sure, Techdirt is never going to like cops, nor are urban skells and their families. But there are plenty of people prepared to like cops if they just see the likeable side).

Thermal imagers, in our experience, come in two models. The infallible one with the clear images from the manufacturer’s video, and the dodgy, vague, fuzzy thing that demands interpretation, which is what the manufacturer actually sends you.

A Year Ago, in the Keystone State…

…we noted that Kathleen Kane, the extremely anti-gun Attorney General of Pennsylvania, might have been in trouble. We got that right, and she’s now fighting about ten charges, including two cases of felony perjury, related to her habit of leaking confidential information (including grand jury materials) about political opponents. She still hasn’t stepped down although her law license is suspended. Most observers seem to think the prosecutor has enough on her that she’ll have to plead in the end to avoid a felony conviction, but she hasn’t been acting rationally at all. PennLive has a recap of Kane’s tumultuous 2015.

For the record, the Keystone Kops were not from the Keystone State, but from a municipality (and we think, a fictitious one) in Kalifornia. You’d never know from the clown show at the PA AG’s office these days.

Unconventional (and current) Warfare

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

17 More Gitmo Terrorists on their Way Back to Jihad

As part of the president small contribution towards the global jihad, 17 more terrorists are being released from Guantánamo this week. Two of them, both Saudi-raised Yemeni al-Qaeda members who were captured in Afghanistan, won’t be sent back to Saudi because the Kingdom will cheerfully behead them, nor will they be sent to Yemen, where they want to go to link up with their pals, because — we are not making this up — the Defense Department is afraid they might get hurt. Instead, they’re going to Ghana for a “decent interval” of two years, after which they’re welcome to go anywhere Al-Qaeda needs them.

Mahmud Umar Muhammad Bin Atef and Khalid Muhammad Salih Al-Dhubyy grew up in Saudi Arabia, were recruited into militant Islam and went off to train and fight in Afghanistan.
…Bin Atef was wounded in a bloody uprising while he was held as a Northern Alliance prisoner near Mazar-e-Sharif, Afghanistan, a battle in which a CIA officer was killed. He was also a key leader of a violent clash between guards and detainees at Guantanamo in 2007.

Oh yeah, but his lawyer, one of those guys who’s gotten trustafarian rich representing terrorists “pro bono” (riiiight), says he’s a great guy.

A lawyer would never lie, would he? Not if it meant selling out his country? Well, unless there was a dollar in it?

Rabid Weasels Attack SEALs

This is a holdover from December. But during that time the New York Times editorial board (The rabid weasels of the headline) wrote an editorial condemning the Navy SEALs, and commissioned an amazing story to back the editorial up. The editorial:

Navy SEALs assigned to train Afghan police officers in the village of Kalach joined the police in viciously beating detainees … one … so badly that he died.

Sources for the story: Navy lawyers and NCIS functionaries, angry that they didn’t get the SEAL scalps they wanted, and Afghan villagers, who are demanding a handout from the eee-vil USA.

It’s all you need to know about the Times that their reporters, Nicholas Kulish, Christopher Drew, and Matthew Rosenberg considered the Afghans credible in everything they said, and the SEALs liars in everything they said. These three stooges were also angry that the SEALs would not give them quotes to manipulate: “Two of the accused… declined to comment when reached by phone. Another…  did not respond to messages.” Smart guys. Promote ’em, Navy. (A fourth gave a noncommittal statement and wouldn’t be drawn into an interview).

The O6 level commander responsible for UCMJ in SEAL Team TWO reviewed the charges and found the evidence insufficient, and that was the end of that. Until a vindictive NCIS officer, Susan C. Raser, went to the anti-military reporters at the Times to indict them anew in the court of public opinion.

The Times is so up on military stuff that they identified the photographer of an official Navy photo they used as: “Specialist First Class Tiffini M. Jones.” New ranks for the Navy! Is there nothing the self-righteous power of the press can’t do?

Veterans’ Issues

What did the VA do to screw us this week?

Crooked VA Official Demands His Job Back

He’s been getting paid for the last couple of years while he was “suspended,” but apparently not coming into the office limits his access to graft or something.

Lance Robinson, the assistant director at the Phoenix VA, was placed on leave May 30, 2014, after the VA office of inspector general found he was accountable for a scheme to cook the books at the facility to cover up dangerously long patient wait times.

…Another VA investigative body, the Office of Accountability Review, later found Robinson had retaliated against one of the whistleblowers.

“The fact that the VA has not actually terminated Mr. Robinson is its own admission that he did nothing wrong,” Robinson’s lawyer, Julia Perkins of Shaw, Bransford and Roth, said in a statement.

Remember that lawyer and that firm. They hate vets.

The VA says it hasn’t moved to fire Robinson and his henchman, Brad Curry, because a pending criminal case makes them all lawyer up and take the fifth. The VA’s Undersecretary for Health David Shulkin suggested just closing all the investigations, brooming the case, and letting bygones be bygones. Sure, a lot of vets are dead from neglect, but we’re talking about jobs for Beltway insiders here!

VA Hires Few Vets, Except for Menial Jobs

In many Federal jobs, veterans get a little preference. In the VA, the opposite occurs: except for retired military physicians, nurses, and medical service corps managers,  former soldiers, sailors airmen and marines need not apply, although they will be considered for GS-3 bedpan circulation technician positions

Lord Love a Duck!

The weird and wonderful (or creepy) that we didn’t otherwise get to.(nothing for now). 

Friday Tour d’Horizon, 2015 Week 52

Week Over. Year over.


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

What Will be the New Guns of 2016?

Our Traveling Reporter thinks he knows one: a compact, single-stack Glock. “But wait,” you say. “Glock already makes one in .380 and in 9mm…” Yes, Grasshopper. But they don’t have one in .45 yet, do they?

Ruger American Pistol

ruger_american_pistolThat’s what they call it, the Ruger American Pistol, but its specs sure look Austrian, Croatian… or that other American gun, Smith and Whatshisname. Polymer frame, striker fired, safety blade in trigger. Ruger touts a very short trigger pull and reset, low barrel axis (doesn’t look as low as a Steyr or Caracal), and fully ambi controls — not to mention, it takes down without the cop shooting himself in the leg requiring a trigger pull. It also has a replaceable grip that not only gives you ho-hum multiple backstraps, but also multiple palm swells. It’s available in 9mm and .45.

Why Virginia Ended Reciprocity

We mentioned that this was done sua sponte by VA Attorney General Mark Herring, of whom we said, “whose seat was largely bought for him by Mike Bloomberg.” Turns out we didn’t know half of it. Bloomberg essentially slipped him $1.3 million in bribes campaign contributions. Which bought him the election, by less than a thousand votes. (VA AG races are frequently close).

Hat tip, John Richardson, who notes that “now was the time that Bloomberg said jump and jump is what Herring did.” Bottom line, the guy sold a public policy for money. We condemn that when a Nigerian does it.

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.

The Ferguson Effect

We’ve seen cops refer to it as “going fetal” or “ostrich mode”. Heather Mac Donald at the WSJ (alternate link for paywall-dodging) calls it “depolicing” and “the Ferguson Effect.” She says:

The puzzle is why these progressives are so intent on denying that such depolicing is occurring and that it is affecting public safety.

The answer lies in the enduring commitment of antipolice progressives to the “root causes” theory of crime. The Brennan Center study closes by hypothesizing that lower incomes, higher poverty rates, falling populations and high unemployment are driving the rising murder rates in Baltimore, Detroit, Milwaukee, New Orleans and St. Louis. But those aspects of urban life haven’t dramatically worsened over the past year and a half. What has changed is the climate for law enforcement.

‘Proactive policing is what keeps our streets safe,” Chief William Bryson, chairman of the Delaware Police Chiefs Council, tells me. “Officers will not hesitate to go into a situation that is obviously dangerous, but because of recent pronouncements about racism, they are not so likely to make a discretionary stop of a minority when yesterday they would have.”

To acknowledge the Ferguson effect would be tantamount to acknowledging that police matter, especially when the family and other informal social controls break down. Trillions of dollars of welfare spending over the past 50 years failed to protect inner-city residents from rising predation. Only the policing revolution of the 1990s succeeded in curbing urban violence, saving thousands of lives. As the data show, that achievement is now in jeopardy.

The one thing those protesters, activists, and Range Rover Rev’rends will never say: Black Crimes Matter.

Herd. Immunity.

John Farrelly made a mistake: he dated, and then dumped, the daughter and niece of two brothers who were retired cops in Concord, NH. He shouldn’t have done that.

[Concord officers Walter Carroll and Eric Pichler] arrested Farrelly on a charge of harassment. According to Farrelly’s testimony, Pichler told him at the time, “This is what you get for f—- with a 30-year veteran of the Concord PD.”

The ex-girlfriend’s father and uncle are retired Concord police officers. Carroll had worked with the ex-girlfriend’s father and had known her since she was a child, according to the court documents.

They made an unlawful warrantless arrest, but the Superior Court and later the State Supreme Court…

…agreed that the warrantless arrest was unlawful, but ruled that the defendants were immune from prosecution…

… and not just prosecution, but also civil lawsuit. Because, cops.


[Chief justice Linda S. Dalianis] cited an earlier ruling of the court in another case involving municipal police officers: “Unbridled exposure to personal liability and hindsight review of their decisions would undoubtedly compromise effective law enforcement and unfairly expose officers to personal lability [sic].”

Patent of Nobility.

Unconventional (and current) Warfare

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

Ickle Bwadwey Manning  NEW

We no what you’re thinking: Jaysus, not him again. Yeah, him again. Here’s his latest jail mugshots:

traitor bradley manning jail shot

The traitor spent Christmas whinging about how he’s a more authentic girl than Bruce aka Caitlyn Jenner.

Manning wrote; “In 2015 @CaitlynJenner was the Grinch who stole (& sold out) the trans movement. All I want 4 Xmas is Universal Trans Lib.”

Who knows, oddball. Maybe by the time you get out, in 2048, all will be forgiven and you and Bruce can, we dunno, hook up.

And yet, he used to have a crush on, er, him:

Manning, whose support of Caitlyn landed [him] more jail time over the summer when [he] was caught with her Vanity Fair magazine in [his] jail cell, is currently serving 35 years in prison in Fort Leavenworth, Kansas.

The former army intelligence analyst…

MI troops are all Unique And Special Snowflakes®, but not many are this unique and special (you can just say, “weird.”)

…was convicted in August 2013 of espionage and other offenses after admitting to handing more than 700,000 classified documents, including military intelligence reports and State Department cables, to the anti-secrecy website WikiLeaks.

US officials described Manning’s document dump as the biggest leak of classified files in American history.

Well, until Snowden.

And while members of the public may find these leaks despicable, those in the transgender community have applauded Manning for the focus and attention she has brought to the issue of transgender people in American jails and prisons as well as the armed forces since she came out.

Definitely do that, trannies: make a mixed-up, tossed-up, never-come-down traitor your spokesman. Spokes”woman.” Whatever. That will really make your case (which is, is it not, that you’re just another kind of normal?) to the public.

Veterans’ Issues

What did the VA do to screw us this week?

VA Scandal Top Story of 2015 in Wisconsin

In LaCrosse, Wisconsin, the horrible Tomah VAMC and its bungling (and unaccountable) managers were the top story of 2015.

DOJ Backs Criminal VA Managers Over Abused Vets 84% Of the Time

In 46 out of 55 criminal referrals to the VA — 83.63% — the Justice Department lawyers broomed the cases of their VA-manager cronies without investigating or seeking charges.

The DOJ’s record with the 110 VA Medical Centers that falsified records to manipulate wait times is even worse. You may remember that VA managers did this for higher personal bonuses, at the expense of vets. Some 3,000 vets, at least, died waiting for appointments that would never come because VA managers’ greed triumphed over their vestigial sense of duty, and sent those vets’ records to data hell. Of hundreds of crooked managers implicated at those 110 facilities, the DOJ investigated and developed a case against just one. 

Lord Love a Duck!

The weird and wonderful (or creepy) that we didn’t otherwise get to.(nothing for now). 

Never Knew This about Grant

US_Grant_in_1885He knows the capsule biography of Ulysses S Grant. Academy cadet, Brilliant equestrian, struggling alcoholic, Civil War general, President beset by a corrupt cabinet.

At the very end of his life, but it was clear he was going to die, he wrote, and then when too weak to write, dictated, one of the better sets of memoirs to come out of the War Between the States. That’s what he’s doing in this picture of Grant as a frail old man.

Everybody seems to know he was a lush, and that’s why his first Army career tanked (no pun intended), but nobody seems to remember he was a kindly, gentle and sensitive man, loath to say a bad word about anyone. That his acceptance of Lee’s surrender was respectful of the pride of his Confederate peer and that of Lee’s officers and men was not just due to the timbre of the times, but was Grant’s personality coming out.

We were fascinated to learn that he was, like characters as distant from him in personality as Hitler and Churchill, an avid painter. Unlike those worthies, though, he seems to have been really good. It’s hard to judge, because there are only a few photos of original Grants on the web, but here’s one.


(Apologies for the size/resolution. It was the best we could do).

Perhaps it was common knowledge, but as we’re fond of saying, “not so common that we knew it.”

Thursday Tour d’Horizon, 2015 Week 51

Today, we’re doing it a day early. Tomorrow is Christmas Day; and we, and we certainly hope you, are taking it off.  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….

An Innumerate Congressman wants to Improve Your Gun Collection

Donald Payne Jr., D-NJ, thinks the Feds should buy your guns. And since he is a Democrat, and it is a spending bill, he wants to overpay for each of them by 25%. Unintentionally hilarious description of the bill from The Hill:

The Safer Neighborhoods Gun Buyback Act…

George Orwell, call your office….

…is the latest attempt by Democrats to address gun violence.

Yeah, that’s the ticket. Gun violence. At National Review Online, Charles Cooke notes that these restrictions on the program, also quoted from The Hill:

As part of Payne’s $360 million gun buyback initiative, the Justice Department would pay gun owners a premium of 25 percent more than the market value of their firearms. ….. In return, the gun owners would receive a debit card they could use to purchase anything other than more guns and ammunition.

Money, of course, is completely fungible, and you could use your Payne Can’t Arithmetic debit card to buy, say, a bunch of steaks that you could grill after using the money you got for your heaters to either buy upgraded heaters, or more heaters, or replace your heaters and pocket 1/4 of their value.

Virginia Ends Reciprocity with Most States

Virginia Governor Terry McAuliffe has a pen and a phone, and so does his wannabe successor, Attorney General Mark Herring, whose seat was largely bought for him by Mike Bloomberg. Time for some payback:

Attorney General Mark R. Herring (D) announced Tuesday that Virginia will no longer recognize concealed carry handgun permits from 25 states that have reciprocity agreements with the commonwealth.

Herring explained that out-of-state licensees are “dangerous and irresponsible.” (He actually would have eliminated in-state licenses, too, but he hasn’t got the power).

Animal Weapons book Gets a Nice Blurb in Science

animal weaponsWe’ve written before about Montana professor Doug Emlen’s book Animal Weapons: The Evolution of Battle. This fascinating book explores the evolution of such weapons as horns and claws in the animal kingdom, and has a lot of interesting parallels to humans’ evolution of weapons. While Prof. Emlen went from studying the horns of dung beetle species (why do they have horns? What do they use them for? How did they get there? and why are some species’ horns larger, smaller, or entirely absent? are among the basic scientific questions his research has addressed) to seeking parallels in other animals and in military history. Prof. Emlen was kind enough to comment on one of our posts referring to his book.

But now he’s in the big time, being interviewed by Science, one of the two most prestigious journals in the field (the other 1,000-lb. gorilla being Nature). The interview is in the 18 December issue and, unlike most Science content which is paywalled off from you peasants, the review is available online here. (It was featured in Science’s emails to readers & subscribers, too).

He explains the genesis of the book, how it has influenced his scientific-paper writing, and how (unfortunately) that’ll likely be his only book for a general audience, at least for the time being. It came about like this:

Asked to write a review about weapons systems across the animal kingdom, he dug into the file cabinets full of papers on the subject that he had collected over the years. The more he read about tusks, horns, claws, antlers, and other weapons, the more enthralled he became. So, when the journal made him cut 10,000 words from the manuscript, he decided it was time to branch out and write a book for a general audience.

“I wanted to do something different, something fun and accessible,” Emlen recalls. He gathered up the material that didn’t make it into the review, wrote a book proposal, found an agent, and got a contract. It was a far more momentous decision than he realized at the time, one that would sweep him in new directions, both in his writing and his research.

We do recommend Animal Weapons highly. We’re far from the only ones — it won the 2015 Phi Beta Kappa Award in Science, which is something for the smart people who went to school and didn’t get stuck in Iraq. And now that he’s in the big time, you guys can all say you knew him way back when.

He Thought it was a Free Country, II

Last week we noted the Defense Distributed brief in the State Department lawsuit, amd the Electronic Frontier Foundation’s, as we called it, “compelling amicus brief.”

According to a Fox News story, a new amicus brief has been filed by 15 Members of Congress.

The members of Congress, led by Rep. Thomas Massie, R-Kent., signed onto an amicus brief in the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals, where Texas inventor Cody Wilson is fighting a lower court ruling in favor of the government agency. The State Department in 2013, citing a law allowing it to regulate international arms trafficking, blocked Wilson and his nonprofit group Defense Distributed from posting technical data for 3-D printing of legal handguns.

There are three major parts to the Massie, et. al., brief. They argue:

  1. An administrative agency has only the power that Congress delegates it from its Article 1 powers, and Congress gave the Department of State no authority to regulate public speech.
  2. If the Arms Export and Control Act had the sweeping power State’s lawyers claim, it would exceed the powers of Congress as enumerated and limited in the Constitution.
  3. Chilling speech the way the totalitarian set at State would like to do will also chill innovation.

The brief is here:

The EFF brief is here:

In addition to those briefs, four other amicus briefs were filed in support of the Defense Distributed appeal on the 17th. These amici include the Cato Institute, the Madison Society, the Texas Public Policy Foundation and a shared brief by two First Amendment groups, the Reporters’ Committee for the Freedom of the Press, and the Thomas Jefferson Center for the Protection of Free Expression. Those briefs can all be linked-to from the Defense Distributed site (scroll down to 12/17/2015).

Usage and Employment

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

Problems and Limitation of the FBI’s Justified Homicide Stats

This probably could have gone into Cops ‘n’ Crims, the next category down, just as easily; sometimes these classifications are arbitrary. But Clayton Cramer has published an analysis of the FBI’s justifiable homicide statistics on SSRN. This analysis goes Into some depth about the problems with the statistics. He flags two primary problems: the stats are gross undercounts, and the FBI and their fellow Party members in the gun control industry tend to misapply the statistics by counting only justifiable homicides as if they were the alpha and omega of self-defense.

For the first, FBI statisticians use the legal fine line between “justifiable homicide” and “legal defensive homicide” — a line which is primarily of interest to law professors studing criminal law history — to suppress the number of self-defense homicides. Given the FBI’s emergence as an agency of partisan political police, it is perhaps unsurprising that civilian legal defensive homicides with firearms are, per Cramer, “at least five times the FBI’s ‘justifiable homicide with a gun’ figures.”

In addition, the number of legal defensive uses tends to be underreported intitally — about as many suspected murders are determined, in due course, to be legal self defense, as cases were initially flagged as SF.

For the second, it is significant that neither the FBI nor anyone else collects defensive gun use statistics in which the gun was not fired; or in which it was fired, and he assailant was not hit; or in which the assailant was shot, but did not die. All of these cases are successful defensive gun uses that are kept out of the FBI statistics, for the convenience of those who would ban guns. Cramer concludes:

The FBI’s justifiable homicide statistics are so incomplete as to be misleading. Even if they included the large number of citizen gun defensive uses where a criminal is killed, they would not be a meaningful basis for doing cost/benefit analysis of allowing private ownership of guns, because crimes prevented matter morecthan [sic] criminals killed.

Although we do have to point out that killing a criminal doesn’t just prevent the crime he was actively prosecuting at the moment, but also, all the crimes that were percolating in his evil mind for the rest of his life. So there’s another way the FBI understates the crimefighting power of the armed citizen.

Cops ‘n’ Crims

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

When the Cops Arm the Crims

Item: US Marshals and the Camden County Sheriff’s Office SWAT team bagged two gang members in Camden, NJ, with all kinds of drugs and six stolen guns. The guns included an “assault rifle” and….

…[o]ne of the stolen handguns belonged to a police department [in] Cobb County, Ga., and investigators are still trying to determine how the men obtained it.

Well, we’re sure “common sense background checks” would have prevented that, eh? By the way, the gang they were members of? The “Sex Money Murder Bloods.” Now they’re members of the biggest gang of all, the “Federal Cell Block Blockheads.”

Item: The embattled Secret Service is back in the news with a dimbulb agent’s stuff being lifted from his unsecured car — apparently a Jeep or similar with a canvas top — on G Place in downtown Washington, near SS HQ. The stuff, per CNN:

The report lists a black Sig Sauer handgun, an APX6000 radio, handcuffs, a USB flash drive, a black Patagonia bag and a Secret Service badge, number 1266, as the stolen items.

SA Dimbulb, badge # 1266, is assigned to the Presidential Protective Division. No wonder the Prez looks like he’s not getting enough sleep.

Forget it, Jake. It’s Philadelphia

Outgoing Philadelphia Police Commissioner Charles H. Ramsey, a small man who never grew into the job, is doing everything he can to kneecap his officers with respect to deadly force, on the way out. He used one of his last interviews with the Philadelphia Inquirer to bash the police union, call for his department’s uses of force to be investigated exclusively by the State Police, and lobby against a law that would protect the identities of officers involved in shootings from the sort of family harassment and threats that Black Lives Matter protesters have meted out in other cities.

One gets the impression that he never much liked his cops, and they reciprocate.

How’d You Like a Nice Hawaiian Punch?

POW! That’s what Hawaiians have been getting from the anti-gun Honolulu Police Department, which has come up with a new way to comply with laws requiring the issue of pistol permits, without actually issuing the permits.

They have started requiring a doctor’s letter certifying that the applicant is not a nut job, and is a good risk for a gun license. You don’t get to medical school by being galactically stupid; the doctors of Honolulu aren’t going to sign that. The massive Kaiser Permanente firm is the largest insurer in the islands, and all their insureds get is a Dear John:

Hawaii Doctors No Letter Letter

Of course, the bosses at KP are as anti-gun as the brass hats at HPD, so to them this is a feature, not a bug. Moreover, if a chump follows the advice in the letter above (“see an independent practitioner”) the HPD will not accept the letter, according to Hawaii News Now:

“It’s some kind of new legal mumbo jumbo about I have to admit that I was treated for mental or drug abuse which I have never done, so that would be a lie. Kaiser says they won’t do it so you have to seek an outside doctor. I did so, and they did not accept that doctor’s letter,” [an individual ID’d only as “a former service member”] said.

No, they wanted the letter from Kaiser. The one they know the Kaiser docs won’t write.

Incidentally, at one point, Kaiser was not only not writing the letters, but they were handing their insureds’ complete medical records over to the police. Who could then root through them for any, or no reason.

But wouldn’t look at them with reference to firearm permits, the reason for which they demanded them in the first place.

That’s the Honolulu Police Department for you, continuing the proud tradition of the Jim Crow Literacy Test for Black Folks.

ICE Gets the G19 — as an Option.

For reasons known but to their hermetically sealed firearms bureaucracy, ICE agents have long been able to carry personally owned full-sized Glock 17 or compact G26 pistols, but not the midsize G19, considered by many the “Goldilocks” undercover pistol. There was no official word on why the G19 wasn’t permitted, and rumors ranged from “It failed reliability testing,” which seems unlikely, to, “If they allowed the G19, nobody would carry the issue SIG 229,” which seems like the sort of conspiracy theory that inflates to fill an information vacuum: enough SAs and ERO officers are apathetic about their firearms that they’d still be carrying a 2″ .38, if that was issued.

But that was then. Without fanfare, on Monday the longstanding ban on private-purchase G19s was lifted. Agents and armed officers have to meet the usual standards to carry the privately own weapon (i.e., qualify, etc). but that box is relatively easy to check.

Could this be tied in some way to the coming decision on a new service pistol (hinting, perhaps, that the new pistol is not the G19?)

Or are we just trying to start another rumor?

Unconventional (and current) Warfare

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

ICE and the Dog Show

We think we were the first to mention the ICE Dog Show, which is what Immigrations and Customs Enforcement does instead of, you know, enforcing immigration law.

Debbie Schlussel has some more, including photos of some entries.


Lord love a duck.

On the HSI Special Agents forum, one of the guys posted, “I thought we got hacked when I saw that.”

Sadly, no, unless you count having a troll appointed as Director as “being hacked.”

Veterans’ Issues ALL NEW

What did the VA do to screw us this week?

VA Paid nearly $1B in Settlements to Protect Bad Staff

va_malpractice_jackpotsLuke Rosiak at Daily Caller has the numbers — $871M over 10 years — but he notes that the rate of payouts is accelerating — $230M of that is in 2014 and so far this year, with some percentage of this year’s malpractice payoffs, as an insurance underwriter might say, “incurred but not reported.” Yet.

Settlement payments have gone up sharply in recent years, totaling $230 million since 2014, with this year by far the most expensive on record even before it closes.

The VA has made 4,353 malpractice settlements since 2006, for an average award of $200,000. The number of cases per year has risen from 322 in 2006 to 541 last year. Eight cases have involved settlements of $1 million or more.

The settlements allow the government to avoid admitting guilt, which often bolsters VA claims that its employees did nothing wrong, even when the department’s 770 in-house lawyers apparently think there’d be enough evidence in court to the contrary.

And if current trends continue, there will be no room in the VA budget for anything but malpractice payments and employee bonuses for the docs who occasioned them. It gets better: even when the employee is so bad that the VA gets off its duff and gets rid of him or her, it usually buys the bad actor out with another pile of taxpayer money:

If the VA has little skin in the game when employee misconduct is involved, employees themselves have even less. Sometimes, employees go undisciplined, while in others VA enters into separate confidential settlements with them that include huge payments followed by their resignation.

After VA’s IG concluded earlier this year that the actions of Rebecca Wiley, the director of a Georgia hospital, contributed to nine deaths, the department paid her $76,000 in a confidential settlement and Wiley retired, according to the Augusta Chronicle. The Treasury Department data includes few details about individual cases, making it impossible to know if relatives of the nine dead also received payments to fend off legal action.

Do Read The Whole Thing™. There are details in there that boggle the mind, like the payoff in the case of a vet that had no close relatives that went to persons unknown, and the fact that the reinforced battalion of VA lawyers doesn’t even work on these cases if they head to trial.

We know vets are proud and feel as if they’ve earned VA care, but if you can’t buy your own insurance, you might be better off with Medicaid than with the VA: some people in the .gov seem to have a soft spot for poor people, as long as they’re not vets.

We used to joke about Veterinarians Affairs, but it’s not funny. If our veterinarian was this bad, we’d take Small Dog to a homeopath instead, and they’re all quacks.

VA Headlines Roundup

The VA news is coming faster than we can read it, let alone report it. So we give you these headlines. Make of them what you will.

Actually, we think that rather than subject Small Dog to this, we’d just take him on the Old Yeller walk. Wonder if that’s part of what’s driving vet suicides.

Lord Love a Duck!

The weird and wonderful (or creepy) that we didn’t otherwise get to.(nothing for now). 

Walther Olympia Pentathlon Pistol

Carl Walther had made pocket pistols for decades when they took over — there’s really no other word — the German target-shooting world in the 1930s with their long-barreled target pistol. It was introduced under the prosaic name of Sportpistole in 1925 and then developed into the M1932 Olympia and the M1936 Olympia II. The Olympia II was produced until the war’s outbreak, and then production slowed until some time in 1944 when Speer’s rationalization (if that’s the word) of German industry choked off any further production of sporting arms at Walther.

Five for fighting: this is a Fünfkampf, or Pentathlon, edition of the Walther Olympia II and was made some time between 1936 and 1944 (probably closer to the former).

Five for fighting: this is a Fünfkampf, or Pentathlon, edition of the Walther Olympia II and was made some time between 1939 and 1944 (probably closer to the former).

The Olympia was made in several versions and it made the Germans the shooting team to beat in the Los Angeles Olympics of 1932 and especially at the Berlin Olympics of 1936. Five pistol-shooting medals went to the Germans (who also had the most medals, and the most gold medals, overall). Germans won the gold in pistol silhouette shooting and in the modern pentathlon (of which more later).

Olympia pistols were made in  Walther’s Zella-Mehlis plant and were sold worldwide until the outbreak of the war, just as the previously dominant pistol (the Colt Woodsman Match Target) was available internationally. The Olympia shared some of the design language of the PP series, and has a similar takedown, but is single-action with an internal hammer and a safety that falls under the right hand’s thumb, right behind the trigger and below the magazine release.Walther Olympia 05

The Olympia was made in three .22 LR versions, distinguished by barrel lengths: Jägerschaft (4″), primarily intended for use by German hunters for a coup de grâce on game; Sport (7.4″) which was the main target model; and Fünfkampf, Pentathlon, with a 9.3″ barrel and in some firearms a detachable muzzle brake, made by Hammerli. (After the war, beginning in 1952, Hammerli would return the Olympia to production).  In addition, there was a .22 short model for Olympic rapid-fire competition; it’s externally identical at a glance, but the magazine is different and the slide is made of aluminum alloy to function with the low-powered round.

The example you see here is a Pentathlon model that was made after 1937 (due to the slab-sided rather than full-round barrel) and after 1939 (we can’t see the Crown-N proof, but the description says it’s there.

Walther Olympia 02

It has no import markings, but that doesn’t really mean anything, as importers were not required to mark firearms until 1969, and, given the gun’s vintage, it may have been a GI bringback anyway.

The frame ends well short of the grip, so the magazine floorplate hosts a unique filler:

Walther Olympia 03

In 1936, the bulk of the firearms events were held at the Deutsche Versuchsanstalt für Handfeuerwaffen (German Research Institute for Small Arms) in Berlin-Wannsee (a southwestern suburb), but the Pentathlon firing took place closer to the other Pentathlon events, at the firing ranges of the 67th Infantry Regiment in Ruhleben, just west of Berlin.

Just as the Decathlon was ten events that were prized by the warriors of ancient Greece, the Modern Pentathlon was based on five military athletic skills that an officer or dispatch-rider might have to show off on a 19th-century battlefield. It had been George S. Patton’s Olympic sport (1912), and remains in the Olympics today, although now largely divorced from its martial roots. The five events are a cross-country obstacle ride, fencing with the épée, pistol-shooting, swimming, and a cross-country run. To win overall you have to score well in most events, and not have a really bad showing in any of them.

Of the 42 men entered in 1936, all but three were company-grade officers in their nation’s armed forces: the exceptions were one social-climing German Unteroffizier, and Greek and Austrian civilians. These are the Pentathlon podium finishers of 1936, two Army and one Air Force officers:

1936 Pentathlon winners. From left to right, First Lieutenant Silvano Abba (Italy), Bronze; First Lieutenant Otto Handrick (Germany), Gold; Lieutenant Leonard (USA), Silver.

1936 Pentathlon winners. From left to right, First Lieutenant Silvano Abba (Italy), Bronze; First Lieutenant Otto Handrick (Germany), Gold; Lieutenant Leonard (USA), Silver. Who’s the VIP standing behind Abba?

2LT Leonard, on his way to a perfect score and a silver medal for the overall event. Pistol is probably a Woodsman.

2LT Leonard, on his way to a perfect score and a silver medal for the overall event. Pistol is probably a Woodsman.

Handrick wasn’t #1 in any individual event, but he was second in fencing, tied for second in riding, and was in the top ten in everything except cross-country running, where he came 14th. Leonard came first in shooting, with a perfect 200 out of 200, but 15th in riding (his only event out of the top ten), while Abba was first in riding but tied for 15th in fencing. (He seems pretty happy with his bronze medal, actually).

This particular example of the Pentathlon version of the Olympia Pistole is for sale by Historic Investments Classic Firearms of Davenport, Iowa. We saw that they’re a new supporter over at Forgotten Weapons, and clicked over to their GunBroker auctions (they don’t have a website yet), only to find that the “view seller’s other auctions” link was already colored, telling us that we’d seen something of theirs we liked enough to want to see what else that they had, recently. They tend to have high-end, high-quality collector pieces.

And we saw this Olympia, and it was pretty much love at first sight. There is one small error in Historic Investments’ description of the firearm; they say the last 4 of the serial number are on the slide, and, strangely, it’s the first 4. See for yourself:

Walther Olympia 04

Or… is it? Is it possible that the real serial number is 6356, and the trailing character is a letter “O”? That;s certainly the way this Sport Modell Olympia looks (image from Wikimedia Commons):


Sportmodell with the more common 7.4″ barrel. All but the hunting and rapid-fire models have the grooves and tapped holes clearly visible here, for attaching weights to the competitor’s taste.

Of course, it’s in his bound book now as Without further ado, here is the description. (Paragraph breaks added for clarity). We would not have caught the reblue from the pictures (and we have a bunch of Walthers) so we suspect we’re dealing with a very ethical seller.

Walther Olympia target pistol with long barrel, made for Pentathlon (Funfkampf) completion, threaded for muzzle brake. SN: 63560. Cal. .22 LR.

Scarce Olympia Penthathlon with 9 3/8” barrel with undercut patridge front sight (adjustable for elevation) and rear sight (windage adjustable with two screw fixation). The muzzle threading was likely performed to attach a Hammerli muzzle brake, then a popular accessory.

This was probably factory-equipped with the brake, which has since been lost.

Slide has loaded indicator. Left side marked with Walther banner, two line address and “Olympia-Pistole”. Right side of slide marked “CAL .22 long rifle”. Full serial number on left tang with last 4 digits repeated on the slide. Crown/N proofing on top of the slide and right side of barrel.

Under the barrel and in forward frame are separated milled channels for counterweight assembly with the frame drilled and tapped for two screws. Wrap around walnut grips, secured with two screws, extensively and deeply checkered. Unmarked magazine with wood extension base drilled for screw driver extension that is not present.

Condition: Approximately 98% salt blue. Although hardened thumbprint is on the left side of the slide, and the perfectly applied blue is era correct, overall appearance suggests factory or high quality rework. Mirror bore. Perfect manual mechanics. One of the scarcer Walther Olympias. No Reserve. A HISTORIC INVESTMENT!

via Walther Olympia Pentathlon Target Pistol : Curios & Relics at

No Reserve is a bit of a bagatelle, as the initial bid is $1995 and the buy-it-now is $2k. But at $2k you can justify just trickling .22LR ammo out of it in the months and years ahead until the ammo production vector intersects the ammo neckbearding line.

“I’m only firing a few rounds today because this is a priceless Walther Olympia. Did I ever tell you about the Modern Pentathlon in the 1936 Olympics? The Germans had these guns which gave them an edge… to win the American, Lt. Leonard, needed to shoot a perfect score… No, don’t touch it! … Well… don’t point! It can’t be fired.  No. no. You can’t look at it. That’s it, you’ve seen enough of that one.”

Pride of ownership, yes?

Friday Tour d’Horizon, 2015 Week 50

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….

Fosscad goes FOSS Trad

Fosscad, font of all kinds of interesting 3D printed wonderment, has gone “trad” — traditional, in the sense of the Dick Lester B-movie (C-movie?) It’s Trad, Dad, starring 1960s musical phenom Acker Bilk, how’s that for an obscure reference?  — and is working with a manual Taig mini mill.

Fosscads new Taig

As you can see from the image, the Taig can produce a fairly decent surface finish (although you’re supposed to drill the holes inside the trigger pocket, Foss. Just sayin’). Cutting metal isn’t really rocket surgery until you start cutting rocket parts of Ti, Stellite or Inconel, but until you take it up, it looks pretty daunting.

We wonder how many guys who bought mills to do some AR lowers wind up doing all kinds of other neat stuff. That’s what happens with most of our general-purpose tools bought for gun or plane work — they wind up doing household duty, just to fix stuff that would be thrown away.

Retail’s Weak this year… Except in Firearms and Ammo

Ammo Stockpile

Yeah, this is rifle ammo. Hey, it’s the picture we had.

We have showed by numerous metrics that 2015 will be a near-record or record year for firearms sales. This is just an anecdote, by a pseudonymous poster on Reddit, but what an anecdote it is.

So the nice lady comes in and asks me what I’ve got in stock and for a few christmas suggestions. She grabs a Sig 229 as a stocking stuffer, case of 22LR and every Sig 229 magazine I have in stock. I ask her if she’s good on ammo because I just got 20,000 rds of 9mm in stock. She asks what the price is and I tell her because she’s awesome – $210/case of a thousand.
A contemplative look appears on her face.
A furrowed brow.
“Can I have all of it at that price?” she asks as I begin planning my trip to the chiropractor. Sure, I say as I stack case upon case of 9mm onto the hand truck and wheel it out to the back of her F350 dually.
$6500 later, her christmas shopping is done – my back is [bleep]ing killing me and I have a dinner of standing rib roast waiting for me in a few hours once it leaves the el cheapo brinkmann.

We think we got to the shop just after this lady, or someone like her….

“We Made it Up” — New York Times.

With a headline like that, that could apply to vast swathes of Times output, we owe it to the reader to be specific. The Times is referring to the term and category “assault weapons,” which the paper now admits it, and its Democrat allies in Congress, made up to advance their gun control agenda some 25 years ago. Bearing Arms has the details. Hat tip Sarah Hoyt at Instapundit.

Correction — the link above goes to another site, Federalist papers, which goes to Bearing Arms, which goes to the NYT. (It was our error to reference BA and not FP). Except this: the Times and Bearing Arms reports are dated September, 2014. (Thanks to Jonathan for pointing this out in the comments). FP’s post is not dated. Sarah’s post is current, but it is our error to have missed the date. Still, an interesting confession from a paper that would be the Delphic Oracle, even if it’s antediluvian in newspaper time. 

Who Stole the Money? The Officials Stole the Money!

Lee Williams has a long story about an investigation in Florida into what happens to the money raised by selling brass at a certain range. The money was supposed to go to charity; instead, the range officers pocketed it.

Now the investigation is criminal — fitting, as so was stealing the money.

Prosecutors have a dozen witnesses, taped statements, bank records and other documents to buttress the case against the two men, who were arrested earlier this year and face felony theft and organized fraud charges.

One of the co-defendants, Glen Nickell, had been the chief range safety officer at the Cecil M. Webb shooting range, which is operated by the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission. The other, John Weatherholt — Nickell’s then-boss — oversaw Cecil M. Webb and two other commission ranges from an office in Lakeland.

A Herald-Tribune investigation first published in June revealed that Nickell and Weatherholt had pocketed thousands of dollars from sales of the recycled brass at Webb.

They’re both charged with a single felony each, and — mirabile dictu! — they are out of their government jobs, one fired, the other resigned.

Social Justice Entryism Eats a Gun Club Alive

Lee Williams (again!) has been on the story of the Manatee Gun Club, where a group of board members wants to oust the long-serving founder, former Marine Gene Pitts. Here’s Lee’s latest. Now, this is Lee’s beat, and he’s been all over the story, but it looks to us like there’s more than just a nonprofit governance dispute happening — it looks like a classic example of SJW entryism, where SJWs seize the organization and bend it away from its original purpose to their ends. Note the secret meeting’s agenda that Lee has posted includes a “code of civility” (a code of conduct is a hallmark of SJW entryism), and there are several positions that can be interpreted as carrying the President’s anti-gun water for him.

He Thought it was a Free Country!

The chump! Where did he get that idea? From a brief recently filed in the Defense Distributed ITAR/Free Speech case.

At the time it posted the Published Files, Defense Distributed did not know that the Defendants would demand to pre-approve its speech.

In fact, before the crackdown on Cody Wilson, ITAR had never been applied to digital files before.

The defendant and their attorneys in this case, the creeps who want to see the 1st Amendment overturned or narrowed to meaninglessness, are named:

John F. Kerry
Kenneth B. Handelman
C. Edward Peartree
Sarah J. Heidema
Glenn Smith
Loretta Lynch
Michael S. Raab
Daniel Bentele Hahs Tenny
Eric J.Soskin
Stuart J. Robinson
Richard L. Durban
Benjamin C. Mizer
Anthony J. Coppolino
Zachary C. Richter

None of them supports the Constitution; none of them should ever be approved for a position of responsibiity; most importantly, none  of them should ever be a judge. Make that your quest, dear readers! These people became political lawyers because they want power. For that reason alone, even if they made no further abuses and usurpations, they must never have it.

The appeal brief on Scribd as posted by DefDist. The appeal brief, hosted on as a .pdf: Defense-Distributed-v-U-S-Dep-t-of-State-Appellant-s-Brief.pdf

The Electronic Frontier Foundation has filed a compelling amicus brief. Their press release is here. A taste:

The questions at issue in this lawsuit are a direct parallel to one of EFF’s first cases, the landmark Bernstein v. U.S. Department of State. In Bernstein, the court found that the source code for the first freely available encryption software was constitutionally protected free speech and that the government’s attempt to suppress it via export control licensing violated the First Amendment.

“The government is trying to use the same tactic it used in the 1990s to block researchers from sharing computer code online,” said Walsh. “A court first ruled more than 15 years ago that source code was speech protected by the First Amendment, in a case that held the government’s export regulations preventing its publication were unconstitutional. The Fifth Circuit should do the same for design files.”

The brief is here:


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.

Crims Out! 97 More Felons Hit the Streets

We’ve always subscribed to the idea that prisons are the best place to keep that percentage of a society that resorts to crime. We thought this was a fairly solid, defensible position. Not everybody agrees with us, it seems:

President Barack Obama on Friday commuted the sentences of 95 prisoners and pardoned two more….

The commutations, the most Obama has issued at one time, mostly benefit nonviolent drug offenders — including many who were given life sentences for crack and cocaine crimes, and some who have already spent more than two decades behind bars.

The White House also pardoned an Ohio man sentenced to probation in a counterfeiting case and a Virginia woman sentenced to home detention and supervised release in a bank fraud case.

“The president’s decision today to commute the prison terms of 95 individuals is another sign of this administration’s strong commitment to ensuring fairness in the criminal justice system,” Deputy Attorney General Sally Yates said in a statement.

The 95 criminals, mostly black crack dealers, turned loose this week are more commutations than any of the last four Presidents. The President’s total to date is, we believe, ore than all those of the last four Presidents put together.

Friday’s announcement brings to 184 the number of inmates whose sentences have been commuted by the Obama administration….

Is there no end to ways that the Greatest Gun Salesman of All Times and All Places finds, to make people want to buy MOAR GUNZ?

How Many Rounds Makes You a Suspect?

In California, the answer is in: 160. Eight boxes of 5.56 rounds.

The cops were called in by the anti-gun gun store, Dick’s.  Glad to learn about this before Christmas shopping is complete — wouldn’t want to do any of it with them.

Unconventional (and current) Warfare

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

ICE and the Dog Show

We think we were the first to mention the ICE Dog Show, which is what Immigrations and Customs Enforcement does instead of, you know, enforcing immigration law.

Debbie Schlussel has some more, including photos of some entries.


Lord love a duck.

On the HSI Special Agents forum, one of the guys posted, “I thought we got hacked when I saw that.”

Sadly, no, unless you count having a troll appointed as Director as “being hacked.”


Lord Love a Duck!

The weird and wonderful (or creepy) that we didn’t otherwise get to.(nothing for now). 

Castillo De San Marcos Part 4: Armament; Accommodation; Two Notables

Sorry for the long delay on getting this launched. More to come!  -Ed.

This is the fourth post in an irregular series on Castillo de San Marcos in St. Augustine, FL, and in turn part of a larger series on American coastal fortifications. Once again it will primarily consist of pictures taken by Our Traveling Correspondent and captions for same.

The previous posts are:

Part I: America’s Spanish Fort – Castillo de San Marcos 9 Oct 15.
Part II: Exploring Castillo de San Marcos. 10 Oct 15
Part III: Castillo de San Marcos – Medical Instruments. 19 Oct 15

Without further ado, let’s get started.

A diorama shows how a Spanish gun crew would have served their piece during the Siege of 1740.


The might of a fort was in large naval cannon like that, and even in cannon too large to be part of the armament of ships.

This small field artillery piece (below) was one of the fort’s secondary armaments, for example, to defend the land side from a sally by enemy marines. The primitive, four-board-spoke wheels of the carriage were easy to make, but not suitable for a long campaign, just for local repositioning.  Perhaps the fort did not have a trained wheelwright on hand, or perhaps they lacked specialty tools such as spokeshaves that had to be imported all the way from Europe. (Although you would think that any blacksmith could make the tools, if he had an artisan to tell him what he wanted).


Like all such pieces, the guns large and small were muzzle-loaders, made by casting the rough shape and then boring out the, well, bore. There were many trade-offs in cannon design, of course, just as there are in any engineering discipline. A cannon could be light, easily maneuverable, and bear only lightly on the ground, but that meant it would throw a small ball a short distance at a moderate velocity. To throw a heavy ball a long distance at a higher velocity required a big, ponderous gun, and it in turn was hard to maneuver and needed a well-supported hard deck to rest upon.

No fortification, whether it’s such a mighty castle as San Marcos, or a rude rifleman’s foxhole, is built all at once. It is roughed out, and then improved. Conscious of the weight of mighty cast-iron fortress- and naval guns, the Spaniards initially built San Marcos to contain heavy guns inside and have light guns positioned on a top deck. Even then, the upper-deck artillery was better supported at the points where interior walls held up the upper deck, than in between the interior walls, where the upper deck was supported only by wooden joists. Circa 1730, between the two British sieges, the Spanish engineers converted the interior walls of the lower casemates to arched, vaulted walls that better supported the upper deck. The image below shows a bas-relief model of this vaulted design; now Spanish gunners could serve heavy pieces on the upper deck of the Castillo. The intermediate deck and stairs were added by the British, so that they could cram more troops in each room. Each room was a fighting compartment at “action stations,” but during everyday routine it was the soldiers’ barracks.


In the British Army, the men living together, who slept, ate, and if need be, fought together, were said to be “messing together” and were “mess mates.”

An artillery crew, in the days of muzzle-loaded black-powder artillery, had to be drilled to be safe and effective. In the days of black powder artillery, small mistakes could have large consequences. Artillerymen today probably don’t think about it much, but they have much safer lives than their 18th Century ancestors!

They used a variety of tools to swab the bore and ram powder and shot:


Explosion and fire were omnipresent hazards.

This next bunk is a replica of the ones used in the British period. It held two soldiers up and two down, with their muskets — Brown Besses, as Britain yielded the fort before percussion made it to this far colony —  and their equipment on the left end as we look at it. The short wooden strips visible at lower left rest on either side of the four muskets’ stocks. (This replica doesn’t seem to be thought out properly — even the shortest Brown Bess isn’t going to fit below the upper board. But “muskets” is what the plaque said).


It looks a little small for four of today’s troops, but the soldier of 1700 was a product of the working class of his day — he was, in most cases, short and lean.

One advantage of these solid wooden beds over the later GI modular steel bunk is this: someone who decides to adjust his “mess mate’s” attitude needs to go find something else — he can’t just latch onto a bunk adapter. Of course, he did have the Brown Bess at the end of the bunk, a stout club indeed.

Volunteer docents help visitors understand the life of people of that era. Here a docent displays some interesting things, which we’ll follow up:


In those days, money was more likely to be precious metal coins than scrip. So how did you make change? You cut a gold or silver coin into fractions with a sharp knife. You may have heard the expression, “pieces of eight.” That’s a reference to eighths of a Spanish silver doubloon.


Unscrupulous men would turn down the edges of a coin and collect the silver shavings over time. That’s why modern coins have inscriptions or knurling around the perimeter, to discourage that sort of “mining the coins”.

The coins were among a display of everyday items for a Spanish soldier of the period, including a musket, balls and cleaning tools, and a sword.


Spanish muskets are interesting. They were only standardized very late, compared to other world powers of the day (Spain standardized caliber, not pattern of musket, for many years), but the 1752/1757 flintlock is an elegant piece, lighter than some of its European competitors, with distinctive brass furnishings. English, French, and American muskets all had bands of steel. (Brass would come back during the Civil War — in the Confederacy, where steel mills were rare in the 1860s. The steel city of Birmingham, AL, was built after the war).

The Chapel

One center of life at the Castillo during its Spanish era was the chapel. It was set in one of the casements. Little remains of the period decoration, but archaeologists working with traces that remain think they can envision — and reconstruct — what it looked like. Here’s the chapel, today. This is the altar side.


This is a digital reconstruction of what the chapel probably looked like at the height of Spanish occupation. (Apologies for the reflection of the camera’s flash). The statue in the niche would probably have been San Marcos — St. Mark.csm21_chapel_reconstruction

Here’s the door side. On the left is the Holy Water font; on the right, a confessional booth, both markers of a Catholic place of worship. A Catholic dips his fingers in the holy water and makes the Sign of the Cross on entering the consecrated place; the booth is used to make confession of sins to the priest, in privacy; the priest then issues a penance and grants absolution for the sins; placing the worshiper into a State of Grace to receive Holy Communion. Some Protestant churches have similar rituals, but many do not.  csm21_chapel_reconstruction_door

This is the Holy Water font in its condition, today:


The British, who replaced the Spaniards, probably reconsecrated the chapel to Saint Mark as a Church of England chapel. During the fort’s long American ownership, the chapel fell into disuse when the fort lost its importance to harbor defense — and lost its garrison.

Two Key 19th-Century Personalities

During the 19th Century, the forbidding castle was used as a prison for obstreperous Indians. Key figures from the long and bloody  Seminole Wars — the Union’s most costly Indian fights — were incarcerated here, as were chiefs of the Plains Indians.

The chief of the Seminoles, Osceola, was one such unwilling guest. He was only held for a short time before being shipped to Fort Moultrie in Savannah, Georgia, where he died. Osceola was not even a Seminole by blood: born Billy Powell, the son of a Creek woman and a Scots trader, he came to lead the Florida indians by sheer force of personality and character.


It’s a bit sad that such a noble warrior met such a sad end. Osceola was only 34 when he passed away in 1838.

Years later, when the Plains Indian chiefs were incarcerated here, their captor was Army Captain Richard Henry Pratt. Pratt was a humane man, but sure that his culture was superior to that of the Indians. He was assigned to the Castillo — by then, Fort Francis Marion — in 1875 and charged with responsibility for the Indian captives.


Pratt believed that the best hope for the native peoples was to integrate them into American culture. He developed a program of education and training aimed at assimilating the Indians to the American way of life.

At the time, Pratt’s approach was controversial. Many Americans did not believe that Indians were their equals, and yet Pratt was trying to raise them to full citizenship. (They were not citizens under US law at the time!)


Operation Toy Drop, 2015

It’s time again for a report from OTR, Our Travelling Reporter — who keeps riding us about the incomplete Castillo de San Marcos series, and other firsthand fortification stuff he’s sent us. We’ll get to it we hope, Real Soon Now. Meanwhile, the “T” in OTR has taken him to Pribram, Czech Republic. -Ed.

OTR has been on the road again. On December 4th and 5th, 2015, he participated in Operation Toy Drop. This is a holiday event that brings in toys for children in need. Of course, just to be a little different, he had to do it in the Czech Republic.

Which one is OTR? To quote Number 2, "That would be telling!"

The “Drop” part of Operation Toy Drop. Which one is OTR? To quote Number 2, “That would be telling!”

Operation Toy Drop’s goal is to collect new toys for children and families throughout the region who may not otherwise receive gifts this holiday season. America’s paratroopers don’t hold back – donations include numerous high-end game consoles, countless bicycles, and more otherwise unattainable toys for children of underprivileged families.

Some of the swag generated for kids this year. Operation Toy Drop is the airborne (and now international) version of the Marine Reserve's long running Toys for Tots Campaign.

Some of the swag generated for kids this year. Operation Toy Drop is the airborne (and now international) version of the Marine Reserve’s long running Toys for Tots Campaign.

Operation Toy Drop is a week-long, philanthropic project where Fort Bragg’s paratroopers (or visiting paratroopers from across the nation) individually contribute new, unwrapped toys to be distributed to local children’s homes and social service agencies. Despite the project’s name, these toys are not “dropped” anywhere except into the arms of deserving children throughout Cumberland County and North Carolina. The drop is actually a daytime, non-tactical airborne operation supervised by foreign military jumpmasters – a rare treat for participating Soldiers who relish the opportunity to earn a foreign nation’s “jump wings”.

The wings awarded in Operation Toy Drop 2015. How many foreign wings do you have? (Yeah, that's a bragging item in SF, more so if you got them on duty).

The wings awarded in Operation Toy Drop 2015. How many foreign wings do you have? (Yeah, that’s a bragging item in SF, more so if you got them on duty).

Masterminded by then Staff Sgt. Randy Oler in 1998, Operation Toy Drop started as a relatively small time success backed by some big-time coordination. Oler’s dream of incorporating Airborne operations, foreign military jumpmasters, and local charities was a tall order, but Oler was never one to shy away from a challenge. He approached his commanding general within the U.S. Army Civil Affairs and Psychological Operations Command with the idea and was given the green light to spearhead the project.


This year International Airborne Operations got in on the act. They were able to bring in jumpmasters from around Europe to supervise jumps and issue the wings. This is in exchange for a new toy for a child in need. Most of the participants at the event did not limit their donation to just one toy nor did they skimp on quality.

The participants were from the U.S., United Kingdom, France, Belgium, Norway, Latvia, the Czech Republic, Germany, and other countries. One of the participants was a soldier that flew 16 hours to get there from Singapore. There were also 11 soldiers from the Royal Life Guards (Denmark).

(You may remember their recent appearance on WeaponsMan in their ceremonial uniforms. The only professional jumpers the Danes have are very small special operations units, but they encourage the Life Guards to seek out jump training and opportunities, for the same reason that many elite military units that seldom jump into combat require jump qualification — because it’s a character builder and stress inoculator. — Ed.)

The participants were afforded the opportunity to earn wings from the U.S., Czech Republic, Slovakia, Omani SF, Latvia, and other countries. The jumps were conducted from an Antonov AN-2 (Colt).

Fit for purpose: the An-2 is often mistaken for a Golden Age 1930s design, with its biplane layout and radial engine. It actually was designed in the USSR post-World War II as a utility plane for military and civil purposes alike, and is used for everything from pipeline patrol to Siberian school bus even today. The biplane layout yields lots of lift in a narrow span -- perfect for small fields.

Fit for purpose: the An-2 is often mistaken for a Golden Age 1930s design, with its biplane layout and radial engine. It actually was designed in the USSR post-World War II as a utility plane for military and civil purposes alike, and is used for everything from pipeline patrol to Siberian school bus even today. The biplane layout yields lots of lift in a narrow span — perfect for small fields.

Even the Spartans would call this Spartan: inside the An-2, from the single door looking towards the cockpit. Note all the jump unit stickers!

Even the Spartans would call this Spartan: inside the An-2, from the single door looking towards the cockpit. Note all the jump unit stickers on the cockpit bulkhead!

The parachutes used were the US MC1-1C (steerable military-round-canopy system) and the Czech OVP-68/76A (steerable military-round-canopy system). The jumps took place at Pribram Airfield.

American MC1-1C chutes laid out in the rigger shed: mains left, reserves right.

American MC1-1C chutes laid out in the rigger shed: mains left, reserves right.

The Czech reserve chute is pretty easy for a Yank jumpmaster to figure out. There are only so many ways to engineer a military emergency backup chute.

The Czech reserve chute is pretty easy for a Yank jumpmaster to figure out. There are only so many ways to engineer a military emergency backup chute.

(Both these chutes have their ancestry in the 1950s, when skydivers cut holes in military chutes, holes that they could close by pulling shroud lines to give them a means of steering their chutes. -Ed).

The mornings began, at 07:00, with a couple laps around the hangars and then a round of upper body exercises to warm up. Then there was a lot of PLF (parachute landing fall) practice. After this came actions in the aircraft and exit procedures.

(On the phone, OTR noted that these international airborne fellowship operations often include retirees and veterans who are not in the best shape, and this is the first one he’s been on where everyone was fit and where regular PT was done. OTR, who is as fit as any pro athlete, approves. -Ed). 

When it came time to rig up the differences became apparent. The U.S. military is a lot more conscious of procedures than other countries. Whenever I have jumped with other countries, they have more of a “get it on and get out” attitude. When it comes to the OVP-68 you just stand there and are rigged up as if by a squire putting on his knight’s armor. Another difference is that the Germans and Czechs jump with their flyer’s kit bag on their chest.

Most jumpers went "Hollywood," but some jumped their equipment. Jumpmaster Personnel Inspection of a rigged jumper.

Most jumpers went “Hollywood,” but some jumped their equipment. Jumpmaster Personnel Inspection of a rigged jumper.

I did two jumps. One with each parachute system. I had a minor bit of drama on the second jump. The issue turned out alright and I achieved a soft landing.

(His “minor bit of drama” was a total inversion, a problem American jumpers have seldom seen since the -B model of the T-10 and MC1-1 parachutes added an anti-inversion net over 35 years ago, even though they still train for the eventuality.  With the inversion, he had a full canopy, but inside-out. As a result, the modification — the propulsion and steering opening — in his OVP-68 was in front of him rather than behind him, and the chute was propelled backwards rather than forwards, a bit like driving a car stuck in reverse. There were also some shroud lines wrapped around the risers. He didn’t consider this a serious problem and he flew his backwards chute, well, backwards, to a safe touchdown. Minor bit of drama, in our line of work. -Ed). 

The whole thing ends with a rather relaxed and happy awards ceremony.

The whole thing ends with a rather relaxed and happy awards ceremony with new friends and acquaintances in a Babel of languages.

Overall it was a great time with a lot of camaraderie and genuinely nice people. You have to love a country where they have great beer and the beer is cheaper than the soda. The food and drink is of course cheaper and better in the town than at an airport.

They laid on a catered breakfast for the jumpers....

They laid on a catered breakfast for the jumpers….

... and the accommodations were a bit nicer than Army average in our day.

… and the accommodations were a bit nicer than Army average in our day.

My only advice is if you are going to the Czech Republic make sure you use the local currency (Czech crowns) rather than Euros. You will save money and make things easier on everybody. That math thing is always a hassle.

(You can tell he’s a Weapons NCO. Commo and Medics are fluent in math. Engineers (Demo) are supposed to be, but in our experience they usually just blow off the calculation and add more HE. – Ed).

Exit picture: Jumper in the sky over Pribram. sunny day, Hollywood jump -- life is good!

Exit picture: Jumper in the sky over Pribram. sunny day, Hollywood jump — life is good!

For More Information:

Operation Toy Drop Facebook:

International Airborne Operations website:

International Airborne Operations OPORD for Toy Drop 15:


OT: Reigning Cats and Dogs

We’ve been piling up some shaggy critter stories for a while. Not our usual beat, perhaps, but we need to vent about ’em.

Item: Dog: Cruelty

moorerobersonNitiana Moore groused, as she was booked into jail in West Monroe, LA, that she didn’t know what the big deal was. “It was only a dog!”

Only a dog that she and her boyfriend Brandon Roberson left to die. They were a couple of criminals in Louisiana. Someone gave them a dog. They kept her in the yard and fed her when they felt like it. Then they went away for a while.

When they came back, the dog was dead. Of starvation, or maybe dehydration — of criminal neglect, either way. So these rocket surgeons, annoyed to have a dead dog in their yard, called 911 so the cops could come and make a pickup.

The cops came. They made a pickup.

It wasn’t just the dog.

Unfortunately the penalties for animal cruelty do not include being staked out in the sun until you are dead, dead, dead. Maybe they should.

We have more details now, including the slack-jawed pictured of the two brain-deads.

From The Smoking Gun:

Pictured above, [Nitiana] Moore and [Brandon] Roberson were arrested for aggravated animal cruelty, a felony, and booked into jail (where bond has not been set). ….

After she was taken into custody, Moore was transported to the West Monroe Correction Center, where she was heard complaining about her arrest. Moore stated that she “did not know what the big deal was,” cops reported, since “it is just a dog.”

TSG has the affidavit if you want the facts of the case. They didn’t have anyone to take care of the dog, so they “fed it before they left.” Sure, dogs: don’t they permanently feed them at the dog factory, or something?

Item: Dog: End of Life Options

Busybodies out of Massachusetts, metastasizing like the deadly threat they are, are outwaged that rural New Hampshirites sometimes take their elderly, sick pets down the path of Old Yeller rather than pay a professional vet to give them lethal injection, like convicts. This totally enrages the sort of trust-fund busybody who believes that it’s not really killing when you pay someone else to do it. What can we say? They’re the ones that survived their mom’s visits to Planned Parenthood — maybe because their parts weren’t worth much.

The whole discussion was triggered by a broke guy’s decision to humanely shoot his dog, Bruno, after the dog became a biting threat to his small children, and attempts to give the dog away to a household without children failed. Some are defending the decision, including this op-ed.

It is the nature of dogs that we love them. It is also their nature that we outlive them, as a heartbroken Kipling memorably documented. What does the protestor who despises the man who shot his dog  do when his dog is at end of life?

Item: Dog: The Robot Alternative

Sony-AiboWhen Sony introduced it’s Aibo robot dog, the pricey plastic pets won enthusiasts in Japan, where a real dog is a luxury out of many working people’s reach on financial or practical grounds. But while Aibo was a pet to its buyers, it was a product to its sellers, and it wasn’t a profitable one. So Aibo was discontinued years ago — and more recently, Sony discontinued parts and repair support. Independent Aibo vets have saved some of the artificial critters, but others are beyond mortal help. Owners are finding them as heartbreaking to part with as real dogs are.

The bereaved owners have been eased through Kubler-Ross’s stages of grief, in part, by holding formal Shinto funerals and cremations for the dead bots. We are not making this up. Indeed, the New York Times has video, via an Aibo fan page.

Item: Cat: The Robot Alternative

joy for all robot catThis has us feeling ambivalent. “This” being a robotic cat sold by Hasbro for senile old people to pet, under the somewhat national-socialist name of Joy For All. We think we understand where they’re coming from with it. On one level, it may have a calming effect on agitated oldsters; on another level, they’re thinking sucks to be a toy company when people are having fewer kids.Not to mention, when those kids are scheduled wakeup-to-zzzs in organized enrichment activities and never let out of the sight of neurotic helicopter parents. So for a toy company to turn to toys for those in their second childhood seems, maybe not natural but at least rational. And when you think about it, these robo-pet owners are unlikely to go the way of the heartbroken Japanese robo-dog owners: their fluffy fake furballs are likely to outlive them.

On the other hand, if we’re ever so far gone we need a fluffy fake feline, just do us a kindness and send us on to Kingdom Come like Bruno the dog.

ITEM: PETA Pilfering Euthanizing & Torturing Animals

The so-called “animal rights” organization PETA has been hit with a nearly $10 million lawsuit for stealing and killing a family’s beloved Chihuahua, Maya. Two PETA animal torturers, Victoria Carey and Jennifer Woods, actually snatched Maya off her family’s porch and rushed her to their soi-disant “shelter,” where she was immediately killed. When the family called to enquire, Carey lied and said they had not even been in the neighborhood. Unfortunately for her, she and Woods were on video.

PETA then issued a statement calling the theft and extermination of poor Maya “something helpful and good,” a statement they repeated after the suit was filed.

Carey and Woods were convicted of animal cruelty, but in Virginia that’s a misdemeanor with a nugatory $500 fine — which PETA executives paid for them. Then Carey was promoted to HR manager. (She has since left the organization, but should be considered armed and a threat to animals anywhere she is). Woods has been promoted to senior communications something or other with the animal-killing non-profit.

That’s the PETA motto: Slay a pup and you’ll move up!

PETA does not believe people have a right to keep pets, especially not poor people (PETA’s leadership and donors are largely in the narrow end of the 1%), and its middle-Atlantic euthanasia mills, which exterminate 90-plus percent of the animals it claims to “shelter,” are notorious for stealing pets, especially from poor neighborhoods.

According to court documents as reported by Courthouse News Service, PETA’s soi-disant shelter in Virginia “is actually a front for a slaughter house that kills cats and dogs.”

PETA’s lawyer, a waste of skin with the morals of an alley cat named Jeffrey S. Kerr, says it’s all fabricated — even the video of his own animal-torturer bosses stealing the dog. Well, that’s what he’s paid to say. Who are you going to believe, some shifty PETA coin-operated mouthpiece, or your lyin’ eyes?

In our opinion — no lawyers here — the suit is unlikely to bring such a reward to the bereaved family — courts, generally, consider animals property.

Hopefully this case will not take up too much of Kerr’s precious time. With his dog dead of starvation, he has to chase the ambulances himself.

PETA, despite its extremism and the hatred for animals and animal lovers that characterizes its staff, has a lot of friends in the judicial system. In 2007, a PETA-friendly judge in North Carolina erased 21 felony charges against two of the organization’s most notorious animal torturers and killers, Adria Hinkle and Andrew Cook, who were caught dumping pets the organization had stolen and killed. Convicted, despite the judge’s efforts on their behalf, of lesser, misdemeanor charges, the same judge refused to give the two PETA animal-haters even a day of jail time.

No one good, decent, moral or humane works or volunteers for PETA in any capacity whatsover; they’re the TSA of the non profit sector. They’re monsters, every one. Even other animal rights activists like this guy, the founder of the no-kill shelter movement, have turned on this evil, monstrous and barbaric organization.