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Friday Tour d’Horizon Week 32

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

Guns

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

We always wanted to build an M231 clone. We also want to use M231 internals to make an open-bolt single shot so we can compare open- and closed-bolt accuracy. (It is not legal to make an open-bolt semi, as ATF considers it too easily converted to an MG. An open-bolt gun with no magwell should be okay).  Anyway, there are always a few M231 parts for sale. At the moment, there’s even a live, transferable full-auto 231, but if you have to ask, you can’t afford it.

Here’s an Interview with Reed Knight Jr. Knight, of Knight’s Armament Corp., is not only an entrepreneur but also a historian and expert in firearms, especially Stoner evolution. He had the advantage of working with Gene Stoner for years and picking his brain.

The Washington Post has an article on the story we beat them to by a wide margin, the Marines’ abandoning the M16A4 in favor of the M4 for infantry Marines.

Usage and Employment

The hardware takes you only half way.

Cops ‘n’ Crims

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

There’ll Always Be an England

And it will always crack down hard on some elderly farmer who tried to defend ‘imself against the yout’s whose crimes the coppers couldn’t be arsed to investigate. In this case:

Roy Delph, who cares for his housebound wife, was given a two year prison sentence, after a judge said there was no excuse for having a loaded weapon in a public place.
Judge Nicholas Coleman said he had shown a “brazen disregard” for the laws which were intended to keep guns safe.

Ah, yeah, “gun safety” laws… where have we heard that recently? Exercise for the reader: in what Central European state, famous for its early welfare system and often a model for Anglo-American utopians, does the same word serve for the very different concepts of “safety” and “security”?

Meanwhile, the kids that threatened Delph remain at large. Why would the cops bother them? They’re kindred souls.

Criminal Justice Reform – Two Views

Talk to a Fed and you will probably hear, along with stories of the mess-up-and-move-up culture that produces universally inept leadership, the idiotic laws they have to enforce. In ATF, it’s a particularly raw wound that the bureau is crucified for having to enforce illogical, self-contradictory laws that the agents themselves, mostly, never asked for. Instead these laws came from the ever-circling drain of ineptitude and venality that is Congress, and from the entitled nobility who somehow found their enshrinement in Article III of the Constitution, to wit, the judges. Liberals have always talked “justice reform” because they have always liked criminals, just so long as they’re in someone else’s neighborhood (given the .01% nature of many leaders of the movement these days, not a problem). Conservatives hear the words “justice reform,” and think, “there might be a way to spend less on the worthless wastes of skin behind bars.” Libertarians have always talked “justice reform” as if it’s a moral imperative or something.

The conservative view is pretty straightforward: to stop, say, gun crime, apply some Loc-Tite to the loose nuts behind the trigger, maintain for 20 years to life, repeat as needed, finished business. To get a handle on the very different libertarian view, see this article and listen to the podcast linked there, with Mark Holden, general counsel for the Koch Brothers. (Sorry, liberals, we should have given you a trigger warning before saying the name of your Voldemort. Thing is, Charles and David [last name deleted out of deference to the finer sensibilities of our left-leaning friends] are libertarians, not conservatives).

An eye-opening view of the liberal concept of incarceration comes from this New York Times (where else?) op-ed by a couple of naive college professors, untainted and unadulterated by exposure to real life, who went to jail in Germany (alas, only as visitors) and emerged fully epiphanized, emoting like John Reed in 1919. They envision kinder, gentler, less-prison-y prisons, because the Germans kill each other a lot less than Americans (especially poor, minority, drug-trading and-using Americans, who comprise the bulk of our prison population) do, and German prisons are a lot like college, therefore, if we made our prisons more like college… we;re not making this bleep up; here’s a sample.

More than 80 percent of those convicted of crimes in Germany receive sentences of “day fines” (based on the offense and the offender’s ability to pay). Only 5 percent end up in prison. Of those who do, about 70 percent have sentences of less than two years, with few serving more than 15 years.

 

So why isn’t American crime and punishment like that? Because, these all-white professors tell us from their fine lecterns in their all-white-but-the-tokens universities:

America’s criminal justice system was constructed in slavery’s long shadow and is sustained today by the persistent forces of racism.

We don’t know what you can do with someone who reasons so like a child that he thinks prison, let alone slavery, produced La Cosa Nostra or Mara Salvatrucha 13, neither of which is a big issue in Bundesrepublik Deutschland. We suppose isolating these goons to the universities serves the same broad societal purpose as putting MS-13 sicarios in lockdown in the SHU.

There’ll Always Be an England, Part II.

OK, this happened in France, albeit to a Englishman and his wife.

Jenson Button and his wife Jessica Michibata were gassed at their luxury French villa as robbers looted the house and stole belongings worth £300,000.

The couple – who had been asleep – lay unconscious in bed as the burglars rifled through the rented St Tropez home, taking items including 30-year-old Jessica’s £250,000 engagement ring.

French police believe the gang had been watching the villa for days before letting off a cannister of anaesthetic gas into an air-conditioning vent

The French flics say that this is an increasingly common m.o. for burglars along the Riviera. We think you would have to hunt long and hard to find an anesthesiologist who would want anything to do with this; it’s only a matter of time before they botch the dose and kill somebody.  If the name Jensen Button rings a bell, it’s because he’s a top Formula 1 driver for McLaren. (He started in F1 when he was in his teens 20 or so years ago, and is a triathlete on the side. Interesting fellow).

When guns are outlawed, criminals lose their fear of invading occupied homes, and good citizens have to fear criminals.

Who Needs ICE? Not DHS

The Department of Homeland Security, admitting that it is out of the business of arresting, convicting, and deporting criminal aliens (even as an increasing percentage of the FBI’s Most Wanted Lists, especially of violent and sex criminals, are foreign citizens) wants to cut ICE’s budget and take away agents’ G-Rides.

The money will be used to expand Secret Service protection details, which have become the latest ****-measuring stick used in games of Washington one-upmanship by insecure and unimportant midlevel bureaucrats. Indeed, two of ICE’s senior political appointees have diverted teams of criminal investigators to act as their own personal security details, their own faux Secret Service, because if you’re not arriving in a .gov Escalade with two Suburbans full of mob-lookin’ torpedoes, you’re not anybody in Georgetown any more.

Unconventional (and current) Warfare

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

The ISIL Bachelor Show

ISIL Female Slave price list. Premium prices for 1-9 year olds. Limit three to a customer!1

ISIL Female Slave price list. Premium prices for 1-9 year olds. Limit three to a customer!1

Well, the assels of ISIL have a new problem. It seems their latest batch of child brides are Just Sayin’ No to the attempts of ISIL “warriors” to upgrade their sex partners from goats and sheep to children of single- and low-double-digit age. (This is perfectly OK in Islam. Mohammed, the First Pedophile, married a six-year-old, but he was such a master of restraint he didn’t diddle her till she was a full nine). And they deal with sexual rejection the same way they deal with everything: cutting a few heads off.

It is not known whether the 19 women executed – supposedly just a few days ago – were Yazidis or not.

They were put to death because they refused to ‘participate in the practice of sexual jihad,’ a spokesman for the Kurdish Democratic Party in Mosul told Iraqi News.

Said Mimousini also claimed issues around money and the distribution of women have caused a rift within ISIS’s ranks.

In October, the terror group released a pamphlet which showed how much it charged for the purchase of its female captives.

Why are we losing to these pathetic bums? Three possibilities: God is really on their side; our own allied bums are even more pathetic; or, our leaders are more feckless and incompetent than a bunch of insecure Arabs who, intent on raping six-year-olds, can’t even pull that off and wind up killing the kids out of spite. Note that these three possibilities are not mutually exclusive; we discount #1 and figure it’s some blend of 2 and 3.

Missing Airplanes Then and Now

Africa is the graveyard of just about everything, so its not surprising that airplanes that go there often vanish off the books, pass through many shadowy sham ownerships, grow fake data plates, and, from time to time, disappear. Any aviation safety guy will tell you than no subsaharan African nation has a working, independent air safety regime such as that the civilized nations of the Americas, Europe and Asia have come to know.

Last October, Tim Wright dove into the issue again at Air and Space. He had previously (2010) written about a 727 that had disappeared in Angola and that was the subject of an intense search by US intelligence authorities.

An Anniversary of Note

Yesterday was the 70th anniversary of the nuking of Hiroshima. It’s amazing how many people today think that this was just terrible. Sure, should we have fought conventionally, like we did on Saipan and Okinawa? Had we done so, Japanese would truly be a language spoken only in Hell. There are horrors and there are horrors. War involves the application of horror to bring about an end to someone else’s inclination to commit various preceding horrors. Which horror is worse than the other is often a subject for postwar discussion, but seldom produces a true consensus. However, it’s hard to see how the deaths of 100,000+ in two nuclear bombings was not a superior outcome to the deaths of millions, possibly tens of millions, in a ground invasion that Japanese militarists were planning to fight to the last schoolboy in short pants and the last bamboo spear.

Lord Love a Duck!

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

The Country’s in the Best of Hands, Innit?

The Governor of Maine, at odds with both houses of his legislature, vetoed 65 of the 71 bills they passed this session. Only one problem: he didn’t veto them on timeSo they all became law, says the state Supreme Court, including some that are anathema to the conservative Paul LePage (who is, in turn, anathema to the state’s solidly-Democratic media). These include welfare for criminal aliens, state-funded abortions, etc.

We’re researching to see if any of the bills was a gun bill. Maine Democrats tend to be liberal gun banners, but some defy the party and support gun rights; politicians of both parties pay more than the usual obeisance to Elmer Fudd, in a state with many hunters and considerable hunting revenue. LePage is a solid friend of gun owners and a strong supporter of Constitutional Carry passed earlier this year (which required Democrat votes). He’s also an abrasive personality who surprised everyone, probably even himself, winning re-election last year.

Notes

  1. Translation of the ISIL price list is as follows:

We have received news that the demand in Women and Cattle market has sharply decreased and that will affect Islamic State revenues as well as the funding of mujahideen in the battlefield, therefore we have made some changes. Below are the prices for Yazidi and Christian women.

The price for Yazidi or Christian women between the age of 40 – 50 is $43 (£27)

$75 (48) for 30 to 40-year-olds
$86 (£55) for 20 to 30-year-olds
$130 (£83) for ten to 20-year-olds
$172 (£110) for one to nine-year-olds

Customers are allowed to purchase only three items with the exception of customers from Turkey, Syria and Gulf countries. 

Dated and sealed by ISIS in Iraq October 16, 2014.

Ah, Islam, religion of peace. And freedom.

2. Don’t carry yet! It’s not law until October 15th.

Why no bids? US Springfield Model 1873 45/70

Here’s something up for auction now, ending in a couple of days, that would be a point of pride in any collection of US Martial Arms. We’re not getting why this rifle has drawn no bids.

It’s an 1873 US Springfield “trapdoor” rifle. This rifle was a staple of the Indian Wars and was widely used as late as the Spanish-American War, where many photos show them in the hands of American forces, especially forces raised by the States for the war.

It is not the rarest Trapdoor. In fact, it’s the most common and most representative, a perfect fit for the collector that only wants one Trapdoor to fit between a Civil War muzzleloader and a Krag or Springfield rifle. If your collection stops in 1903, this is an easy step back into the 19th Century.

Further, it is a direct connection to the weapons of the Civil War. The first Trapdoors were actual Civil War rifle-muskets converted using the Allin conversion (most world powers did something similar, like the British Snyder, as they transitioned from muzzle loaded consumable cartridge percussion-cap-fired muskets to breech-loading, fixed brass-cased ammunition with internal primers).

This one’s in decent condition, with a bayonet.

Here’s what the seller says about it:

This is a US Springfield Model 1873 45/70 with Bayonet.
Weighs about 11 lbs.
Has a 32″ barrel and comes with Bayonet.
Bayonet Blade is about 16″ and 21″ overall.
The wood stock is in good shape with a few small nicks/scratches .
The finish on the barrel & receiver is in good shape considering its age.
Serial Number 167XXX

via US Springfield Model 1873 45/70 with Bayonet : Bolt Action Rifles at GunBroker.com.

So why isn’t this nice, historic firearm drawing bids? Is it that his opening bid is set too high for a rifle in well-used condition? (It’s $999 plus $40 shipping). Or is it that it’s in Bolt Action Rifles? Or is it that most trapdoor seekers search on “trapdoor”? (“Trapdoor” returns 273 hits at the moment). The price seems OK. Here, for example, is a much nicer condition Model 1884, the penultimate trapdoor (there was an 1888 with rod bayonet), but the buy-it-now is $2100.

As to why this decent ’73 isn’t selling, your guess is as good as ours. It looks like a good deal — a good gun at a good price — to us.

Friday Tour d’Horizon 2015 Week 31

As long-time readers know, Tour d’Horizon is French for Clearing the Tabs. KWe’ll cover the usual subjects: Guns, Usage and Employment, Cops ‘n’ Crims, Unconventional (and current) Warfare, and Lord Love a Duck!

Guns

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

A New Press Release Aggregator: ShootingWire.com

We prefer link aggregators like The Gun Feed to press release aggregators like Ammoland, but the new Shootingwire.com, just launched this month, is a good press release aggregator.

Colt Complications

Remember the Colt bankruptcy? It’s bogged down in acrimony between the bondholders and the hedge-fund owner-managers, who are trying to hang on to the company despite having managed it into the ground.

In this Hartford Courant article — which quotes from Bloomberg’s Paul Barrett without naming him, something we hope we haven’t done in our coverage of this mess — we get the latest news: the UAW (which is not just the union representing Colt workers, but also a minority owner) has asked the State of Connecticut to bail out the company. Problem is, Connecticut has done that three or four times before — and lost their money every time.

Sheriff Jim Wilson likes Custom Guns

Here’s the key reason why, in his own words:

A truly custom handgun—any handgun, not just the 1911—is built from only the best parts and those parts are hand-fitted. Quality parts and hand fitting costs money. What you get for your money is an accurate, reliable pistol that will last virtually forever

In our view, factory guns are pretty good, better than most shooters can maximize (we too), but customization can make the gun fit you better — physically, psychologically and operationally. For instance, we like tritium sights in a pistol, Vickers extended releases in Glocks, etc. But we kind of like the 1911 the way it was first issued to the horse cavalry.

Too Pretty for Words

We really want to do a story on Austrian gunsmith Peter Hofer’s incredible sporting guns, but, well, just go there and look at the pictures. If you have to ask, you can’t afford it: base prices begin around $115k, and record price recently is $2.2 million. 

A Couple of Ultralights

Oleg Volk is always interesting, but he’s been on fire lately. Here he’s promoting MAG Tactical’s ultralight (4.5 lb. with a micro optic) AIR15. Gun manufacturer link here. If that’s not light enough for you, how about a kid-friendly 3-pound Volquartsen custom 10-22 clone with Blackhawk! Axiom stock and carbon fiber barrel?

Naturally, since it’s Oleg, expect perfectly-composed photography and eye-pleasing models (including a reappearance of Maria Butina, whose appearance some of you hard-asses were critical of in the Russian reform story) handling firearms safely.

How Long Does a Service Rifle Last?

We all know the answer: pretty much indefinitely, with care (we shoot lots of century-old guns here).  But Ian McCollum of Forgotten Weapons explains why they last so long, even if neglected, in a short White Paper for ARES (.pdf).

No, TrackingPoint Rifles Haven’t Been Hacked

Despite what you may read on the net. If someone turns the Wi-Fi on and leaves it wide open, then people can get in and might be able to compromise the system (internally, it’s a Linux box), and then he might be able to screw with the system. He can’t load or fire the rifle, though.

CandRsenal Gunsight Views

We think we’ve mentioned these before — CandRsenal is a great site — but this story at warhistoryonline led us to their gunsight views of historic firearms. Very cool stuff.

Browning-Automatic-Rifle-Model-1918-POV

There’ll Always be an England

Just when we start thinking there are people in England who know something about guns, there’s a post like this with the misleading title, Brit GUN NUT builds WORKING SNIPER RIFLE at home out of scrap metal!

Actually, a guy found a neglected but bog-standard Lee-Enfield action and had a gunsmith assemble a barrel to it, and then added the furniture and some other parts. Being Britain, they got the barrel mounting of a firearm that was the British service rifle for much of the 20th Century wrong.

Usage and Employment

Firearms as Fashion

Susannah Breslin at Forbes (wasn’t she their reformed-hooker-in-residence) visits a high-end “Guntry Club” and has a look at Gun Culture 2.0. (From her photos, it’s a cool range. We’d consider it if our FL <i>pied-a-terre</i> wasShe also has a story of an experience with Gun culture 1.0 that ought to make your skin crawl. Dudes, a lady that walks into your store is a customer. But what are we saying? Scads of gun shops treat their male customers crappy too, just not by creepily hitting on them.

Cops ‘n’ Crims

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

Did You Hear The One About the ATF SES….

No, not the dude that had a glory hole in his New Orleans hotel room. (What, ATF hired Ivancev…?) Seriously, this is a new guy, Scott Sweetow, and he got frogmarched out of HQ last month for involvement in a “data breach,” further unspecified. No matter what he did, nothing’s going to happen to him: it’s ATF.

About the Cleveland Cop charged with murder

We haven’t had time to look at the tape, or read any of the documents, so we’ll reserve judgment. We generally take a dim view of cops shooting at cars, even though 99.9999% of them get away with it.

How Not To Complain about your Neighbor’s Drone

That would be, blow it to Kingdom Come. The drone critic was arrested. Suboptimal decision making.

Nonetheless, flying your drone over your neighbors may be legal, but not everything that’s legal is smart. 

Unconventional (and current) Warfare

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

Movie this Winter: 13 Hours

There’s a movie coming out called 13 Hours that’s about the heroism and sacrifice of a small personnel security detail of 6 men in Benghazi, Libya the night jihadis attacked two United States facilities in the seaport city, one diplomatic and one of an intelligence nature. The short clip we’ve seen (there should be a trailer online now, too) suggests a rocking action film.

Unfortunately, the movie is made by the hack Michael Bay. (“Hack?” Have you seen his Pearl Harbor? Hack). We fear wholesale departures from the survivors’ book the movie’s supposed to be based upon, and either silence or reversal of the political aspects of the film.

Russian Spooks Killed the Guy Russian Spooks Killed

Alexander Litvinenko, dying in hospital. They could do nothing for the victim of ionizing radiation from a "dirty" assassination weapon.

Alexander Litvinenko, dying in hospital. They could do nothing for the victim of ionizing radiation from a “dirty” assassination weapon.

Unless you were under a rock, you know that Russian FSB agents murdered dissident Alexander Litvinenko in London, using an assassination weapon that fired a lethal dose of Polonium-190. Litvinenko suffered in hospital, but there was nothing they could do but provide palliative care.

The Russian agents have now been publicly named. The two nuclear button men were Andrei Lugovoi and Dmitry Kovtun, who have been decorated for their role in the murder by Russian President Vladimir Vladimirovich Putin.

The Treaty Making Trouble

It’s not just the State Department trying to stealth-repeal the 1st Amendment with ITAR regulation, cyberdefense has been compromised by an international treaty called the Wassenaar Agreement.

Funny how these treaties always mean unilateral disarmament to those who take them seriouly, and absolute bugger-all to those who do not.

Sudden Jihad Syndrome Isn’t a Novelty

Turns out it’s not such a new thing, but an old one. How old? Well, here’s an incident with a couple of Pathans in Australia — 100 years ago. The Australians didn’t take it lying down, unless by “lying down” you mean “firing from the prone position.”

 

Lord Love a Duck!

The weird and wonderful (or creepy) that we didn’t otherwise get to. (nothing tonight, sorry).

“You Have to Go Out…”

Sure, you have to go out. The flip side of that old Coast Guard saying is: “…you don’t necessarily have to come back.” Rescue Swimmer Darren Harrity went out and came back and did it over and over again to rescue four fishermen whose boat was hard aground in pounding waves. This picture shows it the next day, wrecked along the shore, but the night of the rescue — it’s always at night, isn’t it? — the men were in a lifeboat 250 yards offshore, through pounding waves and treacherous rocks, from dry land.

wrecked fishing boat

The USCG shot video of the rescue.

The Coast Goard MH-65 Dolphin helicopter took off from Coast Guard Station North Bend, about 60 miles north of Cape Blanco on the Pacific. It arrived at the scene fine, and began what seemed at first like a standard rescue, lowering Petty Officer 2nd Class Darren Harrity carefully into the water.

But then something went wrong and they couldn’t get the hoist back up. “A mechanical failure,” Chief Petty Officer David Mosley, a Coast Guard spokesman in Seattle told The Post.

“I think the pilot said, ‘Harrity, you’re going to be doing a lot of swimming tonight,” Harrity told KPTV.

And he did.

He swam 250 yards over to the lifeboat, said Mosley, in five-foot waves, water already slick with fuel, the air thick with fuel.

He got the first man to leave the life raft, grabbed him with one arm, and with the other and the aid of his fins, swam 250 yards back to shore.

Commercial fishing is one of the most hazardous jobs in the USA, maybe the world. It would be more hazardous yet if it wasn’t for Harrity and men like him.

And while it’s nice to have all the high-speed, low-drag gear, it’s still only stuff. And stuff breaks. When stuff breaks, unbreakable people take up the slack.

Then he swam back to the lifeboat, another 250 yards, grabbed the second fisherman and hauled him back to shore.

Then it was back to the lifeboat, another 250 yards, and back to shore with the third man. Then he returned to the lifeboat, yet another 250 yards to get the fourth fisherman, and safely returned him to shore.

Only then did he stop swimming.

“It was just me and my muscles and that’s it,” Harrity told the TV station.

via A ‘monumental’ rescue: Coast Guardsman swims a mile in choppy seas to save four fishermen, one at a time – The Washington Post.

As the Post notes, Harrity was this close to not becoming a rescue swimmer, a lifelong dream. He had a dangerous blackout in training and his heart stopped, but he lived (obviously), and he was, in the end, medically cleared. (The phenomenon of shallow water blackout is incompletely understood, and victims are often prime athletes like Harrity).

This is what the Jamie K looked like before running aground.

Jamie K from Jake LEachs Facebook

It’s also notable that the crew did all the right things that helped them get rescued (well, apart from running aground. There is that). They made an early decision to abandon ship and got out a distress call with an accurate location. They got in the lifeboat together, and they apparently had survival gear (drysuits, etc). Speaking as a guy who has been rescued by the Coast Guard (although we were in swimming distance from shore on a warm day, and they even helped us save the boat, so it was nothing like the harrowing experience these fishermen just went through), it’s a lot easier to get rescued when you don’t fight the Coast Guard and give them every opportunity to do their thing — which they tend to be pretty good at.

Skipper Jake Leach and the three hands aboard her might be missing their boat today — but their families aren’t missing them.  Swimming a mile is not big deal — the way we do it, in laps in a nice heated pool. Swimming a mile in the cold, choppy Pacific, while dragging one guy or another for approximately half that distance, that is a big deal. Well played, swimmer.

We bet the crew chief has even figured out why his winch went down when he needed it. And he’s not going to have that happen again (in the meantime, he should be buying Harrity’s beers for the next approximately forever).

Why Not Give ’em Nukes? We Gave ’em Tanks!

Badr Org M1 tankLadies and gentlemen, the Iranian (IRGC)-controlled, Iranian-led, Shi’a sectarian militia, the Badr organization:

Yes, that is an M1 Abrams tank they’ve got there. As you can see it’s flying the green flag of the Badr. Note the other flag has a picture of some bearded, probably illiterate imam on it. Images like this of human visages and the Shia practice of venerating great imams of old are viewed as haram (forbidden) or even shirk (polytheism or paganism, anathema to Moslems).

Fortunately, there are some modern 21st-Century values that both sides agree amount to the best of Islam, like slavery, beheading, wife-beating, honor killing, clitoridectomy, bacon, buggery and pedophilia.

We just slipped “bacon” in there to see if you were paying attention. All the other things really are sacraments of the bizarre and uncivilized cult that is Islam.

The next picture shows some Badr Org commanders posing with this M1, or with another. (Probably the same one, as it shows the same flags).

Badr Org M1 tank 2Yeah, that’s an AT-4 in the hands of the goon on the right.

The Badr boys, this month, are not the first militia claiming to have received M1s. That would be the charmingly named Hezbollah Brigades. They displayed M1s last month, although they may have been Iraqi government M1s merely cooperating with Hezbollah. The Hezbollah Brigades use a yellow flag as a distinctive marking.

M1 Hezbollah Brigades

The Hezbollah Brigades seem to comprise in part the survivors of former Iranian-sponsored terrorists who fought against US forces in Iraq, mostly with EFP-based IEDs.

Former mech heads, what’s the over/under on any of these tanks being serviceable on 1 January 2016? ’17? We’re guessing the number’s already in free fall.

Who are the Badrs? The Hezbollah Brigades? Both of these groups are subordinate, sort of, to the Popular Mobilization Committee in the shi’ite sectarian government of (rump) Iraq. The PMC falls under the command of Transportation Minister (?)  and is headed by one Abu Mahdi al Muhandis, a former Badr Org guy whose real name is Jamal Jaafar Mohammed and who is also a direct subordinate of Qassem Soleimani, the commander of the Qods Force, the external terrorist wing of the IRGC.

A simplified who's who of Shia ostensible friendlies.

A simplified who’s who of Shia ostensible friendlies.

The Iraq Army having melted away in the bug-out of all bug-outs, these Iranian-controlled militias are about all that’s really fighting for the Shia rump government against both ISIL and the Kurdish Regional Government.

And the US really has no call to get too upset about our Iraqi allies arming their Iranian-controlled allies with the tanks we gave them. After all, we just guaranteed the Iranians themselves nukes in 8 years, and even promised to defend them against the Israelis, hatred of whom is the common tie that binds the State Department and the IRGC.

Sources

  1. Roggio, Bill, and Weiss, Caleb. Badr Organization fighters pose with US M1 Abrams tank. Threat Matrix, a Blog of the Long War Journal. 12 July 2015. Retrieved from: http://www.longwarjournal.org/archives/2015/07/badr-organization-fighters-pose-with-us-m1-abrams-tank.php
  2. Roggio, Bill, and Weiss, Caleb. Hezbollah Brigades flaunts US equipment in Anbar operation. Threat Matrix, a Blog of the Long War Journal. 25 June 2015. Retrieved from: http://www.longwarjournal.org/archives/2015/06/hezbollah-brigades-flaunts-us-equipment-in-anbar-operation.php

Friday Tour d’Horizon Week 30

Due to time pressure, we’re going to limit this to simple links-and-lines tonight. Sorry ’bout that, Chief.

Guns

Sporting Shotguns and Rifles? Or works of art? Check out the creations of Austrian gunsmith Phillip Ollendorff. We want one but are afraid to ask what they cost.

http://www.jagdwaffen-ollendorff.com

Like a single-point sling? Like AKs? These Texans have the glue for you:

http://www.echo93.com/

(Their AK underfolder cheek rest is an idea whose time has come, and they can sell you Paki tape if you’re going for the in-country Hadji look).

Q: Who has the most gun permits in the violent Chicongo? The answer may surprise you (if you haven’t been in an urban gun shop in 10 years). A: People in the wealthy white  neighborhoods — and the poorest minority ones.

http://freebeacon.com/issues/report-chicagos-neighborhood-with-most-gun-carry-permits-is-55-black-34-hispanic/

http://chicago.suntimes.com/news/7/71/741625/concealed-carry-permits-chicago-illinois

The Sun-Times seems to have collected this data in hopes of finding Raaaaacism (it has to have 5 a’s to be authentic raaaaacism), but to their credit, seem to have reported what they found, anyway.

War, and Rumors of War

If war there be, let it start over… lobsters? Between Canada and … Maine?

http://www.macleans.ca/news/canada/the-tiny-islands-where-canada-and-america-are-at-war/

This story tells how the Kurds are winning. (But are the Kurds really winning, or is this wishful thinking?

The US will not defend recruiting stations… among other things, Pentagon mouthpiece Capt. Jeff Davis says teaching these NCOs and POs to use firearms would cost too much money. Naturally! Letting ’em die in place is cheaper.

http://www.mcclatchydc.com/news/nation-world/national/national-security/article28359811.html

Rangerettes

We should probably write more about this, but the three women, all West Pointers, are still hanging in there in Mountain Phase, under the glare of media scrutiny and the close eye of commissars (aka “observer-advisors”).

Here are two stories that are so similar they seem mutually plagiarized in places, or maybe they both plagiarized a third source. Maybe the Washington Post’s Dan Lamothe, and McClatchy’s Chuck Williams are just retyping press releases.

https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/checkpoint/wp/2015/07/17/army-ranger-schools-assessment-of-women-has-moved-to-the-mountains-but-the-scrutiny-remains/

http://www.mcclatchydc.com/news/nation-world/national/national-security/article27659722.html

This interesting quote, from Williams’ story, gives you some idea of the swollen heads for which Academy graduates are deservedly noted:

“West Point teaches leaders to be tenacious in overcoming obstacles,” said [Sue] Fulton, who chairs the West Point Board of Visitors that reports to the President of the United States. “At some point – probably more than once – you have to do a gut check and call on inner reserves to do something that you never thought you could do. Am I surprised that the three remaining women in Ranger School are West Point graduates? Not at all.”

It’s lucky we have these West Point graduates, for no one else knows how to be tenacious and call on inner reserves.

Fulton is one of the VIPs kibitzing and tinkering at Ranger School during this cycle.

Poly-Ticks:

President tells Star-struck Brits he Regrets Failing, but only on Gun Control

http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/post-politics/wp/2015/07/23/obama-tells-bbc-that-he-is-most-frustrated-with-failure-to-get-tougher-gun-laws/

Hey, give the guy the credit he deserves. He finally did lower Fed flags to half-staff over the Chattanooga shooting — after he realized that his guy Abdulazeez got croaked, along with five mere servicemen.

Meanwhile, the brain trust at the FBI is completely stumped by Abdulazeez’s motivations. He was probably a Rush Limbaugh listener or something!

When Guns are Outlawed, Only Outlaws Will Have Bungees

de abreuOutlawing guns, as Britain did for handguns and many long guns after a series of spree killings in the 1990s, has the salutary side effect of eliminating all accidental deaths.

Except for the ones with illegal guns. There is that. And except for the ones with some other instrumentality of death, like the botched bungee jump that ended the life of Kleyo de Abreu (right) at a too-young 23 years. The Daily Mirror (UK):

A British woman from London has reportedly died while bungee-jumping off a bridge in Spain.

The 23-year-old holidaymaker is understood to have smashed into a support column after leaping from the bridge near the city of Granada.

The tragedy happened just before 3pm today near the mountain village of Lanjaron in an area known as the Alpujarras, which clings to the southern flanks of Spain’s Sierra Nevada mountains.

“She was staying with her aunt for a few days and that relative was present when the tragedy occurred.”

Paramedics who rushed to the scene after being called by a passer-by could do nothing to save her life.

This next image is the Tablate Bridge in Lanjaron, Granada, where the mishap occurred. Its 80m clear span makes it a bungee jumpers’ mecca.

Granada-bridge

De Abreu jumped from the upper span (a steel arch bridge) and struck the older stone arch bridge in the lower right of this picture.

A source said: “The British woman was still tied to the rope when specialist rescuers reached her.

“That would appear to point to a miscalculation involving the rope or that something’s happened to the rope as she jumped.”’

De Abreu's blood remains at the scene of her death by deceleration trauma.

De Abreu’s blood remains at the scene of her death by deceleration trauma.

via British woman, 23, killed in bungee jumping tragedy in Spain – Mirror Online.

Aha, the old 120-foot-rope-from-a-90-foot-bridge trick! (Or maybe it was the old 90-foot-rope-from-a-120-foot-bridge, but we-forgot-nylon-rope stretches to 1 1/3 times its static length!)

But hey, she didn’t get killed by a firearm. There is that.

The Mirror has a follow-up story at this link.

Another victory for gun control and Darwin. But mostly, Darwin.

“One Bad Choice”

MTV has a new series of that name. It purports to show how young people can throw their lives disastrously off track with just the eponymous screw up. We watched exactly one episode, and we got a completely different message from the fact patterns that were largely hinted at in the show, as it was making excuses for its young protagonist. The protagonist, one Kumari Fulbright, never seemed to take responsibility for what was not one bad choice, but a never-ending stream of them, culminating in some galactically bad choices.

Fulbright was a light-skinned, mixed-race gal whose confidence and poise kept her working as a model while she put herself through school. She won some beauty contests and posed for a Chicks with Guns calendar. (She also had a 4.0 average at Michigan in undergrad, and assistant-clerked for a Federal judge between law-school years). With a lot of attention to her hair she could be convincingly blonde with a little PhotoShop, or as closing time approached. In the light of her disposition, there’s a certain irony to this picture from her portfolio:

Kumari Fulbright before

Nice HK51K.

Fulbright’s version of her story: she finished college and moved to Arizona to attend law school. She chose the University of Arizona to be with her boyfriend Rob Ergonis, to whom she was attracted because of his “bad boy” vibe and history, including prison time. Rob was kind to her and proposed to her, but she wasn’t feeling the sizzle any more, so she dumped him. She quickly started going with a more upscale guy from the law school, Josh Conway. But the upscale guy turned out to owe money to “some bad people,” so, she says, he stole from her. He denied it, but she was certain; she was so angry over this that she called Rob and asked him to scare Josh.

Rob and a friend came into the apartment with a key they got from Kumari, and proceeded to beat the snot out of Josh. Then, they left Kumari with Rob’s gun watching Josh. Josh got loose, overpowered Kumari and escaped, and her next photo appearance was the one on the right:

kumari-fulbright

Yep, booking photo. Juxtaposed with another shot from her portfolio. In the booking photo, she’s crying because it’s so very unfair. That’s a very common emotion among the criminal class; it doesn’t mean that anyone has actually been unfair to them.

It means they got caught.

In the show, she comes across as bitter that she went to jail, and that Josh, who supposedly stole her stuff (but keep reading for a reveal on that!), did not.

Up to now, this has been Kumari’s, and MTV’s, story. A few details left out of or glossed over in this version were that Josh was beaten within an inch of his life, Rob got a sentence of 22 years in the prison, not Kumari’s two-year tap on the wrist, and that Kumari basically directed the kidnapping and torture of the poor bastard. Oh yeah, she bit him — in three places. She lured him to the apartment to set him up. She held a knife to his head. And, in complete Bat Guano Crazy Boiling Bunnies Mode, she told him she was going to kill him, something he had no trouble believing, considering that he was at that moment bound, gagged, and being beaten and tortured.

Oh, and a rather important detail they misled viewers on: Kumari said the whole thing took place because Josh stole and pawned her jewelry, but Josh and the pawnbroker testified that he and Kumari sold it together. That’s a kind of key detail.

And God alone knows what she’d have done, or had the men do, to Josh if he hadn’t kept his wits about him and escaped. You’ll learn more than you want to know about this horrible woman with a simple Google, say, “Kumari kidnapping.”

Now, do you see that as One Bad Choice? It was more like One Bad Choice After Another, and we have to confess that in all the excitement, we kinda lost count.

With Kumari’s demonstrated judgment, it’s probably a good thing that Arizona booted her from the law school — the last thing we need is one more lawyer with ethics like the rest of them. (But hey, Josh should have passed the bar by now. I wonder what shape his client escrow find is in?) Lady Narcissus here has done everything except take responsibility, and yet, she got off the most mildly of the three involved in the kidnapping scheme, considering that she planned, instigated and initiated the entire scheme.

If she made bad choices — and like we said, she made so many we lost count — the original one was probably seeking “dangerous” boyfriends in the first place. We get why she does that. If there is one fundamental fact in human mating, it’s that Chicks Dig Jerks, or as they put it, “bad boys.” There’s a reason why serial killers on Death Row get whole mailbags of propositions and proposals, and no woman has ever written a fan letter to a guy who was a crime victim. And it’s not that women set out to be bad — they don’t, and even when they are bad, they don’t see it that way. Kumari, for instance, hasn’t taken responsibility for her crimes, beyond the rote phrases that any con memorizes to stroke the parole board.

There are people who screw up their lives with one bad choice, but it’s usually the latest in a long stream of them. Kumari Fulbright is that kind of girl.

Given that her last two boyfriends before going up the river wound up beaten to a pulp and sentenced to 22 years respectively, she’ll have to do one hell of a makeover to attract the next chump, but she will. Because as surely as Chicks Dig Jerks, Chumps Dig Chicks.

That’s a hell of a biology to build a species on, if you ask us.

 

For More Information

Google Search on Kumari kidnapping.

Above the Law Kumari Fulbright archive. (So much snark, it’s almost not legal!)

When Guns Are Outlawed, Only Outlaws Will Have Firewood

1024px-Crotalus_horridus_(5)How did firewood kill Russell E. Davis, 39, of Freedom, Pennsylvania?

Actually, it wasn’t the wood. It was the Crotalus horridus hiding inside. Bitten by the timber rattlesnake in remote Medix Run, PA, Davis was 125 miles from his best-chance-to-live hospital, in Pittsburgh. He never got there.

He was putting wood on a campfire shortly before midnight Saturday at his family’s camp in Medix Run, about 125 miles northeast of Pittsburgh, when he was bitten by a rattlesnake, according to Armstrong County Coroner Brian K. Myers.

“He went running into the camp and told his girlfriend to take him to a hospital,” Mr. Myers recounted, based on his interview with the woman.

While en route, Mr. Davis began to have severe breathing problems, Mr. Myers said. The woman stopped at a local tavern for help. An ambulance was summoned and CPR was begun, Mr. Myers said.

In all, about 30 minutes had elapsed by the time an ambulance arrived, the coroner said. Mr. Davis then was transported to Penn Highlands Health Care in St. Marys, Elk County, where he already was in “acute respiratory distress,” Mr. Myers said.

The coroner was told by Penn Highlands personnel that an anti-venom treatment was given before Mr. Davis was put in a medical helicopter so he could be transported to a Pittsburgh hospital for additional treatment.

But, before he could reach Pittsburgh, he went into full cardiac arrest and the helicopter landed at ACMH Hospital in Kittanning, Armstrong County. He was pronounced dead at 5:23 a.m. before any treatment could be given, Mr. Myers said.

via http://www.post-gazette.com/local/region/2015/07/19/Beaver-County-man-dies-after-rattlesnake-bite-in-Elk-County/stories/201507190201

Hmmm. “dead… before any treatment could be given.” Isn’t that DOA?

Pennsylvania now resets its “Years since last fatal snake bite” sign to zero. Along with common timber rattlers, the Western Pennsylvania mountains are home to the rare massasauga rattlesnake and the northern copperhead (also common).

While snakebites aren’t very rare, they’re very seldom fatal, with about five Americans a year succumbing to the thousands of bites that are reported and treated. It’s possible poor Davis got a really heavy load of venom, or was particularly allergic to the venom.

Rattlesnake venom (which varies among species) contains potent hemotoxins, both procoagulants (things like prothrombin that deplete the victim’s fibrins, preventing a normal clot cascade) and hemorrhagins (which burst blood-vessel walls, after the procoagulants have ensured the damage can’t be repaired). Some rattler venoms also inhibit acetylcholine or block sodium channels, producing a second (and very rapid) neurotoxic effect.

This sounds like it was the hemotoxicity that got him (due to the fact that there’s 5-6 hours between the bite and being pronounced. If it was neurotoxic crotamines, he probably would have been, if not DRT, dead long before the first hospital).

It also sounds like they didn’t have him as stabilized as they thought they did, before they tried to move him to the bigger hospital. That’s not meant as a criticism. Things like this are a crapshoot. Maybe staying put could have saved him. Maybe getting to Big Hospital sooner could have. Maybe his number simply was up, and no medical intervention was going to avail him. The treating doc made his best estimate of the situation and did what he thought was best for the patient.

You can’t save every puppy in the pound, you know?

46 Years Ago Today

The US was still confident enough to do this:

apollo11_eva1_1920x1200

The trustafarian Baby Boomer bums of ’68 were still in the universities, in jail, or on the run after blowing their townhouses up. Meanwhile, the grown-ups still were running things, and were able to pull this one off.

We thought of this because we’re reading a book that was a birthday gift from the Blogbrother, Moon Lander: How We Developed the Apollo Lunar Module by Thomas J. Kelly, who we’d bet has never worn his hair in an unwashed grey ponytail.

Kelly was the chief engineer of the Lander project, something he calls “an aerospace engineer’s dream job.” Bankrupted by the guns & butter 60s, which LBJ funded by kicking the can of payment down the road with inflation, and the bread and circuses 70s, which Nixon, Ford and Carter funded the exact same way, the US withdrew from space and from greatness.

And the ponytails and Birkenstocks and lawyer-leeches took great joy in that.

Apollo was possible in part because of the dreaded Military-Industrial Complex. Most of the engineering of the space capsules took place in the tight-knit Southern California aero engineering community. The Command Module was made by North American, and after the Apollo 1 fire, there were actually consequences: several managers were fired, including legendary test pilot turned manager Tex Johnston. North American Aviation is a casualty of mergers and downsizings, as is Grumman (maker of the LEM, whose name lives on in Northrop Grumman), as are Douglas, Republic, McDonnell, Fairchild and today, Sikorsky, bought today by Lockheed Martin for $9B, probably sentencing the remaining industry in Bridgeport, CT to an overdue death.

Lockheed Martin, formed from the merger of SoCal and Baltimore companies, now is located in the National Capital Area, as are all of them. Dependent on government handouts, skilled in little but manipulating the procurement system, they couldn’t build an LEM with the blueprints.