Category Archives: Phonies and Assclowns

Assclown of the Ides: Vietnam phony Joe Ellis

fabricating-phony-vietnam-hero-joe-ellis

This is the picture on Ellis’s faculty bio. It actually dates to the period during which he was caught fabricating his own history.

Even in fields of endeavor that are gigantic septic pools of homogeneous sewage, there’s the occasional stool that breaks surface, emitting more than the usual volume of methane-scented aromatics. In Hollywood, for example, you have Woody Allen, who not only married one of his own (step)daughters, but is now credibly accused of diddling the others, also. (What Who will Polanski do to catch up?) In academia, which unlike Hollywood does not require any particular talent, and employs rather more people rather less productively, it takes great and prodigious strivings for any particular clump to broach the surface of the ordure.

Meet Joseph Ellis.

Joe has some ideas on guns for you. You should believe him because he’s a professor and a big war hero:

There is an opinion abroad in the land that the right to bear arms is unlimited, an absolute right, like the right to vote or the right to a fair trial. ….

And yet, no matter how prevalent or fervently held, the opinion that the Bill of Rights supports and the high court acknowledges an absolute right to gun ownership is just plain wrong.

The language of the 2nd Amendment is quite clear: “A well regulated militia, being necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms, shall not be infringed.” As the minority in the Heller decision argued, and more than a century of judicial precedent at the federal level established, the right to bear arms was not an inherent right of citizenship but rather a right that derived from service in the militia.

via There’s no unlimited right to bear arms – latimes.com.

Ellis is, in reality, an anti-gun academic, writing last month in the anti-gun Los Angeles Times, a paper that is determined always to scold, and never to surprise, its dwindling readership in its dwindling pages. Ellis fits that bill tidily. We’ll leave it to others to address the substance of his arguments, which seem to us to come down to “the Heller majority had it wrong! My fellow partisans in the minority were right!”, but we will note that the Heller majority already did that (address the substance of his arguments), as has done the main body of law professors, which is why the Heller decision comports to what these professors call the Standard Model of the 2nd Amendment.

Ellis’s article relies on his own authority as the self-nominated and relentlessly self-promoted Greatest Expert on the Founding Fathers™ to conclude that they meant, exactly, mirabile dictu, what Northeastern academic liberals like Ellis would now like them to have meant. He does this from time to time. In 2007, he took to the pages of the Washington Post to note his, and George Washington’s, but mostly his hiding behind George’s, disapproval of George Bush and the war in Iraq.

Beyond that framing, we shan’t address Ellis’s argument, except to note that all nine Justices accepted the right as an individual right, a fact Ellis characteristically misrepresents in his op-ed. We’re here to discuss Ellis’s character. Well, let’s begin with John Southard, writing in Spencer Tucker (Ed.), The Encyclopedia of the Vietnam War. (p. 1299):

Joseph Ellis, a Pulitzer Prize–winning historian at Mount Holyoke College in Massachusetts, is perhaps the most renowned fake Vietnam War veteran. In 2001 the Boston Globe revealed that Ellis had lied to students and the public about having served in Vietnam with the US Army 101st airborne division. Ellis’s record shows that he graduated from William and Mary University’s Reserve Officer Training Corps (ROTC) program in 1965, went to graduate school at yell University, and then served as a history professor at West Point until 1972. He never set foot in Vietnam.

OK, so the guy made some bullshit Vietnam claims. Can’t even a professor fib a little? Well, on some subjects, no; but Ellis didn’t fib just a little. He told ever increasing lies to every single one of his classes at Mount Holyoke for over a decade, and he used those lies to boost his credibility with an appeal to authority and authenticity: as the New York Times Magazine noted, he trumped critics with the claim, I was there, man.  (Of course he wasn’t, and this Forrest Gump wannabe lied about being at a lot more places than Vietnam-in-combat). The Chronicle of Higher Education reported on 13 July 2001:

The Boston Globe dropped a cluster bomb on the bucolic campus of Mount Holyoke College, where Mr. Ellis is a history professor, by reporting that he had for years been lying to colleagues, reporters, and students about his own role in history.

The Globe reported, and Mr. Ellis later confirmed, that he had fabricated a past in which he was present at some of the most crucial episodes in postwar America: He had said that he was a paratrooper for the 101st Airborne in Vietnam; that he was on General William C. Westmoreland’s staff; that back in the United States, he was an antiwar protester and had participated in the civil-rights movement. He had also claimed to have scored the winning touchdown for his high-school football team in the last game of the season.

Those claims were untrue. Not exaggerated, not inflated: entitely made up. Despite this Academia has generally closed ranks behind the fabulist.

After Ellis’s lies were exposed, Mount Holyoke placed the professor on leave without pay for one year. In 2002 Ellis returned to Mount Holyoke, where he is now the Ford foundation professor of history.

Ellis today, still doing what he does best.

A somewhat more weathered Ellis today, still doing what he does best.

In fact, in 2005, they restored him to a named chair, although he has since been and is currently carried Emeritus. After his exposure as a fraud, as before, he continued to misrepresent his history to his students, albeit less boldly and frequently. He continued in good standing even as Ellis’s serial misrepresentation of his own history featured in two important books about academic fraud:  Past Imperfect: Fact, Fictions and Fraud in American History by Peter Charles Hoffer, which calls Ellis out not just in the pages but in the extended subtitle, and Scandals and Scoundrels by Rob Robin.

The guy’s a star of two books on academic phonies, and they promote him. High standards they’ve got there at Mount Holyoke.

And at the National Archives:

No one here at the archives seems bothered about what Mr. Ellis characterized as “having let stand and later confirming the assumption I went to Vietnam.” After a short talk, which culminates in his speculating about how John Adams might have co-written the Declaration of Independence, fan after fan approaches Mr. Ellis’s table with reverence, almost apologetically. No one asks about Vietnam.

Back to the Chronicle:

Mount Holyoke took a similarly defiant stance; the Globe reported last week (this is in 2001 – Ed.) that the college even attempted to dissuade the newspaper from publishing the original article, calling into question the legal basis of investigating statements made in the classroom.

When the newspaper went ahead, Mount Holyoke’s president, Joanne V. Creighton, issued a statement: “We at the college wonder what public interest the Globe is trying to serve through a story of this nature.”

It is, of course, doubtful that any of his academic fans in Mount Holyoke administration, at the National Archives, or in the press ever served in Vietnam, or any other American war, or know anybody who did. As John Kerry famously said, if you don’t go to school you can wind up in Iraq.

And if you do go to school you can just lie about it later, he ought to have added.

And with the support of organized Academia and the press, Ellis has been comfortable in stonewalling his critics. For example, after making a vague statement apparently written by a lawyer, as the Chronicle reported in 2001 and is still true today:

He has not spoken publicly about the matter since. Reporters had been warned that asking any questions about the controversy would result in “physical ejection” from the room.

Brave, brave Sir Joseph, standing up to his critics. He’s still the lying crapweasel who stood for years in front of the impressionable young girls at Mount Holyoke and told them that they should believe him, not only because he has strong opinions but because his opinions were formed by being there.  The Chronicle, again

Many of Mr. Ellis’s friends say that at first, they simply refused to believe what the Globe had reported. He had taught a popular course on Vietnam and American culture that he enlivened with details based, he said, on what he saw there. He had told colleagues that he And this brings us back to Prevaricating Joe’s LA Times Op-Ed. It’s essentially an Appeal to Authority; Ellis claims that he’s the best authoritity on what Jefferson and Adams and Madison meant, because he’s written so many books on them; he’s the expert, and he’s gotten inside their heads.

Ellis’s academic and popular histories are of a piece with his Vietnam fabulization, then: it’s the I was there, man, appeal made figurative and literary but it is no less a fable than his I was there man, claims about Vietnam, the protests, Martin Luther King’s marches, and, almost certainly, Woodstock.

Because, after all, every bullshit artist of the baby boom generation claims to have been at Woodstock, and Ellis is a prince among bullshit artists.

Peace, out.

NOTE

This post has been edited. Where the Southard quote said “Into thousand and one” has been corrected to “In 2001.” This is an example of what can bite you when you overrely on voice recognition technology, eh. –Eds.

Two Uses of Force Compared

The Miriam Carey Shooting

First, here’s PJ Media’s Jack Dunphy, making the case that the Capitol Police shooting of crazy lady Miriam Carey was, with a couple of caveats, a reasonable use of force:

In evaluating what any individual officer did or should have done in the succeeding eight minutes, it’s important to place oneself in the position of that officer….as the Supreme Court put it in Graham v. Connor, “The ‘reasonableness’ of a particular use of force must be judged from the perspective of a reasonable officer on the scene, rather than with the 20/20 vision of hindsight.”

He posits a counterfactual which closely tracks Ms Carey’s actions, except the conclusion. The Capitol Police are restrained by a more restrictive ROE and:

She then crashes through the barricades lining the sidewalk at Constitution and Delaware, coming to rest at the steps of the Russell Senate Office Building. She then detonates the 500 lbs. of explosives she carries in the car, killing dozens, including some senators.

He says that like thinning the Senatorial herd is a bad thing. But in all seriousness, that might indeed have been what was on the menu. The cop on the scene has no way of knowing.

He points out that members of the public are saying:

She was unarmed, they say. And she suffered from postpartum depression — and she had a baby in the car. She didn’t hurt anyone. So why did the police have to shoot her? Why didn’t they just shoot out the tires, or use rubber bullets, or do any of a thousand other things other than what they did? Why, why, why?

We think if you’re reading this, you know why they didn’t just shoot out the tires. That’s Hollywood stuff, not reality. (Real-world cops do take out tires sometimes, but with spike strips, which requires preparation, ability to position a cop ahead of the vehicle, and the fleeing vehicle has to be channelized). Ditto, rubber bullets are screenwriter rubbish. The people talking about stuff like that have been misinformed by generations of Writers’ Guild luminaries untainted by exposure to physical reality. If someone is a threat, he must be stopped. There’s really no substitute for lead to center of mass, under combat conditions. We expect Jack would have made those points, too, were he not limited by wordcount.

So here we have a professional — “Jack Dunphy” is a pseudonym, but he’s on LAPD — who has concluded this shooting is justified, and gives good and concrete reasons why we should not ride the asses of the cops involved. (He was, like us, unthrilled by the one idjit who ripped a burst of seven unaimed shots after the fleeing car and across the public spaces in general. Aimed fire at solidly-acquired targets, please).

The José Guerena shooting

Next we have a shooting that is considerably more marginal. Because the homeowner had a gun, albeit he maintained discipline and kept it on safe, unlike the Keystone Kops raiding his house, the cops were arguably in the legal right on the Graham standard. But the $3.4 million settlement they paid, which comes with a de jure denial of any responsibility, is a de facto admission of misconduct that would be criminal — for anyone but cops.

The blogger who’s been all over this has been former Wednesday Weapons Website of the Week (er, two-time W4, it turns out; those responsible have been sacked), Herschel Smith of The Captain’s Journal. And he’s furious. Here’s Smith on the settlement:

I invite you to go back and watch the video again of the raid, and read the report(s).  Jose Guerena got off exactly zero (0) shots at the SWAT team, and the SWAT team killed him (Guerena had more self restraint that I would have in those circumstances).  In the end, no evidence was found linking him or his folks to any of the accused crimes.  The solution in matters such as this is to send a uniformed officer who knocks on the door and asks to speak to the owner of the home.  But the SWAT soldier-boys want to be cool.  You know what I’ve said about this.  Pulling off raids on Americans is cowardly.  If you want to be cool, sign up, get the training, and fly across the pond and do it for real like my son did.

If you recall the raid, what happened is that one of Sheriff Dupnik’s allegedly elite SWAT team, which does about three no-knock (or no-wait-for-reaction-to-knock, as in this case) raids a week currently, 99 out of 100 of which are routine warrant services, fell down and had a negligent discharge in the doorway, because his fat finger was on the bang switch when his fat ass could not negotiate the doorstep. That caused every other cop to open up, target or no, shredding Guerena. These geniuses captured the whole raid on video.

The panicking cops fired 71 shots at point-blank range, scoring 22 hits, mostly in the victim’s periphery, and 49 rounds that lodged variously in the house, other houses, vehicles, and Lord-knows-where. (This is a very large multiple of the rounds fired in the Bin Laden raid and many other combat-zone takedowns of armed, resisting terrorists. The difference is aimed, controlled fire, resulting from fire discipline and training). Despite the indisciplined firing, no bystander or police officer had any more than a near miss. They considered that the blood-soaked, moaning Guerena was probably mortally wounded, and to be sure they held paramedics off until he was definitely dead. It was not police work’s finest hour.

Hence, the settlement.

Smith’s previous coverage of this untrained but very active SWAT Team is here:

And the AZ [Red] Star’s coverage of the settlement:

  • $3.4 Million Settlement in Deadly SWAT Raid “The officers performed that day in accordance with their training,” a spokeswoman sniffed. Probably true… they just don’t seem to have had any.
  • The embattled Sheriff hits the friendly paper’s editorial page: Clarence Dupnik: SWAT Teams hold the line between order and chaos. If this was order, this amateur-night display of terrified contagious fire at, in most cases, no target at all. we’d hate to see chaos. Still trying to litigate the case in the press, Dupnik insists his men “perform admirably” and are “extremely judicious in their use of force.”

In fact, as Smith’s son, a fellow GWOT vet, notes, they’re at or below the level of the Iraqi or many other third-world armies.

Here’s Smith’s closing, which we find hard to beat:

the SWAT soldier-boys want to be cool. You know what I’ve said about this. Pulling off raids on Americans is cowardly. If you want to be cool, sign up, get the training, and fly across the pond and do it for real like my son did.

But go back again and watch the video. People are milling around as if nothing important is about to take place, loud music is playing, and the officers look like they don’t even have the discipline of teenagers playing paint ball.

Sheriff Dupnik is an ass clown, and so it’s appropriate that his SWAT team is comprised of ass clowns. In this case, they’re ass clowns with guns and a badge, and that makes them dangerous and evil.

The lesson that Dupnik and his amateur SWAT gang take away from this is that they got away with it. Expect a repeat.

In Belated Appreciation for Dead Che Day

I'm gonna need some clean up before I go on a t-shirt. ¡Hasta la muerte siempre!

I’m gonna need some clean up before I go on a t-shirt. ¡Hasta la muerte siempre!

Yesterday was Dead Che Day! In all the excitement, we missed it. But fortunately, he’s still dead today. Every day since October 9, 1967 is Dead Che Day around here, and it’s a matter of sheer delight to us that he’s, well, dead. He may be the role model of douchebag college students on six continents, but he’s toasting in Hell, and that’s a fair trade in our book. Although the thousands of Cubans, Congolese, Bolivians and various odds and ends he had shot might have wanted him to suffer more. C’est la guerre irregular, n’est-ce pas?

 

Did he Fight Like a Girl?

"He's resting. He's pining for the pampas."

“He’s resting. He’s pining for the pampas.”

The Daily Caller didn’t think so. They think the girls are better, and have a slide show entitled “9 girls with guns that would make better freedom fighters than Che Guevara.”

Why nine? Because that’s how many bullets executioner Mario Terán plugged him with before the Communist revolutionary, writhing on the floor and biting on his wrist to keep from crying out, finally succumbed to fate.

*Snork*.

And we thought we were cold.

A REAL freedom fighter in a beret -- Didi Nearne.

A REAL freedom fighter in a beret — Didi Nearne.

Unfortunately, the slideshow falls light-years short of the snark. The selections they made show why you should never give an assignment like this to an intern who’s never gotten beyond sighs and self-abuse vis-a-vis real physical women; every one of the nine is some fictional character from some recent Hollywood cartoonish ultra-violent show, except for one fictional character from a cartoonish 1970s classic.

Che deserves better, and worse, than that. He deserves to be compared to real women, not the teenage spankatorium-vision characters that Hollyweird offers up. Our nine real-world women who make better freedom fighters than Che?

You’re welcome to suggest your own: we could have while nines of nines, 99s of 99s, and they’d all be better that that Argentine blowhard. How hard would it be to find nine more WWII resistance characters? Nine more national folklore heroes? Nine more GWOT girls? Easy. And any one of them could take Che with one hand tied behind her back.

How bad was el Che as a freedom fighter? He sucked. Like the turbines of Glen Canyon suck.

Mythbusting Che in Four paragraphs

 

Ché takes aim with a Stechkin APS... probably at the back of some innocent's head.

Ché takes aim with a Stechkin APS… probably at the back of some innocent’s head.

Alvaro Vargas Llosa covers Che in some depth for the Independence Institute, and contrasts him with another historic Argentine, Juan Bautista Alberdi (to Che’s detriment). But for us the best part of Vargas Llosa’s takedown was four paragraphs that accurately describe Che’s military legacy, or lack of one:

Having failed as a hero of social justice, does Guevara deserve a place in the history books as a genius of guerrilla warfare? His greatest military achievement in the fight against Batista—taking the city of Santa Clara after ambushing a train with heavy reinforcements—is seriously disputed. Numerous testimonies indicate that the commander of the train surrendered in advance, perhaps after taking bribes. (Gutiérrez Menoyo, who led a different guerrilla group in that area, is among those who have decried Cuba’s official account of Guevara’s victory.) Immediately after the triumph of the revolution, Guevara organized guerrilla armies in Nicaragua, the Dominican Republic, Panama, and Haiti—all of which were crushed. In 1964, he sent the Argentine revolutionary Jorge Ricardo Masetti to his death by persuading him to mount an attack on his native country from Bolivia, just after representative democracy had been restored to Argentina.

Ché is a pop-art icon, but he was a lousy guerilla.

Ché is a pop-art icon, but he was a lousy guerilla.

Particularly disastrous was the Congo expedition in 1965. Guevara sided with two rebels—Pierre Mulele in the west and Laurent Kabila in the east—against the ugly Congolese government, which was sustained by the United States as well as by South African and exiled Cuban mercenaries. Mulele had taken over Stanleyville earlier before being driven back. During his reign of terror, as V.S. Naipaul has written, he murdered all the people who could read and all those who wore a tie. As for Guevara’s other ally, Laurent Kabila, he was merely lazy and corrupt at the time; but the world would find out in the 1990s that he, too, was a killing machine. In any event, Guevara spent most of 1965 helping the rebels in the east before fleeing the country ignominiously. Soon afterward, Mobutu came to power and installed a decades-long tyranny. (In Latin American countries too, from Argentina to Peru, Che-inspired revolutions had the practical result of reinforcing brutal militarism for many years.)

The name Laurent Kabila may ring a bell. Yes, he’s the fat, corrupt blood-diamond entrepreneur who overthrew the fat, corrupt Mobutu and precipitated 20 or so years of Congolese civil war. Kabila’s son, Joseph, former commander of Kabila’s child soldiers, inherited the de facto Kingdom of the Congo on Kabila’s assassination. (The country’s paper title is”Democratic Republic of the Congo” and it holds sham elections). Joseph Kabila is an improvement on his violent, incompetent father in one way only: he is not fat.

Back to Che.

Ché, sniveling in his brief captivity. American Félix Rodriguez, left.

Ché, sniveling in his brief captivity. American Félix Rodriguez, left.

In Bolivia, Che was defeated again, and for the last time. He misread the local situation. There had been an agrarian reform years before; the government had respected many of the peasant communities’ institutions; and the army was close to the United States despite its nationalism. “The peasant masses don’t help us at all” was Guevara’s melancholy conclusion in his Bolivian diary. Even worse, Mario Monje, the local communist leader, who had no stomach for guerrilla warfare after having been humiliated at the elections, led Guevara to a vulnerable location in the southeast of the country. The circumstances of Che’s capture at Yuro ravine, soon after meeting the French intellectual Régis Debray and the Argentine painter Ciro Bustos, both of whom were arrested as they left the camp, was, like most of the Bolivian expedition, an amateur’s affair.

Vencer o morir, eh, wise guy? You get "morir."

Vencer o morir, eh, wise guy? You get “morir.”

Guevara was certainly bold and courageous, and quick at organizing life on a military basis in the territories under his control, but he was no General Giap. His book Guerrilla Warfare teaches that popular forces can beat an army, that it is not necessary to wait for the right conditions because an insurrectional foco (or small group of revolutionaries) can bring them about, and that the fight must primarily take place in the countryside. (In his prescription for guerrilla warfare, he also reserves for women the roles of cooks and nurses.) However, Batista’s army was not an army, but a corrupt bunch of thugs with no motivation and not much organization; and guerrilla focos, with the exception of Nicaragua, all ended up in ashes for the foquistas; and Latin America has turned 70 percent urban in these last four decades. In this regard, too, Che Guevara was a callous fool.

Frankly, based on the statements of the Bolivians who killed him we’d accept “bold” but resist the term “courageous” for Che. He begged for his life and offered to deal his comrades away. It was too late; the Bolivians had his comrades, and had no interest in preserving his life.

Vargas Llosa calls Che “The Killing Machine.” That’s probably more a title of Che’s aspiration than actual achievement. True, he was able to order the execution of some thousands of bound prisoners in Havana, but so did many other revolutionaries. As a guerilla leader, he excelled most at getting his own men killed.

His actions in Bolivia are those of a man who had not read his own book. (We suppose it’s possible; someone else could have written the book for him). But he’s gone, and we’re here.

To celebrate Dead Che Day. Every day!

Legal Analysis: how the dog shooter walked

"Well, yeah, I'm lawyered up, but in Commerce, Colorado dogs need extra protection."

“Well, yeah, I’m lawyered up, too, but in Commerce, Colorado, we dogs need extra protection.”

It turns out the fix was in, put in place by a jury instruction that left the jury with no option but to acquit. We’re not lawyers, but Juliet Piccone is, and she says:

A very bare bones description of the defense is this:  an individual can commit a crime and be found not legally responsible for committing that crime if it was the lesser of two evils.  Here’s how the defense worked out in Chloe’s case:

1.)  The jury could find that Price committed the crime of aggravated animal cruelty (the knowing needless killing of an animal) or animal cruelty (reckless or criminally negligent needless killing of an animal).

The jury could then consider whether:

2.) Committing this crime (killing Chloe) was necessary because of an emergency; and

3.) The emergency was not caused by Price; and

4.) Price reasonably believed that committing the crime was necessary to stop an imminent private or public injury, even though that belief may have been mistaken.

It is hard to see any circumstance in which an officer could ever be convicted of any crime under this analysis as long as the officer claimed that he had no other choice and he felt that someone would have been hurt had he not committed the crime.  I respect the jury and I think they had a very difficult job.  I really don’t see how they could have convicted him given this choice of evils defense.

via Verdict in People v. Robert Price, Officer who shot Chloe the dog: choice of evils. | thepicconelawfirm.com Blog.

If we’re reading this right: In Colorado, if a cop commits negligence, error, or crime, but he says he didn’t think he was doing anything wrong, he has immunity.

Piccone reaches the same conclusion we did: don’t call the cops in Commerce. Although she sort of leaves it as an exercise for the reader:

How’s this for a choice of evils:  should you call police/animal control the next time you see a dog running at large?  Or should you pray that the dog goes on its merry way and doesn’t hurt anyone or itself?  In the end, leaving well enough alone may prove to be the lesser of the two evils.

There’s a little more background on this. Piccone attended the trial, and covered it much more thoroughly than local media in earlier posts. For example, some highlights from Day 2 of the Trial:

We know that one bullet lodged itself in the animal control van and otherwise could’ve hit the witnesses across the street and we know that reporters and other investigators found other bullet fragments days if not weeks later).  Chloe was hit in the left flank (this bullet passed through), hind leg (this bullet went through), twice in the neck (one passed through) and once in the shoulder.

[The witness] said after the shooting he was stunned; there was concrete flying; his daughter was hysterical because she had seen the entire thing.  He did not know his son had recorded the entire thing until some time later; he did not tell the police he had the video.  The reason he released the video to the press was because the Commerce City police department had issued a press release lying about what happened, and he wanted to clear his neighbor Carol who had been charged.

That guy was a defense witness — one for the cop. The evidence also showed that the cops worked together on their false statements. And the cops used a sequester order to keep the victim — the dog’s owner — out of the courtroom. This is a common trick used by sleazy lawyers on one side or the other, in this case the defense. Put a victim the jury would sympathize with on your witness list — then never call him. He can’t even sit in the courtroom, now. Judges often nip this in the bud, but this one didn’t.

The defense also kept referring to the dog as a pit bull, despite prosecution and defense having separate DNA results showing that she was just a mixed breed, and the judge having issued instructions to avoid both kinds of prejudice: calling the dog “the pit bull” on the one hand, or by her name on the other.

The dog was not killed outright, but was left to bleed out. One more little detail. What a great bunch there in Commerce.

The cops had previously had to attend dog awareness training, because of another terrified Commerce cop who killed another non-threatening dog earlier. One particularly cowardly cop, Christopher Castillo, who can be seen on the video standing, quivering through the whole incident, amazingly testified that the training “threatened his life!” And his objective was, “not to get bit.”

Remember, far from being a threat to policemen’s lives, no cop has ever been killed in the USA by a non-rabid dog. And the rabies victims can be counted on your fingers — all the way to colonial times. But cops shoot dogs every day. They know the magic five words: “I feared for my life.”

There were some interesting events on Day 1 also. The trial opened with the prosecution striking almost all dog owners from the jury. And animal control officer Arica Boles, who is not a sworn law officer, admitted that she “submitted” (but weaseled on whether she “wrote”) both her and Price’s reports, which are worded identically but are radically different from the events shown on the video. (At the time, the police did not know about the video. When they went public with Boles’s and Price’s false story, they lost the chance to destroy the video because the father of the kid who took it sensibly decided it was safer with the media that with the police). Piccone also has some reports on pretrial motions; obviously she has an agenda (more pro-pet than anti-cop, but in Commerce it’s the same thing) but she’s an informed and keen observer of this whole situation.

When your department is less trusted than the media, you have a problem. But Commerce PD has clearly earned this mistrust.

Why journalists hate you (long)

Guth and the turtleOne reason is that they’re subjected to on-campus indoctrination by professors who hate you. Hate is a pretty strong word, but it sure fits the University of Kansas, where J-school professor (and former dean) David Guth called this week for the murder of NRA members’ children. The University, which in all honesty is better known for its football program than its journalism one (or any academic program for that matter), stands behind Guth. They don’t stand exactly firmly, mind you, but they’re not a major part of KU: just the administration, not something important like the defensive line.

We’re not to worried, because we’re a long way from Kansas, and Guth would have to murder a lot of NRA members kids before he got here. And any one of those parents (and most of the kids) should be able to handle a fuzzy-thinking, rage-addled and podgy professor, no matter how homicidal he is. And he’s pretty homicidal. Campus Reform captured this lovely tweet:

He doubled down on his desire to murder NRA members’ children. “Hell, no, I don’t regret that tweet,” saying it would be “God’s justice.”  He called to the higher-ed blog Campus Reform for “a pox on the NRA” for opposing gun registration and bans. He told Campus Reform:

It absolutely appalls me that after Newtown, we could not have come to some kind of sane agreement on something as simple as the number of bullets in a magazine or the availability of assault weapons.

The Navy Yard shooter had a five- or eight-shot, pump-action shotgun. He wasn’t a member of the NRA. He didn’t even have the gun long, apparently buying it the day before, specifically for his planned murders. These fact had been reported by the time Guth, who also considers himself “a devoted father,” demanded the murder of gun owners’ children.

On his personal blog, Guth shows signs of extreme narcissism:

There are a lot of people online with nothing much to say.  I am not one of those folks.  I hope that you find my comments insightful, provocative and occasionally amusing

And he ended another rant on the NRA with a threat: “Fear the Turtle.” (Guth has an online persona as “The Snapping Turtle,” a reference to his own alma indoctrinata, University of Maryland (whose mascot is the Terrapin). Judging from his build, he’s been snapping at nothing but two professors’ worth of fried food, but we’ve learned to take threats seriously).

Guth is not a native of Kansas. Campus Reform finds he treasures himself as an “independent thinker.” He grew up in eastern Maryland and may be frustrated that he couldn’t be in a J-school somewhere in the Acela Corridor. A degree in journalism from Kansas is unlikely to give graduates entrée to the elite opinion makers. But Guth is a career associate professor at Kansas, 22 years without making full prof. One wonders if the tenure committee saw the same personality we’re seeing now, and if so, why retain him at all?

This won’t surprise you, but Guth’s loathing of guns and gun owners is not newly developed. In 2012, he called for the confiscation and destruction of the “300 million guns” that he held responsible for the Newtown massacre.

For example, how is it we have low tolerance for other nations developing weapons of mass destructions when we have more than 300 million guns on America’s streets threatening our annihilation from within? Sure, there’s the Second Amendment. But if there are reasonable limits on the other nine amendments in the Bill of Rights, why is the Second Amendment sacrosanct? Outside of the military and security and public safety officers, no one has a legitimate need for automatic weapons. The very possession of these weapons is an assault on common sense and should be a crime.

Actually, it’s Guth’s grammar and syntax that adds up to an assault on common sense (“weapons of mass destructions”), but as this is his blog, we won’t hold him to the standards to which he probably fails to hold his students. He also somehow blames Donald Trump for the Newtown shooter. We couldn’t really follow his reasoning here. Perhaps Mr Trump has a lot to answer for, but that’s not any part of it.

His blog, which as far as we can tell only we and Campus Reform have written about, is a treasure trove of addlepated cant. From before the Newtown shooting:

I question the mental health of anyone working outside of law enforcement, security and the military who feels his or she must carry a gun with them at all times.

Let’s try instruction by analogy, Guth. I question the mental health of anyone work outside the government who feels he or she should be trusted with the awesome power of a web-offset press or broadcasting microphone. See how it works, or doesn’t work? But his desire for gun bans is a leitmotif of his blog.

In 2013, the word “gun” appears frequently in his blog — 37 times. Just pulling one line from each major mention, here are the quotes:

  • 16 Sep 13: “The NRA has championed a gun culture that is shredding our nation’s moral authority like armor-plated bullets ripping through flesh.” That’s not even a very coherent sentence. “There is no justification for the widespread sale of assault weapons, high-volume magazines or hollow-point bullets. In fact, their sale is a well-documented threat to national security.” Gee, does he also want to ban shotguns and buckshot? Would-be dictators are a well-documented threat to national security.
  • 15 Jul 13: Guth reluctantly concludes that George Zimmerman was not guilty of the Trayvon Martin shooting, but thinks a handgun ban would have avoided the whole thing. “But if you want to be outraged, focus on the guns….  If you want to be angry, be angry at a gun culture that made this tragedy possible.” OK. Because nothing could possibly go wrong in a society where there’s no way of stopping a strong young man with a taste for burglary and assault!
  • 21 Apr 13:  In a post remarkable for incoherence, he seems to attribute the Boston Marathon bombings to “a political disaster, the U.S. Senate’s failure to pass reasonable — and relatively toothless — gun control legislation.” And he compares North Korean princeling Kim Jong-un to, well, just read it: “Speaking of nut-jobs, let me share three words with you: National Rifle Association.”
  • 17 Apr 13: He tees off on his own state representatives and senators, with dehumanizing language and imagery of violence that presages his recent threats. “I referred to the Kansas delegation in the U.S. House Representatives as ‘gun pimps’….Tonight, our two senators joined … in pimping for the gun lobby…. Roberts, Moran and every other Senator who stood with the gun lobby this evening have the blood of future innocent victims on their hands. No, they didn’t pull the trigger. They just made it easier for the bad guys to get the guns. Shame on you. Shame on you.”
  • 09 Apr 13: He excoriates Kansas state representative, particularly Republicans, for “passing gun and abortion laws that are morally reprehensible.”
  • 02 Apr 13: “[A]nyone who tells you that restricting high-volume ammunition magazines and the sale of new assault weapons is tantamount taking away their guns has a perverse sense of self.” We dunno… about 70% of our gun room would be empty pegs with his legislative preferences enacted, and this is before his later calls for a handgun ban. He was pretty worked up: “…only a chump would accept the NRA’s change…. ‘Slaughter in our Schools and Streets’…. blood money.” Then he goes on to support the 2A except for when he opposes it: “I support your Second Amendment right to bear arms – or even to arm bears, if you get off on that sort of thing. But I don’t defend anyone’s right to possess the unregulated firepower of a private army.”
  • 08 Mar 2013: He demands the state “reign in sales of assault weapons and high-volume ammunition magazines that are a clear and present danger to human life.” His reason: “Kansas has 9.7 gun deaths per 100,000 in its population – about 276 a year. These are tangible, living, breathing people.” (Well, not breathing any more, actually). He’s lying about the statistics, though. There were actually 91 murders in Kansas in 2012 (official statistics). If you break out the statistics in this Wall Street Journal graphic (from a subscriber-only article), you can see that there are typically from 1 to 3 civilian justified homicides a year — “gun deaths!”

We’re going to step aside from the list for a moment to elaborate on that, because bogus “gun death” statistics, pimped by gun control outfits like the Kaiser Foundation, are inflated a specific way, and we’re going to show you how to expose the lie. All the statistics you need are on the CDC’s hard-to-navigate Wonder Database. If you go there, you can select the State of interest, the Injury Intent field, the Cause of Death, and the Crude Rate per 100,000 persons. (Note also that in events that have fewer than about 30-40 data points in a state of 3 million, data are unreliable and Wonder refuses to calculate a rate). So here are the numbers:

Kansas Deaths 2010

Intent Cause Deaths Crude Rate/100k
Unintentional Any gun 0 0.0
Suicide Handgun 29 1.0
Suicide Long gun 34 1.2
Suicide unspec gun 147 5.2
Total firearms suicides   210 7.4
Homicide gun 60 2.1

(There were 190 other suicides by hanging and poison. No jumping off cliffs in flat Kansas. There were 17 homicides by other than firearms. Note that this database conflates justified and unjustified homicides. Nobody tracks justified homicides, but Kansas normally runs from 1-3 a year by civilians per that WSJ link. Jim Fisher, an investigative writer who is a former FBI Special Agent, compiled data on police shootings for 2011 and found that Kansas cops committed an additional 7 justifiable homicides, so as many as 10 of those 60 were justifiable, assuming one year is much like another in KS law enforcement. CDC records no fatal firearms accidents in Kansas in 2010, possibly an error).

OK, let’s return to fisking the professor’s blog obsession with the gun folks whose families he now wants dead.

  • 25 Jan 13: He approves Diane [sic] Feinstein’s plans to ban semi-auto guns, but thinks discussion of “mental health” ought to lead to gun owners being committed. Seriously, read the post.
  • 15 Jan 13: He sees President Obama as a “larger than life figure” who, like sports fraud Lance Armstrong, had to “overcome adversary” (?) to bring “hope to millions,” but now are “disappointing to followers because they are much less than they said they were.” Why is he down on The One? Because he needed groupie David Gregory “to remind [him] that he has a gun control agenda.”
  • 08 Jan 13: Turns out he, too, doesn’t like Alex Jones (“a jack-booted, gun-toting loud-mouth”) or Piers Morgan (“fuzzy-haired and fuzzier-thinking”). Turns out his beef with Morgan was this: giving airtime to Jones, not because Jones is a conspiratroid whackjob, but because Jones argued a pro-gun position, which must not appear in the media. Remember, Guth is a professor of Journalism. “I want assault weapons and large ammunition magazines banned.”

In 2012, the word “gun” appeared 17 times. (We’re pretty sure we beat him on that number, but our focus wasn’t on banning the things).

  • 17 Dec 12: “[W]e have more than 200 million guns threatening annihilation from within.” Man, we hate it when the guns start organizing and get all Skynet, or maybe it’s HAL 9000, on us. 
  • 03 Dec 12: “With a gun, it just takes just one moment of anger, misjudgment or insanity to end a life. Frankly, I question the mental health of anyone working outside of law enforcement, security and the military who feels his or she must carry a gun with them at all times.” Exercise for the reader: how many objects can be substituted for “gun” in the above?
  • 10 Aug 12: he changed his party registration over “lack of a gun control debate” after two shootings at Victim Disarment Zones.
  • 08 Aug 12: He misses the point of VDZs: “a gunman has turned a place of retreat and refuge into a slaughterhouse.” (Funny how they never attack an IDPA event). “Why does any law-abiding citizen need a semi-automatic weapon – even one ‘legally’ obtained?” (Apparently ‘legally’ gets scare quotes if he doesn’t like the law).
  • 21 Jul 12: He expressed delight at the Aurora shootings (also in a VDZ), because “without a doubt, gun control will now join the other issues with which we will determine who will lead our nation for the next four years.” He made some noises about “respect” for the Second Amendment (so you know there’s a but coming…), but “I cannot believe that the remarkable Founders of this nation envisioned creating a blank check to allow individuals to amass stockpiles of weapons of mass destruction.” Well, at least it wasn’t “weapons of mass destructions” this time.  “…a pattern of unprovoked and irrational violence will remain unbroken until someone has the courage to challenge the myopic National Rifle Association on the need to pass sensible gun control laws. For the love of God…it is time for a cease-fire.”
  • 28 Jun 12: He actually condemned the Fast and Furious program, one of ATF’s gunwalking initiatives that provided thousands of guns to Mexican drug lords to try to create enough blowback to produce stricter gun control. It’s a strangely out-of-character post.
  • 11 Feb 12: He inveighs against permitting licensed gun owners into businesses and on campus. “One can’t help but wonder on what planet do people think mixing guns with young people makes sense?  After senseless massacres at Virginia Tech and Northern Illinois University, how is this a good idea?”  (Both VT and NIU were VDZs, of course). “If…concealed weapons would deter future slaughters, why stop at guns? Let the campus bookstores sell handgrenades and flame throwers.” Nice reductio ad absurdum fallacy, prof.  “It is just as ludicrous as introducing guns into an often-stressful environment dominated by sometimes immature, hormone and alcohol-driven young adults.” Geez. Are any of the undergrads you knew back in the day as immature as some professors? Well, in all honesty, yeah. It’s about a wash.

But the blog, which is helpfully archived back to 2007, tells us something else. Guth’s homicidal, unhealthy fixation on guns is a recent development. In 2007, 2008 and 2009 he never once mentioned the word gun. In 2010, he used it four times, always in relatively descriptive terms, with just one mention of a bill that would “prevent gun violence.” (How, pray tell? There’s a question for people smarter and harder-working than journalism students — or professors. But we digress). The only time he mentions guns in 2011 is in an Eisenhower quote about the defense budget. But the word explodes into significance in 2012 with 17 mentions, and in 2013 it is his White Whale, with 37 references.

You can detect Guth’s change in more than the numbers if you read his whole blog, also. He is a man of unconventional politics, a former Republican who votes half-heartedly for Obama. He is a man of great passions, still mourning the premature death of his first wife even as he celebrates his love for his second. But his emotions are stronger and stronger, and more and more violent, as time passes. For example, he hits Everest highs and Marianas lows as manuscripts are accepted or rejected for publication, even as he recognizes that every paper he’s had rejected ultimately found an outlet. But expressions of dank despair (rejection letters — which any writer could heat an Alaska house with — are “daggers to the heart.” Really? It’s just business) rest uncomfortably alongside a post celebrating the unconditional love of a golden retriever. We certainly are not qualified to diagnose him, only to observe that Professor Guth is a troubled man.

Given the opportunity to condemn Guth’s agitation for and, incitement of, homicide, University of Kansas spokesman Jack Martin declined, standing behind “academic freedom,” says that Guth’s opinions, while they might be taught at the University, don’t “represent” the U. Thanks for clearing that up, Jack. Martin evidently didn’t comment on whether the University’s phony-baloney “inclusive learning and working environment” extends to Guth’s hate-objects, the blood-attainted spawn of folks like us, or whether they just mean “skin color and bedroom activity” like so many universities.

Anyway, if you wonder why journalists hate you and don’t seem interested in reporting facts, consider that they spend four to six years exposed to teachers, mentors and role models like David Guth. Years of indoctrination, back in the day, made a Young Pioneer or Hitler Youth. (Yes, we went there. After all, Guth is already there).

And — he’s probably harmless, being a professor and all, but that’s what people thought about the guy who was hearing voices at the Navy Yard, too. So if you live anywhere near the University of Kansas, you might want to consider taking out a restraining order against Guth, sharing his picture with your neighborhood watch and police, and doing those kinds of things. A restraining order may limit his ability to arm himself, and the cops watching him may be able to prevent him from acting out his homicidal ideations.

Update:

Apparently the homicidal ideations aren’t Guth’s alone. Supporter Mary Brown was so incensed by CampusReform.org’s reporter Katherine Timpf’s article that she appears to have extended Guth’s threat to Timp’s children. (As far as we know, Timpf’s interest is as a reporter and we have no idea if she is an NRA member, which would be her business and not ours). We say “appears” because Brown is even more challenged on grammar, syntax and clarity than Guth. And Timpf was a lot more even-handed than we have been, but she still PO’d the gun grabsters.

Further update:

We’re trying to find video of Timpf’s appearance on NRA News. Apparently that lit a fire under KU staff, and higher-ups overruled Jack Martin’s “casually pro-murder” position. Guth has been directed to give no more interviews, and the Kansas City Star’s Brian Burnes got quotes from Ann Brill, who replaced Guth as dean of the university’s journalism school, and Timothy Caboni, vice chancellor for public affairs and Martin’s boss. Brill said what Martin would not: “[W]e do not advocate violence directed against any group or individuals.” Duh. And Caboni didn’t shy away from some criticism, calling Guth’s call for murder “repugnant,” and saying it was “disgraceful” — not for the content, but because “these views were expressed in such a callous and uncaring way.”

Thanks for clearing that up. Weasel.

Caboni set a bar, if a low one, for KU faculty: “We expect all members of the university community to engage in civil discourse and not make inflammatory and offensive comments.” Good luck with that.

(Apparently the KU executives were unwilling to give those quotes to Timpf, who broke the story, preferring to place them with a friendly local reporter. In his story, Burnes downplayed Guth’s statements).

A tale of two scumbags, a rifle that never was, and the limits of the Backgroundius Checkamungo incantation

Alex and Piers have their stars installed on the Pulitzer Prize Media Memorial

Alex and Piers have their stars installed on the Pulitzer Prize Media Memorial

You might think this post is about scumbags like the guy that shot up the Navy Yard Monday. It isn’t. Guys like him are scum, sure, but they can’t hold a candle to these media scumbags who saw the shooting as a great opportunity to build their “brands.” 

Of  course, the shooter was just another mental case making the case (no pun intended) against deinstitutionalization. We’re talking about something worse than the merely criminally insane. We’re talking about media personalities. (SFX: bloodcurdling scream).

Here Comes Scum Number One: Alex Jones

Alex Jones is the all-purpose conspiratroid who made a name for himself lying about the 9/11 attacks. He was last seen challenging Piers Morgan to put up his dukes (can’t they both lose? Can’t they fight the duel with suicide vests at zero meters instead?). Or maybe it was calling the Boston Marathon jihad bombings a “false flag” operation (probably by the Jooooz, but we never read him any longer than it takes to identify him as author). Jones’s tweet about the shootings:

Well, we can hardly think of any possibilities. It couldn’t be that there are two different media outlets relying on two different reporters at two different times — that certainly can’t affect coverage. It couldn’t be the well-known phenomenon whereby the media botches their first shot at everything — that never happens. It couldn’t be the Post’s well-known appetite for fabrication (see “Jessica Lynch, Amazon Woman.”) They say they’ve sworn off, although they still stand behind Dana Priest’s Lynch fabrication. So… it could be a shadowy conspiracy, in which the Vatican and Trilateral Commission are beaming gamma rays into everyone’s skull, unless you’ve got a tinfoil skullcap like Alex. (Available from his website, no doubt). Yeah, that’s it.

Or it could just be that he’s a ghoulish sphincter muscle trying to build his brand. What are the odds?

And Here Comes Another Scum Bum: Frum

David Frum gets the Number Two position because he doesn’t have Jones’s media reach or credibility. Still, he is on TV a lot; as a guy who claims to be a conservative Republican but toes the Democrat line (he supported Obama in 2008 and 2012 after liberal Republicans lost in primaries), he’s always in demand to provide a phony “opposing view, agreeing” on an in-Beltway media panel. Frum is a Canadian who’s never really adapted to life in the USA, and constantly whines about how much better, more civil, more like David Frum the Emirate of Trudeaustan is.

We’ll buy your ticket, Dave.

Unlike Jones, he is too swollen with self-regard to edit himself down to a single 140-character tweet, but in the bulk of them, he really doesn’t say much, so we’ll pick two out of all his verbosity on this subject, his first:

And his last:

He ends, naturally, with a reference to his golden, and mostly empty, Canada, whose population clings close to the American border, feebly dependent and bitterly envious, like hyenas at a safari’s trash pit.

Frum is generally in a race with Piers Morgan to be the first to capitalize on shootings. He was positively gleeful about the Sandy Hook shooting last year. And Monday, he beat his British counterpart with a hole shot (an Americanism undoubtedly lost on the trans-, post-, or just plain un-American Frum).

What this tells us about background checks

"Backgroundius Checkamungo!"

“Backgroundius Checkamungo!”

Stop us if you’ve heard this before, but there is no free lunch in public safety, and if there was, “background checks,” despite being invested by the media with the properties of Ollivander’s wands, would not be it. Morgan, of course, led the media farbrication that the Navy Yard shooter had an AR-15 and that “background checks” would have saved people. The guy had no AR, but a shotgun like Joe Biden recommends to people. And he bought it at a gun shop — and passed a NICS check, despite several arrests and having told police he heard “voices in his head.”

The New York Times and several other papers have run stories saying that the asshat tried to buy an AR-15 and failed, and that’s what they and Piers and Frum and all the other assclowns in the media meant. They’re just not very good at that “words” thing, seems to be their fallback position. Unfortunately, this too is post-processed cattle feed. The same law applies in Virginia to an AR that applies to the Remington 870 that asshat actually bought: the New York Times reporter apparently made that story up and the others plagiarized him, and they’re now blaming it on their anonymous imaginary sources.

Remember, when they chant Backgroundius Checkamundo at you, this guy passed the NICS check. Expanding those checks wouldn’t have prevented this crime, as he didn’t end-run the system at all. And that’s not all he passed.

The trigger man also passed a periodic review for a Secret security clearance, which requires a National Agency Check with (Local) Law and Credit checks. This review is done every 10 years for that level of clearance, and  includes:

  • Fingerprint classification and run
  • A check of NCIC records (by name and print)
  • FBI investigative file, if any.
  • DOD/DOE/OPM Security/Suitability Investigations Index. (i.e. what has been found on previous clearance checks).
  • Calls to all the police agencies at the subject’s local residences in the last 7 years, unless the clearance has a rush request, in which case it’s all done (or not) with a record check.
  • Credit search including national reporting, and credit reputation at those residences in the last 7 years. (Was he on time with rent? Utilities paid? User of payday loans or other credit media indicating financial mismanagement or stress?)

Again, this nut job passed this check, which is a bit more stringent than the courts will let el gobierno apply to a constitutional right. And there’s probably no reason he wouldn’t pass, actually. A non-felony arrest that ended in nol prosse will not prevent a clearance, unless it was not disclosed on the application. They might ask the subject about it. (They are checking to see if you’re a traitor, not a choirboy). The “voices” bit never made it beyond a gag at that police department’s roll call, and it’s hard to see how it could, since the jurisdiction wasn’t a place he was domiciled — although the cops did send it to the Navy, they were good enough to finger-point out. The Navy apparently dropped the ball by not forwarding it further to the security establishment.

Yet, the bottom line is that even this fairly intrusive (and, don’t forget, time-consuming and expensive) check did not reveal any derogatory information on him — at least, it seems, not enough to delay the adjudication of his clearance renewal, or require follow-ups. This says something about both the possible scope and the possible benefits of “background checks.” It would have taken a police state to catch this guy beforehand, and even then, it might not have done: the police, after all, and their clerical staff in particular, are average government workers. Silicon Valley entrepreneurs don’t stay up nights with anxiety over whether they can hire the staggering talents of government clerks away from their sinecures. Warren Buffet does not wonder if he would benefit from a few PD clerks to help him with crunching the NPV numbers on acquisitions.

Then there’s the whole AR-15 thing

Morgan, Frum, Slick Dick Blumenthal (the soi-disant Vietnam Hero who rode a series of 2A and 2D deferments until his job as a Nixon aide got him access to a “special” Marine Reserve unit for DC staffers who wanted to pretend service without having to actually, you know, serve) and Sir Alex of the Tinfoil Bascinet, all have their views on this guy’s AR-15. The media extensively reported that he was armed with an AR-15. One of the New York tabs ran a cover story about his AR-15. He may have had the most famous AR in America for a day except for one small problem: as we mantioned above, it turns out never to have existed. 

The media made it all up, because they wanted it to be true. Now they’re claiming they were misled by “confidential sources.”

We call bullshit. If a source burned you, why would you keep the source secret? There are only two possibilities: the reporter wants to use the source again, even though the source has a track record of lying to him. Or, there is no source… except for the voices in the reporter’s head.

Occam’s razor says it’s #2: the AR-15 dominated the news for about 18 hours because the reporters fabricated that detail in their stories. That is, after all, how they roll. There was no AR-15, but they wanted one to be there. Five taps of their keyboard, and there it was.

There was an AR-15 involved, though.

That’s what the cops shot the guy with, finally stopping his spree.

The psychology of gun advertising

PDB has a post that is absolutely brilliant, in its skewering of the pervasiveness of “tactical operator fashion” in gun ads:

…advertising is the sincerest form of psychology because the livelihoods of everyone involved depends directly on the accuracy of the assessment. The advertising agency / client feedback loop is nearly instantaneous and completely unforgiving, and therefore the manner in which the products are hawked to a particular demographic is a harsh and sometimes magnifying mirror.

So what does recent firearm advertising say about us shooters?

Read The Whole Thing™, but it sort of suggests a certain strain of wannabe-ism is rampant in our ranks. The ads he cites mostly have guys dressed up like SEAL Team 666™, and more brandishing than firing their weapons as they kick doors or clear tire houses.

Of course, while PDB is checking this out one way, others are mocking it. Here’s a favorite of ours. Sara’s contribution is the best bit in our humble opinion (some salty language):

OK, returning to PDB’s analysis of the ads. Let’s get serious, operators and operate-ettes.

In a way, this kind of ad is a classic Appeal to Authority, psychologically no different from the TV spot where the guy or gal in a white lab coat urges you to buy some useless dietary supplement, or the more direct one where “four out of five dentists recommend….” It’s saying, basically, “A shortcut to your carbine decision is to rely on the decision that guys like the one in the photo have already made.” To put it even more briefly, “Choose Colt. The Army did.”

"Sarge, I wanna 416!" "Shut up, Private Pyle." (Where's this image from? Check it out).

“Sarge, I wanna 416!” “What’s your major malfunction, Private Pyle? Shut your %$^!! face.” (Where’s this image from? Check it out).

There’s a bit of irony in this, because SWAT cops and military special operations troopers have a rather limited amount of choice in their own weapons. (Exercise for the reader who is still in: go to your CO or Sergeant Major and tell him you think your M4A1 sucks and want to carry an LWRC or Daniel Defense carbine instead. Report his response, verbatim). In SF we had quite a wide range of choices, for a gaggle of Army guys, but it was from the stuff in the arms room. (Carrying a personal sidearm was what we called a “catch me, **** me” rule. Technically forbidden, but tolerated as long as you didn’t rub the command’s nose in it). But in most of the military, your personal weapon is assigned to you and you have no more ability to change it than a green plastic Army guy toy.

The stuff in the arms room was either what Big Green bought for us (which we, or our senior staff, liked to use because it came out of Big Green dollars and not our limited MFP-11 money), or stuff selected, usually, by a team of experienced guys. These testing teams were always good guys, good shots and experienced field guys, but their decisions were always controversial. Sometimes they labored and brought forth something and it was good (The M24 sniper weapons system, for example, or the adaptation of the M203 to the 14.5″ carbine), and sometimes it was good and still didn’t make the sale to get adopted. (The 6.8 SPC cartridge). If SF or SOF cooked up an idea and it was really good, Big Green came around to it — pretty quickly when there is a war on.

Likewise, if Big Green has a good brainstorm on weapons, we’re all over it. Many of our guys (not just the MOS weapons men) stay abreast of what’s happening in the world, and new blood is coming in all the time from the Ranger Regiment, the line infantry divisions, and every MOS in the Army. (Even cooks, bandsmen, electronic-warfare aircrew, and heavy-equipment operators have tried out and made it into SF since the requirement for having a “feeder MOS” was eliminated decades ago. And we always find a use for their prior skills).

The runaway arms race of military and police legitimacy probably achieved critical mass in the open-enrollment firearms training market, where relevance to uniformed service became a shortcut to a convincing marketing pitch. If it’s good enough for SEAL Team 6, it’s good enough for me, right? Well, what if what’s good for Operators Operating In Operations isn’t good for the rest of us? Have we considered that perhaps much of the gear, doctrine and technique only works for those guys because it’s their job to practice them every day, and they put them into practice with a bunch of other guys who also practice them every day, with each other?

He has a point there. Absolutely zero military training is designed for a scenario in which an individual stands his ground alone against multiple assailants, confronts a single assailant Dodge City style, or clears his own house against an unknown threat. Certainly things learned in military training can be applied to situations like these, and skills acquired in advanced military training are very comforting to have, but training for these exact scenarios isn’t part of the schools. For most military units, the irreducible element is two to three men; the people who are trained to operate alone are very few, very narrowly applied, and usually work both under cover and unarmed or lightly armed. If they fire a shot, they are at mission failure; and it is a rare cover indeed that gives one of these folks plausible reason to carry a firearm.

He goes on further:

In particular, I’m going to point out the preemptive prophylactic (I refuse to use the t-word) reload, where one switches out and retains a partially expended magazine for one that’s full, while there are still hostiles around. This makes sense in the military setting, as you can count on several friends nearby with fully loaded rifles looking in the same direction to keep the baddies from taking advantage of your temporarily useless rifle. In the civilian context, which I assume the vast majority of my readers are preparing for, and the vast majority of firearms customers are as well, one cannot count on ever having backup and thus you should not only put off reloading until you are convinced that all is clear, if you have an empty mag you should probably toss it and not waste time finding a place to stow it. Yes yes, I know in various disaster scenarios we can’t assume FedEx will be delivering fresh PMags straight from Brownells etc etc, but this is rapidly getting into prepping to fastrope from the space shuttle territory, and for the current domestic situation, tossing your empties (or even lightly loaded partials if you have more full magazines available) is the smarter play.

via pdb : Operation Aspiration.

It’s interesting that while his points are primarily focused on the irremediable Walter Mitty nature of such advertising and training, his first commenter, in full Walt mode, starts arguing arcana of the “tactical reload.” Talk about missing the point.

For what it’s worth, we were taught to count rounds, and change mags when out, when in a moment of downtime before we expected to fire a lot (i.e., just before clearing a new building or room), or whenever we lost count. It was doable, and becomes a habit, with sufficient discipline. Most “tacticool” shooters and trainers aren’t that disciplined. SOT School was one of the best combat schools in all recorded history, and it materially improved the shooting and combat mindset of everyone who attended. So the Army naturally closed it. (It was a spinoff of the former Blue Light interim CT capability, and actually provided the basis for two courses that still run, SF Advanced Urban Combat and another closer to the original spirit of SOT, but expanded).

And — referring back to my comments above about solo practitioners — all of the above are team schools that entire organic units, like SF Teams and Ranger squads, attend together. These days they are organized so that primarily only shooters attend, which is probably a mistake. SF support elements that deploy with ODAs or like ODAs should probably attend these schools, also (which was done in the era of SOT).

Bringing it back to PDB’s commentary:

So in case you didn’t notice, it sure looks to me as if almost every seller of ARs and even slightly related equipment is selling them at SWAT teams, the military, private military contractors, or people who fancy themselves to be, but are not.

Emphasis his own.

But we’d like to know that it’s only the wannabees that run these three types of “operators” together in the mind. There are some critical differences:

  1. SWAT teams comprise sworn law officers whose mission is always to protect the public and to contain and reduce threats in the most restrained manner practicable. They want to arrest the guy and let him face a jury, and only whack him if that’s what protecting the public is. They don’t go in “fangs out,” looking to kill.
  2. The military covers a wide range of skills and organizations, all of which are necessary for victory. (Ask us sometime about how much we appreciated the Finance Corps and the food service bureaucracy in the early days of Afghanistan). But the door-kicking, tricked-out-AR wielding end of it is principally contained in the combat arms branches (infantry, armor, artillery) and SOF. And an infantry or Ranger squad or SF ODA does not come through the enemy’s door looking to read him his rights, but to leave him needing a priest or mullah to read his rites. 
  3. Private Military Contractors are extremely variable in quality, even within the same company on a longitudinal sample of time. For example, Blackwater once was noted for employing extremely select personnel. They responded to growth and competitive pressure by essentially zeroing out selection and training, and became so notoriously inept that they had to change their name — twice. Kind of like the cheap Chevy, which has been a Nova, Chevette, Cobalt, Cruze and a bunch of other names as each of the old ones gets burned to the public by the low quality of the product. There are high quality contractors out there, but there are a lot of bozos. A lot of the bozos think they ought to be running training academies. At least one of them is.

If a guy’s “combat experience” was as a PMC and he was not previously in a military combat arms or SOF job, odds are he’s just another gunshop commando at best, and a hazardous bozo at worst. And even if he knows how, say, to conduct executive protection in a high-threat combat environment, the skills he knows may translate very poorly to what you need to master.

Assclown of the Ides: this is why they call it ‘dope’

Wayward-Bill-vietnam-phonyMeet “Wayward” Bill Chengelis, marijuana activist and — just ask him — big time Vietnam he-ro. “I had 77 confirmed kills. 7 in unarmed combat. 2 women. My job was cutting the ears off the dead Cong…. toe-tagging ours” read one typical boastful tweet. His drug use was a result of self-medication due to the terrible PTSD that wracks him every day because of the evil things Nixon made him do. Or that was his story.

It not only brought him a reputation for PTSD and an excuse for his mental illness and drug abuse and addiction, it also brought him lots of skanky admirers (see image) and the various benefits that go with that, including, according to one of his groupies, a Hepatitis C infection.

Long ago, the guys at This Ain’t Hell pulled his actual service records with FOIA, bringing on a paroxysm of denial, blame-shifting, and proxy defenses by a smoke ring of doper chicks that seem to hang around with this crumb. Maybe they get high on Bill’s supply.

It gets even better. The thread was long dormant, but Bill’s doper bimbos keep reanimating it, and did so again this week, reminding us of this world-class loser.

Stop us if you think you can predict what his records revealed: never in Vietnam or anywhere close. Never in combat. Zero ears, zero toes, zero credibility. Supply clerk failure, retrained as clerk typist, stationed amid the beer and other attractions of 1970s Germany.

It gets better yet. Bill was “wayward” all right: before he got to Germany, he deserted from his supply clerk (76Y) advanced individual training (AIT). After 40 days on the run, he appears to have been captured and locked up in the Fort Knox stockade for about six or seven weeks, before going through a less demanding (than supply clerk? Yep) AIT, 75E Personnel Actions Specialist (i.e. personnel clerk). The least demanding job in the Army — and Chengelis, perhaps due to his already-established cannabis addiction, was a shitbag at it. Jon at This Ain’t Hell has the goods on Jailbird Bill.

Someone did the hard work for us on this ass clown who calls himself Wayward Bill who is the chairman of the US Marijuana Party and supposedly spearheaded the pot initiative in Colorado last week. Of course, since he’s Vietnam-era aged, he had to claim that he needs pot to treat his PTS from the awful things that the military forced him to do in Vietnam;

Yes, as a personnel clerk, it was his job to cut off ears so the Army could keep count of the North Vietnamese Regulars that they killed. because, you know, counting is too hard for us dumbass infantrymen, we need a clerk to cut off ears for us.
Well, of course, since he’s being featured on TAH, you know his story is bullshit. Wayward Bill is really William Alvin Chengelis and he never went to Vietnam. He was a clerk in Germany. There’s nothing wrong with that, unless you tell lies about what you did to further a political agenda….

via This ain’t Hell, but you can see it from here » Blog Archive » Wayward Bill Chengelis, chairman of US Marijuana Party & lying phony.

Chengelis gets into the thread to defend himself, and here’s part of the career private and professional liar and doper’s defense is:

BTW to answer a few questions. I also got busted for sales of marijuana and possession for sale of marijuana while in the service. I had a Chapter 10 and my CO went to bat for me because he liked me and saw the potential in me to finish out honorably which I did. He was the reason for my new AIT and for me to go on. I did him right because he did me right. I actually have 89 days bad time. I have an article 15 for writing FUCK YOU on the mess roster. I also got another article 15 for hashish in Germany. The reason for the 1973 reduction in rank.

Guys like Chengelis were the bane of the Army until drug testing began under the Reagan administration. By then, Chengelis himself had been shown the door, but the drug tests eliminated hundreds of his clones and made it possible for the services to reach a truly professional level for the first time in a long time.

Phony hero, phony combat veteran, phony war veteran, genuine dopehead. You should go look at the thread on TAH because all the other cannabinoids turn out to defend Bill, to the extent that they can muster a coherent thought.  Some of them have even suggested that Bill — who, again, was never anywhere near Vietnam, something even he intermittently admits as his malformed acetylcholine reactions do weird things in his damaged brain — was a POW. And he finally retreats into the defeat mode of the classic internet troll, the call on cartoon attorneys:

Based on this opening statement it sounds like laws were broken to obtain my information. Because of this I will be turning this over to my 3 attorneys. No more comment from me hopefully I’ll see you in court Mr. Steve W Giles.

We’re sure Steve Giles, Jonn Lilyea, and the gang will be waiting to hear from your legal Dream Team. Better call Saul!

Update

As God is our witness, we were done and going to press when we stumbled over phony Vietnam vet Wayward Bill Chengelis’s comments on phony OEF vet Kevin Grimsinger:

Article Discussion: Greene: A veteran of war with the truth

Postby WaywardBill on September 26th, 2010, 11:51 am#1615777

Kevin Grimsinger a fraud. Too bad Kevin.You got and took kudos. Never yours. Faker.

You spoke for me and other vets besides speaking for the medical cannabis movement. How much free medicine have you taken for your glory?

I probably won’t make it through this if this is published. Another shallow lie. One that is as shallow as you. For shame Kevin, for shame.

We, the military veterans of Colorado and the patients trusted you and you failed us miserably. Huey your dog doesn’t know better. Karma dude, karma.
Peace, Pot, Politics,
Wayward Bill Chengelis
Chairman, US Marijuana Party of Colorado
Public Relations Officer Mile High NORML

That’s just too meta. The phony insulting the phony for a “shallow lie” that’s no phonier than “Wayward Bill’s” own bogus Vietnam story and bogus PTSD claim. But we guess they call it dope for a reason.

Breaking: Remember Hasan’s Beard?

Former-major Hasan made a big deal out of insisting to keep his Moslem terrorist beard, and a weak sister of a judge let him. Well, he’s now at the US Disciplinary Barracks at Leavenworth, and Big Boy Rules are in effect. Upshot: his toilet brush is gone. He was held down and forcibly shaved, and the beard is now just a bad memory in America, like the murdering little turd himself someday will be.

Hasan was sentenced on August 28th to dismissal from the service, forfeiture of all pays and allowances, and death. The Army has not gotten its stuff together to deal with any of its death row inmates since 1961, but one suspects Hasan will motivate the command to find its way around the JAGureaucracy.

In the meantime, prison’s going to suck for Hasan, and the President, the Pentagon suits, and the Army’s nutless-wonder generals continue to insist that this was not a terrorist attack, and screw the victims and survivors out of benefits — so life will continue to suck for those victims and survivors, who lack Hasan’s celebrity and counterculture fan base.

Oh, the Syrians are shaking in their flip-flops…

If you’ve given up waiting for the US Government to do something smart in reference to Syria, and are willing to settle for just doing something, you may find this report heartening.

DAMASCUS — The U.S. military took an unusual move Tuesday with the deployment of two battalions of amateur airsoft players to the Syrian capital, in an attempt to depose Bashar al-Assad, or at a bare minimum, just look like they are at least doing something in the two-year-old civil war.

Indeed, the battalions of fully-grown men — who dress up in military uniforms and shoot each other with Airsoft guns on the weekend — are currently en route to the conflict zone via an extremely short C-130 airbus.

“I’ve been training for this my whole life,” said Jeremy Lyons, a 32-year-old college dropout who swears “Airsoft is just a hobby,” even though his entire Facebook features photos of him looking like a goddamn Navy SEAL.

“We think this is a step in the right direction and a humanitarian way of dealing with these people,” said Pentagon spokesman George Little, although he refused to clear up confusion among reporters of whether he was talking about Syrian civilians or the hundreds of douchebags who play airsoft and think that gives them military experience.

“Since most of their parents bought their equipment, they’re also better outfitted than Delta Force and SEAL Team 6,” said one official, speaking of the most elite military units.

It’s the Duffel Blog, a former Wednesday Weapons Website of the Week (date), which is a satire site. (We spell that out for retired sergeants major and others who got the short humor chromosome). These days, you sometimes can’t tell. Do Read The Whole Thing™, and don’t miss their many other fine reports, like: “Admin Error sends Bradley Manning to Death Row, Nidal Hasan to Gender Reassignment“.  Satire so good you wish it were true.