Category Archives: Lord Love a Duck

The Case of the Purloined Pistols

ATF BadgeOne of the best polymer pistols is the Smith & Wesson M&P series, which show that old dogs really do learn new tricks. Smith was slow to respond to the threat of the Glock to its bread-and-butter police business; its first responses were halting screwups, followed immediately by the Sigma debacle1. But with the M&P they finally got it right. And it’s a common pistol among concealed carriers and in the holsters of cops nationwide.

Like most high-quality pistols, it doesn’t turn up in criminal hands all that often, and when it does, it’s usually a stolen example. ATF exhorts local cops to submit recovered guns for tracing (.pdf); even when the chain of possession is broken by a theft or lack or record, they can trace the gun from manufacturer or importer to point of initial sale and initial buyer’s ID, and even if that’s a dead trail, they can learn some facts and make some useful analytical inferences2.

File Photo showing a S&W 9mm serial number location

File Photo showing a S&W 9mm serial number location — not the recovered gun or any of the fraud guns.

So in February, 2012, when Plainfield, Connecticut, police seized a Smith & Wesson 9mm from an owner that could not produce a Connecticut “permit to purchase,”3 they entered the details into ATF’s eTrace system. The ATF’s National Tracing System contacted the manufacturer of the firearm, Smith & Wesson, to get a very surprising reply: “We never manufactured that pistol!”4

Sure enough, Smith’s records did not record the serial number at all. But the acquisition and dispositions records of a Smith supplier, Tri-Town Plastics, of Deep River, Connecticut, did.

They showed the serial number as manufactured, and scrapped, in March, 2011. Yet it was sitting in an evidence locker in Connecticut, mute testimony that the Tri-Town books were not right.

Tri-Town had had a fraught record with ATF’s Industry Operations. After a 2009 inspection, they had been given a punchlist of deficiencies to correct and improvements that the inspectors suggested. Whether the company took action or not is not clear. What is clear is that in preparation for the company’s next inspection, in 2011, Tri-Town employees found a dagger pointed at the heart of the company:

23 missing frames, or as the ATF would see it, 23 missing firearms. 

One or two missing frames is alarming, but it may be an inventory problem. A couple of dozen missing frames is another matter entirely. The employees realized that having the ATF find 23 firearms missing could be a company-killer; Tri-Town had become dependent on Smith & Wesson work for three-quarters of its revenue. For which work, it had to maintain a clean Manufacturer’s Federal Firearms License.

Whether the workers thought beyond the license implications is not clear. Whether one or both of them knew the disposition of the “scrapped” frames is unknown. Who is the criminal, still at large, that diverted at least one and possibly 23 modern handguns from lawful, regulated commerce into the black market is a mystery at this time. But even if the two workers had been entirely on the up-and-up to this point, what they (the two workers) did next was indubitably a crime: they falsified Tri-Town’s A&D records, recording the 23 missing frames as scrapped. (Crime 1). They did not report the lost inventory to the ATF (Crime 2). And they — as far as the legal case made clear — apparently did not report the case to their superior, Tri-Town General Manager Robert Brinkerhoff.

As a result, the ATF’s 2011 inspection observed the loss of parts to scrap, and didn’t note the inventory discrepancy — on the papers the ATF inspectors saw, it didn’t exist. They had no way of knowing the papers were fraudulent.

ATF didn’t come back to Tri-Town until the 2012 trace on the phantom 9mm. When they did, one of the two employees who falsified the records confessed to Brinkerhoff what he had done. What happened next was a fresh crime: Brinkerhoff did not report the lost frames and falsified records to the ATF, either.

What happened next is unclear, but in June, 2012, some four or five months after learning of the loss and deception, Brinkerhoff finally reported the loss of the 23 firearms. This five month delay was extremely costly for Brinkerhoff. In addition, the report he filed did not notify ATF that the firearms had been previously recorded as scrapped, a material omission.

Brinkerhoff must have been well-represented; in the end, he was initially charged with several felonies times 23 missing firearms, but ultimately was able to plead guilty to two misdemeanors: failing to file a theft/loss report and making false statements in a theft/loss report, one count each. He was sentenced to a year of probation, and as a condition of his probation the judge imposed 90 days’ nonparticipation in any firearms business.

To day, Brinkerhoff is the only individual charged in this interesting case, and the Plainfield pistol is believed to be the only one of the up-to-23 phantom Smiths that are “out there somewhere” to be recovered. The other serial numbers have been noted in the ATF Suspect Gun Database and NCIS, and the investigation continues.

We may speculate as to why the two Tri-Town workers who falsified the original records have not been prosecuted, but only the investigators know.

One wonders if the Brinkerhoff case and the fact that Tri-Town Plastics was then on the bubble (at best) for retaining its FFL was a factor in SWHC’s 2014 acquisition of Tri-Town, which is now “Deep River Plastics, a Smith & Wesson Company.” Not only was Tri-Town completely dependent on SWHC (75% of its business went to the Massachusetts firm), but SWHC was completely dependent on Tri-Town for M&P frames and other parts.

Notes

  1. Then-head of Smith & Wesson Steve Melvin famously directed his engineers to “Copy the mother******!“, and they dutifully did, producing the Sigma. Glock unsurprisingly sued, and unsurprisingly won. Melvin, who knew little about firearms, is also the guy who brought the company near death with a dope-deal with the Clinton Administration to enforce anti-gun “laws” Clinton couldn’t get through Congress.
  2. “Time-to-crime” is a useful one, although it should probably be called “time-to-recovery” as many traces are not associated with a particular crime. Average times to recovery are pretty long, five or seven years, as few guns break right out of the legit market into the black market early. Short times to recovery are indicative of diversion or trafficking.
  3. Connecticut, where police and politicians tend to oppose private gun ownership, does not register guns, except for so-called “assault weapons.” Instead, it achieves the same end another way: it registers owners.
  4. ATF did not tell Plainfield this, by the way. ATF does not share trace data as widely as it might, as a matter of policy; while some ATF agents and inspectors blame this on “the Republicans in Congress” or “the Tiahrt Amendment,” ATF’s Ross Arends has admitted this is not the case, and that the decision is driven by concern about exposing u/c investigations.

These are the ATF press releases related to this case:

 

 

Are Sneakers a Deadly Weapon?

Question before the Court: is this a deadly weapon?

Question before the Court: is this a deadly weapon?

This case is before the Supreme Court, as a small-time criminal unhappy with the way a violent assault landed him in the big time, and an army of pro-criminal lawyers, try to lawyer him out of the pickle a bad temper and bad judgment got him into.

And yes, alcohol was involved; the incident happened at closing time at the city’s notorious bar-cum-fight-club, where a weekend night without flashing blue lights in the street was an occasion worth remarking. The bar has since been closed (after this and many other violent incidents).

PORTSMOUTH — The New Hampshire Supreme Court is deliberating whether a sneaker-clad foot can be a deadly weapon, based on an appeal by Josiah Mayo, who knocked a man to the pavement with a roundhouse kick to the face, outside the now-closed Page Restaurant and Bar.

via Page assault moves to Supreme Court – News – seacoastonline.com – Portsmouth, NH.

During a July 15, 2012 fracas outside The Page, Mayo “turned to wind up, swung his shod foot around in a martial arts-style roundhouse kick and hit the victim’s face with so much force that the victim was immediately knocked unconscious, fell back and fractured his skull,” according to a brief filed with the Supreme Court by Senior Assistant Attorney General Susan McGinnis.

Sounds like deadly force to us.

One of the victim’s friends was punched in the head and kicked in the leg and when he turned around to see who did it, he saw “a bunch of angry faces and people ready to fight,” the attorney general summarized. Mayo and his cousin, Daniel Mayo, both of Portsmouth, started yelling “and racial slurs may have been used” by others in the crowd, the attorney general reports. The victim and his friend “were not arguing, making threats or being aggressive,” McGinnis wrote.

Josiah Mayo

Josiah Mayo, small-time thug unhappy with his lot.

This is the weakest part of the prosecution case: the racial slurs (Mayo and his family are black; the victim and his friends are white) and general nature of the booze-fueled violence that night. Mayo had a case for self-defense, albeit a weak one; he presented it (and testified) in the lower court, but he had a credibility problem, as he’d given contradictory and incriminating statements to the police and the press.

In these days of fraught racial politics, some want to make this a case about race. We’re not seeing this. Unlike some states, New Hampshire has very little black-on-white crime. This is often ascribed by locals to our enlightened ideas about race relations and our abolitionist past, but it may simply be a statistical consequence of having relatively few blacks or other minorities, and having low crime all round. In all the nation, most crime is intra- rather than inter-racial, and with our almost all-white population, violent crime here is usually white-on-white. (There was a Black Lives Matter demo in Portsmouth Friday night, attended by about 80%

Anyway, here’s another description of Mayo’s crime, which we take as coincidentally interracial, but deliberately violent:

At that point, according to the state’s brief, Mayo kicked the victim in the face and “his entire body went rigid, he fell back like a tree and his head hit the pavement with a loud crack.” The victim’s friends said he was bleeding and out cold, according to court testimony.

Again, that sounds like deadly force with a deadly weapon to us, using the Forrest Gump’s Mama’s standard (“Deadly is as deadly does.”) However, as Andrew Branca would teach you if you attended one of his seminars or took one of his webinars, no court in the country uses Forrest’s Mama’s Standard; those hard-headed judges persist in using their own state’s statutes and case law. So there arises what lawyers call “a colorable argument.” Meaning, a question of law and of fact where advocacy for both sides before a neutral tribune is required to make a best resolution of the case.

Portsmouth police officer Christopher Worthington responded, kept calling the victim’s name and shining a flashlight in his eyes, but didn’t get a response, the attorney general reports. When an ambulance arrived, the victim regained consciousness and began vomiting blood, according to the attorney general’s brief.

We would describe that as a victim of assault with a deadly weapon. There is absolutely no question that if the victim had expired, which as we’ll see in a moment, he very nearly did, Mayo would have been charged with murder or manslaughter.

The kick was not the only blow landed by Mayo on the victim, but it’s the only one that has had appellate legs. He’s still going to be in prison for assault, regardless of the appeal’s outcome. What the appeal can do for him is pull his release day years closer.

The victim, who had previously worked as a bouncer at The Page, was hospitalized for five days, three of them in intensive care, for a skull fracture and inter-cranial hemorrhage, according to the attorney general. Mayo was identified as the assailant by witnesses, then later by video surveillance images, court records state.

Here we see another clue in the story: the victim was a former bouncer. It would not shock us to  learn he had been a bit forward in helping the current bouncers, probably buddies of his, to push the drunks out at closing time.

Ah yeah. Most choirboys have multiple mugshots of various vintages, right?

Ah yeah. Most choirboys have multiple mugshots of various vintages, right?

Mayo is a career criminal with numerous other convictions, and was on parole at the time, which is one of the subjects of the appeal: his lawyer argues that these facts should not have been used to impeach his credibility, lest they prejudice the jury.

His other two points of appeal are the lack of a self-defense instruction, and that a sneaker can’t be a deadly weapon:

The second part of Mayo’s appeal states that the trial court judge wrongfully failed to dismiss the assault with a deadly weapon charge. Mulvey argues that Mayo’s foot in a high-top sneaker doesn’t fit the definition of a deadly weapon, which is defined by law as “any firearm, knife or other substance or thing which, in the manner it is used, intended to be used or threatened to be used, is known to be capable of producing death or serious bodily injury.”

“The defendant’s foot, in a regular sneaker, used in the manner described above, does not meet the definition of a deadly weapon,” Mayo’s lawyer contends. “The force of the impact of the cobblestone ground caused the skull fracture and not the kick itself.”

For some reason, we hear this legal argument in 1930s comic Brooklyn accents: “Oy! It wasn’t me, Yer Honna. It was th’ skreeet what attackled him!”

One of the issues not before the Supreme Court, but that might help readers in evaluating Mayo’s credibility, is that Mayo fled the scene after assaulting the 32-year-old Maine man. He fled to Maine and was picked up coincidentally there on a probation violation a couple of weeks later, whereupon Maine cops discovered he was wanted in NH.

Nothing good eventuates in the small hours of the clock.

Just Another Day in South Florida

Open wide!

Open wide! Cha-chunk.

Down in SoFlo, looks like Leee-roy be goin’ to the Big House. Luck was not with him, and the cold bracelets of The Law closed on his wrists. He’ll be out sometime… but probably not very soon.

According to the police report, Leroy and two other men negotiated to buy about $200,000 worth of cocaine. The three were arrested Monday after the exchange was made. Police also found a loaded 9mm handgun under the seat of Leroy’s vehicle.
Police say Leroy admitted to his role in the drug deal. He is charged with cocaine trafficking, trafficking conspiracy and committing a felony with a weapon. The other men also face drug charges.

So, why is this even a thing? If there’s anything more routine that three mooks conspiring to traffic in coke, it’s the cops putting the habeas grabbus on the mooks. So what’s so special about this case that it made the TV news? What “The Rest of the Story!”?

A Sunrise Police Department report identified the NYPD officer as 28-year-old Phillip Leroy of Queens. Leroy remained jailed Wednesday on $250,000 bail, and court records did not indicate whether he had an attorney.

See, that’s the bit we left out so we could do the Paul Harvey shtick: Philip Leroy is a cop. (We haven’t seen it in writing yet, but by Monday if not already he will be a suspended cop). There are two kinds of bad cops: one is guys who just suck at being cops and are attracted to the business for whatever reason. They bumble along, annoying and irritating their peers, but usually make it to retirement without excessively shaming their departments or nuking anybody’s civil rights.

Fact of the matter is, not everybody who wants to do Job X is fit to do that job, and it seems like the more TV shows there are about the job, the more unsuitable recruits it attracts. Depending on the selectivity of your selection gates, a higher or lower quantity of these unsuitables will make it through to become your perennial personnel problems, but it’s never zero. (Even the Rangers, SF, SOF SMUs, and our other-service and Allied peers let the occasional high-functioning bum through. Our opinion is that the Rangers are the very best at getting rid of them afterward; they’re ruthless about it).

Then, there’s the other kind of bad cops, guys like Philip Leroy: guys that remind us that the police, too, are drawn from a society where people demonstrate a normal distribution of many traits, including law-abiding-ness. They’re bad cops because they’re bad people, to wit, criminals. We’d be shocked if we were to learn that this crime has been Leroy’s only departure from the straight and narrow. (Maybe John Delorean was an exception, maybe not, but dealers in recreational pharmaceuticals generally don’t start drug dealing in the home-mortgages-worth-of-product stratum).

It would be interesting to know where Patrolman-for-now Leroy made contact with his counterparties in this deal, and who the snitch was.

Now, a few paragraphs above, we mentioned that some duds always get through, in mentioning the problem of designing selection gates. We were talking about the guy who’s not morally bad, but who sucks at his job. (Maybe he’s a different kind of morally bad, a work-ethic problem or something). But what about the guys like Philip Leroy? How do you keep an actual or potential malefactor out? Thing is, you don’t. Criminals like many other problem subordinates tend to have very high levels of narcissism, but so do your high performers, who can be team players if only because it’s to their personal advantage. There’s no psychological or psychometric test that can tell you, “Oooh, better not hire this candidate, 644329 Leroy; he’s gonna turn on you.” Not without setting its sensitivity to reject vast quantities of good candidates who will never cause trouble.

Like Forrest Gump’s mama’s test for stupid, the only test for ethical behavior that counts is the one that comes when the guy is actually on the job. And what you need here is early detection and ruthless elimination — both of which are nearly impossible when a PD’s hands are tied by union contracts and/or Civil Service protections.

Add to that, like the Army, the people the typical cop shop puts in personnel or HR positions are not exactly nature’s noblemen: from the clerk-typist to the white shirt setting policy, they tend to be drawn from the left tail of the bell curve, and be far beneath their operational peers in any measure of ability.

And these are things that police chiefs either don’t know (because they’re promoted from one or the other kinds of dud) or dare not say.

via NYPD Officer Faces Drug, Gun Charges In Florida « CBS Miami.

The Continuing Adventures of Bubba the Gunsmith: Pistolsmithin’

Or maybe it’s pistol-smite-in’. This eye-wounding monstrosity was in an ARFCOM thread. Bubba the Gunsmith is alive in Pennsylvania:

Bubba's revolver

As Kid would say, “You can’t unsee that.” Needs brain bleach. But wait, it gets better.

S&W performance center needs to take notes.

This is a new to the market tri-port design. Customer did an excellent job and only slipped a few times! Massive recoil reduction and muzzle flip is now zero.

The new Magnum Research BFR, now in ported!

Yes, that’s sarcasm. Most of the people in the ARFCOM thread seemed to pick that up, too… which is a little surprising. Normally there’d be at least one who didn’t get it.

via why overpay for custom barrel porting when you can do it yourself? – Page 1 – AR15.COM.

Nothing says “pro job” like a cheap sight on a riser … that is itself on a riser. (it’s risers all the way down!) But what the hell, the revolver’s only in some ancient cartridge, not some modern round with high recoil. After all, it’s only .0064 caliber (you’re supposed to divide the .45 by the 70 to solve .45/70, right?)

And what’s the port job they’re talking about…? Let’s look closer:

bubbas precision machining one

That’s… unique. Let’s zoom in on his workmanship.

bubbas precision machining two

Dude, when the phone doesn’t ring, that’s Doug Turnbull not calling.

It’s amazing what you can make with a revolver and an air grinder.

Like… scrap. Apparenly the character is notorious for this kind of gunsmithing. Here’s another example:

hack job no 2

Didn’t we see that gun on The Man From K.N.U.C.K.L.E.?

Not sure is that is his hand in the last picture. Does this make him the “Hairy-handed gent / Who ran amuck in Kent?”

That would explain it, as much as anything could.

AwooooOOO Werewolves of Gunsmiting. AwoooOOO!

Bad Faith and Benghazi

Would you trust your diplomatic Mission to this guy?

Would you trust your diplomatic Mission to this guy?

There have been a number of reports that have let the kimono of secrecy about the Benghazi attacks slip a bit. That kimono has been in place solely to protect the careers and reputations of intelligence community managers and political appointees who handled the incident incredibly badly. As a rule, the media reports — which have their flaws — have been better than the official reports — which have many of the same flaws, plus an attempt to protect this ox or that from being gored.

One of the sacred oxen, of course, is failed CIA Director Michael Morrell, who torpedoed himself for any high office, ever, by lying repeatedly (including under oath) to Congress. And he didn’t do it for the nation, or for the CIA officers he sent into harm’s way: indeed, he threw them under the bus to protect his political patrons. Of course, having reached a certain Beltway patent of nobility, he won’t be prosecuted for perjury, the way you might.

Some of the reports have made Morrell’s dismal performance glaringly clear. Except for the on-scene PSD and other contract and career officers (and not all of them by any means), nobody in government, of either party, comes out of this with much of a reputation.

But no report we’ve seen takes on the Benghazi cover-up in the Administration and in Congress with more clarity and even-handedness than a new one coming in the 15 December 14 Weekly Standard, written soberly and factually by Steven Hayes and Thomas Joscelyn. Here is a link, and a taste:

Kris Paronto remembers joking with John Boehner about his tan.

It was nearly 9:00 p.m., and the Longworth building was mostly empty. Paronto was joined in Representative [Devin] Nunes’s [R-TX] office by two others who had fought in Benghazi—Mark Geist and “Jack,” the pseudonym for a former Navy SEAL who doesn’t want his name made public—as well as [Mark] Zaid, their lawyer. The men sipped port from Portugal, the country of Nunes’s ancestors, and red wine from the Alpha Omega winery in his home state of California.

The 45-minute meeting with the speaker was mostly taken up with small talk—about family, Congress, the military. There were two exceptions. The first came when Boehner asked about persistent rumors that the CIA was involved in weapons transfers from Libya to Syria. Paronto reported that he had never seen any evidence to support those claims. He made clear that he couldn’t rule it out, but could speak with certainty only about what he’d seen and done—and that didn’t involve moving arms. Boehner, who was intensely interested in Benghazi but not inclined to chase conspiracies, seemed satisfied. The second serious moment came near the end of the meeting, when Boehner told the men that he fully supported Nunes and his efforts to have them testify before the House Intelligence Committee.

Nunes, who will succeed [Mike] Rogers [R-MI] as chairman in the new Congress, had spoken with some of the CIA officers before, including a six-hour session in his office on the occasion of their first meeting. The stories these men told affirmed the Obama administration’s version in some respects and contradicted it in many others. Before their appearance, the full committee had heard from only one CIA officer who was on the ground in Benghazi. There was no way to conduct a serious investigation without hearing from these eyewitnesses and others like them, yet the committee never contacted them.

via The Benghazi Report | The Weekly Standard.

Most remarkable story. Nunes and others wound up having to, more or less, cram the eyewitnesses down Rogers’s throat; Rogers’s senior staff director would later leave to work for a shifty, shadowy lobbying firm associated with Hillary Clinton. The report continues:

In the late summer of 2013, after the men had made clear to Nunes their willingness to testify, Rogers exchanged several letters with Zaid, who represented not just Paronto, Geist, and “Jack” but also two others who had been on the ground in Benghazi, John Tiegen and “D.B. Benton,” another pseudonym. The men had begun collaborating on a book, 13 Hours, which would be published in September 2014. Written by Boston University journalism professor Mitchell Zuckoff, it offers a detailed and decidedly nonpolitical account of what happened in Benghazi. Each of the men fought throughout the night to repel the attacks, some of them sustaining major injuries. Geist nearly had his arm blown off by a mortar as he fired on attackers from the roof of a building at the CIA annex early on September 12. Tiegen arrived moments later to find Geist trying to hold his tattered arm in place and both Tyrone Woods and Glen Doherty dead.

Zaid wrote Rogers that his clients were eager to share their story with the committee, and he made several routine requests in preparation, according to the correspondence, obtained by The Weekly Standard. “On behalf of my clients and the memories of their fallen colleagues, thank you for your interest in this event,” Zaid wrote, later noting that his clients “are looking forward to providing assistance to the Committee’s investigation.”

These quotes are from deep within the report, but every word of it is worth reading. Rogers, by the way, initially denied them reimbursement for travel to testify, in contravention of common Congressional practice. He really didn’t want the ground guys on the record.

Chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, Mike Rogers (R-MI — the state needs to be specified because there’s a Mike Rogers, R-AL), comes across as an anti-military dirtbag, willing to throw the defending contractors of Benghazi under the bus for his Beltway pals, but the real Nehru Jacket of Evil seems to fit two flunkies, Committee spokeswoman Susan Phalen (a Republican staffer) and committee lawyer Michael Bahar (a Democratic one). Bahar accused CIA security officer Kris Paronto of insubordination, and lectured him that he was betraying his Ranger heritage by “insubordination” in contradicting the official line put out by the Administration, that the attack on the facilities in Benghazi was a spontaneous reaction to a YouTube video. (One suspects that Bahar’s resume, like Morell’s, doesn’t contain a military service line).

Now, this report itself could be a plant by some other Beltway buffoon (Boehner? It’s remarkably kind to him), but there’s not much question about the rotten performance of Mike Rogers and the House Select Committee on Intelligence in this investigation. Rogers, fortunately, has retired from Congress. He had an eyeblink career in the Army (minimal obligated service as an MP officer, 1985-89) and a similarly short stint at FBI (89-94). NTTAWWT, but judging from his performance on Benghazi he didn’t learn a damned thing about investigation on either job.

Some Days, You Eat the Bear…

angry-black-bearThe annual bear hunt in New Jersey, resumed after 40 years of protection in 2005 as black bear populations spiraled, also kicks off another annual tradition: opposition to the hunt by animal-rights extremists.

Reuters has a story, mostly from the bear-huggers’ viewpoint.

For opponents of the six-day hunt that starts Monday, the September death of Darsh Patel could not have come at a worse time, since the state is considering expanding hunting as part of a new five-year bear management plan.

Patel was a young university student on a hike with friends, who all were able to outrun Patel… who in turn was not able to outrun the bruin. But yeah, the real tragedy here, the al-Reuters scribe seems to think, is that it reminds people that bears are not just the cute cubs that the anti-hunting groups use in their ads.

“Animal rights activists have been calling bears ‘the dolphins of the forest’ … but things like this can happen,” said New Jersey Outdoor Alliance Chairman Anthony Mauro.

Come on! “Dolphins of the forest”? Even some numb-from-the-neck-up animal-rights schlub has to know better than that, right? It sounds like something from The Onion. Wait, it is:

dolphins in forest

We couldn’t find the exact phrase anywhere except on pro-hunting sites, where they seem to claim that a woman named Susan Hatkins Kehoe and her extremist group Bear Education And Resource (a recursive acronym), called the violent predators “dolphins of the forest” or “dolphins of the woods” or “…of the woodlands.” Kehoe appears unbalanced enough that she could have said that; she has appeared in the comments of news stories vilifying Patel and suggesting that he provoked the sweet, innocent bear. But while we could find no end of lunacy from Kehoe, we couldn’t unearth an example of her saying those words. The word “dolphin” does not occur on the anti-hunting extremists’ website, however, the locution “timid and gentle bears” occurs frequently. Here’s one example, an obituary of an anthropomorphized bear “Samantha” for whom the loonies erected a misshapen sculpture, and actually set up a Facebook page.

"Celery, my @$$. I'm going out and kill something."

“Celery, my @$$. I’m going out and kill something.”

And yes, they mourned the loss of the bear that was euthanized by game rangers for eating Patel. Patel, not so much.

If you think bears would rather futz around on Facebook, than crush Darsh Patel’s neck and skull and proceed to eat his lower body, then we’re not sure even the latest advances in psychiatry can help you. Anyway, back to al-Reuters:

The attack on Patel while he was hiking in New Jersey’s Apshawa Preserve, some 30 miles west of New York’s bustling Times Square, marked the first fatal mauling ever recorded in the state. It came during a year when sightings and complaints about bears have jumped, despite their reduced numbers, in the northwest corner of New Jersey.

And evidence for reduced numbers, turns out to hinge on

The state determined that the mauling was a rare case of predatory behavior by a male black bear, which, unlike the more aggressive grizzly of the western U.S. states, tends to be shy and avoid conflict with humans.
In North America, only 63 people have been reported killed in black bear attacks from 1900 to 2009, according to a study led by University of Calgary professor Stephen Herrero.

If the point they were making is, “Bear attacks are extremely rare and probably not something you need to worry about,” that would be one thing. But their point is closer to “bears are sweet, kind and lovable cartoon characters, human beings in bear form.”

Opponents say bears in New Jersey have gravitated to populated areas in part because hunters are allowed to use bait, conditioning the animals to seek out garbage, barbecue grills and even kitchen pantries.
At the same time, there are no state requirements that New Jersey residents use bear-resistant garbage containers.
“Hunting does not solve any problems; it creates new ones,” said Susan Russell, wildlife policy director at the Animal Protection League. “Residents and public safety are far better served by removing attractants and learning how to behave in the presence of bears.”

via New Jersey bear hunt fueled by emotion over mauling death – Yahoo News Canada.

How bear-resistant trash cans, one of the folk-healing panaceas promoted by the BEAR cult when they’re not pushing bans on medical research and meat-eating, would have done Darsh Patel a jot of good is anyone’s guess.

Darsh was not available for comment.

When guns are outlawed, only outlaws will have stranglin’ thumbs

Roger Pelletier Dog StranglerWhile there are plenty of stranglings, we’ve never yet see a guy arrested for trying to strangle a Shih-Tzu. It’s even funnier, when you think about it. He failed. Not just because the snack-sized dog overcame him, but the little old lady whose dog it was beat him up, too, and wrestled the pooch away from him. Loser!

Roger Pelletier, 50, of 236 Rockland St. No. 31, was charged with two felonies — cruelty to an animal and burglary — after forcing his way into a neighbor’s unit at Portsmouth Apartments around 9:55 a.m. and trying to kill her shih tzu named Oreo, Portsmouth Police Sgt. Chris Kiberd said.
Jessie Angelli, owner of 6-year-old Oreo, said she moved into the apartment complex in September, and before Friday she had very few interactions with Pelletier. Angelli said Pelletier had once asked her to control her dog, but she never expected him to barge into her apartment and attempt to harm her and Oreo.
“I went to the door to try and talk to him, and he just pushed it right in and searched for the dog,” Angelli said Friday afternoon, holding Oreo in her arms. “He went into the bedroom and took her from under the bed and tried to strangle her.”
Standing in the doorway of her apartment, Angelli pointed out the paint chips and dents in the door she said Pelletier inflicted while breaking in.
“It was awful,” she said.

Oreo (left) and Ms. (right).

Oreo the Shih-Tzu (left) and Jessie Angelli (right) couldn’t wait for 911, and overcame Pelletier. The dog is still alive (and yappy) and Pelletier is out on bail (for the time being). 

But she wrested her barking little dust-mop away from Pelletier anyway. (Hmmm. Do we detect a whiff of Judgment Juice on him?) If he winds up in prison, he’ll have a hell of a story to tell the other cons. “I’m here because a little old lady stopped me from stranglin’ her yappy little Shih-Tzu.”

Now, we can sympathize with people bugged by an endlessly barking dog. But strangulation? Practically everything about this case screams bad judgment.

To be sure, Pelletier denies trying to strangle the pet, but his explanation probably wasn’t much help to his defense attorney. Why? He says he was trying to break her little neck.

Pelletier pushed her out of the way and barged into her apartment stating, “I’m going to kill that dog.”

Angelli told police that Pelletier chased Oreo into her bedroom, grabbed the dog, threw it on top of her bed and “began choking her with both hands,” the officer wrote. Pelletier then walked out of the apartment and into a hallway while carrying Oreo by its neck, according to the officer’s report.

Pelletier told the officer that he “just kind of barged in” to his neighbor’s apartment “and chased the dog into the bedroom.” When asked if he was allowed inside there, Pelletier said “probably not really,” Dupuis’ report states.

No $#!+, Sherlock Holmes.

“Once in the bedroom, Pelletier said he grabbed the dog from under the bed, and began choking it with one hand while holding its body with the other hand,” the police report states. “I asked Pelletier what he was trying to accomplish by grabbing the dog’s neck, to which he replied, ‘tried breaking his neck.'”

We seldom feel sympathy for lawyers, but we might make an exception for the one whose task is going to be to defend Mr Pelletier. It does not seem like his statements have helped his cause, and it’s not exactly a self-defense case. Doesn’t Pelletier know that you can only kill dogs if you have a badge?* Or run a shelter for PETA?

Another follow up article notes the charges against Pelletier, and that his own pet, an allegedly neglected cat, has been seized by the SPCA. (The cat will be evaluated, and additional animal cruelty charges are possible. If so, he’ll lose the animal; fortunately for the furball, the local SPCA is a no-kill shelter).

Pelletier is charged with felony charges of burglary and animal cruelty, as well as a misdemeanor count of simple assault. The animal cruelty charge alleges that on Nov. 14 at 9:54 a.m., Pelletier “did purposely” beat his neighbor’s dog by grabbing it around its neck. The burglary charge alleges that on the same date and time, Pelletier entered the apartment of neighbor Jessie Angelli to commit the crime of animal cruelty. The simple assault charge alleges Pelletier caused unprivileged contact to Angelli by pushing her aside as he barged into her apartment.

via ‘Matted’ cat seized from accused dog strangler – News – seacoastonline.com – Portsmouth, NH.

Strangling is serious business, accounting for many homicides a year, but in cases of human strangulation or choking that don’t lead to death, only 29 states have a specific charge (the others presumably charge some form of aggravated assault or battery, so it’s not like this is legal anywhere). The domestic violence industry has been pressing for specific laws, which have led to massive quantities of convictions in some jurisdictions that have adopted them, like Maine, where charges are up 600%, but others, like New York, have found that it generates thousands of arrests, which then become a handful of charges, but no convictions. Perhaps the devil is in the details of the law.

Of course, strangling a dog (or trying to break its neck, for that matter) is, in most places, the same charge of animal cruelty whether or not the dog perishes.

As the sun sets a couple of weeks after Pelletier’s arrest, all the dogs and cats in the story seem to be OK, but Pelletier has some serious legal problems.

Kooyoomjian mugshotHe should have been this gal instead. New Hampshire has some bizarre legal outcomes, like anywhere else. In the same courtroom where they’re throwing the book at the above idjit for ineffectual dog-strangling, they let a hit-and-run drunk driver, Danielle Kooyoomjian, 30, (mugshot right), walk with no jail time for killing a man:

Kooyoomjian had faced a possible lengthy jail time on a negligent homicide charge for fatally striking Sayre, 57, of Amesbury, Mass., on Ocean Boulevard near the Ashworth By The Sea Hotel around 1:04 a.m. on Oct. 13, 2013.

The state agreed to a deal with Kooyoomjian on a felony reckless conduct charge and a driving while intoxicated charge. Assistant County Attorney Karen Springer said she did so because the state couldn’t prove the necessary causation for a negligent homicide conviction due to the fact there were no eye witnesses to the accident or skid marks in the roadway.

“I have an ethical responsibility not to bring a case to trial if I cannot prove it beyond a reasonable doubt,” said Springer.

And that last stopped a prosecutor, when? This is one of the things where you need the old Mad Magazine “What she said… What she means…” translator. Translation: “I have political ambitions, and my desire to have a won/loss record to tout, trumps any interests of justice, or any problems caused by letting vehicular homicide go unpunished.”

So you get the outcome where the no-good bum that attacked the dog is probably going to the county house for a while, and the no-good bum that ran over a pedestrian and then fled has as the most serious consequence a suspended drivers license. Lord love a duck.

Springer acknowledged that the sentence likely pales in comparison to the “big loss” dealt to Sayre’s family.

“I think the resolution is as just as it can be,” she said. “I understand the family isn’t 100-percent satisfied. I’m not sure I can ever satisfy them.”

Translation: “Ignorant citizens, wanting criminals punished. Can’t they understand it’s all about my career?”

Outside the courtroom, separately, Singer and Kooyoomjian both flounced by the victim’s family, refusing to make eye contact. Were they smirking the same smirk inside?

It’s Kooyoomjian’s good luck she didn’t kill a dog.

 

* Note that the staggeringly incompetent (and rabidly anti-gun) Buffalo Police Commissioner Daniel Derenda is front and center in the TV Station report that figures in the latest story at that link. The Buffalo PD also calls every dog they shoot a pit bull, unless it’s very obviously some other purebred. (They’ve never shot a mutt… once it’s dead, it’s a pit bull). One of Derenda’s officers gets his jollies shooting dogs on raids; he’s killed at least 25 of the animals in the last three years. They kill a dog about one in every ten warrant services. Meanwhle, as we’ve noted before, they let most homicide investigations drop, while trying to shake down the families of dead gun owners for the guns. What do they need them for? Oh, right, shooting dogs.

Ever see a “Flute Gun”?

This is a new one on us. It’s a little old — it was turned in during a gun turn in (which they did not, mercifully, refer to as a “buy back”) in Tampa, Florida in February, 2013, making it practically matchlock-era by blog standards, but it’s new to us.

Hillsborough FL flute gun3

Yep, that’s exactly what it looks like — a .22 bolt rifle built into a flute. It looks like an unfinished project, but the details are completely unknown.

Hillsborough FL flute gun

Ian Anderson from Jethro Tull was not available for comment. Naturally, the press fixated on the flute gun and two inert, fired AT weapons, an M72 LAW and an AT-4, to the exclusion of interesting weapons — including one far more deadly than any of these, at least, potentially.

Two rocket launchers and a flute fashioned into a gun were among the weapons turned into the Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office’s Gun Swap program on Saturday. A total of 2,541 weapons were exchanged for $75 and tickets to a Tampa Bay Rays home game at five locations throughout the county.

via Rocket launchers, ‘flute gun’ among weapons turned in at gun buyback | wtsp.com.

Here’s a close-up of the muzzle area, where it looks like two flutes were grafted together to make the needed length. Or maybe that’s where a flute takes down. We’re guitar guys, we don’t pretend to know boo about flutes.

Hillsborough FL flute gun2

In all their fright over the flute gun and the harmless-but-scary-looking “rocket launchers,” the media ignored the heavy quantities of sawn-off shotguns in the turn-ins, and they missed the gun in the background here.

Hillsborough FL flute gun etc

Yeah, if you go past the Jennings pistol and the flute gun, and past the crude sawn-offs, that’s a Browning AN/M2 or M3 aircraft machine gun. It looks like an M2 to us, because the buffer is not the full width of the back plate (the dead give-away of the M3 is that huge buffer). Either way, that;s 1,000 to 1,200 RPM of 12.7×99 mm coming at you right there. (Of course, it looks to be in $#!+ state, maybe from a crash site).

The guns from the turn-in were sent to Jacksonville to be torched (which may add more costs). The leadership of the Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office opposes the private ownership of firearms, which is why they dropped $200k buying these odd guns, and a lot of armed robbers’ older sawn-off shotguns. Your tax (and forfeiture) money in action.

The $200k expenditure (so far) against a $60k budget tells you a lot about the fiscal management and overall priorities of the HCSO.

Ray’s Recruiting Rangerettes; Lower Standards, Commissars, to Guarantee Graduation

This rope traverse in Ranger School is a one-time deal, not part of the PT test. One example of the physical demands on the Ranger candidate. The ladies won't be doing this.

This rope traverse in Ranger School is a one-time deal, not part of the PT test. One example of the physical demands on the Ranger candidate. The ladies won’t be doing this.

Army Chief of Staff Raymond Odierno has been having his minions actively recruiting Ranger rats for the first coed Ranger class. The Army has learned from the Marines’ experience with their officer and enlisted infantry schools, and he’s not even going to attempt to have the Rangerettes meet the existing standards.

He’s also emplaced a Corps of Commissars — female officer and NCO “observers and advisers” whose mission will be to ensure that the sisters make it through. Some 31 women were selected out of “more than three dozen” who applied. The Corps of Commissars selectees were given a one-week micro-Ranger-school, according to Military.com (hat tip, The Captain’s Journal):

…so they can work alongside male instructors and help observe the female students selected for the first-ever co-ed class, known as the Ranger Course Assessment, tentatively scheduled for this spring.

The Military.com article has a few more prize quotes. We couldn’t make this crap up:

“Their performance and professionalism over the course of the week was extraordinary,” Maj. Gen. Scott Miller, commanding general of the Maneuver Center of Excellence, said of the women, according to a release posted on Fort Benning’s Facebook page. “This group did very well for what was a very physically challenging week for any soldier.”

Hey, that’s the toughest week in the Army, troop. A MG (who, dear God, should not ever be approved by the Senate for three or four stars) says so, and when was a general ever wrong?

Service officials hinted that the number of women actually interested in applying for combat assignments will be relatively small.

The reason they’re “hinting” is because, in the Army now, you can’t say anything about bull dykes, even if they’re hitting on subordinates in their own unit, and you’re the commander. Strike that: were the commander, until you asked them to stop swapping spit in uniform at a unit function.

NATO countries that have opened infantry jobs and similar positions to women report that only about 1 percent of potential female recruits apply for the jobs…

Er, what’s the percentage of….? NTTAWWT. Unless they’re in your unit, disrupting unit discipline (and creeping out otherwise-oriented subordinates), and you know now that you can’t say anything lest you and a platter be making like John the Baptist most ricky-tick.

What’s more, if the U.S. military fully integrates women into all jobs, the services’ various recruiting offices will vie to recruit that small subset of the population, she said.

“Unfortunately, all of us will be competing for those same women,” Sheimo said.

Well, m’dear, you’ll just have to get creative.

Army Secretary John McHugh and Army Chief of Staff Gen. Raymond Odierno, among others, are expected to make a decision sometime after Jan. 1 on whether to approve the plan to allow female soldiers to enroll in Ranger School.

Well, the decision those two payroll patriots are going to make is a real stone cold mystery. Really.

“Holmes, what do you make of this?”

“I don’t know, my dear Watson; for the first time in my career of detection it beats me with a stick.”

This is the picture Military.com used to illustrate their story. Presumably it shows the Corps of Commissars learning how to carry female Ranger candidates through the course.

This is the picture Military.com used to illustrate their story. Presumably it shows the Corps of Commissars learning how to carry female Ranger candidates through the course.

On second thought, we have less doubt than that, after all. Indeed, we’ll give you 10-1 that those two crapweasels make a go decision, except that none of you will take us up on it because we all already know they’ve already made the go decision.

Or to be more precise, they’ve already received the go decision and are letting a suitably decent interval elapse, as if they were thinking, before passing it on.

On Wednesday, Odierno said the service plans to finish by spring or summer assessments to determine the feasibility of opening engineering, artillery, armor and infantry jobs to women.

“It’s going very well,” he said. “We still have some final assessments to do.”

See what he did there? He very nearly spilled that the fix was in (“It’s going very well!”), and then he reeled himself in. It takes talent, and the kind of lips-on experience in sucking up that you can only learn in the best schools, to catch a bobble like that. See, that’s why this weasel is Chief of Staff, and you’re not, you slacker.

“For me, it’s about talent management. We need to take the best, no matter who you are, if you’re qualified. We’re not going to lower the standards. If you can meet the standard, we should give them the capability to service.”

Is it just us, or does that last sentence offend against the good order and discipline of the English language? And does anybody think that what has been described here is a process for finding “the best”? No, it’s a process created because certain women officers are whining about unfairness in their careers. 

Focus on your career long enough, and you turn into Ray Odierno. He was probably a great guy as a company grade officer.

[U]nits have until Dec. 1 to provide names of the volunteers to the Army’s Infantry School. Women selected for the highly competitive slots will be identified in January, Sheimo said.

The Ranger Course Assessment was open to all women in the grades E-4 through O-4 who had the support of their chain of command and whose end term of service, or ETS, was no earlier than Oct. 1, 2016, according to All-Army Activities, or Alaract, notices about the proposal.

Odierno is hardly alone in this, but he is a Chief of Staff who inherited an outstanding Army and will leave behind a weaker, less capable one.

Let’s Go to the Primary Documents!

Here’s the cable to All Army Activities (ALARACT) seeking females for the Corps of Commissars.

ALARACT 221_2014 – FEMALE OBSERVERS_ADVISORS FOR THE UNITED.pdf

It’s a lot of Army bureaucratese, in hard-to-read all caps, but here are some of the most interesting details:

  • it’s optional for the female volunteers to pass the Ranger PT test.
  • Optional to pass the Combat Water Survival Test (which tests your ability to swim about ten feet in uniform without dropping your rubber-duck imitation rifle).
  • Optional to pass land nav (a skill anyone can learn to the relatively low Ranger standard).
  • Optional to complete the 12-mile foot march (again, something anyone can learn to do, men, women and children. The women will be required to carry a 35-pound pack).
  • They can’t fail. Literally can’t fail, although they can quit: “Candidates will not be dropped from the assessment except for injury or by self removal.”
  • It’s not even a week long. It’s 8 days, but Day 1 and Day 8 are travel days with no requirements.

Yeah, Ray Odierno is trying real hard to, what was it he said? “Take the best.” Nothing says you’re taking the best like a standard that tells everybody that nobody can fail.

Here’s the cable to All Army Activities (ALARACT) seeking females for the first Rangerette course.

ALARACT 222_2014 – FEMALE STUDENTS FOR THE UNITED STATES ARMY.pdf

Same complaints about cable formatting apply, but by now you can deal with it, right, Ranger? Hooah. So onward we go to the shorter list of squawks with this document.

  • All the active-duty volunteers will initially be sent to a prep school that the National Guard maintains for pre-Ranger training. (The Guard has, in the past, been embarrassed by some first-day failures and quitters, hence the US Army National Guard, Ranger Training And Assessment Course, which is not available to male active-duty Ranger candidates.
  • Commanders will have to certify that the Rangerette candidates are proficient in all those things that the Rangerette Corps of Commissars was exempted from.
  • For the first time in the sixty-plus-year history of the school, a pregnancy test will be part of inprocessing.

The bigger issue with the special class — they’re calling it an “Assessment,” but that name exists to support the fiction that the conclusions have not been already assumed a priori – is that nobody who’s seen the way the Army handles personnel has any faith that it will be conducted in anything like a fair, objective manner. We could write the Benning press release on this one already and they haven’t even picked a date for the course yet.

Amnesty Winner: Child Rapist

AreveloMeet Luis Arevelo, an 18-year-old who’s just doing the work Americans won’t do: in his case, raping a five-year-old girl, and bestowing upon her his case of chlamydia. For this, he has been elevated to a status above unemployed American workers, in the hopes he’ll hang around and vote.

Before the Burger and Warren courts, the public would at least have had some chance that he’d hang, period, but in our mixed-up, tossed-up, never-come-down world, he has rights. Something the kid he did does not.

So, he’s on the fast track not to be deported, because the latest HSI guidance from Jeh Johnson is that “sexual offenders,” along with aliens who commit, “gun crimes,” should generally not be deported — and senior executives are charged with micromanaging any case where an outraged field agent and an off-message Assistant US Attorney are still trying to incarcerate the poor dears.

Like this one.

If a few kids get raped in the process — for creeps like Luis, preschoolers are like potato chips, they can’t ever do just one — well, them’s the breaks.

The girl may have been a relative. It’s not certain, because Luis seems to have a problem telling the truth, or should we say, since we don’t yet know what the story is, he seems to have a problem sticking to one story, of which any or none might actually be the truth.

Some months ago he surfaced on the Mexican border, walking into a Border Patrol position with a story that he was from Central America, a child refugee, and displaying considerable knowledge of the DREAM Act and the enactment of its provisions by executive order after it failed in Congress. He wanted to be reunited with family members, he said, and showed a slip with a name and address in Upper Darby, PA. It was unknown whether he began his travels with this slip, or whether someone provided him along his route from wherever he came from. (He is now using the Luis Arevelo name, and claiming to be from Ecuador in South America). The family on the slip of paper, contacted by US Customs and Border Patrol, agreed to sponsor the young man under the provisions of the DREAM amnesty. It was unclear whether he actually was a relative. There is a rumor in law enforcement that the same family has sponsored other illegal aliens, and a debate about whether their interest is humanitarian, financial, or ideological that has not been resolved. We’d like to hear from them what their relationship to “Arevelo” is and why they sponsored him — and how they feel about him now.

It was their girl that the man who now calls himself Arevelo raped, and infected. (This was not any arcane or legalistic construction of the word “rape,” either. It was what people traditionally think of when they understand the crime of rape. We don’t need to get graphic, or report the victim’s actual words, we hopw). The girl complained about it to her mom, who shut the kid up. Can’t be looking non-multicultural, eh? But when she took the kid to the hospital for treatment, medical staff wondered how a five-year-old gets a sexually transmitted disease and other indicia of rape by an adult male, and the gaff was stridently blown, leading after a short investigation to a police interview with “Arevelo”.

He admitted to Upper Darby police that he’s also wanted in Ecuador, and other things being equal, he’d just as soon go to jail there, rather than do time in Pennsylvania as a child rapist. “I’m good with that,” Upper Darby Superintendent Michael Chitwood said, and Immigration and Customs Enforcement put a detainer on him, to deport him no later than when the PA legal system finishes with him, which could be after he does his time, or sooner, if there’s an agreement with Ecuador that he’ll do his Pennsylvania time there.

The Philadelphia Daily News blogger Stephanie Farr alternated between calling for his scalp (“there’s not a circle in Hell that he’s worthy of being banished to,” so she must be a recent graduate with Dante on the brain) and floating excuses for him (he’s “barely out of childhood himself”).

But hey, he’s not being banished anywhere now. ¡Graciás al Presidente! ¡Gracias a Jeh Johnson!