Category Archives: Don’t be THAT guy

Gun, Copper, Thief

It’s kind of like a game of rock paper scissors, with real-life consequences:

Gun arms cop.
Cop stops thief.
Thief steals gun.

This M16A1, stolen in 2013 from the Philadelphia Police Department (or sold by a crooked cop — the means of its departure is not entirely clear, and it doesn’t seem to have been investigated very hard), remains in criminal hands three years later.

Phillys Missing M16A1

Whistling past the graveyard, neither the FBI nor the ATF makes an effort to collect national statistics on stolen police guns.

This story, from the Philadelphia Inquirer, was occasioned by the critical wounding of Philadelphia patrolman Jesse Hartnett by Islamic terrorist and ISIL volunteer Abdul Shaheed, congregant of the Masjid Mujahideen on S. 60th Street in West Philadelphia, whom the ostriches of the press insist on calling by his prehomicidal name Edward Archer. (Shaheed is the Arabic word for martyr. Mujahideen is the Arabic term for holy warriors — or terrorists, in Islam it’s the same thing).

In the instant story, reporter Stephanie Farr pulls out some recent data, by her own efforts, that the Feds are scrupulously collecting, not. 

  • The Philadelphia PD and its 6100 officers have lost 32 issued firearms in the last five years to theft or loss. (If there’s any attempt to track officers’ personally owned firearms, it’s not mentioned).
  • 9 have been recovered, including Abdul Shaheed’s Glock, which was reported stolen in 2013.
  • LAPD’s 9800 officers have lost 7 firearms in the same period, all to theft.
  • The embattled Baltimore PD’s 2400 officers have lost 7 firearms in the same period, all to theft.
  • Chicago’s 12,000 officers have filed 77 theft and loss reports.

These numbers seem suspect to us, because they appear to be the number of theft and loss incidents, and it seems likely that the number of guns lost is higher. Still, this table reveals some interesting variations. Feel free to check our math.

Police Firearms Lost to Theft

PD Sworn Officers

Thefts (if known) Thefts Per/1000 officers Losses (if known) Losses Per/1000 officers Total Thefts and Losses

Total Per/1000 officers

















Los Angeles
















The original data were in Farr’s article, we just extended her reporting by tabularizing the data and adding the rates for a useful comparison.

Question: Why such stark differences in loss and theft rate? Or, to put it another way, what’s the difference between what LA is doing and the other major urban PDs? Bear in mind that the difference might just be reporting categories or other statistical gamesmanship, something intrinsic to police management in these CompStat days.

All these cities, of course, practice fairly hardcore gun control, making thefts from police an appealing logistical pathway for would-be terrorists like Shaheed seeking arms. One is reminded the Boston Marathon bombers Dzhokar “Flashbang” Tsarnaev and his brother Tamerlan “Speedbump” Tsarnaev murdered MIT Police Officer Sean Collier to try to steal his service pistol. (A second cop, Boston PD’s DJ Simmons, died a year later from injuries received in  the Watertown shootout, something the press usually forgets in their crush on the surviving murderer).

In totalitarian states, theft from the authorities and the euphemistically named “battlefield recovery” have been instrumental in arming resistance groups, also. (Who are, from the viewpoint of the authorities, naturally, criminals). One set of data that has never been systematized is the photographs of European resistance movements in World War II, but certainly the resisters are usually seen with quantities of Nazi as well as prewar and allied-airdropped arms.

Police are not enthusiastic about more rigid control measures on department firearms, or to be held responsible for losing them, administratively speaking. They certainly feel personal responsibility: retired ATF officer Jay Wachtel admitted to Farr that his own service pistol was stolen from him and was missing for years.

I was on pins and needles for three years because I was afraid it would be used in a homicide. When it got recovered, I just had this huge sense of relief.

It seems to be classified in the Homer Simpson File of Life: “Stuff that just happens.” Jim Burch of the Police Foundation thinks that cops shouldn’t be held responsible for their stolen guns:

Preventing the theft of a firearm can be very difficult, particularly when your car and daily attire or uniform essentially advertises to the criminal element that firearms are likely present in your home

So, Burch believes, cops should get a bye on thefts, although he concedes that they have an issue with losses. In Philadelphia, though, neither seems to have career consequences for a cop.

Philadelphia police would not say how many officers had been disciplined over the issue.


The logical inference of that “refusal to say” is that the number is zero. To put it another way, There is no evidence that careless storage of, careless loss of, or even outright corruption in the unlawful transfer of department or personal firearms is a matter of the least concern to Philadelphia PD managers.

Only now are indictments coming in for crooked Philadelphia cops who were apparently dealing in departmental firearms for years. (It could be worse. In New York, cops exposed for taking bribes to sell pistol permits are still reporting to work and being paid, and only the bribe payer has been charged).

At the time the M16 came up missing, Commissioner Charles H Ramsey cut a bold figure. He made a strong statement.

We will get to the bottom of it one way or another, I guarantee that.

Three years later, all the PD has done is issue that statement. Doesn’t look so strong, does it?

Even with the near-murder of Hartnett,

How Do You Get a Gun Permit in New York City?

NYPDHaving once been in a Reserve unit based in Beautiful Downtown Newburgh just upriver from what its citizens call The City, and having been privileged to work with some really smart Columbia researchers on a project, Your Humble Blogger has known more than his share of people born to that New York birthright which includes chutzpah, Yankee fandom, and No Earthly Hope of ever getting a pistol permit.

There are people who have the handful of permits issued in the five boroughs. They are sad to be, mostly, celebrities, the obscenely wealthy, the connected, or organized criminals, if not members of several of those classes at once. The conventional wisdom among New Yorkers, who, it turns out, are as interested as defending their lives and families as the rest of the people on the planet, was that to get a license, “you needed to be connected, or bribe somebody.”

We put that down, mostly, to sour grapes. New York is the Matterhorn of urban social justice liberalism, that’s all. Surely the cops aren’t bribe-taking crooked?

Shaya Lichtenstein

Shaya “Alex” Lichtenstein

Well, that was what we thought before we’d heard of Alex Lichtenstein, real name Shaya Lichtenstein. Lichtenstein had one of the rare city permits despite being a resident of Pomona in Rockland County. Moreover, he was “the guy” you went to get your permit.

If, like Lichtenstein, you were an Orthodox Jew. He didn’t do goys.

And if you were willing to pay — Lichtenstein, and through him, the cops. According to prosecutors, 150 New Yorkers were. Lichtenstein reportedly paid crooked cops up to $6,000 for each permit, which not only got his applicants through the “none shall pass” permitting regime, but got Federal and state background checks blown off entirely.

Some applicants found that helpful. At least one, in 2013, had a long criminal history, but cash fixed that for him. The Daily News:

The unnamed full carry license holder had been arrested for forgery and was the subject of at least four domestic violence complaints, “including one in which he was accused of threatening to kill someone,” the complaint said.

The person also had 10 moving violations and three vehicle-related summonses.

In turn, the applicants greased Lichtenstein with at least $5,000 and as much as $25,000 to “expedite” their permits.

If you’re doing the math, the cops took up to $900,000 in bribes, in the last few years alone, to give out these permits, and Lichtenstein may have cleared as much as $3.5 million, cheating both his applicants and his crooked cops at both ends of the deal.

9 members of the Police Department, all members of former members of the License Division,  are suspected of complicity in Lichtenstein’s permit racket.

The crime ring unraveled when Lictenstein approached an officer who played along, but turned him in and wore a recording device or transmitter. Lichtenstein was aware of the threat and used to pat his cop bribe-takers down while doing business, but he missed the wire and that was his undoing.

Shaya Lichtenstein was a member of the Borough Park Shomrim, a sort of Orthodox Jewish muttawa who are best known for hassling Jewish women they think are not dressed modestly enough. Many of the permits went to fellow Shomrim who were tight with the local police precinct. (There appears to have been a situation where they had a free hand with Jewish citizens, but on the condition that they left the goys alone or called the real police to deal with them).

While Lichtenstein is charged with serious felonies, his cop pals have seen few consequences — so far. The License Division’s commander, Deputy Inspector Michael Endall, has been transferred to administrative duty, and Sergeant David Villanueva and Officer Richard Ochetal have been put on “modified duty”. No doubt the three — and the other six suspect cops who haven’t been identified publicly — are at this very moment playing Prisoner’s Dilemma with real proffers to the prosecutors, which may end with some of the being actual prisoners.

After being bailed out, Lichtenstein bulled through a crowd of media behind a flying wedge of Shomrim bodyguards, still armed, apparently. (No permits have been revoked).

In New York, a corrupt city government defines “ethics” as staying bought.

Of course, a Lichtenstein is not an accidental product of a strict “none shall pass” implementation of may-issue licensing. It’s the normal, expected, predictable and inevitable result of such a system. Ask any economist what happens when the supply of something — in this case, the right to self-defense — is artificially restricted by government.

Or to put it another way, name something that the Government knocked out of the open market that is literally unavailable now .


Here’s the affidavit for Lichtenstein’s arrest warrant.

(Stand by. We’re having technical difficulties but have the file here).

Lichtenstein warrant affidavitOCR.pdf

There’s a lot of the inevitable results of may-issue laws in here, but also, this:

In Lichtenstein’s wallet was an NYPD detective shield with the word “Liaison” imprinted on it, even though Lichtenstein has no official role as an NYPD liaison.

Also, the guy mentioned above with the criminal record and the carry license?

In October 2013, a complainant reported to the NYPD that Lichtenstein was able to use his connections to get a gun license for License Holder-1 despite License Holder-1’s history of domestic violence. The NYPD license division was responsible for investigating this report. License Holder-1’s file includes two unsigned letters that appear to be drafts, one in which [his] license was revoked and one, from approximately one week later, in which it was reinstated. The second draft letter suggested that License Holder-1 contact Sergeant-1 with any questions. License Holder-1’s file reflects no further investigation conducted as a result of the complaint, and License Holder-1’s Full Carry License remains active.`

When you give the police arbitrary powers, you also empower characters like this.

Wednesday Weapons Website of the Week: Winter Soldier

winter_soldier_dot_com2In early 1971, a series of strange gatherings were held by the Vietnam Veterans Against the War and allied and fellow-traveler groups. In case you were curious about the orientation of these groups, they tended to include such broad-based elements as the Veterans of the Abraham Lincoln Brigade and were sponsored by such broad-based entities as a radical Unitarian church in LA.

OK, so maybe not so broad-based.

Although they did try to bring out active duty GIs by promising free beer and loose women, on the theory that having real draftees among them boosted their authenticity.

Their gatherings included mock “attacks” and good old Marxist/Leninist “street theater,” but the flagship enterprise of the VVAW was the Winter Soldier Investigation, an imitation court-martial in which ragged, scruffy, long-haired veterans vied with one another to tell the most over-the-top tales of atrocities and misconduct in Vietnam.

In 2004, interest in the VVAW (which still existed, in true Communist fashion, as two bitterly feuding factions, which we recall as the VVAW-Marxist/Leninist and the VVAW-Anti-Imperialist, but we might have the lefty cant wrong) rose again because of the Presidential candidacy of former VVAW figurehead John Kerry. Kerry had used the VVAW to launch himself on the trajectory that would bring him into the Senate in the Watergate Class of 1974.


At the time, Vietnam veterans and historians went looking for the original Winter Soldier documents, only to find there were very few to be found — Kerry’s minions had been buying 30-year-old copies of the Daily World and Daily Worker, and a book that was published with photographs of the young soi-disant Heroes who Spake Truth to Power.

In 2004, Scott Swett and a small team assembled all obtainable VVAW documents and records into a website, and Scott was instrumental in inspiring the formation of the Swift Boat Veterans for the Truth (later, the Swift Boat Veterans and POWs for the Truth). Mostly, this is all a footnote to history now, but the archive that Scott so painstakingly gathered over 10 years ago remains on line at

It is full of fascinating findings. The Army commissioned an actual investigation of the atrocity claims from Winter Soldier and was able to establish only one. 

More of the claims smelled bad, then and now. One SF weasel, a guy named Don Pugsley who had never deployed to combat because he was seriously injured in a helicopter crash during in-country reconnaissance training, told a story of a helicopter machine-gunning water buffalo. Placed under oath, his story withered away like the state was supposed to do under Marxism: no, he’d heard a guy talking about some U/I LTC ordering a chopper crew to shoot waterboos, which the crew then did not do. That wasn’t the way he’d told the story in Detroit, but, he wasn’t under a real oath in Detroit.

(Pugsley, the anti-military protester, would reinvent himself later as a gung-ho SF guy and join 19th Group in California, where he rose to be a company sergeant major, and, we are not making this up, a guy who consulted for Hollywood on combat. But he was still a weasel).

Another SF-claiming guy, Paul Withers, threw his medals down and said he had won:

…the Silver Star, the Distinguished [Service] Cross, nine (!) Purple Hearts, the Bronze Star, the Army Commendation Medal for heroism, the Air Medal, and the Combat Infantryman’s Badge.

Search of an admittedly incomplete Vietnam SF database comes up blank on Withers. Search of a complete VIetnam Army DSC database at includes no recipient named Withers.

The year after Winter Soldier Withers appeared in a Communist newspaper, making outlandish claims about his Vietnam service, he was featured in a booklet called Trail of the Poppy claiming that he’d been a drug buyer for the CIA in Laos in 1966. (The booklet was published by another Communist group; that the US was, as a matter of official policy, involved in drug trade in Vietnam was a major propaganda theme of the Soviet KGB in the 1970s).

We’re willing to take one of Withers’s statements at face value: he probably really was a drug buyer.

The exaggerated claims of evil Vietnam vets that were to become a journalism, media and entertainment staple, drew extensively on the nonsense purveyed at Winter Soldier. And Swett and others have done historians a great boon by collecting the available records, publishing them online, and leaving them up for posterity.

If your Level of Serum Clue Drops Too Low…

You write stuff like this. Some clown named Franz-Stefan Gady at the Asia-Pac website The Diplomat was let loose with the sort of minimal and wrong understanding of infantry combat that comes from too much reading and not any doing. (His source of expertise? He has traveled to “war zones” as a reporter. Oooooh. Can we touch the hem of his garment?)

Anyway, he concluded, and some readers thought he really had something, that the US Army is about to revolutionize warfare:

The U.S. Army is introducing a new shoulder-fired weapon that has the potential to change infantry tactics and revolutionize infantry warfare in a way unseen since the Battle of Königgrätz in July 1866. That battle, which marked the beginning of the end of the line infantry attack, saw Austrian troops carrying muzzle-loaders outgunned by Prussian infantrymen carrying breech-loading needle guns.

via Will This Weapon Change Infantry Warfare Forever? | The Diplomat.

One aside, that should be right in Gady’s lane if he’s the reader he wants us to think he is — If Königgratz revolutionized warfare, why were tactics entirely unrevolutionized as so-sophisticated Europe blundered into the Great War?

For that matter, if changing to breechloaders is so revolutionary, how long did it take Austria (and all the other nations of the world) to catch up. True or False: every nation worthy of the term “power” was breechloading by 1870?

But wait, we haven’t told you what weapon Gady thinks is going to, we quote, “Change Infantry Warfare Forever.”

Hey, it works in the laboratory!

Hey, it works in the laboratory!

The XM-25 counter-defilade weapon, the rump end of the OICW boondoggle, which was simply SPIW dragged into the 21st Century and placed across the shoulders of the rifleman like Christ’s Cross, as if that poor devil — the infantryman, not Jesus — needed another burden.

The Army’s going to blow $100 million on these things over the next five years, Gady tells us.  His story is a bit inconsistent internally, at one point suggesting that it makes cover obsolete (!) and at another, quoting a PEO Soldier booster — from 2010, before the weapon’s utterly inconclusive combat deployment — that “our soldiers can remain covered/protected and use their XM25….”

We’re serious about his claims:

…the impact of the XM25 could be revolutionary and fundamentally change small infantry tactics. The XM25 will essentially destroy the value of cover and with it the necessity of long-drawn out firefights. It will also make the old infantry tactic of firing and maneuvering to eliminate an enemy hiding behind cover obsolete.

“Small infantry tactics?” Crap, he’s heard about Colonel Tattoo’s Dwarf Brigade, “Death from Below.” Twenty years of black-budget midgetry down the drain….

More seriously, even if this bloated, intricate gadget works, it’s going to change “small infantry combat” (Lord love a duck!) about as much as any of the other weapons has, from the Macedonian bronze-headed sarissa to the Roman’s Iron Age gladius to the rifle-musket to the machine gun.

Somebody’s been reading too many press releases (and, indeed, Gady’s sources for  the capabilities of the awesome XM25 are the manufacturer’s own website, and an anonymous “senior U.S. military official.”)

About the only things that the XM25 claims to do that the 60mm mortar doesn’t already do are:

  1. Transfer a large sum of money to a defense contractor; and,
  2. Work (supposedly) without requiring the shooter to learn via expending ammo in training.

The 60 is, of course, going to be too heavy for our new generation of female infantrymen, but this thing isn’t much better.  And the 60, as a good old muzzle-loading mortar, is going to work damn near 100% of the time you ask it for a whoonk…. wait for it… BLAM! on demand.

Fortunately, we’re not going to need riflemen (or female riflemen) any more because Ash Carter has redefined the US as a non-fighting power. In fact, we’re not only through fighting, said Carter on a trip where he seemed to accept China’s extended sovereignty of the South China Sea, we’re not even going to be intimidating anyone anymore.

So, why not female infantrymen? It’s not like the current DOD management is planning to fight a war again, ever. And after all, the world has a great record with politicians’ declarations of Peace For Our Time™.

Cop Shot His Own Partner… No Consequences

We’ve discussed before the problem of cops shooting their own undercovers. Here, a hopped-up officer in Albuquerque shoots his own undercover, that he’s partnering with on this drug bust. The video, from shooter Lt. Greg Brachle’s body cam, is heavily redacted by the Albuquerque PD, but the audio is pretty clear; only Brachle’s (understandable) obscenities are bleeped.

Jacob Grant, one of two undercovers in the car, survived thanks only to blind luck and his own toughness.

Classic moments in police work:
“Are you okay?”
“No.” (Check the tone on that statement).

No kidding, Dick Tracy. Brachle’s marksmanship was as good as his judgment bad, and the story says Grant was shot nine times (however, Brachle only fired eight shots). Supposedly, every organ in his chest had a bullet or a wound channel in it. Only good basic health, superhuman efforts by the emergency room and surgeons, and blind luck kept him from sleeping the long sleep, starting that night.

Brachle seems to have done everything wrong. He skipped the briefing, approached on the opposite side from the other officers, and most seriously, fired without recognizing his target. Then, he broke down on recognizing his error… and then pitched in to run and get a first aid kit, blubbering miserably while still more or less functional. (That he was able to do this, even if it took him two attempts to find the kit, in the emotional state he was in, is better than one would expect. Perhaps it’s a testament to his training).

Ultimate outcome: for the taxpayers of Albuquerque, lifetime responsibility for Grant’s medical care, and a large lump sum ($6.5M) for Grant and his lawyers. For the leadership of the department, no consequences. For Brachle, no consequences, even though it’s his second bad shoot; if he hadn’t been up for retirement, he’d still be out there protecting and serving the living Jesus out of Albuquerque.

ABQ has shelled out $40 million in settlements in the last six years, largely due to police shootings. But they’re not going to fire anybody. Indeed, their list of what they’ve done is a  catalog of organizational eyewash, and pretty much guarantees another bad shoot soon.

And oh, yeah, the drug dealers they were trying to catch? Not wanting to discuss this in a courtroom, the ABQ PD let ’em all go.

Feel protected enough yet?


While this event happens really fast — too fast, after all, for poor Greg Brachle to have any idea who he was shooting until it was too late — that’s typical of real world Use of Force incidents. Check out this post by Murphy’s Law at Lagniappe’s Lair. There are two videos there (officer’s body cam and dashcam of the unit showing up behind him) and the guy really doesn’t have much time to decide at all. Crazy person acting crazy?

We don’t see much need to add to what ML has written there. Just that it is in your best interests to think through uses of force (and armed self-defense) so that observation & orientation don’t take up too much time.

If you encounter a cop in his or her professional capacity, most people know what to do. Freezing, hands up, is pretty safe. Closing the distance to the cop with an axe in your hand? Not safe. Not bright, either. That’s how these angelic souls keep ascending to an astral plane, lighter by the weight of their bodies, but heavier by a few 125 grain JHPs.

The New Face of Defense: And his Anatomical Doll

Army LogoThis remarkable story at tells the tale of the new Face of Defense, that hardened operator who stands ready to leap into action at the ring of a phone, to deal with DOD’s highest priority:

He’s not a police officer or firefighter, but he often finds himself responding at all hours of the night.

“There are a lot of nights that it doesn’t ring, which is a good thing, but there are too many nights that it does. Sometimes it rings more than once and you go out on multiple calls,” he said.

Wow, what does this mission-critical paragon do?

As his unit was preparing to deploy in 2011, its leaders needed someone to fill the role… and [Sergeant First Class John Thompson] was selected to attend an 80-hour course in Virginia.

“Once I got there, it was a lot of eye-opening experiences about the scope and size of the problem the military has with sexual assaults.”

Oh, for Pete’s sake….

Going through the class, Thompson said, he felt comfortable conducting sexual assault briefings, but wasn’t sure he was prepared for the other aspect of the role — responding to victims after they’ve been assaulted. He knew that statistically, women are more likely to be victims of sexual assault, he said, and he was worried that as a man, he might not be the person someone would want to see at that difficult time.

In many civilian organizations, victim advocates are predominantly women, but the Minnesota National Guard has more male advocates than female advocates. Army Chief Warrant Officer 3 Jennifer Diaz, the Minnesota National Guard’s sexual assault response coordinator, said she sees this as a positive thing and has never had a victim request to have a female advocate over a male advocate.

“Vibrancy is our Diversity!” That’s the magic shibboleth, the SPQR that’s supposed to fend off the next barbarian banquet. Diaz explains that you must never, ever doubt or investigate an accusation of sexual assault, because nobody would lie about that. Certainly not, say, in the pages of Stoned Roller magazine or in, say, the primordial ooze of the professional sexual-assault profiteers industry.

“I think having a strong male presence sends a message that men are compassionate, caring and will believe a victim without judging them,” Diaz said. “I feel males in this role are extremely important. They play an essential role in changing the culture surrounding sexual assault.”

Yep. You gotta believe a complainant without judging, and convict an accused without retraumatizing your complainant with any of that old-fashioned “due process” rigamarole. Because women don’t lie about rape, damn it, especially not the ones whose meal ticket is conjuring a rapist from every case of post-coitus triste. You know, like about half of the administrative bloat at most universities these days.

Fortunately, Thompson has not only put himself into the military’s only growth field under current management, he’s also in a position to observe the vibrancy that comes with diversity-is-our-strength:

“I opened the door and I walked in and — this speaks to the prejudicial view we have on sexual assaults — I walked into that room expecting to find a female victim, and it was a young man,” he said.

Guess they vibrancy’d the bleeeep outa that kid. Score one for GLBTQWERTY, and the Great Buggernaut rolls on.

We’re sure in no time we’ll be hearing that Thompson’s overfulfilled the 5-year-plan for rapes.

He’s also had to learn how to set his emotions aside and remain neutral so he can focus on supporting the victim. ….

“We’re not there to judge — What were you wearing? Why were you out this late? Why did you drink so much? Why didn’t you know better? — we don’t ask those why questions.”

Naw, why ask why? You gotta keep the numbers up, and if all the women aren’t getting raped, what are all the rape professionals going to do? Lord love a duck, someone might notice we ran an Army for hundreds of years without employing any rape professionals. (Well, there was that one Sergeant Major of the Army. But he beat the rap!).

Seriously, what’s next, rape quotas? We can just see it now: “Sergeant Major Carter? This is CSM Billings up at Group. I’ve been looking at the stats and you ‘n’ your troops better get cracking if they don’t want to lose the Best Rapists streamer from their guidon to 2nd Battalion.”

And it’s a great career move:

Thompson’s passion for advocacy brought him to Washington, D.C., in 2014 for a year-long tour as an instructor at the National Guard Bureau, teaching the 80-hour Sexual Harassment/Assault Response Program course for victim advocates. One of his biggest challenges, he said, was convincing soldiers to change the way they’ve traditionally done things in the past to help change the culture in the organization at large.

Yeah, let’s change the culture. Because everything gets better with more slogans-not-facts about sexual assaults.

We know what they’re going to say: we’re just envious we never got an NCOER like this:

“Sergeant First Class Thompson … believes the victim and has a genuine concern for their well-being. He exudes a passion for combating sexual assault, and that passion makes others want to do the right thing.”

‘Cause that’s the most important thing, “believe the victim,” because “victims” never, ever, lie. Not even a little bit, not even in the pages of Stoned Roller. No criminal investigator will ever tell you someone lied to him, or tried to settle a score by diming an innocent suspect. That has never happened, ever, since Cain, the archetype and prototype of the whole damned criminal race, confessed his misdeed without prompting or evasion.

That is what he did, innit?

OK, we’ve got the message: the Army is a bunch of Vikings running around raping everything with a hole (which is, technically, everything, the New Army wants us to know. And yes, Our Hero, the Face of Defense, already handled [eewwww] male victims).

Hey, Army, show us on this anatomically correct doll where exactly Ash Carter touched you. (For the Unique and Special Snowflake™ contingent, there’s also an anatomically incorrect doll that identifies as a correct one). So where did he touch you?

Just about everywhere? Got it. Well, you’re the victim; we have to believe you.

Note to parents: since everybody is raping everybody so much in the Army that the rape bureaucracy is the only thing in the tottering organization that’s growing, you might want to advise the kids that they should go into something safer and more nurturing, like the French Foreign Legion. You definitely don’t want them talking to the Army recruiter; they’re just going to wind up raped, and worse, they’ll be spending all their time in classes about it.

We Didn’t Watch this Whole Video

We got as far as the guy describing the Johnson M1941 as a “delayed blowback” rifle. No, genius, it’s short recoil. If you don’t know the difference, what the hell are you doing in a firearms museum?


(Link because we can’t figure out how to embed this).

He also manages to describe Mel Johnson dismissively as a Harvard lawyer, when it also was somewhat on point that Johnson was a Marine ordnance officer and the author of what was then the most complete compendium of world automatic rifles and machine guns.

The Johnson they put on display is one of the postwar-sporterized ones sold by Winfield. The Museum’s Andrew Dalton may not know this, but the actual military version had a bayonet lug and a bayonet, if an unconventional one. And its military failure was simply this: the military was very far along with the Garand, and the Johnson wasn’t so distinctly superior as to justify a change. (Indeed, Garand and Johnson qualities seem about a wash).


There’s nothing about how it came to the Marines (via an order for the Dutch East Indies, which were overrun before the guns left the docks) or who used Johnson guns in service (the Raiders, the OSS, and the 1st Special Service Force).

Putting on a bow tie to look like a nerd doesn’t actually make you smart. And the other guy has never seen a gun where the barrel moves (what, he doesn’t know any hunters with a Browning Auto-5 or one of its many copies? Boy howdy, that barrel moves…).

There’s copious written information about the Johnson available, including an excellent book by Bruce Canfield, Johnson Rifles and Machine Guns, which the NRA certainly must have in their library. There’s no excuse for doing this crappy a job on a Curator’s Corner. And Curator’s Corner is usually outstanding, authoritative. Why did they drop the ball on this one?


Hudson Becomes a Shorthand Writer

hudson_maximHudson Maxim was, at the turn of the last century, one of three famous Maxims: his brother invented the eponymous machine gun, and his brother’s son, Hudson’s nephew, the firearm silencer. His contribution was a smokeless powder formula, among other inventions. (He called one of his smokeless powders Maximite).

He also was a witty, engaging writer, with a profound sense of black humor. This excerpt from his 1916 Dynamite Stories tells the story of, well, we suppose you could call it a lab accident. At the end, we’ll link you to the book’s home online.

Is the story quite true as told? Well. here’s his Dedication to the book:


To the actors in the comedies and tragedies of real life presented in these stories, without whose efforts and sacrifices the stories could not have been so interesting and true, this volume is with grateful acknowledgments most respectfully dedicated. As the parts played by the actors were not rehearsed, the performances have required a little retouching in the interest of the reader, the author having subordinated history tostory rather than story to history.

Hudson M

So perhaps the story isn’t — quite — true. We promise it’s enjoyable, regardless.


In experimenting with high explosives and in their manufacture, a little absent-mindedness, a very slight lack of exact caution, a seemingly insignificant inadvertence for a moment, may cost one a limb or his life. The incident that cost me my left hand is a case in point.

On the day preceding that accident, I had had a gold cap put on a tooth. In consequence, the tooth ached and kept me awake the greater part of the night. Next morning I rose early and went down to my factory at Maxim, New Jersey. In order to test the dryness of some fulminate compound I took a little piece of it, about the size of an English penny, broke off a small particle, placed it on a stand outside the laboratory and, lighting a match, touched it off.

Owing to my loss of sleep the night before, my mind was not so alert as usual, and I forgot to lay aside the remaining piece of fulminate compound, but, instead, held it in my left hand. A spark from the ignited piece entered my left hand between my fingers, igniting the piece there, with the result that my hand was blown off to the wrist, and the next thing I saw was the bare end of the wrist bone. My face and clothes were bespattered with flesh and filled with slivers of bone. . . . The following day, my thumb was found on the top of a building a couple of hundred feet away, with a sinew attached to it, which had been pulled out from the elbow.

A tourniquet was immediately tightened around my wrist to prevent the flow of blood, and I and two of my assistants walked half a mile down to the railroad, where we tried to stop an upgoing train with a red flag. But it ran the flag down and went on, the engineer thinking, perhaps, from our wild gesticulations that we were highwaymen.

We then walked another half-mile to a farmhouse, where a horse and wagon were procured. Thence I was driven to Farmingdale, four and a half miles distant, where I had to wait two hours for the next train to New York.

The only physician in the town was an invalid, ill with tuberculosis. I called on him while waiting, and condoled with him, as he was much worse off than was I.

On arrival in New York, I was taken in a carriage to the elevated station at the Brook- lyn Bridge. On reaching my station at Eighty-fourth Street, I walked four blocks, and then up four flights of stairs to my apartments on Eighty-second Street, where the surgeon was awaiting me. It was now evening, and the accident had occurred at half-past ten o’clock in the morning. That was a pretty hard day!

As I had no electric lights in the apartments, only gas, the surgeon declared that it would be dangerous to administer ether, and that he must,therefore, chloroform me. He added that there was no danger in using chloroform, if the patient had a strong heart. Thereupon I asked him to examine my heart, since, if there should be the least danger of my dying under the influence of the anesthetic, I wanted to make my will.

“Heart!” exclaimed the surgeon, with emphasis. “A man who has gone through what you have gone through today hasn’t any heart!”

The next day I dictated letters to answer my correspondence as usual. The young woman stenographer, who took my dictation, remarked, with a sardonic smile:

“You, too, have now become a shorthand writer.”

The grim jest appealed to my sense of humor.

On the third day I was genuinely ill and had no wish to do business. Within ten days, however, I was out again, attending to my affairs.

Now, that’s a man who had a way of dealing with the aftermath of FOOM.

For that, and other stories, we recommend Dynamite Stories, whose full title is Dynamite Stories and Some Interesting Facts about Explosives. It can be downloaded in your choice of e-book format at

For those not inclined to download it, and for the entertainment of the 18C in all of us, we may occasionally excerpt one of these stories going forward.


Safety: Give the FOOM Plenty of Room

You’ve probably seen, and maybe used, Tannerite, a binary explosive that’s permissible to use in reasonable quantities and with reasonable safety precautions. It’s not a terribly high explosive, but it’s not trivial either: it’s based on ammonium nitrate, like many of the things terrorist bomb-makers like to use, and it’s shock-sensitive, so it can be set off with a hit from a bullet. Those two in combination should make you respect it, at least. And as this video shows, when you add unreasonable quantities (3 lb. packed in a sheet-steel lawnmower) and unreasonable distances (a foot over 14 yards, by police measurement), you’d be lucky to escape, like this young man, David Pressley, did, with a Life Flight ride and a lifelong disability.

Yes, he did blow his leg clean off. (Technically, it was traumatically amputated by shrapnel from the lawnmower. He can now tell people he lost his leg in a lawnmower accident, which is literally true). Tannerite comes with a whole bunch of safety precautions written right on the packaging that lots of guys know too much to bother reading. You know, men and instructions.


As the nice news lady points out in the video, one of those advisories says give a standoff of 100 meters (or maybe just yards) per pound of the stuff. (Another tells you not to pack metallic stuff with it). So this yout’ gave the FOOM roughly 260 yards too little room. He’s damned lucky the mower-turned-shrapnel didn’t strike him in the cranium or neck instead of below the knee. He’s damned lucky he didn’t lose both legs. He probably doesn’t feel lucky, right now, with months of rehab ahead just to learn to walk again, but he is.

He was with two friends, who fortunately were not injured seriously in the blast. One of them secured a tourniquet around his stump, and they bundled him into a vehicle and ran him from the track they were on back out to a road, where EMS met them. (More info at USA Today).

To a former professional user of HE, some of the experiments we see people doing on YouTube, and the lackadaisical attitudes that sometimes accompany them, are chilling. We don’t mean to insult or demean Pressley, who’s got enough troubles right now; just to encourage everybody to have fun, but take care while you’re doing it.

The video also mentions that Tannerite blasts are a major cause of neighbor complaints. While more and more people shoot, most people don’t shoot. The majority of them seem to be fully supportive of our rights, so the least we can do is exercise some restraint and good neighborliness as to when and where we FOOM the place up. (Pressley seems to have been well out in the country, in a wooded area. Good for noise control, not so good for medical response. Everything in life is a trade-off, as any engineer can tell you).

The ATF has also been threatening for years to go after people that acquire, store or use “too much” Tannerite without an explosives license.  (ATF in 2012 via AmmoLand. ATF current explanation of the law on binary explosives). You may recall that they went after the people behind the juvenile YouTube channel FPSRussia on that score. But a little over a year ago, ATF also posted a prescient safety advisory from the interagency National Explosives Task Force on their Facebook channel. Had Pressley followed the four “nevers” in that list, he’d still be standing on his own two feet.

FBIAwarenessBothIn response to the Safety Advisory, Dan J. Tanner, the head of Tannerite Sports, told that “there has never been an injury by shooting Tannerite as recommended on all written and published literature and instructions.” Tannerite’s recommendations are found online, and, likewise, following them would have allowed Pressley to have his YouTube notoriety without having quite so much of it as he has right now.

Finally, it may occur to people that actual terrorists might try to use this stuff. It has certainly occurred to both ATF and FBI explosives investigators (the FBI has usurped a lot of ATF’s former bomb authority in recent years). If you are a retailer, you should probably have the attached joint Tannerite/FBI developed advisory (right) hanging up where your clerks can see it. Hat tip, Herschel Smith at The Captain’s Quarters.

“Don’t Shoot Him No More!”

Raheem Scott left his old Chevy running when he ran into an Exxon station in Atlanta for some oil. When he came out, two thieves were taking off with his car. So he opened up and shot the driver five times, as the woman in the passenger seat shrieked and sobbed, “Don’t shoot him no more!”

scott car

Licensed carriers, can you do that?

Hell no. You can’t do that. Scott is in custody, charged with murder. (We don’t know if Scott was a licensed carrier, a prohibited person, or something in between, at this point. Our hunch is that he will turn out not to be licensed).

He should have listened to the screaming woman; maybe it would only be attempted murder then.

Witnesses outside a gas station told Channel 2 Action News they watched a man open fire on a man who climbed into a black sedan that was left running on the side of the store.

Police received reports of shots fired shortly after 7 p.m. at the Exxon Gas station at 507 Joseph E Lowery Boulevard in southwest Atlanta, near the West End Mall.

The store owner told Channel 2 the owner of the sedan, later identified as 25-year-old Raheem Scott, was inside buying oil.

When Scott came out, 50-year-old William Blackwell, of Goodlettsville, Tennessee, was in the driver’s seat and a woman, who has not yet been identified, was in the passenger’s seat.

A witness, who asked not to be named, told Channel 2 he saw the car owner react.

“I heard five shots and I look back and the girl is screaming don’t shoot him no more!” he said. “She just screaming don’t shoot him no more. Please don’t shoot him no more.”

via Murder charges for man who shot, killed alleged car thief in… |

It’s hard to have an iota of sympathy for William Blackwell, who’s stolen his last car. And we don’t have any sympathy for him; he was a thief, and the world is a better place without him.

And it’s easy to sympathize with Scott. A glance at the car tells you it’s a beater. A lot of people who own beaters, that sad old car is the single biggest asset they have. Sad but true. Losing your car in America means losing your mobility, which is one more reason good-government types who approve the idea of funding the PD by ticketing the working poor for mufflers and taillights irritate us so much. Stealing a poor man’s car is about like draining a Congressman’s Goldman Sachs account — it hits the guy where he lives. (And that’s true whether you’re a sneak thief like the late unlamented William Blackwell, or an official thief who takes the car with court fines and impound fees).

Whether Scott was an itinerant dope dealer, or (as is more likely, just playing the odds) some guy with a marginal job and bills to pay, he knew that that car driving off on him meant complete ruin.

It’s not like Atlanta Police are going to bestir themselves to look for a poor black guy’s stolen beater. Hey, if it’s not a homicide, file it in the circular file.

But assuming arguendo as the law dogs say, that Scott was a licensed carrier, here’s what he did wrong: he killed a man over property. (Indeed, firing the shots was unlawful even if the thief had lived. In some jurisdictions, just drawing the gun in this case would be “brandishing.”)

You have the right to use deadly force in self-defense (and in defense of others) when you are facing deadly force. In other words, if you’re facing aggression. If you’re not facing aggression, then guess what, Sparky? You’re the aggressor, in the eyes of the law. And you better hope your marksmanship was good enough to get you aggravated assault, and not good enough to get you a murder rap, like Raheem Scott here.

Again, we’re going off early news stories and early news stories are often wrong. And we don’t have a lawyer’s understanding of the law, and don’t know anything about the peculiarities of Georgia law. But the principle is pretty universal: you can only use deadly force to prevent death or serious bodily injury. If someone steals your car, you have to let it go. Heck, if someone kills your dog, in almost every state you’re not justified using force on him, because in the eyes of the law, your four-legged family member is just another piece of property.

We can see one glimmer of a chance for Scott (based, of course, on this preliminary information from a news story, which may be 99% manure): if he claims that the thief was trying to run him down in the car, he might create a reasonable doubt. (This is a favorite claim invoked by cops after a shooting, but it’s unlikely to be as effective in the hands of a citizen. For one thing, cops are allowed to shoot fleeing felons, within limits. You’re not).

Every year some of these cases come up, and someone who thought he made a good shoot is about to get a long, hard lesson in the preferences of the law. Usually the shoot went bad because someone kept shooting at a fleeing felon (i.e., no longer posing a deadly threat), or because someone, like in this case, shot when life was not in danger.