Category Archives: Don’t be THAT guy

“The Only One who Can be Trusted…”

Like many gunshows, Wanenmacher’s Tulsa Arms Show requires all firearms to be unloaded and cleared for safety. Because only trained professionals can handle firearms without shooting each other!

As we began to watch this, we were expecting the guy in the shorts to ND, because, after all, he was the show attendee, and the security guys are trained professionals. Right.

Watch as trained professional Brian Pounds (left in the POLICE sweatshirt) plays with a .22 and surprises himself with a shot, which banks nicely off the cinderblock wall and strikes fellow trained professional Rick Treadwell (seated far right, in POLICE sweatshirt) in the hand.

 

Apart from everything else wrong with this negligent discharge, where did Pounds get the idea that it’s okay to dry-fire a .22? It’s not okay, and risks damaging the firing pin and especially the breech face.

Don’t Dry Fire Rimfires, people. And when you’re a dumb-ass and disobey that, Don’t Point Them at People. “But how do I check a trigger?” Simplicity itself: snap caps. Too cheap for snap caps (Pachmayr sells a package of .22 dummys for a few bucks)? Try yellow #4-6 sheetrock anchors, aka drywall anchors, aka wall dowels.

Extra bonus: if there’s a snap cap or wall anchor in your chamber, you can’t shoot your fellow human being, dog, family heirloom, or anything else with the gun.

Forrest’s mama always told him. “Stupid is as stupid does.” This is a bushel basket full of stupid.

About the only positive thing we can take away from this is that dumb luck prevented loss of life, so it could have been worse.

We bet that whatever department these two sad sacks are on is really glad their POLICE sweatshirts don’t have the department name in big letters, too.

Hat tip, Miguel at Gun Free Zone.

Final Death of a Coward

He was a child of wealth and privilege, outraged at the idea that he might be drafted like the proles, and determined to lash out at the government and nation he hated: his own, the USA.

And lash out he did, writing a book with the idea that it would equip revolutionaries and criminals with knowledge to kill.

Powell, a rich kid calling for revolutionary violence, 1971.

Which it did.

Last year he died, which was belatedly discovered by his fellow Aging Boomers at the New York Times, who wrote a belated obituary for him on 31 March.

William Powell was a teenager, angry at the government and the Vietnam War, when he walked into the main branch of the New York Public Library in Manhattan in 1969 to begin research for a handbook on causing violent mayhem.

Over the next months, he studied military manuals and other publications that taught him the essentials of do-it-yourself warfare, including how to make dynamite, how to convert a shotgun into a grenade launcher and how to blow up a bridge.

What emerged was “The Anarchist Cookbook,” a diagram- and recipe-filled manifesto that is believed to have been used as a source in heinous acts of violence since its publication in 1971, most notably the killings of 12 students and one teacher in 1999 at Columbine High School in Littleton, Colo.

via William Powell, ‘Anarchist Cookbook’ Writer, Dies at 66 – The New York Times.

A few of the crimes enabled by the Cookbook:

Powell seemed to struggle to absorb the idea that his book had apparently had an influence on a number of notorious criminals. One was Zvonko Busic, a Croatian nationalist who hijacked a TWA flight in 1976 while carrying phony bombs after leaving a real one at Grand Central Terminal that killed a police officer who tried to deactivate it.

Others included Thomas Spinks, who was part of a group that bombed abortion clinics in the 1980s; Timothy McVeigh, who bombed the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building in Oklahoma City in 1995; Eric Harris, one of the Columbine attackers; and Jared Loughner, who killed six people during his attempted assassination of Representative Gabrielle Giffords in Arizona in 2011.

Powell, a wealthy old man denying that he really meant it, 2015.

They Brought Brass Knuckles, Knife to a Gun Fight

“Who needs it?” Wrong question. Right question? “How many?”

Midday. Your dad’s house. You and Dad are home.

A tremendous crash comes from the glass back door of your home, and you arm yourself. The AR should back them down, but when you meet, there are three of them, in black hoodies and masks, and they threaten you. They’re only armed with tools brass knucks, and knives, but your life just became a real-life Tueller Drill in your own damn kitchen.

That appears to be what actually happened. Four youthful career criminals from Owasso, OK, went to a neighborhood in Broken Arrow, OK, in which they’d been finding easy pickings. They had burglar tools and contact weapons. The 21-year-old woman who drove the getaway car, Elizabeth Rodriguez, supposedly organized the whole thing — she knew the young man in the house, and knew what property he and his father had for stealing. Like guns.

She waited in the getaway car with her three young children while her three pals went a-viking.

The three bold youths, Max Cook, Jacob Redfearn and Jake Woodruff, were ready for resistance — they would beat it down, or stab it. They didn’t know anyone was home, or, more likely, they didn’t care.

Now, they’re beyond caring. The three young criminals are at ambient temperature — two were DRT in the kitchen, and one made it to the driveway before collapsing. The last thing he saw in his worthless thieving life was probably his getaway driver (and the three kids comprising her next generation of idiots) running away on him. Not that it did her any good. As you’ll read below, she’s in the bag and will answer for her fellow criminals’ deaths in their mutual felony enterprise.

Of course, there’s another way of looking at it. A well-off young woman in the Blogbrother’s Facebook timeline sent this:

Three CHILDREN who made a bad decision were murdered, local people rejoice. Comments on the Facebook post for this story are seriously disturbing. This state is legit Fucked up.

Blogbro’s unsympathetic comment (to us, not to his FB friend):

She’s talking about the cooling slabs of meat who pulled that home invasion in Tulsa.

Those poor children.

I think I’d piss her off if I used the expression “evolution in action.”

We’ll say this: going out on a day rain is forecast without a jacket, is a “bad decision.” Picking up a Steven Seagal film from the $5 bin is a bad decision. Conducting a violent home invasion is not remotely a bad decision: it’s an invitation to be culled. An attempted suicide. Voting yourself off the island.

Only two things happen with a home invasion: you get stopped — shot or arrested — or you get away with it — stealing somebody’s stuff, maybe hurting ’em.

One of the children was 18 or 19, so he wasn’t a “children.” Likewise, the getaway driver was a fat, stupid-looking woman of 21, Elizabeth Rodriguez. She’s not very grown-up, but she’s nominally an adult anywhere in the world. As for the rest of them, old enough to attempt the crime is old enough to pay the piper.

Rodriguez fled the scene but later showed up at the police station to demand the cops arrest the murderer of her friends.

It doesn’t work that way. She’s charged with three counts of felony murder. As well as a bunch of stuff related to the burglary.

As of this writing, neither the homeowner nor his 23-year-old son who took out the trash has been charged.

Court documents indicate the homeowner who fired the shots is Zachary Peters, 23, and that Rodriguez knew him by name. The documents note Rodriguez planned the burglary, took the three boys to the house, and was waiting in the driveway until she heard shots and left.

Wagoner County deputies said she turned herself in to give officers the names of the dead so their parents could be notified.

These four slugs were just going to keep on doing this until someone put ’em down. They were armed home invaders.

Had Peters not been home, they could well have been armed with his rifle and any other guns in the house, next time. They didn’t respect anyone else’s life, and there’s no reason anyone else should respect theirs. Blogbro was right: think of it as evolution in action. (Just a bit late in the case of Elizabeth Rodriguez, unfortunately).

Some people say — no doubt the Blogbro’s fine young friend would say — nobody needs an AR-15, nobody needs a standard-capacity magazine, why would you ever need such a thing.

We dunno. How about — three young, violent home invaders?

The TSA Excels Again.. at Power Tripping

This is an old report, but the title is always true.

We all know the basic readout on the TSA: No one good, decent, honest, competent, moral, ethical or intelligent has ever been employed at the TSA in any capacity whatsoever.

And we haven’t had much to say about them since they walked a bunch of imams affiliated with the Moslem Brotherhood and other pro-terrorist groups through their procedures back in August.

You know what that means, right? It’s time to clear the TSA spindle.

Item: Texas Group Grope

Here’s a story from DFW, where mom of a special-needs kid, Jennifer Wilson, posted, as reported in the Fort Worth Star-Telegram:

We have been through hell this morning. They detained Aaron for well over an hour at DFW. (And deliberately kept us from our flight… we are now on an alternate) We were treated like dogs because I requested they attempt to screen him in other ways per TSA rules. He has SPD and I didn’t want my child given a pat down like this. Let me make something else crystal clear. He set off NO alarms….

I wish I had taped the entire interchange because it was horrifying. Somehow these power tripping TSA agents who are traumatizing children and doing whatever they feel like without any cause, need to be reined in.

Good luck with that. They’re untouchable, and you must not Question Their Authoritah.

Mrs Wilson said she was held for “over and hour” so the TSA group could grope her kid. The TSA’s six-figure PR officials, as competent as the rest of the agency, countered with “35 minutes.” The spokesman later admitted that was a lie, but now wants the public to believe “45 minutes.”

In case you ever wondered what happened to Joe Isuzu, the answer seems evident.

Item, 2016: Gross Mismanagement

In front of Congress last year, TSA workers complained about “gross mismanagement.” And they said that “more turnover is needed.” Since then, the TSA has turned over whistleblowers, not the mismanagers.

Item 2016: Over $70 Billion had been wasted on the TSA by this time last year, including $1B on the failed “Behavioral Detection Officer” program. This doesn’t cost the economic cost of the time Americans waste waiting on TSA, estimated in the same article as an additional $8 Billion. More people have actually died driving to avoid the TSA gropers than died on 9/11, given the greater per-mile death hazard of driving over flying.

Item Aug 16: TSA Cracks Down on Batarangs

Only the payroll patriots of the TSA can fight the fans of the masked man who fights crime. Or something.

The TSA has priorities, and one of them is making sure that the attendees of comic conventions don’t get their novelties home. TSA’s six-figure overpaid PR flacks:

Passengers are not allowed to bring anything on a plane that resembles a weapon, so anything like a boomerang or anything like that would not be permitted in the airplane cabin.

And

Every year during Comic-Con International, our officers have issues with the various items that people purchase and then either carry-on or place in their checked bags. These come in the form of figurines, costume items (including replica and real weapons) and other mementos that generally alarm our checkpoint and checked baggage screening systems and result in a bag check.

In other words, “We’re too stupid to tell toys from weapons.”

But maybe they’re on to something. Right around the same time, some nutball threw one at a police cruiser. Of course, that was in ever-weird Seattle. The cruiser, as you might expect for a steel thing that had a toy thrown at it, was unharmed.

Lord love a duck.

Item, Feb 2017: “Wave of Security Lapses”

A series of reports on leaked security documents from Stewart International (a reliever airport northwest of New York City) demonstrate both TSA overreach (on an airport that sees only occasional flights) and that TSA’s overreach vastly exceeds its grasp. One of the things it dropped the ball on was checking pax against the no-fly list.

Item, Feb 2017: TSA’s Legacy of Failure

As TSA waits for a new political-appointee director, a news story recounts the agency’s immediate history: nothing but a litany of failures and misconduct, just that month:

  • On Monday, 11 people walked through a security lane at New York’s John F. Kennedy International Airport without being screened;
  • Last week, TSA employees were indicted for smuggling cocaine from Puerto Rico
  • Earlier this month, a House Homeland Security Committee report indicated the TSA failed to properly vet and screen potential employees, uncovering examples of “insider threats” within U.S. airports.

If you really want to see the entitled incompetence of TSA employees, read the comments to that story where one of them speaks up to prove that no one good, decent, honest, competent, moral, ethical or intelligent has ever been employed at the TSA in any capacity whatsoever.

Shorts (clearing a large spindle)

Conclusion: is it time to disband this thing yet?

General Gets Crucified, Congress Complains

Then-LTG Ron Lewis. Looks like he was a Master Aviator & combat vet before getting kicked upstairs.

Why does the military leak so badly that trusting a secret to the Pentagon is like trying to cross the Atlantic in a colander? Well, we give you Ron Lewis (Brigadier General, Retired) who has been in receipt of a number of Good Deals For Brass since making an ass out of himself on a world tour with then-Secdef Ash Carter. Carter selected Lewis as adviser for the same reason Carter did everything — affirmative action virtue signaling, which is what Carter did in lieu of leading the Department.

Lewis didn’t do anything many other officers and soldiers don’t do — got drunk, hit the whorehouses and had a few drinks (stories implied he got his ashes hauled, but that doesn’t seem to have happened), hit on the girls. Difference is, Joe Schmo gets this out of his system while he’s a 2LT or a PFC and a certain amount of juvenile carousing is excused. When you’re a fifty-something senior representative of the US military, you’re expected to conduct your whoremongering and carousing on a less-epic scale, and with an adult’s discretion.

Expectation of discretion is probably one of the greatest reason that many of the Army’s greatest combat leaders are terminal at Colonel and are never seriously considered for a star; Courtney Massengales are horrible, but only to their troops, and never embarrass their leaders. Lewis went too far and embarrassed Carter, and worse, he did it overseas, in Korea and EUCOM.

Had he been a Speedy Four working in a radio intercept battalion somewhere, he’d lose some stripes, spend a couple weeks extra duty on the First Sergeant’s $#!+ Detail Squad, and lose his clearance. The equivalent for Lewis was losing two stars — but his clearance, which is a key to cashing in through the revolving door between Pentagon and boardroom,  is inviolate, and that ticks off the reporters at Gannett:

Lewis endured a spectacular flame-out in November 2015 when he was fired from his job as the three-star officer and top military adviser to then-Defense secretary Ash Carter. Lewis had run up tabs at sex clubs on “Hooker Hill” in Seoul and Rome on his government credit card, drank excessively on a trip with Carter and had been overly friendly with young women, the Pentagon inspector general found.

“You are reprimanded for unprofessional conduct while serving in a position of great trust that impugns your personal and professional judgment,” Army Vice Chief of Staff Gen. Daniel Allyn wrote in a letter to Lewis in December that was obtained by USA TODAY. “Specifically you engaged in a pattern of inappropriate behavior that included patronizing establishments of questionable character, drinking to excess in public venues, and inappropriately interacting with female civilian and military personnel.”

Carter canned him immediately, and the investigation dragged on for more than a year. The Army demoted him to one star, docked his pension by about $10,000, and filed the stinging letter of reprimand in his personnel file.

“Docked his pension” is simply the result of the demotion, it’s not an independent action. They can reduce any officer (or NCO) administratively to “the last rank in which he satisfactorily performed.”

The Army says, hey, we’re not going to strip him of clearance because Carter could have done it, but didn’t:

“Maj. Gen. Lewis was suspended from his job by the Office of the Secretary of Defense, and was under investigation by the Department of Defense for nearly a year,” said Army spokesman Michael Brady. “During that time, DOD allowed him to retain his clearance. Given that DOD deemed him fit to retain his clearance, and that there were no allegations of mishandling classified materials in their investigation, the Army did, in fact, recommend he be allowed to retain a clearance. However, the decision is not the Army’s to make.”

The problem with clearances is this: they are necessary for many kinds of employment; as t hey are processed by a government organization, they are very slow, inefficient, and expensive to get; therefore, private employers want to get people the military has already spent money to clear.

It is an article of faith in the government that the clearance system is effective, yet the system, developed from an earlier British system of “positive vetting” after some damaging spy scandals, has not prevented the continuation of spy scandals or exposed any spies. It does not prevent leaking to potential enemies through the media, an act that is not taken seriously by Pentagon bureaucrats or their leaders but that has cost billions.

Perhaps everybody should surrender his clearance on leaving government employment, and let employers start everyone from zero. Your clearance ultimately belongs not to you, but to the people of the nation. Perhaps they should be easier to get — and easier to revoke.

The Army’s recommendation comes in spite of an Army policy enacted late last year that triggered the suspension of clearances for senior officers under investigation for serious misconduct. That policy stemmed from the case of then-Maj. Gen. David Haight, the so-called “Swinging General,” whose serial philandering got him fired and demoted. But he was allowed to retain his security clearance several months until USA TODAY reported on his alternative lifestyle and raised questions about his access to sensitive material.

If there’s one thing the Army doesn’t need, it’s more sexual puritanism and top-down alcohol prohibition. The Army of 1941-45 drank, caroused, and fornicated its way from Operation Torch to Hitler’s own sitting room, while our opposite numbers were fueled as much by vodka and rapine as by their understandable thirst from revenge as they drank, caroused and fornicated from their banks of the Don to their enemies drowned in the Elbe. Handshakes and toasts all around on the meeting of the two great victorious armies.

But that’s okay, that was then and this is now. And now, the Elmer Gantries of America’s ever-sanctimonious Native Criminal Class, Congress, are going to enforce the New Puritanism. Yes, a bunch of people you wouldn’t trust to valet-park your pickup truck, have decided that the Army needs to Do As I Say, Not As I Do on the subject of booze and broads.

Rep. Jackie Speier, a Democrat from California on Armed Services Committee, said she would demand an explanation from the Army for its decision on Lewis. She also raised the case of the Army’s decision in the case of retired Maj. Gen. John Custer. USA TODAY reported on March 9 that in 2011, Army Gen. Martin Dempsey, his four-star commander at the time and eventual chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, intervened to have a substantiated allegation of an improper relationship stricken from the record being considered by a board reviewing Custer’s fate.

It’s the Army, and different spanks for different ranks is part of the deal. The same way that Congress members can and do diddle their pages, rip off their donors and taxpayers, and conduct themselves generally like a crew from UMass-Amherst on Spring Break, with impunity. (Anybody remember the Congressman who hit a — parked, and lighted! — Capitol Police car in the wee hours of the morning, out of his mind on illegal hard drugs, and didn’t get charged? You remember his name — Kennedy).

“If these reports are accurate, I would certainly want hear from the Army about their rationale for this recommendation,” Speier said in a statement. “The official reprimand by the Army Vice Chief states that Gen. Lewis’ conduct impugns his personal and professional judgment, bringing significant discredit to the Department. Secretary Carter agreed and fired him. If that isn’t disqualifying for a position of trust that requires a security clearance, I don’t know what is.

“Coming so soon after the revelations about Major General Custer, it appears that the Army is simply unable to hold senior officers fully accountable for their misconduct and I think we need to look more closely at why that is,” Speier said.

One interesting fact about Rep. Speier: during her run in Congress, her net worth has increased enormously. In fact, since 2008 alone it’s more than doubled, and sits somewhere in the low tens of millions, not counting her happily-enriched-by-her-service hedge-fund husband. Ah, the sacrifices they make for the three-day weeks of a public servant!

For now, the reprimand is the Army’s final word on Lewis. And it is one that dresses him down emphatically.

In it, Allyn slams Lewis for binge drinking, saying he drank “enough to impact your memory and exercise of good judgment.” Allyn cites incidents in Korea, Italy and, the worst, in Hawaii in 2015. “During this visit, after consuming an unknown amount of alcohol, you made inappropriate advances toward a female non-commissioned officer,” Allyn wrote. “Additionally, in Malaysia, witnesses observed you interacting with a subordinate female civilian in a manner inappropriate for a senior leader.”

The inspector general’s conclusions “raise serious concerns about your fitness as a senior leader in the U.S. Army, and your conduct over the period addressed by the investigation has brought significant discredit to the Department,” Allyn continued. “Although no one has questioned your competence, the investigation exposed flaws in your character.”

via Army says general’s drunken escapades shouldn’t affect his secret clearance.

Frankly, we’d rather have a guy with competence and “flaws in his character,” especially flaws as seen by Representative Gantry Speier, than some bozo who got his stars by staying clear of every fight and never offending the perpetually offended — the traditional pathway to high rank in the peacetime US Army, which is why the first 2-3 years of an American war are often spent in a quest for a general who will fight.

So, the guy goes to bars. He might even have been in a bar fight. Is that a negative? Depends.

We were hiring him to mentor Sunday School teachers, right?

On the other hand, he also knew the rules before he hopped the Ash-n-trash VIP jet to the fleshpots of Europe and Asia. So maybe he’s not the right guy to be a general, but not for the reasons that rich-makler’s-wife Jackie Speier, whose knowledge of military officers consists solely of abusing them in committee hearings, thinks.

The guy you want? It’s the guy who gets his carouse on, but uses such discretion, and inspires such intense loyalty in his men, that Elmer Gantry in his many manifestations can’t prove it and can’t solicit or suborn testimony to it.

To paraphrase Jean Lartéguy, “That is the man for whom I should like to fight.”

Update

For anyone interested in more on Ron Lewis’s firing:

  • Jonn Lilyea at This Ain’t Hell, a superior military blog. (Reading between the lines, it looks like Lewis’s real problem was that he hit on an enlisted woman that a female military officer had already chosen as her own).
  • One of Lilyea’s commenters: “He could not have been too bright to use a government credit card in Korea and really dumb to pay the high prices at Hooker Hill when there is more cost effective pussy at the MI compound club.” D’oh! Target! Some of the other comments are worthwhile, too.
  • A more smart-ass take on Lewis’s rise and fall (attributing the rise to his youth as “a Chicago street kid”) at MilitaryCorruption.com.
  • The whole report is here (.pdf), and Lewis seems to have hanged himself. The worst of the charges seems to have been lying about using the government card. He even signed a form that he did not use the card at the off-limits Candy Bar in Itaewon, knowing that was false (!!). He used the government card in a Rome titty bar because he had no personal credit card, and his personal debit card was declined. (Suggests there’s something more there).
  • But the report does seem to confirm that what got him caught was none of this, but irritating a subordinate female officer who “asked the female enlisted Service member to leave MG Lewis’ hotel room with her, and warned MG Lewis that he was “being really stupid” and that the female enlisted Service member needed to come with her and stay in her room that night.” The enlisted woman and Lewis did not have sex, according to each of them interviewed individually.

Lesson to all: (1) don’t lie to investigators; (2) do your thinking with Head Nº 1; (3) exercise extreme caution around female subordinates — especially the ones that have a proprietary interest in your other female subordinates.

The Department of Veterans Affairs Continues to Excel

For some values of the word, “excel,” anyway. And one of the interesting things that’s happening is that not all the negative stories are true, and not all the true news is truly new. But there’s still some, because it is the VA.

Right now, the media is arrayed against the VA. (They’ll do a volte-face the moment the VA’s payroll patriots’ lifetime no-accountability jobs are threatened). But today, the media is in such a feeding frenzy that they don’t even check stories that put the VA in a bad light, and the VA’s army of scores (hundreds?) of six-figure PR flacks can’t even move themselves to defend the agency they’re overpaid to defend. (An aspect of VA underperformance that’s been undercovered is just how bad a team you get when you pay $40k/year talent $160k/year, and teach them that the paycheck is forever, and no one cares how they perform. That’s the VA’s PR people in a nutshell).

The Dilaudid and Deluded Affair

Case in point: a story making the rounds about a vet killed by VA malpractice. It’s not new news, as the vet in question, Jason Powell, died during relatively routine surgical prep in Asheville, NC on 6 Sep 2012. The family sued, and so the VA lawyered up and clammed up, before finally settling an unlawful death suit in 2015… and remaining lawyered up and clammed up.

The doctor in the case has been, in the way of all things VA, promoted.

But a look at the case makes you wonder if the guy didn’t die, not of the medication error the VA admits, but of the underlying medical condition — a perforated bowel that had been untreated for several days before presenting.

The medication error was to substitute, twice, 4 mg of Dilaudid for the scheduled 1 mg of that drug (a powerful opiate) that was being given every four hours. But the error only occurred twice, and the doctors, nurses and managers never covered it up (unusual for the VA). “Advocacy journalism” like this article, which smells as if it was spoon-fed by plaintiff’s attorneys to Nick Ochsner for WBTV (Slogan: “We’re on your side!”), does make it sound like the Dilaudid killed him. In the one deposition that Ochsner selectively presents (.pdf), the plaintiff’s attorney is really trying to get the doctor to say the Dilaudid error killed poor Powell.

But there’s a problem with that. That’s just not enough Dilaudid to kill a guy. Instead of 6 mg in 24 hours, the error gave him 10. It is enough that he was, no doubt, out of it in an opiate dream immediately after the 4 mg dose. But it seems highly improbable that it punched his ticket to eternity.

Table: acute toxicity of hydromorphone (Dilaudid). Source (.pdf).

Sometimes a fellow gets sick and dies young. Sometimes the hospital can’t catch it in time. Sometimes — often, really — a young, healthy guy doesn’t believe he’s really sick, and doesn’t present himself at the hospital until his failure to act has become their screaming emergency.

Hospitals strive to never make errors, but sometimes they do. And sometimes the errors are extremely consequential, and sometimes they’re not, but either way they’re a peg for some ambulance chaser to get his third of a settlement. Ochsner also reports that the VA has paid over half a billion in malpractice settlements since 2012…

The number of medical malpractice payments balloons to 2,483 when you look at all malpractice payments made on the VA’s behalf between 2012-2016. The total amounts to $554.19 million.

…which would make, assuming the standard 1/3 rakeoff for doing the paperwork and sitting in the depositions, that this was a transfer payment of about $185 million to the societal fleas and ticks of the legal profession.

Rather than address these points, VA Asheville’s overpaid, underworked PR flack issued a statement empty of facts and bloated with boilerplate. It’s amazing that Ochsner even bothered to put three paragraphs of it at the end of his story. Just to give you an idea what weak, warmed-over pablum it is, here’s the one that comes closest to addressing facts.

We take concerns about care seriously, and, in some cases, conduct internal reviews to ensure we provide the highest quality of care and identify opportunities for improvement. Our goal is always to do right by our Veterans.

The VA has doctors and nurses who may make the occasional error, but they sure hired a bunch of C-average English majors who do not add value to the agency.

It would not harm the hair on the head of a single veteran to let these useless people feel the cold winds of the Dreaded Private Sector. Is it time to disband this thing yet?

The Wait, Is That What “Suicide Help Line” Does? Affair

“Hey, they’re from the Government, and they’re here to help us!”

It would take the right writer to do it but it’s easy to imagine a wickedly funny story in which the purpose of a veterans’ suicide help line was to help veterans commit suicide. That’s the occasional outcome of VA’s well-funded suicide help line, which is euphemistically called the Veterans Crisis Line. (Do not call that line with any other crisis, because they think it’s a suicide line, and they’ll send a SWAT team to finalize the suicide if you hang up on them. Once you make the call, suicide is the crisis you have, whether you wanted it or not).

On 20 March, the DVA Office of Inspector General released a report of investigation into the Veterans Crisis Line. (There’s a press release and the full report, both in .pdf).

The IG has 16 new recommendations for the DVA’s Vet Crisis Line.

The last time they looked at it there were 7, over a year ago (.pdf again). They are not part of the 16 new ones, but the IG notes that no action has been taken on the last 7 squawks. As the VA OIG put it, rather mildly, “Failure to implement our previous recommendations impairs the VCL’s ability to increase the quality of crisis intervention services to veterans seeking help.”

That kind of tells you how seriously the VA takes criticism, even internal criticism. If you think all the platitudes about their mission actually mean anything to them, this would be alarming, but if you think of it as a make-work jobs program for the employees and managers, it all begins to make sense.

On the plus side, every time the Veterans Crisis Line gets it wrong, the taxpayers are saved a bunch of veterans’ health and disability expenses, so there is that.

“Welcome to the suicide help line. How can we help you kill yourself today?”

Yeah. Time to disband this thing.

The Symbolism Counts Affair

The VA, despite its army of overpaid, underworked PR payroll patriots, scored a rather gnarly own goal last week, as a recalcitrant VA hospital head refused to display the photograph of the man who’s not her president in her hospital. A photo provided by local vets was taken down. The press called this “a controversy.”

Congressman Brian Mast, an Army vet whose district is just north of the hospital and whose constituents are served there, came back with some vets and some ceremony to place photos of the President and VA Secretary. During his visit, the VAMC head made herself scarce.

As soon as Mast was gone, she ordered the portraits removed again.

It took an order from VA HQ in Washington for the pictures to be restored. Meanwhile, of course, the PR army (hardly any of whom are vets) took the part, as usual, of the VA’s employees against the VA’s victims veterans.

This occurred at the West Palm Beach VAMC, where none of the senior staff is a veteran (the VA generally accepts vets only as employees as physicians, or low-level janitorial shiftworkers).

What time is it, kids?

 

Update

It could be worse. In Canada, government-employee doctors now have the power of euthanasia… which in at least some cases they’ve used to accelerate organ and tissue donations. Nice liver you’ve got there, mate. Wouldn’t want anything to happen to it.

A Shocking Update in Florida “Citizens Police Academy” Shooting

Moment of horror: 9 Aug 2016, then-Officer Lee Coel, left, role-playing as a criminal, has just mortally wounded Mary Knowlton, right, role-playing as a cop. Knowlton had a Simunitions-modified Glock; Coel, a personal Smith & Wesson Airweight with live wadcutters. PGPD/FDLE photo.

Lee Williams has an update on the Punta Gorda, FL, shooting death of 73-year-old retiree Mary Knowlton. The police officer who killed her, Lee Coel, has been fired and charged with manslaughter, and the police chief, Tom Lewis, has also been charged with some trivial misdemeanor (although he clings to his job) in what has turned out to be the most incredible and horrifying bad shoot in this young century.

Hey, at least when NYPD shoots nine bystanders, they’re trying to shoot a criminal, and they know they’re firing live ammo. This cockeyed Keystone incompetence has no such excuse.

According to investigative reports and crime scene photos released Wednesday, former Punta Gorda Police Officer Lee Coel loaded Blazer .38 Special hollow-base wadcutters into his Smith & Wesson .38 Special  Airweight revolver, instead of Winchester blank rounds.

ATF traced the murder weapon to Officer Coel… just in case he was inclined to lie about that, too.

Coel then pointed his revolver at 73-year-old retired librarian Mary Knowlton and pulled the trigger four times.

Knowlton was hit twice.

“Mrs. Knowlton was struck by two of the four bullets that were fired. One bullet ricocheted off the engine hood of the parked car and struck Mrs. Knowlton in the abdomen, where it remained. Another bullet ricocheted off the engine hood and struck her in the inside of her left elbow, where it remained. A third bullet ricocheted off the engine hood and came to rest at an unknown location. The fourth bullet entered and lodged in the driver’s side door of the parked vehicle,” the FDLE report states.

An autopsy later showed that the fatal round perforated Knowlton’s aorta.

The next line is one that always makes us lose focus for a minute, because it’s the classically mealy-mouthed passive voice of responsibility shirkers.

The FDLE report indicates that mistakes were made.

“Mistakes were made,” my ever-lovin’ eye.

The mistakes “were made” by somebody, or several somebodies: Coel and the Punta Gorda police chief, to be sure, but also, as an outraged Williams points out, by every officer who attended this kind of half-assed “training,” and didn’t speak up.

Do Read The Whole Thing™, as Williams extracts a whole litany of lessons from these morons, but the fact is, somebody chose the easy wrong (“Hey, a revolver works great with blanks,” over the hard right, “How do we do this without pointing a live weapon at anybody?”).

.38 blank, left. .38 Hollow Base WadCutter practice ammo, right. FDLE photo.

Lee is not buying the idea that the superficial similarity of the rounds somehow excuses the shoot.

Anyone who has ever taken even the most basic firearm safety course will see that a plethora of mistakes — an entire chain of mistakes — occurred long before Coel was unable to distinguish wadcutters from blanks, and then loaded the fatal rounds.

I’m sure there may be some who say — because the wadcutters and blanks look somewhat alike — that they now understand how this could have happened.

That’s bunk.

This never should have happened.

Adherence to even the most basic fundamentals of firearms safety would have prevented this needless, tragic death.

Lee Williams has written an update, calling for the resignation or firing of Lewis. Apart from Lee’s points, just the hiring of Coel, who had failed at other police departments, calls into question Lewis’s judgment — and makes one wonder whether other clockwork bombs are ticking away in the Punta Gorda PD.

One gets the impression that Coel is that rare thing, the sort of cop who always wanted to shoot somebody. Now that he’s done it, maybe he understands why all the other cops aren’t like that. In partial defense of Lewis, he seems to have cooperated with the investigation.

The same cannot be said of Coel. He lawyered up and shut up, getting a privilege you would not, and he and his lawyer lied in a statement submitted by letter, claiming that he had called out to test fire the blanks while on duty. This was contradicted by the recollections of the dispatchers and the radio logs and tapes.

Only four fired casings from Coel’s revolver were recovered, but the revolver has five chambers, and the partial box of live .38 ammo in his car contained 35 rounds — 50 minus three revolver loads. That suggests that Coel pocketed or otherwise disposed of the one remaining live round in an attempt to evade responsibility (witnesses agree that he fired four shots, and traces, at least, of four shots were found). The manufacturer of the casings from the firearm and the matching box of live ammo in the car, CCI, does not manufacture centerfire blanks, and confirmed that to the investigation.

The FDLE investigation’s complete report is being trickled out only to friendly reporters. A partial textual report is here: FDLE Report on Punta Gorda Shooting.pdf

Another news story based on access to the full report contains this chilling note:

Punta Gorda police Lt. Katie Heck said she “probably” gave Coel a box of live ammunition, thinking they were blanks, the report said.

“Probably.”

It’s beginning to look like Coel was just the tip of the incompetence iceberg, and nobody in that department knew what he or she was doing.

Lewis, meanwhile is on “paid administrative leave.” Yep, he’s been vacationing on his failure for seven months and counting. Maybe someone should give him his incompetent officer’s revolver, and a box of what his incompetent lieutenant thinks are blanks, and urge him to do the right thing.

Vigilantes in Brazil Dispensing Rough Justice

Here’s a video from LiveLeak. It is a link because WordPress apparently doesn’t work with LiveLeak. The video is short, but pretty graphic. Explained (?) afterward.

https://www.liveleak.com/view?i=0d0_1489327258

The guy in the white t-shirt is accused of being a thief (“ladron”) and that’s how they address him, as if “Thief” was his name. While one guy, apparently the one with the gun, gives him instructions, which he follows, another guy can be heard saying what sounds like, “Just kill him.”

They have him hold out his left hand and shoot him in the palm. Then, they have him show it… you can’t see the entry wound too much in all the blood, so they say, “Show us the other side, Thief,” and he does show the exit wound, and then he exits, stage left.

You can’t blame him for not hanging around, eh?

How come the rough justice? In Brazil, the police aren’t terribly effective. And they aren’t in a rush to come out to the favelas where a lot of the crime happens. So when crime victims catch a thief, rapist, or other criminal, justice can be nonjudicial, rough, and immediate.

This is the logical end state of a justice system that cares about criminals, but not victims. Ironically, the police will now try to hunt down the vigilantes, something they’d never bother doing for the criminals.

To the extent that they can hunt down the vigilantes without hanging it out in the favela. 

Crim Brings a Baseball Bat to a Football Game

Watch out for the one with your name on it.

In the annals of proportionate response: a southern California criminal came up to a police station, swinging a baseball bat. Now, the cops inside could easily and legally have drilled him one, because there is no question that a baseball bat constitutes deadly force. How many times has a headline here read: “When Guns are Outlawed, Only Outlaws will have Baseball Bats” or some variation thereof? We checked: 13, almost three a year. Most of ’em fatal to somebody.

(Crims are even killing people with baseball bats in England, where nobody plays the American sport of baseball — and yet, no one seems to be killing people with bats in Japan, where baseball’s a popular pro sport. And in both countries, lots of guns are functionally outlawed).

But they didn’t do that. Instead, they took the citizens in their lobby to safety, and then got ready to swarm him, while a young and fit cop circled around, looking to make a blindside tackle. The video shows it all going down.

Batter up! Nope, batter down. Dumbass brought a baseball bat to a football game, and got the tackle of his lifetime for his pains.

This description is from the YouTube page, and it hints that the would-be Babe Ruth may be experiencing mental difficulties (that word “evaluation” is not usually a reason for hospitalizing you, apart from the goings-on going on in your Brain Housing Group).

Monday, February 27, 2017, a man carrying a baseball bat walked up to the front lobby of the West Covina Police Department and began striking the large glass windows. Seated inside the lobby by the windows were three women who immediately ran and entered a secured area of the lobby.

As officers responded from within the police station, the suspect walked up to the entry way repeatedly swinging and striking the glass entry doors threatening to enter. A West Covina PD officer who had been outside saw what was happening and ran up to the suspect, tackling him to the ground. Other officers then assisted in taking him into custody. The suspect suffered minor injuries from the fall and was transported to a local hospital for treatment.

None of the women were injured. The outer glass of the police department did not break from the impact strikes made by the suspect. Arrested for Assault with a Deadly Weapon and Resisting Arrest was Christopher Rivas, 28 of West Covina. The suspect was cited and released to the custody of the LA County Medical Center for treatment and evaluation.

via Man Swinging A Bat At A Police Station Gets Spine Shattering Tackle By A Cop! – YouTube.

The cops handled this well. With the citizens from the lobby behind their cypher lock, would-be Bat Boy couldn’t harm anything but property. The approach they chose minimized the risk of danger to everyone: cops, bystanders, and suspects. At the end of the day, the suspect’s in the bag, the disruption’s over, and nobody’s seriously injured or inconvenienced.

Well played, West Covina PD. We assess a penalty on your opponents, the Crims. The ball’s in your possession, first and ten.

How Many Foreign-Born Terrorists?

President Trump spawned a series of news stories calling him a liar when he said at an address to Congress in Joint Session that “the vast majority” of terrorists convicted for planning or carrying out terrorist attacks in the USA were “from outside of our country.” Here’s what he said (from the official WH transcript), with the key sentence highlighted:

Our obligation is to serve, protect, and defend the citizens of the United States. We are also taking strong measures to protect our Nation from Radical Islamic Terrorism.

According to data provided by the Department of Justice, the vast majority of individuals convicted for terrorism-related offenses since 9/11 came here from outside of our country. We have seen the attacks at home -– from Boston to San Bernardino to the Pentagon and yes, even the World Trade Center.

We have seen the attacks in France, in Belgium, in Germany and all over the world.

It is not compassionate, but reckless, to allow uncontrolled entry from places where proper vetting cannot occur. Those given the high honor of admission to the United States should support this country and love its people and its values.

We cannot allow a beachhead of terrorism to form inside America — we cannot allow our Nation to become a sanctuary for extremists.

Now, you might expect his political opponents to zero in on his prescriptions, but instead, they accused him of making up his facts.

In an “AP Fact Check,” AP reporters Calvin Woodward and Christopher Rugaber write:

THE FACTS: It’s unclear what Justice Department data he’s citing, but the most recent government information that has come out doesn’t back up his claim. Just over half the people Trump talks about were actually born in the United States, according to Homeland Security Department research revealed last week. That report said of 82 people the government determined were inspired by a foreign terrorist group to attempt or carry out an attack in the U.S., just over half were native-born citizens.

If they were making the claims about the same thing, they can’t both be telling the truth, right? And if they’re making the claims about different things, while the Associated (with terrorists) Press is asserting they’re addressing the same thing, then it’s the AP that’s lying, right?

But they’re not done calling Mr Trump a liar.

Even the attacks Trump singled out weren’t entirely the work of foreigners. Syed Rizwan Farook, who along with his Pakistani wife killed 14 people in the deadly 2015 attack in San Bernardino, California, was born in Chicago.

It’s true that in the immediate aftermath of Sept. 11, the FBI’s primary concern was with terrorists from overseas feared to be plotting attacks in the United States. But that’s no longer the case.

Now, we’re far afield from the supposed fact check, but today’s reporters just can’t get over themselves as opinion columnists, can they?

The FBI and the Justice Department have been preoccupied with violent extremists from inside the U.S. who are inspired by the calls to violence and mayhem of the Islamic State group.

Actually, that’s quite mistaken. For the eight years of the Obama Administration, the DOJ was preoccupied with the “right-wing terrorist extremists” from the list created as a fund-raising measure by the Southern Poverty Law Center, whose main objective is ensuring that Morris Dees and his heirs and assigns be towards the right side of the continuum on a line that begins with “Poverty” and ends with “Bill Gates.” So far, so good, as frightened donors have made Dees worth tens of millions.

Infidel! I keeeel you! I am native American terrorist — from Jeff’s workbench!

But you can’t keep the donors frightened unless the steel curtain of Fascism is ever descending on the United States. (And the whole racket would stop if said curtain ever actually arrived).

So, what else will they do to obfuscate the fact that their fact check has yet to produce contrary facts? Let’s try a little time travel, Associated (with terrorists) Press style.

The Justice Department has prosecuted scores of IS-related cases since 2014, and many of the defendants are U.S. citizens.

And note: they’re now comparing “since-2014” oranges to those “since-9/11” apples. Why would they do that?

Or they grow up to be reporters! And lie to their moms that they play piano in a whorehouse.

There are two possibilities. (1) They are so innumerate that they do not realize 2001 ≠ 2014. That sounds prima facie ridiculous, but we’ve known some reporters, and most of them couldn’t compute a 15% bar tip with the help of a staff of black ladies with slide rules. So, it’s possible. Or, (2), they do know 2001 ≠ 2014, and they’re trying to lie about whether the President lied.

The DHS document Woodward and Rugaber are going on about appears to be a draft leaked to the press by its author, a friend to the press, not the President. “Just over half of the people Trump talks about” were actually born in the United States, but what people did Mr Trump talk about? “individuals convicted for terrorism-related offenses since 9/11″. They are quoting a document addressing something different: “Individuals inspired by foreign terrorists,” and moreover, a document written, as we will see, by someone who didn’t even have a handle on the hundreds of terrorism prosecutions that have taken place in the last decade and a half.

Mr Trump did mention three incidents: Boston, San Berdardino and 9/11. Woodward and Rugaber seem to consider his claim invalidated by the fact that one of the 24 perpetrators identified in those crimes was native-born. In Associated (with terrorists) Press math, 23 out of 24 is not the vast majority. We don’t expect Woodhead and Rugburns or whatever to do the percents, so we will: in AP math, 95.8% is not “the vast majority”. (95.8333 repeating 3 for the pedants among you).

Oddly enough, though, the President was not working off the leaked phony-baloney memo written by some disloyal apparatchik trying to make him look bad, but from what he said he was: “data provided by the Department of Justice”.

Now, you probably think that it was unfair of the president to use DOJ data that was not available to the stalwarts of the press. Except, he didn’t. He used DOJ reports previously sent to Attorney General Jeff Sessions and Senator Ted Cruz in their capacity (in Sessions’s case, his previous capacity) as heads of relevant Senate committees. Which were so secret that they were posted on Sessions’s (now shut down) Senate website. On 13 January 2016. Where a reporter could have found it… if only the Associated Press had one.

Having downloaded it, being an actual reporter, Patrick Poole posted it today on Scribd. And now, we’re posting it here for your convenience (we got the file direct from Patrick’s Scribd):

Justice-Department-terrorism-statistics-2001-2014.pdf

Now, there are 580 terrorists and supporters — convicted ones, on that list; and that’s just cases that are final and not sealed through the end of 2014. The list doesn’t include a breakdown of who was native born and who was not, but other analysts (including Poole) have done the math, and behold! At least 380 of these 580 were just doing the terrorism Americans won’t do.

Patrick also found that one Subcommittee had broken it all down:

When the staff of the Senate Judiciary Subcommittee on Immigration and the National Interest examined the open-source data for the 580 cases, this is what they found:

Using this list, the Subcommittee conducted open-source research and determined that at least 380 of the 580 were foreign-born (71 were confirmed natural-born, and the remaining 129 are not known).  Of the 380 foreign-born, at least 24 were initially admitted to the United States as refugees, and at least 33 had overstayed their visas. Additionally, of those born abroad, at least 62 were from Pakistan, 28 were from Lebanon, 22 were Palestinian, 21 were from Somalia, 20 were from Yemen, 19 were from Iraq, 16 were from Jordan, 17 were from Egypt, and 10 were from Afghanistan.

So Trump is correct: 380 of 580 (65.5%, or just under 2/3) were in fact foreign born.

It is no mystery, contra the Associated Press, where this data came from. And as you can note, all of these cases involved Category I, II, and III terrorism offenses.

That notwithstanding, some in the media and terrorism industry began throwing out other terrorism numbers from a number of difference sources with no reference to the Justice Department data cited by President Trump…

Poole’s article deserves to have you Read The Whole Thing™.  Some of the reporters’ fearless beating of strawman piñatas has to be seen to be believed, including an appearance by an even-wronger-than-his-usual-wrong Thpenther Ackerman, the “military and defense” reporter and Internet Tough Guy™ who totes would have signed up sometime during the last 15+ years of war, if only he hadn’t been 4F on account of moral and physical cowardice. If you’re ever wondering whether Thpenther is lying, there’s a reliable tell: his lips move.

And he’s what a reporter is, in this Year of Our Lord 2017. So are the AP’s two fact-free fact checkers, Wooddud and Rugbugger, the Marquises of Mathlessness, the Khans of Confusion, the Imperators of Innumeracy.

Lord love a duck.

Exit thought: these are just terrorism cases. Boy howdy, if you could see the espionage and counterintelligence case statistics, which for obvious reasons are never going to see the light of day in our lifetimes, you’d see another whole cohort of immigrants (and asylees, and refugees, etc.) who ought not have been.