Category Archives: Don’t be THAT guy

Handbag Carry: Just Stop Doing It. Now.

As fans of the female shape (on females, of course; don’t look for us to go the way of Bruce Jenner anytime before the Sun goes nova) we’re sympathetic with women’s complaints about fit and comfort problems with conventional designed-for-dudes holsters.

But we’re not so sympathetic that we’re about to sanction handbag carry. It’s a great way for a carrier to get separated from her firearm, which is bad enough. But even worse, this can happen:

Elizabeth Green’s 3-year-old son, Marques, died at a hospital June 11 shortly after the shooting woman in Hamilton, about 30 miles north of Cincinnati. The mother told an emergency dispatcher amid screams that he apparently took her handgun out of her purse.

Butler County Prosecutor Mike Gmoser said a grand jury heard evidence in the case before deciding not to charge Green.

“The sheer enormity and permanency of this loss to the mother far exceeds the power of the state to punish the mother for her inattention under circumstances that should have been obvious to her,” Gmoser said in a statement.

At least Mr Gmoser managed to bring the investigation and grand jury to a close pretty quickly — it’s not unusual to see a case like this drag on for years, hanging like the Sword of Damocles over a person who’s already shocked, bereaved, and feeling incredible guilt.

On a word-nerd aside, it’s nice to see someone using the word enormity in its traditional sense; not just “really big” but “really horrible.” But it’s beyond awful that something like this ever had to happen.

In most cases where a kid whacks himself, or a playmate, with mommy or daddy’s gun, the state piling on doesn’t really serve an articulable public purpose, unless you’re the sort of state’s attorney who believes that your self-aggrandizement is the highest of public purposes.

The investigation was necessary to determine the circumstances surrounding the boy’s death and any criminal conduct that may have been involved, Gmoser’s statement said. He said the investigation confirmed the boy died accidentally from a self-inflicted gunshot wound to his chest and the mother failed to secure the firearm from her purse, where it was kept for her self-protection and found by the child.

via No charges for mother whose 3-year-old killed self – CBS News.

We’re not lawyers, but we’d guess that there’s a lot of jurisdictional variance here, and a lot of shaded area between the white of simple negligence and the black of criminal culpability. Reasonable people can disagree about whether to prosecute the gun owners in cases like this.

It’s unlikely anyone will disagree that this was a terrible tragedy, of the sort that should be avoided.

Yes, it’s hard to make a service pistol, a female form, and womens’ fashions fit together. And handbag carry is a temptation that just sits there smiling at you. When it reaches out to you, remember that the same convenience seduced Elizabeth Green. It’s impossible to imagine what effect this one single error — that she may not have known was an error, even though she’d had training — and the resulting tragedy has had on her now, and will have on her for life.

Don’t make it possible for a story like this to be about you. 

Live Free, or Live In Massachusetts, No. 32.

People's Republic of MassachusettsSo once a month the venerable OED adds new words (and less publicly, sometimes prunes dormant ones). The June 2015 update is described like this:

Around 500 new words, phrases, and senses have entered the Oxford English Dictionary in this quarter’s update. Additions this June include twerk, FLOTUS, yarn-bombing, and crowdfund. You can read more about the new and revised words and meanings in this article by Katherine Connor Martin, Head of US Dictionaries.

via June 2015 update | Oxford English Dictionary.

As anyone who’s had to deal with Massachusetts statism or gun laws (sides of one coin, perhaps) knows, the residents of the state have long been known by a particular crude portmanteau: Massholes. Yes, Masshole, “a term of contempt for a native or inhabitant of Massachusetts,”  is now it;s own entry in the OED.

masshole_definition

The OED traces the word to 1989, and notes that other 1980s words that have made it to the OED are gangsta, stank, and yuppie. Do we see a pattern emerging?

The gangsta wrinkled his nose. Usually it was too numbed by Bolivian marching powder to scent much, but this aroma was beyond ignoring. “What is that stank?” he thought. It could only be the worst of all worlds — a yuppie Masshole. He eyed his Glock cautiously. In all the excitement, he’d lost count. Did he fire 16 shots, or all 17?

We hope all you trust-fund kids dreaming of “common sense gun laws” like confiscation are happy, now that you’re famous. You Massholes.

Fix My Breakup or The Little Red Hen Gets It!

"It's dead, Jim."

“It’s dead, Jim.”

That seems to have been the ultimatum a young Alabama man gave his mother. She didn’t do what he wanted, and he began killing a hostage every fifteen minutes.

The hostages? Her flock of chickens. Haden Smith had bumped off an hour and a half’s worth of fowl bargaining chips before deputies arrived. He had threatened to kill them, but they either were a tougher egg to crack… or he just chickened out.

Romeo Montague Haden Smith. Sorry easy mistake, right?

Romeo Montague Haden Smith. Sorry! Easy mistake, right?

Haden Smith, 18, was arrested Thursday and charged with domestic violence third degree and criminal mischief. Deputies say the situation started when Smith texted his mother, threatening to kill one of her chickens every 15 minutes until she contacted his girlfriend’s parents and attempted to mend their broken relationship.

Deputies claim Smith gave his mother a deadline of noon before he started to kill the chickens. They also say he threatened to burn his mother’s house down, kill any deputies that arrived on the scene, and kill himself.

He then began sending his mother picture messages of each chicken he killed at 15-minute intervals, killing six in total before he was arrested, deputies say.

As we’ve noted before, Huntsville, Alabama has quite a few pukka rocket scientists there, but the rural areas in the WHNT broadcast area may include some, er, more traditionally Alabaman newsmakers. Do Read The Whole Thing™, but we do want to share the WHNT producer’s perfect ending with you:

There’s no word on Smith’s current relationship status.

Boom.

How are we going to top that?

"Hmmmm... tastes like chicken!"

“Hmmmm… tastes like chicken!”

Somehow we doubt that Suzy is weeping over Haden’s mugshot, going, “He does love me… he was willing to slay chickens for me.”

Why the New York Times Hates Soldiers and Marines

newspaper-fishwrapAn elite New England prep school is where successful men send their weak, effete sons to develop an aesthetic approach to coasting through life. And it’s where the Times’s loathing of soldiers and Marines comes from.

This forgotten anecdote from 1999 demonstrates where the rot at the Times comes from: straight down from its inherited, nepotistic head.

Sulzberger, nicknamed “Pinch” (in comparison to his Times predecessor and father, Arthur “Punch” Sulzberger), traveled a familiar path for the children of the Eastern elite in the 1960s and 1970s:

“He had been something of a political activist in high school — he had been suspended briefly from Browning for trying to organize a shutdown of the school following the National Guard’s shooting of students at Kent State — and at Tufts he eagerly embraced the antiwar movement. His first arrest for civil disobedience took place outside the Raytheon Comapny, a defense and space contractor; there, dressed in an old Marine jacket of Punch’s, he joined other demonstrators who were blocking the entrance to the company’s gates. He was soon arrested again, in an antiwar sit-in at the J.F.K. Federal Building in Boston.

Why wasn’t he subject to the draft? Well, he was rich, Jewish, cowardly, and from New York, a demographic that found ways to manipulate the system to send poor, goyish, brave, flyover-country kids in their place. (Meanwhile, there were other rich, Jewish, New York kids who volunteered: they were missing the most defining component of young Sulzberger’s make-up, “cowardly”). His cowardice extended far beyond not wanting to risk death or injury in a war; it was moral as well as physical. Not for him was resisting the draft; serious civil disobedience has consequences beyond a radical-chic-authenticity-polishing disorderly-person arrest, and principled draft resisters went to prison. Unprincipled, cowardly draft evaders walked free, comfortable in the knowledge that someone else was at war in their place. And contemptuous of that chump, whoever he might be.

“Punch had shown little reaction after the first arrest, but when he got word of the second one he flew to Boston. Over dinner, he asked his son why he was involved with the protests and what kind of behavior the family might expect of him in the future. Arthur assured his father he was not planning on a career of getting himself arrested. After dinner, as the two men walked in the Boston Common, Punch asked what his son later characterized as ‘the dumbest question I’ve ever heard in my life': ‘If a young American soldier comes upon a young North Vietnamese soldier, which one do you want to see get shot?’ Arthur answered, ‘I would want to see the American get shot.'”

There you have it — the morals and values of the New York Times. This despicable whelp not only reveled in American deaths, he though that seeing it any other way — as his father, a veteran unlike him, did — was “dumb.”

via CyberAlert — 08/11/1999 — “Pious, Sex-Crazed” Starr; Pinch Favored U.S. Deaths | Media Research Center.

Remember, many of the Vietnam War protesters, including the entire Baby Boomer staff of the Times, were never against the war. They were against victory. They were on the other side.

And you see the same behavior from them today in reference to Iraq, Afghanistan, Syria, you name it. And you wonder why? They hate you. They want you dead. It comes from the very top, where a self-loathing rich kid enjoys almost immeasurable wealth, whilst knowing in his weak, crabbed and corrupt soul that he did nothing for it and is not worthy of it.

Thinking About Safety

Larry Vickers is thinking about safety:

larry-vickers-appendix

 

Hat tip Miguel at Gun Free Zone, who wonders if one of the mishaps Larry’s writing about is this one. You can click the link if you like (and it’s a good tale of real-world first aid), but for most of you, the illustration will remind you what can go wrong with appendix carry.

7-June-2015-Burro-Canyon-Gunshot-Wound-Incident

That cat was danger close to living to collect the usually posthumous Darwin Award, but apparently the projectile did not connect with anything vital in his junk. Good luck, though, explaining that scar to dates. (“Go ahead and kiss it. It’s just a chancre!” probably won’t fly).

Instructor (and aidman) Stan Lee’s conclusions:

Briefing of the four firearms safety rules is of course a given, after that the first aid/gun shot wound treatment and medical evacuation plan should be thoroughly briefed as if an emergency incident had already happened to you.

He then runs through an emergency kit and emergency plan. It’s a good idea, for reasons we’ll cover in half a moment.

Someone should be able to brief all of the above in detail. That someone should be with the party from the beginning to the end. I think it’s acceptable to have the GSW kit centralized but extra credit points for wearing it.

Stan learned his first aid in the Navy. All the services teach much better and more effective first aid than they did when old dinosaurs like Tom Kratman and I went in, and even better than my old unit had on our first Afghan tour. Didn’t happen to our battalion, but in and around our time, other SF units lost guys because they exsanguinated, or developed tension pneumothorax, and the non-medics on site weren’t skilled enough to treat them. (Well, that, and medevac was weak until 2004 or so — too few frames and crews, and it’s a big country). That would never happen now; even support units get pretty decent combat life saver training.

Still, it’s a lot better to use your superior weapons handling skills so as not to have to demonstrate your superior first aid skills.

Stan makes another point (and another reason to Read The Whole Thing™ on Miguel’s site) in that simply briefing safety rules and plans at the start of a class is a Real Good Thing. In aviation, we found that when aircrews began briefing an instrument approach procedure-by-procedure, the number of errors (and mishaps) declined. In airborne operations, we found that when airborne units started doing a formal, stylized prejump briefing that everybody (especially devil-may-care skydivers) laughs at, the number of errors (and jump injuries) declined. It’s great that an American paratroop officer can command his battalion, regiment or division from a wheelbarrow pushed by one of his privates, but he’d probably rather not go down in history for that. 

IWB and particularly Appendix Carry holsters introduce risk factors that are not present in an old-fashioned outside-the-waistband holster. (We also think that schools’ focus on quick-draw engagements is usually misplaced). You can have an accident with any holster, but unless you’ve got a lot of experience, choose one that adds minimal risks.

 

As Larry notes, if you use a safetyless (“trigger safety”, “safe action”, anything that would have scared the horse out from under a 1909 cavalryman who had the grip safety added to the 1911) firearm you need to be extra careful about holstering and reholstering. Or, well, look at the picture.

Now, you can choose any firearm, and every one has its own risk factors. You can operate any handgun safely (we do not believe Larry has ever had an ND in God-knows how many Glock rounds), but you have to know it and its properties and operate it either with your mind on it 100%, or with skills drilled and drilled until you’re always, instinctively safe with it.

ND-shot-in-footAs the graphic we usually use with safety posts says, if you shoot yourself in a training class,  “Your [sic] Doing It Wrong.” Like this fellow in the ‘burbs of Orlando, Florida:

23-year-old man accidentally shot himself during a gun safety class at a pawn shop, according to the Orange County Sheriff’s Office.

It happened at Instant Replay Pawn Shop and Shooting Range on Colonial Drive between Dean and Rouse roads, said Lt. Paul Hopkins.

The gun went off accidentally and the bullet grazed his leg, Hopkins said.

Amazing how this guns just “went off.” No wonder newspaper guys all want to ban guns, they think of them as malevolent presences, stalking training classes and firing ranges, bent on bringing their primordial evil to bear on their hapless bearers.

Of course, that’s all bosh and nonsense. They’re simply machines, slavishly obeying the laws of physics and the input human operators apply to their user interfaces. In all history, the gun that “went off accidentally” is rarer that a comet sighting. He should admit he “set it off accidentally.”  He, too, is going to live.

He’ll probably never make that mistake again. But you know, we’re supposed to be able to learn from his mistake, rather than only learn from our own.

Bubba Retros a Rifle

This thread in Imgur (and there’s a matching discussion on Reddit) shows the whole process of Bubba attempting to alter a modern AR receiver to more closely resemble a Vietnam War early Colt Model 603, often erroneously referred to as an XM16E11. He didn’t go all the way with it, opting not to reprofile the buffer tower and pivot pin areas, both of which were extensively reinforced in later AR lowers.  He did wind up with a decent-looking 50-footer:

Bubba AR

As you might expect, a Dremel2 was involved.

Bubba AR Dremel 02

What could possibly go wrong? Hey, it’ll buff out.  And it’s nothing a couple of rattle-cans of Rustoleum grey primer won’t cover.

Well, almost cover:

Bubba AR spraypaint

Lesson learned, by this Bubba:

Bubba AR Filing

Use a file next time!

His further lessons learned:

Sub /r/RetroAR.

Build retro rifles.

Vietnamperate.

Be happy.

One of his reasons for doing this was that an NDS lower (which comes with all the profiling correct) was too much money. But on the positive side, he’s done non-irreversible damage to a cheap, generic AR lower, and he’s learned a lot. And if he’s like most Retro AR enthusiasts, every time he looks at that rifle it’s going to bug him until he gets around to improving it some more.

So maybe it’s possible for Bubba to educate himself clean out of Bubbahood. He’s learned, at least, that it’s easier to feel what you’re doing with a file than a Dremel, and that an ordinary Joe can take a piece of aluminum and bend it to his will.

Notes

  1. The label XM16E1 was used prior to the M16A1 type classification being approved, and was not related in any way to the change from a partial fence to a full fence lower receiver, which actually happened almost two years earlier, so you do see the XM16E1 roll mark on full-fence lowers.
  2. DREMEL: Device Removes Excessive Metal Electrically, Lummox.

“Socially Managed” Teachers Out Of Remington (and Money)

CalSTRSThe California (where else?) State Teachers’ Retirement System, CalSTRS, has long wanted to be free of the position it holds in icky-poo gunmaker Remington Outdoor, thanks to an investment in the Cerberus hedge fund that holds Remington.

The same teachers who are doing a really, really crappy job teaching Johnny (these days, Juanito) to read (but at least they’re bilingualilliterate!) have been protesting, picketing, marching, singing off-key, drumming in drum circles and bitching and moaning and generally carrying on to get the fund out of the evil, evil position of owning gun makers. Let’s check in with the hometown paper of Californistan’s dysfunctional one-party state government, the Sacramento Bee:

The California State Teachers’ Retirement System said it has unloaded its holdings in Remington Outdoor, formerly known as Freedom Group, the maker of the assault rifle used at the mass shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School.

Remington Outdoor Logo

CalSTRS said it was precluded, for legal reasons, from disclosing the financial terms of the deal.

Translation of that last one-sentence paragraph: CalSTRS took a bath on a typical CalSTRS investment: buy high, sell low under self-imposed distress, get submarket returns, pay everybody in management a big bonus, expect the taxpayers to bail you out when the music stops and nobody has a chair.

The announcement came three weeks after Remington’s owner, New York private equity firm Cerberus Capital Management, offered to let CalSTRS and other investors cash out of their investments in the gun maker. Cerberus will place its investment in Remington in a separate investment vehicle.

Translation: Hedgies: “We’ll buy that position back from you at pennies on the dollar.” CalSTRS: “Oh thank you mightily!”

Ehlers

Why is this man smiling? He has gotten stinking rich on extremely poor results, and no one holds him accontable for anything.

As of last spring, Jack Ehlers’s brilliant management had made Ehlers extremely wealthy, but the fund admitted that it was under-reserved by $75 million.

Oh, wait, our bad. Not $75, only $73.7… but wait one… that’s billion, not million. Ehlers has so bungled the fund’s financial management that it’s under water by over $2,000 for every teacher, student, and every other man, woman and child (and Mexican cartel sicario) in the Golden State.  They’d have to double the $5-6 Billion the state puts in the system every year to get ahead of it, and they haven’t got the money.

But wait… that’s using Ehlers’s numbers, and we’re starting to get a sense that maybe numbers are not his bag, as a Californian of a certain vintage might say.  Sure enough, “CalSTRS solvency” is a thing on Google (5,150 hits, appropriately enough). As is, “Is CalSTRS broke?” (We’ll cut the suspense for you: by any honest accounting, yes).

Here’s a particularly good one, at Dropout Nation by Rishawn Biddle:

Even among the nation’s busted defined-benefit teachers’ pensions, the California State Teachers’ Retirement System stands out for its fiscal morass. The nation’s most-insolvent teachers’ pension, CalSTRS has become a tremendous burden on Golden State taxpayers; in fact, nearly all of the revenues from new taxes raised as a result of the passage of Prop. 30 two years ago has gone toward paying down the pension’s insolvency as well as fund quality-blind traditional teacher compensation.

Biddle says the pension is more than $93 billion in the hole.

Let’s throw a little of Biddle’s methodology up on the blackboard, shall we?

This time around, CalSTRS officially reports a pension deficit of $74 billion in its defined-benefit program for 2012-2013, the latest year available. Based on the officially-reported numbers, the pension’s insolvency increased by four percent between 2011-2012 and 2012-2013. But the officially-reported deficit doesn’t reflect reality.

As we’ve mentioned before, private pensions have to use realistic rate of return expectations, while government pensions can pull any old number out of their fourth point of contact, and call it their “secret sauce,” and bend the balance sheet into a fictional shade of black ink. Is that a factor here? Biddle, again:

One reason: Because CalSTRS uses an assumed rate of return of 7.5 percent, which allows for the pension (and ultimately, the state government, which sets the rate of return) to present a rosier picture than reality. This is because if investments are increasing in value at a healthy clip, it can help reduce the level of unfunded liabilities on the pension’s balance sheet. Not only is the assumed rate of return higher than the 5.2 percent five-year rate experienced in the market, according to Wilshire Associates, it is even higher than the 3.7 percent rate of return the pension admits in its comprehensive annual financial report that it has experienced over the past five years.

Got that. We’ll break it out for you. CalSTRS says it will get 7.5% returns on its investments going forward. The market in general is returning 5.2 percent over five years, so Ehlers is saying his stock and bond and private investment is so good that CalSTRS will do half again better than all the other financial managers out there, on average. He is also saying he will do twice as good as he’s done. Here’s the numbers in a table for you:

Rate of Return Predictions % of market % of claimed % of actual
CalSTRS claimed rate % 7.50% 144.00% 100.00% 203.00%
Market 5-year actual rate % 5.20% 100.00% 69.00% 140.54%
CalSTRS 5-yr actual rate % 3.70% 71.00% 49.00% 100.00%

Even though he’s picking investments based on politics and grade-school teachers’ feels. And even though he’s actually only been getting less than half the return he claims he’ll get going forward. (The similarly “socially managed” CalPERS state employee fund is even worse. One year (2012) they actually brought in 0.14%).

And did he claim he was going to get 3.7%, or did he claim 7.5%? Ah, trick question. Before the recent years’ returns came in, the CalSTRS managers forecast 8.5%, then 8%, then 7.75%, then 7.5%, any of which numbers would probably get them indicted if they tried using it on a private firm’s pension plan in light of their piss-poor investment performance.

But wait! One more thing. Biddle’s using last spring’s numbers, and even CalSTRS admits it’s fallen behind another $7B or so since then.

Now, CalSTRS is not actually losing money. It’s making money, almost four percent over five years of a bull market (before, of course, the expenses of Ehlers and his army of below-average “experts”). But it’s not making money fast enough to stay ahead of its growing liabilities. It’s got Baby Boomer teachers aging out and taking pensions, and the population — especially the school-age population — not growing fast enough for revenues to keep pace. And the benefits are pretty good for those that are getting them now (not so good for those that will be screwed when the system goes under).

It’s bailing 3.7 gallons out of the lifeboat as more than that comes in, every year, and its way of correcting the problem always is to say that next year some miracle will cause them to overfulfill the Stakhanovite 5-year Plan miraculously make 8, or 8.5, or maybe only 7.5% in a market with a zero Fed Funds Rate, even though they historically have not done half of that that.

When the mutual fund company tells you “past results are no guarantee of future performance,” they’ve usually just got through showing you historic positive results. Ehlers wants you to believe (and the teachers, and the Legislature, and papers like the Sacramento Bee really appear to believe) that they can promise future results that are double their recent past results, while they keep doing the same old thing, and are competing in a market by people who are not constrained by political investments.

We’re sure that picking investments because of the feels of activists who were mentally maxed out going through a lowbrow teacher training program for room-temp IQs has nothing to do with it.

TSA: Turpitude Strikes Again

tsa-security-theaterAs we’re prone to say, no one good, decent, moral, ethical, competent or intelligent has ever been employed by TSA in any capacity whatsoever. Which is why they’re so often in the news.

They’ve been in the news so much lately, we can’t keep up… but here’s a roundup that hits some of the lowlights.

ITEM: TSA still pushing failed “Behavior Detection” schemes

The TSA no-brain trust is still promoting the Behavioral Detection Officer scheme which has never been evaluated in many attempts, except as a failure. Basically, this is based on the theory that you can take a borderline-retarded TSA drone, give him a few Death by Powerpoint or even online classes, and turn loose a counterterrorist mastermind who can see into the black hearts of travelers.

tsa_turkey_largeIn practice, of course, it just give them one more reason to hassle random people, which task they take up with relish. As the Geico ads say, that’s what they do.

We’ll pull a quote from James Bovard in USA Today on 8 Jun 15:

Thousands of TSA agents continue roaming airports as part of the Screening of Passengers by Observation Techniques (SPOT) program, conducting “chat-downs” and ferreting out “micro-expressions” that signal trouble. TSA’s secret checklist of dangerous traveler traits, which recently leaked out, includes yawning, throat clearing, “wringing of hands,” “widely open staring eyes,” and gazing down. The most ludicrous warning sign is “excessive complaints about the screening process” — probably not the first trick terrorist groups teach would-be suicide bombers. No wonder that reports by the Inspector General and Government Accountability Office found that the TSA’s behavior detection program is ineffective and a waste of tax dollars.

These same proven-ineffective techniques are used by the so-called VIPER (Vanquish, Intimidate, Penetrate, Ejaculate, and Run) teams.

ITEM: As Bad as the Public Reports Are, the Classified Ones Are Worse

That’s according to a guy who gets them, Senator Ben Sasse, R-KS, in USA Today:

Here is what keeps me up at night: The publicly available facts are disturbing, but the classified details are even worse. Millions of families will soon fly to summer vacations, but if moms knew what members of Congress have learned behind closed doors, they would march on Washington demanding an urgent, top-to-bottom reevaluation of airport security.

How about this? Since Federalizing airport security was never about anything but easy, overpaid jobs for the mentally and morally handicapped, and putting on a display of Security Theater, how about disbanding the TSA and sending its employees back to their group homes and halfway houses?

ITEM: Armed TSA VIPER team invades airshow

What’s worse than TSA droids standing between you and the jet home? How about TSA agents tripping around randomly, with guns? Seen at the Reading, Pennsylvania warbird show last weekend:

tsa_drones_at_reading

 

Yes, the shirts say “DHS” on them. If you were an armed TSA agent, you’d be too embarrassed to wear a shirt that said TSA, too. But these folks are indeed TSA. (Supposedly, this VIPER team was drawn in part from the air marshals, so at least they’re not a very great hazard to the public. On the other hand, what’s up with putting the Secret Squirrel air marshals in pseudo-cop garb and have them throw their weight stroll around a public gathering?).

Another group of TSA mouthbreathers were dressed in all tactical tommy togs, including assault armor, sporting tactical beards, and describing themselves to adoring Civil Air Patrol cadets as “Homeland Security operators.” Clue-gram for those clowns, not the two in the picture: Hey, there’s a recruiting office in the Post Office downtown, you pathetic poseurs.

Fortunately, no bombs were found at the show, except for dummies in the bomb bays and under the wings of septuagenarian warplanes. And the TSA was dissuaded from blowing them in place. Of course, given the TSA’s record of 3-and-67 on finding dummy bombs in their actual bomb scanners, who’s to say there were none to be found? We’re not ready to give this Security Theater credit for the peaceful conduct of the show.

ITEM: James Bovard, USA Today: No excuses to continue the groping

Or the stealing

Though Transportation Secretary Norman Mineta promised that TSA would hire “the best and the brightest,” TSA was soon busy issuing blanket denials in response to employee abuses. In 2004, I wrote a New York Times op-ed detailing arrests of TSA agents around the nation for looting travelers’ luggage. At the time the piece came out, the TSA was adamant that baggage thefts by its agents were a minor, localized problem. A few months later, TSA announced a de facto nationwide class action settlement for 15,000 passengers who had formally complained of being pilfered by TSA agents. More than 400 TSA agents have been fired for stealing from travelers.

B1_TSA_deedum_AH1Or the general incompetence:

In its early days, TSA promised “no weapons, no waiting.” But the agency has long since claimed a prerogative to severely disrupt travelers’ schedules with unpredictable long lines. No one knows how many millions missed flights TSA has caused.

The Department of Homeland Security admitted in 2011 congressional testimony that “the large majority of travelers pose no security risks.” TSA cannot admit this self-evident truth without also conceding that it is pointlessly abusing and delaying millions of travelers every day. Instead, TSA continues a “security theater” routine that is far more effective at subjugating Americans than protecting them.

ITEM: Ex-director John Pistole Praises perverted payroll patriots

In  a dreary, impassioned column in USA Today, Pistole defends and even lauds the Government’s most incompetent work force:

I for one will continue to thank the men and women of TSA for doing a thankless job.

Well, no one else is doing it. For good reason, mind.

He argues that the agency’s near-complete failure to detect test weapons is the result of the testers, we are not making this up, cheating. Because if there’s one thing you can count on terrorists to do, it’s play fair!

these covert testers have access to the “owner’s manual” of the technology they’re testing. They know the specific detection capabilities and can devise, construct and conceal devices that will likely evade detection. They know the standard operating procedures (SOPs) and can attempt to exploit them. And they know how TSA employees are supposed to respond to possible threat items.

Of course, if you paid any attention to Pistole’s integrity during his TSA stint, you’ve probably already guessed: he’s lying. Talking points similar to those Pistole used were distributed by agency flacks to their various paid mouthpieces, but in fact the penetration testers have been blind to the agency’s countermeasures.

So why is he defending the agency? Easy. He’s paid to do it.

But it’s Washington, So More Domestic Spying Will Fix Things

And tying it in to the failed BDO/SPOT program, bringing us full circle.

DHS secretly videotaping citizens to ‘predict crime’.

That’ll end well!

And if not that, a New Figurehead Will Fix Everything

In this case, Peter Neffenger, a Coast Guard admiral. We’ve already had one Coast Guard Admiral as head of TSA, and Admiral Stone was a complete failure, so we should just take this guy on the theory that doing the same dumb thing will not give us the same dumb result.

TSA nominee shares lawmakers’ concern about airport security – U.S. – Stripes

And Neffenger? He plans to undertake a punitive expedition against airline passengers, telling the committee that travelers need to brace for further “inefficiencies.”

Vice Adm. Peter Neffenger, nominee for TSA chief, likely to face ‘inefficiencies’ – Washington Times

More ‘Inefficiencies’ at TSA Checkpoints, Dennis Hastert Was a Hypocrite, Greek Bailout Talks Hit Yet Another Hurdle: P.M. Links – Hit & Run : Reason.com

USA Today’s Conclusion:

This pretty much stands on its own:

Unless officials act swiftly, passengers will conclude that the inconvenience is pointless, and terrorists will conclude that it’s easy to smuggle an explosive device aboard a jetliner.

True, and true. But how can “officials act swiftly” to negate two true statements? The last time “officials acted swiftly,” they created this breeding ground for corruption and incompetence. Do we really want them to do that again? Moreover, by immunizing their low-quality hires from all consequences of their own actions, TSA managers — none of them has ever deserved the term, “leader” — have created an organization with an entitlement culture, inured to public contempt and immune to reform.

To mend it, we have to end it, then. The original motto for the perverted payroll patriots of TSA was “Dominate. Intimidate. Control.”  Since then, no one good, decent, moral, ethical, competent or intelligent has ever been employed by TSA in any capacity whatsoever. So we say, “Disband. Eliminate. Cancel.”

What’s the Acronym for Thuggish Simple Airheads?

tsa-security-theaterCan you say TSA? We knew you could. We haven’t beaten on them since they advertised on pizza boxes for future traveler-gropers last month. (What’s next, Thunderbird bottles?)

And in the interests of fairness, we’ll give first point to the TSA. They make the utterly reasonable suggestion that we gun owners out to pull our heads out of the region of our anatomy we’ve been using as a head holster, and stop forgetting we’re carrying guns and breezing into the machines.

In 2005, 660 guns were confiscated nationwide. Last year, the number rose to 2,212 – nearly a four-fold increase.
“I think there’s a personal responsibility for any gun owner, that they ought be aware of the rules, where they can and can’t take it,” McCarthy says.

We can’t really argue with that. TSA 1: Humanity 0.

From here it goes downhill for the gropers.

Yes, They’re Gropers

TSA PervLast month, CBS discovered a gay TSA goon and his female enablers were doing what the TSA has always denied its gropers do, singling out attractive people for a lascivious groping that crossed the line into sexual assault. TSA Denver agent Chris Higgins watched a groping live, and he and higher-ups reviewed others on tape, and the groper and enablers admitted it, but the TSA bosses and Denver Deputy DA Bonnie Benedetti simply fired the perv and one of his lookouts (the other wasn’t punished at all). It’s not even the first time the Denver prosecutor has given a wink-and-a-nod to a TSA sexual assault perp. It’s funny how prosecutors lose interest in pursuing sexual assault when the perv is a fellow payroll patriots, eh?

Across the country other passengers have raised concerns over the years about TSA pat downs. But the recent case uncovered by CBS4 is more problematic for TSA since its own employee blew the whistle on the practice, a supervisor observed it happening, the agency fired the employees, and the female screener who was fired admitted to the fondling conspiracy.

No one was held accountable. At TSA, no one ever is held accountable. It gives a whole new meaning to the expression, “Your ass is mine.”

TechDirt has the details on how they did it.

The plan involved him signalling to a colleague who was working the scanning computer. That agent would tell the computer that the individual being scanned was female, which apparently would set off an “anomaly” alert for the groin area, allowing the male TSA agent to conduct a “pat down” of that area. Leaving aside the fact that these computers even have “male” and “female” settings and it can determine an “anomaly in the genital area” if they don’t match — this kind of thing was exactlywhat many insisted was going to happen when the TSA put in place these advanced screening procedures.

And also, the details on how the TSA was able to torpedo the criminal investigation, as they routinely do:

Specifically, the TSA was first told about this scheme on November 18th of 2014. First, it took nearly two months for the TSA to do anything about it, and it did not contact the police during this time. Instead, on Feburary 9th, TSA investigator Chris Higgins observed the screening area and saw the signal/button push/grope of the genitals. Higgins made no attempt to speak with or identify the victim of this assault (this is important). Instead, he just spoke with the two TSA agents who were terminated at some later time (exact date not clearly indicated). The Denver police were not told about any of this until over a month later, on March 19th, 2015, at which point they noted that without a named “victim” there wasn’t much they could do.

In other words, the soi-disant “investigator,” Higgins, deliberately set the whole thing up so his groping buddy was de facto immune to prosecution. Even though there were at least three actively involved in the groping conspiracy, and several layers of enablers who got the perv off, we’ll be ultra-charitable and just count this as 1. TSA 1, Humanity 1.

Really, Gropers

tsa checkpointThe TSA Watch blog (if there were no such thing, it would have to be invented) notes that Judicial Watch has received a partial FOIA response (for which JW had to sue the TSA, who dragged their feet for almost a year before producing these public records). These records mostly document incidents of TSA groping and sexual assault, which is very common and seldom if ever punished. The partial response ran to 58 pages of TSA Pervs, with most substantive data redacted. The TSA has redacted the names of its sexual assault perps, including the one that hit a man so hard in the testicle (“testical” in TSA 70-IQ spelling) that he cried out, and the one that groped an elderly cancer patient and her colostomy bag. Sick, sick, sick people homunculi, all of them.

Even though there are 58 pp. of secret (and unpunished! TSA means never having to say you’re sorry) gropers, we’ll be charitable again: TSA 1, Humanity 2.

And They Lose their IDs in Atlanta, and Dallas-Fort Worth

NBC 5 in DFW found a few… thousand… missing badges (along with TSA uniforms, FFDO credentials, and all kinds of stuff lost, strayed or stolen at various airports).

An exclusive NBC 5 investigation found hundreds and perhaps even thousands of airport security badges, known as Secure Identification Display Area (SIDA) badges, are unaccounted for across the country.
NBC 5 Investigates requested records from some of the nation’s largest airports asking how many SIDA badges are unaccounted for.
Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport sent a response saying more than 1,400 badges were lost or stolen over approximately two years.

So, the TSA moved quickly to follow up, right? Ha, ha. This is the TSA we’re talking about. It moved quickly to cover up.

TSA blocks access to missing badge records after NBC 5 Investigates’ request….

Before NBC 5 Investigates could get missing ID badge information from other airports, like Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport, the Transportation Security Administration stepped in and said we couldn’t have those numbers.

The TSA said it is security sensitive information and they don’t want to say just how often airport ID’s go missing at each airport.

Note that TSA management didn’t find the lost, strayed or stolen badges, a news agency did, after TSA management neglected the absentee badges for years. 

We’ve established a precedent of only counting all the wrongdoing in one story as 1, so: TSA 1, Humanity 2.

OK, so the DFW TSA droids are reckless with their IDs, but it surely isn’t happening elsewhere, is it?

And They Lose their IDs in San Diego

Says the national NBC site and NBC San Diego, following up on the DFW story.

[M]ore than 270 badges went missing at the San Diego International Airport in the last two years.

And some of those wayward badges were not reported for weeks or months — meaning they were not quickly deactivated.

Workers are supposed to report a missing badge within 24 hours, and the San Diego airport authority said it plans to do more to ensure that rule is followed.

Gee, but we’re sure that’s not happening anywhere else, because TSA supervision and management is made up of the members of this outfit singled out by .gov for promotion! TSA 1, Humanity 3.

And They Swear By Their Machines, But Don’t Know if They Work

During the controversy over what TSA calls Advanced Imaging Technology and what the rest of us know as nekkid scanners (like the one made by the British pioneer of the technology, Rapescan), you couldn’t crack a newspaper without some TSA panjandrum of perversity standing by the machines with unqualified statements of support. Based on? It turns out, zip. The Washington Times:

TSA cannot adequately oversee the maintenance of equipment routinely used to screen passengers and their baggage as they travel to and from various airports throughout the country, the report states.

“Because TSA does not adequately oversee equipment maintenance, it cannot be assured that routine preventative maintenance is performed or that equipment is repaired and ready for operational use,” the report said. “Without diligent oversight … TSA risks shortening equipment life and incurring costs to replace equipment.”

Hey, sophisticated digital gear don’t need no stinkin’ PM, does it? Well, not in TSA-land.

That makes it: TSA 1, Humanity 4.

And the GAO Finds Plenty of Fail

Let’s consider some of this year’s GAO reports. The first is the one the Washington Times keys on above.

GAO 15-559 T published 13 May 15

Errors in screening system, errors in personnel performance, no concrete plan to address them.  And there’s this:

GAO found that TSA performance assessments of certain full-body scanners used to screen passengers at airports did not account for all factors affecting the systems.

Meaning? The TSA “tested” the systems without the software that de-pervs the body images turned on, and without evaluating the operators’ skills (or, being TSA, lack of the same). In plain English, the tests of the Rapescan and backscatter machines are fraudulent.

GAO-15-465 T published 25 Mar 15

TSA implemented it’s “Managed Inclusion” and “TSA Pre√” programs with no plan for evaluating them, and no scientific rigor in the evaluation; so-called testing of the Behavioral Detection Officer witch-doctors and TSA canines is similarly flawed, or as GAO puts it, doesn’t “adhere to established evaluation design practices”. Of course not: the results are command-defined a priori; they can’t have data screwing up their program.

GAO-15-261 published 4 Feb 15

It turns out that when TSA decides to add or remove items from its Prohibited List (the stuff like your bottle of shampoo that’s verboten in the cabin), they don’t actually do a risk assessment most of the time, and when they do, they may ignore it. They also don’t ask mere stakeholders like pilots, flight attendants, airline executives, or actual security professionals for input into these decisions, even though somebody set them up a committee of folks like that. Hey, they are the TSA. Proud holders of GEDs and defenders of the public from anyone they feel like groping and anything they feel like banning.

So here we are with: TSA 1, Humanity 7. (Each GSA report deserves its own number).

The Summing-Up

The employees of the TSA are the sweepings of the gutters, the scum of the earth, the refuse of the prison system. If you see that agency listed on a resume, you can safely assume that the person is a pervert, a thief, a pedophile, or probably all three.

As we have said once or twice before, “No one good, decent, honest, intelligent, competent, moral or ethical has ever been employed by TSA in any capacity whatsoever.”

 

Lessons Learned from an ND

Everybody screws up. Almost everybody gets away with it. Here’s what happened to a guy who developed complacent gun-handling habits, and “got away with it” only thanks to blind luck in the bullet’s placement, that left him with neither fatal (if he’d hit the femoral artery) or crippling (femur and/or patella [kneecap]) wounds. We don’t have his name, so we’ll call him ND Guy.

Checking out of hospital after surgery and overnight stay, ND Guy knows he's lucky.

Checking out of hospital after surgery and overnight stay, ND Guy knows he’s lucky.

It was decent of him to share his experiences and photos (on Reddit’s /r/guns and Imgur), and the Internet being what it is, he’s been beaten up for it. We think he now (1) knows what he did wrong, and (2) is very unlikely to do it again, having been given a second chance.

I was attempting to disassemble my Glock 30 like I’ve done a thousand times before so I could install a new trigger spring. I had ejected the magazine and caught it before it fully left the gun, racked the slide to eject the round in the chamber, pulled up the the slide release pins and pulled the trigger to dry fire to remove the slide. Unfortunately for me I didn’t dry fire. I had accidentally moved the magazine back up and the lifting arm grabbed another round and chambered it. I know, I should have fully ejected the magazine before I continued but this is something I’ve done hundreds of times before without incident. But it only takes once right?
My doctor told me I was half an inch away from the lower end of my femur and my patella being entirely destroyed. This meaning I would have had a greater than 50/50 chance of my leg needing to be amputated above the knee. As it turns out though, my doctor working at a level one trauma center, told me that he’d never seen a bullet wound to the thigh/knee with as little damage as this.
All in all though, the main point of this is don’t be stupid or complacent like I was. Follow proper firearm safety protocol always, even if it seems stupid or pointless. Don’t get lazy and forgetful, because when you do accidents happen.

via Always make sure your chamber is empty NSFW : Firearms.

We have pictures of his wounds on the scene, and post-op showing two zippers in his leg, overleaf (for those of you who can’t stand the sight of blood).

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