Category Archives: Don’t be THAT guy

Domestic Jihad’s Tennessee History

The incredible exploding deal.

What do most of the world’s terrorists have in common? The FBI confesses complete and utter puzzlement.

Writer James Kitfield has a remarkable article in Politico (not least, remarkable because an unsparing look at jihad seldom appears in such a reflexively partisan and multiculturist outlet) that ties the most recent Sudden Jihad Syndrome shooting to a much earlier one (2009), and casts superficial blame on Tennessee, an easy layup for Politico’s Beltway, Acela Corridor, and wannabe audience. He also makes the unsupported allegation that the 2009 incident was the first, which would be news to Nidal Hasan on death row

But it also looks into how an ordinary American kid was cut out of his family and radicalized, turned against his own people and acculturated to the most extreme and febrile strain of the death cult of Mohammed.

It notes something that the US media, which always prefers the pre-Islamic names for American jihadi converts/reverts1, seems loath to recognize: Carlos Bledsoe really did become Abdulhakim Mujahid Mohammed. Mohammed was the guy who shot up a recruiting office before, on 1 Jun 2009, killing one and maiming one soldier (Privates William Long and Quinton Ezeagwula respectively).

The Partisan Political Police formerly known as FBI remained utterly flummoxed by Mohammed’s motivation (as they are by the latest case of Sudden Jihad Syndrome, Abdulazeez’s — “maybe it was a domestic?”), and political appointees in the Pentagon displayed their contempt for Long and Ezeagwula by denying the victims recognition that they suffered their mortal and serious wounds in a terrorist attack, and spitefully withholding the Purple Heart medal from Ezagwula and from Long’s next of kin until Congress forced their unwilling hands.

Yet long before the five U.S. service members were murdered this past week in Chattanooga, before the Boston Marathon bombers, the Fort Hood shooting or the rise of the Islamic State, it was another troubled teenager from [Tennessee] who embarked on a journey of jihad and ended in the first deadly terrorist attack on U.S. soil after 9/11.

The road to jihad began here, where Highway 40 bisects the state Abraham Lincoln once called the “keystone of the southern arch”….

Somehow, in ways that a heartbroken Melvin Bledsoe even now doesn’t fully comprehend, his beloved son Carlos was transformed into a murderous jihadist, a hate-filled man who called himself Abulhakim Mujahid Mohammed.

Carlos, to a certain extent, was patient zero in the phenomenon of homegrown, lone-wolf terrorism, a scourge that struck the nation once again this past week, when another young man went on a shooting spree at a recruiting station in Tennessee. The parallels between the life stories of that alleged shooter, Mohammad Youssef Abdulazeez, and Carlos Bledsoe’s are chilling and, perhaps, instructive.

via Tennessee Is the Capital of American Jihad – James Kitfield – POLITICO Magazine.

The whole thing is long, and quite good, so good it’s a puzzlement why Politico ever published it. (Maybe the editor just skimmed it, and saw Kitfield’s dishonest description of Mohammed’s SKS as an “assault rifle,” and tagged him as a political fellow-traveler?). So do Read The Whole Thing™.

And take care to keep your distance from, and your eyes and your gun muzzle on, American practitioners of the terror cult of Salafi/Wahhabi Mohammedanism.

Note

  1. The term “revert” is often used by extremist converts, and may be a flag for extremism of the Sunni variety (Salafi/Wahhabi/Deobandi — the distinctions matter not, they’re all hostile to civilization, militant and violent). It is based on the theological conceit that all men are born moslems, but some are misguided into other faiths until they “revert” to extremist, murderous Mohammedanism.

Let’s Further Abuse the Army’s Primitive Small Arms Maint Policy

Guns and uniforms change.  but progress eludes maintenance and storage.

Guns and uniforms change. but progress eludes maintenance and storage. Q: Do you maintain your car like you did in 1955? Your home?

Yesterday, we said a few unkind things about Army small arms maintenance policy, more or less in passing. Let’s elaborate on that today.

If you have been an armorer in the Army for many years, you could very well be pig-ignorant of how firearms fail and what maintenance they require, without that lacuna in your knowledge having the least effect on your advancements and career prospects. You will, however, have mastered maintenance paperwork and the Illusion of Maintenance. Then you can become a Small Arms Maintenance Warrant Officer, and reign over all kinds of rusty barrels, mismatched parts, and forgotten & unrecorded round counts. Finally, let’s not forget the defunct optics, which as everyone knows, are merely storage repositories in which unit armorers and supply sergeants keep dead batteries.

Don’t believe me? Let’s look at this 2014 list of “Small Arms Do’s and Don’ts” that was sent out in February of last year by Fort Stewart’s stalwart maintenance support organization, and published here on an Army maintenance website. Blockquoted text, indented and in italics, is what the original document says; bold inside that is their emphasis. Plain text like this is our commentary. At the end, your own opinions may be solicited.

Small Arms Do’s and Don’ts

    The Ft Stewart Logistics Readiness Center (LRC) offers these do’s and don’ts to keep your small arms armed and ready:

Do understand how to fill out a DA Form 2407-E.  That’s how you open a job order to get something fixed at LRC.  The SAMS system generates the form for you.

Like we said, it’s all about the forms. As far as Army big-L Logistics is concerned, an SF company with 84 ready-to-rock M4A1s and a company with 84 correctly filled out 2407s are utterly fungible. However, only one of those is capable of engaging the enemy, a matter of indifference to Army logisticians.

Don’t lock bolts back for storage and transport.  If bolts are left locked back, the springs can’t relax and soon have to be replaced.

This is, for any term or period in which this model firearm, let alone this specific one, will be in United States Service is complete and utter bullshit. Springs can experience elastic fatigue when held in compression for a very long time, but given the specification of this particular spring it will still work if you lock the bolt back and forget it until you dig the rifle up in 2065. Like most well-designed springs, it is actually designed for infinite life1. Spring design is not rocket science, no more is it the sort of voodoo to which comments like this try to raise it. It is engineering, and a well-developed, well-supported, branch of engineering that anyone can learn with a little mathematics and application.

If the spring is left deflected under full load and the load is more than the yield strength of the material, then the “resulting permanent deformation may prevent the spring from providing the required force”2

But even worse, if the bolt is locked back and someone forgot to remove a round, the weapon can fire if the truck hits a bump during transport.  This happened at Ft Stewart.

We call bullshit, again. The only weapons in the world that can do this from this cause alone are open-bolt firearms guns with fixed firing pins. If this happened with an AR, think about it: sudden blow releases bolt carrier group from hold-open. Bolt slams home, into battery, chambering the round carelessly left in the mag carelessly left in the truck. Then what? Until somebody pulls the trigger, the hammer’s held back.

Maybe that’s what the statements said happened, and somebody’s covering somebody’s ass here.

Do change machine gun barrels at the range and keep barrels matched to receiver.  Many M249, M240 and M2 barrels are ruined every year because units go the range and fire hundreds of rounds through the same barrel.  A single barrel can cost $800.  Simply switching barrels, which takes just seconds, can save your unit money and grief from your CO.

This is actually really, really good advice and unfortunately most small arms users (including armorers!) are never taught the hazards of sustained low rate of fire in damaging a barrel, sometimes in ways that physical inspection won’t find.

Don’t grab just any barrel.  The M249 and M240 barrels have been headspaced to a specific weapon.  If you use the wrong barrel, you could damage the weapon and injure yourself.

You would think this would not be the case in this era of interchangeable parts, but it is — for these weapons. But what about the self-headspacing latest version of Ma Deuce?

Even with the new M2A1, which can use any M2A1 barrel, it’s a good idea to  use only the two barrels dedicated to that particular M2A1.

That’s the Army for you. “Hey, this anal retentive program has no practical value, but it shows how concerned we all are.” “Yeah, let’s also do more than it requires!”

That will save you accountability problems later when you turn in the two barrels for that specific M2A1. All barrels should have a dog tag with the serial number for their weapon.  It’s a good idea to use a marker to highlight the receiver’s serial number so Soldiers can quickly find it.

Do transport M2s either in a rack or lying flat and secured to the truck bed.  If you stand up an M2 and its barrels, they will take a tumble within the first mile.  That breaks components like the sights and ruins barrel threads.

But… but… but… Big Green says weapons transport cases are a waste of money, and that SF and other SOF have been “squandering” their money on this kind of thing.

Millions for broken sights and barrels, not one cent for prevention. There’s Army Maintenance in a nutshell.

Don’t disassemble your weapon more than you’re supposed to.  If you do, the  parts are often lost or the weapon is reassembled wrong.  With the M16 rifle, it’s usually the trigger assembly that is put back together wrong.  Then the rifle can fire on auto when you’ve got it set for single shot.  That’s dangerous. Clean and lube your weapon like its -10 says.  Then stop!

You know, if more people were taught how to do that, someone in the unit could fix it if Joe over-disassembled his M16 or M4. We understand why higher echelons of maintenance discourage this; there are at least four reasons:

  1. They do indeed get weapons that some idjit disassembled, in a unit where no one can assemble a weapon, or that some idjit reassembled improperly. (Note that Army armorers often can’t fix this kind of problem, because they know less about the weapon than you learn in the Colt or SIG or S&W (etc). 4-hour “armorer school.”)
  2. They do get weapons where some idjit who disassembled them improperly assembled minus a part. The parts most vulnerable to improper assembly are springs; the parts most vulnerable to loss in the field are extractor pins and extractor springs. (Last we checked armorers at company and battalion were allowed to keep spare extractor pins and springs for just that reason).
  3. They do get weapons damaged by improper assembly. Since hardly anybody in the Army has been taught to properly detail-strip a weapon, there are cases where improper tools are used, or pins are forced in or out violently. This is happening less thanks to the dissemination of correct information online, but it still does happen. One of the most common damaged parts is the pistol grip attachment screw, which tends to get scarred up from wrong-sized, hardware-store screwdrivers that don’t fit right.
  4. If you know how to do it, it’s not their secret any more. That’s why they have the jaws even when SF weapons men (who are trained and authorized to do this on organizational weapons) maintain lower receiver internals. They will often fall back on shibboleths about the Army’s holy Echelons of Maintenance at this point, like an imam trapped in a losing argument, groping for a suitable hadith. The Echelon concept is, of course, part of the problem, not the solution (don’t get us started on what it means for radios).

Do turn in both machine gun barrels when you send a weapon to maintenance.  Your direct support will need both barrels to do the required repairs and gaging.

Want to know a secret? In 1942, the army fielded a machine gun in which any barrel would headspace “well enough” to any gun. And spare barrels became a supply item rather than a serial numbered weapons component. Pretty neat, huh?

Of course, it wasn’t our Army, but the enemy. Naturally, when we tried to copy that weapon,the German MG42, we botched it. Then we incorporated a few features from the Rheinmetall wonder gun on our next GPMG, and got most of them wrong, including barrel interchange. Now that we can ignore serialization on one single weapon (the M2A1 .50 caliber machine gun), the maintenance griots continue to pass down the same primitive, voodoo folkways on that weapon, too. Pitiful.

Do thoroughly clean your weapon as soon as possible after firing close combat mission capability kit (CCMCK) rounds.  If the wax left in the barrel from the rounds becomes too hard, it’s very difficult to clean out.  Then a round can stick in the barrel.  Sometimes it’s impossible to remove the round without damaging the barrel.  Pay particular attention to the chamber and barrel.  If you can’t clean out all the wax, tell your armorer.  He’ll use dry cleaning solvent.

We should probably write about the CCMCK system, which is the Army’s attempt to standardize (and bureaucratize) the Simunitions type force-on-force training SOF has been doing for what, 20 years now. One advantage of Sims is that they don’t use the same barrel as lethal munitions; the CCMCK was specified to use the standard barrel, and they’re right that it leaves the barrels messy and congeals into a difficult plaque.

Don’t forget to remove batteries from sights before storage.  Each year, many sights are ruined because batteries  left inside leak. There’s no fix for that.

The ARMY way -- optics off. (This commercial, non-issue rack would support storage optics on).

The ARMY way — optics off. (This commercial, non-standard rack would support storage optics on — of course these old A1s have fewer optic options).

Well, as the saying goes, you can’t fix stupid. This is a valid point, but there are several layers of ways to prevent this from happening. Why would an armorer accept a weapon for turn-in that still had batteries in the optic? OK, things get hurried, mistakes get made. So you have a Joe assist and double-check? Just having a system like that reduces your quantity of mistakes by an order of magnitude.

Then, why not have the armorer get a Joe once a week, and while doing an inventory, double-check optics (assuming, of course, the optics didn’t have to come off to rack the guns anyway) to see that the nasty little acid containers are out of ’em?

(And, incidentally, it is possible to design electronics so that failed batteries don’t damage the gadget, or at least damage only inexpensive, and easily replaced, contacts. The Army just doesn’t specify this when they order stuff).

The guys who wrote and disseminate this list of Do’s and Don’t’s are trying. The problem is, they’re trying in a system that is stacked against them. And their weapon of choice remains tribal knowledge (at best), voodoo folkways (at worst), and passed-on oral sagas and legends that they don’t understand.

Notes

  1. Valsange, P.S.  International Journal of Engineering Research and Applications (IJERA), Vol. 2. Issue 6, Nov-Dec 2012. P. 514 (section 1.1.3). (Note particularly the application of Zimmerli’s data that renders torsional endurance limits for all intents and purposes a constant in steel springs). Retrieved from: http://www.ijera.com/papers/Vol2_issue6/BY26513522.pdf
  2. Ibid., p. 514 (section 1.1.5).

Snap, Crackle, and Pop

Well-known (and respected) trainer Kyle Defoor was conducting training at for a military unit when one of the unit’s long guns went down, due to this:

defoor bolt failure

Yes, that’s an AR/M16/M4 bolt with a single lug fully failed. Possible causes for the failure include (at a fundamental level) manufacturing error, corrosion or fatigue. It’s hard to judge from this hole, but going way out on a limb, it looks like there’s a somewhat granular failure at the left end of the fracture, with a smoother “sudden” fracture face on the right end nearer the extractor, presumably because the fatigue failure left too little of the remaining metal to bear the stress of firing locked in battery, and the remainder of the part failed from the crack due to overstress. But it could also be caused by swapping a fresh bolt into a gun with a worn barrel extension (or vice versa) in the field, so that only one lug was bearing all the tension of locking — result, failure. Or the gun may simply have been made without the locking lugs all engaging properly — it’s happened before.

A gun with a failure like this may or may not continue to fire for a while. But if overstress on one lug was a factor, the loads formerly too much for seven lugs now bear upon six — it would not be wise to bet your life on this firearm.

Kyle, though, had another issue with the failure — and the unit whose arms room coughed up the firearm that did it.

On 9 July, he posted this image to his Facebook feed, saying:

Maybe I should start to amend contracts to include an armorer and spare parts?

With a hilarious set of hastags including, but not limited to:

#‎takecareofgear‬ ‪#‎ittakescareofyou‬ ‪

…and the snark-infused:

‬ ‪#‎logisticswinswars‬ ‪#‎waistingtrainingtime‬ ‪#‎youdontpaymetoplumb‬

The part was, as you can see from the markings, a factory Colt, magnetic particle inspected, bolt (or a counterfeit thereof that somehow got into the supply system — not impossible). It had unknown hours and rounds, because Big Green is not in the habit of keeping meaningful usage and maintenance records on small arms.

Apart from spelling “wasting” wrong, there is not much to argue with in Defoor’s response. Apparently the unit in question did not provide an armorer for the range event. In most units, the armorer doubles as a supply clerk and is not thought of as necessary for a range evolution (except to manage draw and turn-in of weapons at the Arms Room). In addition, the Army has been working to reduce the number and kind of spare parts available at organizational level. This is due to politically anti-gun policies, and Army civilian political appointees who believe (however lacking the evidence may be) that Army stocks are a significant source of crime guns.

Even if the parts were by some miracle on hand, the standard Army armorer, one each, is neither trained nor authorized to replace a failed bolt. Armorers given scant and cursory training on maintenance.  Instead, their course, an add-on for supply clerks, concentrates very extensively on paperwork, records-keeping, and the process of appearing to be conducting scheduled maintenance. This is also borne out by what actual combat units and their commanders value, based on how they judge and critique their armorers. No one is ever graded on the only maintenance measure that ought to count, the combat serviceability of the unit’s firearms; everyone is constantly graded on the process, on the appearance of maintenance, and on maintenance busy work. While we’d bet nine out of ten of the readers of this blog could fix this rifle in minutes, the only thing a company, battalion or even brigade armorer can do with it is turn it in.

Military maintenance bureaucracy does all it can to limit effective maintenance of small-unit equipment, notably including small arms, optics, and radios. Problems with these are most effectively solved by trained, experienced personnel at the lowest organizational level, so naturally such personnel are just flat not available.

Instead, you must tag the weapon or other piece of equipment down. Naturally, there are different rules for weapons and weapons equipment, vehicles, radios, and special weapons (i.e. WMD-related stuff), although the Army does try to squeeze them all onto standard forms (DA-2404 for regular maintenance, DA-2407 for turn in, nowadays it’s an electronic form, DA-2407E, done in the SAMS logistics computer system).

The weapon can’t be sent directly to the level that can fix it, even when (like this) the level is obvious and the weapon could be inspected and classified by a well-coached Helen Keller. It must go up the operator-organizational-direct-depot support chain, getting a new inspection at each

Plus, while the weapon is turned in, what is Joe Snuffy supposed to shoot? No Army unit maintains operational floats or spares (unless it is, by happenstance, or the customary incompetence of all Army personnel managers and activities, understrength). So Joe will get the weapon of whoever is on sick call or leave when the unit goes to a range, unless it’s one of the very large number of units that does an absolutely crap job of tracking who is assigned each particular weapon, in which case it’s musical chairs and the last one that shows up gets a new weapon.

The Army actually tries to bill giving a guy a new rifle for every annual, semiannual or quarterly trip to the range as a plus, believe it or not: “Everybody gets valuable experience in zeroing.” (Meanwhile, of course, everyone loses confidence in the ability of his gun to hold zero).

It does not help that the standard M12 rack does not accept a rifle with optics. In the Arms Room, it’s still 1988.

Moreover, the Army’s weapons records are a chaotic mess of rack numbers, serial numbers, weapons cards, hand receipts, pencil sheets, green-and-white property book printouts (that may not put all your unit’s rifles, for example, together on the same pages), and unofficial Excel-spreadsheets and Access databases, which interface more or less (mostly, less) with one another and with the unit’s personnel assignments. This means that every time you cross-level personnel from 2nd platoon to 3rd platoon, if your arms room is nicely organized by platoons, Joe Rifleman is going to get a new rifle and be off zero until next range trip, and so is Bill Bulletician who’s coming from somewhere else… that’s another reason why no Army unit beyond the Ranger battalions and the 82nd Division Ready Battalion actually dares to ship out to combat without a trip to the zero range.

In addition to the deployment delays that come because no one has confidence in his optic zero right now, we also endure a colossal waste of time because weapons inventories are unnecessarily hard. (One of the nice things about HK 416s? Their serial numbers are highlighted. Seems like a small thing, until you’ve tried to inventory a couple hundred M16A2s by the light of a flickering fluorescent bulb that there’s no budget to replace. And if you highlight the number with paint or permanent marker, you can actually get dinged on inspection). Every arms room needs to be inventoried periodically by senior personnel who have better things to do, and many aperiodic inventories are demanded by regulations. The faster these go, the better for everyone, but the Army has a settled way of doing things that proceeds from the assumption that the net value of a soldier, NCO or officer’s time is always zero.

 

Guess Who Turned Up in a Pot Raid?

mad-magazine-trading-private-bergdahlWho was it that turned up in a raid on an industrial pot facility? Everybody’s The President’s favorite deserter1, who’s supposed to be in the jug awaiting trial for desertion, turned up in a massive marijuana raid in California.

The cops looked to return the peripatetic accused to his military base, only to get a “don’t bother” from military officials.

The Unique and Special Snowflake™ whose desertion to the Taliban led to the loss of a half-dozen lives of loyal Americans looking for him, as he gave them aid and comfort, wan’t AWOL at all. Knowing how Special he is and how much people in High Places prefer him to the usual ruck and scrum of enlisted swine, he’d been basically told, in that favorite phrase of sergeants everywhere, “You’ve got nothing to do. Don’t do it here.” The authorities knew he was in California and were cool with it.

Bergdahl was visiting with “old family friends” who apparently just happened to be hemp-huffing hippies. We hope this doesn’t shake your faith in Taliban-Americans.

Meanwhile, the President finally got around to putting flags at half-staff for the Chattanooga jihad victims, although the Partisan Political Police that are the FBI still express utter bafflement at the shooter’s motivations. Several commentators have been very critical of the President’s reluctance to memorialize the deaths of service members, something he does not like very much, at the hands of an Islamic nutball, something he seems much more kindly disposed towards.

Who’s saying he lowered the flags for the victims? Maybe he did it for the shaheed, Mohammod Abdulazeez.

Note

  1. Yeah, the court hasn’t convicted him yet. But we have.

Is this a “Red Not” Sight?

Screenshot from Shooting Sports Retailer, generally a really good online trade mag:

ssr_lays_an_egg

D’oh.

(The sight in question is a Trijicon TA01NSN scope, the model we had on our M4A1 in Afghanistan. It’s a traditional four-power scope with a tritium-illuminated reticle and bullet-drop compensation for the M855 round from a 14.5″ barrel. It’s not a red dot).

We used them mostly just like this, with the backup iron sights, although some guys ran them with a Docter or RMR red dot mounted on top of the scope for servicing both close and distant targets.

The sad part of it is, the story is pretty good. Especially when you consider what the author is trying to do, provide some primary education to gun-shop clerks about red dots so that they can better serve their customers.

You’d think they could have found a picture of a red dot sight to illustrate it. This is the Aimpoint Comp M2 aka the M68, the contemporary of the ACOG shown above. (We pulled these pics off of GunBroker, where this optic is currently up for bid).

aimpoint_comp_m2

The Comp M2 has a feature most don’t need, along with several degrees of visible-light brightness the dot has night-vision-compatible settings. (The NV “red dot” looks green through your PVS-7s, but then, so does everything).

Here is why it is called a red dot.

comp_m2

You’re welcome.

When guns are Outlawed, Only Outlaws Will Have Excavators

Sean Benschop, 2013 mugshot.

Sean Benschop, 2013 mugshot.

In Philadelphia, where nothing is quite on the level, a beastly crime of negligence is partly closed with a guilty plea on six counts of manslaughter. The plea came one Sean Benschop, a drug addict, and an unlicensed and apparently untrained machine operator working for one of the city’s unlicensed demolition contractors. He was tearing down a “rundown adult theater, peep show parlor, and pornographic goods shop” owned by a notorious porn mogul and slumlord. In the next step, the unlicensed contractor, Griffin Campbell, faces charges. The slumlord, who was on the scene directing the demolition according to at least some reports (we must say that sounds unlikely to us to our surprise, there are witness statements putting him there, until the collapse, when he fled), will not face charges. In fact, he hasn’t even had to make a statement.

For him, the fix is in. For him, the fix will always be in.

Griffin Campbell, charged still with 6 counts of 3rd Degree Murder.

Griffin Campbell, charged still with 6 counts of 3rd Degree Murder. Expect a plea, to protect the property owner.

One individual involved in putting the fix in, a building inspector who “inspected” the site several times without ever, you know, getting out of his truck and walking to the site, made a videotaped confession and then shot himself.

“It was my fault. I should have looked at those guys working, and I didn’t,” Ronald Wagenhoffer said in a video recorded on his cell phone.

In the video, Wagenhoffer says he couldn’t sleep and blamed himself for the building collapse at 2136 Market Street that killed six and injured 13 when the building collapsed onto a store on June 5.

He admitted he never truly inspected an adjacent work site after a citizen complained about safety concerns, although he reported there were no violations found.

“When I saw it was too late. I should have parked my truck and went over there but I didn’t. I’m sorry,” Wagenhoffer said in the message.

The inspection department whose values he personified, at least, up till the end when his conscience got to him? No consequences.

The six people killed have already been forgotten, but let’s say their names out loud: Ann Bryan, Roseline Conteh, Borbor Davis, Kimberly Finnegan, Juanita Harmon, and Mary Simpson. Of them, only Bryan has had much press, because she came from a family of small-time politicians.

We think that even the most NCO-leadership-demanding (shall we say) excavator operator in any Engineer Heavy Equipment unit knows that you tear down a brick wall from the top down. Attack it down low, and the still intact upper parts are going to fall uncontrollably.  That’s exactly what happened when Benschop knocked down the old building. Using the Komatsu excavator to swing a long steel i-beam and hit the four-story wall in the middle — the low-budget owner and contractor wouldn’t spring for a machine that would reach to the top — he broke down the wall all right. Undermined by this unscientific bashing, it collapsed violently onto the building next door, a Salvation Army thrift shop. Two workers and four customers died — some instantly, some in the long hours it took the rescue operation to turn into a recovery operation.

Maria Plekyan in a family photo.

Maria Plekyan in a family photo.

They might have been the lucky ones. One woman, Maria Plekyan (sp?), a Ukrainian immigrant in late middle age, was left with no legs. In a perfect illustration of the way that American immigration policy and the institutions that implement it seem only to work for the idle and criminal, our immigration authorities have made it impossible for her son and daughter to come and take care of her. Son could come for six months, then he had to go home — that’s the law. Daughter? Six months, then go — the law. Then the son can come back, right? Wrong, he might do something dastardly like take care of his poor mom, or get a job. We can’t have people like that around — we need more MS-13 members and cartel sicarios. We need more than the quarter to a third of prisoners who are illegal immigrants. We don’t need some guy or gal who want to take care of their mother who was left a helpless cripple by good old fashioned American corruption at several levels.

Another one of Benschop's extensive portfolio of mugshots.

Another one of Benschop’s extensive portfolio of mugshots. He sure looks like he ought to be operating heavy machinery.

Talking to the operator, the police quickly came to the conclusion: this guy is stoned. And a blood test bore that out: he was out of his mind on weed and oxycodone. It wasn’t, shall we say, the first time he’s talked to cops. He had a total of 11 prior arrests, mostly for drug possession and dealing, but also for weapons and crimes of violence. He did two stints in the state pen back in the nineties, but since then he’s just gotten wrist taps.

After all, drug users never hurt anybody. What we really need is excavator control.

So, Benschop just pled guilty, offered a deal if he could testify against the contractor. What the testimony of a guy who’s spent his whole worthless life out of his mind on drugs is worth, we have no idea.

Meanwhile, black Philadelphians have noted that the guys that face the music are all black guys at the bottom end of this racket — at the higher, paler levels, nobody’s jammed up at all. But we don’t think it’s a race thing — if the owner was a rich black guy, the fix would be in for him, too. The country’s come a long way in this era of racial healing.

Meanwhile, now that the crime scene tape is gone and the rest of the debris hauled away, the strip of land just sold for $16.6 million. The elderly porn king and alleged demolition director (link to lawsuit story) has been unloading his Center City properties (that story doesn’t have the amount, but notes the sale of the murder site).

Cui bono? This guy, Richard Basciano, 89, made $16.6 million from the 6 murders.

Cui bono? This guy, Richard Basciano, 89, made $16.6 million from the 6 murders.

And in his Symphony House apartment on South Broad Street, the well-connected, above-the-law porn mogul is counting his money. Does he laugh at the losers and chumps, both the incompetent, stoned contractors he hired and the poor thrift-shop workers and shoppers he killed and crippled to get to this payday? Or are they beneath his contempt, or even his attention?

He’ll never have to answer a cop’s question in that city. He’s white, rich, and “our kind of people,” Philadelphia’s politicians might say. They’re more correct than they know.

The judge handling the criminal cases gag-ordered everyone, a prohibition that seems to have been enforced only against the defense attorneys, one of whom was found in contempt and fined. Despie that, one of the Philly papers got hold of some interesting emails that seem to implicate Basciano, property manager Thomas J. Simmonds Jr., and architect Plato Marinakos — emails long known to the authorities, but Basciano, and Simmonds don’t seem to have been questioned, let alone charged. (Marinakos testified to the grand jury, but was not a subject or target, and may have been immunized). Simmonds even threatened death if the Salvation Army didn’t accede to his faster demolition schedule:

“Why?” he replied. “Waste more time? Wait for someone to be killed? You can do what you want but I am NOT backing off with these people and their half-baked charity. Perhaps you have the time and/or desire to ‘deal’ with their idiotic behavior: I don’t and I won’t. I have to look after the interests of the Owners – Richard and his daughters.”

We’re sure Richard Basciano’s daughters are real prize human beings, too. And Thomas J. Simmonds Jr…. well, it’s pretty obvious that Thomas J. Simmonds Sr. was one of the worst fathers in the long sad history of the human race.

When the Salvation Army didn’t agree, Basciano and Simmonds ordered the demolition to proceed without regard for safety, knowing that their money, power and establishment ties would immunize them. So far, it has.

If you’re one of our Philly readers, you know all about this story already. If you’re from anywhere else on the planet, you probably never heard the story of how a conspiracy to sell safety out for money doomed six people, and how the top level of the conspiracy got $2.7 million per victim for it. There’s more to it, even, than this, but isn’t this enough?

Exercises for the reader: had Sean Benschop shot those people, would it have made a headline outside of Philly after all? Had Richard Basciano, Thomas J. Simmonds Jr. and Plato Marinakos arranged the murders by gunfire of six (actually, seven, because one of the injured died months later of his injuries) and the injuries of a dozen moremight they have seen the inside of a courtroom by now?

A Sad Gunsmith Story — And How to Avoid One

A guy on Reddit has a pretty sad gunsmith story. In Reddit tradition, in memory of the martyred Chairman Pao, we’ll give you the tl;dr version first:

tl;dr: guy brings three gun parts to shop for smith work. Never meets with or talks to smith. Parts are on budget but are late and low quality. 

OK, here’s the way he put it:

I was referred to Williams Gun Works by a local Wichitan. I wanted to have a factory 10/22 barrel threaded and a Beretta Neos 6″ barrel threaded. I also wanted my Glock 17 slide milled for an RMR and cerakoted to match.
I contacted them and they told me to bring the stripped barrels and slide as well as the RMR. I dropped everything off on June 4th and noted one scratch on the 10/22 barrel so we were on the same page as far as cosmetic defects. They didn’t have the first clue about milling a slide for an RMR or the barrel threading but assured me their machine shop guy would know. They told me it should be done in about 2 weeks give or take.
6 weeks later (7/15) I get the call to pick up my barrels. The slide still wasn’t done though. Still waiting on Cerakote. They told me to bring my can to make sure the threads were good. I decided it would be best to check the threads with a nut first, just in case they were fucked up. I specified the exact length/type of threads I needed for that can, though.
I take off work to go pick up the barrels and I immediately notice a good amount of surface rust on the 10/22 barrel. They rubbed it with an oily cloth and called it good. Threads were ok though.
The Neos barrel had some surface rust that was new as well, but also had really fucked up starting threads and wouldn’t catch a thread at all. This was a surprise to them (implying they had even looked at it before calling me).
They ran a die over the threads and I was able to thread the nut. I took both home and cleaned up the threads further with my own die, and removed all the surface rust.
Today (7/20) I get the call to pick up my slide. I take off work again. They had already mounted the RMR. Cerakote looked good. The extractor plunger wouldn’t go in its hole.

Did you guys see the red flag we did? Let’s rewind:

They didn’t have the first clue about milling a slide for an RMR or the barrel threading but assured me their machine shop guy would know.

So, despite the fact that someone recommended this gun shop, they send their machine work out. (Not unusual). And they don’t even know enough to talk about something that is, frankly, a pretty common request. (That is unusual). How common? Well, Glock made flat, optic slides a factory option because enough people were doing it that it began to make sense in mass production. A slide already set up like that is a phone call away. And the explosive growth in NFA registrations in recent years is predominantly in suppressors, which need threaded hosts — again, something so common that vendors are series- if not mass-producing the barrels and selling them on GunBroker. It should have been a red flag that the shop’s guys couldn’t talk intelligently about these two simple procedures, and didn’t pass him off to someone who could. (Sure, a simple sales clerk might not know, but can’t he say, “Willie’s in Tuesday, and he understands all this stuff. Can you come in to see him?”)

There was another clue that they sent this work out, also:

[T]hey told me to bring the stripped barrels and slide as well as the RMR

Now, having the barrels stripped does make threading easier, but disassembly is a pretty trivial thing on these two firearms. They’re both designed with assembly and maintenance in mind. But the shop’s insistence on stripping suggests it’s going to a shop that doesn’t have an FFL and probably doesn’t do much gun work.

That’s not necessarily a bad thing. Gun work was at the cutting edge of machine shop practice 150 years ago, but today a lot of shops routinely work on ultra-high-precision tools and dies and aerospace parts. They should be able to set up and thread a gun barrel sleepwalking.

But working through a shop that sends their stuff out means you’re trying to communicate what you want done through intermediaries. And in this case, the intermediaries sound unprepared for and unfamiliar with the work in question, even if the shop (from whose knowledge the second-hand nature of this job insulates the customer) isn’t.

In our limited experience gunshop clerks run the gamut from real experts to complete bozos. The best of them know their products and the market, and know everything they’re likely to see as a trade-in, too. They can talk gun history and manufacturing processes with the best of us. The worst of them? Should probably wear a hockey helmet while out in public. But they all think they’re experts, except for the real experts, who are paradoxically more humble than their station should demand. But the particular experts at this store never told the machinist about the importance of corrosion control and deburring (and then, there’s a little voice that tells me if you don’t understand corrosion control or deburring, you’re probably not a real machinist, either).

It sounds like nobody took ownership of the rust on barrels. That’s a double red flag, first that the barrels were allowed to get that way, and secondly that it was received with blasé indifference. It’s like going to a plastic surgeon for a nose job and getting that, and a bonus Teutonic saber-dueling scar.

This guy wound up spending $500 for work that was never QCd adequately by anybody and having three guns down for a month and a half. Work that he needed, in some cases, to do over. The shop did offer to blast and restore the Cerakote on the Glock slide, as removing enough of the burrs to assemble the pistol left bald spots on the slide. The seller chose not to give them a second at-bat with his pistol; he’s still so POd that he’s talking about a credit card chargeback (something merchants really abhor).

Even without having seen their side of the story, it’s a dead certainty that the shop, too, is unhappy with this transaction all around.

The guy could have bought a Glock slide cut for RMR and a threaded 10/22 barrel from almost anywhere, like Brownells, One Source Tactical or Lone Wolf (at least for the Glock part), and had overnight delivery. He’d have spent a little more money; the slide goes for $250-300 finished while the milling job is done by many production smiths for $120-160 plus shipping. We’re not sure about the Neos barrel, that’s a bit of a rara avis at this time, at least compared to Glocks and 10/22s which have an ultra-robust aftermarket.

How do you avoid this predicament?

There are several things  we recommend.

  1. You may not want to use a local shop. There are shops that solicit your business and that do business nationwide.
  2. If you can’t talk to the guy who’s going to cut your metal in a local shop, they send it out to some generic job shop where it gets treated like generic machined tractor parts or whatever.
  3. If the guy says they don’t know how to do something, don’t browbeat him into trying it and then regret it when he fails. Instead, take his word for it. This is not the smith you are looking for.
  4. Don’t pay 100% in advance. In fact, withhold something until the job proves out. Think of those dollars as your hostages to a successful transaction.
  5. What’s the point in dealing locally if you don’t deal face to face with the actual smith? A lot of people today seem terrified of communication by phone or face-to-face with actual humans, but this guy didn’t have that problem, he just communicated with the wrong guys.

From the Dealer’s Point of View

  1. If you send work out, be up front about it. (“Hey, that’s a milling job, we don’t have the machine tools for that, but we do have a good shop that does work for us.”) Nobody will hold it against you, you’re a small business that needs to interface with other small businesses to please your customers.
  2. Don’t let a customer talk you into work that you’re not sure you or your guy can do.
  3. Never, ever, take a job you don’t understand completely.
  4. Never, ever, release a job without inspecting it to ensure it met what you quoted. (What, no quote? See next item).
  5. Quote in writing and in detail. This protects everybody, yeah, even the merchant.
  6. Consider hiring (or teaming with) a real smith if your market will support it. If you’re really small, see if you can get a guy to come in one evening a week (most of your customers work day jobs) or make a weekend presentation on what he can do. It is not the walk-in repair and modification business that will pay for the smith, but the impulse purchases of the guys who come to see him. You can also use him to raise the profile of some of your plain-jane used guns.
  7. Don’t oversell your smith. We watched an alleged smith fail miserably at reassembling a customer’s common-as-dirt Winchester .22. He didn’t have the humility to go to YouTube for an answer, and the old standby of using two screwdrivers to compress a long spring into a short hole didn’t occur to him, probably because he got rattled by several failures. If a guy isn’t a real gunsmith, don’t call him that, call him a technician, armorer or repairman.
  8. If you’re the smith, be humble. There’s no harm in asking if you can look at something, check some references, and then quote.

For everybody, meet the other party half way, and try to be sensitive to their expectations. We actually think the shop in this case did that with their offer to re-coat the slide; we think the customer’s being unreasonable if he wants a full refund. But the shop really blew it by returning uninspected work to a customer. Now the guy has lost faith in you, and, he’s dropped the Reddit bomb on you, which is on the net forever, or until Reddit management finally kills the site, whichever comes first.

Seriously, What’s Wrong With People?

paulpeltonAfter a couple of youths knocked themselves out in a fiery crash in the industrial city of Lorain, Ohio, bystanders dashed to the scene, mostly to try to extricate the youths from the mangled, burning car.

Not one guy, who has the conscience, decency and level of moral development of a Gawker editor. Look what he did:

According to cops, Paul Pelton, 41, was among several bystanders who rushed early Monday morning to the crash site in Lorain, a city 30 miles outside Cleveland. While others sought to free two unconscious 17-year-old boys stuck in the crumpled car, Pelton stood by and filmed the scene with his cell phone.

People do this all the time. We now see drivers passing by accidents, rubbernecking through their viewfinders. What is wrong with these people? But that’s not what got this bozo in trouble. This is:

Before police or rescue personnel arrived, Pelton allegedly opened one of the Honda Accord’s rear doors and leaned in to film the injured teenagers. On Pelton’s six-minute video, cops noted, he is heard referring to the injured boys as “idiots.”

The time to make fun of their stupidity is after first aid measures are complete. Seriously, what is wrong with some people? Why not help the people trying to save these kids? That’s what most people (in the minority who stop at an accident) do.

The passenger made it to the hospital, where he died from his injuries. The driver’s alive in “stable” condition (we take that to mean, not about to die, but pretty messed up), thanks to the efforts of the folks who came to the scene — well, all but one. He wasn’t just a looky-lou shooting video, he didn’t it to try to cash in on the accident.

After filming the injured victims, Pelton uploaded the clip to Facebook, and then contacted local news organizations to try and sell footage of a dying boy and his seriously injured friend. Pelton subsequently removed the video from Facebook (a screen grab from the clip is at left).

…In announcing Pelton’s arrest, a police spokesperson noted that citizens are encouraged to lend a hand during emergencies, adding that “rendering aid or comfort to a dying young man and his severely injured friend is a commendable and kindly act.” But the cop added, “Persons are not, however, allowed to trespass into a person’s vehicle criminally and without permission for the seemingly singular cause of filming, a young man’s dying moments, for profit.”

via Ghoul Arrested For Filming Fatal Auto Crash | The Smoking Gun.

Most of what Pelton did is not a crime, so they can only charge him with vehicular trespass, a trivial misdemeanor. But saying it wasn’t a crime is not the same thing as saying it was OK.  There’s a lot of things out there that are so morally wrong that they would not even occur to 99%+ of humanity, including most criminals who have higher standards than this moral leper. There are things out there that are not covered in criminal law simply because no one has anticipated a person so morally vacant, or imagined a misdeed so basely repugnant. Criminal law usually covers things that, however mercifully rare, some significant portion of humanity tries to do.

We believe that some of the violence voyeurism on display here comes from the social consequences of everyone having a Handicam in his pocket these days. In a way, this is just a variant on that other puzzler, when you see people at an event  (we saw this at the 4th of July fireworks) who are so intent on viewing the event through the viewfinder on their smartphone and filming it, Christ knows why, that they actually let the event go by.

The temptations of our small, insistent glowing rectangles are strong, but they’re not real life, and in some ways, they’re detrimental, inimical, toxic to real life. They’re socially and morally isolating and morally desaturating, flattening out affect to the point where someone can think that what Pelton did was within the range of acceptable human behavior.

Yeah, your smartphone is cool. Hang it up and live.

Bubba Was “Out of Battery”

This really happened on an indoor range. A (presumably nearsighted) elderly gentleman got his pistol stuck just barely out of battery. The gunshop guys rodded the gun to clear the jammed round… only to find out that it was a battery that was out of battery.

9mm energizer2Yep, that’s an Energizer, all right, probably in his gun bag to power a gun light, that instead got crammed into a 9mm mag in between 9mm rounds. And so much for truth in advertising: instead of keeping “going… and going… and going,” the S&W M&P stopped, hard, when it got to the battery… unable to quite force it into battery.

Here’s a close-up, again, after rodding the stuck “round” partway out:

9mm energizerDoing this on the range is embarrassing, but doing it in a gunfight could be terminal.

9mm para dimensionsThe battery is an A23, a compact 12v battery (.pdf) used in a lot of weird places like gun lights, red-dot sights, and garage-door remotes. It’s a manganese dioxide-based battery made up of 8 small cells in series, and it’s from 9.7 to 10.3 mm in diameter, and slightly shorter length overall as a 9mm round at 27.5 to 28.5. As you can see from the image on the right (which shows the European CIP max dimensions), the A23 is destined to get stuck outside the chamber if its diameter is on the high end of tolerances, or somewhere down it if it’s near the lower end.

40 SW dinensionsOn the other hand, it might have gone all the way in to a .40 S&W chamber, as you can see on the image to the left (again a Euro CIP max-dimensions diagram. It seems likely an A23 would drop all the way in a .40 chamber. As batteries generally lack extraction grooves, it could be an unacceptably tense moment or two in a real-world gunfight. So it’s just as well that our visually-challenged gentleman selected the parabellum instead of the .40.

In this case, no permanent harm was done to the gun, the battery, or any personnel or installations. The battery was extracted, a bit beat-up perhaps, and the pistol had no problem going back into battery, without the battery. Presumably Mr Magoo then returned to the range.

And you know the ROs keep a bit of a closer eye on him, now that they know he sees no lights a-flashing, he plays by sense of smell.

The shop worker notes, “You work at a range long enough though and you see all kinds a stupid stuff.”

Hat tip, this thread in /r/guns and the photos from the original poster there, on imgur.

 

 

The Bragg “Assault Rifle at a Mall” Arrest

SGT Bryan Wolfinger, a US airborne infantryman.

SGT Bryan Wolfinger, a US airborne infantryman. And, says the press, “mall gunman.”

There are three things happening here which have very few points of congruence:

  1. Media reports, which seem to be largely fabricated by the reporters;
  2. What actually happened, which has not been widely reported;
  3. The Fayetteville PD’s relationship with the employees of the town’s dominant business, the Army, which is never widely reported.

We’ll address each of these in turn. Along the way, you’ll get to play that game that’s so much fun that people bribe politicians for the opportunity to do it for a career: You Be The Judge!™.

Media Reports

Conspiracy theories thrive, in part, because the media sucks like a giant Shop Vac, and prioritizes speed over accuracy, and Narrative™ over either. First media reports are almost always wrong. Then, they really get to work. Reporters dig in and beat the facts to fit The Narrative™.

Here are some of the headlines the news media generated:

As you can see, they generally called the individual arrested “Man with assault rifle,” “Armed soldier,” “Soldier with rifle and ammunition,” and, in one egregious case (a TV station, naturally), “Fayetteville mall gunman.”  Sure, that was technically correct in the narrow denotational sense that he was a man, did have a gun, and did go to a mall, but “mall gunman” forms a mental picture other than a guy carrying an empty, never-fired, rifle to a photo shoot for his actor’s portfolio.

wolfingers gun and gearAs the media got further from Fayetteville and the facts they changed the facts to suit The Narrative™, as they always do. The “rifle and ammunition” became a counterfactual “loaded rifle.” Another counterfactual detail conjured out of thin air by fabricating reporters was “body armor.” The Charleston church shooting and white supremacism made an appearance, introduced by some of their last True Believers, reporters. The Southern Poverty Law Center, a long-running racket that has made a succession of Northern lawyers stankin’ rich, was called on to read the mind of the accused “gunman.”

Once these media stories, with their slant, exaggerations and outright fabrications, hit the news,  the two branches of the Army that are furthest from the gun culture and firearms knowledge, the oversized PR branch and the underbrained MP branch, sounded off, uttering an instant, blanket condemnation of the soldier in question and promising that he will be punished by the military justice system, which has no truck with such primitive concepts as rights of the accused or rules of evidence: as we have seen in many Iraq and Afghanistan courts-martial, it’s a means by which commanders work their will, irrespective of law or facts, and we had a string of commanders who had been embarrassed. This guy has absolutely no chance: the prosecutors will work to nail-him-to-a-cross, and the defense attorneys, in the fine tradition of military defense attorneys since the Dreyfus case and beyond, will hand ’em the nails.

What Actually Happened

While the media were running with the story, something else was happening in Fayetteville. The police and prosecutors were trying to square the arrest they’d made, and the press statements their spokesman was making, with North Carolina law. NC is an open carry state; even if Wolfinger’s gun had been loaded, what he was doing would have been perfectly legal.

They finally found a Reconstruction-era misdemeanor: “Going armed to the terror of the public,” that had been inserted in NC law for the Union occupation forces to use to suppress “night riders” and similar proto-Klan types. The dormant law had actually been eliminated from a popular NC law book before prosecutors rediscovered it as part of today’s kitchen-sink prosecution strategy. The crime has four elements, one of which is being armed with “an unusual and dangerous weapon,” which Reconstruction-era case law established as being any firearm at all, or even no firearm, if ant person was really scared. But another element, and one that appears fully absent in this case, is that the person have intent: he must have taken up his “unusual and dangerous weapon” (which may, in fact, be no weapon but physical intimidation), “for the purpose of terrifying others.” Did Wolfinger intend to terrify others? Let’s play You Be The Judge!

Wolfinger went to the mall for a very specific reason: he was taking a portfolio photo to submit to a casting call for the next Captain America movie. Specifically, for extras in “a battlefield setting.”

After looking at the websites of the many photography shops in the Fayetteville area, he chose Picture This! Portrait Studios, one of two commercial photography shops in the Cross Creek Mall. He picked them particularly because they were experienced with green screen photography, allowing digital backgrounds to be swapped in to his photo.

As he meant to apply as a military “type” extra, along with the usual three serious-expression pictures casting directors like to see for extras, he also meant to shoot the “in character” shot that’s optional but welcome. For that, he brought his legally-owned AR-15 and a plate carrier and some magazines. After all, Picture This! says, helpfully, “You may also want to consider bringing in personal items….” Just to be sure it was safe, Wolfinger removed the firing pin from the AR, rendering it, functionally, a stick.

Little did Wolfinger know that this would land him in durance vile, with every talking head on every TV and Mark Potok of the SPLC condemning him as a racist mass murderer wannabee.

Note that under NC law, carrying the AR loaded is perfectly legal (although, as he has learned, not exactly wise). This lack of wisdom is especially significant, given the proclivities of the Fayetteville PD, of which more anon.

Someone called 911, and the police responded, and two Fayetteville cops encountered him as he was coming out. They pointed their guns at him and he obeyed their instructions. They cuffed him and then roughed him up a little. He was cooperative and gave a statement. After they latched on to the “terror of the public”  misdemeanor, Detectives tried to get him to say he was trying to scare people, but to their irritation he stuck to the truth. They finally released him to his unit first sergeant.

Detectives then questioned the photographer at great length, trying to lead her into a statement that Wolfinger had frightened her. They got a very, very weak statement. She actually liked the kid, even though she knew nothing of guns and didn’t realize that that was the prop that he was bringing.

The Fayetteville PD spokesman issued several statements which played into the media’s desire to see an American soldier as a terrorist.

Fayetteville PD versus GIs In General

Puzzled fayetteville copFirst things first: Fayetteville cops, and especially Fayetteville PD leadership, hate the Army and hate the individual GI. Hate is a strong word, but it’s the only one that fits.  (“Use the word you mean, not its second cousin” — didn’t Mark Twain say that?)

In defense of the cops, the GIs make a lot of work for them. Drunk GIs in bars. Drunk GIs in cars. GI domestic violence, usually with drinking. (Now, there’s a real problem with female couple DV in the Fort Bragg area). Guys who got ripped off by some pawn shop, buy-here-pay-here crap car-dealer, or U-Can-Rent, and guys who think that they got ripped off, but actually outsmarted themselves, and are causing a disturbance anywayLiquored-up paratroopers convinced that they can take this pudgy cop, who then proceed to do so, at least until backup arrives. And then there’s the personal problems: the GIs who wind up with the cops’ girlfriends, wives and daughters.

It’s reached the point where the GIs figure they might as well go ahead and knock up the daughters of the town’s cops, prosecutors, and judges, because they’re gonna get thumped for it, anyway. This produces suboptimal behavior on the part of all parties.

Any given night, especially Thursday through Saturday, and doubly especially around the days the eagle drops the twice-monthly paycheck, a Fayetteville PD shift sergeant can show you a fine collection of paratroopers, support troops, and even an occasional SF guy: in his drunk tank. “Support the Troops” gets worn out pretty quick in an Army town, where tens of thousands of troops are not elite combat forces but less elite, and a few of them, even, marginal, support guys. Ask a Fayetteville cop to tell you about soldier misconduct and your only problem is going to be to get him to stop: some of the things our fellow vets have done are absolutely cringe-producing, and it’s hard to blame the fuzz for developing a ‘tude about it.

However… one thing the Fayetteville Observer does from time to time is post the mugshots of recent Cumberland County accused felons. And that set is notable by its lack of GIs, considering their prevalence in the community. GIs are far outnumbered among serious criminals by many other minorities: blacks, women, Lumbee Indians. The cops don’t hate those people; it’s just business (and fact is, most of the people in all those minorities never commit a crime, so they shouldn’t hate the whole groups). But they do hate the GIs with their booze and misdemeanors, who may not be especially criminal but who are especially identifiable.

For whatever reason, they are spring-loaded in the Nail The GI position. The Fayetteville PD also has a number of other big-city-PD pathologies, including the deep-seated belief that, their dismal ND record notwithstanding, they are the Only Ones who can be trusted with this here Glock firearm.

That’s how SGT Wolfinger got from going to take an innocent he-ro photo for a casting call, to slammed in the clink on a bogus charge: he’s paying the price for every drunk trooper who was ever a no-go at the Fayetteville PD’s Respect-My-Authoritah station.

And that’s why 20 Fayetteville cops swarmed Cross Creek Mall and locked it down for an hour, after they had taken Wolfinger into custody: their leaders hate non-cops with guns, and hate soldiers especially, and were hoping to find and arrest more.

SF guys who live in and around Fayetteville tend not to display hooah stickers on our wheels. Part of that is the whole Quiet Professional thing, in general, a cultural norm which leaders try from time to time to nurture and reinforce. (This leadership is especially successful from respected NCO leaders like team sergeants and company sergeants major). But part if it is also the desire not to be singled out for reindeer games by some sorehead with a badge.