Category Archives: Don’t be THAT guy

Gun Maintenance by Sound Principles

Remember what we’ve said about maintenance before: a gun is a machine, and maintenance is like maintenance of any other machine. Every firearm contains several classes of parts. Some of these parts may be so over-engineered they’ll never fail; other, parts that the manufacturer expects that you will replace (like the battery in your car, or springs in your gun, or wipes in an old-style suppressor); and still other parts can be expected to wear out depending on how hard you use them — parts that will fail due to wear or fatigue if not replaced pre-emptively.

Failure from overstress is another thing entirely. You can blow up any gun with Uncle Bubba’s Dynamite Hot Loads, even a perfectly produced firearm straight out of the box for the first time with the dealer’s hang tag still dangling from the trigger guard.

The parts you need to prepare to replace are the ones subject to physical wear and to fatigue failure. And there are several ways to do it. You can replace parts that are subject to wear and fatigue failure:

  1. When they actually fail. A lot of people do this, and if it’s not a machine that you depend on for life, Replace On Failure works just fine.
  2. When an inspection reveals that the parts are showing signs of imminent failure. At the risk of overstating the obvious, this means you have to conduct inspections on some sort of a schedule timely enough to find bad parts before they fail… or your Replace On Condition plan becomes unplanned Replace On Failure.
  3. When a certain interval has passed, which might be a calendar schedule or might be number of operating hours or cycles. This approach is called Replace On Schedule; and whether it’s a good or a bad plan depends on the devilish details of the case.

Modern firearms are much more reliable than their historical forbears. And modern ammunition is, as well, plus it also tends to be noncorrosive.

Another part of maintenance is cleaning. How frequently should you clean your guns? The answer may surprise you. Given modern designs and materials, noncorrosive ammunition, and reliable modern systems,  the real requirement to clean an AR or a Glock is this: when it absolutely needs to be cleaned because the mung buildup has begun to interfere with the firearms’ functions.

Here’s a picture of Kyle Defoor’s glock, as it came up for on-condition maintenance and was immediately scheduled for a cleaning.

DeFoor Funky Glock

 

The pistol was essentially never cleaned. You’re looking at 7,500 rounds of baked-on range mung, and it was still working, but the slide had started slowing down.

Many people overclean their weapons, wearing the protective finish off and exposing their guns to the risk of corrosion. How come, when Kyle’s pistol shows it’s not necessary (and many others, Mountain Guerrilla comes to mind, have gone even longer between cleanings on rifle platforms). If it’s designed right, manufactured right and assembled right, it’ll keep rocking, or, as in this case, Glocking.

So why do we overclean? History, and culture. Used to be priming compounds like fulminate of mercury or lead picrate, and some chemicals in propulsive powders, were deadly to firearms. Thorough, frequent cleaning was the last line of defense. Now it’s come full circle — cleaning can actually put fine old firearms at more risk than leaving them alone!

Will the Military Obey Unlawful Orders?

An officer's commission (here, a Continental Commission signed by President of the Con. Congress John Hancock). Enduring question: are you commissioned to obey orders, or sustain principles?

An officer’s commission (here, a Continental Commission signed by President of the Con. Congress John Hancock). Enduring question: are you commissioned to obey orders, or sustain principles?

The answer to that is, unquestionably, yes. You probably shouldn’t delude yourself on that score. Back in March, Commander Salamander noted this exchange between Brett Baier and Presidential candidate Donald Trump (exchange edited for brevity):

BAIER: [W]hat would you do, as commander-in-chief, if the U.S. military refused to carry out those orders?

TRUMP: They won’t refuse. They’re not going to refuse me. Believe me.

BAIER: But they’re illegal.

TRUMP: …They then came to me, what do you think of waterboarding? I said it’s fine. And if we want to go stronger, I’d go stronger, too, because, frankly…

(APPLAUSE)

… that’s the way I feel. ….We should go for waterboarding and we should go tougher than waterboarding. That’s my opinion.

BAIER: But targeting terrorists’ families?

(APPLAUSE)

TRUMP: If I say do it, they’re going to do it. That’s what leadership is all about.

This, Sal analyzes as follows:

There has been a lot of huff’n and puff’n from many who presently or once wore the uniform, including your humble blogg’r, roughly of, “We will not. No one will follow those illegal orders. We will just refuse.” The more I’ve thought about it, the more I think my initial instinct is wrong.

That might be an internal dialog, but once a senior officer looks you in the eye, and even if you make a protest says, “The JAG stated …” or “The Justice Department ruled that … “, there are very few who will resist. Anyone below 4-stars that does refuse will simply be fired and someone will step forward to execute the order in their place within minutes. That one person will have a clear conscience, but will also have a dead-end career, professional exile, and nothing will actually have changed.

In the main, orders will be followed.

This is a retired officer talking, who has held the nation’s Commission and done the nation’s duty at sea and ashore, and everything he says is 100% in line with what we observed in three decades of combined Active, Reserve and Guard service, most of it in SF with very good and very ethical officers.

He also cites an analysis by Rosa Brooks (again, edited brutally for brevity) that goes like this:

Military resistance is no safeguard against a future president — Trump or anyone else — who’s determined to have his way.

Laws can be manipulated, and they can be changed, especially when a president wants them manipulated or changed. The U.S. military has a strong rule-of-law culture, but it also has a strong commitment to civilian control of the armed forces.

If history and social psychology have taught us anything, it’s that most people, civilian and military alike, will go along with the instructions of those they perceive as authority figures…

….numerous lawyers in the armed forces have expressed private concerns about ….[it really doesn’t matter what, although she has concrete examples –Ed.]. But here again, don’t expect a mutiny or a coup.

Sal returns to the more general problem, and says (edited, for a third time, to the high points):

[T]here is nothing that our GOFO community have done in peace that would lead me to think that there would be any concerted effort to stand up and say, “No.” in times of crisis.

Amen. He does cite some rare examples, such as then-General Rick Shinseki’s resistance to the Iraq war (which was based, if you know Shinseki, on partisan politics, not integrity, but let’s roll with it and give the General the benefit of the doubt), and after that, Vice-Admiral Thomas Connolly’s falling on the proverbial sword over MacNamara’s insane TFX and its F-111B Naval offshoot. Connolly’s response to a Senatorial question about the thrust needed to get the porky jet off a carrier deck is legendary:

[Gerald E.] Miller [then a Connolly aide and later an Admiral himself] remembers vividly that Admiral Connolly swallowed hard, then declared, “There isn’t enough thrust in Christendom to fix this plane.”

Sal admitted he was out of examples, at that point; in the spirit of purple-suited late pop stars jointness, we’d like to vector him to two famous examples from Army service.

  1. Chief of Staff Matthew B. Ridgeway. A World War II hero and Korean War leader, Ridgeway resisted the Presidential and civilian national security establishment’s attempt to all but eliminate the Army and go to an all-nuclear defense posture to enable massive defense cuts. Ridgeway was prepared to fall on his sword rather than withdraw the Army from Europe . Here’s a somewhat partisan view of the thing[.pdf] by officer turned political analyst Andrew J. Bacevich (he wrote it to demean military criticism of his beloved Clinton Administration). Eisenhower pushed Ridgeway into retirement and replaced him with the model of the modern political GO/FO, Kennedy Family Made Guy Maxwell D. Taylor.  (Taylor, too, would leave angry with Ike, but would receive new high offices from his Kennedy pals).
  2. Major General John K. “Jack” Singlaub’s 1977 resistance to Carter Administration policies which favored a US withdrawal from South Korea and Korean reunification under Kim Il Sung, which led to Singlaub being fired, forced to retire, and, in an act of the pettiness for which Carter and his defense suits from Harold K. Brown on down were known, denied disability benefits. We’ve covered that previously (and linked to this paper [.pdf] on the situation).
Ancient History? (Carthage, proof that war doesn't solve anything... oh, wait).

Ancient History? (Carthage, proof that war doesn’t solve anything… oh, wait).

What brings this ancient history to the surface? And it is ancient history: Shinseki’s resistance to his lords and betters took place 13 years ago, Singlaub’s 39, Connolly’s 54 or so, and Ridgeway’s over sixty years in the past. The lesson, then, is not that officers do stand up to orders that they thought unlawful and immoral (Ridgeway’s opposition to policies that targeted enemy civilian population centers; Connolly’s to an aircraft that threw naval aviators’ lives away; Singlaub’s to Carter’s encouragement of a second Korean war and the enslavement of South Koreans) or simply unwise (Shinseki’s turned-out-correct insistence that higher force structure would be needed for a contested occupation).

One word: Martland. Martland was not persecuted directly by soldier-hating suits like Acting Secretary of the Army Patrick Murphy (a career politician) or Secretary Designee Eric “Fabulous” Fanning. Martland’s NCOER was deliberately crafted to harm him. It was prepared and signed by officers and NCOs who knew they were uttering a false instrument, knew they were rejecting the Army Way of criticizing subordinates face to face and in private, knew they were taking up arms in a political battle, and doing it on the side of falsehood, and injuring a good man who had done a good thing, because the Army had drifted off into a foamy pink froth of values that were politically constructed and inconstant. What would those people do with an unlawful order?

People who saw in their commissions, their documents of appointment of rank, their assignment to positions, not as a place to bring their own morals and character to bear, but a place where they would stake all on unthinking obedience? And rationalize it afterward?

That way? Go that way if you will. Be ready to board the boxcars. Your turn will come.

 

Gun, Copper, Thief

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

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

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

Phillys Missing M16A1

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

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

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

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

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

Police Firearms Lost to Theft

PD Sworn Officers

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

Total Per/1000 officers

Baltimore

2400

7

2.92

0

0

7

2.92

Chicago

12000

73

6.08

4

0.33

77

6.42

Los Angeles

9800

7

0.71

0

0

7

0.71

Philadelphia

6100

27

4.43

5

0.82

32

5.25

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

Even with the near-murder of Hartnett,

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

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

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

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

Shaya Lichtenstein

Shaya “Alex” Lichtenstein

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Update

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

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

Lichtenstein warrant affidavitOCR.pdf

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

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

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

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

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

Wednesday Weapons Website of the Week: Winter Soldier

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

OK, so maybe not so broad-based.

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

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

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

kerrysothermedals

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

If your Level of Serum Clue Drops Too Low…

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Hey, it works in the laboratory!

Hey, it works in the laboratory!

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

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

We’re serious about his claims:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Cop Shot His Own Partner… No Consequences

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Feel protected enough yet?

Update

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

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

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

The New Face of Defense: And his Anatomical Doll

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

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

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

Wow, what does this mission-critical paragon do?

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

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

Oh, for Pete’s sake….

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

And it’s a great career move:

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

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

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

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

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

That is what he did, innit?

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

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

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

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

We Didn’t Watch this Whole Video

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

curators_corner_johnson_screenshot

https://www.nranews.com/series/curators-corner/video/cam-and-company-2016-johnson-rifle-m1941/episode/curators-corner-season-9-episode-1-johnson-rifle-m1941

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

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

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

curators_johnson_m1941

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

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

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

 

Hudson Becomes a Shorthand Writer

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

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

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

DEDICATION

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

Hudson M

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

THE FORGOTTEN BIT OF FULMINATE

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The grim jest appealed to my sense of humor.

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

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

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

https://archive.org/details/dynamitestoriess00maxi

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