Category Archives: Don’t be THAT guy

Small-time Crime in a Very Small Place

We live in a small place, the nation’s shortest coastline, and we have joined a bunch of minority groups (veterans, gun people, writers, defense contractors, musicians, bike riders, etc., etc.) further narrowing our social horizons. Therefore, ours is a small world, and there are not that many people, for example, active in our small gun club. (We’re not really “active.” Gun club politics don’t interest us, we’re just in it for a place to shoot). So imagine the shock here at Hog Manor South when we’re reading the hometown news and find a link that baits us to click it, thinking there’ll be a Don’t Be That Guy story in it. We’re not sure what we were expecting, but we were pretty shocked to learn that we knew that guy.

The headlines in a couple of the New Hampster papers were things like these:

We forget what the heads were in the Union Leader, but they were the same kind of thing. To the extent we understand the facts of the case:

  1. There was an alleged domestic assault with minor injury
  2. Followed by attempts to contact the victim against her wishes
  3. Followed by a suicide (not homicide) threat. The individual was known to own guns.
  4. The police called the emergency resource team out, the guys suited up and warmed up the Bearcat.
  5. The suspect surrendered with no further drama.
  6. The police asked the judge to give them a warrant to take the suspect’s guns.
  7. The suspect agreed to permit them to do that, the judge signed the warrant, the police took about 13 guns into safekeeping.

We don’t know George well but he’s been an officer of the small Seacoast club mentioned in the articles, and we once visited him in his small, crowded shop. We know the other people quoted in the article. (It was a surprise to hear that one had had a LTC denied in NH. That’s extremely rare. The guy in question is the most dedicated and hardest working volunteer the club has).

One thing that is clear is that the police didn’t overreact, and they resolved the issue with the least possible fuss, really. (Remember, a nearby town lost a police chief during an ordinary-police-work-nothin’-special arrest warrant for a no-account small time dealer, so the cops here would be understood if they were jumpy. But they weren’t jumpy, just professional). Likewise, the prosecutors don’t seem to have overcharged the case. It’s a domestic case, and if George is convicted of the charges, all misdemeanors, then his right to own firearms is gone for life, which is probably the severest penalty they can inflict, knowing him.

And really, it’s his own fault.

No guns seem to have been involved in his offense, the police just applied an abundance of caution because he was known to own guns (many people thought he owned more than he did because of his activism on the issue), and especially because he mouthed off with a threat.

A lot of the facts of the case have not been released, or have been munged by the media if so. Still, we can draw a few conclusions. It is very clear that Judgment Juice in extratherapeutic dosages were involved, and it’s equally clear that our acquaintance has made a horse’s ass of himself, and brought on a great deal of trouble. We won’t make excuses for the man. He screwed up and now has to face the court — that’s the way these things are supposed to go.

It’s very bizarre to see names of people you know in a criminal case article. Perhaps we were overdue for a reminder that these are real, three-dimensional people in these stories and that their lives go on, although they’re sometimes never the same after such an event.

And perhaps people need to bear in mind that there are great pleasures to be found in guns, booze, and significant others — but not all at the same time, and not all of the two-way combinations are a good idea.

Right about now, George could probably tell you that. 

Good-by, Lenin!

The monster of the 20th Century came tumbling down in Kharkiv, a Ukrainian city that was the scene of calamitous tank battles between two of world history’s most evil empires.

lenin statue in Kharkiv

It was the biggest Lenin left in Europe. Now it’s rubble, kind of like the Evil Empire that Lenin presided over, an empire built on lies and murder, an Empire that replaced the too-slow liberalization of the Romanovs with “a boot stepping on a human face, forever.”

But it wasn’t forever, Vladimir Ilych.

When the monster tumbled, he was found to be a classically Soviet production: shoddy.

Lenin's head showing shoddy Soviet construction

 

Free Ukrainians tore the statue apart with their bare hands, taking pieces of Lenin for souvenirs, as Berliners did with the evil Wall that was, ultimately, part of the empire of slaveholding that Lenin and Stalin built.

We kind of wish we’d gotten a Lenin bust for the war room (or maybe as a garden gnome) before they were all gone. But it was, and is, past time for Lenin to join his peer Hitler among the reviled and de-monumented.

Next summer, the kids will go to movies in which spandex-suited heroes fight supernatural monsters. But this ruins of a Lenin is a reminder that monsters are real, they are not supernatural, and they walk among us. But they can be toppled by men and women in street clothes — everyday heroes.

 

This guy really screwed the pooch. No, really.

We like to have an illustration for every post. You will see presently why this one does not have an illustration. In other words, prepare for some eeeeew, yuck! Take it awaaay, Salt Lake County Tribune:

Melvin Parley Pace, 65, was charged in July in 4th District Court with five counts of lewdness with prior convictions, a third-degree felony, as well as five counts of bestiality and seven counts of criminal trespass, which are class B misdemeanors.

That’s 17 counts, if you’re, er, counting. But it’s not the first time he’s caught a case of canine copulation. The courts condemned the creep already this year, for taking “animal lover” in entirely the wrong direction.

This is the second time Pace has been charged with having sex with his neighbors’ Kangal, a large Turkish dog breed.

Maybe he watched Lawrence of Arabia too many times and has it in for Turks?

In the first case, the dog’s owners aimed a camera at the dog’s run after the gate was left open in December 2013. The footage showed Pace enter the dog run and have sex with the dog, according to American Fork police Lt. Sam Liddiard.

In that case, Pace was charged with two counts each of bestiality, lewdness and criminal trespass, all class B misdemeanors. Pace pleaded guilty in February to two counts of lewdness and the other counts were dismissed. He received a suspended jail sentence and was placed on probation for 12 months year.

Yes, this perv Pace was on probation for pooch penetration when he persisted in penetrating the pen — and the pooch — again:

This spring, the dog’s run was again left open, so the owners reactivated the camera, according to charging documents.

The footage allegedly showed Pace — who was still on probation in the first case — having sex with the dog on at least seven different occasions between May 20 and June 28, the charges add.

It gets worse. Perv Pace is not only a doggy-diddling d-bag, he’s also an exhibitionist: 

The dog run is in full view and hearing of two city streets, a business and neighboring homes, according to charges.

via Utah County man ordered to trial for allegedly having sex with dog | The Salt Lake Tribune.

There’s only one punishment that fits the crime here — coat him in lady dog pheromones and chain him down on an anthill, whilst turning loose 1,000 horny male toy poodles to have their way with him.

Why poodles? Why not Great Danes? Irish Wolfhounds? St. Bernards?

Well, we have to have some punishment in reserve for the next time this perv starts feeling amorous toward’s Man’s Best Friend.

Some days you eat the bear…

Angrybear…Some days, the bear eats you. That’s the calamity that befell Rutgers University student Darsh Patel, who fled from the bear and also discovered the velocity implications of one of Orwell’s famous sayings: “Four legs good, two legs baaaaad.”

This was the first documented fatal bear attack in New Jersey since sometime in the 19th Century.  Somehow we suspect that Patel would have happily foregone the distinction. And the bear’s jubilation was short-lived, as authorities interrupted its meal, permanently. (When seconds counted, armed law enforcement was hours away from doing poor Patel any good).

To make matters worse, this kid who was just out hiking gets lumped in with another Rutgers student (it’s a giant state university, teeming with tens of thousands of students) who apparently drank himself to death.

Rutgers student Darsh Patel, 22, was the second university student to die tragically on Sunday. Rutgers University is offering grief counseling following the possible alcohol-related death of a 19-year-old university sophomore from South Brunswick.

Patel, a senior in the School of Arts and Sciences majoring in information technology and informatics, was killed in the bear attack Sunday while hiking with friends in a wooded area near West Milford.

Department of Environmental Protection spokesman Larry Ragonese said Patel’s death in the Apshawa Preserve is the first fatal bear attack recorded in New Jersey in 150 years.

“As we grieve over his tragic passing, please know that our thoughts and prayers go out to his family and loved ones and to all his friends and fellow students at Rutgers,” said Richard L. Edwards, chancellor, Rutgers-New Brunswick.

Five friends from Edison were hiking in the Apshawa Preserve in West Milford Sunday when they came across a bear, the Associated Press reported. The friends ran in different directions and after regrouping, they noticed one of their friends was missing.

Patel’s body was found by a search team. Evidence suggested he had been attacked by a bear, AP reported.

A bear at the scene was euthanized. The investigation is still ongoing

via UPDATE: Bear Kills Rutgers University Student in West Milford Area – Police & Fire | Wayne, New Jersey Patch.

Enter the environment, enter the food chain. Your armament and state of preparedness determines where along the food chain you slot it.

Note also that Patel was not hiking alone. The (unarmed) kid was hiking with a bunch of (unarmed) friends. So he’s not-quite-living proof of the old saying, “You don’t have to outrun the bear, you only have to outrun your buddy.”

The Police know guns, right?

This is one of the picture boards the police in Santa Monica, CA put up for the media after a kid named John Zawhri shot family members and then drove through town shooting random people.

Zawhri may have been mentally ill. But the cop who labeled these guns was not all there, either:

SM+shooter+collageThe Neanderthal-looking mug at center is Zawahri, who did not survive his shooting rampage. But the cops identify, counterclockwise from top left:

  1. “Colt .45″. It’s actually a replica of a Remington cap-and-ball .44, but other than that they nailed it.
  2. “Colt.” It’s a Smith and Wesson (and apparently was a replica non-gun anyway). But apart from that the cops had it right.
  3. “Assault Rifle.” Well, it’s actually an AR-15, which is banned in CA, yet somehow this creepy criminal got one (we’ll get to how in a minute).

The thing they call a “vest” is an ammo (not ballistic) vest, and the things they call “zip guns” are, actually, zip guns, literally the only thing on the page that the cops got right.

Was this the SoCal PD that was famous for having an upper, but not a lower, cutoff for applicant IQ? That would explain a lot, but we think that department was LAPD.

News stories about Zawhri noted that he had a letter from some California bureaucracy or other saying he was DQ’d from owning guns — whether for mental illness or criminal convictions, we have no idea. And none of his guns were registered… why, a mass murderer broke the gun registration law! Who ever saw that one coming?

At least one California lawmaker, Mike Honda, has used Zawhri’s crime spree and his ability to arm himself despite California’s legal obstacles to so doing as an excuse to try to further disarm the long-suffering CA public. See, he can’t do anything to Zawhri, who’s dead; but he can do something to a lot of people who have never committed a crime. and then send a tax-paid mailing to all his constituents boasting about how he DID SOMETHING. So Honda proposes to ban home gunsmithing.

You see, Zawahri bought his AR parts, except for the magazines, legally. (The 30-round mags are contraband in California, so he got those on the black market). He appears to have either finished an incomplete lower receiver, or acquired a gun made from an incomplete or so-called 80% receiver. The Santa Monica police have said his rifle had no serial number. Of course, those are the same cops who just showed us a “Colt .45″, a “Colt” Model 59, and a generic “assault rifle” that they couldn’t put a name to, so we take all their claims with a little bit of skepticism.

The Hill reports that Honda and his cosponsors, all Democrats, have no hope of enacting Honda’s national home-gunsmithing ban. But they think that this can be an issue that distinguishes Democrats from Republicans in the midterm election campaign, and they believe that this and many other gun bans have 70-90% support.

The proposal has no chance of moving through the GOP-controlled House. But supporters are hoping their calls for tougher gun laws will distinguish Democrats from Republicans, who are almost universally opposed to new firearms restrictions.

The cosponsors of Honda’s bill are Reps. Henry Waxman (D-Calif.), Karen Bass (D-Calif.), Eric Swalwell (D-Calif.), Barbara Lee (D-Calif.), Alan Lowenthal (D-Calif.), John Conyers (D-Mich.), Jan Schakowsky (D-Ill.), Raul Grijalva (D-Ariz.) and David Cicilline (D-R.I.).

Good luck with that, boys and girls. No word on whether they got letters from the California bureaucracy saying that in the light of their apparent break with reality, they’re DQ’d from owning guns.

Exercise for the reader: if your Democrat incumbent or candidate is one of those who says, with a nervous eye on the polls, “I’m a strong supporter of the 2nd Amendment but…” then have fun trying to pin him or her down on Honda’s home gunsmithing ban.

 

Man vs. Dog — Doing it Wrong

dog-and-gunAndrew Branca has a handy checklist of facts that are necessary to justify the use of deadly force in self defense. You know the deal: risk of death or serious injury, proportional response, all that jazz. But you don’t need his checklist, or his legal training and experience, to know that David William Latham, 55, of Bellingham, WA, doesn’t have a legal leg to stand on. WMUR-TV:

On Sept. 13, Latham was annoyed at a barking dog, so he armed himself with a rifle, walked across the street, aimed over a fence and shot Molly [a Pembroke Welsh Corgi] in front of her owners.

After shooting Molly in the chest, Chunyk [one of the owners] yelled at the shooter, but retreated when Latham raised both of his arms with one hand still holding a rifle.

That’s a pretty horrible sentence. For the record, Chunyk didn’t shoot the dog, even though that’s what the reporter wrote. Latham shot the dog.

In the chaos just after the shooting, authorities told the couple they should stay home until the gunman was arrested. So they cradled Molly, and wrapped her in towels, as she bled for a half-hour before dying.

It gets better: Latham stank of Judgment Juice, and the dog he shot wasn’t the dog that was barking. Not that barking is a justification for whacking a dog, anyway, but this guy probably ought not to see the sunlight for a while. Courts being what they are, he’s out on bail. He is charged with felony animal cruelty and two misdemeanors, including “brandishing a weapon”.

While he’s free on bail for the time being, his ability to harm further dogs has been somewhat constrained: the cops seized the “murder” weapon and eight more firearms, and Latham’s own beagle. So it’s not like this guy just hates all dogs… and that makes his actions even more inexplicable.

Just in case you were having a hard time following this: no, you can’t shoot a barking dog (let alone a non-barking dog you think is the barking dog) just because it barks. That’s not a legal, ethical or moral case of self-defense.

And one of the first things every shooter should internalize is: 8 hours minimum, jigger to trigger. Many an ill-advised attempt to combine firearms and firewater has ended in tears.

Tool Deprivation Syndrome: Excuses and Gunsmithing

This Brownell's premium AR toolkit is $1500, but you don't have to wait till you buy it to work on ARs -- if you're careful and sensible.

This Brownell’s premium AR toolkit is $1500, but you don’t have to wait till you buy it to work on ARs — if you’re careful and sensible. (That’s a good thing, as it’s on backorder anyway).

IF you spend a little time in the professional tools section of Brownell’s or Midway’s catalogs or website (let alone turn yourself loose on McMaster-Carr or MSC Direct) you may just develop a case of Tool Deprivation Syndrome. The TDS sufferer has a backlog of jacked-up guns and a series of excuses that begin with the magic phrase:

If only I had a [insert magic talisman], I could fix the [insert name of appropriate member of the dead-gun pile].

You know the way it goes: “If only I had a drill press, I could mount that scope.” “If only I had an action block.” “If only I had a CNC Bridgeport.” We call bullshit. Today, in guerilla workshops in Darra Adam Khel and in shantytowns in Mindanao, bush gunsmiths are making functional copies of modern weapons with saws and files and grinding wheels, because nobody told them they need a CNC Bridgeport.

There are four answers to a dead-gun project that get the gun up and running:

  1. Admit you’re never going to fix it, and take it to a pro.
  2. Suck it up and get the tool.
  3. Improvise, substitute, or make your own equivalent of the factory tool.
  4. Take a patient, manual approach.

Take it to a Pro

There are some things that absolutely require Approach #1. An example of that is coatings: a professional that does them all the time will do them, especially difficult ones like rust blue, flame blue or straw, and aluminum anodizing way, way better than the home or small-shop smith can. (Well, with practice, anyone can get good at simpler coatings like rust blue or parkerize, but you’re going to make some ugly ducklings before you’re turning out swans). The semi-Bubba alternative is Cerakote. You never want to go full Bubba, but the full-Bubba approach is Krylon rattlecan. (Unless you’re trying to emulate an SF team’s personalized camo finish on their arms, which was probably applied with Krylon rattlecans).

Suck it Up, Get the Tool

Bubba was here. His wrong-sized screwdriver slipped, taking the finish quality of this revolver down 5-10% and the value down 30% or more. Hope it was his own revolver. Screw fit is such a big deal we ought to do a post on it alone. Image: courtesy Wheeler Engineering.

Bubba was here. His wrong-sized screwdriver slipped, taking the finish quality of this revolver down 5% and the value down 30% or more. Hope it was his own revolver. Screw fit is such a big deal we ought to do a post on screwdrivers alone. Image: courtesy Wheeler Engineering.

There are some things that absolutely require Approach #2. One of them is a small thing, and yet it seems to be the last one newbie smiths acquire — a very comprehensive set of screwdrivers. Before you get the Ruritanian FAL handguard bushing no-go gage*, have a set of premium screwdrivers. Gunsmiths need hollow ground or parallel-ground screwdrivers, not taper ground hardware store drivers. A screwdriver should fit exactly in its screw slot. The semi-Bubba uses an undersized driver, damaging the slot in the screw. Full Bubba uses an oversized driver, or a right-sized one deployed off center, to provide optimum damage to the screw and to the wood and metal around the screw head. One screwdriver manufacturer has a whole drawer full of images like the one to the left. (That’s actually a mild one).

Similarly, a full set of punches in steel and brass are mandatory. Roll pin punches and roll pin starter tools, also, if you work with modern firearms that use these fiendish fasteners.

Finally, a set of reamers. You know why the pins in your homemade AR lower rattle, and the ones in an el cheapo lower rattle, and the ones in a GI rifle don’t? The GI gun (like most premium ARs) is drilled undersize and reamed to size for a perfect fit. Perfection is an asymptote: you may never get there, but you ought to be trying, or go back to Approach #1 and Take it to a Pro.

Improv, Substitute, Make

Approach #3 is actually the trad gunsmith solution for… inter alia, screwdrivers. If you have an unusual size screw, find an oversize (but expendable) screwdriver and grind the tip to a perfect fit. You’ll never damage a screw or any of the things it fastens this way.

This Bubbalicious moment is actually from an online disassembly guide to the SVT-40. Note the cheap Chinese hardware store wrench. Don't do this!

This Bubbalicious moment is actually from an online disassembly guide to the SVT-40. Note the cheap Chinese hardware store wrench. Don’t do this!

Some foreign and obsolete weapons require odd spanner wrenches or slotted screwdrivers; the temptation here to try to use a general-purpose tool like a vice-grips or Leatherman is strong. Resist it, for that is a path well trod by Bubba the Gunsmith and quite a lot of actions and stocks bear the scars of it, in mute testimony to his passage.

One good substitute for a punch is a reversed drill bit of the right diameter, chucked into a drill press. Best to do this with a worn-out or run-out bit, lest you scar the cutting edges with the jaws of the chuck. Scarred cutting edges go walkabout in wood and metal alike, producing drill holes that are not cylindrical, or even not round.

Take a patient, manual approach

In finance, borrowing is “leverage” and leverage, just like a lever in mechanics, gives you an amplifying effect. If you win and borrowed to leverage your bet, you win proportionately bigger. If you lose… you got it, you lose bigger if you have leverage. Leverage in gunsmithing comes from power tools and time-savers. If you’re not doing this for money, you’re not trying to beat the clock (in the standard English idiom, not SAS, sense). Take your time, think it through, do it gently, get it right. Use nonmarring tools and cushion the jaws and surfaces of marring ones. Most of all, never let your tools, especially power tools, get to anyplace your mind hasn’t already been.

Bubba is always in a hurry. And being Bubba, he doesn’t even know why that’s a bad thing.

To Sum it Up

Judgment is more important than purchasing power when you have a job that needs a specialized tool. The Brownell’s tool kit shown at the top has many (not all) the tools you need for AR work, and it has some good and overlooked necessities (non-marring vise jaws and an FSB block go a long way towards making you “not Bubba.”). But here are a few secrets Brownell’s won’t tell you (although you can pick them up if you read the reviews judiciously).

  1. The tools in the kit aren’t always the best ones. (They’re always OK, though).
  2. It’s nice to have a box with cutouts for the key tools, but the box itself is cheap molded polyethylene, and you can save $150 by skipping it. That’s more than 10% the price of the whole set, for the lowest quality item in it.
  3. You can actually detail strip and reassemble an AR, apart from four seldom-needed things, without any of the tools shown here. The AR is so well-designed for assembly that you can do it with a dummy cartridge or a wrong-caliber cartridge (for safety), or even use the firing pin if you don’t have a cartridge, although we don’t recommend using the firing pin as it may mar the wider pins. The parts you need tools to disassemble are: barrel from barrel extension (especially to reassemble), FSB from barrel and return, staked key from carrier, staked receiver extension (buffer tube) from receiver (and it’s good to have a torque wrench for receiver extension reassembly).
  4. These tools are not “everything”. You’ll still need headspace gages (unless your name begins with “Bub” and ends with “ba”), a good bench vise or machinists vise (quality costs here), and if you’re dealing with old barrels (and who isn’t) a throat and muzzle erosion gage, which is a very costly precision gage, and a straightness gage (although you don’t need a gage to identify a barrel that’s not straight by the shadows in the rifling). By comparison, Brownell’s kit for the FNH SCAR 16/17S includes both 7.62 and 5.56 headspace gages and a barrel straightness gage.

Since you still need some expensive things even with the $1,500 armorers kit, consider a much less expensive kit from Wheeler Engineering (also available from Brownell’s, and, we think, Midway). However, Brownell’s kits are made mostly from US tools, and Wheeler doesn’t say where their stuff is made; and the Brownell’s click torque wrench, for example, seems to be higher quality than the Wheeler beam one. (As a rule of thumb, click-type wrenches are more accurate than beam type but are more vulnerable to losing calibration, especially if stored improperly). Fortunately, the torque requirements for AR parts are quite wide-ranging, at least, according to the M16 and M4 maintenance documents.

While we’ve used AR-specific examples, most of what we’ve said about tools is just as applicable if you’re working on 1911s, Smith & Wesson revolvers, or a Brown Bess (for the latter, you should probably make your own screwdrivers, as each maker made his own screws and the slot sizes are all over the place — plus, many have been Bubba’d in the last couple of centuries).

Us your judgment first. Then use the right tool, in accordance with your judgment. And you’ll never be Bubba.

* In case you didn’t figure this out already, Ruritania is a fictional country, FAL handguards do not have bushings, and if they did, it’s hard to imagine what a Ruritanian FAL handguard bushing no-go gage would look like, or what page of the Brownell’s catalog it would be on. It’s just an expression

Did the Mayor Brandish a Gun? and other official foolishness

Mayor-FlanaganA story so weird that it could only come from the People’s Republic of Massachusetts: a tense political situation in the decaying mill town of Fall River has escalated to this: one politician accusing another, the sitting mayor, of pulling a gun on him.

The mayor, Will Flanagan, says he was showing the other guy, who’s a leader in a movement to recall the mayor, the gun and teaching him about self-defense.

Since it’s Massachusetts, you want them both to be wrong and go to jail, but since it’s MA, that’s not in the cards. Flanagan has a license to carry, something his subjects find hard to get. He has no voting record on guns, not surprising as an executive, not a legislator. He did endorse the extremely anti-gun Martha Coakley for Governor. Due to the sheer number of anti-gun mayors acting badly, and the shame of having had so many its members turning out to be embezzlers, rapists, pedophiles and violent criminals, the Bloomberg anti-gun group has removed its list of suspects, crooks and pervs Mayor members, but Flanagan was not listed on their last published list of gun-ban mayors.

When guns are outlawed, only outlaws will have lighters

Anyone who’s ever read a gun control organization’s website knows, accidents are a reason to Do Something!!!1!

So, what do you do about an “accident” like this?

A SUV full of teenagers crashed in Idaho after one of the passengers lit the driver’s armpit hair on fire with a lighter, authorities said Wednesday.

All five young people in the Ford Bronco were hurt in the crash Sunday and received medical treatment, the Ada County Sheriff’s Office said.

Two of the passengers, ages 15 and 16, were thrown from the vehicle, but none of the five suffered life-threatening injuries.

The sheriff’s department said the rollover occurred after a 16-year-old boy was goofing off in the front seat and lit 18-year-old Tristian Myers’ armpit hair on fire while Myers was driving. The crash happened at about 5:30 a.m. in southeast Boise.

It looked like this:

armpit hair prang

Deputies cited Myers with inattentive driving, while the 16-year-old was cited for interfering with the driver’s safety. The passenger’s name wasn’t released. A 17-year old also was in the front seat but was not cited.

Deputies also said none of the teens was wearing a seatbelt, and there was evidence Myers was driving too fast.

via Sheriff: Burned armpit hair led to Idaho car crash – Yahoo News.

Too fast. No seatbelt. Stupid prank. About the only dumb-ass driver stunt these kids missed was a skinful of Judgment Juice. At what point did it cease being An Accident and become A Lead-Pipe Certainty?

One is reminded of Forrest Gump’s Mama’s principle: “stupid is as stupid does.”

Come to think of it, but not only applies to the prank pulling kids, but also to the gun control organizations.

It’s all fun and games until your static line seizes up

Dateline Mexico. This guy gets towed, and instead of either pulling him in or cutting him loose, the JMs and safetys seem to convene a Knesset in the airplane while he spins around out there. The video doesn’t show what finally happened to him. Commenters said he was OK in a longer version of the video, but the only longer version we could find was the same video with another copy of itself pasted on the end.

Getting towed is one of the nightmares of static line jumping. Usually what happens is the SL seizes on some piece of equipment. We had a guy get hung up by an entrenching tool, clipped onto his ALICE pack with two of those flimsy ALICE clips. He said the worst of it was that it was hard to breathe, with the parachute harness constricting his chest and the thin air in the slipstream behind the airplane (C-130 in his case).

In the US, jumpers are trained to put their hand on their reserve and the other on their helmet to signal to the crew they’re ready for cutaway. We doubt Mexican procedure is very different. If the jumper is unconscious, they won’t cut him loose, but they try to bring him into the tailgate, or at least get him close. The aircrew may call ahead to have the fire apparatus spread foam on the runway so that a guy trailing behind the big iron bird doesn’t get a terminal case of runway rash.

Just to show you Army SF can screw up jumping, too, here’s a 5th Group JM exiting a wee bit early. He was OK, apart from the embarrassment of the thing.

He got the usual result if you accidentally activate a reserve in the tailgate area — an instant exit, and descent under two canopies (with very little directional control, but a soft landing guaranteed). It’s a different matter if you pop the reserve near the door whilst doing a door jump. There, the doorframe impedes your exit, and you hit it at ±130 kt or so. SF strongly prefers tailgate jumps anyway, but the 82nd has lost a couple of guys to near-door activations.

If you pop the reserve a bit deeper inside the airplane, everybody tries to dive on the pilot chute and control it before it can catch the wind.

Military parachuting is a harsh environment and there are frequent arguments over whether it is worth the vast expenditure on it. Most major and regional powers (like Mexico) think it is. It is another way to project power, and forces certain defensive dispositions on an enemy even if it isn’t used. And it also provides an important gut check and confidence builder for troops. Elite forces that are not parachute trained are relatively rare worldwide.