Yearly Archives: 2012

Don’t like the ATF? Neither do the agents

Maxim Lott at Foxnews.com got his hands on a leaked ATF leadership memo complaining about the low scores that rank and file ATF Special Agents and inspectors gave the agency’s leadership on a periodic leadership survey. How low? Out of 228 agencies, ATF came in nearly last on “leadership effectiveness” — 215th. It did nearly as poorly on this question: “My leaders maintain high standards of honesty and integrity.”

Lott follows up with interviews. Along with whistleblower Vince Cefalu — who reveals he’s being paid $150,000 a year to do nothing because managers are mad at him — and a Bureau manager who remains anonymous, he also gets an ATF spokesman, Drew Wade, on the record. Wade falls back on passive voice (“Mistakes were made”) and then trumpets “new leadership.” (But of course, the ATF merely shuffled around the same characters from Fast & Furious, making Wade’s statement an example of exactly the kind of failure on “honesty and integrity” that has agent morale in the crapper to start with).

And the anonymous guy? Well, here’s what he said. You’ll see why he’s anonymous; “Gunwalker Bill” Newell and other ATF brass are no doubt hunting his head as you read:

Others at ATF who took the survey told FoxNews.com that ATF’s treatment of whistleblowers affected the ratings they gave.

“I gave them a low rating,” said an ATF manager who spoke to FoxNews.com on condition of anonymity.

“In the midst of the Fast and Furious investigation… [ATF leadership] sent a letter to Senator [Charles] Grassley [R-Iowa], saying ‘these whistleblowers are lying,’” he explained. “There’s no integrity.”

He added that while ATF says it has now replaced old leadership with new players, the old leaders never get fired.

“Where are we, 15, 16 months outside of Brian Terry’s murder? Nobody’s been held accountable for anything,” he said, referring to a border patrol agent who was killed with an illegal weapon that was allowed to enter Mexico as part of operation Fast and Furious.

The problem goes deeper than Fast and Furious, he added.

“When a manager gets caught in an unethical or unlawful act, the only ‘punishment’ that comes with it is a taxpayer-funded move. You’ll retain full pay, full benefits, and we’ll pay to move you, usually to headquarters in DC.”

via Internal Memo Shows ATF Rank And File Don’t Trust The Brass | Fox News.

Lott’s whole story is full of insights and detail. Read the whole thing!

Special Forces Regimental Day – April 5th

Last week was the Special Forces Regimental Day, on which the Regiment celebrates the establishment of the Special Forces Branch of the Army (coequal with other branches, like Infantry and Armor). This year it was a big deal, because 2012 was the 25th anniversary of the establishment of SF Branch, and the community outdid itself.

A statue depicting President John F. Kennedy meeting Special Forces commander BG William P. Yatborough was dedicated. It’s a great statue, and was presented to the Regiment by the man who paid for it, entrepreneur, patriot and patron of Special Forces H. Ross Perot.

Yarborough-Kennedy Statue, Dedicated 5 April 2012.

A Special Forces Qualification Course, the 267th, graduated, and the young officers and NCOs donned green berets with the flashes of their destination Special Forces Groups at Regimental First Formation in conjunction with the dedication of the Yarborough-Kennedy statue. The quest speaker was Mr Perot. (Other speakers at Regimental Day events included MG Sid Shachnow whose 32 years in SF included many commands and current USASOC commanding general John F. Mulholland, the man who planned and commanded the key parts of the 2001 defeat of the Taliban and Al-Qaeda in Afghanistan).

A Regimental Day would not be complete without the induction of Distinguished Members of the Regiment, too, and this year there were four who were named Distinguished Members and inducted into the Special Forces Hall of Fame (which means their photos will join their predecessors in an actual hall in Aaron Bank Hall at Ft. Bragg).

  • MG Eldon Bargewell
  • MSG Bob Charest
  • SFC Cliff Newman
  • COL Jack Tobin

Seeing those names, and those of the other participants, is a reminder that Special Forces is old enough to have its legends, and young enough that many are living legends. That is certainly the case for these men. Bargewell served as a young man on a recon team in SOG, and later rose to high command; Tobin’s career spanned Vietnam to Afghanistan, with a detour into submarine construction; Newman and Charest had distinguished records in Vietnam combat and Cold War activities in Europe, and remain active leaders today in SF-related veterans’ groups. Indeed, all these men remain vital leaders in the community today, years or even decades after hanging up the uniform.

The photo that inspired the statue. BG Yarborough (l.), President Kennedy (r.). Fort Bragg. October 1961.

As it happens we know all by reputation and have met at least three of them. We also recall Special Forces Graduation, for a class the number of which did not seem to be significant, because our guest-speaker and diploma-presenter was a man who has passed on, but was present this time in spirit, and in bronze: William P. Yarborough.

When Mr Perot first conceived the idea for the statue in 2009, he intended to invite the President to the unveiling. It is unknown whether President Obama was invited, but he did have events in Washington on 5 April, including the White House Passover seder. As it happened, the

Thanks: John Stryker “Tilt” Meyer, current president of the Special Operations Association, on whose report to the membership this post was based..

The Mystery Weapon

We’re sitting here looking at an order form/contract for a… well, we’ll call it a mystery weapon.

It’s a famous one. That most avid gun fiends have never got their mitts on.

It was made in small numbers, but was inordinately influential on subsequent designers.

There are a lot of options and variations, in part because it was never really mass produced, so the design was never finalized.

It’s expensive. It’s going to ace out the Johnson and 416 for Safe Boss status.

The ammo’s expensive, too.

The smiths start with a large block of steel and cut away almost all of it — all the stuff that doesn’t look like this receiver.

It’ll be showing up here… sometime in 2012, God willing. (All that carving takes a while).

It does not fit previous collection parameters (1. Warsaw Pact/ComBloc weapons, 2. Weapons we actually carried in the service). Mind you, there’s plenty of stuff in the collection that’s just there to look pretty or out of historical curiosity.

We intend to shoot the living daylights out of it.

What is it?

Sunday is the golden clasp…

…which binds together the week.

Supposedly, Longfellow said that. We didn’t, being considerably more lowfalutin’ than he was.

Hmmm. Is lowfalutin’ a word? Spellchecker likes it, but complains about “hmmm.”  And, has anybody ever used faluting in any other sense or expression?

Not us, either. See you tomorrow with more posts on weapons and on SF history and culture!

That was the week that was: 2012 Week 14

Week 14 of the Year of Our Lord 2012 is at an end, and this is what we discussed. Looking back over the week we’re not too thrilled with the gun-technical component of the week. Too many vet and crime stories, not enough neat hardware stories. Which is a pity as we ordered and bought some neat hardware this week. By all means, let us know what you like in the comments. We promise to read your comments, but we’ll continue to write what entertains us and merely hope it entertains you. 

The envelope, please:
  • Our Sunday non post was a rare Weaponsman.com joke: Tons of posts coming… April Fool
  • For the WWII collector who has everything… we recommend an M3/M16 halftrack. This one needs paint, TLC, and the Maxon quad-.50 turret. On the plus side, it has longer range than a Chevy Volt and only goes on fire if you take a hit from an 88. On the other hand, the taxpayers will help pay for your Volt. This, not so much.
  • Notorious Real Estate plot seeks new tenant. With no Hitler grave to congregate around, the losers who still admire him were going to his parents’ final resting place. It creeped the locals out, and they took the gravestone down and put the grave, well, on the market. It’s not often that a small town stands up to crass commercialization like this.
  • Special Forces, Martial Arts, and Phonies all go together, because the last keep pretending to have real creds in the first two.
  • First of three parts on the Legendary Guns of SF covered the exciting first two decades: 1952-1972. Naturally some commenters were upset that their legend didn’t make the entirely arbitrary cut. Noted.
  • Holy $#!+, someone’s still reading Paul Helinski. These posts on Helinski will become increasingly rare, we think. To do them you have to remember who the blog-hating hypocrite Helinski is, and what his blog is called.
  • Responsible Reset” = Army spin for “wasteful bug-out” from the CENTCOM AOR.
  • How long do you get for telling the DEA you’ll sell them antiaircraft missiles? A Bout 25 Years. (Has anybody explained who died and left the DEA in charge of missiles? Is that because they won the drug war and no more drugs are coming in? Of do they too have a deal with the Mexican cartels like the ATF agents do?)
  • There’s Already Thousands of Statues to Ché but Galway, Ireland wants one more. They could simply celebrate the way he lived by shooting a bunch of people(come to think of it, the IRA and Protestant paramilitaries used to do that a lot. And the IRA at least were Commies who loved them some Ché).
  • For Saturday Matinee 014 we reviewed Paul Greengrass’s powerful United 93, the better of two films about the first victory in the fight against terroristic Islam.
  • Which brings us full circle to: That Was the Week that Was: 2012 Week 14. Now with recursive link!

And for the week’s statistics: 20 posts, 13,453 words, average post size about 670.

Saturday Matinee: United 93

Can a movie be suspenseful when everyone knows what happened? United 93 is one positive answer to that question. Even though we knew far too much about the mechanics of the 9/11 attacks and had no doubt as to what was going to happen on screen, it kept us on the proverbial seats’ edge. Rewatching it for this review, some years later, we were right back on edge — and our own 9/11 memories were never far from the surface.

This is not an escapist film.

Paul Greengrass here has done something very difficult, because he had to tread the fine line between “going Hollywood” and making a depressing downer of a film, too grim to entertain viewers.

Greengrass’s film is shot in intense but sparse documentary style. Cuts are rapid, close-ups are tight, lines and performances are understated — no one here will be admitted to the Royal Hospital for Overacting. The documentary style is enhanced by using actual locations, and actual participants in the response, where possible, as extras and even speaking actors, playing themselves. The airline crew were played by other United Airlines employees.

Here is Wikipedia on how Greengrass, who wrote, directed and produced the movie, made the film:

Passengers were portrayed in the film mostly by professional, but relatively unknown, actors (Tom Burnett, for instance, is played by Christian Clemenson, who has since appeared on Boston Legal and CSI: Miami). The roles of one of the flight attendants, the two pilots, and many other airline personnel were filled by actual airline employees. Some participants in the real-life events play themselves, notably FAAoperations manager Ben Sliney.

The dialogue, which was mostly improvised during rehearsals Greengrass held with the cast, was based on face-to-face interviews between actors and families of those they portray. Almost none of the passengers in the film are referred to by their names. Their identities remain anonymous, emphasizing the group effort over any individual heroics (and also portraying the fact that strangers on an airplane would not know one another’s names). Much of the dialogue uses technical authenticity rather than theatrical embellishments, such as talk about if a plane has Squawked 7500.” During production, the actors playing the crew and the passengers of the flight were put in separate hotels from the actors portraying the hijackers, even eating their meals separately, ostensibly to create an air of antagonism in the film between the two groups.

Air Force Officer Maj. James Fox (played by himself) leads the air defense response in United 93.

You can see how some of those unconventional approaches added to the film both in terms of verisimilitude and drama.

There are some departures from facts that are known today, but the movie is remarkably close to the facts as they were known then, according to Chasing the Frog, a website that seeks to evaluate the accuracy of fact-based entertainment.

The movie had overwhelmingly positive reviews from critics, but its box-office was relatively weak when it was released, perhaps because it treats an awfully intense and tragic event. Since we beat up Roger Ebert last week, we’ll link to his positive review this week out of fairness.

Here’s a snippet from his take:

But the film doesn’t depict the terrorists as villains. It has no need to. Like everyone else in the movie they are people of ordinary appearance, going about their business. “United 93” is incomparably more powerful because it depicts all of its characters as people trapped in an inexorable progress toward tragedy. The movie contains no politics. No theory. No personal chit-chat. No patriotic speeches. We never see the big picture.

One has to concur with Ebert there. The movie is gripping precisely because it is in the moment and in the place. No one in the film has a past, and the film doesn’t address the future — for those who have one. Of course, Ebert goes on to bash George W. Bush for how he comes off in the film, which doesn’t have George Bush in it at all. If one is obsessed with Moby Dick, he may see more white whales than others do.

You can’t watch this movie without thinking about the actual attack, and if you’re a retired special operations guy, while you don’t lose sight of the horror and barbarism of it, you also look at the attack and response in operational terms.While the actions of the terrorists were repellent and incomprehensible to Westerners, in their own culture, and particularly in the lights of the Salafist/Wahhabi branch of orthodox Islam to which they subscribe, non-muslims are seen as less than human and expendable, and suicide attacks are seen as noble sacrifices.

Viewed in a detached manner, strictly in terms of operational effect, then, the attacks of 9/11 were effective special operations. However, to date the effects have seemed to rebound to the negative on Al-Qaeda and its sponsors. Of course, they take a longer view than we do (they’re looking to restore the lost Caliphate, and recapture lost Mohammedan lands and tributary states, including al-Andalus — Spain. They could have just waited and bought it in bankruptcy, but we digress). But the 9/11 attacks can reasonably be seen as a war-making operation, if by unlawful, transnational combatants.

That makes the response of the passengers of Flight 93 the first, and we would argue the best, counterattack in the grossly mislabeled Global War on Terrorism (or Global War on Tourism, as implemented by the TSA). The rapid self-organization and counterattack of the Army of Davids in that hijacked airplane did not succeed, if you define that as regaining control of the airplane and saving their lives. But if you define success as thwarting the objective of the enemy — here, it was to crash into a Washington landmark, probably the Capitol or the White House — then they did succeed.

It was a bit like the attack of VT-8 at Midway — the obsolete torpedo bombers who went to their doom against the fighters and guns of the Japanese fleet, but whose sacrifice, by distracting the defenders, led in part to the battle being a strategic defeat for Japan (they had to abandon their plans to seize the island).

The movie United 93 makes it clear that the victories we had that day, such as they were, were products of a theme we often address in this blog: the American capacity for improvisation and leaderless self-organization. The responses of the FAA managers and NORAD/Air Force air defense leaders display the exact kind of high-stakes improv at which Americans are so gifted, and are often overlooked in the celebration — the deserved celebration — of the passenger counterattack.

Finally, a consumer warning: the excellent Paul Greengrass film is United 93. There is also, in DVD, a made-for-TV movie called Flight 93. While Flight 93 has some good performances, and treats the same facts (and fills in the unknowns with similar suppositions), if you’re only going to watch one, you want United 93. It’s a rollicking, and very intense, window into the events of that terrible day over a decade ago now. The TV film dwells on the phone calls from the passengers to their loved ones… it plays up the bathos to the point where we checked to see if it was on the Lifetime Channel, but no, it was on A&E. As a TV (even cable) production, it’s a better choice if salty language offends you, though. United 93 went to theaters with an R rating, which was either because the language or the violent events of the day had somebody’s knickers in a knot.

The low budget of the TV film shows: they used a generic Hollywood airplane mockup (Greengrass used a retired 757, and dressed it in the proper United trim), and they used a Hollywood set designer’s idea of what an air traffic control center and military command center are. Greengrass not only used the real centers, but many of their real staff. The one you want is United 93.

Ever wonder why… the Coast Guard has guns on their ships?

Ryou-Un Maru (l.) engaged by 25mm fire from USCGC Anacapa (r.). Image: Coast Guard.

The Coast Guard doesn’t fire a lot of shots in anger these days, although there are times in its history that it has done so. (Coasties served in Vietnam on riverine and littoral craft, and crewed many of the landing craft that landed troops on D-day, but nowadays they mostly deal with maritime safety and navigation). Thing is, sometimes you need that gun even for the maritime-safety mission, and when you need it, you better have it.

From the AP story at Yahoo.com:

A U.S. Coast Guard cutter unleashed cannon fire on the abandoned 164-foot Ryou-Un Maru on Thursday, ending a journey that began when last year’s tsunami dislodged it and set it adrift across the Pacific Ocean.

It sank into waters more than 6,000 feet deep in the Gulf of Alaska, about 180 miles west of the southeast Alaska coast, the Coast Guard said.

The crew pummeled the ghost ship with high explosive ammunition, and the Ryou-Un Maru soon burst into flames, took on water and began listing, officials said.

via Coast Guard cannon fire sinks Japanese ghost ship – Yahoo! News.

More at the link, of course. The New York Post has its own story, as does the Christian Science Monitor, the Guardian (UK), and many other media sites. Most of them don’t name the weapons the USCG used to sink the derelict, which had been awaiting scrapping in Hokkaido, Japan when it was set adrift by the tsunami that struck norther Japan in March, 2011. Like the Flying Dutchman of legend, the Ryou-Un Maru crossed the Pacific under the observation of mariners and coast guardsmen, until it was clear it was drifting, at about one nautical mile an hour, into heavily trafficked sea lanes.

In fact, most of the news stories didn’t identify the Coast Guard units participating, but Weaponsman.com went direct to the Coast Guard on the matter, so we can tell you there was an (unarmed) HC-130 from Coast Guard Air Station Kodiak, and the USCGC Anacapa, WPB-1335, homeported in Petersburg, Alaska.

Mk38 Maritime Machine Cannon on a US Navy vessel.Same mount is used by the Coast Guard. Image: US Navy.

Anacapa is one of a class of 110-foot cutters, patrol boats really, named after coastal islands. It’s armed with a Mk38 25mm chain gun — the same “Bushmaster” chain gun that’s used in the Bradley IFV and the LAV-25, but in a maritime mounting — a Mk19 40mm automatic grenade launcher, and a number of M2HB .50 caliber machine guns and other small arms.

The captain made a training exercise out of the need to destroy the derelict Ryou-Un Maru, and the crew enthusiastically fired up the target… literally, as the API-T ammunition for the Chain Gun (so called because the bolt is driven by a chain) set fuel in the derelict’s bunkers afire. But the ship did not sink. The 25mm can be devastating against small, close-in threats, but it may not have been the right thing to sink an unmanned, unpowered, steel fishing boat.

Finally the 40mm was called on, and after a number of hits punctured its tired old hull, the long career of the Ryou-Un Maru came to an end and it slipped beneath the waves to rest eternally in 1000 feet of water.

March 2012 gun sales up 20% over March 2011

This was a record March, with nearly 1.2 million NICS checks.

There’s actually no such thing as a single, unified record of gun sales, but the National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS) provides a pretty decent proxy. The National Shooting Sports Foundation, the gun industry’s trade group, tries to adjust the data by taking out some of the known confounders, like states that use the NICS for pistol-permit applications. (There’s nothing you can do about the fact that one NICS check can support the sale of multiple guns… that just gets recorded as one check).

So, the data has its limits, but it has those same limits today and every day back to the inauguration of the system in 2000 — meaning the data is comparable longitudinally over time to assess trends, even if the NICS checks don’t correspond one-to-one with gun sales.

You can’t always compare one month to the month immediately prior because gun sales show what an economist or MBA would call seasonality: guns sell like the blazes in November and December, for hunters and holiday gifts, and then the sales come in lower in January. So the best thing to do is compare year-over-year results to see if you can establish a trend: this March to last March, to Marches back to the introduction of the system in 2000.

And, whoa, what a trend it is. These two slides tell the story (click to enlarge each if you can’t read them). March is up 20% over last March, with about 1.2 million NICS checks, and the numbers show a steady march (no pun intended) to higher numbers. Every month for nearly two years has been up over the preceding-year’s numbers. In 2012, adjusted NICS checks are averaging well over a million a month.

The last 12 month compared with the prior years' counterparts. Images: NSSF

Here’s some details from the NSSF:

The March 2012 NSSF-adjusted National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS) figure of 1,189,152 is an increase of 20.0 percent over the NSSF-adjusted NICS figure of 990,840 in March 2011. For comparison, the unadjusted March 2012 NICS figure of 1,715,125 reflects a 19.3 percent increase from the unadjusted NICS figure of 1,437,709 in March 2011.

This marks the 22nd straight month that NSSF-adjusted NICS figures have increased when compared to the same period the previous year.

The adjusted NICS data were derived by subtracting out NICS purpose code permit checks used by several states such as Kentucky, Iowa and Michigan for CCW permit application checks as well as checks on active CCW permit databases.

via March 2012 NSSF-Adjusted NICS Background Checks Up 20.0 Percent.

This gibes with what gun shops and industry trade papers are reporting, and what the two publicly traded gun stocks (RGR and SWHC) have been doing over the last couple of years.

What did we just predict about Bout?

Bout promised arms including 100 modern man-portable air defense systems (here, SA-14 and -16 Igla missiles and launchers) to men he thought were terrorists.

This morning, we wrote:

Final prediction: we haven’t heard the last of Viktor Bout. The reaction in the Russian press is going to be patriotic to the point of jingoism, and outraged.

Well, that went about as expected.

Pravda’s initial reaction was muted, as you can see here, and looked on the bright side: Bout could be out in 18 years, best case! Pravda’s user forums were less calm. One poster presented a Rolling Stone article on a pair of clueless American gunrunners, and that was his cue to launch into antisemitic invective:

Jews deal in arms and ammunition and get away with it , but Victor Bout gets 25 Years for the same thing, and he is not even an American.

With millions stashed some place under a rock, little jews, will be out in no time selling guns to Taliban

The New York Times quotes a Russian parliamentarian as calling on President Obama to pardon Bout, and suggesting that a negative decision and the Bout case in general will sour US/Russian bilateral relations: “Unfortunately, Bout’s sentence along with other conflicts creates an unfavorable basis for a new stage of Russian-American relations.”

And we also said this:

Now that Bout has been sentenced, Russian reaction will be interesting to watch. The government could make a protest, or expel US intelligence officers under official cover from Russia, but is more likely to take a covert approach. An obvious move, which will certainly be considered in the Kremlin, would be to arrest, try and convict one or more Americans in Russia — for a Glienecker Bridge, Cold War style exchange.

What we didn’t predict was that, while Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov did indeed criticize the verdict and sentence discreetly, for the time being he’s going to try to negotiate for Bout to serve his time in Russia — where his “confinement” won’t be the bleak cell in solitary he’s been in almost exclusively since snatched in 2008. But for now, no busts of spooks, although a Russian expert suggests that’s in the wings if the diplomatic approach fails to bring about Bout’s release. The LA Times:

Lavrov said during a visit to neighboring Kazakhstan that Russia will not be seeking revenge for Bout’s conviction and sentencing. “In any case, we intend to achieve his return to the motherland. In our relations with the United States, we have all the necessary legal instruments for this,” he said.

“Bout was a businessman involved in arms trafficking under control of the Russian special services and they will find a way to get back one of their own,” said Sergei Markov, vice president of Plekhanov University of Economics. “The U.S. special services understand that they need to resolve this sooner than later before their own spy and arms trafficker is snatched by Russians or perishes in a mysterious accident.”

via Russia wants ‘Merchant of Death’ Viktor Bout back – latimes.com.

The Foreign Ministry did release a statement calling the decision “baseless and biased” and implying that the Administration manipulated the court to condemn an innocent Bout. That statement is here (in Russian).

The New York Times also covered Russian reaction today, and noted:

Russia has vocally opposed every stage of Mr. Bout’s four-year legal drama, which began in March 2008 when agents from the Drug Enforcement Administration arrested him in Thailand. There, American agents had reportedly enticed him with an offer to buy millions of dollars worth of military equipment, including AK-47s, missiles, and ultralight airplanes, a deal to which he apparently agreed.

The Times’s Harvey Morris, quoting Bout approvingly (“If you are going to apply the same standards to me, then you are going to have to jail all those arms dealers in America”),  blames… American gun dealers and the National Rifle Association, and advocates a treaty that would bring American gun sales under UN control. Morris’s and the Times’s affinity for Bout extended to the Gulf News, which tracked down convicted British mercenary Simon Mann to get a sympathetic quote.

So once again, we can predict: we have not heard the last of Viktor Bout.

 

Will your best friend take a bullet for you?

Kilo in the "cone of shame," recovering well. Image: CBS2

He will if he’s a dog.

The FedEx man at Justin Becker’s Staten Island, New York door wasn’t a FedEx man. He was a robber — armed with a gun. Becker came to the door to get his “package,” and instead got an unpleasant surprise. CBS-2 quotes Becker:

“He barged in. My first reaction after seeing the gun is push him out, so I pushed him to the door. Like I said, he fell like wedged right by the door. I slammed him inside the door and he was stuck and tried to get out now because he was getting crushed,” Becker said.

His girlfriend has been holding the dog and let go.

via Pit Bull Shot In The Head Trying To Protect Owner, But Miraculously Survives « CBS New York.

The gunman sprayed bullets around, and onc connected with the white pit bull, Kilo — right in the head. And Kilo kept coming.

It must have been a pretty bad day for the robber, all told. He didn’t make his cash haul, he left a bunch of casings around that could get him in big trouble if the NYPD stumbles over him in their tireless search for tourists, and he got chewed up by a dog that shook his bullet off like a raindrop. It’s the kind of thing that happened to the inept junior Mafiosi in The Sopranos, which we always thought was fiction. If he’s a thinking man, he’s thinking about a career change right now. (Of course, if he were a thinking man, he’d probably have opted for some better-paying, lower-risk trade in the first place).

No word on whether New York’s nasty nanny Michael Bloomberg, who has expressed an interest in banning guns and pit bulls along with trans fats and various other things, is experiencing cognitive dissonance.

"The bullet is one thing, but did the vet have to shave me?" Image: CBS-2

Becker remains grateful to the dog who took a bullet for him. “He’s a hero. He saved my life. He went to protect me and he did his job,” Becker said.

And Kilo? He’s going to be fine fine. The bullet ricocheted off his hard skull (if you’ve ever had a pit, you know what we’re talking about) and down out his neck, and in a couple days he was back walking around the neighborhood with Becker. And he’s 12 years old — making him well into his golden years. “Incredibly lucky. Incredibly lucky,” veterinarian Dr. Greg Panarello said. Maybe you can’t teach an old dog new tricks, but you probably shouldn’t  mess with him either.

So… is a pit bull a weapon? If you lived in New York City, he might be the best means of self-defense available to you.