Monthly Archives: April 2013

Cabela’s benefits from gun sales; Dick’s suffers

CabelasLogoHere’s an industry story that ought to warm the cockles of your heart: outdoor-sports chain Cabela’s has benefited from the run on guns and ammo, but they’ve also instilled great loyalty in their customers. Result? Confounded industry analysts and soaring stock values. According to a newspaper based near their captive credit-card bank, the Lincoln (Nebraska) Journal-Star:

Cabela’s Inc. stock closed up more than 16 percent, among leading gainers on the New York Stock Exchange, and hit a 52-week high Thursday after reporting strong financial results above the market’s and the company’s expectations.

Sales of guns and ammunition were the biggest part of gains at stores open at least a year, as Congress continues to consider tighter controls since the Newtown shooting tragedy.  Comparable store sales rose 24.0 percent, but excluding guns and ammunition, 9 percent.

Nine percent year over year is great for retail (especially premium retail, in this long-tailed recession), so Cabela’s leaders are clearly doing something right. But part of what they’re doing right, clearly, is still selling their customers the guns and ammo that they want. Naturally some of those customers don’t just buy guns and ammo, but while they’re in Cabela’s, take care of some of their other outdoor-sports needs.

dicks-sporting-goods-logoEat your heart out, Dick’s. It never pays to be a Dick. Especially not to your loyal customers. This is something that management at Cabela’s clearly understands. And Dick’s, equally clearly, doesn’t. The militantly anti-gun chain FFL (yeah, they’re rocking some cognitive dissonance, we can hear the cognitive tritones) had a crummy fourth quarter. They blamed Lance Armstrong (seriously). Their same-store metric, depending on how you measure it, was a feeble +1.2% or an appalling -2.2% year-over-year — numbers far short of Cabela’s that led analysts to downgrade the stock as it slid on the NYSE.

Hey, maybe the lower-Manhattan and DC journalists that praised Dick’s for courage will stop buying their hunting and fishing supplies at Cabela’s and throw a bone to… aw, we can’t even finish that sentence with a straight face. Journalists need to be putting their extra dimes in the layoff fund, not buying outdoor gear.

Where do criminals get their guns? And how?

Gateway ArchThree readily juxtaposed articles from the St. Louis newspaper will answer those question. One primary way they obtain guns is theft. Sometimes it’s an organized theft ring stealing the guns, like these guys who were sentenced back on 1 March 2013:

Denis M. Joiner, 20, of Chicago, was sentenced in federal court here [East Saint Louis, Ill] Friday to nine years in prison for a series of thefts from gun stores in Illinois, Wisconsin and Indiana, prosecutors said.

Joiner and three other Chicago men stole a total of 455 guns, prosecutors said, including 124 from a Salem, Ill., store known as “Hunting Stuff,” that they then sold in Chicago.

Gee, didn’t anyone tell these thieves that they were violating Illinois’s very strict gun control laws? In fact, they committed hundreds of gun law violaions, but like most anti-gun jurisdictions, Illinois doesn’t enforce those laws against real criminals. These guys were only charged with theft. They were caught by expert police work, right?

They were caught when one was arrested by police in Chicago after firing shots into the air on New Year’s Day last year. His prints matched a box left at the scene of one of the thefts, they said.

via Gun thief from Illinois sentenced after helping steal 455 firearms : News.

Oh, right. They were caught because one was an utter blockhead. Got it. Three of the four thieves were sentenced to relatively short terms for enabling hundreds of gun crimes — from five to nine years in prison, of which they’ll probably serve less than half. The fourth was not sentenced, but his life of crime still caught up with him — he was murdered in Chicago a year ago January. Fortunately, Rahm Emanuel can still count on his vote. And when the other three jitbags get out, they won’t be able to pass a background check, but they already know how to get guns without them.

OK, but that’s an isolated incident, right? As isolated as this one from January.

ST. LOUIS • The handgun Sean Johnson used to shoot an administrator at a business college downtown last week had been stolen during a burglary in St. John in 2011, police said.

Sean Johnson. He certainly looks scholarly!

Sean Johnson. He certainly looks scholarly! Aren’t you glad we taxpayers were supporting him with financial aid? (Image: STL Police, not sure which crime it’s from).

Sean Johnson’s another charming guy — he had a warrant out for probation violation, but nobody was really looking for him. They figured he’d turn up, and he did: he didn’t appreciate being turned down by a financial aid counselor at a career college, so he shot the guy with a Kel-Tec pistol. (He then shot himself in the side, apparently by accident). Another story describes how the criminal had defaced the serial number of the Kel-Tec, unaware that ATF Firearms Technology Branch has ways to recover ground-off engraving and stamping.

The ineptocrats at the press called the Kel-Tec a Tec-9. Because it was 9mm and had “Tec” in the name. (Did you know the AR-15 is the preferred weapon of Pirates of the Caribbean? Well, they do go “AR”).

Oddly enough, Johnson would not have passed a background check, either. As an ex-con (for trying to cut a taxi driver’s throat) and under an active warrant, he was a prohibited person. But somehow he managed to get a gun in the underground market. (He was, unusually, charged with two firearms violations as well as the attempted murder).

Oddly enough, the warrant for Johnson’s arrest had his home address. So why wasn’t he picked up? His home address was in St. Louis, MO. And they don’t want to be bothered picking up fugitives:

County police sends information to other jurisdictions where fugitives have home addresses, but it said St. Louis city police asked about a year ago to be taken off the list.

The police chief explains that they only bother picking up homicide and aggravated assault suspects. They’re too busy to chase mere aggravated assult or attempted murder convicts who blow off their probation. There are too many of them.

Really makes you want to visit St. Louis, doesn’t it?

And so what happens when these guns get in the hands of criminals? Often enough, they don’t work. Very fortunate for one ATF undercover officer. The would-be shooters, who go by “Freaky” and “Blood” (we are not making this up!) have been resettled in a new zip code for the time being.

Next anti-gun attack: crony capital, bailed-out banks

GE_CapitalThe administration’s next line of attack on gun owners, having been thrashed in Congress, is taking shape: hit ’em in the pocketbook. The Wall Street Journal reported Thursday:

General Electric Co. is quietly cutting off lending to gun shops in the wake of the shootings in Newtown, making it the latest financial firm to back away from the gun industry.

This month, Glenn Duncan, owner of Duncan’s Outdoor Store in Bay City, Mich., said he received a letter from GE Capital Retail Bank in which the lender said it had made “the difficult decision” to stop providing financing services to his store. Other gun dealers have received similar notices.

By all means,  Read The Whole Thing™. (Try this link if you’re locked out by the paywall; let us know in the comments if it worked). In fact, GE’s press release (which, as we’ll demonstrate, this article is almost entirely copied from, word-for-word) does stress Newtown as a reason for the cut-off, but the cut-off didn’t occur after Newtown. It lost after the GE CEO’s political allies lost the political battle to stigmatize legal gun owners.

Mr Duncan hasn’t been singled out for any personal or business reason. He was on the sharp end of a systematic decision by GE to ghettoize legitimate gun dealers and gun owners. It’s probable that it stems from oily GE CEO Jeff Immelt’s close ties to the President, which has brought GE executives and stockholders benefits unavailable to its competitors: for instance, immunity to the taxes the rest of us must pay.

Other bailed-out banks had already shut off gun-industry borrowers, including Bank of America ($336.1 billion in bailout as of two years ago) and Citigroup ($476.2 Billion taxpayer dollars taken as bailout, and counting  — same link. These numbers are low, because the Times found hundreds of billions more in December, 2011, and noted that the banks kept these bailout slush funds out of their earnings releases). These shutoffs of gun-industry merchants were contemporaneous with the receipt of bailout largesse in 2008 and 2009; although correlation doesn’t prove causation, it definitely looks fishy. At that same time, upon the election of their candidate to the Presidency, GE Capital stopped taking new gun-industry customers. It’s likely any remaining bailed-out banks financing gun makers, wholesalers and dealers will succumb to the same political pressures GE did — let’s face it, they’re de facto nationalized firms now; they sold their independence for cash, the largest single portion of which seems to have stuck to executives’ fingers or bought them flashy perks (Citigroup, a $50 million jet as personal taxi for the CEO).

This bitter-end action is unlikely to slow the superheated gun market, now propelled by Marathon Bomber fears as well as executive anti-gun actions. Other lenders are likely to step in, and one businessman has already called about establishing an overtly pro-gun gun-finance specialty lender. What it is likely to do is impact GE’s consumer business, because this is essentially a declaration by Immelt that he does not want the business of the gun-owning public. We wouldn’t want to disappoint him, would we?

Another detail that’s interesting is that the WSJ article is nearly word-for-word the same as:

  • The USA Today article (which even cites all the same examples of other anti-gun banks)
  • The Los Angeles Times article (which the author at least admits is cribbed from the Journal, and has one additional quote from a gun store owner as a fig leaf justifying the byline).
  • The New York Times article (which will spam you with a video before letting you read the same exact facts, bylined to Steve Lohr but containing not a single solitary original word).
  • The Washington Times (whose bylined author admits she cribbed it from the NYT).
  • The Denver Post (but this is an edited reprint of the WSJ article with the original authors retaining credit).
  • Narodniy Politichesky Radio aka NPR (link is to a web page that lets you launch the audio story. It contains the exact same facts and quotes, read with the dulcet, sneering tones and soporific EQ and reverb for which NPR is notorious).

In other words, every one of these stories, with two exceptions where the reporter made one quote-seeking phone call, is plagiarized from the GE press release, or plagiarized from another reporter’s plagiarizing of the press release. And these bums put their bylines on there!

In case you had any wonders on how reporters roll. Plagiarizing press releases is so common that a watchdog organization has a browser plug-in that lets you deconstruct them by URL, although it’s scarcely necessary in this blatant case.

So why do they go to J-school if all they do is copy others’ work? We guess it’s to learn what others to copy. Exercise for the reader: go to the websites of those six media titans, and find an example of those bogus bylines attached to a cosmetically reworked NRA press release. We’ll still be here when you get back… God and the actuarial tables willing. But we can tell you right now you’ll be empty-handed.

Breaking: did Boston Bombers use fireworks for testing?

A local newspaper on the NH Seacoast has confirmed that one of the Boston bombers bought high-end consumer fireworks two months ago. But fireworks experts say that his purchases couldn’t have produced the Boston bangs. One suggests that he used the fireworks for testing timers. It is commonplace for bombers — successful ones, at least —  to conduct numerous tests before going “live.”

SEABROOK — Tamerlan Tsarnaev, the older of the two Boston Marathon bombing suspects, bought fireworks at a Seabrook store in February, the store manager confirmed. But a fireworks expert said it’s impossible for him to have created such a devastating explosion solely with what he bought there.

April Walton of Phantom Fireworks on Route 1 said that on Feb. 6, Tsarnaev paid $200 cash to buy two “Lock and Load” reloadable mortar kits with 24 shells each.

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“There’s no evidence that anything from that kit was used in the bombings,” Walton said.

Shawn Connors, the chief executive officer of RS Fireworks who said he has experience with improvised explosive devices from being deployed in Iraq, said there is “no way” Tsarnaev could have created the type of explosions seen at the Boston Marathon with consumer-level fireworks.

via Boston bombing suspect Tamerlan Tsarnaev bought fireworks in Seabrook | SeacoastOnline.com.

Like guns, which the bombers also got hold of (although reports here are changing daily), and bombs, ditto, consumer fireworks are banned in Boston (and Massachusetts generally), where liberty has been swapped for security (how’s that working out for you?). But they are freely available in libertarian New Hampshire. Seabrook is the first town outside the People’s Republic of Massachusetts wire, and is the first exit off I-95 from Boston in NH. Phantom Fireworks is the largest of many fireworks dealers on US 1 (the secondary avenue of approach from Boston) in Seabrook and is close to the ramp at Exit 1. Massachusetts State Police have been known to stake out the fireworks dealers and follow customers with Bay State plates them back in-state to arrest them for fireworks possession.

Meanwhile, both the State Police and FBI failed to act on tips that Tamerlan Tsarneyev had been radicalized in the extremist Islamic Society of Boston mosque and had trained in Chechnya or Dagestan. It’s not that they couldn’t find him (he was, and had been since coming to the USA, on public assistance and the benefits checks always found him).  It was a matter of priorities.

Thought Jimi was a badass Hendrix? Meet Kent.

Kent HendrixKent’s a martial arts instructor. He’s also a middle-aged guy, a Mormon bishop (something we think is a little less exalted and hoity-toity among the LDS than, say, a Catholic or Episcopalian bishop), and a guy who really wants you to get off his lawn. Especially if you’re beating up some lady on there. 

Kent Hendrix woke up Tuesday to his teenage son pounding on his bedroom door and telling him somebody was being mugged in front of their house. The 47-year-old father of six rushed out the door and grabbed the weapon closest to him — a 29-inch high carbon steel Samurai sword.

He came upon what he describes as a melee between a woman and a man. His son stayed inside to call 911 while he approached the man along with other neighbors who came to help. The martial arts instructor didn’t hesitate in drawing the sword and yelling at him to get on the ground.

“His eyes got as big as saucers and he kind of gasped and jumped back,” Hendrix said by phone Tuesday afternoon. “He’s probably never had anyone draw a sword on him before.”

via Samurai sword-wielding Mormon bishop comes to aid of woman being attacked | Fox News.

Well, yeah, we reckon. What were we saying, just this week, about self-defense being a matter of mind more than weapons? Yeah, that thing. As the perp fled, Hendrix, who had enough information for the cops to track him down, yelled “You are so done!”  at the retreating miscreant.

Who showed a considerably meeker side as he crept into the police station to turn himself in on multiple charges.

You really need to Read The Whole Thing because the Fox News writer had as much fun with it as we’re having.

Now, we don’t recommend a sword as a first-line weapon — you could be the guy who brought a sword to a gunfight, which really puts a premium on your kendo skills

Wednesday Weapons Website of the Week: Guns.com Reviews

Screen shot 2013-04-24 at 8.06.15 AMWe’ve featured Guns magazine before, but for its 50-year-old archive issues. This time, we need to say a few words about their the reviews on a similarly titled website.

CORRECTION: this is a different Guns than the print magazine, whose website is at gunsmagazine.com. They’re the guys who have the cool back issues. Thanks to Dan in the comments! -Ed.

Guns posts six reviews a week. Once a week, they post a video review. A typical review has a description of the gun, some photographs and the results of a brief range visit or two. The reviews are not torture tests, but the site is a great way to learn about new products.

Uberti-Hombre-3The reviews are a good way to learn about something new, for example, this budget Uberti “Hombre” Single Action. (This review is of a .45 version… as God is our witness, there was also a review of a 12-shot .22 version there, but we couldn’t navigate back to the .22 review; it’s there somewhere). The reviews sometimes have magazine-quality photos, like this one of the Uberti from that review, which is a nice thing. They’re sometimes brutally frank, like this review of an unusual pistol that just didn’t work very well, or this scathing review of a French silhouette pistol. and occasionally they’re not even about guns, but about useful gadgets. For example, they wrote up this review of a round counter — kind of a fuel gage for guns, that counts down the rounds left in your 1911, Beretta 92, or AR magazine.

(Aside: the technology is being pushed by the military right now, but the military wants both “fuel gage” and “odometer” [cumulative count] capabilities. There are good reasons for the latter — review of engagement dynamics, desire to retire guns before they’re in the fatigue failure zone or become inaccurate — and a bad reason: to give evidence to the lawyers looking to turn every gunfight into an excessive force case. The model they review is not .mil ready because its invisible under NODs).

Do we have a beef? Yes. The reviews are not consistent in the information they offer. Most don’t mention product price, which is always a concern (even the wealthy like to get value for their money). And they occasionally  use file photos instead of images of the actual gun reviewed.

But in any event, no matter how well you know guns, there’s always something new coming down the pike, and chances are, it’ll show up in Guns magazine’s reviews. While you’re over there, don’t forget the back issues from fifty years ago, and throw some love to their advertisers so they can keep doing this for all of us!

The W4 this week: Guns Magazine Reviews.

Terrorist gets taken down

Literally, in this YouTube video. In the high school wrestling ring circa 2009. Note the theme music is NSFW (but hugely fitting). America, bleep yeah!

Yep, the guy in the black (how fitting), getting rather thoroughly thrashed by Methuen High’s Nate Gioacchini in the white and blue, is none other than Boston Bomber Dzokhar Tsaryev. Dzhokar was then wrestling for Cambridge Rindge Latin School, before he went pro with team Islamic Jihad.

He’s a loser now, he was a loser then. Here’s hoping he’s a sore loser (“sore” as in “suffering from pain”).

Is this cruel and unusual punishment?

When they finally had custody of jihad bomber Dzhokar Tsarnayev, they hauled his wounded carcass to the hospital.

Beth Israel Deaconess Hospital, to be precise — founded as a Jewish charity many score years ago.

We bet he hates that. Here’s hoping all his doctors and nurses happen to be named something like Epstein, Goldberg or Shapiro. He’d really hate that. And we wouldn’t mind if the FBI agents who question him are named Saperstein and Greenspan, too.

On the other hand, there may be something profound going on here. Bloodthirsty Moslem terrorist radicalized in the local mosque murders a bunch of people; humanitarian Jewish donors enable doctors to repair people — even the terrorist. (The surgeon who made his best effort to save mortally wounded Tamerlan Tsarnyev also had a stereotypically Jewish name).

If you’re picking religions, doesn’t one of these sets of actions seem a little better aligned with the concept of a divine and benevolent Creator?

Pentagon defends Goat Lab — halfheartedly

Actually, this is someone else's goat, roasting on the interwebs... we don't eat the same goats used in live tissue training (too full of medicines!)

Actually, this is someone else’s goat, roasting on the interwebs… we don’t eat the same goats used in live tissue training (too full of goat medicines!)

Pentagon lawyers have released a weak, feeble defense of Fort Bragg’s Med Lab, where special operations medics’ skills are honed on live animal tissues before they have to perform the same treatments on combat-wounded team members, allies, or even enemy detainees.

The report tried to appease the animal-rights extremists by, for example, banning live tissue training in team-level trauma cross-training.

Naturally, this thrown bone did not satisfy People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA), the overt arm of the violent Animal Liberation Front terrorist group. PETA has made an end to the lab one of its highest priorities. The extremist group also opposes: clothing made of animal hides and shoes made of leather; ownership of pets (didn’t you know Granny’s Shih-Tzu years to be returned to its pack in the forest?); and animal models in medical research.

No pun intended, they’re barking mad. But they do have a fellow crank in Congress (from California, naturally), and he stuck legislation threatening the med lab in an appropriations bill. We’ve previously covered this issue in these pages, and now here’s an update from the Fayetteville Observer:

The Pentagon said in a report this month that an early transition from using live animals in trauma training would potentially lead to more battlefield deaths.

The Department of Defense report was compiled for members of Congress to outline the military’s strategy for a transition from using animals for trauma training.

The four-page report says the total investment required to stop using live animals is unknown but highlights a $20 million, three-year research effort that began in 2010.

People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, which provided the report to the Observer, criticized the document Thursday.

“The Department of Defense report released today is a regurgitation of baseless excuses for the continued shooting, stabbing, dismembering and killing of thousands of animals in crude medical training drills,” said Justin Goodman, PETA’s director of laboratory investigations.

The military’s use of live animals in trauma training has been controversial, particularly among animal activists.

Government documents have shown that, on average, soldiers on Fort Bragg have killed 300 goats a month for medical trauma training that supporters said helps save lives.

The crowd at PETA loves them some goats, at least in the abstract. It bothers them that they are killed:

PETA officials estimate that thousands of animals are killed during similar training across the military and have argued that simulators provide better training.

Previously, PETA has said that Fort Bragg training accounts for a third of all animal deaths caused by the military each year.

Meanwhile, there’s a cruel organization that operates an animal shelter that puts a happy face on to receive animals for “adoption” — and then kills damn near all of them. Tens of thousands of ’em. Then they throw their carcasses in garbage bags and stack them up in big, unsanitary piles. And they don’t even train a single useful trauma medic.

Its operator? People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals.

One small step for a terrorist, one giant irony for English speakers

Behold, the hidey-hole of Chechen-American terrorist, Djokar Tsaryev. He’s the dark shadoow visible on this reversed thermal image.

Djokar in Boat

One thing that has not been widely covered: the name of the boat, a typical New Englander’s pleasure boat (a 20′ inboard cuddy-cabin powerboat).

Its owner named it the Slipaway II. 

Good thing Tsaryev didn’t.

Now, spring cleanup of the boat will involve a little more work tham the owner had planned. He’s got to get it out of evidence, and then along with all the usual make-ready stuff, he has to clean up the blood and guts, and plug a dozen or so bullet holes. Fortunately fiberglass is really easy to work with.

Or he might just want to put it on eBay. Maybe some collector of terrorism artifacts will want it, and he can apply the money to a grander, sleeker Slipaway III. 

Happy sailing.

Update:

We’ve been asked about whether the labels on the image indicate that this was from an armed Predator drone. Apparently conspiracy theorists are already shopping that idea around. Sorry to disappoint them (well, not really) but that’s not it at all. We don’t know the source of the image, but our best guess is that it’s from the Massachusetts State Police’s helicopter, which last we knew was a EC 135 based not far from Watertown, in Bedford.

The 1935 feet is probably altitude. Slant Range (590m) is the exact distance to the aiming mark in the center of the image. (Why different units? In America, air traffic control wants altitudes in feet above mean sea level. But most measuring and aiming gadgets, and most horizontal measures, by the military and, to a lesser extent, police tend to be in the metric system). “LRF Armed” means that the laser rangefinder is enabled, and “LP Armed” means that a laser pointer (presumably an infrared one, invisible to the naked eye) is also enabled. The LRF is how we get the 590m slant range to the target. The State Police helicopter is unarmed, except for this nifty camera and an i, and of course sworn officers aboard it have their personal weapons.