Monthly Archives: June 2013

Magpul Event is Mobbed (will be updated continuously)

1821R

Received a call from a business associate. He arrived at 1800R (that’s 1600 local, when the event was supposed to open). There was a huge line. The 1621 call came when he finally found the end of the line. This is a much larger event than he was expecting.

1834R

He called again, he’ll send photos. We’ll be adding them to this post. The first photo is in. It shows the line.

Magpul line circa 1620

1900R (1700T)

First photo is up. Second one’s in hand now, will be posted momentarily. It shows the  tent where the Magpul gang are distributing mags.

Magpul line circa 1700

 

Note the Free Colorado logo. This is the line where people like our friend who pre-ordered mags pick them up. We’re not sure if he was in the first 1500 who got a freebie.

These mags go with his other Magpul mags he bought as part of the Boulder Airlift before. And here’s the interesting thing, the one that has to keep John Morse and Hickenlooper up at night: this guy doesn’t even own an AR. He has access to them in the military reserves, and used them for many years, but his tastes run more to precision elk and mulie whackers and vintage military bolt actions. But now he’s going to buy one, because, what the hell, he has the mags. And Morse and Hick don’t want him to.

In case the press thinks Morse’s “whole lotta people” is actually a whole lotta people (and not just Bloomberg’s checkbook), they should refer to the first picture, above. That’s a whole lotta people, and they’re not “For John Morse.”

When they say Boulder Airlift (OK, this is nearer Denver…) they’re not kidding. Here’s the Magpul chopper.

Magpul Chopper

1925R (1725T)

And here’s a crowd shot. Our guy was just under the 1500th through the door, and he estimates that there were 500 to 1000 Coloradans behind him.

Magpul Crowd -- est 2000-2500

1933R (1733T) Update

Comments from the man on the scene:

Not sure who the firebrand is that they have trying to whip up the crowd but it is pretty standard rhetoric.  Not sure Colorado is about joining a crowd mentality.  Pretty strong libertarian vibe from the few folks I’ve spoken with.  More independents than ‘joiners’.

We’re a long way from this rally, but wonder if the “firebrand” is Michael Bane.

Nope, the firebrand was radio personality Dana Loesch, or as our guy told us, “some brown-haired woman from out of state”. She flew in in the helicopter and then gave a speech that seemed rather out of line with the mood of the crowd. You can see some relevant tweets at Twitchy. Loesch tweeted that no one involved in the planning of the event was over 35, which is relevant how? We’re not sure. Maybe because it was the first pro-gun rally ever organized by folks who voted for President Obama? Is there some cutoff at age 35? If so, our onscene correspondent is a couple years over that line.

After Loesch, there was a band for a bit, and the mayor of Glendale, CO spoke.

“She was on too long, and she was out of touch with Coloradans,” our guy tells us. Somebody else probably liked her speech, but he didn’t. “We’re more libertarian, and less shrill.” Bane would have been a better choice: he connects with Colorado, and presents as terribly reasonable, but maybe it’s because he’s over the 35-year-old cut-off.

That wraps our coverage of this event, we’re sure the gun press will have more (we’ll send you to The Gun Wire and its rival The Gun Feed for that). The proceeds from the event will go to 2nd Amendment causes in Colorado, including the recall of State Senate president turned anti-gun extremist, John Morse. That’s a cause that the libertarians and the pro-gun partisans alike, and the under-35 yout’s and way-over-35 retired soldiers can all unite on.

Shannon Richardson Indicted

ACR. Check. Swimsuit. Check. Bat Guano Crazy Chick. Double check!

Evil Black Rifle. Check. Swimsuit. Check. Bat Guano Crazy Chick. Double check!

While her defense appears to be preparing a Hail Mary insanity plea — asking the judge for a psych eval on the asserted grounds that she’s too Looney Tunes to assist in her own defense — the bit-part actress who sought to expedite her latest divorce by framing her husband as a murderous poison-mailing radical (and framing the entire gun culture in the process) has now been indicted.

The indictment is attached for your reading pleasure: Shannon-Richardson-ricin-indictment.pdf. It is brief and does not bring any new facts to light.

She is indicted on three counts: 18 USC § 871 (a) threatening the President; 18 USC § 876 (c) mailing a threatening communication (to Mayor Bloomberg); and a second count of 18 USC § 876 (c) mailing a threatening communication (to Bloomberg horseholder Mark Glaze).

What is interesting is what she’s not indicted for: anything to do with the ricin in the envelopes.

It would be interesting to hear from a lawyer what this means. The following is non-lawyer speculation.

The short indictment may be because the authorities have backed off from “maxing out” a political fellow-traveler, but it’s more likely that the prosecutors either (1) are using this as a “placeholder” indictment so that Richardson can still be kept in the room with no inside doorknob, while lab work on the ricin and other investigative action proceeds, or (2) simply charged stuff that it’s a slam-dunk to prove, given the mountain of evidence disclosed in the FBI Affidavit (previously linked here, and again: Shannon_Richardson.pdf), and the fact that Richardson has confessed to these specific crimes.

Again, we’re not lawyers, but we think we hear her lawyer’s voice telling her, “I don’t really see this as a case we take to court, I see this as a disposition case….”

Cue the theme to “Let’s make a deal.” Shannon Richardson, come on down! Would you trade the legal predicament you’re in right now for what’s behind Cell Door #1, #2, or #3?

Beretta: Not expanding in MD, or to WV or RI

beretta USA logoBeretta still has a short list (which company executives not released) of seven companies for possible expansion, but General Counsel Jeff Reh has revealed this week three states that are ruled out: their current base of Maryland, adjacent West Virginia, and Rhode Island.

The names of the seven possible states are subject of a great deal of speculation; three likely candidates are Tennessee, Texas and Virginia, with Virginia, where Beretta already conducts some manufacturing and warehousing that already has been outlawed in Maryland, the most likely of all.

Unlike those three states, which have strongly pro-gun bipartisan politics, the states ruled out vilify guns, gun owners and manufacturers. MD, WV and RI are almost monochromatic with anti-gun Democrats in Federal office, and that was the poison pill as far as Beretta was concerned.

Maryland is the current home base of the company and Reh has been careful to say that Beretta will not leave, but will instead expand in friendlier territory out of state.

West Virginia got blackballed largely because of anti-gun Democrat Joe Manchin’s involvement in the Schumer-Manchin-Toomey backdoor registration so-called “background check” bill. Manchin chose to make himself the face of the Schumer-written bill, and is reduced now to lying about what the terms of his “own” bill were. (The actual bill criminalized father-son transfers and lending a gun to a friend, as well as establishing de facto gun/owner registration. At one point, Manchin was willing to give up the registration provision, but Schumer insisted it stay).

The Charleston, WV Daily Mail published excerpts from a Jeff Reh letter to the Hardy County development authorities. In the letter, Reh noted that Beretta just couldn’t trust Manchin:

Reh also said Beretta was concerned that, after the December massacre in Newtown, Conn., Manchin aligned himself with Sen. Chuck Schumer, “one of the most anti-gun senators in the history of the country.”

“The fact that he had portrayed himself as a traditional pro-Second Amendment politician before and appeared to switch so quickly…is what caused me to second guess the credibility of his convictions,” Reh said.

What convictions? Guy’s a politician, but he hasn’t been convicted of anything. Yet. And that’s the only kind of conviction you can expect from a politician.

Rhode Island, a solidly Democratic stronghold for decades, is known for massive corruption, a strong Mafia and unions (sometimes the same thing), and has seen its manufacturing base collapse utterly over the last fifty years. The state has strict gun laws, that are not enforced against violent criminals, especially if the criminals are connected. RI would be a very strange choice for any gun company to relocate to, and it turns out that the politicians who asked Beretta to move there were members of the token Republican minority in the state house. Reh politely declined.

Some lucky state is going to net some good jobs at good wages. It won’t be MD, RI, or WV. Meanwhile, most of the way across the country, another state that’s happily bleeding off its gun-industry jobs sees one retailer throwing in the sponge.

Great American Pawn’s customers asked Gautreaux to stay open. Gautreaux is apprehensive about firearms fate in Colorado in the future. He said decided to close his door now when he still has a choice.

“I feel that that’s not going to be the end of it. They are going to try to do more,” said Gautreaux.

If the state legislature passes more gun control measures, Gautreaux said other gun sellers will be forced to follow his lead.

Well, to Governor Hickenlooper, that’s not a bug, it’s a feature.  They’d much rather have Gautreax and his employees on the dole, selling a vote for a handout.

So, in Colorado, you can’t buy Berettas; but in many Eastern states, they don’t even want the company making them.

Breaking: Charges for NRA T-Shirt dropped

The 14-year-old who was attacked by a phalanx of officialdom for wearing an NRA t-shirt in Logan, WV, Jared Marcum, has been vindicated yesterday with a complete dismissal of all charges.

Charlo Green, a feisty TV reporter who saw herself reporting on being thrown out of court and threatened with a contempt arrest by out-of-control judge Eric O’Briant for challenging an unconstitutional gag order for merely trying to report on the case, takes a well-earned victory lap at WOWK TV:

“I didn’t think it would go this far because honestly, I don’t see a problem with [the shirt], there shouldn’t be a problem with this,” Jared told WOWK on April 18, the day he was arrested.

While Jared didn’t see a problem with the shirt, neither did the Logan County School District, as it has publicly stated that Jared’s shirt did not violate the district’s dress code.

Yet, Jared’s refusal to change his shirt as demanded by Logan Middle School band Teacher David Burroway and his refusal to stop talking landed him in handcuffs facing an obstruction charge.

If O’Briant thought threats would get Green off the case, he miscalculated. (Her ambush-reporting  interview attempt of a sheepish, plump Logan cop is a model of the genre — she was never out of line, but made him look like a jackass, a position his department put him in, really). She and Jared weren’t looking for the role of civil-rights hero, but when it fell on them they both stepped up and bore it with grace.

Jared’s family’s attorney, Ben White, called it a victory for common sense and spoke of the prosecutors in conciliatory tones: after all, he still has to live in the one-party environment that characterizes Huntington politics. But he and Jared’s family do plan a civil suit for the school’s and the police’s brutal repression of Jared’s civil rights, which shocked the conscience of a nation.

The case united 2nd Amendment and 1st Amendment activists and civil libertarians, not for the first time, and not for the last. Americans are learning once again what happens if they don’t hang together, as Franklin advised so long ago.

Now all that remains for the good citizens of the area is to vote O’Briant and the prosecutors, Christopher White and Sabrina Deskins, into the Dreaded Private Sector. The anti-gun Democrats are all members of the anti-gun Manchin democratic machine, and all are elected to their offices, which they’re clearly unfit to hold. The anti-gun school teacher, Burroway, is probably unassailable: just one more example of the thugs, slugs and monsters protected by the public school tenure and union system.

One of Ms Green’s earlier reports on the dismissal is here, and any of her other reports on this case are worth reading.

Hat tip: Sebastian at Shall Not Be Infringed.

PS

If anyone from Jared’s family reads this, and if they and he would like, WeaponsMan.com would be pleased to sponsor him (i.e. pay) for a life membership in the NRA as our way of making the apology that West Virginia educators and politicians never will. We’re sorry they’re such jerks!

PPS

We never expected to write about gun law and policy and court cases and all that bumf here. We also never expected our rights to be under a well-funded, centrally orchestrated attack, either. In West-By-God-Virginia, even! The only possible response to such an assault is to fight back with the tools at hand. And fight we shall. We shall never surrender.

The Midnight Ride of Metadata

We have heard a lot of opinions about Snowden’s leak over the last few weeks. One that keeps coming up is that, for all the money that NSA has spent capturing literally everything to go over the internet and telephone networks, they didn’t get much bang for their buck. Put another way, since they have only recovered the content of a very few conversations of American persons, it’s no big deal.

First, we only have their word on that, and DIRNSA has been willing to lie under oath to conceal this program from Congress before. So their credibility is not exactly stainless here.

Second, we also have their word that the program is hugely successful and the only reason we didn’t have a terrorist attack since 9/11. (Let us step aside to snark. Except for Nidal Hasan shooting up a Fort Hood troop medical clinic after months of communications with Anwar Al-Awlaki, which they somehow missed. And the guy who ran over a bunch of people, which they somehow missed. The guy who shot up a recruiting office, which they somehow missed. And the two Boston Marathon bombers, Speedbump and Flashbang, which they somehow missed, despite Speedbump spending six months in Dagestan and/or Chechnya and being fingers to the US Intelligence Community by a helpful Russian liaison, all of which they somehow missed).

But, apart from those niggling little things they missed, this program caught all the terrorists, about whom they can’t tell you. Because you might say something about it, and some security risk Booz-Allen contractor might blab it to the world.

Like, uh, Ed Snowden.

But actually, both statements could be true. They could never listen to the content of conversations, and derive great intelligence value from the stuff they learn. Don’t believe me? Try searching the net for “traffic analysis,” a venerable intelligence discipline that lets interceptors determine a surprising amount about an opposition organization just by the relationships between stations and the forms of the messages they exchange, even if they can’t decode the messages.

That’s exactly what you can do with metadata. Indeed, the sort of information traffic analysts traditionally used was the metadata of radio communications: message length, group count, speed of transmission, frequencies used, location of transmitters and signal strength, radio fingerprints, and changes in any of those things.

As a thought experiment, in part, to develop new analytical techniques, in part, and finally as a means to explore a fascinating historical figure, a few scholars have tried to examine the American Revolution’s Paul Revere using various metadata and social network analysis, which is (and has been for decades) a discipline known to intelligence analysts.

  • Kieran Healey from Duke University explicitly ties his examination of Revere to what the NSA might do with Prism data. He writes in a tongue-in-cheek tone, in character as a British analyst trying to make sense out of 1773 Boston’s many insurgent movements: 

Rather than relying on tables, we can make a picture of the relationship between the groups, using the number of shared members as an index of the strength of the link between the seditious groups. Here’s what that looks like.

revere-group-view

Healey goes on to do a similar chart with individuals instead of organizations. Drawing lines between 200-odd patriots representing their connections to one another, he finds that Revere is in a remarkably central location.

Once again, I remind you that I know nothing of Mr Revere, or his conversations, or his habits or beliefs, his writings (if he has any) or his personal life. All I know is this bit of metadata, based on membership in some organizations. And yet my analytical engine, on the basis of absolutely the most elementary of operations in Social Networke Analysis, seems to have picked him out of our 254 names as being of unusual interest.

He goes further with the math, as do practitioners of social network analysis in and out of the intelligence community.

  • Shin-Kip Han’s 2009 article on Revere (pdf), which seems to have inspired Healey, uses social network analysis to argue that Revere, like his fellow rider Dr Warren, was a vital bridging character connecting various otherwise-isolated patriots and patriot groups. Han is a sociology professor at UIUC. The article, being a product of modern academia, can’t resist lapsing into quasi-Marxist class cant:

Where was Paul Revere in this picture? First and foremost, he was a silversmith. The master artisans like him were separated from the journeymen and apprentices in wealth and rank, and there was a hierarchy of trades that put silversmiths, goldsmiths, and distillers at the top among them. Still, in the overall colonial social hierarchy, he stood in the middle, between patricians and plebeians. Both a mechanic who made buckles and mended buttons for fellow artisans and their families and an artist who designed rococo-style “scalop’d salvers” for the merchant elite, he moved back and forth between the worlds of artisans and gentlemen, including many of Boston’s leading Whigs. The nature of his work rendered Revere a potentially useful bridge between the “bully boys” of Boston’s waterfront and the Harvard-educated gentlemen who led the American Revolution.

And as that passage shows, even as cant Han is interesting. (We did delete the citations for readability). Han goes further in the analysis of the same data than Healey did.

We found both papers highly interesting, both because we’re interested in the Revolution, having visited many of the remaining sites where Revere and his peers acted, and because we’re interested in intelligence analysis. The process Healey and Han use here was first demonstrated in 1974 by Ronald Brieger in this paper. Brieger’s key insight was that persons and groups relate in ways that can be analyzed independently using matrix mathematics, yielding deeper insights into group dynamics than previous social-analytic approaches. He called his approach, “membership network analysis.”

If you’re inclined to play with the data, Healey has put it online here. Meanwhile, read those papers and think about what someone can figure out about you if they can only see the metadata of your calls and computer activity.

It’s a good thing Lord North and his King didn’t have Healey or Han on their side. It’s a particularly good thing for Paul Revere!

Update

Healey posted a follow-up to his Revere post, with some notes about the methodology he used (very basic for social network analysis) and some later work in the field.

Gun makers in ban states: we’re outa here

They don’t want you, those strange politicians like Andrew Cuomo (D-Five Families) or Dannel Malloy (D-Red Diaper Preschool). They just want your money, and they find a certain utilitarian value in having you around to play Emmanuel Goldstein when they need to rile up their proles to spittle-flecksome fury.

This sign once greeted refugees crossing from tyranny to (relative) freedom. Second line's ironic, eh?

This sign once greeted refugees crossing from tyranny to (relative) freedom. Second line’s ironic, eh?

And the gun makers of the blue Northeast are starting to say, enough. Kahr Arms just slipped Cuomo a few fish. (It’s an old Sicilian custom. It means his hopes of collecting more taxes from them sleep with the fishes). Instead, the maker of economical handguns is being welcomed to Pike County, Pennsylvania. Kahr was based in Pearl River, in Rockland County, New York, and the city’s representatives in the New York House and Senate voted for Cuomo’s so-called SAFE Act, which criminalized the hometown employer of 100. Well played, Jaffee (D-Manhattan Envy) and Carlucci (D-Cuomo Crew). (It was planning a move already, to Orange County, NY, where the pols also voted against the firm’s growth and survival.

Luca Brasi sleeps with the fishesAlso unwrapping a finny present, if less genealogically prepared to decode it, is Malloy. In his case, it’s a one-two punch. The left jab: PTR Industries, which makes HK roller-lock clones, is decamping to South Carolina, throwing those workers who won’t or can’t move onto the mercies of Malloy’s bureaucrats. The strong right haymaker: Stag Arms, a larger, AR-focused firm that is also moving, possibly also to SC.

Even the West can drive jobs away with policies that crimialize guns. Colorado’s governor John Hickenlooper has driven both little sight maker HighViz and gigantic accessory firm Magpul (which, as we’ve noted, drives the entire Front Range plastics industry) out of state, HighViz to Wyoming and Magpul to… TBD. (They have already moved mag production to several out-of-state locations, but they don’t expect an announcement on their new HQ until late July).

Zombie Targets court controversy — and sales.

They’re popular now, but you have to love this particular one:

Screen Shot 2013-06-27 at 10.43.13 PM

Heh.

There’s another that some of his adherents think looks like Al Sharpton. Naturally certain folks are outraged over both “Al” and the “Gun Control Lobbyist” (would they like him better as a “Goldman Sachs Banker”? Or an “MSNBC host”? Probably not).

These targets are banned at gun clubs in the People’s Republic of Massachusetts, the masses of which just declined to elect a man who wasted years as a Navy SEAL and instead sent a man to the Senate who in 37 years to date in Congress has no accomplishments other than a multimillion-dollar personal net worth. But he’s not a capitalist, he’s just the Vanguard of the Proletariat. How about a target of him? Naw. Nobody’s heard of the guy even now. Stick with “Al” and the “Lobbyist.” Maybe they could do a Shannon Richardson?

Personally, we’re not going to spend ninety bucks to have a zombie to shoot, even as tempting as slinging lead at zombie lobbyists or politicians may be. Not with what it takes to get ammo these days. Your mileage may vary. But we wish the Zombie Targets guys all the best, because you have to judge a man by his enemies. And if your enemies are gun-ban types, fire for effect, because you’re on target.

Colorado Freedom Event Saturday

Ladies and gents, especially our Centennial State readers, here’s the latest from Magpul:

Magpul-LogoATTENTION COLORADO!

Come on out and join the festivities at Infinity Park in Glendale, CO, this Saturday, June 29, celebrating FREEDOM on the last weekend before the unconstitutional mag ban takes effect, and get your last shot at purchasing PMAGs. We’ll be there, and we’ve ponied up a LOT of PMAGs. First 1500 through the gate get a Boulder Airlift or Free CO PMAG FREE! Food, live music, and a helo-borne aerial delivery of PMAGs. Proceeds from mag sales go towards the legislative and legal fight for 2A rights in CO. Get tickets and pre-purchase PMAGs at:

www.freecolorado.net

So what’s the deal on “Free Colorado”?

Free Colorado“GLENDALE— Saturday, June 29th, Free Colorado, a non-profit organization advocating for the rights of gun owners, will host “A Farewell to Arms” Freedom Festival. This event marks Coloradans’ last chance to celebrate the ability to own standard capacity magazines prior to new Colorado laws taking effect on July 1st.

The first 1500 attendees through the gate over the age of 18 will receive a free Magpul Gen M2 MOE 30rd magazine featuring either the Free Colorado or Boulder Airlift design, courtesy of Magpul Industries Corp. Tickets for attendees and magazines can be pre-purchased online at www.freecolorado.net.”

Magpul limited edition Colorado Rights mags -- click to embiggen.

Magpul limited edition Colorado Rights mags — click to embiggen.

We wonder if, some time in the far future, the Free Colorado and Boulder Airlift mags will be collectors’ items. We can’t be sure that will happen, but it might. We are far more confident that Coloradans will be relieved of some of the most onerous aspects of the Hickenlooper legacy, in much the same way that Hick himself is relieved of his post-gubernatorial political career (instead of the higher office he craves, he seems resigned to pimping himself out as a lawyer/lobbyist or begging the President for a sinecure. Repeat after us: Awwwwww).

(Incidentally, both of the Colorado Pmags are out of stock at the moment at MagPul’s store, but part of the proceeds supports their efforts to restore the rights of free men to Coloradans).

Anyway, it should be a fun time, and a chance to connect with kindred souls.

Wednesday Weapons Website of the Week: Alan Korwin

Korwin is a prolific legal author, but he also blogs on guns and gun-lawsScreen Shot 2013-06-27 at 2.59.10 PM. We recommend his blog in particular for his analyses of ATF and OIG reports on the background check system currently in place, and what happens in the case of denials (usually, it turns out, nothing).

For example, somewhere between 8% and 35% of NICS denial referrals turn out to be NICS errors: the person wasn’t prohibited. Few of the other cases appeal to federal prosecutors: in many cases, it’s hard to prove the guy knew that he was prohibited; in others, the prohibition is for something that lacks “jury appeal.”

It’s one thing to prosecute a violent felon who’s right back at a gunshop trying to kit up again, but as anybody who’s been paying attention knows, even felons, who tend towards the left tail of the bell curve, aren’t usually that stupid. (Most of them carry black-market, stolen guns). It’s something completely different for a prosecutor to take someone who was prohibited for life because of NICS interpretation of a juvenile misdemeanor to a jury for buying a hunting shotgun forty years later.