Monthly Archives: November 2013

The best guide to future behavior is past behavior

Eddie Hoffens, from Facebook.

Eddie Hoffens, from Facebook.

Meet David Hoffens, and Edgar “Eddie” Hoffens, the way the Manchester, NH, police and courts did:

David Hoffens pleaded guilty last month to threatening to kill his brother, Edgar, then pulling out the telephone lines so his brother could not call police. The younger Hoffens was given a suspended six-month sentence, fined $200 and ordered to undergo anger management evaluation.

via Bucket truck, binoculars used in search for gun in Manchester double shooting | New Hampshire Crime.

OK, and meet Charlie Cable, who “has a long history with the police” (in the charming locution of the Daily Mail, UK) and had this kind of celebrity in May, 2012:

Police learned of the stabbing after they received a call from Catholic Medical Center where Charles Cable, 19, last known address of 107 Putnam St., was dropped off at the emergency room suffering from stab wounds.

Charlie Cable. My, he looks trustworthy! Facebook image.

Charlie Cable. My, he looks trustworthy! Facebook image.

…and from the Daily Mail

For his part, … Charles Cable has also has a history of encounters with the law.

…Cable was waiting to be tried for charges he assaulted his girlfriend and and her mother in October.

 

In the 2012 incident, a low-life parolee was nabbed for slicing and dicing Charlie with about 10 stab wounds. It’s almost as if he does not associate with the cream of society.

So why are David and Edgar Hoffens, and Charlie Cable, back in the news today? For Edgar, the answer’s easy:

Edgar Hoffens was found dead outside the first floor of the building

Well, that’s one way to get into the press, but it makes it hard to read your clippings. Who do you think might have done it? Don’t read ahead until you make a guess.

David H. Hoffens, 21, is charged with one felony count of falsifying physical evidence for allegedly tossing his firearm as he ran from the shooting scene. He was freed on $25,000 cash or surety bail after his arraignment Monday in 9th Circuit Court District Division in Manchester. Amherst Bail Bonds posted his bail, the court said.

Now, the cops aren’t saying yet that David Hoffens killed his brother, Edgar. There’s also another stiff, whom we’ve already met: Charlie Cable, with a GSW of unknown (at the moment) provenance in his dead head. So that’s why he’s in the news, in clippings he can’t read ’cause his troubled, violent life is over.

You have to sympathize with police on cases like this. In the foulest weather of the season to date, they’re dealing with a Gordian knot of confusing stories, unclear evidence and contradictory statements from witnesses — witnesses who are highly motivated to lie. And they’re looking for David’s gun. It looks like all agencies in New England are pulling together on this one: the State Police from Massachusetts, an hour away, sent a K9 that’s supposed to be effective in sniffing out guns hidden by Mass. gun-prohibition violators. The ATF and FBI sent special agents, and the state Chief Medical Examiner has custody of Edgar Hoffens’s and Charles Cable’s bodies, for now. The Fire Department pitched in with a bucket truck the agents and cops are using to search for David Hoffens’s allegedly discarded pistol.

David and Edgar lived with their mother, Cynthia, and her boyfriend, Eric Woodard, who told different stories about the shooting. David Hoffens told a third story in a phone call, another to Woodard (according to Woodard) and possibly a fifth to police.

With the gun, it will get easier, if the gun is found. (Fortunately, this will be a state prosecution. Federal prosecutors are reportedly refusing to take felon-in-possession cases unless they have both a confession and the felon’s DNA [prints are not enough!] on the gun. Madness).

Meanwhile, the forces of gun prohibition will hold these sketchy characters from the criminal underworld up as the reason that you should not have a gun. Hoffens and Cable are victims of gun violence and criminal lifestyles, but mostly, criminal lifestyles.

With the results of the autopsies, it may be possible to sort out the facts from the fiction. The fiction might even be inadvertent, Assistant AG Ben Agati notes:

It’s common that people can witness the same event, but have different memories of it.

This is certainly true. Of course, at least one person knows who shot whom — the guy who did it.

Our best guess is, he’s out on bail.

Since we wrote about a Kennedy who was murdered, here’s equal time for a Kennedy who’s a murderer

The USA has the best justice system money can buy.

The USA has the best justice system money can buy. So why isn’t Skakel smiling?

Gently interrogated by the police, murder suspect Michael Skakel threw the trump card: “You can’t touch me! I’m a Kennedy.” And indeed, the Greenwich, CT police didn’t arrest him, even though the golf club that smashed in the 14-year-old’s head came from Skakel’s golf bag, and he admitted peeping in her windows — and abusing himself. He put himself on the scene, owned the weapon, and admitted unrequited lust for the victim. But “You can’t touch me!”

If you look at the picture and think, "She's cute! I'd like to smash her head in1" You Just Might be a Kennedy.

If you look at the picture and think, “She’s cute! I’d like to smash her head in!” You Just Might be a Kennedy.

Martha Moxley was just one in a long chain of expendable blondes to be used, abused, and occasionally, destroyed, by the Hyannisport Untouchables. Greenwich is, if nothing else, a town of and for the privileged: “different spanks for different ranks” might as well be engraved on the cops’ badges. And Michael Skakel was, indeed, a Kennedy, a cousin of the inbred political family who have seen more of their share of crime and tragedy — as perpetrators, as much as, as victims.  The Moxleys were well off, but considerably less-so — and much less famous, and less adored by the press — than the Kennedys and their cousins, the fabulously wealthy, and personally amoral, Skakels. An arrest was never in the cards.

Michael Skakel's golf club, with Martha Moxley's brains. "You can't touch me! I'm a Kennedy!"

Michael Skakel’s broken golf club, with Martha Moxley’s brains. “You can’t touch me! I’m a Kennedy!”

RFK’s wife Ethel, née Skakel, was Michael’s aunt, and growing up he and his four brothers and one sister were close to their first cousins, RFK’s 11 kids — a rum lot that would produce a couple of heroin addicts, one fatal overdose, numerous drunks, a babysitter rapist, an IRA terrorist’s moll, and a few people of even greater moral turpitude than that — politicians. Kennedys of Michael Skakel’s generation tend not to get asassinated — not because anyone but the rumpswabs at East Coast newspapers likes them, but because they’re simply not worth the powder and shot it would take even their drug dealers to blow them to Hell. None of the Skakels, born to wealth and privilege, ever amounted to anything, either.

Not only did Greenwich’s subservient cops drop their investigation with the alacrity of a homeless bum handed a bar of soap, but various Kennedy horseholders and knob-polishers tried to advance various innocents as suspects in the case.

The Skakel family themselves spent a small fortune — Dominick Dunne implies, over a million dollars — on a private investigation of the Moxley murder. The investigators, Sutton Associates, swore all members of their staff to secrecy. They followed the facts where they went, and where they went implicated Michael Skakel, and the family ordered Sutton to forget their investigation, but the report leaked out. One witness recounts “a time when, allegedly, Michael bludgeoned a squirrel with a golf club while on a golf outing.” This is a true rotter, from a family of similar worthless reprobates.

Murder in Greenwich FuhrmanIt took a book to reopen the cold case of the murder of Martha Moxley, Michael Skakel’s victim, and shame Greenwich into finally acting. This time, Michael Skakel’s hundreds of thousands of legal fees were not enough to buy him anything but justice. He went to prison, where he belongs, as Inmate 301382, until his lawyers’ machinations, and large applications of cubic money, finally sprang him. (Don’t get us started on the fact that hanging’s too good for Connecticut’s murderers).

The Kennedy power and millions never stopped working, and by sliming his elite defense attorney and everyone else, especially the young victim and her family who have been the target of a barrage of hate only Emmanuel Goldstein could relate to, Skakel has won a new trial, where he, and the Kennedy millions, will drag his victim through the mire yet again. Given that everybody understands that, legal niceties notwithstanding, Skakel is a murderer and a particularly violent and shameless one, his bail was set high: $1.2 million. For the Kennedys, that’s petty cash, and Skakel is out, menacing the public again.

We’d describe, in detail, what he did to Martha Moxley with that Toney Penna six-iron. But no one knows it better than Greenwich’s own Dominick Dunne, who also is our superior in the craft of the English language. Dunne became close to Dorthy Moxley through tragic coincidence, and wrote a novel with a thinly disguised version of the murder. Disguised because the Skakels and Kennedys were, and are, wealthy and litigious… and Dunne does not mention this, but the Moxley case illustrates that they are also violent. How violent? Dunne, in Vanity Fair:

They were large photographs, about 11 by 14 inches, and simply awful to behold. It is one thing to discuss being bludgeoned by a golf club; it is quite another to see the effects of such an attack. One of the blows had taken off a portion of the right side of Martha’s scalp, which was hanging by a piece of skin down over her face. You could see the wound where a short, pointed piece of the shaft had been stabbed into the side of her neck. In one full shot you could see that her jeans had been pulled down. I felt faint. “He had to have been drunk, or stoned, to have done that to her,” I said, not wanting to see any more.

But hey, the legal niceties must be observed, and this troubled thug is loose upon the world again. Do not offer him the loan of your set of clubs; golf is not his game.

Not just another murderer in an orange jumpsuit. "I'm a Kennedy!"

Not just another murderer in an orange jumpsuit. “I’m a Kennedy!”

Here, alas, we expect to part company with Ken White at Popehat, who would tell us that the “legal niceties” are the only thing keeping all of us out of prison, and that Skakel is technically, now, “innocent” in the eyes of the law “until proven guilty.” And if he is not proven guilty because witnesses have croaked in the dozen years since his last conviction, as many of them have in the nearly 40 years since his 1975 crime, well, then, we should just take it as The Way Things Work®.

Well, we do, actually. The Way Things Work® is that a crapton of poor black underprivileged guys are in crowbar motel (or worse, executed) for murders they didn’t do, and a Kennedy cousin can buy his way out of prison. That’s our take on The Way Things Work®. (And it would be the same if it were a Bush, or Clinton, or any other wealthy political dynasty’s cousin. They may not be as disposed to substance abuse and criminality as the up-from-rumrunning Kennedys, but the privilege is there for them, should they need it).

Once, they built a society of laws, not men. Now they still say it is, while it is the exact opposite; and call that just as good. Hey, it’s The Way Things Work®.

If it quacks like Duck Creek Armory

duck_creek_armoryDavenport, Idaho Iowa (d’oh! Thanks to Joe in the comments for the correction) gun dealer Duck Creek Armory is in the news, and not in a good way. Mike Colón at CBS4 has a report:

A Davenport online gun store has been given a grade of “F” by the Better Business Bureau.

The BBB says that it has more than 25 complaints against Duck Creek Armory for non-delivery of ordered products.

Some customers have been waiting for orders since last spring and are out from $800 to $1600 dollars.  Phone calls and letters have not been answered.

The BBB web page has not been updated, but it does contain one horror story of a customer who, four months after paying, with no credible promise of delivery, cancelled his order — and was whacked with a 15% “restocking fee” for a gun Duck Creek Armory apparently never had in stock at any time. (They refunded the fee under pressure from BBB).

While the CBS4 story says it’s an “online store,” the company also maintained a storefront in a Davenport strip mall. The complaints seem to have been more from internet buyers, and from the complaints, the company seems to have had a habit of selling guns they didn’t exactly own at the time of the sale.

The company’s Facebook page is up, but they haven’t updated it since mid-October. Its “Reviews” are full of complaints from customers:

Screenshot 2013-11-26 15.49.17

The www.duckcreekarmory.com website is down, showing the GoDaddy “Wanna buy this deadbeat domain?” page: 

Screenshot 2013-11-26 13.54.33

The firm has long had “a reputation” on the forums, but not a shockingly bad one. For example, one ARFCOM member wrote this summer that he had visited  their physical store, and their ARs were parts frankensteins; he’d:

…been in their store a couple times but have not been overly impressed with their packages. Basically everything you see is something you could build out of a Brownell’s catalog for the same price. In an area dominated by bird and deer hunters who still rely on their trusty 12 gauge or grandpa’s 30-06, these rifles probably seem pretty attractive. Im sure there is a reason they have not branched out past gunbroker to the forums; we would peck them to death over mil spec issues in their guns.

Another thread savaged a Duck Creek tacticool build of a Saiga:

duck creek bubba Saiga

Big mag? Check. A large chunk of the TAPCO catalog? Check. Rails installed without regard to alignment? Check. But the winning accessory has to be the fake suppressor. On a shotgun. Bubba The Gunsmith was clearly in the house at Duck Creek Armory.

This thread showcases their distinctive billet AR lowers… (which Hajny has elsewhere said were made for DCA by Sun Devil) and the owner’s claim to have been a Ranger. As far as we know, that claim has not been checked.

Several Carolina Shooters members had mixed experiences, including one positive one: Duck creek Armory manager Joe Hajny making good a botched layaway (after the customer went public on the board). Offsetting that in the same thread are several cases of nondelivery of product. It seems to have been Duck Creek Armory practice to list guns as “in stock” that were not.

The firm currently has no listings on GunBroker.

One prescient lad noted on ARFCOM back in 2012, in reference to a since-aged-off Duck Creek Armory auction, “Breaks my rule of thumb: If the rules the seller sets on the auction take up more space than the description you don’t want to do business with them.”

That’s pretty good policy.

Others in the same thread noted that the rifle in question was misrepresented, which might have been ignorance rather than cupidity, but used furniture was represented as new, and “parts that actually served in Vietnam” were A2 parts made at least ten years after the departure of US ground troops from that tropical conflict.

We would urge consumers to exercise caution dealing with Duck Creek Armory of Davenport, IA (near the IL border), but the business may be imploding at enough of a rate to make that a moot point. They might not be headed for a quackup; they’re already there.

TAPCO-laden AKs and cheapest-parts ARs are not really our cup of tea, but  they have a home in the marketplace and it’s always unfortunate when a dealer goes paws up. When the music of any business stops, some combination of customers, suppliers and creditors always winds up without a seat, and of course the owners and/or stockholders wind up zeroed out. We’ve been there, done that, and have a little sympathy for the businessman in question, but if he was making material misrepresentations of his product in GunBroker auctions, it was only a matter of time; we’re better off without him.

The Economics of Combat on the Ho Chi Minh Trail

Night over Laos, circa 1966. From a “Nimrod” (A-26K night interdiction aircraft) navigator’s recollections:

Back at altitude, I reflected on our situation. So far, we had made two passes, had maybe 40 to 50 rounds of 37mm, 23mm ZPU and who knows what else fired at us and had only dropped two bombs?!! Considering the fuel and ordnance load we carried, expending at this rate would have us work (and being shot at) for at least 10 passes, maybe many more if we fired the .50-caliber machine guns.

And so it was to be! This squadron’s credo was to be persistent and take the time to inflict the greatest damage on the enemy. That took patience and perseverance-and meant dodging considerable hostile fire.

Having expended all the .50-caliber ammunition, we headed home. On the way back, our FAC reported that we had destroyed several trucks and a couple of AAA positions and that we received an estimated 800 rounds of antiaircraft fire!

On the way back, an absurd conversation from the night before ran through my mind. We were marveling that our government paid us $65 a month combat pay. Now, if we flew a mission like this 25 times a month, that meant we would earn $2.60 per mission. If each mission had 10 passes over the target, that meant we would get 26 cents per pass. If on each pass they shot 50 rounds at us, that meant we would get a half cent for each shot fired at us.

Of course, the pay was even worse on Nguyen’s side of the exchange.

And combat pay is higher now. There is that.

Sometimes Nimrod was just busting trucks, economically a fool’s game. The entire COSVN (Central Office of South Vietnam) ran on some six tons of supplies a day, meaning anything more than a couple of trucks that got through was gravy. It was like dealing with a carpenter ant infestation by stepping on individual ants — the house will fall down on your ears before the bugs feel the pressure. But the ant nests were off limits until Linebacker, which was many years, and 50,000 American deaths, in the future as Nimrod worked the Trail.

Sometimes Nimrod was working in support of the SF guys who were not in Laos, officially speaking. Unofficially, or really, covertly, they were leading Lao guard forces around critical sites related to navigation, precision bombing, and signals intelligence; conducting small and stealthy (they hoped!) reconnaissance patrols and occasional Hatchet Force combat patrols under the aegis of SOG; and, sheep-dipped into the CIA, advising Vang Pao’s clandestine Meo army. SF and the Air Commandos, later renamed, as the Invader nav, Nolan Schmidt, wryly notes, because someone in the Air Force thought the name “too warlike.”

At the end of the James S. Michener novel (from the period in which he could write a prizewinning novel of reasonable length, even) The Bridges at Toko-ri, and repeated in the movie of the same title, an admiral, reflecting on the heroic deeds of a Naval Aviator and a Chief Aviation Pilot, stares into the wake of USS Boat and asks a rhetorical question: “Where do we get such men?”

To which WeaponsMan, who has never been in danger of flag rank, would add, “and why do we squander their valor so?”

But if you Read The Whole Thing™, old Invader nav Schmidt doesn’t think, and when we think about it, we don’t think, that it was all done for nothing or even for the silly geopolitical games the gormless Georgetown grads play in the NSC. It was done for the guys, whether it was the guy on your team, the guy in the other seat of the plane, or the guy who was just a sound on the radio, speaking a little more rapidly and at a higher fundamental pitch than his conversational voice.

It was never for nothing. 

A long video about some even longer guns

For some time (we first teased it way back in July) we’ve been promising a report on Gerald Bull’s contributions to ballistic science, and his very big gun designs, with emphasis on his 1960s Project HARP, which bid fair to put a satellite in orbit — from a cannon.

This 48-minute TV show is a fair overview of very big guns whose writers obviously hit hard on one of the references we’re using, Bull’s work on the Kaiser-Wilhelmgeschutz of World War I fame. (Not much question about it — they show the book cover in the video). It’s a hard book to find, and expensive when you find it. It’s highly technical (with a lot of ‘sheet music’) and in our view worth every penny.

Bull was reportedly working on a second volume, covering WWII German advances in the state of the art (several of which are shown here), at the time of his death. He carried his manuscript among other papers in his case, which was taken by his murderers and has never surfaced. If it wasn’t immediately destroyed, it likely gathers dust in the vaults of some intelligence agency even now. Unfortunately for students of artillery, Bull’s manuscript is unlikely to see light again: to produce it now would label the agency which has it as the perpetrator of Bull’s murder.

The video’s non-Bull content includes the Krupp 42cm (420mm or 16.5″) howitzer of World War I, “Big Bertha”; the Wilhelmgeschutz, or “Paris Gun”; the WWII German developments that included the 60 cm (600mm or 24″) mortar Karl and the amazing 80 cm (800mm, 31.5″) tail gun Schwerer Gustav, the remarkable Hockdruckpumpe or V-3 “centipede” multichamber gun, and America’s nuclear cannon.

Its Bull-related content includes not only crisp and rare footage of HARP and the Iraqi Project Babylon and Baby Babylon guns, but a sketchy overview of his contributions to Austrian, South African, Chinese and ultimately worldwide 155 mm guns, and his revolutionary invention, the base-bleed shell, explained with a simple and correct graphic. The talking heads include Bull’s frequent collaborator Charles Murphy, his son Michael, and the late Ian Hogg, as well as the author of one of the three Bull biographies.

Here’s a bonus video, a German newsreel of some of the World War II German guns. Some of this footage, minus the bombastic German music and voiceover, is used in the above documentary, also. But this is original, period content:

http://www.liveleak.com/view?i=183_1243099583

To return to the original video and Bull: the video makes a clearer and more concise run at his history and character than we do in our draft article which we’ve been promising for ages now. What we do have that the video does not is more technical information. Bull did some very particular things to make a 16″ gun shoot to the edge of space, and he documented most of them in either academic papers, many of which we have, or his own book.

Hat tip for the original video to Joe in the Comments to last week’s TW3.

A Mess of Accidents, Deer Season Edition

21 Nov, Georgia: The difference between Deer and Dear can be dear indeed.

Webb mugshot. Facial features: Neanderthal, or Fetal Alcohol Syndrome?

Webb mugshot. Facial features: Neanderthal, or Fetal Alcohol Syndrome?

Matt Webb’s girlfriend was going to surprise him — on a hunt. At night. And they were both apparently stoned on something or other. There was just no way this was going to end well.

She was last heard from in critical condition but expected to live. He was last heard from in the booking room. The Times Free Press:

Matthew Tyler Webb was hunting deer Thursday night when he heard rustling and saw movement in the woods. But he didn’t know what it was, any of it, he later told police.

The moving and noise quickly stopped. In the silence, police say, Webb fired his rifle.

Immediately, he heard a scream.

About 15 yards away, across a thicket of briar, Webb found his girlfriend bleeding. He had shot Audrey Mayo in the lower leg.

Ah yeah, the old shot-at-a-sound trick. Along with the hunting-at-night trick, and if you Read The Whole Thing™, the ever-popular hunting under the influence of “several illegal drugs” trick. And yes, Mr Webb is in a spot of trouble. With the law, and presumably, once she’s out of hospital, the girlfriend.

3 November, Oklahoma. The Sasquatch Hunters bag…. something.

Get an eyeful of these three worthies:

bigfoot5n-1-web

OK, here’s the story. The space-alien looking cat on the left went hunting Bigfoot, Sasquatch, whatever, and when things went nonlinear, the other two characters, Creepy Uncle and Toxic Chick, helped him by throwing his gun in a pond… turning an accident the cops were curious about to a crime they had to prosecute. 

But then, there’s just not a whole lot of underappreciated genius in this bunch.

The two men were hunting – apparently for Bigfoot – around 177th East Avenue and Tiger Switch Road Saturday night. Omar Pineda [Space Alien] reportedly heard a “barking noise,” jerked and shot his friend in the back, authorities say.

“When you start off with an explanation like that, do you believe anything after that?” [Sheriff Scott] Walton said Sunday morning.

The backshot hunter is going to live, and unlike his pals, he’s not even under arrest. Creepy Uncle (actually Oscar Pineda’s father-in-law, Perry James) is perhaps the most jammed-up of these Three Stooges. The story says that by taking Pineda’s gun for disposal he rendered himself a Felon in Possession. D’oh!

But if trigger-happy Pineda and his hard-of-thinking relatives (Toxic Chick is his wife) bemoan their bad luck now, imagine if they had shot Bigfoot.

First, they might only wound him. Would you want to anger Bigfoot? No way. But worse, they might have killed him… and then they’d really get the book thrown at them.

Cause he’s gotta be an endangered species.

18 Nov., New York. This one’s not funny, just tragic.

A bunch of Long Island buddies who went hunting every year had their hunt turn to nightmare when one of them shot at something — sound, or movement — and killed another.

Charles Bruce, 52, was on an annual hunting trip with friends from the Malverne Fire Department when the tragedy unfolded about 10:20 a.m. Saturday in rural Westford, about 11 miles east of Cooperstown, law enforcement sources said.

“Unfortunately, it was a high-powered rifle. He was dead before he hit the ground,” Otsego County District Attorney John Muehl told The News.

“Charlie had a bad back, so he went back to his room to rest. And when he came back out, one guy saw a tree move and fired,” said a close friend of the victim’s who asked to remain anonymous.

This is often the case with hunting accidents: the victim and shooter are close friends, amplifying the tragedy. Even more often, the shooter fired without having a solid view of the target and backstop. This is a fundamental failure and there’s absolutely no humor in it.

18 Nov. NH has fingers crossed for a safe season.

Source: WMUR-TV Channel 9. Six days into the firearms season, with 60,000 hunters in the field, nobody’s been shot in New Hampshire, to the relief of the Fish and Game Department.

Steven-s-10-point-buck-2013-001-jpgThe deer are plentiful despite a series of harsh winters; 11,600 were taken last year and Fish and Game’s Dan Bergeron is cautiously optimistic for nearly 13,000.

If NH makes it to 8 December, we can celebrate a safe season just as those 13,000 or so hunters celebrate a successful one. Young Steven Williamson shows how it’s done with his 10-point whitetail buck (he hunts with his dad, Sean).

8 November 1954. 60 years ago, accidents were routine.

Here’s a chilling story from the mid-Twentieth-Century, that makes us realize how far we’ve come.

During a Maine gunning season something like 165,000 hunters take to the woods. Of this number, a normal season’s accidents will run to 70 dead and wounded. [Inland Fish & Game Dep’t Special Investigator Maynard] Marsh’s casualty report this Saturday evening could be succinctly stated as: three Mistaken Identities; two Line of Fires; two Accidental Discharges. Score? five dead, two wounded. Before the Inspector got to take his shoes off Sunday, his dark itinerary included Benton, where a youngster had fatally shot a man collecting firewood near his camp; Wilton, where a hunter had managed to shoot himself while removing a loaded gun from his car; Parlin Pond, where a Norwegian carpenter had mistaken another Norwegian carpenter for a deer and sent a rifle bullet drilling through his abdomen; the town of Alfred, where a hunter had seen, too late, that his “deer” was a Greek restaurant owner stooping over to pat his beagle; Acton, where a father on a late-afternoon stand shot his son who was hurrying along to meet him on a woods road. And nice shooting that last one was: a direct hit through the neck.

O, the humanity.

Lew Dietz, the author of the piece, goes on to note that “Fatals are usually good shooting,” and that Marsh has observed that the veteran hunter is the most dangerous. (This paradoxical conclusion is borne out by mishaps in the parachuting and aviation-safety investigative fields. Complacency is a bigger threat than inexperience, because inexperience often breeds caution.

Marsh also found that the shooters in accidents tended to be average to above-average in intelligence, and to react more quickly than average on visual-perception tests.

Hunters who slew other hunters in what Marsh called “Mistaken Identity” cases often were sure that they saw a deer, even though what they shot was another man.

Why was it that in 219 cases of mistaken identity, 95% of the shooters were familiar with the firearms they were using; 80% were familiar with the country in which they were hunting; 86% had shot deer before and were familiar with deer hunting conditions?

His conclusion: they were so prepared to see deer that anything they saw, filtered through what we now call confirmation bias, was a deer. Bang. You’re dead. And their very experience, familiarity with their guns, and hunting savvy in general added up to very bad outcomes for the people they mistook for Bambi.

Marsh’s recommendation was bright clothing: red, fluorescent red, was 1954’s forerunner of today’s Hunter Orange.

Marsh also had cases, of course, of inexperienced hunters. A bullet that struck his own house was an unusual caliber, .35 Winchester, already discontinued. He knew the caliber — he had an old gun chambered for it, which he hadn’t used in years. He found a dealer who had had a box of shells but they were missing, apparently shoplifted. It turns out the kid with the gun had stolen the shells. And when Marsh checked his gun rack, it turned out the shells weren’t all the youth had shoplifted. (I presume some judge was soon urging him to the colors, in liew of  stint in Shawshank).

This is one hell of a good article, and definitely worth Reading The Whole Thing™. If for no other reason than to note that Marsh’s efforts, and those of many others, seem to have paid off: no State in the Union will ever see an investigator called out to five fatal hunting mishaps on a single Saturday again.

And the article made us wonder about something else. Does Sports Illustrated still cover outdoor sports? We thought it was nothing these days but the unseemly worship of uncouth loudmouths who throw balls.

When guns are outlawed, only outlaws will have toys

This one’s been rusting in our queue since September, but the link is still good, and the poor guy is still dead. When we say “almost anything can kill a human being, and the only thing that keeps us alive is good fortune and the common decency of 99.repeating9% of humanity” we do indeed mean it.

This young fellow died instantly seconds after some kind of “pilot error” with his favorite plaything, a radio-controlled helicopter. NBC News:

A 19-year-old man playing with a remote control helicopter in Brooklyn, N.Y., lost control of it, sliced off the top of his own head and died Thursday afternoon, law enforcement officials said.
The helicopter enthusiast, identified by officials as Roman Pirozek Jr., and his father were in Calvert Vaux Park at Shore Parkway and Bay 44th Street in Gravesend.
Pirozek also sheared off part of his shoulder, officials said.

Traumatic amputations are survivable, given prompt treatment and evacuation, but not cranial ones.

There’s something particularly sad about his mishap occurring in front of his father, who apparently shared his hobby.

Many people fear guns because they can take human life if misused (and sometimes, in the case of lawful homicides, even if used properly). But almost anything can take a human life. As we type these words, the temperature outside is 18ºF, headed for 12ºF, with winds of 17 knots gusting to 25 (that’s about 20-30 mph). An hour’s exposure to that weather will kill an unprepared, unprotected human being, and there are people out there driving in day clothes and street shoes, without anyone knowing when they will be back, and without any emergency stuff in their car, and only a vague idea of what their gas gage reads. A breakdown, or fuel exhaustion, late at night on a rural road has every potential to kill you dead as a gun, and it’s far more probable an occurrence (although a death from exposure or hypothermia is not as bad as it sounds… once you get past the shivers and your core temp starts really dropping you just fall asleep, never to wake).

Here is a thought about guns. About 3.5 million guns are manufactured every year, and about 10 billion rounds of fixed small arms ammunition. The anti-gunners say 30,000 “gun deaths” occur annually (a figure they get to by lumping murders, justifiable homicides by police, ditto by citizens, and suicides — which alone are two thirds of “gun deaths” — into a single number). So less than 1% of one year’s production of guns is used in a “gun death”, and about 3 ten-thousandths of a percent of one year’s civilian ammo production is used in a “gun death.” Change the denominator to homicides, and even using CDC’s padded number, the percentages drop to 0.31% and a vanishingly small 0.00011% — eleven hundred-thousandths of a percent. We’ll elaborate on this in a post in the days ahead.

But we suspect the number’s pretty close to the number of radio controlled aircraft involved in a fatal accident. RTZ, as the numerate kids say.

Army Flips over Ugly Women, PR Flacks Hardest Hit

All she asked was a little more publicity for the ugly ones. Col. Lynette Arnhart, one of the paper-shufflers managing the Army’s shuffle to the bright sunlit uplands of True Gender Equity® (however the Womyn define that at any given moment), took exception to a picture supplied by Army flacks to an Army-related publication: the female soldier was “too pretty.” It wasn’t fair to the Ugly Sisterhood.  Arnhart bitched (no pun intended) that the soldier, CPL Kristine Tejada, was, “a pretty woman, wearing makeup while on deployed duty.” She snarked that such a photo “may even make people ask if breaking a nail is considered hazardous duty.” Tough talk from Arnhardt, whose Army career in the ever-demanding Adjutant General’s Corps has threatened her with such hardships as a copier out of toner, and having to work with an outdated version of PowerPoint. She’s an over-the-hill PR dolly herself, and bitter about it.

Now, we would never put such a story before our readers, male and female alike, without answering the question: what do these two soldiers look like? So, here is a scan of the article, with the very picture of CPL Tejada that brought out COL Arnhart’s claws:

CPL Kristine Tejada

The article, as you can see, is ironically enough about the Army leadership’s plan to ram through women in direct combat arms units. Now, women like CPL Tejada make an important contribution to the Army. We don’t know what her unit or MOS is, but we look at that picture and don’t think, wow, she’s pretty. Maybe she isn’t, and you’d have to be a pushing-fifty menopausal broad to be threatened by her (not naming any names, but if the shoe fits). Maybe she is. You can’t tell from an unsmiling picture in full battle rattle. What you can tell is that, despite Col Arnhart’s vapors about her nails, CPL Tejada looks like she’s competent. She has a good hold on her well-worn M4. Her unit has troops’ names on the guns, which may be suboptimal OPSEC but probably instills a degree of pride and supports weapons maintenance. Her gear seems to be on right and sqaured away. She’s also a hard-stripe corporal rather than a soft-stripe specialist, so someone thought she was NCO leadership material and put her in charge of somebody. The picture inclines us to think well of her on a purely professional basis. What’s the problem, Colonel?

“In general, ugly women are perceived as competent while pretty women are perceived as having used their looks to get ahead,” Arnhart wrote.

Wow. This is after she’s identified CPL Tejada, whom we doubt she knows from Adam Eve, as one of those “pretty women.” Is she saying this kid used her looks to get, where? Onto some convoy in Paktika where she can get her pretty (or whatever) ass blown off? That sounds like a lot less desirable an assignment than, say, writing waspish emails criticizing the PR flacks, which seems to be what some soldiers do. Not naming any names.

Of course, given Arnhart’s optically Manichean view of Army women, we probably ought to have a look at her visage. Turnabout is fair play, no?

COL Arnhart Lynette

Two chins… check… turkey neck… check… butch hairdo… check… smoker’s teeth… oh yeah, Lynette babes, call us… not. She was probably alright, 25 years ago.

That was just gratuitously cruel and we apologize. Those responsible have been sacked. But we bet she does think she was Ranger material, back in the day, before her butt was two axe handles wide.

OK, we’re not going to ask you to rate them on “pretty.” This is WeaponsMan.com, not “Hot or Not?”, after all. We will ask you — which one would you rather have in one of the seats of your RG-31 or whatever as it rolled into Paktika?

Yeah, that’s not fair either. Anyway, Politico got hold of the “ugly women are perceived as competent” email and things rather predictably got, well, ugly. It went particularly ugly for Arnhart, and for some homunculus named COL Christian Kubik, another overpaid flack who apparently added a “you go, girl” and forwarded Arnhart’s email, thereby labeling himself as a Wrecker, Saboteur, Diversionist or something. Arnhardt had been leading a team scheming to jam women into combat-arms units, and she got the sack, although they’re spinning it as a resignation from the position. (Sounds to us like: “Ask for a transfer and we won’t have to write a relief-for-cause OER”). Kubik is “suspended,” which is Army-speak for “will soon be spending more time with his family.”

The one Unforgiveable Act in the Army’s vast PR machinery is to get into the press Off Message. Politico, again:

Col. Lynette Arnhart had agreed to step aside from the Training and Doctrine Command study she was leading.

In addition, [Army spox George] Wright said, Col. Christian Kubik, a public affairs officer at TRADOC, was suspended for his involvement in the email chain.

“In order to protect the integrity of the ongoing work on gender integration in the Army, Col. Lynette Arnhart agreed to step down as the gender integration study director,” Wright said in a statement. “Concurrently, TRADOC suspended Col. Christian Kubik from his position as the public affairs officer pending the outcome of an investigation.”

Now, the Army will survive without the talents of Lynette Arnhart and Christian Kubik. (Indeed, the part of the Army that does the actual fighting — a part that the abused CPL Tejada has been at least in proximity to, unlike Arnhart and Kubik —  has survived without them for two-hundred-thirty-something years), and the only tragedy in their removal is that there are still legions more of desk-bound assclowns to slide into those positions.

By the way, “The TRADOC experts who are studying gender integration,” as Arnhart describes her late coven, kept meeting and spending throughout the Sequester and the Government Shutdown, which indicates its priority: combat aviators had their flight hours cut, for example in the Navy to 11 hours a month, and combat soldiers saw training schedules disrupted and range time cancelled. But like rust and viruses, the forces of True Gender Equity® never sleep.

What this illustrates is the degree to which the women-in-combat-regardless push has become a violent juggernaut, which serving officers and soldiers defy at their peril. It is blind, unreasoning, animal force. It not only cannot be swayed by reason, argument, or example, it treats any of those as hostile acts to be met with devastating violence. Even those who would serve it, as Robespierre served the Revolution, are liable to take their own ride in the tumbrils and wind up minus one head, as the case of Arnhart and Kubik illustrates.

In the Politico story two legislators, Rep. Jackie Speier and Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, are quoted demanding the Army and the military move faster yet, and give a higher priority yet, to subordinating the needs of combat units to the career ambitions of female officers. Neither has been in the service. Neither has had a spouse in the sevice (Gillibrand’s husband, a Wall Street manipulator, is British, not American; Speier’s current husband is also a financier. Her previous husband, a doctor, died in a 1994 accident). Neither has had a son in the service. They’re from that segment of society that raises their kids to think it’s beneath them.

Both are also extremists on gun control, which is hardly surprising. Apart from lowering combat-arms standards till the standards meet the available women, Jackie Speier’s signature issue is lowering the national speed limit to 60 miles per hour. There would be an exemption for Congresswomen. Of course.

The FBI’s Gun Collection

Here’s an FBI video about the FBI Reference Firearms Collection. It’s a mixed bag of guns they study, and historical guns like Ma and Pa Barker’s and John Dillinger’s.

Most of the guns come from closed and legally finalized FBI cases. Any time the FBI gets a gun different from the ones they already have, they add it. The collection has outgrown its home several times.

The ATF also maintains a reference collection, but apparently the two agencies never got the kindergarten memo on sharing one’s toys.

Bonus: the examiner at roughly four minutes in, and intermittently from there to the end, is firing, albeit semi-automatically, a rare select-fire Glock 18, and then performing a function check on the cleared G18.