Monthly Archives: January 2015

Ay, yi yi yi yi Relief….

This guy seems to shop at al-Bubba the gunsmith:

Aye Relief


These ISIL imb-isils are answering the shouted question, “How many brain cells have you got?” Note the cat in the second line with two fingers, and the guy in the back, behind the clown with the Syrian-flag headband, holding up all five fingers? They’re the brains of this outfit.

But Bubba is their armorer. Putting the scope where the rail is, not where the scope needs to be, is a bit like the drunk who was looking for his car keys a couple of blocks from where he lost them, “because there’s a streetlight here!” Let’s zoom in a little closer on this lash-up, because the picture’s kind of dark. We’ll lighten it with an Auto Levels tool and see if that helps the Bubba job stand out (it embiggens, but has lousy resolution).


The scope is on a who-needs-a-jeezly-cheekweld height mount, and seems to be mounted at an angle to the bore better measured in degrees than in Minutes of Angle or Miliradians. But wait, what’s that opposite the scope?

Why, yes, it is two fore-grips, because Allah helps those who keep a grip, evidently. The clown is gripping a Grip-pod, and right behind it there’s a folding grip, which looks to us like the Command Arms product. (Funny. Grip-pod doesn’t list ISIL when they mention “Who Uses Grip-Pod“. We thought “there is no such thing as bad publicity!”)

And, of course, for extra Tactical Operator fetish points, al-Bozo here is pulling the old two-magazines-and-electrical-tape spare ammo storage trick. Somewhere, Gecko45 just had a nocturnal emission.

This Arab assclown is undoubtedly more of a threat to himself and those around him than he is to any enemy other than an unarmed child, but then, that’s the history of Arab arms in a nutshell, isn’t it?

Despite that, these inept brain-deads have been beating, defeating, hell, clobbering, the guys that were well disposed to us in particular and to civilization in general. We live in interesting times.


Ghost Gunner Update — Received 26 January

Everyone who ordered one of these should have gotten this update. It’s shared here for those of you who are just curious, not committed. Consider it a Guest Post by Cody R. Wilson. -Ed.

Hey Ghost Gunners. Time for a production update.

We spent the first week of January correcting our enclosure provider’s specification errors, to eventual success. We then proceeded to junk 1200 pounds of powder-coated steel. And yes, they ate the cost.


We had been working with a supplier for CNC and lathed parts who was supposed to ship us production parts sets by mid-December, but he missed his goal and promised delivery in early January. Those parts did arrive this month, but of the critical sets only about 20% currently meet our specifications.

We began to suspect this supplier’s abilities at the end of the year, however, and were able to bring on a more reliable and professional supplier in Austin to replace this work and make up for time lost on enclosures.


These [Does he mean “Three”? –Ed.] months for this work product.

So, as it stands today, we think we’re only going to be shipping about 18-20 machines this month. Our new supplier should get our part stream way up in February, and most people should see their GG in the mail in as soon as three weeks. To you backers who were expecting Holiday delivery, I can only thank you for your patience and promise you a valuable product.

To you on the wait list, I will be able to call up 40 to 50 of you once we ship the first 100 machines through February. You’ll receive an email from DD.

There is still a lot to discuss from this month, however.

J Compy

250 calibrated spindle motors.

Yes, we’ve been hard at work making the guts of nearly 300 machines so far. We’ve been afforded extra time in the delays for software adjustments and V&V on our custom electronics (more about those when the occasion is happier).

We’ve staffed up enough to have people in the shop around the clock, but this is still not what we need to talk about.

banner boards

We should talk about ATF 2015-1.

The first week of this new year, Obama’s Justice Department, through his ATF, gutted the traditional trade in 80% lower completion. It doesn’t matter what their story is, the move was made to destroy 50 years of industry precedent and squeeze you out of access to commercial grade CNC equipment to privately, and I should add constitutionally, equip yourself with your own AR.

Now, this new ATF regulation does not affect your purchase of this machine and our ability to sell it to you. Indeed, the Obama Administration has just made this Ghost Gunner endeavor in which we’ve all joined extremely important. As of January, the only way you can use CNC to finish your lower is to buy a machine. Your absolute government knows most law-abiding people cannot afford their own CNC, and so they have forced you to rely on hand tools if you want a private AR-15.

But now the world has a Ghost Gunner.

This month, Come and Take It Texas demonstrated one of our first production machines at the Texas State Capitol to welcome the new legislators.


GG at the Capitol

The responses from the open carry groups were meek and anxious.

So let’s be very clear.

This project and our company are about expanding your franchise as freemen. And in the face of overwhelming opposition. Your governors, legislators, lobbyists and industry friends do not give a damn about your right to have this rifle outside of commerce and surveillance.

The Feds are doing everything they can to stop this project. Just this week we received a contemptuous letter from DoD denying cognizance of our technical data requests, and late last year we were threatened directly by the DTSA.

I say all this to say that we are serious. The enemy will do anything to stop this and they are doing it, and we are trying with all of our might to ship these machines and their software to you. It is the only thing any of us are doing, and though the pressure feels enormous I am thankful to have the opportunity to deliver this tool to you.

There is a volume of information I want to share about DD’s ongoing battle with the Obama regime. And I promise disclosure of this information after we begin shipping GG’s in quantity. You should know specifically what your government thinks of you and your First and Second Amendment.

Machines incoming!

UW: Terry and the Particularized Intelligence

Terrence John “Terry” Peck was a cop on a rural beat, in one of the last remaining backwaters of the British Empire, but he’d retired from the force — as Chief — some time before. But the people in his community — Stanley, which passed for the capital of the windswept Falkland Islands in the South Atlantic — were alarmed by the news, and he had to do something. The Falklands were a British possession, claimed centuries before, and settled by a hardened breed who called themselves “Kelpers” and considered themselves and their community as British as a bowler hat.

But Argentina also had a claim to the Falklands, which it calls the Islas Malvinas, and to the even more remote, generally uninhabited, abandoned whaling station of South Georgia Island, remembered today primarily for Shackleton’s crossing of the island. Argentina has pressed that claim with greater or lesser vigor for approximately two centuries itself. (At one time or another, since their discovery in the 17th Century, the islands were claimed by Britain, France, Spain and even the United States; but the Falklands have been continuously British since the Spanish governor bugged out in 1806 as a result of British victories over Spain in the Napoleonic Wars). In the spring of 1982 Argentine dictator Gen. Leopoldo Galtieri, struggling with the chronic bane of Argentine governments since Perón, an incompetently micromanaged economy, was looking for a good patriotic issue to distract his people from their woes.

Terry-PeckInvading the Falklands looked like a smart play. The British had a navy of similar size and power to Argentina’s, but it was one that was about to get smaller: several warships, including one of the RN’s only two carriers, had already been sold overseas and were pending delivery. Argentina had an old, but jet-capable, conventional carrier, and the British ships could carry only compromised STOVL Sea Harriers. The Falklands, moreover, were extremely distant from the UK, and only 400 miles from Argentine air bases. In early 1982 rumors spread in Buenos Aires, London and Port Stanley (capital of the Falklands) alike, that the Argentines were going to invade, to give the struggling people of metropolitan Argentina a great war victory over the garrison, which then comprised about a platoon of Royal Marines.

An Argentine “emergency landing” at Port Stanley was an excuse for senior military officers, who were onboard the military-operated “airliner”, to survey their objectives. This attempted special operation was so ineptly done that it was reported to London (and Washington) within the hour of the plane’s landing.

Despite that, the British Foreign Minister, Lord Carrington, insisted he could find a peaceful solution in negotiations. Like the Japanese before Pearl Harbor, Argentina continued bad-faith negotiations while planning a surprise attack. Now that the scene is set…

Terry Peck rejoined the force as a Special Constable. It was what he knew how to do, after all.

The next day Argentina invaded.

The Royal Marine fought with Argentine special operations forces for a while, but they were outnumbered, and finally ran low on ammunition. They surrendered. Their presence had never been intended to secure the islands against an invasion, but to make an invasion an act of war on Britain itself. They were, in fact, a bluff.

Galtieri called the bluff.

Humiliated, Carrington resigned. Some elements of British public opinion called for war.

Still, they were minority elements at this point. The smart money was on Britain caving to Argentina’s fait accompli. Regaining the islands would be costly and impractical — the Argentine garrison was going to be a lot larger than a platoon. Galtieri had plans for the islands — plans that involved a brutal Argentinization of the locals, like it or not, and a flood of settlers, rewarded with whatever might be looted there — mostly rocky pastures, and sheep. Today, we’d call the Argentine plans ethnic cleansing, but the term had yet to be coined in the Balkans Wars ten years ahead.

The British probably couldn’t do it, certainly wouldn’t do it. Why, they didn’t even consider the Kelpers British subjects, not real ones — they were lumped in with the West Indians and other former Commonwealth citizens in a literal second-class citizenship that was designed to keep them from becoming a burden on the dole: they were British, sort of, but they couldn’t come to England or Britain. Galtieri was handing them a you-know-what sandwich with Argentine citizenship, but at least it was real citizenship. It would improve their odds of immigrating to the UK!

But the Kelpers, you see, thought they were British, and so they thought that Britain might need some help. The Argentines never took the inhabitants of the city seriously, but after the invasion, an underground flourished overnight, which in the early stage primarily collected and communicated intellience to MI6, using methods that mostly remain classified, but are known to have included clandestine radio transmission and smuggling by British contract workers such as teachers, whom the Argies permitted (and even encouraged) to leave.

(One known method was an amateur radio operator, lighthouse keeper Reginald Silvey. The Argentines had a list of all hams in the islands, but Reg handed over his set and let the Argies knock down his antenna. The quick-thinking resister had fobbed the polite Argentine officer off with a spare set, and had already made another antenna — they never asked why his clothesline was made of metal wire. Silvey maintained contact with the UK throughout the occupation and transmitted, and received, a great deal of valuable information).

Terry Peck, for his part, was on the collection end of this enterprise, and provided many photographs of Argentine installations and activities. He carried a camera in a length of pipe, and told any curious Argentines that he was a plumber. Most of them weren’t curious enough to ask — everyone knows Englishmen are eccentric, right? (Meanwhile the other locals, who knew him well, suspected he had lost his mind).

Peck gathered intel for several days, but then the head of the Argentine military police element, an Irishman named Patrick/Patricio Dowling, somehow figured out who he was and what he was up to. Dowling started suspecting him, and decided to arrest him. But one of his “collaborating” local constables was actually supporting Peck from inside the Argentine effort, and the word got to him long before the Argies did.

Meanwhile, GCHQ had been monitoring Argie communications, but as the Argentines established their garrisons, they ran landlines — and went off the air, limiting the electronic spies’ “take.” Could the locals do anything? Terry couldn’t — he was on the run — but local veterinarian Steve Whitley found a castrating scissor was just the thing for communications lines. The Argies went back on the air, and patrols sought the wire-cutters, Whitley and his buddy, teacher Phil Middleton. (They also continued the clandestine photography Peck had also been doing).

Terry Peck with the Paras

Terry Peck with the Paras on Longdon

With Stanley and environs too hot, Terry Peck lit out for the country, on a “borrowed” motorcycle. Being a former policeman means you know people, and one of the people he know expertly forged a new name onto Peck’s identity documents. As he traveled to outlying farms, he was pursued by Argentine officers seeking him in a Puma helicopter. The copter would land, the Argies would search for Peck and other fugitives, and then they’d leave. Once, he hid when the helicopter showed up; at the next farm, he had to brazen it out with the altered ID and the plumber story. To his relief (and, perhaps, surprise), it worked, and the correct Argentine officer reboarded his Puma and continued looking for the man he’d just politely taken leave of.

Fearing he’d bring the wrong kind of attention to the locals (none of whom ever refused him aid, he then became a one-man reconnaissance patrol, living rough in the bleak hills. He looked like a soldier, too, having armed himself with weapons buried by the surrendered Marines (another Kelper tipped him off as to where the guns were), and dressed himself in camouflage stashed by Naval personnel. He also acquired — from where, it’s not clear — a short-wave radio that let him communicate with far-flung settlements.

It was through the radio that Peck learned from San Carlos farmer Isobel Short that the men of the 5th Brigade had landed. In her improvised code, San Carlos was hosting “a lot of friends.” He took “his” motorcycle and raced to the nearest house with a telephone, and rang up San Carlos. “Let me speak to a British officer.”

To the Paras at San Carlos, Peck was a Godsend. He knew the area, and the people. He had just covered the ground they had to, in the opposite direction. He was clearly a man of versatile ability. The 3rd Battalion, Parachute Regiment, attached him to D “Patrol” Company and he was assigned to act as a guide during the move. But then, he overheard the British officers fretting about logistics. The Paras were not afraid of hiking the distance, “yomping” in the then-current British Army argot. But they had a lot of gear to move, and the battle plan had them moving it by Chinook HC.1 helicopter. The trouble with that plan was that one of the daring Argentine air attacks on the British fleet had hit the ship, Atlantic Conveyor, bringing up the ‘Hooks. All but one of the copters went up in in the Atlantic Conveyor inferno.

Peck had the answer to this. He dialed up the farmers whose generosity had fed and helped to equp him over his weeks of espionage and evasion, and called for help. And help came: Land Rovers, tractors, trailers and skids showed up and hauled Paras and their kit over the tundra-like pastures at speeds that couldn’t be a helicopter, unless the helicopter wasn’t there. That let the surviving HC.1, “Bravo November,” move only the most critical and urgent stores.

Terry Peck still wasn’t done. He, and fellow Kelper Vern Steen, participated in the reconnaissance of Mount Longdon, and then in the battle. At one point, Terry carried a wounded Para back to safety:

We carried him down this slope but sometimes we had to lie across him, because of the fire that was coming. We were catching it left, right and centre. It was lit up like Blackpool illuminations. It was really horrendous. We got this guy down into a crater caused by a shell. We had eight wounded in that hole with two medics, that’s how big the hole was.

The Land Rover logistical auxiliaries, under the “command” of Trudi McPhee (then Trudi Morrison), brought up munitions for the mortars and MGs. At the Argentine surrender, Terry Peck was on top of Mount Longdon with A Coy., Vern Steen was guarding prisoners, and Trudi and the volunteer drivers were still hauling stuff for the Crown.

The resisting islanders weren’t forgotten in the aftermath of the battle. Mrs Morrison was commended by the Task Force C-in-C, Terry Peck was made a Member of the Order of the British Empire, and (to his greater pride) an honorary member of 3rd Para. All the Kelpers were made in law what they had been in their minds all along, as they proved with their doughty resistance to occupation: British citizens with the same rights as any in England, Scotland, Wales or Norther Ireland.

Terry Peck lost his final battle, with cancer, in 2006, but his name deserves on as an inspiration to any who chafe under hostile occupation.


Uncredited. Behind Enemy Lines. Falklands: Untold Stories of the War in the South Atlantic. Stamford, Lincs.: Key Publishing, 2012. pp. 24-30.

Uncredited. Palace Barracks Memorial Gardens: the Falkland Islands. Retrieved from:

Wednesday Matinee: History’s Sons of Liberty

Well, we have something else for the Saturday Matinee (another Amazon pilot, actually, hat tip to Tam and Roberta), and we finished watching this (six hours, counting five hours of Sam Adams and Geico ads) so we’re going to unload this one this morning. Call it a Wednesday Matinee.

What Sons of Liberty is, is a sort of re-imagining of the Revolution from around 1765 to 1776, an an action flick, with Sam Adams and Paul Revere as the key action heroes. The story does hit some of the high points, including the Boston Massacre and the Battles of Lexington, Concord and Bunker Hill; but it omits others, including John Adams’s defense of the Massacre officers and the Colonial seizure of Fort Ticonderoga (and the transport of the guns to the hills overlooking Boston, which forced the British withdrawal). It fictionalizes the historic events, almost beyond recognition in some case, and it includes events that never happened, like a powder raid we’ll mention below, a sexual affair we doubt any historian ever would stand up to claim was real or even likely, and whole battles conjured from the fertile minds of scriptwriters.

As an action film set in the American Revolution, it’s pretty entertaining. Who knew that Sam Adams could swing from balconies, John Hancock blast Redcoats with a pistol, or Paul Revere throw a knife?

The series drops the ball completely on explaining why the American colonies and the Crown drifted ever closer to war in the 1760s and 70s. Apparently fearing that History Channel audiences, brains sapped by a steady diet of space alien and superstitious-inbreed reality-show Scheißdreck, couldn’t follow the conventional explanation of the Stamp Act and Coercive Acts (known in America as the Intolerable Acts), they instead explain the Revolution by making the British leaders craven brutes. (Seriously, the portrayals of General Gage and Major Pitcairn here make The Patriot’s hatchet job on a thinly-disguised Banastre Tarleton look like a careful and respectful treatment of a sympathetic and three-dimensional character).

We are spared another complete temporo-spatial transplantation of a massacre, like The Patriot’s “pre-enactment” of the 2nd SS’s butchery at Ouradour-sur-Glane. So there is that. And again, taken purely as an actioner, the miniseries is pretty good.

Acting and Production

Once you’ve accepted that this is not the history of the American Revolution, but rather Hollywood Generic Action Film Plot 3B framed by some events of the Revolution, you can appreciate what the actors are doing. They’re all pretty good, but Martin Csokas is a standout as a version of General Thomas Gage written and played with the resonant evil of a Bond villain. The guys playing the Sons are mostly young, skilled TV actors (mostly younger than the actual men they’re portraying were, but then, the actual men they’re portraying didn’t need Jackie Chan athletics to found a nation).

The Sons of Liberty, TV style. L-r: Dr Warren, Paul Revere, Sam Adams, John Hancock, John Adams.

The Sons of Liberty, TV style. L-r: Dr Warren, Paul Revere, Sam Adams, John Hancock, John Adams.

The action is constantly moving and usually attractive to the eye. The green-screen, CGI and stunts all advance the story, and are mostly cinema-quality (some of the scenes of ships are not, so much).

It is the script that is the unavoidable irritant here. The constant use of juvenile anachronisms is irritating and makes one wonder if the whole thing was drafted by someone using the free Wi-Fi in a hookah bar in Boulder. No, a senior statesman would not have described one of his allies’ ideas as “batshit crazy.”

It doesn’t go quite so far as Revere telling Dawes, “Yo, dawg, let’s roll!” but it gets close. One character actually uses the metaphor “A Bridge Too Far” for a position beyond which the Continental Congress could readily be persuaded. This metaphor came into the language from the title of a book published approximately two centuries later. We have a first edition. Bought new.

The anachronisms extend beyond the dialogue, and the characters in general act like modern men and women in frilly old costumes.

Accuracy and Weapons

There is a very peculiar thing happening with weapons in the story: while the armorers took great care to get the firearms right for the period, and the director even managed to capture some of the smoke and delay of flintlock firing, the inaccuracy of the plot makes the careful attention given to most period costumes, etc.

The flintlocks appear to all be Brown Besses, but in keeping with the miniseries’s anachronistic nature, everybody calls them, “rifles,” not “muskets” or “firelocks,” as 18th-Century natives would have done. They are all polished bright, which seems to be correct for King’s Regulations of the period.

Cannon are shown here and there — they’re just generic props without much effort at realism. The Redcoats in the show all wear the same color facings.

But while the guns themselves are more or less period correct, the history of how the militia got them is all wrong, as the Journal of the American Revolution explains:

Given all of this, the scene where Adams and Hancock meet a man about acquiring guns and men to fire them is ridiculous. Since Queen Anne’s War, and even before, Massachusetts had a militia law (that was in line with the English Constitution); each citizen had a right to keep privately-owned arms and ammunition. When the Massachusetts committees took a count of their fighting force in 1774, they had thousands of men to call upon to fight—these were colony-trained militia which had existed for well over 100 years. The Massachusetts Provincial Congress had more trouble acquiring artillery and did authorize Warren to talk to men in Boston trained in those types of guns.

These men trained openly, not in the woods as shown in the episode. It was actually the law in Massachusetts to drill every few months. Gage knew this and didn’t make any attempt to stop this from happening. And he did not disarm the population; that is an oft-repeated myth that the series picks up and uses without any critical thought. Gage did not touch privately-owned guns and munitions because seizing private property would violate the law—the very thing Gage held dear.

Lord Percy, one of Gages’ subordinates, and other officers were quite upset about this. Percy noted, “The Gen’l has not yet molested them in the least. They have even free access to and from this town, tho’ armed with firelocks [muskets], provided they only come in small nos [numbers].”

But the historical accuracy of the action is completely lacking. There’s a daring raid on a powder store in an armory modeled on that at Colonial Williamsburg, that never took place. The British leave Boston pursuant to negotiations, but in fact they were forced out by rebel domination of the harbor, once Henry Knox (whose descendants may breathe a sigh of relief that he was not portrayed in the miniseries) delivered the cannon from Ticonderoga. Lexington and Concord are bloodier that small-h history shows, and the TV versions took place in large, empty fields while Lexington in particular was fought in and near the town. In fact, the whole miniseries ends with Washington facing Gage in a pitched battle at New York (in the real world, the Continental Army withdrew). We could go on (it seems like we already have, doesn’t it?), but the Journal of the American Revolution has gone into greater depth for you.

The bottom line

The History Channel seems to have concluded that its viewers want anything but small-h history, and who are we to argue with them? It’s a fun miniseries, but will be more enjoyable the less you know of the actual history.

For more information

These sites relate to this particular film.

  • DVD instant video page (at $9-10 an episode? Save your money, it’s supposed to be streaming for free on the History Channel website):

  • IMDB page:

  • IMFDB page:

nothing yet

  • Rotten Tomatoes review page (55%, rotten):

  • Wikipedia  page:

When Guns are Outlawed, Only Outlaws Will Try to Bum Them From Cops

deondraehallMeet Deondrae Hall, who thought he was on really good terms with the Boynton Beach, FL police. How good? Well, good enough that he thought a detective might find this offer compelling:

Hey, let me use your gun! I need to use your gun to take care of some niggas who robbed me.

For some reason — perhaps a deep-seated conviction that #BlackLivesMatter? — the detective turned Mr Hall down, while noting that the man seemed somewhat the worse for drink and/or drugs.

We’ll let Detective Vargas tell the story, preserving the poetry of his own imperfect but functional grammar and syntax:

On January 22nd, 2015 at approximately 07:13 hours. I was walking into the Boynton Beach Police Department from the patrol parking lot when I looked over and seen two black males standing on Northeast 1st Avenue engaged in an argument in front of the Boynton Beach Police Department sally port.

Note to malefactors everywhere: the world is yours. Electing to use the part of it immediately adjacent to the cop shop is sub-optimal planning. Now, back to Det. Vargas, whom we so rudely interrupted:

As I continued to walk towards the police department one of the males, later
identified as Deondrae Hall, called me over and asked “HEY LET ME USE YOUR GUN!” Upon denying his request and questioning him why he wanted to use my gun, Deondrae stated “I NEED TO USE YOUR GUN TO TAKE CARE Of SOME NIGGA’S WHO ROBBED ME’.

Now, why would Mr Hall ever think that a detective would lend him a gun? Was the guy on something? Well…

As I walked closer to investigation, it was obvious that Deondrae was either under the influence of narcotic’s or alcohol as his eyes were glassy, blood shot, slurred speech and the questions that he was asking were not fitting for a person within his normal facilities to be asking a police officer. At this time, Sgt. Wallace was exiting the police department and observed what was occurring. As Sgt. Wallace walked over towards us, Deondrae asked Sgt. Wallace “HEY I NEED TO USE YOUR GUN! It was at this time, Deondrae was removed from his bicycle in which he straddled and placed under arrest for Disorderly Intoxication, pursuant to
Florida State Statute 856.011, as his repeated requests to use and/ or need a firearm to handle an incident that took place only reinforced the belief that if released he would endanger the safety and/ or property of another.

And now we see another reason not to do your criminal bidness on the doorstep of the municipal coppery:

Search incident to arrest. I located a small translucent pink bag which contained a small amount of a white powdery substance which I suspected to be powder cocaine due to my training and experience. Suspected cocaine later tested positive for the presence of cocaine after I utilized a NIK cocaine test kit.

And, for those of you who might be inclined to emulate Deondrae, write this down: do not go out of your way to have discussions with cops when your hip pockets are full of contraband. It just isn’t prudent, although we think “prudent” is an adjective never, ever used to describe Mr Hall.

Do you think he could do anything to make his situation even worse? Why, yes; yes, he could, as it happens:

Subsequently, Deondrae made a threatening statements towards Sgt. Wallace and myself which were believed to have been made to influence and/ or change the outcome of this case. This threat was *I HAVE A GLOCK 40 FOR YOUR PUSSY ASS BITCH!” Deondrae also made several obscene commits such as “FUCK YOU JUICY PUSSY CRACKER BITCH!” & “BITCH MOTHER FUCKER!” Some of these obscenities were announced and yelled several times

Needless to say, that affidavit supported several charges against the imprudent Mr Hall.

Not that the readers of this blog need them, but there are a few handy rules of thumb for interacting with the police, like:

  1. Don’t seek them out when you’re all messed up;
  2. Don’t go out of your way to contact them when you’re doing something illegal;
  3. Don’t ask them to assist you in your
  4. Don’t resist when they’ve decided to arrest you. That decision means you are getting arrested; all resistance can do is get you a thumping, and more charges. And guess what? You’re still arrested.
  5. Don’t threaten the cops. First, the sheer volume of threats means the cop’s certainly been threatened by someone more intimidating than you, and yet, he’s still here.
  6. If you are going to threaten a cop, don’t threaten him with a gun he knows you don’t have, because you were just asking to borrow his.

via Never Ask A Cop To Borrow His Gun | The Smoking Gun.

Contra every TV detective show, ever, most criminals are not cunning masterminds; they’re lamebrains like Deondrae, who couldn’t think themselves out of a life of crime.

He’s Feeling Gladius All Over

OK, now that we’ve shown our age with a pop-music pun that 90% of the audience will not get, we want to send you to the imgur link where  Sir Keyboard Commando, whoever he may be, converts this piece of steel stock:


…to this replica of a Roman gladius, the short sword of the legions.



SKC made the sword from 1075 steel alloy by, essentially, cutting away everything that didn’t look like a Roman sword.

The page shows a photo essay of the whole process:

  1. laying out the outline with machinist’s layout die and a scribing tool;
  2. cutting the shape with a bandsaw;
  3. grinding to section;
  4. draw-filing to a smooth, ripple-free surface;
  5. heat-treating in a homemade furnace;
  6. quenching;
  7. tempering in a kitchen oven.

And best of all, he can say, “I made it myself!”

If Guns Don’t Cause Crime… What Does?

question markWe all know the arguments. Sure, a gun in the wrong hands can mete out violence, death, loss, and suffering. But the same gun in the right hands can bring joy. It can be a family heirloom, murmoring comfort across generations. And it can be a bulwark of righteousness, defending the weak from arbitrary cruelties at the hands of the strong and lawless.

The same gun, the very same. So we do not believe that guns cause crime.

If guns do not, though, what does? 

Open wide!

What if free will and bad choices aren’t the only reasons some criminals come to this?

Criminologist Adrian Raine of the University of Pennsylvania has a complex and troubling array of answers in The Anatomy of Violence: The Biological Roots of Crime. Raine’s conclusions are equally troubling no matter what preconceptions you bring to the table, whether you’re a fuzzy-headed liberal who think bad penumbras emanating from firearms produce a Boston Strangler, or whether you’re a deterministic right-winger who takes a gunsmithing approach: for the ones we can’t just shoot dead, just apply some Loc-Tite to the loose nut behind the trigger.

The book follows the usual format for a book meant to popularize science data:

  • Some anecdotes draw the reader’s interest. In this case, they’re criminal anecdotes, and a great many will illustrate the story and keep you engaged as a reader. But even in the preface, Raine is used to crime from the victim’s viewpoint. Where he lives, in Philadelphia, one must expect to be robbed and burgled, and anyway, “I like to live close to my data.” He is confident, at least, that none of the Philadelphia Wealth Redistribution Specialists will seize any of his books. What would they want with those? Another criminal encounter, in Bodrum, Turkey, is violent.
  • Then, the data are presented. These include the usual weak tea of social science, where .3 passes for a strong correlation, but also newer science based in genetics — molecular and behavioral genetics alike. While the idea that behaviors have, at least in part, molecular, genetic and therefore heritable components is widely denied in modern society, it’s not the scientists doing the denying.
  • In time, the theory takes shape. Raine’s theory, in a nutshell, is that, “biological factors early in life can propel some kids toward adult violence.” He explores this at length, at the evidence pro and con, and notes that this “Dr Jekyll” view of crime that informs his science is at odds with the “Mr Hyde” view that has come from being a violent-crime victim.
  • To the extent a non-fiction book has a climax, it comes when he suggests paths forward. Like a real (as opposed to social) scientist, though, Raine is careful to show both pros and cons of his view of the future.
  • Finally, the book ends with a call for, what else? More research.

The Anatomy of Violence is a long way from providing a single answer; while we can aggregate crime data and see some trends, we shouldn’t lose sight of the fact that each crime is a discrete act, which involves discrete individuals, not population groups or a country at large.

MonopolyJailOur answer to the question posed in the title of this post would have been, “Well, duh. Criminals cause crime, what else?” But as attractive as it might be, that simple near-tautology doesn’t answer the real question. And that is the question that Raine has actually addressed: “what causes criminals?” There are surely a multiplicity of causes. but Raine zeroes in on a couple of axes that could be developed from recorded social science data indicators: traumatic delivery at birth, and maternal rejection.

Since criminal records don’t include things like stressful deliveries (he used such proxies as prematurity, fetal-alcohol syndrome, and, surprisingly, C-section) or maternal rejection (he used proxies like the presence of the infant in government sponsored care apart from his mother during his first year), Raine had to find or make studies that correlated data about the same people from different sources — easy in, say, Scandinavian countries where there are no qualms about academic use of Government-gathered cradle-to-grave data points, harder but possible in the Anglosphere, given some imagination.

(When referring to Raine’s criminals, “his” is used advisedly; the study is primarily of violent crime, and women violent criminals are tip-of-the-distro-tail outliers both as criminals and as women, despite centuries of pursuit of equality by all right-thinking people).

You can quibble about the markers Raine chose for this hard-infancy perfecta, you can propose alternatives, you can certainly suspect that he has found a Black Swan of coincidence rather than his true correlation. But the data are striking.

It turns out that the two problems together seem to have a strong and statistically significant correlation with later-in-life criminality, but, and here’s the kicker, each one individually does not. Nearly 10% of babies who had this, as we’ve called it, hard-infancy perfecta, would later wind up as youths in trouble with the law for violent crime.

That is just one of the findings in this fascinating book.

Raine’s book looks back to Cesare Lombroso, the father of criminology, who thought that crime had a biological basis in the brain, and that criminals were throwbacks to primitive hominids. “The theory he spawned turned out to be socially disastrous,” Raine writes, but noted that Lombroso divided criminals into those who could be rehabilitated — for whom he strongly supported rehabilitation — and those that could not — for whom Lombroso’s solution, the death penalty, might be merciful. Lombroso’s approach was rejected in favor of the 20th-Century sociological approach, the failure of which is evident in most inner cities. Raine, while saying all the proper things about Lombroso’s limitations, rejects the sociological approach, and finds the answer to crime in “the dark forces of our evolutionary past.”

The behavior that seems maladaptive in today’s criminal was adaptive in the evolutionary past, and in some cases, it remains adaptive today, genetically speaking.

Raine, for his part, as a solid liberal academic, is appalled at what he has found, but seems determined to follow the data wherever it goes, regardless of his distaste for what he is learning. He seems disturbed to think what sort of social interventions might be excused if the public gets a dim, incomplete or faulty idea of what a biological basis for crime means. He has a point there; even the strongest indicators he find of criminality yield a population that’s 9/10 not criminal. Prophylactically incarcerating everyone with birth trauma and a lousy mother would fill the prisons with innocent men who have overcome these disadvantages — an outcome that the data suggest is more common that being overcome by them.

(That says something about the resilience of human beings, doesn’t it? We’re pretty robust critters, for all the first-world-problems whining by “traumatized” spoiled children).

The answer, of course, is to continue to follow the data and learn, and cautiously to pursue societal interventions, if any, that seem likely to reduce those birthing and infantile traumas and other causative factors. Meanwhile we must continue to deal with crime and criminals the only way a free society can: as individual acts by individuals and small groups of individuals. Courts with their wooly-headed judges, posturing lawyers, and gutter-swept juries are not a perfect system, just better than everything else humanity has tried since Hammurabi’s day. (You wouldn’t want to be governed by his laws; go look them up).

One of the very best predictors of violent crime, for example, is being on parole or probation for violent crime. The societal intervention suggests itself, and the last several decades’ experiment with increased incarceration of the violent seems to have proved out, as most violent crime metrics have decreased as criminals have been disabled from their preferred vocations (or avocations) by being locked up. But whatever we do must be done whilst preserving the natural rights of men — yes, even of criminals. Anything else would be unworthy of the system bequeathed us by the Age of the Enlightenment.

When Guns are Outlawed, only Outlaws will have Thumbs

Here’s a statistic calculated to shock, but from a credible source:

According to the National District Attorneys Association, 10% of violent deaths in the United States are attributable to strangulation. That is a huge number, and one that demands police officers properly investigate and document strangulation cases. Recognizing the signs of strangulation is the first step in prosecuting this type of battery.

via Investigating Domestic Violence Strangulation :: Blue Sheepdog.

Click on through to the link to see the signs. Ever since reading this article we’re looking at everybody’s eyes and eyelids.

No strangulation victims yet, but they’re out there.

The article also explains the technical difference between choking and strangulation. It may be a  distinction without a difference to the decedent, but it matters to those who would prosecute him.

We asked Mayor Bloomberg to fund our great new non-profit moneymaker selfless enterpriseEverytown Against Strangle Violence, but he doesn’t return our calls. He must be a very busy man.

AECA Export Licensing is No Joke

hsi_badgeA small local corporation and two of its principals are now felons, thanks to playing fast and loose with export licensing on two aircraft fuel gauges. A long investigation by HSI, ICE and DCIS investigators led to arrests and guilty pleas this month.

Charges were filed on May 14, 2014 alleging that Netria exported aircraft parts to Malaysia without a license from the U.S. Department of State, according to a press release from the Department of Justice.

The investigation into Netria began as a result of an inquiry by Netria to a Department of Homeland Security undercover storefront, with Immigration and Customs Enforcement, Homeland Security Investigations and the Defense Criminal Investigative Service working together.

Evidence gathered established that Netria had exported two Lockheed Martin Fuel Quantity Indicators; items designated “defense articles” on the United States Munitions List in violation of the Arms Export Control Act.

via Netria sentenced on violation of Arms Export Control Act – News – – Portsmouth, NH.

The company was sentenced to probation (how does that work? Checking in with your PO has got to be a production!) and fines; the two executives haven’t been formally sentenced yet.

As part of their plea agreement, Netria was sentenced to one year of probation and ordered to forfeit $12,560.

In addition, William F. McKone and Raymond L. Southworth, Jr., who comprise the board of directors of Netria, pleaded guilty to one count of violating the AECA.

The offense is a malum prohibitum one and there’s no real defense to it; the charged executives of the Netria corporation flew a trial-balloon of “ignorance of the law,” but that didn’t fly, as they’d had some training on the law’s terms.

Selling fuel gages, and even C-130 cargo plane parts, to customers in Malaysia might easily have been licensed, if the real end users were Malaysian. (The problem with this off-the-books stuff is a lot of it goes via shell companies to regimes that are supposed to be laboring under international sanctions. This is one of the ills export licensing is supposed to cure).

The HSI special agents who investigate these cases are former ICE agents, redeployed since the Department has abandoned most enforcement of immigration law.

In Case of Blizzard, Keep Calm and Shovel On

keep-calm-and-shovel-on-112The local TV stations are predicting that we’re going to get hammered with snow and wind, maybe 7 or 10 or 31 inches of the white stuff in 40 or 50 or 70 knot winds. The reporters are reporting this with the sort of glee that sportscasters everywhere but New England have lavished on Tom Brady’s undersized balls lately.

Now, this may be nothing much. After all, a big storm is to local TV what a missing plane is to CNN, or a lost blonde somewhere to Fox News: an excuse to cover it like the NSA monitors on Eric Holder’s enemies list. So some percentage of the storm predictions are simply wishful thinking by TV newspeople, the kind of dysfunctional humans who might set kittens on fire for the entertainment value of watching them burn. We looked at the aviation weather forecast and it looks like a bad-end-of-normal winter storm to us.

For the love of Mike, that’s what happens in wintertime: it gets cold, and precipitation comes down in the solid state of matter, to wit, snow. You’d think snow had never fallen this side of Narsarssuaq before, from the caterwauling and carrying on in the media.

But Here’s Something to Read if We Get Snuked1

But what if we do get snuked, and wind up off the air? How will you ever fill your blog-reading hours? Well, we have a few posts that will post on schedule. And in addition to those, we can send you over to this massive index post at The Firearm Blog:

In which, they link to all one-hundred-sixty-nine of TFB’s SHOT Show posts. Now, they run the gamut from stuff we’re kind of interested again to yawn-another-AR to things that make you just go, “Huh?” (Like the fact that you can have an artificially-distressed finish put on your gun to conceal the fact you’re a total poser. Yes, really). But no matter who you are, you’ll find something you like. We liked the Colt 1918 Self-Loading Rifle, a license-production Ohio Ordnance BAR with Colt markings and a deep, rich blue finish. We didn’t like the price tag quite so much ($8,799) but we reckon the entire batch will sell. (That means 1,000, netting Colt a topline of nearly $9 million, a lot of which will stick to retailer and jobber fingers).

Colt 1918 SLR TFB

If your taste runs more in the Teutonic direction, then Ian McCollum, familiar from his Forgotten Weapons home base but wearing his TFB hat for this report, tells us that new MP-44s and MP-38s are really, no kidding, no fooling, coming from Germany to the USA, and they’ve already cleared the significant hurdle of ATF tech approval for import. (Of course, it’s not as if their word, even in writing, means anything, as their volte-face on the SIG brace shows). Anyway, here’s the MP-38. Just looking at it gives us an urge to storm Eben Emael.


Now, not everyone gets the jones for foreign and obsolete hardware like we do. Some people want only the trendiest and most mod-ly. We got that covered. While ARs are kind of dull these days, not in .338LM (8.6 x 70) they’re not. Meet Ulfbehrt.


Yes, he’s named for the Viking sword marking we’ve discussed here before, the meaning of which is not documented, but only speculated upon. As we wrote in 2013:

No one knows who, or what, Ulfbehrt was. The name does not exist in surviving documents at all. Was it a man’s name? Perhaps not, as swords with the name were made for some 200 years. The name of a lost god? A name for the product, an early trademark? No-one knows.

There are so many mods to this Alexander Arms design, it looks closer to a Barrett than to an AR in some ways — which is fitting because of the .338 LM’s almost .50-like ballistics. But internally it’s not an AR at all — it’s more like a Degtyaryev machine gun in its flap locking system (There were a lot of them: DP-28, DA, DT, RP-48, DShK, RPD, and we’re probably forgetting a few). It just shows that the ergonomics battle is over, and the AR stands triumphant.

As these three posts show, there’s something for everyone there. There are not only more photos and information at each of those articles, there’s still the other 166 to look at.

We’ll be Back, That Is, If We Go Away at All

We survived the Blizzard of ’78 (a friend of our cousin got out his show car and went around pulling people out of snowbanks. We should probably mention that Charlie’s show car was an M3 halftrack). Indeed, we drove home from work in the Blizzard, in a 1969 Pontiac Catalina with a huge engine, a two-speed slushbox automatic, and skinny bias-ply tires, which is how most people rolled in those years before SUVs were a thing, and when Toyotas had paint the faded the first year and fenders that were a fine filigree of rust by the third, and most Hondas came with only two wheels.

So we’re fully expecting to survive this one. Our power, maybe not. Blogbrother installed an automatic generator this year so we may all wind up surfing his couches for a couple of days, if the news stations get their wish and the storm is a real disaster.


  1. “Snuked” — nuked by snow. Yes, we totally made that up.