Monthly Archives: September 2015

When Guns Are Outlawed, Only Outlaws Will Have Anti-Freeze, Duct Tape… (etc.).

Heather Leavell-Keaton. Not the Mom of the Year.

Heather Leavell-Keaton. Not the Mom Of The Year.

Meet Heather Leavell-Keaton, living (for now) proof that the Wicked Stepmother isn’t just a fictional trope or figment of Grimm history. They’re really out there, and the Brothers Grimm had no idea just how wicked they could get.

Heather Leavell-Keaton was sentenced to die by lethal injection Thursday, six months after the children’s father, John DeBlase, was handed the same sentence.

As we always ax ourselfs, at this juncture: what’d she do? Oh, this:

Keaton was found guilty of poisoning the children, Natalie, 5, and Chase, 3, with anti-freeze in their meals but it was the choking that ultimately killed them, the court heard.

Keaton felt her boyfriend's two kids were rivals for his attention.

Keaton felt her boyfriend’s two kids were rivals for his attention.

After enduring months of being burned with cigarettes and hot candle wax, the oldest child was duct-taped and stuffed inside of a suitcase for 12 hours in March 2010.

When she was finally released she was choked and her body dumped in a garbage bag in woods near Citronelle, Ala.

Three months later, after detectives say Natalie’s brother started crying and asking about her in public, creating a “liability,” Chase was taped to a broom handle and left in the corner of the couple’s bedroom overnight.

Eventually he too was choked to death and his body tossed in woods outside Vancleave, Miss. in Dec. 2010. Their skeletal remains were found a few days later.

via Alabama woman sentenced to death for kids’ torture, murder – NY Daily News.

We can explain the “skeletal remains found a few days later” bit. The kids were killed and quite some time elapsed before the bodies were thrown away. And they were only found when the murderers gave up the grave location — after being arrested.

john-de-blase

John DeBlase. Aka “The Predator.” Not the Dad Of The Year, either.

The guy and the gal pointed fingers at each other, but the kids were murdered and their bodies thrown away while they were together, so two separate juries concluded that they were both, to one sufficient extent or another, guilty of these crimes.

Certainly none of them said anything about it, until they had a falling out, and then Heather Leavell-Keaton told the police, in the hopes of getting John DeBlase in trouble. She succeeded, as far as that went, but got herself in trouble too. Now they’re both on Death Row. Ah, l’amour perdu.

There are several different stories, told by the suspects, about how and why the kids were killed, although the how is really pretty clear: they were tortured, poisoned with anti-freeze, and ultimately asphyxiated by strangulation. Here’s another story:

Leavell-Keaton, a former Spring Hill College student, poisoned Natalie with anti-freeze after Natalie had given her “the cold shoulder,” according to prosecutors. She died and her body was dumped March 4, 2010 in the woods near Citronelle.

All in all, some people give Homo sapiens a bad name.

What did John DeBlase do for a living? He was employed, apparently, on…

…the local professional wrestling circuit, where John DeBlase portrayed a burly masked character with dreadlocks known as “The Predator.”

The Predator. Words fail. Good luck with that in the jug, and better luck to both of you as you get set to ride the needle.

Syrian Pilots in Russian Jets? Color us Skeptical.

Reportedly, air strikes are being flown by Syrian pilots in new aircraft, freshly delivered by Russia. This is an excellent opportunity to exercise our well-oiled skepticism.

Russian combat airplanes at Latakia, Syria. From The Aviationist, which also explains how stealthily they got there.

Russian combat airplanes at Latakia, Syria. From The Aviationist, which also explains how stealthily they got there. They retain Russian markings.

Another photo showing the Su-24s, also.

Another photo showing the Su-24s, also. Via the Aviationist, these pictures both embiggen. Russians are using a parallel runway for parking because of the poorly maintained and paved ramps in Latakia. The air-to-air fighters are parked for the fastest access to the active (presumably 17R). Token fighter cover suggests they don’t seriously expect to be attacked.

Why be skeptical? Well, one is reminded here of the history:

Fact: In Korea, Russian pilots flew jets with Nork markings. Over 30 Soviet pilots became aces flying, outnumbered, against the US Air Force. The US knew this and, inexplicably, classified it, helping the Russians keep their secrets.

Fact: In Vietnam, Russian pilots flew jets with PAFVN markings. (Russians also manned and controlled SA-2 Guideline sites, which was arguably much more important to the DRV). The US knew this and, inexplicably, classified it, helping the Russians keep their secrets. Interestingly enough, LBJ stopped American attacks on North Vietnam once the Russians showed up, something the US seems to have forgotten, but Russia evidently remembers. (Link) (Link).

Russian-language interview with pilot/advisor Vassily Kolot, with a little bit of period training video with a Russian instructor teaching a Vietnamese pilot:

No proof there that Russian pilots flew combat missions, but it’s hinted at.

Fact: The Syrian Air Force has never been effective. It lost every air fight to Israel, and unlike the Egyptians or Jordanians, without giving the Israelis much of a scare. In the present civil war it has been unable to conduct any precision attacks up to now; it has used discredited 20th Century tactics of carpet bombing and it has even done that ineffectually, despite complete lack of enemy air opposition or organized air defense.

So the Syrian Air Force, which is maxed out rolling a barrel of ANFO out of the tailgate of an AN-12 in a zero-threat environment, and which has a deep institutional history of failure and defeat, supposedly took the keys of late model Russian jets and suddenly started flying like Russians. Those are some really transformative airframes, huh? Except, the ground attack aircraft in Syria are Su-24s and -25s, good, solid planes, but not magical.

Fact: The Russians have warned the Syrian opposition that they had better treat prisoners IAW international laws and norms. Gee, why would they suddenly do that? It must be sheer humanitarian concern for the opposition’s Alawite prisoners (who have, it seems, been at least as badly treated as Assad treats his own non-Alawite captives, and maybe worse; and ISIL’s treatment of captives has set new records for barbarity).

The US Intelligence Community knows who’s sitting in those ejection seats. Right now, they’re helping somebody keep that secret. Or they think they are.

Rifle Training, Fort Jackson, 1970s

OK, so there’s a new toy at the Unconventional Warfare Operations Research Library, and it’s a book scanner. First thing we tried to scan was a 1970s basic training “yearbook.” Like every student yearbook, it’s 95% stock content with 5% varying with each class, being the pictures of the current teachers and graduates. We did a hasty scan of the document, then edited out all the non-gun stuff.

1970s rifle training.pdf

So this is what M16A1 era basic training looked like on the only base that was, then, experimenting with integrated male/female training units. Check out the funny women’s uniforms — there was a female fatigue uniform which was made from the nylon stuff of late jungle fatigues and survived about two pressings, and female drill instructors wore a hideous knock off of an Australian bush hat. (Pretty sure women now wear the regular Smokey Bear hat).

Most of the troops attending basic at Jackson would go on to Combat Support and Combat Service Support jobs. Other bases trained Combat Arms (Infantry at Benning, Armor at Knox, Artillery at Sill). The Engineers trained at Fort Leonard Wood.

Rifle training was supposedly standardized across all training bases, and had several distinct phases or blocks of instruction:

  1. Mechanical training: operate, strip, clean, reassemble, and function-check the M16A1.
  2. Basic Rifle Marksmanship (BRM). Hold factors, sight picture, breathing, trigger, etc.
  3. Zero. Achieve a good battle-sight zero on the M16A1 with the Canadian Bull target.
  4. Field Firing. On a Trainfire (pop-up target) range, trainees practice shooting.
  5. Record Fire. On a Trainfire record fire range, engage targets from 50 to 300 meters.

After record fire, the green-fatigued troops could put a camouflage cover on their steel M1 helmets. The cover had a green side and a brown side, the brown side is seldom seen.

There were also familiarization fires such as NBC fire (5 or 10 rounds with a mask on), night fire (shot at day through light-limiting goggles — yes, really!), automatic fire from the bipod, and support weapons including the M60 (a few rounds) and the M72A1 LAW (for all but one or two lucky dogs per cycle, using the subcaliber device). Some of these are shown in the excerpt.

Yeah, the excerpt is rough. We’re still getting the hang of the scanner. Fujitsu SV600.

Hey! Want a (repro) M1A1 Carbine stock?

We normally never make a second post on a Sunday, but here’s a deal from SARCO that pumpkins at the end of the weekend (specifically, at 0900 Monday), so here it is, however late. We’ve been happy SARCO customers for so many years we’d have to cut off a leg and count the rings to be sure… a long time. The junk they have changes over the years, but them having fascinating junk is something you can always rely on.

Initially, they only offered free shipping on this stock and some other items this weekend, but then they came back later Saturday and cut the price on the stock to a pretty sweet $120. The stock is ready to go on, but you have to reuse the barrel retaining spring from your original. Some buyers have noted some minor fitting is necessary (others have not needed to do any).

M1A1CarbineFoldingParatrooperStock1CRB098

The gestalt of the repro is right. If the photo is representative, it’s a very close match to an original we once had (the metal parts on the original were more typical WWII gray-green Parkerizing, which Parkerizing gurus assure us is patina of age).

But at $120 it’s a really good deal, in 2015. (This isn’t 1985 when the carbine was $120, sorry).

Better still, if you need more than one, the price drops to $103.31 with a purchase of three. Assembled, with a carbine, sling, and the missing spring, it looks like this:

M1A1 in Repro Stock

(The oiler which holds the sling in place on a wood-stocked M1/2/3 is missing from that photo. It would snap in to this side of the “cheek piece.” The other side has a thin, natural-colored leather pad).

The stock is a repro and will not enhance the value of your original M1 (indeed, it may detract; if you do swap stocks, retain the original to preserve resale value). With M1s banned from reimportation due to the Obama Administration ruling them “assault rifles,” the firearm is popular enough to be reproduced by several makers, and they’re fun to shoot and give you that “Band of Brothers” vibe. While plinking with an M1 Garand feels like blasphemy (shouldn’t we be chasing X-rings?), plinking with the M1 Carbine is like a grown-up’s .22. (OK, with today’s ammo prices, a rich grown-up’s .22).

Hmm. Last time we bought an M1A1 stock (an original, even), we had to build a carbine in it. (Then we swapped the carbine for an AK. Not our most brilliant investment. Hey, AKs were rare before the mid eighties). Now, we don’t actually have a carbine. If we bought one (or more) of these stocks… but the gunsmithing benches are covered with plane parts. What to do?

Here’s the link: http://www.e-sarcoinc.com/m1m2carbineparatrooperstock.aspx

Social Sunday

But it isn’t, really. We’re sitting here with an armload of Small Dog, dictating this message. SD and your humble blogger are home alone, after a very social day yesterday, with the rare family dinner out and some hanging out at the blog bro’s house while he and his wife went to a family friend’s wedding.

Had a fun time driving a nephew nuts by pretending to psychoanalyze him:

“Let’s go back to your childhood. Describe your relationship with your mother.”

“My relationship with my mother is just fine. Are you crazy?”

“And how long have you had these imaginary friends?”

“I don’t have any imaginary friends!”

“Oh, how sad. You don’t even have imaginary friends. What a heartbreak, you poor child. What is it like not to have any friends?”

[Shouting] “I have friends! They’re real friends, not imaginary ones!”

“Now, relax. Just relax; close your eyes and lie back on the couch. Try to control your anger.”

[Really shouting now] “I’m not angry!”

Ah, good times. Try it sometime when you have a kid whose mind you want to mess with.

But that was yesterday, and today has Plaintiff and Kid pursuing family out of state,

So really, until we depart for Crazy Nephew’s birthday party this evening, we’re all alone here in the Manor, apart from the insistent presence of Small Dog, the lap-seeking missile. We’re just basking in the reflected glow of a social Saturday, and meaning to get the overdue Saturday posts (Matinee and TW3) up sometime today, and get ahead of this week. We may go, schedule permitting, to see the Collings Foundation’s aircraft, which will be in the Nashua, NH airport (KASH on your flight plan) this week. But we have a bunch of this work to do, plus a little airplane clecoing and riveting, and a lot of the other work that leads to filthy lucre; sometimes we must divert the mission to ensure that a few of someone’s spare coppers clink into our cup.

When Guns Are Outlawed, Only Outlaws Will Have Parole Boards

jerry active hoodieMeet this fine creepy cat, Jerry Active, who is a hood even when he’s not in a hoodie. He’s also the poster child for ending parole and reinstating the death penalty for child rape, but we’ll get to that.

[Jerry] Active, who was 24 at the time of the killing, had been released early from prison just hours before the attacks, according to state officials.

He was set free on probation after serving part of a seven-year sentence for pleading guilty to breaking into an Alaska home in 2009 and sexually assaulting a child and other residents.

“Mr. Active’s actions will remain a scar on the community,” Anchorage Superior Court Judge Philip Volland said, according to the Alaska Dispatch News.

So what’d he do to celebrate when the Parole Board marked him “rehabilitated” and decanted him into the sea of the public? This is not a good sign:

“These murders were senseless, brutal, bloody and bloodthirsty.”

via Man who raped 2-year-old, killed couple gets 359 years – NY Daily News.

We’ll spare you the details, because the generalities are grim enough:

The monster was found guilty in April of beating to death 71-year-old Touch Chea and his 73-year-old wife Sorn Sreap after raping Sreap and her 2-year-old great-granddaughter, police said.

He also sexually assaulted a 90-year-old woman, who died in June.

The sickening attack had shaken investigators for its brutality. Seasoned detectives had called the crimes the “worst thing they had ever seen in their lives,” police department spokeswoman Anita Shell said at the time.

The Togiak, Alaska, man entered the doomed family’s home at random in May 2013.

Active has a ready explanation. He dindu nuffin’ and was … drumroll please! … a victim. A victim of what, you ask? (Second, more ominous drumroll please!) Raaaaacism. No, seriously:

A white jury that failed to correctly interpret the evidence was to blame for his convictions, Active said.

Well, a white jury, his DNA inside the elderly woman and the baby, his presence on the scene when others, and then the police, arrived, and eyewitness testimony. Apart from that, and his history of criminal depravity, Active seems innocent, you know?

His lawyer banged on the table:

Defense attorney Chong Yim asked Superior Court Judge Philip Volland if his client had received a fair trial. He questioned whether the parties empanelled a fair and impartial jury.

The defense had asked for a change of venue for the trial, and despite Active’s notoriety the court refused, Yim said.

Also, evidence was insufficient, Yim said. The attorney pointed out that Active, 27, is still a young man, and he told Volland he planned on filing an appeal.

From a news story at the time of the crime:

The toddler’s parents returned from a movie to this Anchorage home and found Active naked in a bedroom with the child and the great-grandparents dead, Anchorage police said.

To the [fill in the blank] attorney Chong Yim, who is every bit as evil as his pal Jerry Active, that’s not “evidence.”

Nice little threat from the lawyer, too: “My client is still a young man. He got out of jail to attack again last time… do you feel lucky, judgie-wudgie?”

Maybe the judge does. It is unlikely Active will be paroled this time. Judge Volland suspended 45 years of his sentence, but it’s a 404-year sentence, and the judge dealt with the turn-em-loose-Bruces of the parole board by, “limiting Active’s access to discretionary parole,” a seldom-used penalty enhancement in Alaskan law. So this time, ceteris paribus, Active should be getting out in 2374 or so. Sure, he can’t do 359 years, but he can do the best he can, eh?

…although [Judge Volland] doubted that Active would ever get that chance. The Alaska Court of Appeals generally opposes such rulings against young defendants, but the judge said the circumstances of the crimes warranted the restriction.

Ya think? People like the Pope say that the death penalty is wrong. Active’s life matters, and that, by extension, Touch Chea and Sorn Sreap’s don’t, nor does the damage a human pathogen like Active did to the two people he raped, and to Von and Minesoreta Seng, the parents of the raped child. He assaulted them violently (and whose testimony formed part of the evidence against Active that he and his oily mouthpiece are pretending doesn’t exist).

On the other hand, for most of the history of this country, until the advent of pro-criminal supreme courts in the 20th Century, no one would have doubted what to do with this stain in the gene pool. Indeed, for most of the history of the Republic, he’d have been hung for the prior rape.

Active’s criminal career is an illustration of the profound failure of parole and probation as tools for controlling crime. It is confusing as reported at the time of his 2013 arrest:

Active, who had pleaded guilty to breaking into a Dillingham, Alaska, home in 2009 and sexually assaulting a child and other residents, was released from prison on probation on Saturday morning [25 May 13] after serving part of a seven-year sentence, said Kaci Schroeder, a spokeswoman for the Alaska Department of Corrections.

It was not immediately clear why Active was allowed to serve less than his full sentence. Schroeder said she did not have certain details about his case.

He was released from prison in Anchorage at 8:09 a.m. Saturday, about 12 hours before the crimes were reported, Schroeder said.

Active has a lengthy court record, with several misdemeanor arrests prior to the 2009 felony case. He was first released on the Dillingham case on October 2, 2011, but violated probation and was sent back to prison two days later, according to records Schroeder released.

Since then he has been in and out of prison after committing other probation violations, Schroeder said.

  1. Prior to 2007: numerous small-time crimes, usually involving Judgment Juice
  2. 3 Nov 2007: first felony: five felony charges stemming from a burglary (including second-degree burglary, third-degree criminal mischief and furnishing alcohol to a minor in a local-option community). He pleads to the alcohol charge, a Class C felony.
  3. 2009: crime & arrest. (first-degree burglary, second-degree sexual assault, second-degree sexual abuse of a minor and fourth-degree assault, attempted sexual abuse of a minor and criminal trespass).
  4. 2010: conviction. He pleads on the attempted sexual abuse charge. Sentence: widely reported as 7 years, it’s more like 4 in prison + 4 probation, plus 15 years on the sex offender registry.
  5. 2 Oct 11: Release years early.  
  6. 4 Oct 11: New crime & arrest. Back to the jug. Briefly.
  7. 11 Nov 12: New crime & arrest. Violating probation by “assault, providing false information to an officer and resisting or interfering with an officer.” New sentence, four months, parole not revoked. 
  8. 5 Feb 13: Released early from the token sentence.
  9. 17 Feb 13: Violates parole/probation by drinking, and gets arrested again. Probation officer recommends a year. Judge says Court of Appeals loves them some crims, that wouldn’t stick, so new sentence, five months. That’ll show him.
  10. 25 May 13: 0800 released from prison years early despite his violent record and his repeated parole/probation failures.
  11. 25 May 13: Within 12 hours he was committing more violent crimes, including two murders by beating and two violent rapes, one of a child.
  12. 25 May 13: Minutes after fleeing the scene he is apprehended by police.
  13. 24 April 15: Guilty on all counts.
  14. 21 Aug 15: Sentenced to a “Parole this, you cretins” 404 years, of which the judge suspends 45.

You have to wonder (a) when #15 is going to be added to that list, and (b) why we don’t just whack child rapists.

Well, we have the answer to (b) at hand. It’s Coker v. Georgia and, precisely, Kennedy v. Louisiana, which concluded that the life of a rapist, and, precisely, a violent kiddie diddler, was more precious than that of his victim. Kennedy was the brainchild of child-rape supporter and Hero of NAMBLA Jeffrey L. Fisher, a Stanford law professor. If you want to know why Touch Chea and Sorn Sreap are dead, it’s because that’s the outcome Jeffrey Fisher wanted and pursued. His is the evil that turned a thousand Actives loose. If you ever run into him, say thank you.

VA Abandoned Vets to Support Golf and Wine-Tasting For Decades

VA-veterans-affairsTwo LA landowners, Arcadia de Baker and John Percival Jones gave a VA forerunner, the National Home for Disabled Volunteer Soldiers, 400 acres of property in Los Angeles in 1888. For 80 years their gift was honored, but starting during the Nixon Administration in 1970, the VA, as the successor to the NHDVS, cleared the property of vets and began using it for things that were more rewarding to VA managers and LA movers and shakers. Part of it became UCLA’s baseball stadium. Part became an exclusive golf course. Much was used by well-connected crony corporations for a wide variety of uses. Some was pimped out to local government and its support contractors for uses that the VA finds superior to taking care of vets, like parking old school buses.

The VA recently lost a suit, kicking and screaming, and will have to use its urban land treasure for the benefit of veterans. But it’s not done screwing rank and file vets on this.

Following a class-action lawsuit brought on behalf of homeless veterans and the descendants of Arcadia de Baker, the wealthy widow of two powerful landowners, a plan to return the valuable parcel to the service of veterans is due next month. The Department of Veterans Affairs, working with a specially appointed committee, will honor the intentions of Baker and John Percival Jones, a silver baron, one-time U.S. senator from Nevada and founder of Santa Monica, when they left the land to the National Home for Disabled Volunteer Soldiers in 1888.

“The misuse of the West Los Angeles campus is particularly offensive because of that donation,” David Sapp, of the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) of Southern California, told FoxNews.com.

While the property did serve as a refuge for tens of thousands of veterans scarred in battles ranging from the Civil War to the Vietnam War, something changed in the 1970s. There was no shortage of wounded veterans, yet the VA emptied out the sprawling grounds known as the West Los Angeles Campus and began renting property out for all sorts of uses that had nothing to do with veteran care.

via No more golf, wine-tasting: Prime LA land deeded for soldiers’ care to return to intended use | Fox News.

So what’s wrong with this? It’s the way the VA’s going to comply. Rather than simply go to work to help the vets — an idea that’s simply anathema to VA managers — instead, they’ve set up a committee, indeed, a “specially appointed committee,” as it says up there, with every pressure group and social justice faction represented.

You a vet? They don’t care. Combat vet? Nope. Wounded vet? Get outa here. But if you’re some kind of pressure-group vet, some hyphen-American member of a recognizable and recognized minority (especially one that all these Social Justice Warriors on the committee approve of), then a windfall may be coming your way.

Oh, and don’t worry about anything happening to UCLA’s stadium. Veterans may have weaseled their way into the organization’s name, but they can’t get VA officials first-baseline tickets.

We could say that VA leaders are “despicable,” but the Bond Villians Union would probably send a member to slap a glove across our face and demand satisfaction for using their word on the even-more-evil VA managers.

Saved By the Bell (Contract): Colt? Not So Fast.

colt_bankruptcy_bannerFor once, the Friday night news dump wasn’t bad news. Last night the news broke that everybody’s favorite Chapter 11 case had received a large contract for up to $212 million for new M4A1 carbines. Or did it?

For coverage, here’s TFB. But we also found an interesting detail in the official release. See if you can spot it:

Colt Defense LLC, West Hartford, Connecticut (15QKN-15-D-0102); and FN America LLC, Columbia, South Carolina (W15QKN-15-D-0072), were awarded a $212,000,000 firm-fixed-price multi-year contract for M4 and M4A1 carbines for the Army and others, with an estimated completion date of Sept. 24, 2020. Bids were solicited via the Internet with six received. Funding and work location will be determined with each order. Army Contracting Command, Picatinny Arsenal, New Jersey, is the contracting activity.

Did you see it? Let’s emphasize it for you, eh?

Colt Defense LLC, West Hartford, Connecticut (15QKN-15-D-0102); and FN America LLC, Columbia, South Carolina (W15QKN-15-D-0072), were awarded a $212,000,000 firm-fixed-price multi-year contract for M4 and M4A1 carbines for the Army and others, with an estimated completion date of Sept. 24, 2020. Bids were solicited via the Internet with six received. Funding and work location will be determined with each order. Army Contracting Command, Picatinny Arsenal, New Jersey, is the contracting activity.

OK, let’s translate that from Defense Acquisition to English for you:

  1. There’s a new contract for M4 and M4A1 Carbines (is anyone still using the burst-fire M4? USMC?).
  2. Both Colt and FN are approved vendors of these carbines under this contract. (There are many reasons a contract might be split like this, including maintaining second-sources for the sake of the defense industrial base, or ensuring the survivor of a competitor so that future bids aren’t expensively sole-sourced). They will provide carbines at the prices set in their contracts: as many, and as often, as DOD requires, up to $212 million worth between both firms.
  3. This contract runs for five years, and $212M is its max value over both vendors over all five years.

Therefore, if the orders were evenly split between companies and year-to-year, the contract’s worth $21.2 million a year each for five years. However, it’s unlikely that the contract will be evenly split like that.

At a bare minimum, the contract’s good news for FN and for Colt. For one thing, both of them can continue to claim that their carbine is “issue” as they sell their wares into the private market, which is much larger than the military market. (Private gunowners in America buy more AR-15 rifles in a year than the US military would need to completely re-equip its entire inventory).

There are some possible downsides of this contract from the point-of-view of resolving Colt’s bankruptcy and management issues. As Nathaniel at TFB notes, Colt may have bid so low it was reasonably assured of a win, but if so, it could a hard time meeting the bid price economically. More seriously, the company’s desperate financial straits were holding the managers’ feet to the fire in their ongoing conflict with investors (to be specific, bondholders). Removing present management is necessary for real success. The current managers/owners appear to excel at financial machinations, but they are poor at product and marketing. They utterly failed to take advantage of having the most wanted firearm brand, during the greatest run on firearms in American history.

It’s almost as if they’d rather play Wall Street games than win by producing high-demand products at a profit. So having a contract to keep the lights on and doors open may, paradoxically, delay the “creative destruction” needed to fully reform the company and the brand.

Still, the M4/A1 contract may keep Colt workers at work and ensure that American service members will have suitable firearms, while Ordnance goes back to the drawing board in pursuit of the Next Big Thing™.

FridayTour d’Horizon: 2015 Week 39

We’ll cover the usual subjects: Guns, Usage and Employment, Cops ‘n’ Crims, Unconventional (and current) Warfare, and Lord Love a Duck!

Guns

We really wanted to write more about these gun stories. So many guns, so few fingers….

HK94/MP5 Loader

Loading SMG mags is a pain. A mag loader eases the pain. Q.E.D.

This one is made by B&T, available (now, anyway) for MP5s and clones from HK Parts. (They stress that this version only works with HK MP5s and clones, and warn that it must be lubed or will break).

Judge Rules for ATF, Against SIG

Latest round in the go-around on the SIG MPX is-it-a-break-or-a-silencer set-to is concluded, and a judge in New Hampshire awarded all the points to ATF, granting them summary judgment. Under Federal precedents giving great deference to regulatory agencies, the ATF had to demonstrate was that there was some rational basis, any rational basis, for its ruling, and the Judge, a relic of the Poppy Bush administration, ruled that the ATF had done so.

Usage and Employment

The hardware takes you only half way.

Don’t be That Kid

Battle Creek, Michigan. The Detroit Free Press picked this one up from the Battle Creek Enquirer:

Officers said the boy, who lives in the apartment building, entered an unlocked apartment and found the handgun and accidentally shot himself in the hand.

He was taken to Bronson Battle Creek for treatment and the injury is not life-threatening.

Officers are still investigating the circumstances that allowed the boy into the apartment of the gun owner, who does not have any children.

The kid was six. You can’t kidproof the world, so you better gunproof your kids. He’s going to live, and probably recover: he shot himself in the hand.

Cops ‘n’ Crims

Cops bein’ cops, crims bein’ crims. The endless Tom and Jerry show of crime and (sometimes instantaneous) punishment.

KCMO PD Department of Precrime

 

The New York Times channeling Philip K. Dick by way of, who was it, Ridley Scott? examines a Kansas City (MO) program that sounds remarkably like the creepy algorithmic dispatch system in a dystopian movie:

Mr. Brown, whose criminal record includes drug and assault charges, is at the center of an experiment taking place in dozens of police departments across the country, one in which the authorities have turned to complex computer algorithms to try to pinpoint the people most likely to be involved in future violent crimes — as either predator or prey. The goal is to do all they can to prevent the crime from happening.

….

At a time when many police departments are under fire for aggressive tactics, particularly in minority neighborhoods, advocates say predictive policing can help improve police-community relations by focusing on the people most likely to become involved in violent crime.

Minority Report? Well, most of the guys in the report are minorities, does that count?

Weak as Water

You may have heard about the study that concluded that experts were barely better that firearms novices at shooting. The abstract is here; the fulltext is paywalled. But before you read too much into this story, here’s the study’s definition of “expert.”

Participants were separated by firearms experience into the following groups: expert (completed law enforcement firearms course, n = 83), intermediate (recreational experience, n = 71) and novice (minimal/no experience, n = 93).

Got it. “Expert” = didn’t flunk out of he Police Academy (does anyone ever flunk out of the Police Academy?) It doesn’t really matter that the article is paywalled, then, does it? Social science is to science as numerology is to number theory.

Bet You Didn’t Hear About This Church Shooting

A while back, you heard about a church shooting where an angry or crazy guy shot shot a pastor and some other people in a black church down South.

Last Sunday, James J. Minter, 26, stood up in the middle of a church service in a small black church in the historic Civil Rights city of Selma, Alabama and opened fire. DId you hear about this one? You probably didn’t, even though Minter shot the pastor, the Rev. Earl Carswell, 61; a young woman of 24; and the woman’s one-month-old baby.

Why didn’t most of the Acela Media think this shooting fit The Narrative™? A look at Minter’s mugshot at the one exception, the New York Daily News, may be a clue.

Yet the story is one that probably should be told. Minter came to the church knowing that was the one place he could find his estranged girlfriend, who was hiding herself — and her baby who was Minter’s son — from Minter’s anger at her rejection of him. Minter would have killed them, too, if it were not for fast action on the part of Rev. Caswell and other parishioners, who swarmed him like an angry rugby ruck and disarmed him. In the process, Caswell took a shot in the leg. He was treated at a local hospital.

The woman, shot in the jaw and shoulder, is also going to live, and the baby was shot in the hand; he will have lifelong consequences. They were rushed to a trauma center in Birmingham.

There’s a lesson for all of us in this. When violence comes, fight back. The best way is to be armed, but if you’re not armed, you can still win with speed, surprise and violence of action. One hopes the Governor of Alabama sees his way clear to recognize Rev. Caswell and his fellow heroes.

Unconventional (and current) Warfare

What goes on in the battlezones of the world — and preparation of the future battlefields

Piper Cub vs. Bf109

It happened. The Messerschmitt driver was so bemused he flew away without wiping out the L4 Cub. Story is here (Archived GeoCities page). Here’s another L-4 story, complete with rare photos of the planes on LSTs turned Cub Carriers. We met this guy, Dutch Schultz, at Oshkosh in the late 1990s or so.

Remember Those Four US-Sponsored Rebels in Syria?

Anas ObeidTurns out, there were a few dozen more that met the President’s and General Lloyd Austin’s “muslim-brotherhood-but-not-ISIL” prerequisites, but they went over to al-Qaeda. Or to Jabhat al-Nusra, which is the al-Q franchise in the chaos that used to be Syria. After their training. This guy was their leader, Anas Obeid, who’s now flying the black flag of terrorism.

Hopefully Austin trained Obeid as well as he does everything else.

CENTCOM denied this, then admitted it in a 25 Sep Press Release. To get a glimpse of what’s happening in Syria, try Brookings and CTC analyst Charles Lister’s twitter feed. Lister is a supporter of deposing Assad, and was formerly as supporter of the Administration and its approach, until it became evident the approach was an utter failure (which to be fair, was evident to Lister before it was to most people). Lister is working from open sources, but he is better informed than US policymakers relying on the intelligence community.

In point of fact, with the Russians intervening on the side of Assad, the war’s probably decided.

 

Lord Love a Duck!

The weird and wonderful (or creepy) that we didn’t otherwise get to.

Well, We Had To Mention the Duckboat Crash Here

It probably should have been held for a When Guns Are Outlawed… feature, but really, the temptation was overwhelming to cover, under this rubric, the Seattle crash between a sightseeing “duck boat” (in fact, a World War II GMC DUKW amphibious 2½-ton truck) and a charter bus full of college students — international students, enjoying a college orientation. The crash wasn’t at all funny, though; it killed four exchange students (from Austria, China, Indonesia, and Japan) and injured 40 others: 2 in critical and 12 in serious condition in the immediate aftermath of the crash.

The driver exclaimed, “Oh, no!” before the DUKW — whose nickname. “duck,” came from its GM manufacture code, and which were produced in the tens of thousands for amphibious and riverine operations in World War III — veered left across the centerline and slammed into the left side of the oncoming bus on the Aurora bridge. Witnesses reported seeing red fluid dripping from the left front wheel of the mishap DUKW before the collision, suggesting the hydraulic systems may have been compromised.

Commercial duck-boat operators have been turning away from the WWII vehicles because of their high maintenance demands and the costs of succeeding modifications required (mostly by the Coast Guard and seaworthiness-related) after earlier accidents, but scores of them remain in operation

What the Well-Dressed Trooper Wore

This video, tipped to us by a commenter, shows off 240 years of US Army uniforms.

Overall, a nice effort, but we have a few quibbles. Note, however, that they’re quibbles. We’re actually touched that some news magazine would put this together.

Among the few inaccuracies that we noticed:

  1. The WWII uniform is a specific paratroop uniform, completely different from that worn by regular troops.
  2. No, they didn’t wear the same uniforms in Korea and Vietnam. In fact, the Korean uniforms were very close to those in the end of WWII. The uniform depicted is an early-60s uniform worn in the first year or two of ground forces deployment to Vietnam. The OG-107 jungle fatigues in several variations were used by most soldiers in Vietnam.
  3. The Urgent Fury (Panama) BDU uniform is correct, but it sure does look stupid.
  4. Desert Storm started with the old 6-color Day Desert uniform (“chocolate chips” some people call it) and only high-priority units had the then-new 3-color DCU. Support units, many of them, were still wearing the woodland-color BDU.
  5. Afghanistan and Iraq kicked off with that same 3-color DCU, a much superior uniform to the day-glo ACU depicted in the film.