Monthly Archives: February 2016

Registration, Confiscation Coming for Scotsmen’s Airguns

Victim Andrew Morton. His mother has campaigned for an airgun ban, "Andrew's Law."

Murder victim Andrew Morton. His mother has campaigned for an airgun ban, “Andrew’s Law.”

It’s for the children — or maybe, really, for the child, singular. A toddler was murdered by an antisocial crumb using an airgun eleven years ago, and after a decade plus of wave-the-bloody-shirt publicity (and no further intervening homicides) the Scottish authorities have declared the devices contraband. Owners of the estimated half-million powderless peashooters in the quasi-country have from July to the end of the year to get a permit — which may or may not be issued, at the whim of police, and which requires them to prove, to whichever copper catches gun-ban duty,  a “need” for the toy.

“Justice” Minister Michael Matheson made it clear that his preference was confiscation; while a little work has been done towards preparing to issue certificated to the politically connected and anyone with a “need”, much more effort has gone into preparing what he calls a “surrender campaign,” where those who don’t want to roll the dice on PC Plod getting their paperwork back on time (if the cops fail to do so, the Scottish subject is automagically a criminal under this malum prohibitum law), can simply turn in their gun now without charges rather than wait for next year’s heavy-booted raid (with charges).

Shot:

It will be a criminal offence to have an air weapon without a licence or permit from 31 December 2016.
Under the new legislation approved by Holyrood last June, anyone found guilty of the new offence could be fined or face up to two years in prison.
Owners will have six months to licence their weapons before the law changes.
They will be able to apply to Police Scotland for an air weapon certificate from 1 July.
However critics have raised concerns that it may prove an administrative challenge for the force.

It’s not a challenge if they’re not really planning to rise to it.

It is estimated that there are about 500,000 unlicensed air weapons in Scotland.
The British Association for Shooting and Conservation (BASC) opposed the introduction of the new laws, claiming they were ‘disproportionate’ and that airgun offences were declining.
A spokesman said: “However, with the legislation now in place, and licences to be made available from July, we will do all that we can to help the many legitimate air weapon users in Scotland adapt to the new licensing regime.
“The six months ‘lead in’ period (before a certificate becomes a legal requirement) is shorter than we had anticipated and may present a challenge to Police Scotland staff, who will administer the new regime.”

So why the short lead-in time? You’ve had the shot, here’s the…

Chaser:

Police Scotland will also operate a “surrender” campaign, during which people can hand in unwanted weapons before the new legislation comes into force.

Banned in Scotland? They're working on it.

Banned in Scotland? They’re working on it.

When they were done coming for everything else, they came for the BB Guns. Lord love a duck.

We’re reminded of a scene from the English (definitely not Scottish) film A Hard Day’s Night, in which a Someone-Big-in-the-City-looking gentleman irritated by John Lennon informs him, “I fought the war for you lot,” in tones that make it clear he’s rethinking the wisdom of that.

“I bet you’re sorry you won,” Lennon deadpans.

The Scottish government pledged to introduce the licensing scheme following the death of Glasgow toddler Andrew Morton, who was killed by an airgun in 2005.
The two-year-old died after being hit on the head with an airgun pellet near his home in the Easterhouse area of the city on 2 March.

Matheson identified air guns as primarily criminal implements:

Justice Secretary Michael Matheson said: “This government has a long-standing commitment to eradicating gun crime in Scotland and this new legislation will better protect our communities by taking these potentially lethal weapons out of the hands of those who would misuse them.”

And he has made common cause with animal-rights extremists (yclept “animal welfare groups” in his statement) on this, and more:

He added that police, animal welfare groups and members of the public had to face the results of air weapon misuse every day.

mark_bonini_mugshotAirguns, you see, don’t let antisocial scumbags like the guy that shot Andrew Morton, one Mark Bonini (right). The airguns are what cause crime, and what made Bonini do it! (Bonini had been amusing himself shooting teenagers, and he missed his intended target and hit the toddler the target, Andrew’s brother, was holding.

He said air weapons caused anti-social behaviour, as well as injuries to wildlife, pets and occasionally people.

And he deploys the gun-banner’s favorite conjunction, the abnegatory “but”:

“We are not banning air weapons outright, but ensuring that their use is properly regulated and users have a legitimate reason for them,” he said.

via Airgun owners given six months to licence weapons – BBC News.

By the way, by our reckoning, which differs massively from that of Matheson, Police Scotland, and the BBC’s writers, it was Bonini who made the air gun do it. So what became of Bonini? You’ve had the shot, and the chaser… now it’s time for the…

Hangover: Sentenced in 2005 to “life,” the sentence in Scotland really means only 13 years, and so he’s almost out now.

Sharon McMillan, Andrew Morton’s mother, said at the time that the kid-gloves sentence for Bonini was “a joke.”

A 13-year sentence is a joke. Bonini will be just laughing at us.
As for his apology we do not accept it. He did mean it. He also meant to hit my 13-year-old son.
He will not see his wean’s first day at school. Well, neither will I, because my wean was murdered.

Of course, she has since focused on advocacy for an airgun ban, and so hundreds of thousands of airguns are likely to be confiscated from those Scots who didn’t do it, while the one who did will walk out of jail, free as a bird.

Maybe the Scots shouldn’t outsource policy-making to any irrational, bereaved mother with a bloody shirt to wave.

And maybe the Scots ought to seek a replacement for Matheson, whose reaction to a wretched and heartless murder is to punish the innocent and reward the murderer.

When Guns are Outlawed, Only Outlaws will have Birds

Budgerigar-male-strzelecki-qldOK, we cheated on this one. The bird wasn’t the murder weapon. Even Monty Python would have a hard time working up a tale of a murder by budgerigar.

The bird was the motive for a cranky old man to kill his downstairs neighbor.

Camden County prosecutors say 65-year-old David Giordano was convicted on Monday of aggravated manslaughter in the June 2012 slaying of 52-year-old Michael Taylor.

The Voorhees Township man had been Taylor’s upstairs neighbor. Prosecutors say Giordano poured water on Taylor’s pet birds because they were chirping too loudly. The birds had been kept on Taylor’s porch.

Giordano then repeatedly stabbed Taylor with a knife when Taylor confronted him. Taylor died from his injuries at a hospital nearly three weeks later.

Giordano is expected to be sentenced next month. He faces 15 to 30 years in state prison.

via Man convicted of fatally stabbing neighbor over bird chirps – Fox 5 NY | WNYW.

Any reasonable sentence gets this homicidal crank out of circulation for good.

It would be justice indeed if he was in the next cell to the Birdman of Asbury Park or something.

Ed Byers, SEAL, MOH: “I’m not a hero.”

He'll be cleaned up pretty good when the President meets him.

He’ll be cleaned up pretty good when the President meets him, but this is what he looked like — except for some classified details that have been blurred out — over there.

This is a man you should know, but he says someone else is someone you should know.

[Senior Chief Ed] Byers, 36, learned in December that he would receive the nation’s highest honor for military valor. Yet, he insists he’s not a hero.

The heroes are his fellow SEALs, especially the ones killed in the line of duty, Byers said. That includes his good friend Petty Officer 1st Class Nicolas Checque, who was mortally wounded serving as the point man on that rescue mission in December 2012. The 28-year-old Checque was the first man through the door during the rescue of Joseph and was shot just after sprinting into the building where the doctor was being held.

“Nic embodied exactly what it is to be an American hero,” Byers said in the video. “He will forever be remembered in the pages of history for the sacrifices that he made.”

via Navy SEAL, to receive Medal of Honor Monday, tells his story – Navy – Stripes.

This is the kind of quiet professionalism that most Navy SEALs and other special operators uphold every day. You’ll probably never hear a peep from Ed after today’s ceremony, until he retires, and maybe not even then.

Ah, yeah. Today’s ceremony? The President is going to gong him, with the big one.

He has a reason to be lookin' tacticool. CQB rig: Mk12, suppressor (Knight's?) EOTech, magnifier, IR/visible laser/illuminator, PMag.

He has a reason to be lookin’ tacticool. CQB rig: Mk12, suppressor (Knight’s?) EOTech, magnifier, IR/visible laser/illuminator, PMag.

In a world where it seems that every SEAL has his own publicist and literary agent, and where there have been nasty fallings-out among members of the SEAL world, the momentary uncloaking of Edward C. Byers Jr, Special Operations Senior Chief, is a timely reminder that for every SEAL you have heard of, there are thousands you have not, all of whom are men you would respect, if circumstances permitted you to know them.

In Ed’s commitment to return to just “being a SEAL,” we’re reminded of the late Jon Cavaiani, who insisted he could serve as command sergeant major of a clandestine element, even though his Medal of Honor rendered him higher-profile than the unit liked. (Jon won his argument with the then-CO and served and no one heard a peep out of him or the unit the whole time. Mission first, always).

Do Read The Whole Thing™ and also, read the sidebar on Byers’s opinions of the recent SEAL stylin’-n-profilin’ phenomenon (an opinion we have heard expressed, forcefully, by his fellow professional frogmen). He’s not a fan of tell-all frog books:

I’ve been in the military almost 18 years. I’ve lived a very quiet life. I’m not exactly sure what their motives are and what they’re trying to accomplish by writing those. I’ve never read their books. I have no plans in the future to write a book or do a movie or anything like that. It’s not what I believe in.

We are currently facing one of the greatest threats to our nation that we’ve ever seen. Anything that you could write about or talk about that could help our enemies when we do combat operations — that could potentially get any of our service members injured or killed — I just don’t think is the right call.

Preach it, cousin.

Also, even if you are not the sort of person who watches embedded videos, do watch the interview of Byers at that first link. It’s perfectly edited, with the interviewer taken out of the frame and off the tape, and just comes across as a stream of commentary from the monumentally modest SEAL.

tridentInteresting fact: of the three Naval personnel to receive the Medal of Honor since 9/11, all have been SEALS… and the other two were slain earning their medal. The Navy has a page for each of the recipients at the link (including one for Byers). And every SEAL you never heard of, like Nic Cheque, puts his life on the line the same way — and sometimes, like Cheque, loses it.

RIP, Nic, warrior and great American. And all hail Ed, who fought at his side and tried to treat his wounds.

As a nation, we are blessed with these men, are we not? Now, let’s leave the man alone to get back to his job.

The Difference Between Short Recoil and Long Recoil

In a short recoil system, the barrel and bolt are locked together for just long enough for the pressure to dissipate, and the barrel only travels a short distance before unlocking the bolt, bolt carrier, or slide.

In the long recoil system, the bolt and barrel recoil the full length of the cartridge. Then the bolt (and cartridge case, held by the extractor) are held back, while a return spring returns the barrel to battery position. When the cartridge case clears the chamber, the ejector punches it out away from the bolt face. When the barrel reaches battery (in some cases, just before it does, but when it’s about to), the bolt is released and comes forward, picking up a new loaded cartridge from the feed system and brings it into battery. When the firearm is fully in battery, a safety interlock of some type (which is there to prevent out-of-battery ignition) clears and the weapon may be fired again.

If you see it, it’s very clear how it differs from familiar short-recoil operation, as generally used in handguns and pre-1945 and large machine guns. Here is a GM6 .50 bullpup rifle to illustrate long recoil for you.

Sure, everybody else uses the Browning Auto-5 as their long-recoil illustration.(The ancient shotgun works the same way as this new autoloader). But we try not to be “everybody else.”

Since long recoil is mechanically more complicated than short, somewhat load-sensitive, and tends to take a lot longer to cycle, why does it still exist? Well, for the sort of hunting the Auto-5 (and it’s Remington Model 11 cousin, and various clones) are used for, it’s fast enough; and it was here first. John M. Browning got the original long-recoil shotgun design just about perfect — as long as you’re willing to adjust the gun to the load you’re using.

We don’t know why the designers of that rifle in the video (which was made by Sero in Hungary, a company whose website, at least, is defunct) chose long recoil, but we’d guess it was to manage the recoil of powerful heavy MG cartridges by spreading the recoil impulse out over a longer period of time. The GM6 was meant for short-range use, according to various blurbs on it (Defense Review; The Firearm Blog; World.Guns.ru) and for carrying on patrols, unlike most .50 rifles, and is much lighter than a Barrett (~25 vs. ~35 lbs.). It is (was?) available in 12.7 x 99 (.50 BMG) and 12.7 x 108 (.50 DShK) calibers. One interesting design feature, mentioned only by Guns.ru:

One unusual feature of the GM-6 rifle is that it can be transported (carried) with the barrel / bolt group locked in the rearmost position to make weapon even more compact. Barrel is released into “ready to fire” position by a button release at the front of the barrel jacket. Providing that the loaded magazine is inserted into the rifle, release of the barrel from “transport” to “combat ready” position will also load the rifle and make it ready for instant action.

In addition to that, the GM6 was designed from the outset to be user-convertible between the two global 12.7 rounds by changing barrel, bolt, and magazine, something that may initially sound like a solution in quest of a problem, but actually would benefit those nations that have over the last century received both Eastern and Western aid, and thus have weapons and ammunition in both chamberings already.

Sunday Sprayin’ and Prayin’

The Prayin’ bit, of a Sunday, should be self-explanatory. The Sprayin’, though, does not refer to anything we might do with the fine firearms that are begging for release from their wintertime incarceration. Nope, it’s literally sprayin’, in terms of EkoPrime primer for the wing skins of the RV-12, assuming (that word!) that the forecast warm weather does appear.

If not, we break down the El Cheapo Paint Booth in garage stall #3, and wait for better weather. But with one spar assembly just about together (and we only had to take part of it apart and start over once!) the time to skin the wings and move on to the flaperons (which look like they’ll go together hell for quick) is right upon us.

wrong_brothers_wing_progress

Yes, we can take it out of the basement workshop. We checked. (We actually built a mock-up to the wing dimensions out of wooden furring and carried it out into the sunlight, just to be sure).

The funny look of the wing ribs is the thin primer we’re using, Stewart Eko-Prime white. We’re not sweating the aesthetics, we just want to cover the bare parts’ AlClad surfaces for corrosion prevention. (We’re only priming internals, and you’d need Superman’s x-ray vision to see them once we skin the wings). The spar itself comes pre-assembled from anodized aluminum plate, and so it doesn’t need prime for corrosion protection. The wing rib nearest to you will be snugged up against the fuselage of the airplane, and the part of the spar jutting out slides into an aperture in the fuselage that receives it. The left and right spars overlap inside the aircraft fuselage and pins join them both to one another and the fuselage; the wings can be removed by two reasonably coordinated people for storage or transportation.

If we’re all pretty stupid in the comments tomorrow, it’s probably fumes from the paint!

That Was the Week that Was: 2016 Week 08

That was the week that was TW3We’ve been remiss in posting weekend wrap-ups lately; this is the first time in some time that we’ve posted either a Saturday Matinee or a That Was the Week that Was aka TW3.

We could issue any of a number of flimsy excuses for that, but probably not a really good reason, and if we did have a reason, would you want to hear it?

We’re not going to wait for an answer for that… we’ll just move on.

The Boring Statistics

This week’s statistics are a bit higher than usual: 29 posts, and about 23,000 words .  Our average post was 793 words long, and the median was 643; so the mean doesn’t result from a small number of inordinately large or small posts, and indeed, none was below 100 words and only one over 2,000; nine each were beow 500 and over . Post length ranged from 251 to 2291 words.

We didn’t hit any milestones of significance this week.

We’re very happy with the level of hits we’re seeing; despite February being a short month, we’ll either break last month’s all-time unique visitors record or come very close, and we’ve already broken our all-time February record.

Comments This Week

Comments were below average at 371 by the close of this post, as most weeks are breaking 470. Most commented post was Tuesday’s, Book Review: <i>Unintended Consequences</i> by John Ross (1996), with 54 comments, as there are a lot of John Ross fans out there — including, as it turns out, John Ross.

Runner-up was Monday’s Washington, The General with 35. It never ceases to surprise us, which posts draw a lot of hits and comment, and which do not.

One key to getting hits and comments, of course, is the many bloggers that link to and excerpt our work — we are grateful to them, each and every one.

The Week in Posts

Here’s the recap of our posts for this week: (links will be fleshed out and live later).

  • We report a bird sighting, and show a very substandard picture, on Snowy Owl Sunday
  • We report on a weapon most people have never heard of: The American Cal. .60 Anti-Tank Rifle, T1 & T1E1
  • It shouldn’t surprise us that Incompetence Taints Everything, Even Corruption, in Afghanistan
  • A tragic accident cuts a life short, without any firearms involvement whatsoever: When Guns are Outlawed, Only Outlaws will have Snowmobiles
  • Washington, The General is often forgotten; the anniversary of his birth seemed like a good time to remember his military prowess. 
  • We offer a chart Visualizing World Arms Exports: 1926-1936
  • Pedophilia is an Army Value. If that doesn’t creep you out, it should. 
  • We promised more book reviews, here’s one: Book Review: <i>Unintended Consequences</i> by John Ross (1996)
  • Poly-Ticks: Running on Guns sounded good to this New Hampshire candidate. 
  • We offer a little More on the Federov Automatic, and Max Popenker chimes in in the comments with some rare photographs of rarer Federov-Degtyaryev light machine guns. 
  • Here’s video of what looks like a PR exercise: Littoral Combat Ship Live-Fire Defense Test.
  • When Guns are Outlawed, Only Outlaws will have Meteorites. Anything can kill a person, even rocks from space.
  • We keep Reg Manning’s work, and the sacrifice of the heroes of the Regiment alive, in This Week’s Special Forces Casualties in SEA: 21 – 29 Feb.
  • This is a great site, with promise to be even greater going forward. Wednesday Weapons Website of the Week: Russo-German Archives.
  • Another American Anti-Tank Rifle — Wait, <i>Two</i> of Them! We think that these two posts might be the most information anyone’s ever had in one place on American experimental AT rifles. That’s not a boast, it’s actually kind of sad. 
  • Rock Island has a great auction and it’s still running through Sunday. Auction: It’s <i>On!</i>
  • Mess Up and Move Up: VA Plays Musical Bad Execs, surprising nobody. 
  • When Guns are Outlawed, Only Outlaws will have a Panoply of Edged Weapons and rob and rob, and rob, with them. It must be the edged weapons, it can’t be the criminal!
  • A few grim facts about Execution by Hanging, the primary way the UK did it for centuries up till they gave up and began to yield the streets to crime in the 1960s.
  • Not unknown, but not often seen: A Rare G.43 Variant. Was it combat tested outside Leningrad in 1942-43?  The jury’s still out. 
  • Not the Face, <i>Not</i> the Face! Jeezly dog. 
  • This is one of the most heartbreaking ones of these we’ve ever written: When Guns are Outlawed, Only Outlaws will have Exhaust
  • Hognose’s Laws needed to be collected in one single place. This should be a Page, too. 
  • We throw a bunch of junk in the trunk of the week: Friday Tour d’Horizon, 2016 Week 08
  • CZ System, High Style, Made in… Israel? That’s the Jericho. 
  • The stories of A Handful of Hostages.
  • He was just minding his own business until the lioness made him her business. When Guns are Outlawed, Only Outlaws will have Big Cats.
  • We resuscitate a some-love-it-some-hate-it dormant feature: Saturday Matinee 2016 08: Firing Squad (TV, Canadian, 1990)
  • And we’ve circled back here. That Was the Week that Was: 2016 Week 08

Going Forward

Stuff we owe you….

  1. The second half of the cache story
  2. A bit more on Castillo San Marco.
  3. A report on the Spanish Military Hospital in Florida
  4. A report on Fort Pulaski of Civil War Fame
  5. … we’ll think of it, we know there’s more.

Saturday Matinee 2016 08: Firing Squad (TV, Canadian, 1990)

firing_squad_extreme_unctionFiring Squad is one of those films that has many names. (We suspect that this is known in Hollywood as a Very Bad Sign). First, because it’s a Canadian TV show, it has to have a French version (Peloton d’execution) and an English one (called Execution at the time of production and in Canada). Then, it had to have a different name for US release, which makes it Firing Squad. It came, and went, and vanished nearly without a trace in the prehistoric days before the Event Horizon of the internet, and

The obscure movie takes some finding. We found it on a collection of 20-war-movies-for-$5, and might as well say up front that it seems a bargain at the effective price of 25¢, but value-for-money would probably not motivate one to spend the whole $5 on Firing Squad. 

Acting and Production

firing_squad_extreme_unction_2While some of the characters are coarse stereotypes, the actors are skilled Canadian journeymen and, where the script allows, bring the characters to life. Very effectively the condemned man is off the screen for the bulk of the production, building curiosity and suspense. The weakest performance is  Stepen Ouimette playing the protogonist, Captain John Adam, a man who is offered a chance to clean his blotted copybook by leading the firing party for an execution that no one wants. The next weakest is his chaplain, clearly the moral compass of the film, and in case you missed it, he listens to Bach and Beethoven, which the professional soldiers dismiss with, “What’s that racket? Turn it off!” The part is overwritten and despite an actor’s heroic effort to save it, winds up too precious by half. Conversely, the young man who played Danny Jones, the condemned man, played him very, very, well, and the “What’s that racket?” brigadier is a character who gives you no hints an actor is playing the part.

The production is a cheap one, but nothing feels missing. The story is told, in any case, in a series of outdoor set pieces and indoor close-ups.

As it’s a Canadian production, we were watching for American-bashing, and it shows up in this: the Canadians are prepared to let the accused man (deserter and accessory to a murder) go, but the Americans are going to execute one guy who was caught with him, and they expect the Canadians to whack their guy, too.

OK, we get it. Canadians are more moral than Americans. But if that’s the case, they have one hell of an ate-up military justice system.

Accuracy and Weapons

firing_squad_ready_aimThe movie’s end titles and credits play fast and loose with the suggestion that it’s a true story, but it isn’t. It’s an adaptation of a 1950s novel by a Canadian vet, who riffed off the one Canadian soldier shot for desertion, but changed the name, crime, circumstances, and character of the convict. The movie changed all these things again, moving away from the subtle morality play of the novel into a coarser version, and thereby moving still further from original facts. The units referenced in the production appear to be fictitious ones (we’re not up on Canadian regiments today, let alone the many more they had in WWII).

It is true that the death penalty was rare in Canadian Forces in WWII. It was more common in the US forces; despite the widespread belief thanks to a play and TV shows that the US only executed one soldier, Private Eddie Slovik, in fact Slovik was the only prisoner executed just for desertion; plenty of murderers and rapists stood before a firing party, regretting that decision.

Capital punishment was vastly more common in World War I, where British and Commonwealth units were shooting deserters and thieves wholesale, and the French had so many deserters and mutineers to deal with they merely tried to shoot a scientifically-selected representative sample pour encourager les autres. 

firing_squad_vehiclesWhile the show was shot on a TV budget, and on a Canadian TV budget to be specific, they did arm and equip the Canadian troops reasonably correctly, and they do use the sort of mixed bag of US, UK and Canadian vehicles that a Canadian unit in the winter of ’44-’45 might have had. There are some excellent scenes including fording a river. One of the most moving “gun” scenes is the whole process of the firing party drawing their weapons, which is filmed in thorough detail. One at a time, each man draws his rifle and a magazine, extends the mag towards his sergeant, and — thunk! — the sergeant pops in a single round. (Later, he will exchange one marksman’s live round for a blank). This rings of verisimilitude and builds tension as we approach Danny Jones’s date with the bullet end of all those cartridges.

"One for you..."

“One for you…”

"...and one for you...." Repeat, over and over, until you want the kid shot just to get it over with -- and so does he.

“…and one for you….” Repeat, over and over, until you want the kid shot just to get it over with — and so does he.

Historians will find plenty to quibble about, but not glaring things. They do depict a unit in France at a time when the Canadians were in the Low Countries trying to exploit Market-Garden, but that’s reasonable for a general audience, we suppose, to avoid exposition. Every Canadian knows Juno Beach — one hopes, anyway — but most of them get fuzzy on where their guys went after that. The original book put the action in the meatgrinder of Italy, and included combat scenes that are not included in the movie.

The bottom line

It’s a very predictable movie with a MESSAGE in all-caps, hammered into the audience at great length and repetitively. The subtlety in the original novel is lost in the small-screen adaptation. Strictly for Canadian war movie completists.

For more information

These sites relate to this particular film.

  • Amazon.com DVD page:

We found it as part of a multiple-DVD package for $5 or $6 at a warehouse store.

Amazon has what appears to be the same collection, same cover art and everything, but if you read the fine print there’s one different film: sure enough, the equally dreadful Battle for Blood Island substitutes for Firing Squad.

http://www.amazon.com/War-Movie-Collection-Paul-Gross/dp/B0080QOL4M/

Several other vendors have this collection. We leave it as an exercise for the reader to find out if they have the Firing Squad or Blood Island version (or maybe Amazon has a typo). Actually, looking at Disc 4 in the player (the disc that has Firing Squad on it), it also has Battle of (not for, oops) Blood Island. 

https://www.google.com/search?&q=war+collection+echo+bridge&tbm=shop&spd=14582816086150839634

This film has never been released individually on DVD. If you must own it (maybe you were the gaffer or something) there is an occasional used VHS tape.

http://www.amazon.com/Firing-Squad/dp/B00YQPZFCS/

It says interesting things about the movie that the notoriously grasping CTV hasn’t found some way to reissue it. We also can’t find it on YouTube, suggesting that it’s more a matter of weak demand than constrained supply.

  • IMDB page:

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0102649/

  • IMFDB page (n/a: “There were no results matching the query.”)
  • Rotten Tomatoes review page (n/a)
  • Wikipedia  page:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Execution_(novel)#Firing_Squad

When Guns are Outlawed, Only Outlaws will have Big Cats

You can envision Nature as this if you like...

You can envision Nature as this if you like…

The Blogbrother is fond of observing that his cat Zoe, enormous, declawed, fluffy and lazy lintball that she is, often looks at him as if she fantasizes being large enough to do what she really wants.

To wit, eat him and his whole family.

Now, his decadent lap-lazing lioness is unlikely to ever have such an opportunity, but actual lionesses are not so constrained. And as Africans will tell you, it’s Simba’s habitat, he and his clan just let you live in it.

Until the day they don’t, anymore.

…the attack happened in Hluhluwe-iMfolozi park in KwaZulu-Natal province on Monday.

Agency spokesman Musa Mntambo said Wednesday that the 45-year-old employee was attacked after walking to a river to turn on a water pump servicing a nearby tourist lodge.

Kind of a quotidian activity to be about when the Reaper comes to you in the mantle of a large, hungry feline.

Mntambo says the female lion had tuberculosis and a leg injury, preventing it from hunting wildlife.

Jeez. Not only did she eat the poor guy, but he was probably her least preferred choice. (We initially wrote “last choice,” but that can be taken two ways, eh?)

The Ezemvelo agency says park staff killed the lion.

via Lion kills wildlife park employee in South Africa | Fox News.

Thinking about this, we just suffered the apparition of some 1930s black-and-white Great White Hunter movie, but remade with an all-Zulu cast.

“Once it’s gotten the taste of human, there’s nothing to do for it. She’s a man-eater now.”

“I’ll get my rifle. We’ve got to get this lion before it eats all the villagers!” Well, they did.

A Handful of Hostages

Worldwide, there have been some developments in the situation of hostages around the world.

Most significantly, three Americans taken hostage by Iranian-controlled militia in Iraq have been freed, reportedly after the United States paid a large ransom to Iran. Their release received relatively little publicity.

They’re not the only hostages who were (or are) being held worldwide.

There are some important facts that may not be clear about that chart. First, note only individual and small-group hostage-taking is included. The mass hostage seizures and enslavements that Wahhabi groups like ISIL and Boko Haram are famous for do not show up on this mass. This is the retail, not wholesale, kidnappings.

Note also that almost all the captives are held by Islamic fundamentalists. The former kidnapping champions, the Mexican and Colombian narcos, barely make it onto the scoreboard.

How Many Hostages are Americans?

Only a few (like Jason Rezaian in Iran), and none of them military personnel.

The Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency (formerly DPMO, JCRC, etc. etc.) tracks American service members and support contractors missing or captured around the world. Six Americans are missing in the Middle East and North Africa region. Some of these are certainly bodies that have not been (and in the case of the losses at sea, almost certainly will not be) recovered. But without remains in hand, the case remains (no pun intended) open. Here’s the DPAA’s list.

Operation El Dorado Canyon, 1986

Capt. Paul F. Lorence, of San Francisco, U.S. Air Force, was lost on April 15, 1986, when his F-111 aircraft went down during a strike over Libya. (His navigator was recovered, dead, from shallow water in the Mediterranean -Ed.).

Operation Desert Storm, 1991

Lt. Cmdr. Barry T. Cooke, of Austin, Texas, U.S. Navy, was lost on Feb. 2, 1991, when his A-6 aircraft went down in the Persian Gulf.
Lt. Robert J. Dwyer, of Worthington, Ohio, U.S. Navy, was lost on Feb. 5, 1991, when his FA-18 aircraft went down in the Persian Gulf.

Operation Iraqi Freedom, 2003-2010

Mr. Kirk Von Ackermann, of Albuquerque, N.M., DoD contractor, was lost on Oct. 9, 2003, while working in Forward Operating Base Pacesetter, Iraq. (According to the blog his wife used to maintain, he disappeared from a roadside in the Sunni Triangle after a flat tire. He is an Army Intelligence veteran. Unfortunately, his disappearance was investigated by CID, which means it’s unlikely the investigation was competent. Finding out what happened to Von Ackermann hinges on some Iraqi (1) having a conscience and (2) not having been whacked by the US, other Iraqis, Iranian-sponsored militias, etc. -Ed). 
Mr. Timothy E. Bell, of Mobile, Ala., DoD contractor, was lost on April 9, 2004, while working in Baghdad, Iraq. (Bell was taken hostage by Iraqi insurgents, along with one other American, when insurgents ambushed and overwhelmed an American convoy. The other man was freed by friendly forces. Bell was not found and his whereabouts and condition remain unknown -Ed.).
Mr. Adnan al-Hilawi, of Orlando, Fla., DoD contractor, was lost on March 3, 2007, while working in Baghdad, Iraq. We don’t have further information on him. 

There are websites out there that list dozens, scores of captives in Iraq, but they’re based on SIGACTS or INTSUMs leaked by Manning or Snowden, and most of the numbers don’t have names attached to them — they’re simply RUMINT and BOGINT that got into the system.

CZ System, High Style, Made in… Israel?

Shawn at LooseRounds was kind enough to say some very nice things about this blog this week, but honest! That’s not why we’re cribbing part of a post from his site. We’re doing it because (1) it’s a really good post, and (2) it’s about a gun we were curious about, too — the Jericho 941, the latest version of the venerable Israeli Tanfoglio/CZ clone.

IWI Jericho from LooseRounds

The writer of this piece, Lothaen, is a Glock guy (we’ve read his other posts on optics) but his wife wanted steel. We are very, very fond of the CZ here, and the Jericho retains the CZ-75’s unusual DA/SA/non-decocker system, which as Lothaen notes requires you to carefully hand-decock to carry hammer down on a loaded chamber for a DA first shot, or use the 1911-style safety to carry cocked-and-locked. (Czech and Czechoslovak pistols have historically had slightly unusual , even peculiar, safety arrangements; the safeties on post-war Czechoslovak service pistols are unusual, and one of their designers offered a DAO pistol with no safety before World War One). But his thorough review fully satisfied our curiosity about the Jericho. A taste:

The Jericho 941 is steel meets steel. It’s a heavy, big service pistol. It’s the type of gun you would want to hit someone with after exhausting all your ammo. Clean lines, excellent (or rather, peerless) machine work give us a pistol with incredibly smooth contours and lines. There are no machining marks, or rough edges. I am really impressed by the work in this piece.

We were impressed to learn this. It is a beautiful gun in more of a modern Bauhaus or even Pop Art style than the 20th-Century upright and businesslike CZ — or “industrial” as Lothaen says.

Cocked and locked, but with a second-strike capability. Any CZ-75/85 (full size) mag fits.

Cocked and locked, but with a second-strike capability. Any CZ-75/85 (full size) mag fits.

After researching the Jericho 941 and ordering sight unseen… I was a wee bit worried. Not so much anymore. The action is based on the CZ75 with an Israeli twist. It bears a familial resemblance, but the lines of the Jericho are much more industrial and flat.

It’s not all aesthetics, as our Glockmeister quickly finds something where the CZ or Jericho gives up some user interface points to the blocky Austrian.

Like its relative, the action and slide of the Jericho sit tight inside the frame and as a side effect, reveal little of the slide itself for weapon manipulation. Unlike say, my square Glock which gives me lots of real estate for racking and manipulation, the Jericho gives much less purchase. Consider this a negative if forced to manipulate the weapon when wet or in slippery conditions. Oil carefully so that you don’t coat the slide in excessive slippery oil. Overall, the slide serrations work fine and once you have a normal grip on the pice, it slides back to the rear with little effort.

And, having done that, he has an epiphany:

Once you do get the slide back, you might also notice how smooth it is. Coming from the Tupperware generation of Glocks, I recall the first time I racked a Glock and was met by the scratchy, gritty feel of Gaston’s masterpiece. Once we got the Jericho home and I racked it back, I was jealous. The slide came back so buttery smooth that I instantly realized that IWI had quality in mind with the piece. There is no grit, no chrunch, just a smooth resistance until the barrel drops, which then is increased ever so slightly as the slide pushes the hammer down into the cocked position. Fantastic quality here folks, especially at $549 dollars.

via The Jericho 941: High Quality, With Quirks | LooseRounds.com.

The post gets even better after this point, as he and his wife take the Jericho to the range and learn what it likes and what it doesn’t — and discover one annoying quirk.

His bottom line is that it’s a good gun for someone who likes a steel service pistol for (due to size and weight) OWB carry.