Monthly Archives: January 2017

Saturday Matinee 2017 04: John Wick

john-wick-posterIf you’re looking for a realistic movie, keep looking. If you’re looking for an entertaining rollick, have a look at this. It’s on the movie channels at present.

Keanu Reeves is the title character, John Wick, and he’s the guy with whom you simply do not want to get crosswise. He has retired from a career in murder and mayhem and lives quietly and introspectively by himself with his adorable dog, his Boss 429 (the first choice of cars for low-profile, off-the-grid operators, naturally!) and the memories of his deceased wife, Helen (played in flashback by Bridget Moynihan).

The beagle puppy wasn’t just any irresistable pooch, but a posthumously-delivered gift from his sainted wife.

This contemplative isolation is interrupted when the spoiled, worthless kid of a Russian organized crime figure (it’s Hollywood, the bad guy has to be someone without an Association for Advancement or Anti-Defamation League or Council Of…) takes a shine to his classic Mustang. In the end, Wick ends up with a beating, and Little Ivan ends up with his car.

And oh, yeah, they murder his dog. Just in case you had any doubts about who the bad guys were. The rest of the movie is gold-plated, ultra-violent revenge fantasy.

Acting and Production

Keanu Reeves makes Wick about as believable as anyone can make such a unidimensional cutout. His athletic ability is taxed more than his ability to emote in close up as he throws, shoots, stabs, slings, skewers, slices and dices armies of doomed criminal mooks, often applying several types of brutality to the same target at once.

 

Most of the other actors exist either to support him or to be killed in grisly, spectacular, choreographic fashion. Willem Dafoe plays the sort of creepy character that occurs when directors specify that the writers write a part for Willem Dafoe!

Reeves has come a long way and has taken some interesting action roles. At least here, he’s not trying to act Japanese, as he did in 47 Ronin, a movie about a Japanese historical event that had highly consequential cultural impact. (47 Ronin is another movie that we thought we had reviewed in this space, but hadn’t). He pulls together the dichotomy of the title character’s and his opponents’ refined, beautiful surroundings and their tendency to violent action.

The directors were first-time-out major-pic guys who had worked as 2nd Unit directors and, perhaps most importantly in this stunt and effects extravaganza, in the stunt world. They delivered a hell of a movie against a $20 million budget.

Because of the puppy’s grisly end in the movie, the dog actor had to show up at the Oscars for proof of life. Here it is:

You’d have your tail between your legs around that crowd, too. Where do Hollywood types turn when they run out of jailbait?

The film has that currently popular dark cinematography — it’s not something you watch happily on a small screen wth the lights on; put it on the largest screen you’ve got, in a darkened room.

As you might have guessed from the picture above, Wick learns the lesson of trying to be low profile with a classic Mustang Boss 429, and spends the rest of the movie with a similarly classic Chevelle SS.

Watch this one with your best dog curled up by you and a beer in your hand, or a gun in your hand to laser-cartridge the bad guys (combining the gun and the beer in the hand can lead to bad consequences, like spilled beer for example. Not recommended — pick one or t’other).

Accuracy and Weapons

Do not look for accuracy here; it’s no less fantasy than the Harry Potter series, at least inasmuch as firearms, knives, and hand-to-hand personal combat are depicted. Choreography, not combat. But it’s fun.

 

Reeves worked very hard to master the martial arts moves and tactical shooting skills he displays in this cult hit. There are videos around of him prepping for this role, and for the sequel, about to hit the big screen, he sought out a bunch of live fire instruction and developed into a skilled practical/combat two-gun shooter.

The bottom line

John Wick was never positioned as Oscar bait, but it put asses in theater seats, and so it got the ultimate seal of approval from The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences: a sequel. We doubt the sequel can bear up under the expectations fans of the first bring to it, because the first was a really entertaining film. Don’t take it seriously, just enjoy the movie. It begins with a man who has retired from a career in murder and mayhem and lives quietly and introspectively by himself with his dog, his car, and his memories. What could go wrong?

And what can you do to get ready for the sequel? Watch the first John Wick!

For more information

These sites relate to this particular film.

  • Amazon.com DVD page:

https://www.amazon.com/John-Wick-Digital-Keanu-Reeves/dp/B00OV3VG96/

It’s also available as a digital rental/sale product:

https://www.amazon.com/John-Wick-Keanu-Reeves/dp/B00T484DKC/

  • IMDB page:

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt2911666/

  • IMFDB page:

http://www.imfdb.org/wiki/John_Wick

  • Rotten Tomatoes review page (85%):

https://www.rottentomatoes.com/m/john_wick

  • Infogalactic  page:

https://infogalactic.com/info/John_Wick

  • History vs. Hollywood Page. (n/a).

When Guns are Outlawed, Only Outlaws will have Gold

We’re fond of saying that you don’t need a gun… just about anything can kill somebody. Gold? Sure. If it’s molten gold, taken orally. Smithsonian Magazine:

Centuries ago, having molten gold poured down your throat was actually the preferred means of death by molten metal.

Marcus Lincinius Crassus, an astoundingly wealthy Roman general, is rumored to have died this way, as is Roman Emperor Valerian the Elder (though others contest that he was flayed alive). Spanish inquisitors used this technique and so did tribes in South America—as one corrupt, gold-loving Spanish governor found out in 1599.

Horrific as this sounds, it begs the question: just what killed the victim? Was it the hot gold itself, the steam, perhaps suffocation?

You should Read The Whole Thing™, because they have a report of a group of scientists who actually got interested in this problem and tested it experimentally in an animal-cadaver model.

What sort of scientist would be messed up enough to do that? Well, not real scientists. Social scientists. After all, social science is to science as social promotion is to promotion.

And specifically, psychologists. That loony catch-all bin for all those who dream of diagnosing their own pathologies someday.

For the WWII Collector Who Has Everything

Looking for a good way to display your MG-34? Look no further, but click on over to eBay where this 1944 Schwimmwagen can be yours. A Schwimmwagen (literally “swim car”) was an amphibious version of the VW Kubelwagen utility vehicle. Both were used by the Wehrmacht in WWII, the Schwimmwagen from about 1942 to 1945. Tens of thousands were made, but few survive.

Here’s what the seller says about this vehicle:

1944 Volkswagen Schwimmwagen type 166 for sale by owner. Less than 100 miles since restoration. Needs freshening up. Ran great when I parked it in the warehouse a year ago. Needs fluids changed and a 6 volt battery to run. Comes with some spare parts and trim including a spare transmission and propeller out drive. Photos and documents of restoration done in Germany.

CA license plate    44 VW   Registration status – non – op.   No delinquent DMV fees due.
Contact: sgv57@live.com

These don’t come o the market often, and this one’s on eBay through Monday… that’s the good news.

The bad news? The asking price is $180,000.

The VW logo inside a gear? That was the logo of VW in WWII, when it was a unit of the labor-recreation entity Kraft durch Freude (Strength through Joy) of the Reich Labor Ministry. Yes, someone went to extremes over the small details on this restoration.

Yeah, but $180,000, though.

Regardless, we still want it. Hmmm… what can we get for Small Dog MkII? And a couple safes full of guns?

But wait… then we’d need to get the MG-34, wouldn’t we?

Breaking: Today’s “Refugees” Being Detained

Bill Jordan, US Border Patrol, circa 1965.

A surge of “refugee” claimants flocking to the United States and planning to arrive today or later are in for an unpleasant surprise: lock-up and a ticket home. The Obama Administration had promised free admission to anyone claiming to be a “refugee,” especially moslems, but the Trump Administration has reversed that policy — All Astern Full.

Federal agencies are scrambling to show President Trump that they can and will comply with his executive orders. In the case of the “extreme vetting” order that pauses new migration from citizens of seven war-torn or terror-sponsoring Middle East and African nations, Customs and Border Protection (CBP) agents are starting today. Their managers have given a heads-up to other affected agencies.

The CBP plan is to detain all travelers from these seven countries that are traveling on:

  1. a first-time immigrant visa;
  2. a non-immigrant visa (such as H1B workers, or M1 students); or,
  3. an application for refugee status.

These travelers will be denied entry to the United States and returned to their nations of origin; until they can be returned they will be detained, not release with a “not-likely slip” for a later appearance.

This is not deportation (of a previously admitted immigrant or traveler) or removal (of an illegal alien), procedures that give the individual extensive rights to contest the action in court. It’s denial of entry, and the denied person can’t get his foot in the courthouse door.

Previously admitted immigrants (green card holders) who have been traveling will be allowed to return to the United States. Persons previously granted final refugee status will be admitted, but the last Administration had treated a refugee application, however dodgy, as equivalent to a final determination of refugee status.

We are talking about a non-trivial amount of people here. Today, major international airports receive dozens, scores, and in the largest cases, hundreds, of such travelers daily. Past practice was to give ’em a no-show date and let ’em go, a practice that has been exploited by criminals and terrorists.

If you’re a CBP guy or gal, you’re going to get sick of winning… in the form of overtime. If you’re another Fed or local agency, you might just be asked to help CBP out, so keep your powder dry.

Why did we use a picture of the late Bill Jordan? Dunno. Seems like his spirit is watching over this whole enterprise, and this great land of ours.

Correction

This post has been corrected: our original breakout of the acronym CBP was incorrect, it’s Border Protection, not Border Patrol. (The Border Patrol is one of many agencies within CBP).

He Didn’t Know it was Loaded!

From the land of chocolate, cuckoo clocks, and lots of guns, comes a heartbreaking gun mishap story. At first glance at the headline, it looked like a new story. But, reading it, we had a sinking feeling: it’s just new people having the same old stupid accident.

The facts are simple: On 2 August 2015, a 23-year-old man was goofing around with a friend who was visiting from Brazil. The 23-year-old’s roommate was a qualified soldier, recently returned from basic training, who had hung his service rifle on the wall. The 23-year-old pointed the gun at his visiting friend’s chest and pulled the trigger.

The gun did what guns do.

“I didn’t know it was loaded!”

That’s what the accused told the court, and expressed his deepest regret  “for using the weapon as a toy.” It was too late for the friend, who was mortally wounded and died in minutes.

Both the shooter and the gun owner were found guilty of negligent homicide and sentenced to “conditional imprisonment,” a peculiarly Swiss penalty for major misdemeanors and minor felonies, that allows the convict to pay a fine in lieu of incarceration. (The fine is adjusted to the individual’s finances and the nature of the crime). The shooter’s “conditional” sentence was 18 months and the gun owner’s 360 days; if you don’t pay the fine, as we understand it, you do do the time.

Somewhat more ominously for Swiss in general, the prosecuting and defense attorneys in this case have found something to agree on: they are trying to end the century-plus-old practice of Swiss soldiers keeping their weapons at home. Accidents and crimes with these guys are very rare, but their consequences and rarity give them tremendous resonance in the Swiss media. Being neither Swiss nor resident there, we can’t gauge the likelihood of such an initiative succeeding in the Alpine nation.

What are all guns, always, people?

Story in The Awful German Language (mandatory Mark Twain reference). Story in the Even More Awful Google translation.  Thanks to the tipster in this case, who prefers to remain anonymous.

Friday Tour d’Horizon, 2017 Week 04

As we all know from Junior High French, Tour d’Horizon means Hognose has too many stories in his open tabs at the end of the week. What do you expect? It’s Friday!

Guns

I don’t wanna work, I just wanna bang on my gun all day.

For the Worst Sportsman in the Trap Club

We give you a belt-fed, full-auto shotgun (if it’s on a registered lower).

Given the fact that any twist in the fabric belt seems to stop it, it has no imaginable use whatsoever, except for turning shotgun shells into noise — and grins. It was invented by a guy named Derek Miller, and he was bringing it to Knob Creek in 2009. Dunno what happened after that. He had one other video, seven years ago, for a flash enhancer, but the website it shows is dead.

Gun Stocks update

Pre-Election closings: RGR 64.40, SWHC 28.45, VSTO 38.94.  [8 Nov 16]
-10 week’s closings: RGR 53.20, SWHC 24.13, VSTO 40.02. [18 Nov 16]
-9 week’s closings: RGR 52.50, SWHC 23.82, VSTO 41.05. [25 Nov 16] [short trading day and week]
-8 week’s closings: RGR 50.25, SWHC 21.10, VSTO 39.66. [2 Dec 16]
-7 week’s closings: RGR 51.90, SWHC 21.07, VSTO 38.62. [9 Dec 16]
-6 week’s closings: RGR 53.45, SWHC 21.59, VSTO 36.81. [16 Dec 16]
-5 week’s closings: RGR 54.05, SWHC 22.11, VSTO 38.02. [23 Dec 16]
-4 week’s closings: RGR 52.70, SWHC 21.08, VSTO 36.90. [30 Dec 16] (this was the final close for SWHC, which renamed itself AOBC).
-3 week’s closings: RGR 54.15, AOBC (ex-SWHC) 21.00, VSTO 38.08. [6 Jan 17]
-2 week’s closings: RGR 51.35, AOBC 20.60, VSTO 28.70. [13 Jan 17]
Last week’s closings: RGR 50.65, AOBC 20.13, VSTO 27.78. [20 Jan 17]

This week’s closings: RGR 51.90, AOBC 20.58, VSTO 28.33. [27 Jan 17]

Everybody’s up a little this week, on a general rise in the market that brought the Dow Jones Industrial Average over 20,000 for the first time in history. But the gun stocks are not back to where they were before Vista took a hit three weeks ago.

Disclaimer: Your Humble Blogger holds RGR, bought at about 56.40 on 9 Nov 16. It bottomed in the 40s later that day. We still think it has longterm growth potential, and we like the dividend.

Gun Poly-Ticks

Do Video Games Make Kids Violent?

One paper that argued that case has been retracted, after an investigation was unable to find the data on which it stood. The author claimed that the information was lost, along with a Turkish collaborator presumed imprisoned, in the Turkish coup-countercoup in 2016. But the battle over the paper has been going on for years.

Usage and Employment

 The hardware takes you only half way. Nothing this week. 

Cops ‘n’ Crims

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

When the Cop was a Crim

A not-so-Special Agent with the Federal Aviation Administration got his wings clipped by SA’s from another agency — and you won’t believe why. 

Agents with Homeland Security Investigations — a division of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement — and the Rio Grande Valley Child Exploitation Investigations Task Force arrested Jeremy David McCauley on Wednesday during a sting operation at Sunrise Mall. McCauley is a special agent assigned to the FAA Office of Security and Hazardous Materials in Fort Worth.

McCauley spent a week sending messages to undercover agents posing as a mother and her 13-year-old daughter, according to the criminal complaint.

“During the communications, McCauley arranged to meet the 13 year old minor female to have sex,” according to the criminal complaint. After the arrest, McCauley confessed.

This is the oldest sting in the book. Look, if she says: her name is Tiffani; she’s jailbaiteen; and looking for love; well, the two possibilities for her real first name are Special Agent or Detective. Thirteen’ll get ya twenty, dumb-ass hornball. Q.E.D.

Do You Keep Cash Under the Mattress?

Say, in the box spring? If you were a defendant in a money laundering case you just might do that, like Cleber Rene Rizerio Rocha did. But it wasn’t just the egg money; his mattress contained a lot of money. In fact, his Sleep Number was Twenty Million Dollars. (Say that in your best Dr. Evil voice).

Not so clever Cleber wandered into a baited trap, in the town YHB and the Blogbrother grew up in of all places, and is awaiting trial in the US Courts in Massachusetts, whose prosecutors shared this image and the press release. Nut graf (Wanzeler is the partner in the scheme who has escaped to Brazil, which will not extradite him):

According to court documents, Rocha, acting as a courier for Wanzeler’s nephew, flew from Brazil to JFK Airport in New York City a few days ago. Yesterday, Rocha met the cooperating witness at a restaurant in Hudson, Mass., and allegedly gave him $2.2 million in a suitcase. After the meeting, agents followed Rocha to an apartment complex in Westborough, Mass., and later arrested him. That night, federal agents searched an apartment at the Westborough complex and seized a massive stockpile of cash hidden in a box spring. The cash appears to total approximately $20 million.

This was an HSI score (the investigations branch of ICE). FMI: Fox, the New York Post. (New York Post? Where’s the Boston Globe on this story? Not covering it, it seems. Probably smashing Starbucks windows in DC with their peeps).

“Get Thee to a Nuttery!”

And with those words, or their modern English equivalents, a Harvard research professor managed to get a perfectly sane graduate student that he was supposed to be mentoring, involuntary committed to a booby hatch for evaluation. Turns out he isn’t any crazier than the usual Harvard STEM PhD candidate. Interesting article about a hard case. Yes, in some states, just one person’s word can get you thrown in the nut ward. Hat tip Retraction Watch.

The Perils of Kathleen: It’s Aliiiiive

How can we miss her, when she won’t go away? Well, part of the answer is that she has gone away from the Attorney General’s office, but the evil that she does was not interred with her political bones.

  • ITEM 18 Jan: Watchdogs Call for Corruption InvestigationTwo good-government nonprofits have called on incoming AG Josh Shapiro for a “full faith effort to review and correct the Kane era. The connections and interactions of Kathleen Kane, Stacy Parks Miller and Bruce Castor need to be examined.” These included a prosecutor solving a legal problem by forging a judge’s signature — and getting away with it.
  • ITEM 21 Jan: Kane’s Sister & 4 Other Kaniacs Get the Chop. Couldn’t happen to a nicer crew, as new AG (and onetime Kane supporter himself) Josh Shapiro clears the decks for his coatholders and hangers-on. Inquirer story.  Penn Live story.
  • ITEM 23 Jan: AG Shapiro Asked to Recuse HimselfA few days after the watchdogs asked him to investigate several shady Kane-era figures, they discovered that Shapiro had personal and professional relationships with several of them, and asked him to recuse himself in the light of these conflicts of interests. Shapiro has refused.

Pennsylvania politics. It wants to be Illinois when it grows up!

Vontaze Burfict may not be the Class of the Bengals

The National Football League’s dirtiest player gets in the news for all the wrong reasons, but he never did this:

Cincinnati Bengals cornerback Adam “Pacman” Jones … had some harsh words for his arresting officers.

In the video from the police car, Jones can be heard telling the officer, “Suck my d***.”

“I hope you die tomorrow,” he later added.

Jones continued to berate the cop, calling him a “b****” and “n****.”

N plus four stars? We’d get it, if there were five stars. Anyway, Jones didn’t stop at berating the cops who were arresting him, basically, for multiple counts of being a violent jerk. Taken to jail, he spat on the jail nurse. One more count, this time a felony.

And, regardless of Jones’s twisted hopes, the cop is still with us.

No doubt what’s-his-name, the lousy quarterback on the San Francisco 49ers, is proud of him. His momma, not so much.

Unconventional (and current) Warfare

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

Thought You Were Getting Away with Rioting

Funny. Ernst Stavro Soros paid to bus the rioters in, but they were on their own for their bail, are on their own to face serious felony charges, and at least some of them don’t like it. (Image at link full of NSFW language)

Let’s Have a Big Hand for the New State Sponsors of Terrorism

The United States Department of State (John Kerry edition), in an eleventh-hour $221-million cash dump to Hamas and the PLO, aka the Palestinian Authority. And San Francisco State University, which sponsors — we are not making this up — a program that puts convicted American terrorists together with their Arab co-belligerents to talk shop:

Participants in the “Prisoner, Labor, and Academic Delegation” to An-Najah that culminated in the workshop included four self-described American “political prisoners” who met with self-described Palestinian “political prisoners” for the purpose of sharing “presentations about the marginalized histories of colonial repression, racism, and resistance in Palestine and the U.S.

Lord love a duck.

Update — the Trump Administration seized the money. Hamas, Hezbollah, the KKK, and Samantha Power hardest hit. Does no one think about the poor Palestinian mothers? Their sons blow up so fast!

Army Corruption Gives Military Dogs to Racketeers

This story at the Washington Free Beacon defies synopsis, but it has Army crooks, Secret Service crooks, Joe Biden crony crooks, and abused and mishandled military working dogs, and dog handlers, at its core. And absolutely none of them has been called to account. Read The Whole Thing™ and see if it makes your blood burn like it did ours.

Federal Hiring Freeze Exempts Military, National Security Jobs

It also has a number of other holes but our sources in the Federal service are nervous. Given where most of them work, we think they’re okay. Emphasis ours:

The head of any executive department or agency may exempt from the hiring freeze any positions that it deems necessary to meet national security or public safety responsibilities.

This hiring freeze applies to all executive departments and agencies regardless of the sources of their operational and programmatic funding, excepting military personnel.

[T]his memorandum does not prohibit making reallocations to meet the highest priority needs and to ensure that essential services are not interrupted and national security is not affected.

This line means that Your Humble Blogger’s ox is likely to remain gored, but that’s the price you pay sometimes:

Contracting outside the Government to circumvent the intent of this memorandum shall not be permitted.

Text of the memo was posted by WSB Radio reporter, Jamie Dupree.

Sailor Seeks Pardon from President

Last year, a few political figures got a pass on mishandling classified information. This year, one of the most notorious information-mishandlers got his sentence commuted. Now, a sailor who went to prison for taking cellphone pictures of the sensitive nuclear spaces in his submarine is asking to be let off, too. Our guess is that he will have no luck with that.

Veterans’ Issues

Is it time to o disband this thing yet, and letting all its bloatoverhead seek its own level in the Dreaded Private Sector™?

Some Heads Finally Roll

Two extremely rotten eggs got their walking papers from the VA on January 20th. Luke Rosiak at the Daily Caller:

DeWayne Hamlin, who offered an employee $305,000 to quit after she played a role in exposing his drug arrest.

“Mr. DeWayne Hamlin was removed from federal service effective January 20, 2017”–inauguration day–the VA said.

They also showed the armed robbery gal in Puerto Rico the door.

Heh. They told us if Donald Trump got elected, Hispanics would lose their jobs; we guess that’s Number One.

Read The Whole Thing™ as Luke has a mind-blowing list of felons and dirtbags in the VA who still haven’t gotten the boot.

Yet.

A Small, Local Win for VA

Here in New Hampshire, something remarkable has happened. Every Single Hospital is participating in the Veterans’ Choice program, although the VA still prefers to send them to the run down and shabby facility in crime-ridden Brockton, Massachusetts, or the American Siberia of White River Junction, Vermont.

Health & Fitness (NEW Category!)

‘Nose Fitness Results

In a traveling week, working out is down, and since the New Orleans trip, the diet’s been suffering, however, since signing up with a strength trainer last summer, weight hasn’t moved much but dimensions have changed: hips -2.5″, waist -2.0″, biceps +0.5″ each. These numbers are small, but remember it’s an old body we’re talking about here (so old, AARP has stopped sending come-ons in the mail). And the numbers don’t express the change in mobility, flexibility, strength and endurance.

Why Use a Roller?

A meatworld associate sends this article with a recommendation that Your Humble Blogger acquire one.

What if You Can’t Increase Output?

Interesting findings reported in Scientific American (treebark edition) by a team that studies metabolism. In both humans and other primates, the actual caloric use of relatively idle and relatively active individuals tracks with their mass, but not with their activity level. As if your calorie burn is relatively homeostatic and … here’s the kicker! Independent of your level of activity to a great degree. The implications of this are… well, they’re not clear. It’s science; the only fixed conclusion science can reach is that more science is needed. Still, it’s very interesting.

Lord Love a Duck!

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

Let’s Go Out in a Wave of German Pop

When Your Humble Blogger lived and worked in Germany, he had a secret (apart from the ones at work, which he still keeps). He was a big fan of a German new wave band, Münchener Freiheit, that played sappy love songs (think Paul McCartney) in a synth-pop style (think ELO). If any of you are old enough to remember those references, you needn’t cut off a leg to count the rings: you know he’s old.

Well, imagine the delight that befalls a guy when he learns that a band, whose 80-something album Traumziel he played over and over till he wore out the LP and cassette, is still around, touring, and recording? Here’s a video from an apparent 2009 hit, Sie Liebt Dich Wie Du Bist, which is not just consciously retro in the way they throw in a couple of Beatles-at-Ed-Sullivan cues, but is also retro to the 80s, in that, as the band plays the song, the video tells a scripted story. So listen and commiserate with young Herr Martin and his bad luck with speed dating, no matter what more exciting version of himself he tries to be. You honestly don’t need to know German to understand; just that the refrain of the song translates She Loves You As You Are, the first magazine headline our hero reads is The Man Who Can Be Everything, and the form letters from the dating service tell him that, unfortunately, they were unable to find him a match. 

For a while in the late 80s they had some success singing in English — I think they charted once in England — but their German-language versions seem superior. These guys have hook, melody and harmony down.

Here’s a favorite from Traumziel. Perhaps an unofficial or fan video? The title translates to Over and Done With or Over and Gone, and the song’s as melancholy as the title, but beautiful to hear.

Thanks for visiting WeaponsMan.com this week, and we can’t wait for all next week’s posts!

 

Poly-Ticks: Constitutional Carry Update

Here’s an interesting prognosis for Constitutional Carry through 2021 by Charles CW Cooke of National Review.

Cooke believes that “Its popularity keeps spreading inexorably across the country,” and sees the number of states requiring no permit for all or most of the state reaching 15 to 17 this year, based on research by the Crime Prevention Research Center (CPRC). First, let’s look at where it’s law right now:

Cooke’s map of Lott’s read of Constitutional Carry, as of Jan 2017. Light green is CC that is limited in some way. So far, the media-predicted bloodbath in these states has yet to eventuate.

Their list of participants to date numbers 12, a few of which you might quibble about the definitions they’re using.

 State  Effective date
Vermont Since they became a state
Montana (99.4% of state) September 15, 1991
Alaska September 9, 2003
Arizona July 29, 2010
Wyoming July 1, 2011
Arkansas August 16, 2013
Kansas July 1, 2015
Mississippi July 1, 2015
Maine October 15, 2015
West Virginia May 26, 2016
Idaho July 1, 2016
Missouri January 1, 2017

For example, the nonpermissive 0.6% of Montana includes the incorporated city limits — all  of them. And Wyoming only extends the right to state residents, not visitors or passers-through. But consider this list in the light of a paragraph from Cooke:

15 years ago there was only one (two if you count Montana, which I’d classify as a “mostly constitutional carry” state) — and that 30 years ago most states had extremely restrictive permitting processes to boot — this is nothing short of remarkable.

Three states were added last year (the bottom three in the table above, from John Lott. FIve more states are likely to be added this year: IN, KY, NH, ND, SD. Four more are prohibitive longshots (CO, MN, TX, UT) where, according to the CPRC’s John Lott, legislatures are unlikely to pass or governors likely to veto, as the governor in Utah already has done; but it’s in play in those legislatures, (Consider the example of NH, where it passed twice and was vetoed twice, but now progresses through the legislature under the gaze of a supportive governor).

Cooke’s Map of Lott’s probable status quo as of one year from now, Jan 2018.

There is a network effect going on here, because in each state, liberals, most Democrats, and the media have bitterly opposed these laws and have predicted bloodbaths, while the actual law has come and gone without any remarkable event. (You might say that Constitutional Carry extends to the citizen inclined to obedience to law and authority the same carry rights that criminals everywhere are already expected to be practicing).

Given that network effect, Lott and Cooke project that several states where pro-gun attitudes among the public are motivating pro-gun attitudes in Congress, will likely go CC in the next four years, i.e., by 2021.

Cooke’s map of Lott’s projection for 2021. For comparison, in 1990 only Vermont would have been shaded.

This movement started slow, but has been accelerating of late. Lott’s prediction is conservative in that it predicts no further acceleration. In addition to the benefits offered to residents of and visitors to permitless carry states, the probable passage of license full faith and credit recognition would draw the fangs of some of the most rabid antigun districts.

When Guns are Outlawed, Only Outlaws will have Chili Powder

Holy pepper spray, Batman!  What happened to Welshman David Evans? That’s him, looking rather grimly squinty in the picture. The Daily Telegraph:

“He instantly thought he had been blinded and didn’t know what he’d thrown at him, he was shaking in chock, hanging on to the counter being sick thinking he was going to go blind.

“It was horrific. He said he’s never had so much pain in his life and was extremely distressed.

“Not one member of staff came to him to help or even ask if he was okay.

“We were in the toilet splashing water on his eyes until the police and ambulance came he was treated straight away in A&E. “

If you Read The Whole Thing™, you’ll see that Evans and his wive Michelle had a sort of cross-cultural problem at a Bengali restaurant in the very Welsh-sounding village of Tonypandy, Rhondda, South Wales. Asked how their meal was, they complained that the meat was tough and rubbery. One thing led to another and Evans and head chef Kamrul Islam had words. Islam retreated into the kitchen, and Evans followed him, and Islam responded with the best weapon he had — not any of his chef’s knives, but a bowl of chili powder to the face.

Evans is going to live. Islam was arrested and released, but he may not be charged, because the police are considering his claim to have used the chili in self-defense.

Why would anyone use chili in self-defense?

Well, they’re in the UK, where guns are pretty much outlawed (and so, actually, is self-defense, which bodes ill for Mr Islam).

The Problem of Up-or-Out

Up or Out is no longer common in business, except for the cutthroat ranks of management consulting, Wall Street, and Big Law. (And hiring McKinsey’s self-serving consultants, for instance, is often a fatal move for a firm).

For a very long time, up-or-out has been the iron rule of the Army’s very large, but very unsatisfactory, personnel system. It is one of the key reasons it’s unsafisfactory.

Let’s pause for an aside on what “unsatisfactory” means. Nobody likes the system, and everybody tries to fix it. After President Bush (#43) recalled retired GEN Pete Schoomaker to service, the Army’s personnel geniuses (that’s sarcasm) failed to pay him for approximately six months. When they were finally convinced that he wasn’t retired, it’s because they declared him dead and sent all the paperwork that requires to his “widow.” She called his office to see if there was any truth to the matter. (We don’t actually know if “Shoe” ever got paid).  If that’s how it is for a serving four-star in the top position, imagine how screwed a private or corporal is when the personnel clerks, who are literally the lowest IQs in the Army, screw up his pay.

After that, Schoomaker vowed to fix the system, and he appointed a guy he knew, a high functioning combat infantry general, to fix it. He did his best, but the system still won in the end. It still employs tens of thousands of low-IQ paper-shufflers, and it’s still completely without accountability, and it still fails. All. The. Time.

One reason personnel is a nuclear disaster in the megaton range is up-or-out. Borrowed, along with many other personnel “best practices” of the day, from the General Motors executive management practices of the late 1920s (!), but up-or-out is no longer common in business, except for the cutthroat ranks of management consulting, Wall Street, and Big Law.

Up-or-out is a reaction to the “retired on duty” problem that was one of the pathologies identified in the thin but brilliant book The Peter Principle by Laurence J. Peter (although the policy in business and the military long predates Peter’s 1950s insights). But instead of leaving someone in position at his “ultimate level of incompetence,” as Peter posits, it promotes everyone to his ultimate level of incompetence and holds him there for two promotion cycles before canning him.

Meanwhile, the need for all officers (and, increasingly, NCOs) to pursue whatever fads are currently driving promotions produces an officer corps where the best are operating under unnecessary and counterproductive pressure and changing jobs before mastery, and the rest are turned into a cade of self-serving, duplicitous, back-stabbing preferment-seekers.

Up-or-out drives dishonesty in evaluation or efficiency reports, in awards and decorations, and in such places as readiness and after-action reports, where an army is depending, in vain, on the integrity of a corrupt process. It becomes a “zero-defects” regime where the rewards go to the best liars and the greatest hypocrites. To the boot-lickers and knob-polishers. To the “leader” who sucks up and $#!+s down on superiors and subordinates respectively.

These personal characteristics are not correlated with leadership ability. Strike that: not positively correlated. Inversely is another question.

Few of the generals and admirals that brought the US (or, for that matter, the UK or USSR) victory in World War II would survive the ruthless culls of their nations’ new personnel systems today. We defy anyone to tell us the present crop of zero-defects zeroes is their equal.

Seecamp Pocket Pistols

Lee Williams was delighted to find a manufacturer at SHOT whose products he knew well, but one that he’d thought was pining for the fjords: L.W. Seecamp, a maker of high-quality pocket pistols in .32 and .380.

[T]he L.W. Seecamp Co. is back, and according to Christopher Garvey, their program manager, they’re increasing production.

Chris had three models at SHOT Show 2017, in .25, .32 and .380.

They’re everything you want in a back-up handgun.

The fit and finish is incredible — there’s not a sharp edge on the gun. The slide to frame fit is fantastic. It feels like the slide is moving across oiled glass. The trigger is stiff — eleven pounds — but it’s clean.

Thing is, family-owned manufacturer L.W. Seecamp has not been dead, but they haven’t been promoting their guns much because, as one of the first little DAO pistols, with a following that approaches fanaticism, they sell sufficiently well without further promotion. Lee references that when he says:

[T]he small, precisely-machined pocket autos made by the L.W. Seecamp Co. have always been something of a legend — a cult following.

First, they were difficult to obtain. The had waiting periods that sometimes stretched for years.

Second, they were expensive — very expensive compared to other pocket autos.

But more importantly, they were reliable as hell

Lee’s going to test a couple of the pistols, and we’re looking forward to seeing his report.

In fact, despite the company having been in business for many, many, years, and having produced the pocket pistol line since 1981, this was Seecamp’s first trip from their western Massachusetts plant to SHOT — ever.

Call the flip-phone old-fashioned? The Seecamp LWS has been in production since a cell phone filled half our trunk.

Unlike a lot of small pocket pistols, the Seecamps are beautifully made and highly reliable. Parts primarily are made of machined stainless steel castings, and the gun comes from the factory well “melted” for pocket carry. It has no sights. As Seecamp says in their entertaining and informative FAQ:

If shot placement is so important, why no sights?

An exhaustive NYPD report (NYPD SOP 9) revealed that in 70% of recorded police shootings (the majority under poor lighting conditions) officers did not use sights while 10% of the time officers didn’t remember whether sights were used. In the remaining 20% of the cases, officers recollected using some form of visual aid to line up the target ~ which could be the sights themselves or just the barrel.

The NYPD statistics showed no correlation between an officer’s range scores and his ability to hit a suspect at close range. The mean score for NYPD police officers (1990-2000) for all shootings is fifteen hits per 100 shots fired, which is almost the identical hit ratio seen among Miami officers ~ who in the years 1990-2001 fired some 1300 rounds at suspects while recording fewer than 200 hits. Almost unbelievably, some NYPD figures show 62% of shots fired at a distance of less than six feet were complete misses.

The 1988 US Army training manual for pistols and revolvers [FM 23-35], in apparent recognition of the disconnect between sighted shooting at the range and the ability to score hits in short distance combat, wisely calls for point shoot training at distances of less than fifteen feet. The ability to shoot targets at 25 yards using sights sadly seems to provide little or no advantage in close combat. Nor are there recorded instances where an officer required a reload in close combat. When reloads do occur, there is no immediate threat to the officer’s safety and the perpetrator has usually barricaded himself in a defensive posture. A study by Etten and Petee (l995) showed that neither large capacity magazines nor the ability to reload quickly was a factor in shootings.

Speed reloads at short ranges just don’t happen, and practicing paper punching at long ranges using sights appears to prepare one for short range conflict to the same degree it prepares one for using flying insect spray. (Hitting an annoying yellow jacket buzzing a picnic table without spraying the guests or the food might be better practice for combat than long range paper punching. So might a plain old-fashioned water pistol fight.)

In the FWIW department, of 250 NYPD police officers killed in the line of duty in the years 1854-1979 there was only one instance where it could be determined an officer was slain at a distance of over 25 feet ~ by a sniper 125 feet away. Of the 250 fatal encounters, 92% took place under fifteen feet and 96.4% under 25 feet. In the remaining eight instances the distance was unknown.

But how do I qualify at 75 feet without sights?

If you hold the LWS pistol at a 45-degree angle semi-gangsta style there is a groove formed that can be used as a sighting toolThe 25 yard shooting proficiency test for carry qualification required by many issuing authorities is absurd. It’s a request to perform a feat that would land you in jail if you ever tried to perform it “in self-defense.”It’s like passing a driver’s test that requires you to slalom between traffic cones at 120 miles an hour. Seventy-five feet shooting proficiency is not too much to ask from a police officer who may be firing at a barricaded target, as the ability to drive at high speeds is not too much to ask from a Trooper pursuing a fleeing vehicle, but it’s ridiculous to ask it of civilians. Shoot an “assailant” at 75 feet. Then try to find a lawyer good enough to keep you out of prison.On the one hand the law demands that you use deadly force only when you are in danger of serious bodily injury or your life is threatened. On the other hand they demand that you have the ability to commit a long-range homicide with a firearm before they give you that right.

Using sights at shorter ranges invites problems

In order to use sights a shooter has to put at least one hand in front of their face. This obstructs the view behind the hand they have placed there. When the focus is on the upper torso of the threatening individual, the lower portion of that person is partially or completely hidden from view by this deliberately chosen visual obstruction. The closer the target, the greater is the degree of visual impairment that may cause the shooter to fail to recognize potentially important information below the sight picture.

Statistics show pistol sights generally go out the window once shooting starts; however, this does not mean sights are not used prior to the commencement of hostilities. We can see on reality TV police programs numerous instances where officers in a Weaver stance point guns at suspects who are in absurdly close proximity to them.

With both hands in front of one’s face, one is less able to recognize whether a possible threat is reaching for a gun or a wallet when the landscape below the target area is blocked from view. One might perceive movement but one cannot see what is being moved. There is no doubt in my mind accidental shootings of unarmed individuals have in many instances been caused by sight shoot training, in which a trained focus on a clear sight picture leaves one necessarily with an incomplete view of the important overall scenario.

The potential hazard of losing perspective of the complete picture of the environment is well illustrated by American Matthew Emmons. He lost what appeared to be a safe Gold medal in the 2004 Olympics by shooting, with great accuracy, holes in his neighbor’s target. Overmuch concentration on the bull’s eye, which can be achieved with sights that exclude distracting but possibly important stimuli, may assist in hitting what one is aiming to hit but it can do so at the great cost of making an improper choice of target.

Suggestions for achieving proficiency

Other than range practice of point shooting at realistic combat distances (under fifteen feet), here’s what you can do to achieve proficiency, making sure you are using an unloaded pistol:

  1. Dry fire the pistol to get acquainted with the trigger pull. Dryfiring will not hurt the LWS. Slow deliberate dry firing will helpyou get acquainted with the pull, but make it a snappy pull once youget the feel because you’ll never use the slow pull to defendyourself. (Please keep in mind ‘unloaded’ guns are probablyresponsible for most accidental shootings, so never under anycircumstances point the pistol at any living thing or something youare not prepared to suffer the consequences of shooting.)
  2. Repeatedly pick up the pistol and point it towards a targetwithout looking at the gun. Holding the gun in that position, bringyour eyes down to examine whether the position of the gun lines upwith the target. As much as you can, keep your arm straight withoutallowing it to interfere with your vision. A straight arm makes formore accurate pointing. (The pocket slipper laser aimer is also agood training tool for getting you on target. If a threat arises youshould not be thinking of the pistol, which should become anextension of yourself, but on the threat that faces you.)

Most of those who buy pistols for self defense shoot infrequently. At the distance at which handguns are likely to be used for self-defense this doesn’t bother me as much as it perhaps should. Who doesn’t have a shotgun or some other weapon stashed away, seldom or never used, that they wouldn’t hesitate to bring center stage if there was a forced house entry. People who buy pepper spray and Mace don’t normally feel the need to practice a thousand squirts to feel comfortable they can hit an assailant. And, as mentioned, the studies seem to show little practical benefit from long distance range practice. I’d rather go up against a target shooter than an individual who plays occasional paintball.

Sorry for the long excerpt, but you needed it all. (To their recommendations for proficiency, we’d add that practicing with a laser round has absolutely helped us with first round snap shots from our DA CZ P-01). In fact, the FAQ is a perfect illustration of how a small company that lets its character shine through can thrive in a forest of huge competitors: go Read The Whole Thing™. WeaponsMan.com will still be here when you’re done chuckling, and learning, and calling your dealer to order a Seecamp. (Bear in mind, it’s a bunch more money than a Kel-Tec or Ruger LCP. Think of it as self-defense jewelry).

Seecamp also links to this comparison size chart (.pdf) of in-production small-caliber defensive guns, and to some other comparative-sizing tools (linked below).

The first Seecamps were not original guns, but were double-action .45 conversions made in the 1970s. They were unique in that they were a DA conversion of the 1911 that looked good and worked well. As custom guns, they were premium priced for the day. About 2000 of these were made, and they all are now, along with a few hundred limited early “Restricted” and “Special” editions, the holy grail of Seecamp collectors. Yes, we said Seecamp collectors. Can you spot the .45 in this photo by Seecamp collector and expert John Dommer?

The first original Seecamp was the LWS-25, which has been out of production but was reintroduced at SHOT, to the delight of all of us fans of the tiny but admittedly weak caliber. Building on the mechanism of the rare (in the US) CZ-36 and CZ-45 pocket pistol, Larry Seecamp produced a small, reliable, high-quality pocket pistol.

The major parts of the Seecamp pistols are machined investment castings of 404 stainless; there are some stainless stampings and turnings, and the magazines are made, also of 404 but of sheet in this case, by a trusted subcontractor (complete details are on Seecamp’s website). The website says this about the pistol’s design:

We have been making the basic design essentially unchanged except for caliber upgrades since about 1981. The pistol is a traditional CZ 45 type double action only design with one notable feature. The pistol’s magazine safety is unusual in that when the magazine is removed, not only is the trigger blocked but also the slide cannot be pulled to the rear far enough to allow the hand loading of a round. As with other designs, applying pressure to the trigger while removing the magazine can deactivate the magazine safety function and so the finger should always be away from the trigger when this is done.

The .32 and .380 have some different internals from each other and the .25, but all three are the same size. Almost 40 years later, the late Larry Seecamp’s original design continues to be size- and feature-competitive with modern pocket pistols. When initially introduced, the Seecamps were smaller and lighter than other .32s and .380s, but the advent of new products, like the North American Arms’ Guardians and the Kel-Tec P-32, means Seecamp is now playing in a crowded market. Seecamp helpfully provides a comparison chart (.pdf) of several small DA pocket pistols’s dimensions, and a set of overlay photos that show a solid LWS pistol and various shadowed competitors. It also links an independent chart / poster of practically every current production .32 or .380 with dimensions.

Of course, the downside of a powerful pistol in a very small form factor is that it’s not a joy to shoot, with prodigious noise and blast, but that’s true for the whole class of guns, not just the Seecamp or any one of them.

There’s even a California edition which has passed CA and MA testing in .32, and is hoped will pass soon in .380. It adds a trigger-block safety, which gun designers Kamala Harris and Maura Healey demanded. (Can we get a, “Heil Healey!” from the serried ranks?)

In addition to the website, a far more informative website than one usually encounters in pocket-pistol world, Seecamp also supports an engaging forum well stocked with enthusiasts and experts in this small American pocket pistol. The website hasn’t been updated to show the reintroduction of the .25 yet, but they’re already showing up at dealers.