This Tour d’Horizon was built the way it’s supposed to be — gradually, throughout the week. So you might even see it on time!
This week’s installment includes: Guns, Usage & Employment, Cops-n-Crims, Unconventional and Current Warfare, Veterans’ Issues, and Lord Love a Duck.
I don’t wanna work, I just wanna bang on my gun all day.
He’s Got a Few Guns, Here
Lee Williams visited the Gun Point “Firepower Weekend”, and found it lived up to the billing.
For us, it’s great to see Felex Yukhtman doing well, still. We once bought something from him that was destroyed by UPS in transit. Dealing with Felex and GunPoint in what could have been a miserable deal from all possible directions made us realize that he is really a kindred soul, one of those Americans who wasn’t born here but got here as fast as he could.
You know, any businessman and any company can keep a customer happy when everything goes right. It’s when it all goes pear-shaped that you realize who you can count on.
How Did Suppressors Get Banned?
As you probably know, in some countries, suppressors are perfectly legal and sold without any licensing, like any other form of hearing protection; in others, they’re regulated like ordinary firearms. In the USA, they have been nearly forbidden by the cost and bureaucracy barriers imposed by the National Firearms Act for almost a century.
How did that come to pass? It turns out, as a draft law review article by Steven Halbrook explains, the ban was largely racist in origin.
William T. Hornaday published his Our Vanishing Wildlife (1913), which railed against both improved firearms and ethnic groups such as Italians and blacks. Hornaday saw catastrophe looming in the use of more accurate rifles and better binoculars, regretting also that “in Wyoming the Maxim silencer is now being used.” he first trained his wrath on disfavored ethnic groups. Because “all members of the lower classes of southern Europe are a dangerous menace to our wild life,” he proposed a law to “[p]rohibit the use of firearms in hunting by any naturalized alien from southern Europe until after a 10-years’ residence in America.” He denounced the blacks and “poor white trash” of the South for hunting doves and other birds for food… and harkened to the days “when the negroes were too poor to own guns.”
In 1924, Senator John K. Shields (a Democrat from Tennessee) introduced a bill to prohibit importation and restrict interstate commerce of pistols. He supported the bill in part with a report claiming that “we, the dominant race,” must suppress “the carrying by colored people of a concealed deadly weapon, most often a pistol.”
The initial NFA bill, H.R. 9066, would have defined “firearm” to mean “a pistol, revolver, shotgun having a barrel less than sixteen inches in length, or any other firearm capable of being concealed on the person, a muffler or silencer therefor, or a machine gun.”95 A muffler or silencer for a firearm not capable of being concealed on the person,such as a rifle or shotgun, was not included.
Attorney General Homer Cummings was the first witness in the hearings before the House Committee on Ways and Means, and he assured members that the bill would not affect “the ordinary shotgun or rifle.” But revolvers, pistols, “sawed-off” shotguns, and machine guns must be taken from “roving criminals” like John Dillinger.
In the extensive hearings up to this point, not one word was said about criminal misuse of mufflers or silencers….
But they wound up in the bill, anyway. Read The Whole Thing™, and you’ll come away convinced that our politicians today really aren’t a historically unprecedented set of creeps, cretins, and criminals. Yesterday’s pols were
Want a Winchester .30-30?
No? How ’bout a Makarov? Or a HAFDASA Ballester-Molina .45 from Argentina? Well, you can’t have ’em. The anti-gun Michigan State Police is sending them, and hundreds of other firearms, to be destroyed as deodands. (Hat tip, Dean Weingarten).
Usage and Employment
The hardware takes you only half way.
Brought a Machete to a Gun Fight
Not a recommended course of action. But there’s always some dumb cluck or two who’s gonna try it, and wind up with a few extra portholes for letting the air in and the blood out. Case in point:
Donald David Farrior Jr., 22, of 91 Barley Lane, Clinton, was detained for questioning, while the passenger, Raheem Christopher Rogers, 23, of 2033 Beulah Church Road, Turkey, was taken into the hospital for treatment.
Through investigation by Sampson County Sheriff’s authorities, it was determined that the suspects broke into a residence on Honeycutt Road. The homeowner, who was inside the residence at the time, encountered the suspects, one of which was carrying a machete. Armed himself, the homeowner fired at the subject holding the machete, striking him in the torso, authorities said. Both suspects then fled the residence.
Sheriff’s investigators have charged Farrior with breaking and entering and conspiracy to break and enter. Farrior was placed in the Sampson County Detention Center under $30,000 secured bond.
Rogers was airlifted to Wake Medical Center, where he was being treated Friday afternoon. Warrants have been issued on him for the same charges of breaking and entering and conspiracy to break and enter.
According to the N.C. Department of Public Safety, Rogers is a convicted felon and registered sex offender. He was convicted of felony breaking and entering, larceny and indecent liberties with a child on March 28, less than two months ago, stemming from incidents in October 2015 (break-in and larceny) and August 2014 (indecent liberties). His sentence was suspended and he was given three years’ probation for the convictions.
Hey, how about treating a felony like a felony? 10-20-Life for your 1st-2nd-3rd? This guy was convicted of at least three serious felonies less than two months ago. What does a career criminal have to do to go to prison in North Carolina?
Cops ‘n’ Crims
Cops bein’ cops, crims bein’ crims. The endless Tom and Jerry show of crime and (sometimes instantaneous) punishment.
ATF I: Bureau Armed Killers in at least 69 Murders
They’ve been lying about it, but apparently the DOJ has known all along that, as ATF and DOJ leaders intended, the walked guns have been used in numerous homicides and other violent crimes. Judicial Watch, using the courts and the Freedom of Information Act as a lever, has pried loose DOJ documents that trace 94 Fast and Furious firearms recovered in Mexico to 69 killings, including a police chief and his bodyguard.
Fast and Furious was only one of several gunwalking programs intended to arm Mexican cartels. The operation was aimed at changing US public opinion to favor gun control, and increase ATF power.
In related, and unfortunate, news, the end is nigh for one of the two bloggers who broke the Gunwalker scandal wide open, Mike Vanderboegh of Sipsey Street Irregulars. Mike, who has been written out of much of the history by spotlight-seekers who followed, knows what he did, and so do the rest of us. He is being crazily productive as the Big C begins to close his coffin lid. We haven’t always agreed with him, but we and all Americans owe him quite a debt. (Without him, ATF would still be shipping thousands of modern weapons a year to their Mexican partners).
Canuckistan I: Mounties Want Your Money
Meet the Eye of Providence, or at least, the Eye of Proceeds. This combination of a digital single-lens reflex camera and a spotting scope is in use by the RCMP to spot people who menace life and limb by texting whilst driving.
Except they don’t use it for traffic safety. They use it to shake down motorists who are safely stopped — for money.
RCMP isn’t saying where the spotting scopes are being set up for obvious reasons, but it has admitted they are primarily being used at intersections t which drivers are stopped at a red light or a stop sign—where it’s still illegal to use your phone. It’s also easier for officers to snap a sharp photo of the offense when a vehicle isn’t whizzing by.
Of course, when they’re not “whizzing by,” they’re not putting anyone at risk. The coppers considered actually using it for traffic safety, but that was hard. Dudley Doright was not available for comment.
ATF II: Road Rage Roils Roads
An undercover vehicle! That’s like, license to be the biggest sphincter muscle on the road, right?
A citizen called police last week to report that the white unmarked SUV, equipped with red and blue interior dash lights, had attempted to pull him over on the Glenn Highway at around 5:30 p.m. on Thursday.
“As the motorist yielded, the driver sped past him, laughed, and flipped him the middle finger,” police wrote at the time. “The complainant observed this occur three other times with the same results.”
Police said they obtained a photo of the vehicle’s license plate but were unable to find any matches from a computer check. On Monday, the department announced that the incident had been investigated, and the vehicle was in fact assigned to a law enforcement agency.
“Concerns from the public have been forwarded to the agency,” APD said Monday.
Where the agency — which was, for the record, ATF — “laughed, and flipped him the middle finger,” no doubt.
Hey, at least he wasn’t shipping guns to murderers. Or maybe he was. Maybe that’s why he was in such a hurry.
New Jersey: You Are Leaving the American Sector
Arthur Vinogradsky was charged with several crimes, but the charges were dropped. So he’s not guilty and he gets his guns back, right? Nope. It’s New Jersey, and an appeals court ruled that even dropped charges mean lifetime loss of his gun rights.
We bet he’s sorry his ancestors emigrated (or at least, didn’t keep going to Texas).
He’s not the only one: the state will also prohibit a person over traffic offenses, and that’s just been upheld in appeals court, too.
Meanwhile, there were 375 homicides in New Jersey last year, 105 of them in Newark. In response the Mayor eliminated the position of police chief, merging it with fire chief. Yeah, that’ll help.
Canuckistan II: It’s Because I’m Black, Isn’t It?
Meet Canuck the crow, here in a file photo pilfering a knife. He’s legendary in his native Vancouver for his fondness for shiny things, and has his own Facebook page.
Enter the local cops, processing a crime scene where a guy who set his car on fire then attacked the cops, in a possible Suicide By Cop bid. He was apparently saved by Vancouver PD marksmanship, reconsidered, and submitted to arrest. But then Canuck tried to make off with the evidence. CBC reports:
“The crow was persistent, but the knife was eventually gathered as evidence,” Const. Brian Montague said in an email.
The bird was also spotted sitting on the roof of the burned car and trying to get into a camera operator’s gear
Of course, there’s no way of knowing if this knife-stealing crow was knife-stealing Canuck, specifically. Perhaps he is running a school for charismatic Canadian crows.
Department of Pre-Crime
This is a shock to everyone, except anyone paying attention:
Created by the Chicago Police Department, the list uses data such as number of arrests, shootings and gang member affiliations to assign a score to individuals. The higher the score, the greater the chances of being involved in a violent altercation.
In 2016 thus far, more than 70 percent of the people shot in Chicago were on the list. Also on the list: more than 80 percent of those arrested in connection with shootings.
The police superintendent says that out of nearly 3 million Chicagoans, 1,400 men and boys account for most of the homicides and other violence.
The Perils of Kathleen: When A Crook is All You Got; +P for Paranoia
With most of the Keystone State’s politicians, media, and even prosecutors and judges rolling out the carronades to blast her to Kingdom Come, Korrupt Kathleen Kane needs to hang on to the few loyalists she has left. Like Peeping Patrick Reese.
Kane kept Reese on payroll despite objections from other staff and an office policy — which Kane signed herself in 2013 — stipulating that employees charged in relation to their employment be suspended without pay. According to the policy, the employee “shall be terminated” upon conviction.
Reese, a former police chief from the Lackawanna County borough of Dunmore, was charged last August, convicted in December and sentenced to three to six months in March.
Peeping Patrick is headed to the one of the state’s all-inclusive resorts for spying on other Attorney General’s Office workers’ emails for Kane. He’ll be the only guy in the County House drawing $99,658 salary and $62,000 other benefits! Who says crime doesn’t pay?
In a loosely related matter, interviews with many staffers reveal “Rampant paranoia” in Kane’s office.
Lawsuits from ex-staffers and court filings in the criminal case against Kane detail a culture of paranoia that took hold as she engaged in a protracted war with former prosecutors and then reacted to the consequences of those disputes.
“If I get taken out of here in handcuffs, what do you think my last act will be?” Kane reportedly told her first deputy, Bruce Beemer, according to court documents.
Of course, life inside the Attorney General’s Office is more complicated than the salacious details from case records can possibly convey.
Agents and prosecutors within the office, by their nature, tend to follow the strictures of the chain of command without question. For example, they continue to use Kane’s honorific — “General” — even as she faced criminal charges stemming from the alleged leak of secret grand jury materials, had her law license suspended and virtually disappeared from her Harrisburg office.
The general reportedly still communicates with her top deputies via email, but even those communiqués have grown sporadic. She also occasionally appears in Harrisburg, as she did last Tuesday, but there’s no apparent regularity to her comings and goings. No one in the office seems to know what she does on a day-to-day basis and Kane has not responded to PennLive’s requests for comment.
Paranoia? You’re not paranoid if they’re really out to get you. And maybe, just maybe, you deserve to have them out to get you.
Unconventional (and current) Warfare
What goes on in the battlezones of the world — and preparation of the future battlefields. (We’ll have more next week)
TSA Replaces Failure… Slings Him $90k in Bonuses
They made a big deal out of a public sacking of some drone named Kelly Hoggan. But not only did they sling him the money, but they structured it as a bunch of $10k payments to evade Congressional scrutiny. The Washington Post:
One of the practices that led to Kelly Hoggan’s removal as head of the TSA’s crucial security division is common enough to have a name: smurfing.
“Smurfing is breaking specific financial transactions into something below the reporting requirement, which is what happened here,” said John Roth, inspector general for the Department of Homeland Security.
It was undercover agents from the inspector general’s office who last year were able to penetrate security checkpoints at U.S. airports while carrying illegal weapons or simulated bombs, 95 percent of the time.
Hoggan received bonuses of $10,000 on six different occasions, and three others just above or below that amount, over a 13-month period in 2013 and 2014, according to information collected by the DHS, which oversees the TSA.
The bonuses… were in addition to Hoggan’s $181,500 salary.
As you might expect for a scheme hatched by the Brain[dead] Trust at TSA, it didn’t work. No one good, decent, moral, ethical, competent or intelligent has ever been employed by TSA in any capacity whatsoever.
It gets better though. That public firing? Uh, it didn’t actually happen. Yes, he was sent home, but he’s still drawing that $181,500 salary and benefits that roughly double the value of his pay package. They call it “paid administrative leave” but it looks a lot like bonus vacation.
Of course, the net effect of TSA on security is such that you improve security every time you pay one of these duds not to work.
Nice Work if You Can Get It
Two pointy-headed guys conceive a fruity scenario and then spin it to create an opportunity for one’s company.
Hot tip: if a firm is located in the National Capital Area, or does more than half its business with governments, it’s not an innovator, it’s a rent-seeker.
That site is a great source of armchair expertise, divorced from actual reality. Case in point. There is an occasionally interesting post, but most of them… sheesh.
Veterans’ Issues ALL NEW
Is it time to disband this thing yet, and letting all its bloatoverhead seek its own level in the Dreaded Private Sector™?
All the Links you Need on the Disney Kerfuffle
Reporters at a press conference with current VA figurehead Bob McDonald asked — and if you know any reporters, this is nothing short of astonishing — a sensible question about the VA death queues. The New York Times:
At an event with reporters on Monday, Mr. McDonald was asked why the department did not publicly report the so-called create date when veterans first ask for medical care, which could be used to calculate how long they are waiting in lengthy backlogs for their appointments.
Instead of answering the question, McDonald proved he has been fully institutionalized in the VA by pushing back at the idea of any metric or accountability on wait times, possibly because he doesn’t seem to have been effective in reducing them. And then he fired the shot heard round the world:
The days to an appointment is really not what we should be measuring… When you go to Disney, do they measure the number of hours you wait in line?
Well, yes, actually, they do; unlike the VA, the Disney theme parks manage their wait times intensively — and imaginatively.
Deep in the bowels of Walt Disney World, inside an underground bunker called the Disney Operational Command Center, technicians know that you are standing in line and that you are most likely annoyed about it. Their clandestine mission: to get you to the fun faster.
And so [Disney] has spent the last year [2011-12] outfitting an underground, nerve center to address that most low-tech of problems, the wait. Located under Cinderella Castle, the new center uses video cameras, computer programs, digital park maps and other whiz-bang tools to spot gridlock before it forms and deploy countermeasures in real time.
Bad choice of example, Bob. Instead, he wants to measure satisfaction with soft-focus surveys and other tools that pretend management concern, rather than with hard data.
A million pointers-n-shriekers demanded McDonald’s head, or at least an apology, which won’t be forthcoming, unless it’s the “I’m sorry you’re such a sorehead over this” variety.
Instead, there’s a crony-capitalist deal with CVS Pharmacy to treat vets for pennies on the dollar at in-pharmacy Minute Clinics.
Billions for Bonuses, but Not One Cent for IT
That seems to be the way the VA rolls. The big splash was the use of 8-nch floppies in nuclear missile silos — something that the USAF has mentioned repeatedly in recent years, so it shouldn’t have shocked us — but buried deep in this CNN report, we learn that other agencies, and, naturally…
…Veterans Affairs, “reported using 1980s and 1990s Microsoft operating systems that stopped being supported by the vendor more than a decade ago,” GAO said.
Hey, they’d never be able to process a claim without Clippy to help them.
This is Why Dead Guys Can’t Have Nice Things
In the tiny burg of Hiram, Georgia, one Christian-hating, soldier-hating militant atheist was chortling with glee at getting a memorial removed.
Many thought the crosses on Highway 92 were an appropriate Memorial Day display, but a short time after the crosses went up outside a city of Hiram building, they came down.
The handmade crosses were meant to represent the 79 Paulding Countians who died in America’s wars.
The abrupt disappearance of the display prompted some social media outrage, and many volunteered to put up the crosses on private property.
Others told Channel 2’s Ross Cavitt this is political correctness run amok.
“People who are non-Christian shouldn’t be offended by that because they gave their lives for our country, and that’s the way I look at it.”
People who are “non-Christian” probably aren’t. People who are anti-Christian, and, just coincidentally, anti-veteran, on the other hand….
Lord Love a Duck!
The weird and wonderful (or creepy) that we didn’t otherwise get to.
This has nothing at all to do with the usual subjects of this blog, but the New York Times, which has supported the execrable Nick Denton and Gawker (perhaps because Gawker is the Times‘s id) in the Hulk Hogan lawsuit, outed Silicon Valley venture cap Peter Thiel as the financier behind Hogan’s GDP-of-Malta (we exaggerate, but…) legal bills.
Why did the Times do it? There’s a clue in the article:
A libertarian, Mr. Thiel is a pledged delegate for Donald J. Trump for the 2016 Republican National Convention.
We understand not liking Trump; we don’t like him either (for many of the same reasons we don’t like Nick Denton, actually). We’re probably going to hold our nose and vote for him in November, on the 2nd Amendment issue alone, and may God have mercy on us and the nation. We can understand (although we feel pity) a person or group of them, in this case a newspaper, being in the tank for one political party to such a depth that that they have to breathe heliox whilst mentioning the other. We can’t understand taking it to the degree where you stroke Denton, the Julius Streicher of the day, and kick Thiel, who seems to have lived a life of engaged productivity. His private life, in that, is of no consequence; he neither picks your pocket nor breaks your leg, which is more than you can say for the Times’s usual political enthusiasms.
We came out of the profile liking Thiel (and Hogan!) all the more, and the Times and its reporters Herrman, Goldstein and Benner all the less. The ex-Gawker journalist Owen Thomas quoted in the article comes off even more crass than the Times trio. One suspects that many of these journalists support the commercial use of Hogan’s sex tape for the simple reason that they have no prospect of making one themselves.