This week’s Tour d’Horizon is publishing half a day or so late. The problem was it was just not coming together, and time was running out, and the Saturday run schedule was blank. So we dropped the blocked post, and did Saturday stuff instead. This’ll backfill.
We have never actually experienced the neurotic mindlock called “writer’s block,” but we’ve definitely come to a standstill on a single piece or project. Experience teaches us we can continue to push and shove at that boulder, or we can walk away and roll some other stones, and come back to it from a fresh angle. This obviously applies far beyond the simple act of writing.
Fortunately, we always have more writing, more actual work, more airplane work, more gun work than we can handle at any given moment.
I don’t wanna work, I just wanna bang on my gun all day.
Colt Bucks a Trend, Hires… or Do They?
First, the press release, as picked up by WTNH News:
Colt Manufacturing Company plans to add 100 jobs in West Hartford over the next five years.
Governor Malloy announced Friday that Colt plans to buy its West Hartford headquarters and manufacturing facility. The company emerged from Chapter 11 reorganization in 2016 and says it’s now positioning itself for growth.
The state Department of Economic and Community Development is supporting the expansion project through a $10 million loan, with up to $2 million forgiven if certain job milestones are met. State funds will be used to help in the acquisition of the manufacturing facility and the land, which has a total price of $13 million.
Now, a little background. Colt’s lease of its facility was a racket used by the owners to leech capital out of the company for years. In the bankruptcy, the far-over-market lease was crammed down, limiting the cash flow of that particular stream, so now Colt “buys” it to give the owners another hunk of the company’s pretax earnings. Even better, they’re getting the taxpayers of Connecticut to pony up a $2 million grand and $8 million loan, at a time when most market lenders are aware of the owners’ habit of burning their lenders. You’re not going to see it reported honestly like that, in any of the places that print the state’s press releases, but that’s what’s really happening:
- Connecticut is giving Colt money now;
- Colt is giving the money to its owners now for title to some buildings the owners already own, but keep the deed in a different pocket;
- Colt is promising Connecticut that they will have hired some people later — specifically, by 2023.
- Colt is promising to give back 80% of the money, later, specifically by 2023.
That’s an investment only a government functionary (or a room-temp IQ like Dannel Malloy) could love: an unsecured loan at negative interest!
Miguel’s Thoughts on Gun Culture 2.0
One of the most entertaining and informative blogs around is Miguel’s Gun Free Zone. We either missed, skimmed, or just plain didn’t react to this 2016 post on Gun Culture 2.0, which itself is a bit of a reaction by Miguel to David Yamane’s thesis that we’ve mentioned here before. (David is an academic studying the gun culture from genuine curiosity, not as an entomologist studies pests).
A substantial portion of Gun Culture 2.0 has an aesthetic that could best be described as Blackwater chic.
Quite a number of new small gun companies have sprung up advertising their founding by ex-military. The stamp of ex-military has become so important to Gun Culture 2.0 that some people are willing to lie to benefit from it.
No disrespect to our veterans, but this frustrates me. I never served in combat. I never cleared a house with my M4 pattern rifle. I have no operational experience. I am an engineers and a good one at that. I know heat treating, GD&T, fluid dynamics, heat transfer, finishing, manufacturing, and everything else it takes to make a gun work. I may not know how to stage an ambush but I do know how to take aluminum and steel and turn it into one of the finest firearms money can buy. That took years of schooling and is not something taught in basic training or AIT. The problem is, who in Gun Culture 2.0 wants to buy an AR or a 1911 from some fat engineer who sits behind a desk with gigabytes of test data to show how good his gun is?
There is nothing wrong with not being a vet. When we worked biodefense, it was amazing to see the contributions a bunch of scientists you never, ever are going to hear “boo” about have made to our national and personal safety. It was also very humbling: SF leaves a guy confident that he can go anywhere and do anything, and watching bright young people politely pause to let the “operators'” minds struggle and catch up was a profound reminder that we all don our pants one leg at a time.
A few of these scientists were also Gun Culture 2.0 types, as an aside.
But the US can field a decent Armed Forces in part because we have, behind us, great biologists… and oil frackers and graphic design firms and insurance companies, and you, whatever it is that you do so well that somebody pays you to do it. The economy is the hill on top of which we all make our stand, so never feel bad about your contribution, unless you know you’re not doing your best.
Gun Culture 2.0 wants to buy an AR or 1911 from some ex Navy Ranger F16 door gunner who designed his weapon EXPLICITLY for killing Taliban. It makes me understand (but not condone) faking military service to get your fledgling gun company off the ground.
All of this goes double when it comes to firearms training. …. I go to these courses to improve my ability to defend myself in a home invasion or if I am caught in the middle of a convenience store robbery. However, some of them seem to be “let’s pretend you are Delta Force” weekend retreats.
I think one thing that would make Gun Culture 2.0 more welcoming, not just to women, is a demilitarization.
Miguel’s advice to new entrants who find gun culture intimidating: “Never attribute to -ism what can adequately be explained by someone being an asshole.” He notes it’s “also seen in STEM, don’t take it personally.”
See, this is the kind of thought-provoking stuff we find when we read Miguel. Even the seemingly random links at the bottom of his current stories (which is how we found this) are worthwhile.
Union Switch & Signal .45s
We can’t even keep up with the stuff we’re bidding on, and this spring is shaping up to be an awesome auction season. Fortunately, the whole gun-o-sphere is catching some of the best ones. For example, here’s Chris Eger at Guns.com catching an entire collection of rare Union Switch & Signal M1911A1s that are up for grabs at Rock Island.
US&S was a secondary contract producer, but produced the fewest of any of the quantity manufacturers (Remington Rand made the most, followed by Colt — which had many other war production contracts — and Ithaca). But the railroad-signal company took great pride in not having a single pistol rejected by Army inspectors. If you’re a 1911 guy (and who isn’t?), you’ll definitely want to Read The Whole Thing™ and click over to RIA to drool… and bid.
Gun Stocks update
Anyway you want it: we have the table, our analysis, and the popular chart. We have simplified to one chart and table, incorporating Olin.
|Gun Stocks since the Election|
Everybody’s somewhat recovered from last week’s hit, Ruger exactly, which just looks weird. Q1 of 2016 ended today (Friday 3/31) and by mid-April we should have some financials to look at. Expect the media to write that the gun manufacturers are doomed — whatever the numbers say.
Disclaimer: Your Humble Blogger holds RGR, bought at about 56.40 on 9 Nov 16. It bottomed in the 40s later that day before rebounding a little by close, but it is taking its sweet time recovering. Yeah, shoulda bought OLN. (It’s still paying a dividend, though, so actually we’ve made a little bit of money on it).
Another State Constitutionalizes
This is what progress in individual rights looks like:
Source: Jeff at Gun-Nuttery.
There are now 13 states that have Constitutional Carry. Our own New Hampshire was not long in the “latest” seat, as North Dakota has joined us. There are now 13 Constitutional Carry states: Alaska, Arkansas (this is disputed among Arkansans, just how free it is), Arizona, Idaho, Kansas, Maine, Missouri, Mississippi, New Hampshire, North Dakota (new!), Vermont (the first), West Virginia, and Wyoming. (Some, including Wyoming and ND, limit the right to state residents; Montana is not on the list, as it’s only Constitutional Carry outside city limits). Oklahoma is not a CC state for residents, but it is for residents of states that permit carry without a license.
In addition, other states have seen Constitutional Carry bills emerge from legislatures, only to be vetoed by anti-gun governors; in past years these vetoes have been overcome by override (over governors Nixon and Tomblin in MO and WV) or gubernatorial replacement (NH). This year, there has been one veto, by South Dakota’s anti-gun Gov. Dennis Daugaard (R). He has enough support from the legislature’s minority Democrats (!) to sustain the veto. The bills are mired in the legislature in still other states, although Texas remains a possibility this year.
While this means that over a quarter of states (26%) are CC, these are largely rural states with just under 10% of the nation’s population.
In each state where this law has passed, opponents have predicted mayhem, as they did for every state that went from no-issue to may- or shall-issue over the last 30 years. The mayhem has not eventuated. Culturally, this movement seems to be accelerating, but it may be hitting a political ceiling; there are quite a few states that are not yet ready for CC, and a hard core of five to eight that continue cranking up constraints on civil gun owners. There’s more information in this interesting John Richardson post, which was the main source of this item.
Media Lies About Tulsa Incident
Tulsa, OK police had to deal with a crazy female crook named Madison Dickson. Wanted for numerous violent felonies, known to be armed and dangerous, the cops finally caught up with her in an associate’s truck and pulled the vehicle over. Dickson exited the truck and ran, exchanging pistol fire with the police (ineffectively, on both sides). Trouble was: they were right next to an elementary school. Multiple dashcam videos released by the Tulsa PD showed what happened next. Dickson ran, periodically turning to aim and shoot at the cops, and one of the cop cars ran her down.
So far, so good.
Comes the Tulsa World newspaper and selects out of the video the one frame that does not show Dickson’s pistol in her right hand, blows it up and runs it on Page One with: “Police say she had a gun.” Why, those lyin’ coppers!
Except this: everyone can see she had the gun, including the fake news reporters and editors of the Tulsa World, in every frame of the GD video except the one they chose to print — and lie about.
Can you trust them on anything? (Hat tip, Miguel).
- In Russia, a shadowy, well-funded group is seeking a return to Soviet-era gun prohibition. They’re using a social-media stunt. Gabriel Beltrone, a national socialist writing for AdWeek, says “their heart is in the right place.”
- In the Czech Republic, protesters demand “2nd Amendment or Article 50” in the face of EU pressure against gun rights. Photo Essay.
- ATF appears to be overreaching on “silencer parts”. Along with declaring each replacement wipe to be an independent “silencer” needing an independent registration and tax, they’ve been cracking down on “solvent traps” and “parts kits” — with mixed results. The Winter Haven, FL operator of one such business has been charged — despite an ATF letter that his product was legal. An Ohio man who was arrested and charged with great fanfare was rapidly acquitted to near media silence (but there’s one story).
Usage and Employment
The hardware takes you only half way. We’re talked out on this for now, after the Broken Arrow, OK shooting.
Cops ‘n’ Crims
Cops bein’ cops, crims bein’ crims. The endless Tom and Jerry show of crime and (sometimes instantaneous) punishment.
Bullets for Buggery
Paul Gotta was sentenced Friday in federal court in Hartford. [Gotta] pleaded guilty last year to explosives and firearms charges.
What explosives and firearms charges?
Prosecutors say Gotta helped the 17-year-old boy purchase the ammunition in 2012, bought explosives powder for him and helped him build a pipe bomb.
He got the kid…
thousands of rounds of handgun ammunition and giving him 2 pounds of explosives powder.
Why would an adult man do that, in a jurisdiction (CT) where it’s strengstens verboten?
…former priest at two parishes in East Windsor…
In 2013, Gotta was suspended from the priesthood after he was accused of sexually assaulting a minor. Prosecutors later dropped the charge as part of a deal in which he pleaded guilty to breach of peace and received no jail time.
The admitted pedo priest doesn’t have to register as a sex offender, either. Because in Connecticut, ammunition is contraband but buggering kids is your constitutional right. The gun running pervert gets off (no pun intended) with nine months in Club Fed.
(Incidentally, one way the Church can afford all the lawsuits over all the pedo priests, is because they make a bundle on every criminal alien that Catholic Charities gets paid — by the unwitting, unwilling taxpayers — to resettle in some unsuspecting neighborhood).
The Perils of Kathleen: Aftermath
Not much new and direct.
- Item 30 Mar: Kane Crony on Hot Seat. This one is a new one — Centre County DA Stacy Parks Miller. Good-government types have set up a post office box for tips, because of what they say is Miller’s abuse of wiretaps and email warrants to expose whistleblowers and retaliate.
- Item 28 Mar: Philly Too Tolerant of Corruption, argues Ernest Owens, based on the convictions of Kane and Congressman Chaka Fattah (and son), and the indictment and coming convicton of Philly DA Seth Williams. Yeah, but people in every jurisdiction think theirs is the most crooked. Political corruption seems fairly universal. Owens is right that the monoparty political culture in Philadelphia is a contributor.
Better Marksmanship than Judgment
Chicago cop charged (and already convicted, in the press) with 6 counts of murder for shooting a PCP-fueled knife wielder dead catches even more charges. Point of the charges appears to be to appease Black Criminal Lives Matter. But the cop is in real trouble, as the hophead was moving away from him, and was shot in the back.
Figures that it may be a bad shoot, the one time ever that a cop fired 16 shots at a suspect — and hit him with all 16!
- Item 31 Mar: Serial Killer Gets Killed. Former nurse Donald Harvey, who was convicted of the “mercy murders” of 37 elderly patients but bragged that his actual box score was over 50, was beaten and stomped to death by his fellow inmates. Awwwww. Harvey was caught because a sharp pathologist smelled cyanide during a victim’s autopsy.
Unconventional (and current) Warfare
What goes on in the battlezones of the world — and preparation of the future battlefields. Nothing this week — everybody else is talking about Korea, we’ll talk about it when we have something different to say.
Is it time to o disband this thing yet, and letting all its bloatoverhead seek its own level in the Dreaded Private Sector™? Just shorts this week, or we’d never get the post up….
Shulkin on Progress
At NPR, VA Secretary Dr David Shulkin puts the best face possible on VA performance. NPR has been very critical, of, for example, the way that $10B from the Choice Act vanished without a trace in the bureaucracy of the VA, and the way money for backlogged medical centers wound up hiring doctors at less overloaded ones. Shulkin addresses these problems frankly; he discusses his difficulty hiring providers, and his highest priority (also, perhaps, the most intractable): veteran suicides. One of his problems is something many of us have dealt with at a personal level: you can’t help the guy who doesn’t want help. “[O]f the 20 vets who take their life every day through suicide, just six are getting care in the VA health care system,” Shulkin says.
VA Gets a New Nº 2
Well, if he isn’t filibustered, they do. And since Assistant Secretary of Veterans’ Affairs is not a post that requires Senate confirmation, John Ullyot can start work right away. Ullyot, a successful businessman, is also a veteran himself — he served in the Marines — and a former staffer for the Senate Armed Services and Veterans Affairs committees, so he comes with knowledge of Capitol Hill, for what it’s worth. The President appointed him a few days ago; the position’s been filled by an acting-jack since its former incumbent, Dr Shulkin, was kicked upstairs. Welcome, Mr Ullyot; good luck to you and to those veterans who must depend on the VA.
Why Dr Shulkin Wants the Accountability Law
A VA worker in the Jacksonville area was caught viewing porn — with a patient. But under the current bill, they couldn’t just fire him. In fact, he’s still employed by the VA.
Hope for Para- and Quadriplegics?
It’s new, crude, and highly limited, but it’s promising: experimental technology let a quadriplegic move his hand, eat, and drink, with a wired brain-nervous-system interface. While neural restoration is the Holy Grail scientists seek, neuroprosthetic devices are stepping out of the pages of science fiction.
Health & Fitness
As always, a trip to FL in the winter has been refreshing and has restarted the 1000-cal/day cardio clock. Swimming is a favorite, but there’s a problem with sneaking out at 11 PM to do laps (previous practice). Small Dog Mk II twigs to the absence of his human, and begins alternating piercing yips and mournful howls until the swimmer returns. Meanwhile, the Blogfather, happily in the land of nod, was awoken by this canine concert and was NOT amused.
This may have been SDMkII’s payback for being taking for a bicycle ride — in the basket. He loved that not.
Now to keep the 1000-cal up, along with the strength training, in still wintry Hog Manor.
Lord Love a Duck!
The weird and wonderful (or creepy) that we didn’t otherwise get to.