The Limits of Air Power

June 26 airpower summary: B-1Bs bomb enemy vehicles

Bombers have a perfect accuracy record with bombs, or at least, one good enough for the USAF: Every single one has hit the planet; we haven’t left a single one up there yet!

Nothing is quite as toothless as a powerful air force, alone.

We’re reminded of that again by the inept Coalition air strikes in the city of Konduz, which not only didn’t relieve friendly forces, but also managed to bomb Doctors Without Borders clean out of their Konduz hospital.

Now, supposedly there were US forces on the ground calling the shots, and supposedly they called the shots on the hospital.

Based on past experience on this, like when the USAF AC-130 decided to go to war despite losing all its navigation modes and zapped an SF team, or the time F-16s went fangs-out and blew up some Canadians on a range, or the time an F-15 pilot smoked a pair of Black Hawk helicopters because of an incompetent AWACS crew, it could just be that the Air Force is lying.

Or, it could be that the Taliban, which has more media savvy (not to mention, more media support) than all of  the US Armed Services put together, decoyed the USAF’s vaunted but easily spoofed electronic sensors into misidentifying the hospital as a target.

That’s the one we’d probably go with. Taliban leaders have forgotten more about media than the supposed media professionals of the military, who are selected like their broadcast media counterparts for looks and not brains, could ever hope to learn.

Meanwhile, in MIT Technology Review:

ISIS stands apart in the way it’s mastered online propaganda and recruitment. Using 21st-century technology to promote a medieval ideology involving mass killings, torture, rape, enslavement, and destruction of antiquities, ISIS has … lured 25,000 foreigners to fight in Syria and Iraq, including 4,500 from Europe and North America…..

“The ISIS social-media campaign is a fundamental game changer in terms of mobilizing people to an extremist cause,” says Amarnath ­Amarasingam, a researcher at the University of Waterloo who is co-directing a study of Western fighters in Syria. “You are seeing foreign fighters from 80 or 90 countries. In terms of numbers and diversity, it has been quite stunning.”

As Google’s policy director, ­Victoria Grand, told a conference…: “ISIS is having a viral moment on social media, and the countervailing viewpoints are nowhere near strong enough to oppose them.”

Well, it doesn’t help when air officers schooled in the tradition of Mitchell, Douhet and LeMay get outsmarted by goat-smellin’ illiterates in plastic shoes and mandresses.

Bombing, even by precision-guided munitions, without eyes on the ground, has always failed, and will always fail. We’re watching it fail in Afghanistan, Iraq and Syria. Eyes on the ground without air overhead will also fail. But the current budget-cut climate in Washington — a bipartisan consensus just cut military retirements by 20%, and cut retiree health care, so that Congress can redirect the money to more direct cronies — means the services are jousting with one another while savvier enemies are mortaring the playing field.

Finally, high-tech electronic intelligence collection, and robotic unmanned weapons, are the weapons of the future. They were the weapons of the future a century past, and they will be the future a century hence. Precision Guided Munitions aimed without regard or respect for the ground truth delivered only by US or closely-allied forces’ eyes on the actual target are at best wasted, and worst decoyed onto friendly, neutral or noncombatant targets.

MSF — Doctors Without Borders — is calling the attack on their hospital a “war crime.”


According to the Washington Post, the Ghani government is taking a different tack than the previous Karzai government, which would usually use these opportunities to lambaste the USA and the US military. The Post takes the cynical viewpoint that the Afghans are so dependent on America they dare not offend us. Cynicism in Afghanistan is usually on point, but read also the quotes from Afghan military officers suggesting the Talibs were using the MSF hospital grounds as a sanctuary to attack from. Of course, Taliban, ISIL, and other mohammedan social media outlets are exploiting the hell out of this while the US’s counterparts dawdle.

US SOF are on the ground, but the bulk of the fighting falls to the Afghan National Army.

How Spree Killers Get Their Weapons

An anti-gun group has placed stories in several newspapers describing how a select group of murderers — recent high-profile spree killers — got their guns. The point of the exercise seems to be to (1) suggest that murderers buy their guns the same was as millions of peaceable people do, and therefore (2) justify the gun-control billionaires’ long-term goal of disarming said peaceable people.

The identical story with identical photographs appears in different papers under different bylines, telling you that (1) these outlets don’t have a problem with third parties writing their stories; (2) these bylined reporters don’t have a problem with claiming to have done someone else’s work, and (3) the third parties actually preparing these stories, for which mainstream media reporters are taking credit (and pay), are not doing it for the credit (or the money, at least not directly. They’re certainly being paid for their work).

Of course, if you know anything about the media or reporters, that won’t surprise you. A very high percentage of stories in your local paper are more-or-less-rewritten press releases from various parties with time to spare and an axe to grind — as long as they’re grinding an axe that fits The Narrative™.

nyt_gun_control_spin_storyHere is the story as it ran in the New York Times, credited to no less than eleven reporters and staff members:  

The covered the weapons used and purchased by a carefully selected subset of killers. Unlike the bylined reporters at Times or Slate, we’re not interested in promoting these creeps, so we’ll identify the location, number slain, date, date of firearms acquisition, and comments. (This is a good time to ask, again, if anybody knows of a decent table plug-in for WordPress. We’d like to improve the look and feel of these tables)

Location Killed Wounded (if known) Date Date(s) of Firearm Acquisition Time to Crime (days) Firearm(s) Background Checks?
Umpqua CC, Roseburg, OR 9 10 10/1/15 unknown unknown Del-Ton AR-15; Glock, S&W and Taurus auto pistols Passed
Roanoke VA 2 1 8/26/15 6/1/15 86 Glock pistol 9mm Passed
Lafayette, LA 2 9 7/23/15 1/1/14 568 cheap .40 Passed
Charleston, SC 9 0 6/17/15 4/1/15 77 Glock pistol .45 ACP Passed
Marysville, WA 4 1 10/24/14 1/1/13 661 Beretta PX4 Stolen
Fort Hood, TX 3 16 4/2/14 3/1/14 32 Smith & Wesson M&P Passed
Washington Navy Yard 12 8 9/16/13 9/1/13 15 Remington 870 Passed
School, Newtown, CT 27 2 12/14/12 unknown unknown Bushmaster AR-15; Savage Mark II .22; Glock .40; SiG 226 9mm Stolen
Sikh Temple, Oak Creek, WI 6 4 8/5/12 7/1/12 35 Springfield Armory XD pistol Passed
Aurora, CO 12 70 7/20/12 5/22/12 59 Smith & Wesson AR-15, Remington 870, Glock .40 Passed
Oikos Univ., Oakland, CA 7 3 4/2/12 1/1/12 92 Springfield Armory XD pistol Passed
Tucson, AZ 6 13 1/8/11 11/30/10 39 Glock pistol 9mm Passed
Fort Hood, TX 12 43 11/5/09 7/31/09 97 FN Five-seveN pistol Passed
Immigration Center, Bighamton, NY 13 2 4/3/09 3/1/09 33 Beretta 92FS; Beretta PX4 Storm. Passed

These represent 14 separate homicidal sprees in which a staggering 124 people were killed and 182 injured (not all by gunfire). Note that sometimes we do not have the date of gun purchase on hand, but we know the month or the year; in that case we note the date as being the first of the month or the first of the year. Assume that any date with a 1 in it is only an approximation!

Time to crime statistics are important, and we’ll have more to say about them in a minute.

slate_gun_control_spin_storySlate’s nearly identical list was assembled, or plagiarized, by a single reporter (Christina Cauteruscci) and one intern (Greta Weber). (Slate also published a piece self-righteously defending the outlet’s voyeuristic tendency to promote these murderers. That one was penned by Justin Peters; you can see its headline in the sidebar of the Slate story).

Both of them leave off murders that don’t fit The Narrative, like some Sudden Jihad Syndrome attacks. For example, the Times deliberately excludes the Charleston, SC military-office shootings. A guy named Abdulazeez with an AK that perhaps didn’t come from your corner gunshop does violence to The Narrative™, and so must suffer the heavy hand of media deletion. (The Fort Hood Sudden Jihad Syndrome shooter is included because the media remains committed to the myth that it was “workplace violence”). A California spree killer was left off, perhaps because he used an automobile as well as a firearm in his murders. (But we can only go so far in psychoanalyzing the Guardians of The Narrative™, who are in their own way as obsessive and loopy as the murderers themselves).

slates_dimbulb_idea_of_an_ak-47As is customary in media stories about guns, they make many laughable errors. You’ll find them if you look at the stories, but the prizewinner is probably Slate’s note that one shooter used an “AK-47 style semiautomatic rifle,” which they illustrate with an oddball SKS, which looks like one of the cut-downs marketed by Century a dozen or so years ago. Sure, that’s an AK. And call me Caitlyn.

That’s typical of the lack of care and integrity displayed by dishonest reporters like these while retyping their assignments from Bloomberg’s copy desk.

How These Killers Differ From “Normal” Criminals

We’re not big fans of scare quotes, but criminal behavior is by definition deviant. and so criminals are only “normal” by reference to other criminals. After looking at thousands, maybe tens of thousands, of criminal gun acquisitions, certain things stand out about, say, your typical murderer versus these going-postal types.

  1. For a career criminal, a homicide or homicides is not an entry level crime, but a culmination of a life of increasing legal deviancy.
  2. Ergo, most murderers have one of more prior felonies, permanent restraining orders (or equivalent), or other disqualifying entries on their records, and can’t buy guns in shops.
  3. Criminals take the path of least resistance to an even greater extent than the normal exemplar of Homo sapiens. Therefore, they go for firearms the same place you might go to for, say, lawn care advice, to their normal informal social networks.
  4. Most crime guns are acquired by purchase or barter from friends or family. Criminals’ girlfriends are a particularly fruitful source; except for some pockets of check-kiting and insurance fraud, they tend not to be as criminal as their men.
  5. Before being acquired by their ultimate criminal who will lose them when murdered, at a crime scene, or in a police search, the bulk of  crime guns circulate for some time in a black market.
  6. Our best guesstimate is that about 80% of murder weapons come from this black market, about 15-18% are straw-purchased to order for criminals (although seldom with a specific planned crime in mind), and the balance are stolen to order or acquired by the end-user criminal directly from the thieves.
  7. ATF’s median time-to-crime figures for most states support this analysis. We’ll look into this in depth below.

Meanwhile, the spree killer is a different animal entirely.

  1. Murderers are, in the main, career criminals. Spree killers have seldom been in serious legal trouble. (Lots of them were weird or creeped people out, but the vast majority of weirdos never kill anybody, so weird is not a useful indicator any more than buying a gun is).
  2. Murders are conventionally the nexus between something inconsequential and a violent person with poor impulse control. The spree killer plans his attack for months or years.
  3. The goal of a conventional murderer is to kill somebody. The goal of a spree killer is to make a statement, often stated as, “get on TV.” In this, he’s more like a terrorist.
  4. Murderers tend to be, let’s not sugar-coat this, stupid. They let rage or an ill-thought-out “perfect crime” lead them into a path which never ends well for them, although they don’t usually wind up as dead as their victims — just locked up.  Spree killers may be just as full of rage as your average PO’d crack dealer, but they tend to be above average in intelligence. Many of them are smarter than the cops pursuing them and the reporters writing about them, not that intelligence makes them good people. They are likely to be systematic and plan their crimes for a long time (often, for maximum media impact). It’s commonplace for cops to find plans, spreadsheets, and statements of admiration for previous spree killers, after the fact. Spree killers frequently write self-important manifestoes. For an example of planning, some of them waited out state waiting periods for firearms.
  5. Murderers usually act in the heat of the moment, spree killers plan their crimes in detail, often fantasizing in obsessive detail (based on movies, video games, and the media reporting on the others they emulate).
  6. Murderers expect, however unrealistically, to get away with their crimes. Spree killers have no such illusions and usually plan to kill themselves when confronted by police or armed resistance.
  7. A “regular” murderer is less likely to be socially isolated, so he can do things like have a girlfriend straw-purchase a firearm for him, or acquire one through criminal associates who (however unwisely) trust him. A spree killer is isolated, even in the midst of family, workplace, or school, and never has a girlfriend or anybody who trusts him that much. So he has to keep his nose clean, legally, and acquire his weapon legally; or, as in two of the Times’s cases above, he steals them from someone he knows who owns them — in one case, his father; in the other, his mother, after murdering her with four shots to the head from a .22.

What TTC Tells Us

One statistic ATF officers like to monitor is time-to-crime. A short TTC may be an indicator of criminal trafficking, or of guns purchased with intent to commit crime. Although the media myth is that guns move very rapidly through legitimate commercial channels into illicit ones — honoring the media’s belief that crime is best attacked by attacking peaceable gun owners — the actual numbers are different.

ATF is, probably in interests of ensuring their continuing lobbying cooperation with anti-gun groups, somewhat hinky about releasing all of this data. But they do release national numbers (.xls) and a selection of state numbers, from which you can work backwards and try to build your own crosstabs if so inclined.  (These are 2014 data. Previous data may also be found here on ATF’s website).

By using percentages in public releases, ATF elides the fact that many states just don’t see enough guns traced for the law of large numbers to attach and give us faith in the power of statistics; small states have only a few dozen traces. ATF also made powerpoint slides for each state that they use in press conferences and roll into .pdfs; for example, here’s one from New York (where there were almost 5,000 attempted and almost 4,000 successful traces).


We’ll break that out for you (bearing in mind the percentages get more wiggy as the data set gets smaller):

Period Number ATF percentage Cumulative in period
< 3 months 134 3.0% 97.0% with a TTC under 3 months
3 < 7 months 89 2.0% 95.1% with a TTC under 7 months
7 m < 1 year 131 2.9% 92.2% with a TTC under 1 year
1 to < 2 years 313 6.9% 85.3% with a TTC under 2 years
2 to < 3 years 235 5.2% 80.1% with a TTC under 3 years
3 years and up 3632 80.1% 0.0%
4534 100.0%

(Note: this total number doesn’t gibe with NY totals the ATF reports elsewhere. Get used to that).

These numbers should be discouraging to anyone who wants to make a meaningful intervention against crime at the point of legal sale of the firearm.

The ATF national average Time-to-Crime in 2014 was 10.88 years, suggesting that most guns do not move quickly from legal commerce to illicit commerce to police recovery. (New York’s was longer, at over 14 years; and as in all states, most crime guns in New York were last legally sold in New York). Only three jurisdictions (Arizona, Puerto Rico and Wyoming) took less than 9 years (and always over 8.5). Relatively few of these firearms were recovered in homicides, and it’s impossible for us to break out the homicide guns from the others; the ATF could release the data allowing this, but they don’t.

The spree killers are clearly not average. Their time to crime is, on average, less than half a year. Given that spree killers are planners, not improvisers, it seems that they, unlike many other criminals but much like many other suicides, often do acquire the firearms after the idea of the killing has formed, and with specific intent to use the gun.

The difficulty lies in this: how do you tell the spree killer from any other guy buyer without a prior criminal record? Without a Stasi-level surveillance state, you don’t; and if you want to see what a Stasi-level surveillance state looks like, imagine the employees of the TSA or Registry of Motor Vehicles as secret police. And even if we did accept a Stasi and if it was efficient, it would still be stymied by these guys, by them using the simple expedient of keeping their plans to themselves. Which is, you may note, no particular challenge for a socially isolated individual.


Many media reporters are so committed to The Narrative™ that they seem intent on altering the facts to fit. Consider this picture of a recent spree killer, left is as he posted to social media, right as the TV presented him, after a photo-shop “race lift.” (Reportedly on CNN, but CNN’s Brian Stelter hotly denies this).


The Los Angeles Times also presented this particular shooter, who was, like the President, the child of a union between one black and one white parent, as a — we are not making this up — “White Supremacist.”  Because that’s what The Narrative™ says he must be, and working for the LA Times, you are expected to believe twelve impossible things before breakfast. (If the Times wises up and deletes that unsupported statement, there’s a screencap here).

Sedentary Sunday

We bounced out of bed, full of ambition, at 0700. By about 0710 we were reclining in a chair (a recliner, naturally), with Small Dog, under a poncho liner. We emerged about 1100 when it was time to deposit Kid at Driver’s Ed. On the way back we bought some odds and ends and reflected on our plan for the rest of the day.

And how it was out the window. We’re catching up on the week’s sleep deficit (sleep scientists: don’t bother, we know that doesn’t really work). And we may catch up on some overdue posts, and this PM, it’s off to see The Martian with family. (Blogbrother and his family, minus some chicks who are opting for chick-flick fare instead, are seeing it separately at 1200, because of scheduling conflicts. The world seems to orbit the schedules of teens and tweens these days).

When Guns are Outlawed, Only Outlaws will have Boilers.

post foom boiler roomYou can’t have boilers without fire. And you can’t have fire without risking FOOM. There was a FOOM in the room thirty-something stories above the sea-level streets of Miami, leaving scattered hither and yon hunks of concrete, parts of the boiler in question, four injured citizens and a couple of bonus injured firefighters.

On the plus side, they could rent the room to BASE jumpers.

A penthouse boiler room exploded because of a gas leak Friday at a 33-story high-rise near Miami, injuring at least six people, fire officials said.

The explosion happened around noon on the top floor of the Château Beach Residences, a 33-story oceanfront building under construction in Sunny Isles Beach.

Debris fell to the ground below, and onto the pool deck of the one-story Monaco Oceanfront Resort next door. There were several large holes in the wall atop the building.

via South Florida penthouse boiler room EXPLODES leaving six people injured | Daily Mail Online.

Nothing quite like having your poolside sunning session interrupted by a shower of blown-up boiler bits.

Smart Diplomacy, etc. by the Roman Numerals

Smart Diplomacy. You see it in Syria. You see it in Afghanistan. And you see it in colleges and universities. Smart Dip. It’s totally a thing!

Number I: Anthony Cordesman has some ideas about Smart Dip in Syria. BLUF: not looking too smart. Indeed, the situation is certain to get worse before it gets better.

Those trying to negotiate from the outside an end to the fighting in Syria behave as though some diplomatic elite or mix of power brokers could restore stability if only Bashar al-Assad would leave and the U.S. and Russia could agree on how to approach negotiations. But Syria is being ravaged by four broad sets of fighters that have little reason to cooperate with any U.N.-led negotiating effort—or each other.

The problem is not simply Mr. Assad or Islamic State. ISIS occupies parts of Syria and Iraq and continues to systematically purge any religious and ideological dissent. Meanwhile, the governments in Damascus and Baghdad have shown no ability to gain support from a major portion of the Sunnis in ISIS-controlled areas. Nor have Syrian or Iraqi government forces had much military success against ISIS. U.S. claims that Iraq has regained some 35% of the territory it lost to ISIS are little more than spin. Such assertions are based on the maximum line of ISIS advance before Islamic State established any level of governance or control, and they include vast areas of uninhabited desert where no one controls anything…..

The first step in solving a problem is to honestly assess it. The failure of U.S. policy and military efforts, Russian and Iranian support of Mr. Assad, major Russian military intervention, and the conflicting ways in which other states intervene will all make things worse. The impact of religious warfare and extremism, and failed Syrian secularism, are serious problems.

It is time to stop focusing on either ISIS or Mr. Assad, pretending that Syrian “moderates” are strong enough to affect the security situation or negotiate for Syria’s real fighters, and acting as if a shattered nation could be united by some top-down negotiation between groups that hate each other and are not competent to deal with Syria’s economic, social, and governance challenges.

Shorter Cordesman: Syria is messed up beyond anyone’s capacity for repair. The obvious follow-up question is, “What’s next?” And it’s pretty clear that Cordesman doesn’t know. Neither does anybody else.

Number II: Then there’s a recently-leaked CIA story: thanks to the OPM data hack, the Agency had to pull its official-cover officers out of China.

The US intelligence service responded by pulling a number of officers from the American embassy in Beijing as a “precautionary measure”, ​according to a report by the ​Washington Post.

The decision was taken to protect personnel whose agency affiliation might be discovered as result of the hacked data.

The stolen data, a gold mine of information on US spies and army person​n​el, ​ ​included background checks, intimate details of their sex lives, drug use and finances.

That’s okay. It’s not like they were doing anything, anyway, judging from the agency’s watery product and perpetually-shocked expression at interagency meetings.

Number III: Foreign Policy writes, scandalized, about Jaded Aid cards. The card game, launched on Kickstarter, riffs on the guilty realization that that part of Smart Dip that is characterized by aid agencies, NGOs, and QUANGOs, is a mess (in all senses) of self-serving dysfunctionality.


One of the possible fill-in-the-blanks is “Foreign assistance was started to feed white people’s unquenchable thirst for ______.” Possible answers include “the perfect handicapped brown person,” “a sinking boat full of brown people,” and other sarcastic takes on racialized development tropes.

Actually, young Americans in the Peace Corps have never struck us as pursuing anything but a Mandingo experience, and they all seem to return to the US and rise to the level of highly paid, totally networked, ineffectual losers.

Number IV: There’s probably no greater generator of the stupid that is Smart Dip than the universities. In a short essay on some Orwellian trends in new uses for old words, Powerline’s Ammo Grrl has a word to say about a word.

VIOLENCE – Talk to any SJW for any length of time and you learn that everything is “violence.” Swearing. Shouting. Pointing. Disagreement in particular. Years after I (finally) got a degree from a Minnesota State College, I went into their Administration Building and saw little plaques on all the desks that bragged, “This is a violence-free workplace.” Well, glory be, that would distinguish it from all the other workplaces where fisticuffs and gunplay are a normal part of the day. Seriously? Was there a big problem with Assault and Battery before you hit on the obvious solution of putting up plaques?

Of course, only the most stupid and magically-thinking person, even in a room full of bureaucrats whose superior economic use would be to be tasked in support of organ harvesting, actually thinks a “violence-free workplace” sign does anything. It’s not supposed to do anything. It’s just one more case of empty virtue-signalling.

Number V: We’re reminded of when the Massachusetts Army National Guard’s IT people (a more useless bunch of Massholes can only be found in the state’s welfare offices, on either side of the counter, but we digress) loaded up C 1/20th SF’s computers with context-sensitive (and we do mean sensitive) filters. Want to go to Safariland and order holsters? Barrett to get some spare mags and firing pins? You can’t do that.

This site is prohibited. Reason: weapons/violence.

So we called the oxygen thieves at the state HQ (which had just, grandly, renamed itself Joint Forces HQ because it was a nest of otherwise useless Air National Guard desk jockeys along with the Army National Guard drones), and asked them to kindly remove their hindranceware from our computers. It quickly emerged that they didn’t really know how to operate the filters, and they weren’t very interested in learning, and anyway, they told us:

It’s part of the Adjutant General’s fivety-leven point plan to end workplace violence.

We had a ready reply:

Honey, we are a special forces company. We are all about workplace violence!

But no, that didn’t make an impression. Some bureaucrat from the 90% of the Army that’s flat cold terrified of firearms was going to continue to stand in the way of the 1% that actually gets an enormous kick out of using them. So, like the fabled Internet, we routed around the damage by using private computers and a wireless/cellular internet connection.

Welcome to the combat arms! This is a violence-free workplace. Lord love a duck.


Thanks to the sites that have linked or excerpted this post, including Maetenloch at Ace of Spades, WJJ Hoge at Hogewash, and certainly not least, Ed Driscoll at Instapundit. If the Instalanche or one of those other sites brought you in, we welcome you to root around. There may just be something you like around here, and we appreciate your visit, at any rate.

Friday Tour d/Horizon, Week 40

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


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

AREA Defense has a real small AR

The MCR Sub-Carbine folds up small. The barrel removes. As it has a conventional buffer, the folding stock has to be extended to fire. The briefcase (an option, made by SKB) is a nice touch.


We’re OKAY With This

One of the manufacturers of GI magazines was OKAY industries, all the way back to M16A1 days (they were one of the first vendors of 30-round magazines to USG, in 1973, and had made 20-round mags before that). Their advertising appropriately shows a retro AR and a modern one.

While the parent firm is a generic manufacturing job shop, the OKAY brand was always used only on GI contracts. Now, civilians can get them directly instead of waiting for their vet buddies to dig through that trunk of smelly web gear.

Other GI manufacturers of M16 magazines that haven’t appeared in the civilian market included Sanchez Enterprises and our personal favorite, Adventure Line. There is just something deeply satisfying about launching projectiles enemy-ward from a magazine that was labeled Adventure Line.

OKAY mags are available at We saw the press release at

OK, So This is Knives …

We got the word on Skallywag Tactical’s September knife give-aways too late to share with you guys. It’s an incentive to Like their page, among other hoops they encourage you to jump through. So here’s the link to their Facebook page in case they spring another contest in October.

Don’t say we never gave you anything. Say Skallywag Tactical never gave you anything.

Usage and Employment

We’ve got nothin’, this week, without making this post later than it already is.

Cops ‘n’ Crims

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

If You’re Gonna Shoot the Bystander, Charge Him

Danny Sanchez was going to take advantage of a police standoff in his neighborhood by shooting some cell phone video. Mistake. A pair of jumpy Sacramento cops mistook the cell phone for a weapon and did a mag-dump apiece in his general direction, hitting his house, his dad’s car, and various points in the Great Outdoors with most of the rounds, although one did hit Sanchez — in the leg.

The cops followed up with an arrest of Sanchez and another bystander, attorneys refused to go forward with obviously fabricated charges.

The two cops who opened up on Sanchez and then tried to lie him into prison have been awarded extra paid vacation.

On the plus side, other cops who were able to arrest the guy they’d been called out to confront — a no-kidding criminal who had opened up on a neighbor’s dog with a contraband full-auto AK-47. He surrendered without violence and is held on $1M bail on firearms and animal cruelty charges.

Naturally, this is the sort of thing that happens in gun-banned California. If you’re going to break a gun ban, like criminal Ben Ledford did, you might as well go all the way with a full-auto violation.

There’ll Always Be an England

And it will always have restrictive gun laws. And criminals will always get guns… and bombs.

Liam Lyburd's glock

Buying a gun was just like buying a bar of chocolate. I didn’t see it as a big deal at the time.

Along with a Glock (apparently a G19… looks too big to be a 26), several 33 round mags, and 94 rounds, an amount that shocked the British cops and courts, Liam Lyburd had three home-made pipe bombs. He was convicted and sentenced to life in prison.

Minnesota Rules BB Gun = Gun

Minnesota joined a number of other anti-gun states in ruling that a bb gun is a gun, at least for the purposes of prosecuting a felon in possession. In states like Massachusetts and New Jersey, this is written into state laws, but in MN the decision was taken unilaterally by the courts, in the absence of legislative action to define “firearm” to the court’s liking. The court explicitly rejected the Federal definition of “firearm” as too narrow, because it only encompasses firearms.

Anti-gun Ramsey County, MN, Attorney John Choi supports the law, arguing that todays BB guns are as lethal as conventional firearms.

Do depression meds make one violent?

A massive Swedish study has tried to answer that question with respect to SSRI inhibitors, drugs like Prozac that are prescribed to many patients suffering from depression and other mental illnesses. And, somewhat disappointingly, the answer seems to be: we’re not really sure. Here’s Derek Lowe at Science Magazine, and James Coyne at Mind the Brain, and the original paper at PLOS Medicine. A very thorough study – even though it doesn’t answer most of our questions.

Unconventional (and current) Warfare

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

Defense Gets Local Self-Defense Option

Under the Defense Authorization Bill passed Wednesday, the centralized Department of Defense can no longer prohibit local commanders from authorizing their troops to carry weapons in self-defense, inside the continental United States. This pertains to private as well as government-issued firearms; the carriage of both has been centrally prohibited for decades. This local option was bitterly opposed by Administration figures including Secretary of Defense Ash Carter; the Administration is generally more well-disposed to Islamic terrorists than to mere troops. It is unlikely many commanders will take advantage of this new freedom, given that they’re politically selected, and their political superiors oppose self-defense. Carter is on record that only trained and deputized law enforcement officers (and, of course, terrorists) should have access to firearms on base; military police and provost marshal officers tend to share his preferences.

Aggressive Medevac Saves Lives, Really

We expected this result, but the numbers are surprising: mandating medevac within the “Golden Hour” saves significant numbers of lives. Then SecDef Gates in 2009 overthrew the DOD’s requirement of 2 hours from call to arrival at a trauma facility, and reduced it to one hour. This required more medevac units downrange and more imaginative use of the ones that were there, as well as more arduous alert requirements for the medevac crews. But the payoff was substantial. A new study combining case management data from the DOD Trauma Registry, autopsy data from the Armed Forces ME, and data about medevac times (which had been classified), show the benefits of that incremental change from a two- to a one-hour policy.

There’s a lot of news stories about this, but do yourself a favor and go right to the JAMA press release as put up by Science, and the original paper. Some things that we’ll call out for you, that may have been missed by the news guys covering this:

  1. The medevac crews beat the time requirement on average. When the requirement was 2 hours, their median was 90 minutes; when it was one hour, their median was 43 minutes. That’s what dedication and professionalism looks like.
  2. The fatality rates are the lowest in history. This means, among other things, that guys are surviving wounds that would have been deadly even earlier in the GWOT.

As a survivor of Afghanistan (and a medevac) from long before the initial two-hour limit was in place, we applaud the new policy and are particularly pleased to see that objective data bear ou the results intuition and experience would suggest.

Jeh Johnson’s DHS Admitted 1,519 Known Terrorists

The bottom line is this: if someone who is a member of a terrorist group, or material supporter of such a group, makes a statement to immigration officials that he was coerced, Johnson ruled that we have to let the guy in.  Details at Powerline.

Very Last Frigate Gone

We covered the decommissioning of the penultimate Oliver Hazard Perry-class frigate, USS Kauffman, last month (which has us reading the bio of Admiral Draper Kauffman, the founder of UDT), and so we should mention that the very last one, USS Simpson, is now gone. Simpson is famous as the last USN surface combatant to have sunk a hostile vessel (the Iranian missile patrol boat Joshan, P.225, in 1988). The OHPs along with patrol boats and mine countermeasures ships are being replaced by two to three different styles of toothless, defenseless Littoral Combat Ships.

last frigate_x860

The frigates weren’t superships but they had a 76mm (3-inch) gun, a good antisub towed array, and Standard anti-aircraft and anti-missile missiles, none of which can be accommodated on the LCS at this time (if ever).

While the OHPs are gone, the US Navy does retain one frigate on the register. USS Constitution, which may be centuries old and presently drydocked, but has more offensive capability in its muzzle-loading broadside than an LCS.

Contrary view: George Will argues for the LCS, and naval modernization, plus the wave of the future from 1957, unmanned aircraft. Sir Duncan Sandys was not available for comment.

How To Beat ISIL: With a Chorus of Kumbaya?

There’s often a lot of good stuff at Foreign Policy, and then there’s stuff like this risible article by a couple of anti-military commentators (Nancy Lindborg and David Rothkopf), suggesting that the answer to ISIL is a “civilian solution”. Their four points are the same old tired peacenik tropes, starting with, (1) “address the underlying causes.” By that, they don’t mean Islamic extremism: the impetus behind ISIL is, they believe:

regimes that attempt to govern through exclusion, repression, and corrupt means… refugees running from conflict, repression, and poverty.

The answer? A bunch of shibboleths: “enabling women, local leaders, and youth.” Let a thousand community organizers bloom!

It wasn’t Lindorg or Rothkopf that suggested that Osama bin Laden’s popularity was due to his “building day-care centers,” but they are reasoning at the same level. It’s the sort of reasoning that’s so stupid you need a graduate degree to believe it.

So an SF Guy Was a Larry Correia Fan…

And while he was deployed, his wife got the idea to hit Larry at the Wordfire Press booth at the Salt Lake City Comic Con, and get a signed copy of everything. (We suspect hubby’s with 19th Group). Here’s how Larry tells it:

I had a Green Beret’s wife come by to pick up signed copies of everything. Her husband is a huge fan, and was currently deployed to an undisclosed location doing badass stuff to bad people. He recorded a video for her to play for me, and gave me a unit hat. That was neat, but even cooler, while I was signing her stack of books, somebody else standing in line had heard her story, and paid for all of her books while she wasn’t looking. Just to say thanks for her husband’s service, and then he walked away, anonymous. I didn’t even know until I got done signing, and Steve Diamond leaned over and said, yep, these are all already taken care of. She teared up. Because fans are awesome people like that.

Man, in our world SF doesn’t mean Science Fiction but… you gotta be humbled by public support like that.

We’re big fans of Correia’s Monster Hunter series here. Any series with a protagonist named for an obscure submachine gun and a defunct Communist gun plant has to be written for Our Kind.

Lord Love a Duck!

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

Wrist Tap for Knock-out Knockout

gloribel-serranoWe’ve made a When Guns are Outlawed feature out of Gloribel [aka Gloribels] Serrano, back when she was on the lam for knocking out a woman, apparently a romantic rival, with a tire iron at 0230 in May, 2015. While she was on the run, she taunted cops with posts of sultry selfies to her social media accounts. (Example right — strictly for the news value, naturally, and it’s purest coincidence that it embiggens with a click). Well, she appeared in court (oddly, not dressed at all like the picture) and received the typical New York tap-on-the-wrist for stoving someone’s head in with a tire iron. Her seven-year-assault-w-DW rap somehow came out of the court machinery as a one-year continuation for dismissal, if she can keep her tire iron out of other chicks’ brain housing groups that long.

Remember, guys, no matter how pretty she is, somebody, somewhere, is tired of dealing with her craziness.

A year from now Serrano will show up as having no record, and she’ll be 28 and one year closer to really wigging out as she approaches her sell-by date.

This Mother of The Year Was Married To Her Stepdad

We also featured this case back in August. It turns out that the mother who killed her three sons  — serially, not all at once! — so her daughter would get more attention from her husband, was married to her own stepdad. After raising her, he began sleeping with her at 17. Everybody thinks their own family is dysfunctional, but we bet yours is not that dysfunctional.

Dropping Acid: Low-Tech Terror With Corrosives

(There are no pictures with this story. If you must see the survivors of these attacks (and the perps, for that matter), follow the links. –Ed.)

The President says the USA is the only nation that has mass shootings. (He’s wrong of course, the US only has two or three in the top ten, with places like Korea and Norway beating our own criminals’ worst efforts). But be that as it may, Britain, which certainly has fewer shootings per capita than the United States, has an epidemic of another crime that we don’t see much here, thank a merciful God.

That crime is acid attacks. Imported to the UK by the jihadi contingent of Britain’s turbulent Pakistani minority, these attacks were once strictly contained in the Islamic underworld, but have now spread to the native English, Welsh, Irish and Scots criminal classes.

It’s become so common in Britain now, that it has got its own entry in the catalog of crimes: “Conspiracy to apply a corrosive liquid.”

Here are just a few, pulled from a single newspaper (the Daily Express) to obviate the risk of duplication:

  • 3 Sep 15: Former boxer turned drug dealer Anthony Riley (26) was convicted of the 14 Aug 14 attack on his ex-girlfriend, beautician Adele Bellis (23). Riley, unhappy about Bellis leaving him, hired Jason Harrison (27), who owed him £10,000, to throw sulfuric acid in Bellis’s face. A detail:

Riley had tested the strength of the corrosive acid by dangling a live mouse into a jar and laughed as it died.

Both men were convicted of “conspiracy to apply a corrosive liquid,” among other crimes.

  • 19 Dec 14: an 80-year-old moslem, Mohammed Rafiq, was jailed for 18 years for arranging a revenge attack on a 19-year-old (!) ex-girlfriend that left her with “devastating” scars. Several non-moslem co-conspirators went to prison, too. The judge said that such attacks are common in some other countries, but “rare in Britain.” Really?

So, a century-plus of gun restrictions including a near-two-decade-old outright ban on handguns, and Old Blighty’s still waiting for the promised restoration of Eden.

But they did manage to import this cultural practice in the last decade or so. All part of the diverse vibrancy of tapestry, or something like that.

When Guns Are Outlawed, Only Outlaws Will Have Gravity (again)

Who looks

Who looks at a building like this and thinks, “Nice place. Wouldn’t it be fun to get knee-walking drunk and stumble off the roof?” But judging from results, some people do.

This just in, file under Lifestyles of the Dependent and Idle:

The two were hanging out and drinking on the roof of a Bushwick apartment building past dawn Sunday morning before they accidentally fell off around 7:30 a.m., the sources said.

If you fall off, the “hanging out” you’re doing is hanging out too far. Class, are we surprised that Judgment Juice and a reversal of the working man’s clock are involved?

The 34-year-old man fell four stories to the ground below and suffered severe head and body trauma and the 22-year-old woman fell about 15 feet, according to police. They were both taken to Elmhurst Hospital, cops said.

via Man falls off Brooklyn roof while drinking, clings to life – NY Daily News.

Hey, maybe he was just trying to be this guy:

.A Brooklyn jury awarded $4.15 million to a man who accused cops of deliberately causing him to fall from the ledge of a four-story building.

Naturally, the citizen, Dindu Nuffin by claim if not by name, blames the police he was running from and fighting with for his failed aerial act. And naturally a Brooklyn Jury — the same worthies that wouldn’t have convicted him of whatever the cops were chasing him for in the first place —  chose to make him the Lawsuit Lottro winner for the month of August.

Yes, there’s a price to be paid for stupidity. But most of the stupid seem to have shifted that burden on to the taxpayers. Lyndon B. Johnson called this, we are not making this up, The Great Society.

Just don’t be on the sidewalk on your way to work at 7:30 when one of these guys chooses to make his ascent (or descent, technically) to greatness.

“Where Do We Get Such Men?” Peter A. “Andrew” McKenna, ave atque vale.

mckenna_officialOne thing’s clear: you’d have liked this guy. The Army Times had a story, but we just pulled the bits his friends had to say about him.

MSG Paul Ross went through the SFQC with McKenna.

At this point it just hits everybody in waves. The truth is losing a guy sucks. Losing your best friend sucks. Losing your son sucks. The silver lining is he went out like a Green Beret should. He went out taking it to the enemy and shooting bad guys in the face.

He was phenomenal at his job, but I wish the world would see how genuine he was and how much of an American patriot he really was.

MSG Chris Corbin served with McKenna in 7th Group. A double amputee, Corbin is retired from the Army now.

Everything on paper doesn’t do him near enough justice, not just the kind of guy he was, but the kind of soldier, the kind of Green Beret he was.

He was doing what a special operator should. He heard a boom, he heard small arms, he kitted up, he grabbed his long gun, and he and another friend of ours, who was injured, they were side-by-side dealing death. That’s just Drew. There’s dozens of times he’s done stuff like that.

When I was injured, he stayed with me, for weeks, literally, up at Walter Reed. Every time I opened my eyes from whatever surgery or medication, Drew was right there. He’s that guy you can count on.

Even the… difficult… “Myke Hawke,” another SFQC contemporary of McKenna, was humbled to recall his late friend:

He was special. I remember him very specifically because he was so young. He looked like a kid. What really stood out to me was how motivated he was but how unassuming.

He was so likable, so friendly, so motivated, and you would never think of him as the barrel-chested freedom fighter that he was because he was very humble. Everybody’s got some jerk factor in them, it’s part of the A-type personality, but Drew was not one of those guys. He was so good. He’s the kind of guy we needed more of.

Tim Kennedy is a mixed martial arts fighter who served in 7th Group with McKenna. Kennedy was forced out of 7th Group and into the National Guard by a commander who hated the idea of a Special Forces soldier competing nationally in a sport, or he’d still be in. That may give you an idea of the sort of men McKenna served with, and who mourn him.


McKenna clowning around in Afghanistan. Weapon is an FN SCAR with Elcan Specter DR optic.

In Special Forces, you have to be good at a lot of things, and Drew really spent a lot of time being good at everything, but he never lost focus that we’re still dealing with people. He had amazing humor. He could make anybody laugh at any time.

He’s the Shughart and Gordon. He’s the guy in the helicopter that looks down in Mogadishu, sees a pilot alive and there’s 500 guys coming for him, and says “why don’t you go ahead and put us on the ground so we can protect him.”

He’s been in the military for 17 years, and there’s not a day of the war that he missed, and at every point of his career, he volunteered to go further into harm’s way. He’s that guy who raises his hand and says, “yeah, I’ll go.”

“Where do we get such men?” to quote the Admiral in The Bridges at Toko-ri. In the case of Peter Andrew McKenna, we get them from the town of Bristol, Rhode Island.

And we know where we lose them, as we lost McKenna in April August, defending against a complex attack on Camp Integrity that killed him and left another SF master sergeant seriously wounded.  In keeping with its current policy of “discounting” awards to SF soldiers, the Army has awarded McKenna a posthumous Silver Star. He had numerous Bronze Stars.

We didn’t know McKenna. We are poorer for that.


The original version of this article misstated Drew McKenna’s last action as occurring at Camp Integity in April. The attack took place on the night of 7 August 2015. Thanks to the friend of Drew’s and the wounded SF MSG who took the time to correct us.