A Mess of Accidents (January, 2016)

Negligent Discharge of the Century. So Far.

ND-shot-in-footWhen there’s no humor in a Polish(-American) joke:

[Maciej] Gorecki was apparently parading his pistol when he put it to [Zdzislaw] Golabek’s head, according to officials.

He pulled the trigger, believing the gun was unloaded.

Golabek, who also lived in the building, died at the scene.

His death has been deemed a homicide.

via Brooklyn man fatally shot friend while showing off gun: cops – NY Daily News.

Anybody remember the first rule of gun safety, class?

A few more details:

Maciej Gorecki, 32, was charged with manslaughter and criminal possession of a weapon after allegedly killing his friend and neighbor, 37-year-old Zdzislaw Golabek, in Gorecki’s Sunset Park apartment on 45th St. near Eighth Ave. on Saturday night, authorities said.

With great firepower comes great responsibility. Normally, New York’s “criminal possession” statute is a BS charge, but in this case, it’s hard to disagree with throwing the book at the knucklehead, Gorecki.

Flint, MI: 3-Year Old Shot With Nobody’s Gun

Well, nobody who will admit it’s his, anyway.

Police say the 3-year-old boy found a 9mm pistol and accidentally shot himself in the head just before 11:30 p.m. Wednesday, Jan. 20.

He was pronounced dead at the home.

Flint police Chief James Tolbert said four adults and three children were at the home, which belonged to the child’s great-grandparents, of the time of the incident. The adults included the child’s mother, the two homeowners and a relative, Tolbert said.

Tolbert said investigations suggest the adults were not aware there was a gun in the home. Now, he says, police are trying to find out whose gun it was, where it came from and how it got into the hands of a toddler.

I think we all know the answer to this riddle.

Praise the Lord and Pass the Kerlix

It had to happen sooner or later, and it did: a Texan shot himself in the foot in church. Apparently the wound wasn’t very serious, so we feel all the better about mocking him.

Not Funny at All: 4-year Old Kills Self

In Houston, a little kid found his grandfather’s gun, and 4-year-old Bryson Hernandez shot himself in the head.  This disaster happened in Texas; Sheriff’s deputies grilled the kid’s grandparents until his grandmother collapsed, and they may still be charged with something, but that’s the least of it. The little guy expired from his self-inflicted wound.

We’ll join the family in urging you to secure your firearms. On your person or locked up, especially if you have kids or if they visit. This little boy loved Iron Man; he could not have had much of a concept of the lethality of a real firearm.

South Bend, IN: A 2-Year-Old, for crying out loud.

Everything in the last incident up above goes double for this one. Except that the boy is in stable condition. How, in the name of all that’s holy, does a toddler shoot himself?

And Another…

In Alaska, State Troopers are investigating the shooting death of 5-year-old Kaidin Mann in the village of Kohanok this weekend as an accidental shooting.

And Another

In Halifax County, VA, a juvenile negligently discharged a firearm. A woman walking in her driveway was hit in the abdomen; she was airlifted to Duke University Hospital, where she’s in stable condition; deputies expect the juvenile will be charged.

Pune, India: Accident, or Suicide?

It probably doesn’t matter to Devendra Giteshware Gore, but there’s evidence for both possibilities, and the cops seem bemused (if leaning towards the suicide theory):

The woman told the police that after the drinking session on Saturday , Gore took out a pistol and put it to his head.

“He asked the woman whether she loved him and told her he would shoot himself if she said no. The woman thought Gore was joking and did not reply . A few seconds later, he pulled the trigger,” Dhage said. Assistant police inspector B A Nanaware of the Sangvi police station said Gore had gone missing in April last year after his creditors began pursuing him.

Indebtedness, a love affair — if it’s suicide, it’s one more proof that is a final solution to somebody’s transient problems. If an accident, it’s one more indictment of the combination of firearms and Judgment Juice.

Indicentally, being India, where guns are outlawed, the firearm was a homemade contraption, according to the news story.

Louisville: “Anti-Gang Activist,” Yeah, riiight…

His momma demands answers, when her son and his friends were playing with a gun, and Junior assumed ambient temperature. The story contains a clue:

Community activist Chris 2-X says Ruff was involved in his anti-violence effort. He would like to see more gun safety training for young people in West Louisville.

We dunno. Having some ganged-up kid (’cause that’s who these “anti-violence” posers are) whack himself should be a salutary transmission, for those capable of receiving.

Williamsburg, VA: Not a Lot of Experience

A young man playing with a pistol in a Williamburg restaurant learned why that’s a bad idea. Unfortunately he didn’t live to apply the lesson.

Major Greg Riley with Williamsburg Police Department told 13News Now the shooting happened at the Astronomical Pancake House in the 1300 block of Richmond Road just before 1:25 p.m.

Riley said the victim died on his way to the hospital.

He added the victim did not appear to have a lot of experience handling a firearm.

Well, he isn’t going to get any now. People! Learn first. Then carry.

When Guns are Outlawed, Only Outlaws will have Blunt Force Trauma

It’s not clear what weapon this guy used. It is clear what he did.

Deyun Shi, the 44-year-old suspect, is believed to have killed two teenage boys, aged 14 and 15, at a home in Arcadia, a city in Los Angeles county, Sara Rodriguez of the Los Angeles County Sherriffs Department told Reuters by phone. Police believe Shi fled on a plane to Beijing.

The boys, who were Shi’s nephews, suffered from “blunt force trauma” and were discovered by local police on Friday afternoon, Rodriguez said.

Shi, who police consider “armed and dangerous”, is also wanted in a spousal assault that took place Thursday, according to a statement from the department.

A backlog of tens of thousands of Chinese nationals awaiting deportation for violating U.S. immigration laws, including 900 classified as violent offenders, have not been repatriated, often because China has been slow in providing the necessary documents. The issue has strained relations between the world’s two largest economies.

via Chinese murder suspect believed to have fled to Beijing: U.S. police – Yahoo News.

It would have nothing to do with the stand-down issued to CBP and ICE on criminal aliens, would it? What do you think?

VA Bosses to Vets: Drop Dead, We Take Care of Our Own

VA-veterans-affairsPredictably, the second corrupt SES demoted for stealing hundreds of thousands of dollars from the agency, Diana Rubens, has cashed in on the interference run for her by VA head Bob McDonald and Deputy Sloan Gibson.

While the ruling was made by a judge, the outcome was set up by VA senior managers blocking for their cronies, Rubens and Kimberly Graves. These two Bisonic Women ripped off the taxpayers for almost half a million dollars in “moving expenses.”  (What move costs that much, short of lower earth orbit?)

The VA senior management did several things to make this outcome happen:

  1. The defined critics of corruption as people attacking veterans. (Never mind that the corrupt pair, like almost all VA senior managers, aren’t veterans. Just people who steal from veterans — the DC version of the same thing).
  2. They dismissed criticism as paid propaganda from the Koch Brothers. (Hey, Charlie and Dave, where’s our check?). This is McDonald’s take, anyway.
  3. They disparaged their own inspector general. (Gibson led on this).
  4. They undermined the case for criminal prosecution, to cover for their cronies. Gibson personally spiked the criminal referral.
  5. They refused to fire the corrupt officials. This was also a Gibson decision, although McDonald has backed him on all these bad decisions.
  6. They withheld evidence that the crooked two had made these arrangements to benefit themselves, leading the court to conclude that “there was no evidence…” of that particular charge. In other words, McDonald and Gibson put the fix in.
  7. They provided the administrative law judge with evidence of other VA officials who had worked similar six-figure scams without being fired (in fact, with complete impunity), encouraging the judge to decide for his fellow short-fingered Beltway nobles on grounds of “equal treatment under law.” In other words, McDonald and Gibson put the fix in again.

To put it in boxing terms, the VA took a dive on the case.

Just like they do on taking care of sick and injured veterans.

Even during the few weeks that they were demoted, Rubens and Graves did not have to give back any of the money that they stole from the vets for whose benefit the money was appropriated. Now they will not only keep their smash-n-grab loot, but also get a shower of new money: back pay, lawyers’ fees, and God knows what other largesse that two such shameless and corrupt homunculi can wrap their fat, greedy fingers around.

If you are a veteran, you already know that the VA works not for you, but for the Graveses and Rubenses of the agency, and their number is legion. The time has come to close the VA, zero its budget out, and voucherize veterans’ benefits, with health benefits rolled into Medicare and education benefits rolled into the DOD’s education programs.

The current officers and executives of VA should be banned from federal jobs like the PATCO controllers were, and made to find work in the dreaded private sector, if they have any skills of economic value (which seems unlikely, but maybe organized crime is hiring).

Until this can be done, Congress needs to withdraw from the corrupt and venal officials at the Veterans Administration all authority to pay bonuses, to hire and promote non-veterans, and to pay salary plus-ups such as the obscene “moving allowances” that let SES paper-pushers triple and quadruple their already over-generous salaries. Moreover, Congress should make all such payments taxable (they’re currently tax-free!). They have imposed retroactive taxation on mere citizens, so they should make this benefits tax retroactive as well.

For more information on this taxpayer ripoff and veteran abuse:

  1. HotAir.com (outside-beltway viewpoint): VA reverses demotion of second disgraced official.
  2. GovExec.com (trade paper of the payroll patriots and trough surfers): Second VA Official Will Be Reinstated to Senior Executive Service.

Elsewhere in the VA:

National Review Calls for Reform, Elimination

For Reform: Dan Caldwell:

it’s now more than clear that the impetus for change will not come from the Obama administration. Instead, Obama and his VA secretary, Robert McDonald, have chosen to double down on the VA’s failed government-run health-care system and have sided with the government unions against common-sense civil-service reforms within the VA.

For Elimination: Jonah Goldberg:

There is only one guaranteed way to get fired from the Department of Veterans’ Affairs. …the only sure-fire way to get canned at the VA is to report [corruption] to authorities who might do something about it.

We’re with Jonah. The agency has embraced failure as a culture, and the “dedicated VA employees” Dan doesn’t want to throw out with the bathwater are, certainly at GS-15 and SES level, a fiction.

There’s a Whole New Scandal Breaking

David La CerteThis scandal is breaking in the Louisiana State Veterans’ Administration, but it looks like he learned his lessons from the Federal VA. From NOLA.com:

[A report accused]…former Secretary David LaCerte of having “engaged in questionable organizational, hiring, and pay practices that appear to have contributed to an environment of little accountability.”

LaCerte abruptly resigned Oct. 8, at the height of the investigation.

Much of the investigation’s findings focused on evidence of misspent money from 2013 until LaCerte left office.

It accused LaCerte of paying $44,128 in consulting fees to a company owned by two of his law school classmates between January 2014 and September 2015 without ever signing a contract with them.

In another case, the report says LaCerte directed staff to buy a Ford Expedition using a more than $27,000 from a federal grant meant for the Southeast Louisiana Veterans’ Cemetery in Slidell. That SUV was then used to ferry LaCerte around the state, according to the report.

Investigators found department employees were reimbursed almost $20,000 in travel expenses that weren’t properly authorized or over the capped limit. The report accused LaCerte of being improperly reimbursed $4,800 for expenses incurred during 11 trips between February 2013 and September 2015.

The report also accused one department employee of stealing from a resident in a veterans home and another of lying on medical records when a resident died after suffering from a fall. Investigators discovered that 34 incident reports had been deleted from the system while another 82 duplicate reports were also improperly discarded.

Beyond the specific accusations, investigators also found that the department had been mismanaged for years….

Perhaps the most revealing discovery, according to the report, was LaCerte’s apparent attempt to keep tabs on management after learning he would not be permanently appointed to the department’s top job….

LaCerte also kept the interim secretary’s $130,000 annual salary rather than return to the deputy secretary’s salary of $85,000, according to the report.

He may actually go to jail yet. He doesn’t have the Patent of Nobility that comes with a Federal job, an entitlement that courts have ruled mere criminality can’t cause one so ennobled to lose. But we hear rumors that there’s a federal angle to this Louisiana-as-usual corruption. The story’s just started breaking.

Another Look at VA Headcount

What Are All Those People Doing? Letter to the Editor, the Columbian, by John Kimbrough:

Of the 41,000 hired last year, only 14,000 were health care workers. Of the 14,000 health care workers hired, only 1,300 doctors, and 3,600 were nurses. This means that out of 41,000 hires, only 4,900 doctors and nurses were hired. What are the other 36,000 hires doing to help our vets?

That’s a rhetorical question, right? Because if it’s a serious one, the answer’s “Bugger-all.”

How is this hiring pattern justified when our veterans still cannot get medical treatment they need at VA hospitals in a reasonable time frame?

Hey, John. That’s one way to look at it. Also, compare how many of these hires were in the America vets live in, and how many were headquarters horse-holders in the region of the Imperial City? The hiring pattern is justified because A players hire A players, B players hire C players, and VA duds hire VA duds just like themselves.

Bet there are more parasites with “diversity” in their titles than the <5k docs and nurses hired last year.

VA Suicide Hotline: “Hang Up, Call This Other Number.”

You couldn’t make this stuff up, but it really happens if you call for help in Las Vegas.

Meanwhile, swarms of $1000-a-day VA managers were congratulating one another over delicacies at a seminar on Preventing Veteran Suicide in a luxurious DC setting. The Secretary’s focus was, as you might expect, knowing this bum, not on veterans who served honorably, but on yardbirds:

And, of course, you wouldn’t have a speech from a lefty politician — which is what McDonald and all his flunkies are — without an anti-gun message.

And while we’re at it, how about some train control?

Hey, if you’re feeling suicidal, you don’t need to call the hotline, anyway. Or even to take an attitude-adjustment nap on the crossties of the mainline of the Atchisson, Topeka & Santa Fe. Just go to the VA hospital and check in. The barbers of the VA will take it from there!

Here’s a Different Retro AR-15

The first thing we’re going to say is: it’s pretty. It’s meant to be a stylish upgrade to the Vietnam-era rifle, but it diverges from that not just cosmetically (with the beautiful walnut furniture and decent Cerakote job), but mechanically (with a heavy barrel, late-style generic lower, and .223 Wylde chamber). It’s styled after the XM16E1/M16A1 style gun that was used by the ground combat services in 1965-67.

AR-15 retro wood 04

It’s a gun that’s meant to be fun to shoot and to give an impression of an early AR — or as the seller puts it, a “resto-mod.” If you’re unfamiliar with the term, it comes from the 1990s California classic car scene, where outfits like Mustangs Plus (whose Ron Bramlett, we believe, coined the term “restomod”) would do a cosmetic restoration on a classic car, while upgrading its systems to late 20th-Century standards of safety, convenience and performance with things like disc brakes, air conditioning, five- and six-speed transmissions, and fuel injection.

This is a “resto-mod” build using an authentic Vietnam era m-16 upper receiver, front sight assembly, and bayonet. The lower is a new Delaware Machine AR-15 mil-spec receiver.”

“Delaware Machinery” and “mil-spec” are only passingly acquainted. The DM lowers can be in tolerance, out of tols high, or out of tols low, and sometimes things that should be square are a few degrees off. Most of them do go together alright, and if they don’t, it’s usually just a matter of custom fitting. Still, that’s the other end of the pool from a prestige lower.

One good thing is that there are no large logos on the magwell with this firm’s lowers.

AR-15 retro wood 02

Everything on the Rifle has been Cerakoted except for springs, detents, and the buffer. The wood stock furniture is real American Black Walnut. The receivers, sight base, compensator, and bayonet grips are a blend of Cerakote Graphite Black and Burnt Bronze. The rest of the parts are Graphite Black. Having all parts Cerakoted dramatically reduces friction which means less oil, less fouling, and less cleaning. The rifle has been pre-broken-in and burnished with Sentry Solutions Smooth-Kote. The rifle comes with the bayonet, bayonet sheath, 3 magazines, and a padded soft rifle case.

It is a nice looking rifle. If you only want one sort-of-retro AR, and you don’t think $1,800 buy it now is too much (we don’t know where the reserve is on this auction), maybe it’s for you.

There are numerous departures from retro “restored,” notably the heavy barrel with it’s .750 diameter through the front sight base (instead of the period-correct .675)

One good thing about this build is that the seller (and presumed builder) is providing comprehensive information about the firearm.

Everything is new EXCEPT the UPPER RECIEVER, FRONT SIGHT BASE, SIGHTS, CHARGING HANDLE, BAYONET, and SCABBARD. These parts are deemed to be authentic Vietnam era parts due to their design and forging marks “C H” on the upper receiver. “C H” stands for Colt Harvey forging (Harvey being the forging company used by Colt for the early m16 rifle). It should be noted that all of the components came to me as a complete upper half, which was in pretty poor condition, at the time, requiring the need for an overhaul. As can be seen from the pictures, you can tell the upper has been through a lot; there are dings all over. All parts were thoroughly degreased, sharp raised edges filed down, blasted smooth, and then coated with Cerakote H series finish. Below are the details on individual parts which were used on this build.

AR-15 retro wood 03

RRA Parts Kit
RRA Carrier with Chromed bolt (Also Cerakoted)
RRA National Match 2-stage semi-auto trigger
Stainless Steel Firing pin and Cam Pin
JP Enterprises® 3.5 lb trigger spring kit
KNS Perma Pin
HBAR Match Grade Chromoly Barrel 20″ 1 in 8″ twist .223 Wylde chamber
Bushmaster® rifle length Buffer and spring
M1918 leather sling
Walnut stock set from Black Guns Wood

AR-15 retro wood 01

via Custom retro AR-15 Wood Stock rifle with bayonet : Semi Auto Rifles at GunBroker.com.

Again, only you know if this is right for you.

And Now for a Bit of Philosophy

The gun is well done; it’s not a Bubba job. But one wonders if some day we will regret these sort of restomods as much as we regret the amateurish and ugly hack jobs that generations of Bubbas have inflicted on Mausers and, now, Mosins. We’ve been meaning to write about this but Tam posted a link to McThag’s impassioned jeremiad (hmmm… was there ever a jeremiad that was not “impassioned”? Methinks we adjective too much) about hack jobs on, specifically, Mosins.

I am sick of seeing Bubba rape kiv/27’s. I am sick of seeing Remington and NEW [New England Westinghouse — rare WWI contract guns. -Ed.) receivers drilled and tapped. I am sick of seeing US marked M1915 stocks shortened and cut for Timney triggers.

Far too often, Bubba makes changes he can’t reverse. Regret comes 20 years later when the supply of old guns dries up and the crufflers start fighting over what’s left. The Mosin that’s $240 on Gunbroker now was $150 last year. It was $70 five years before that.

Already modded guns are listed on Gunbroker for less than $500, and there’s no bidders. In Econ 101, we call that a market indicator.

That made us look at this site, where a Bubba enabler suggests committing all kinds of crude butchery on unsuspecting Russian service rifles.

At one point, he suggests you put your Mosin in a cheap plastic imitation of a sniper chassis stock, because “the look is incredible” (of course) and to save weight. Except the stock he recommends weighs more than the typical birch stick Ivan used, back in the day.

Q: What’s the value of a $150 Mosin in a $140 stock with a $80 muzzle brake and a $30 saw-off-bolt-on 90º bolt handle?

A: About $50.

And that’s why we’re of two minds about the whole Retro Black Rifle Restomod thing. We do believe that well-done smithing has its value, but when collectors enter a market everything takes third place to originality and condition. Now, no gun built from a “parts kit” extracted from a rare Class III weapon is going to be truly original, and an original retro AR is, thanks to the market distortions introduced by a Jersey grifter named Hughes, priced out of the range of most who would like one. So the market is a chaotic mess from the jump.

And with that, we think we’ve argued ourselves around to a position. To wit: it’s everyone’s right to customize their own property any way that suits ’em. We would hope that these customizations were done professionally (like this one), and added real value (like the creator of this one thinks he has done, from the asking price); and that Bubba entertains himself hot-rodding lawn tractors or building a Hemi Gremlin or something. But we can’t stop you from doing whatever you want to do, and we wouldn’t want to live in a world where we could.

And with that, we reserve the right to continue to condemn the actions, abilities and ancestry of Bubba the Gunsmite and all his legions. Fair?

Why They Call it a Stun Gun

This guy has a Rendezvous with Darwin, at some disputed barricade… but here he learns valuable lessons about non-lethal electronic discharge weapons (like the stun gun he mistakenly calls a “taser,” because he’s an idiot), and electrical conductivity.

Or perhaps we should say he receives valuable lessons. Whether he actually learns is another question. We’re inclined to think not.

That is the version of the video that’s cut to thirty seconds to make it almost SFW. To see the moron in his full profane and n-word-rich glory (and a few seconds more of the amorous couple spooning in the chair laughing uncontrollably  at his twitching body), click “more” for the NSFW version:

Continue reading

When Guns are Outlawed, Only Outlaws will have VWs

Ever wonder what happens if you don’t turn but keep going straight into the wall in one of those urban parking garages?

Hole in the Garage

Well, Atlanta-based Weather Channel meteorologist Nicholas Wiltgen has conducted the experiment so that we don’t have to, although he has left the data collection to us. You see, he has moved on to the Far Side, not only of the wall and the basement of the adjacent hotel over there (mowing down a hotel worker in the process, but that guy will live), but also of mortal existence.

He’s not pining for the föhn. He is an ex-weather guesser. He has shuffled off this mortal parking structure. He sings in the Choir Invisible.

A witness saw the Volkswagen Eos 3.2 traveling “at a very high rate of speed” before running into the wall at the parking garage, located near the intersection of Peachtree and 14th streets, according to information released by Atlanta police and fire officials.

The car went through the wall and about 20 feet into the adjacent W Atlanta-Midtown, where it hit a person in a storage area around 5:30 p.m, Atlanta police spokeswoman Kim Jones said. Authorities initially described the injured person as a hotel worker, but a W Atlanta spokeswoman clarified Monday that he was a member of an “independent production company.” He was treated for non-life threatening injuries, Jones said.

The story goes on to say that either he had a heart attack or he didn’t (thataway to cover all the options, Atlanta Journal-Constitution!) and his friends and family will miss him. No doubt.

Cameron Clayton of the Weather Channel noted that:

…he would fight tooth and nail to make sure we did everything we could to explain the dangers of bad weather to our viewers.

It’s never the hazard you’re keeping an eye on, is it?

Luck and Loyalty

On October 4, 1777, British and Continental forces fought a short, sharp engagement on the outskirts of Philadelphia, in a town named for its immigrant settlers: Germantown. The battle initially went well for the home team, coached by George Washington, but the British and their Hessian mercenaries rallied, and the Continentals retreated, in good order as retreats go. But this post is not about the battle per se, but about what we can learn from some incidents in the fighting and its aftermath.

ITEM: Luck and a Mercenary’s  Loyalty

Consider the fortune of the 9th Virginia Regiment, led by Colonel Matthews. In the initial contact, they did very well and took approximately 100 British prisoners. Matthews detached a battalion of 400 men to escort the prisoners to the rear, not knowing that a Hessian regiment led by Colonel Von Donop had moved into position between him and the headquarters to which he was transporting his dejected prisoners.

Von Donop was a mercenary, to be sure, but it was point of honor with him as an officer to be loyal unto his paymasters, and he displayed such threatening firepower that the detachment of Virginians released their ecstatic captives, and now were the dejected prisoners themselves. It was a microcosm of the reversal of fortune of the whole battle1.

For the fates of the individual men, this is not a small thing. The privations of Valley Forge lay ahead, and would certainly have been harder on captives than they were on the Continentals themselves, and they were quite dreadful on the Continentals. And while the British had, by 1777, overcome their initial inclination to hang rebels, at least in the case of the rank and file, they had not yet (and would not throughout the war) advanced to the next step of treating their prisoners like human beings. The pestilential prison ships kept in New York harbor are well known, for example. Many of the Virginians would die in captivity, tragic martyrs to the cause of liberty.

ITEM: Lucky Dog

In contrast to the ill-treatment of prisoners by both sides was the fate of General Howe’s dog. Among the British losses were the commander’s pet; there was no getting back the 800 of Howe’s men that Washington estimated had been killed (Howe’s own report to London was of a much smaller number), but when the dog, healthy if bewildered, was brought to the American general as a trophy, Washington’s first impulse was to send the dog back to his opponent by messenger, which he did on 6 October 1777. He sent a note:

General Washington’s compliments to General Howe. He does himself the pleasure to return him a dog, which accidentally fell into his hands, and by the inscription on the caller, appears to belong to General Howe2.

If Howe, who seems to have considered Washington a social if not professional inferior at this point, made any reply, we are unaware of it. (Howe also was widely recognized as a man of decency and character, and we can only imagine the effect of being reunited with his four-legged friend).

ITEM: Luck and a Servant’s Loyalty

The British, for their part, were not thrilled that Washington had been able to surprise them tacticallyThey were especially annoyed that the Colonial men of substance in the Germantown area had gone all Sergeant Schultz — “I know nothing!” — and provided them with zero useful intelligence. Young Loyalist Robert Morton recorded:

I went to headquarters where I saw Maj. Balfour, one of Gen’l Howe’s aide de camps, (wounded at the battles of Bunker Hill and Long Island) was very much enraged with the people around Germantown for not giving them intelligence of the advancing of Washington’s army, and that he should not be surprised if Gen’l Howe was to order the country for 12 miles around Germantown to be destroyed, as the people would not run any risk to give them intelligence when they were fighting to preserve the liberties and properties of the peaceable inhabitants3.

It seems that Balfour was not alone in his anger.

Balfour’s threat was not an idle one. Almost immediately after the battle the British intelligence officer, Col. Ayres, ordered 17 large homes between Germantown and Philadelphia fired in retaliation for the non-cooperative roles their owners had played in the recent conflict.

Even though Gen. Howe had used Stenton [Dr. Logan’s country home — Ed.] as his headquarters, Dr. James Logan was considered a dangerous patriot. At the time the house was staffed by only a few servants. Ayres dispatched two privates to burn the house.

When the soldiers beat on the door with their muskets, a black servant named Dinah answered. The men told her to get her personal belongings together and get out — the house was about to be burnt.

They said they were going to the stables for straw and when they returned she was to be out of the house. No sooner had the men gone to the barn when a British officer rode up on a lathered horse and called to Dinah as she still stood in the doorway. He wanted to know if she had seen any British deserters nearby.

Dinah immediately replied that there were two of them hiding in the barn at that very moment. The officer, who was in charge of the Provost Guard, immediately called to his men to run to the barn and round up the deserters.

“Come out you rascals, he shouted, drawing his own heavy pistol.”You can’t hide in there – get back to camp!”

Although the privates insisted they were acting under orders from Colonel Ayres, the Provost guard was unimpressed and marched the men off toward camp at bayonet point. Ayres’s men did not return and Stenton was spared the fate of many other fine mansions in the area. Dinah was amply rewarded for her fast thinking when Dr. Logan returned home after the British evacuated Philadelphia.4

ITEM: The Soldier’s Luck snd What Was Later Called PTSD

John F. Watson, a 19th Century Philadelphia banker who had the good fortune to live in the stately brick home that housed Thomas Jefferson when the United States capital was, briefly, Germantown in 1793 (now, fittingly, the home of the Germantown Historical Society), became an amateur historian of the battle and collected reminiscences from survivors.

Some of them seemed to take on a melancholy air and to regret their impact upon the human enemy. Some of them had religious epiphanies, in one case before firing a shot.

Watson learned from talking to old timers that many a soldier, facing such a heated battle for the first time, became conscience-stricken, due to his past sins and feared for his soul.

“John Baylie, while fearlessly entering into battle, all at once, hearing one of the men in the ranks near him (a militia man), beginning to pray audibly for the salvation of those might fall, Baylie had such a conviction of his unpreparedness for death and eternity, that he felt himself tremble from head to foot under the divine power — he also ejaculated prayers — resolved instantly to kill no man — fired above his mark — became tranquil and self-possessed and went fearlessly into all danger — and as soon as he got home joined the Friends [Quakers, a pacifist Christian sect. -Ed.] in Bucks County and relinquished his pay.”5

And the consequences of PTSD were little different in 1777 than they are almost 250 years later.

Watson claimed that the man who shot General Agnew from ambush was named Hans P Boyer. He was a civilian and boasted he aimed for the star on the General’s chest. Boyer took to drinking later life and died in the poorhouse.6

General James Tanner Agnew was indeed slain by a volley fired by civilians from behind a stone wall, as the battle was all but over. He was one of many senior officers (on both sides) to fall in the fighting on 4 October 77. The fame that came from killing Agnew, an officer whose penchant for leading from the front had brought him narrow escapes and wounds at many previous battles, seems not to have done Boyer much good at all.

Notes

  1. Thomas, pp. 45-46.
  2. Thomas, p. 54.
  3. Thomas, p. 47
  4. Thomas, pp. 47-48.
  5. Thomas, p. 60.
  6. ibid.

Sources

Thomas, Ray. Washington at Germantown. Fort Washington, PA: The Bicentennial Press, 1971.

(This is a great little book about a little-known battle, complete with 20th Century photos of the significant places and surviving structures, in what was countryside in 1777 but is now, for all intents and purposes, an urban neighborhood in Philadelphia).

Mold-Your-Own Plastic Lower

Here’s something new, a kit to mold your own plastic AR-15 lower receiver, from AR15Mold.com.

freedom15_group_v3_ar15mold.com_102115_2910x1245_970_415__56758

Here’s what the kit looks like, with some cleaned-up receivers. It produces a 100%, ready to assemble receiver, as soon as it’s extracted from the mold and the mold flash is removed (The flash is visible in the purple and black receivers in the image above; mold flash should be familiar to anyone who built plastic models, a once-popular boyhood hobby). If you look closely, you can see that the toolmarks in the mold are replicated in every produced receiver. It’s unclear without examining one whether the mold is machined directly from plastic (perhaps nylon) or whether it is injection-molded itself.

ar15mold_kit_with_output

The parts you make with this kit are not injection-molded, they are cast. What’s the difference? Injection-molding is done with heat to melt a thermoplastic (or thermosetting) and pressure to force the plastic in and air out of the mold. (Sometimes it is done in vacuum). Casting is done at ambient or near-ambient pressure and temperature, using gravity to fill the mold. (Some casting is done with an assist from centrifugal force, but not in this case). AR15Mold.com does suggest heating its two-part resins to approximately 100ºF for pouring into the mold. Complete instructions come with the kit, which costs about $360 with enough resin for five lowers.

The lowers accept mil-spec uppers and internals, with some caveats. The buffer tower is longer along its X (longitudinal) axis for more strength, making a fixed, rifle stock impractical without an alternative buffer retaining pin retainer. The part is also molded at the top limit of milspec (right on the +.003 tolerance line) for a tight fit, which is okay if your upper’s mating surfaces are +0/-.003 (or minus even a little more, at the price of some rattle). If your upper’s mating dimensions are on the plus side of the tolerances, you’ll need to do some hand fitting.

The bare molds look like this, but something is missing:

ar15mold_kit_minus_small_parts

The element that is missing is the inserts. You see, a complex part like an AR lower can’t simply be molded using a two-sided mold. That’s because it has some areas that are “blind” to the sides of the mold, or “undercut” from the point of view of that side. These blind, undercut areas require inserts that, in effect, extend the mold into the “blind” area, but are removable to allow the molded part to be removed. This picture shows the “small parts” of the AR15Mold.com “Freedom 15” kit, including the “inserts” (which are white).

ar15mold_kit_small_parts

The white “inserts,” clockwise from top center, include the trigger pocket, the buffer tower (if you embiggen the picture, you can see it bears a negative impression of the threads required here), the bolt catch slot and pin, the magazine well, the mold plug, the bolt catch detent pocket, the two inserts for the two sides of the magazine release, etc., etc.

It is possible to break some of these inserts if one were to gorilla-grip them during demolding. It pays to watch all the videos before making a lower.

No mold release compound is used or required with this combination of materials, although some wax on the pins is helpful. The  casting approaches we have covered previously have used RTV cast molds, and using of mold release compound has been crucial.

For the novice at casting, the how-to videos located on the website’s video page and on the company’s YouTube channel walk you through every step. The one that is likely to be most useful to kit buyers is called “Tips and Best Practices.” Another one shows them gingerly inching an F-150 onto a bare receiver. You can see the temporary deformation of the magazine well, but the receiver survived with no lasting damage.

That inspired Angus McThag (whom we thank for discovering this firm and its kit) and his friend Marv to conduct their own torture test, with a Mazda pickup (a Ford Ranger that identifies as Japanese) at 30 miles per hour.

We are reminded of the statement made in the ARMold video that they’re not claiming their receiver is indestructible. Good thing they’re not; McThag would take it as a challenge.

The manufacturer has already demonstrated reinforcing a lower with a steel insert and fiberglass.

There is now no earthly excuse for not making your own AR-15 lower, if you want to try, and live in a jurisdiction where it’s legal, which includes most (but not all!) of the United States. The methods include (in descending order of antiquity):

  1. Manual or CNC Milling from a raw forging;
  2. Manual or CNC Milling from billet;
  3. Manual or CNC Milling to complete a partially finished alloy receiver blank (aka “80% lower”);
  4. 3D printing a plastic receiver of PLA, ABS or Nylon, among other materials;
  5. 3D printing a plastic pattern of PLA, and lost-PLA-casting the receiver;
  6. Manual or CNC Milling to complete a partially finished polymer receiver blank;
  7. CNC Milling to complete a partially finished alloy receiver with the GhostGunner micro mill;
  8. 3D printing parts of a plastic receiver and gluing them together;
  9. 3D printing parts of a plastic “bolt” receiver and bolting them together;
  10. Cold-resin casting a lower using a mold taken from another lower; and, now,
  11. Cold-resing casting a lower using this kit.

We note that the resin casting has been done before; indeed, we’ve reported on it before. What ARMold.com has done is to provide a practical and complete kit for doing this. They have submitted to Firearms Technology Branch of the ATF for a determination letter; this may take some time, but it’s highly probable the determination letter will be forthcoming, because, frankly, nothing they send you can be plausibly defined as “a firearm” within the specific language of the Gun Control Act of 1968 or the National Firearms Act of 1934, as amended.

We also note that the more recent methods, near the bottom require fewer resources and less skill than the old “take this orthotopic rectangular cuboid of alloy and mill off everything that doesn’t look like an AR lower” approach. In other words, the trendline is towards lowered cost and difficulty.

The “Maker” spirit so animates the hobby gunsmithing community now, that it probably can’t be overcome. You can’t stop the signal, Mal.

 

Situational Awareness: This Kid Had It

She wasn’t, and couldn’t be, legally armed — she was only 16. She ran away from home, one of those teenage things that seemed like a good idea at the time. She fell in with a guy with a line of patter and several other women. (Apparently all Dominicans, immigration status indeterminate).

But the guy was a pimp and the girl whores, and they were determined to turn the 16-year-old out as the latest member of their profitable little business.

The kid resisted, despite several beatings. And when she got her hands on a phone, the home she ran away from didn’t seem so bad after all. She texted her mom her location and circumstances.

Mom and the NYPD took it from there.

Cops in the Bronx rescued an upstate runaway who was nearly forced into prostitution but managed to text her mother where she was being held, the Daily News has learned.

The 16-year-old girl was forced to take provocative pictures by her sick captors, a 22-year-old man and four female prostitutes operating out of the Castle Hill Houses, sources said. They then tried to force her into the sex trade.

When she refused to participate she was beaten by two of the women.

The brave girl managed to send a desperate message to her mom about what was happening and where she was, sources said. The mother, in turn, notified State Police, who alerted the NYPD.

When cops showed up at the apartment Thursday night they knocked on the door, saw the girl inside, grabbed her and arrested her cruel captors, sources said.

The girl, who was treated for two black eyes, had run away from upstate Tannersville about three weeks ago, sources said. It wasn’t clear how she met the suspects.

via Cops rescue upstate teen runaway held by prostitues in Bronx – NY Daily News.

She’s damned lucky all she got was a couple of black eyes.

This (kidnapping and beating kids into prostitution) is apparently a big thing in NYFC in general and in the Bronx in particular. This was the 22 Jan 16 story, but they hadn’t busted a hooker ring since maybe this one on 9 Jan 16 (where one of the turned-out kids was 14). But hey, the hookers’ and pimps’ lawyer, one Paul London, says the teen rhymes-with-witch had it coming: “She ran away having been impregnated by her own father.” So, that makes selling her into slavery OK, Paul?

That’s why we need to use lawyers for medical experiments. They’re probably not as good a model of human physiology as good ol’ Rattus norvegicus, but there are some things you just can’t get a rat to do.

 

When Guns are Outlawed, Only Outlaws will have a Truckload of Washing Machines

burned out washing machine truckIn this corner: a Ford Mustang. In that corner: a laden tractor-trailer rig. The Mustang wound up under the trailer, and both vehicles were consumed in the post-crash fire.

So was the Mustang driver.

Police say the crash involved a Ford Mustang and an 18-wheeler just before 12:45 a.m. in the westbound lanes of Interstate 30, near North Carrier Parkway.
The driver of the Mustang died at the scene. The driver of the truck was taken to the hospital with minor injuries.
Police said the 18-wheeler was hauling dozens of washing machines at the time of the crash.

via Driver Killed in Fiery Crash with Big Rig | NBC 5 Dallas-Fort Worth.

The Mustang driver picked a fight out of his weight class.

It’s all fun and games until the closed-casket funeral.