Soviet Sunday

Today is Glorious May Day! The socialist vanguard of the workers’ and peasants’ state moves forward in Stakhanovite overfulfillment of the Five-Year Plan.

It’s a good day to line up all your tanks for a parade. Not to mention your Lennon, or Lenin, posters (politically, the same thing, but only one was a talented musician).

Participants hold flags and banners during a Communist May Day rally in St. Petersburg

This picture from 2014 shows a bunch of undead zombie Communists in St. Petersburg. The flag says:

Lenin — lived,
Lenin — lives,
Lenin — shall live!

Actually, Lenin was, is, and will be: dead, dead, dead.

So are over 100 million people, thanks to the joys of Marxism-Leninism, but that’s beside the point; unlike us, and Lenin (at least some facsimilie of Lenin, as we’ll see) they’re not around to enjoy the 2016 May Day Parade. (Once they’re dead, are Useful Idiots still useful?)

In fact, he’s so dead that he was in such severe danger of rotting in his mausoleum, the shrine to the failed religion of Godlessness that  his heirs erected, that they’ve gradually been swapping parts out for the last 90-some years. Scientific American:

The Russian methods focus on preserving the body’s physical form—its look, shape, weight, color, limb flexibility and suppleness—but not necessarily its original biological matter. In the process they have created a “quasibiological” science that differs from other embalming methods. “They have to substitute occasional parts of skin and flesh with plastics and other materials, so in terms of the original biological matter the body is less and less of what it used to be,” says Alexei Yurchak, professor of social anthropology at the University of California, Berkeley. “That makes it dramatically different from everything in the past, such as mummification, where the focus was on preserving the original matter while the form of the body changes,” he adds.

We dunno. If he’s a 3D Printed simulation of Vladimir Ilych Ulianov aka Nikolai Lenin, at what point does he cease being Lenin and become one of those Audio-Animatronic® gadgets that stalk the rides and attractions at Disney World?

Either way, the critter described in the paragraph is many things, but “alive” ain’t one of ’em.

Lenin was, is, and will be dead. Those who still worship at the altar of the Church of Marx and Lenin need to face that fact.

And despite the fact they had a parade, it seems not to have had all the cool tanks and whatnot — those are standing by for the post-Soviet big parade, Victory Day, 9th May.

Saturday Matinee 2016 17: The First 48 (Reality Series, 2004-present)

The first 48This unscripted reality show, on the A&E Television Network, has been commercially successful. It follows homicide investigators through their work, from, usually, their ride to the scene to the delivery of a fat packet of evidence and a suspect in custody. The episode ends, usually, with a look at the suspect’s face as he’s booked, while a screen crawl tells you of the disposition of his court case as of air time: he “is charged with capital murder” or he “was convicted of 2nd degree murder and sentenced to 25 years,” for example.

This show is not like other cop shows, which is why we’ve written it up before (10 Things about Murderers we Learned from “The First 48”, 7 April 2014): the murderers aren’t the improbable collection of CEOs and scientists and CIA officers that comprise the rogues’ gallery of scripted shows, but real murderers committing real crimes against real victims. They do these for real, not Hollywood, reasons: from sheer loss of temper, to prevent being named in another crime, to make sure a robbery victim can’t seek revenge, to seek revenge for a robbery (this last comes up surprisingly often).

AandE_CPT_After-The-First-48_47_Cold-Light-Of-Day_LF_HD

The impact of homicide on victims’ families seldom gets aired on other TV shows. The dead guy is only one victim. Almost every victim leaves heartbroken survivors behind.

Moreover, you know the show’s on target because it’s been taking flak from Black [Criminals’] Lives Matter and other pro-crime lobbies. The principal thing driving this appears to be the show’s detectives’ one error: in one of the 538 homicide investigations shown so far, the perp arrested at show’s end appears to have been cleared when another suspect was identified as the murderer, an unfortunate result that seems to be about par for the criminal justice course (0.2% false positive rate). That’s unfortunate (especially for the poor bastard who spent two years in the can for not being the guy that killed his two roommates) but it’s hard to see how a system designed and operated by humans could be much more reliable. It doesn’t justify the crime lobbies’ call for an end to the show.

Ironically, despite these groups’ loathing for the show, it’s one of the few shows that actually shows some sympathy to the perps and their families, even though a truly innocent victim is rare enough the detectives often express surprise when this turns out to be the case. The detectives frequently comment to the effect that the perp’s life is as lost, as doomed, as their victims’ are: the most frequent outcome of a murder one conviction is life in prison. Yet the human concern for both victims’ and perps’ families comes through again and again.

Acting and Production

There’s no “acting” in terms of Film Actors Guild members or formalized thespian conduct, although one gets the sense that the homicide bullpen in the show is a slightly desaturated version of the real thing. The sort of black humor and blunt judgment that real detectives apply somewhat callously when among their kin has no place here, so what you get is a real but constrained version of the homicide investigator.

AandE-CPT-The-First-48-9-Desert-Bones-Partys-Over-LF_cc-1_small

Graphic pictures of dead bodies are rare in the show; crime scene images are usually fuzzed out. This shot is from season one.

In other words, you will see — very authentic — displays of sympathy for the victims, and even, sometimes, for the usually youthful, impulsive perpetrators, whose lives are almost as forfeit as the people they kill: a “good” outcome is a dozen or more years in prison on a manslaughter conviction. You won’t see anyone express the opinion that the victim had it coming, even in cases where the victim clearly engaged in behavior that was instrumental in his or her own death. “We’re the murder police, not the drug police,” is a mantra these cops often use to put witnesses, themselves often from a marginal underworld demimonde, at ease.

You will see lots of… to be brutally frank… worthless 16-, and 20-, and 25-year-olds, with dead eyes and devoid of human empathy, sharks’ souls in boy-men’s bodies. What you won’t see is the cops being brutally frank about them, as they are among their own kind.

Not every case is neatly closed in the 44 minutes of show that are available (most shows double up, cutting back and forth between two investigations in two different cities, so one crime often gets 22 minutes or less). Despite the title of the show, they sometimes show the high points of a case that takes weeks or months to solve. And some cases never close, and end with a plaintive request for information.

Never mind the gun, a real homicide investigator better be handy with a phone (and phone records) and a computer

Never mind the gun, a real homicide investigator had better be handy with a phone (and phone records) and a computer. And be a good interviewer, able to elicit what he needs from people who often have something to hide.

After you’ve watched a number of them, you learn to recognize the cadences, to predict what the narrator will say next and his exact timing and tone (“…a man lies in the road…” (three beats) “…dead”), and to make informed speculation about which phone calls were actually shot in real time and which ones are reenacted (a technique the producers admit using).

All the crimes are alike, in that The First 48 crews only embed with major metropolitan departments (rural and suburban murders are often very interesting, but they’re just too rare; one nearby New Hampshire town had its first-in-recorded history a couple of years ago). And all the crimes are different, in that different individual lives have been ended. Some of the criminals are cold-blooded and calculating, but more are impulsive and foolhardy.

Accuracy and Weapons

The show has been criticized, as we’ve said, by criminal lobbies, but it’s hard to get worked up about that. Most non-criminals welcome that as a feature, not a bug.

Unlike scripted-show “cops,” these cops do their work without gunplay. We’re always a little surprised when one draws his or her firearm during a warrant service (many of the criminals are picked up by well-armed and -organized fugitive task forces, and it’s rare for one to resist, when the cops come to the building where he is). Even chases are rare, about as rare as the case where the perp’s lawyer brings him right into the building.

We hope he's just checking to see if the batteries in his EOTEch are still good. Otherwise, something's missing.

We hope he’s just checking to see if the batteries in his EOTEch are still good. Otherwise, something’s missing. (This is a typical, pre-apprehension, fugitive task force prepares for the pickup scene).

The guns of the criminals are interesting, and it might be interesting to do a statistical breakdown on them. They are most often service-caliber handguns, often a mid-priced Glock, Ruger or Taurus and sometimes a cheap Hi-Point or Jennings, etc. It’s never been something on the curio or relic list, in the hundred-plus shows we’ve watched. Occasionally a long gun is used: an AK is the most common long gun, followed by AR, followed by shotgun.

Why so many cops? Overwhelming force often persuades an armed and dangerous criminal to give up without gunplay. Real detectives try not to charge in alone, unlike their detective-show peers.

Why so many cops? Overwhelming force often persuades an armed and dangerous criminal to give up without gunplay. Real detectives try not to charge in alone, unlike their detective-show peers.

True to the crime stats, most of the murders are gun murders, although a significant minority involve an edged weapon or tool, or a blunt instrument. We have not watched all 316 plus episodes and the 538 or so homicide investigations that they represent, yet, but have yet to see a case in which they bothered to trace the gun, or where the source of the perp’s gun mattered. In a good nine out of ten cases, the perp was a prohibited person from prior criminal activity (and in a good zero point nine of the remaining one of ten, he would have been a prohibited person due to drug use). They did, however, use toolmark ballistics in occasional cases.

The bottom line

The First 48 is a rare, if depressing, look at what murder really is in America in the 21st Century: a phenomenon of underclass impulsivity, narcissism, and greed. It shows its impact on real people and shows the frontline combatants against it, as real people. Just as the criminals are not Hollywood criminal mastermind characters, the detectives are not Hollywood detectives: bundle-of-neuroses, physically beautiful actors faking being cops. They’re real people doing real cop work, over the years in Detroit and Miami and Tulsa and New Orleans:.

This is the show to watch if you want to see the real coal face of crimefighting in America. You are, however, cautioned to control any desire or tendency to binge watch this one. It can’t be good for your soul to expose yourself to too many of those dead-eyed criminals, and we wonder sometimes how the cops hold it all together.

For more information

These sites relate to this particular film.

  • Amazon.com DVD (a DVD was made with 7 investigations from the first two seasons. It is the only DVD available):

http://www.amazon.com/First-48-Investigatn-Dion-Graham/dp/B000IB0DDU/

Amazon does have some episodes for streaming, but at $2 a pop in the USA:

http://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_sb_noss_2?url=search-alias%3Daps&field-keywords=the+first+48

(But wait, see below).

  • The First 48 Home Page at A&E

http://www.aetv.com/shows/the-first-48/

United States cable-TV viewers can watch episodes here for free. Of course, we couldn’t get it to work (we’ve been watching back numbers on A&E).

  • IMDB page:

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0423652/

  • IMFDB page (n/a):
  • Rotten Tomatoes review page (No Score):

http://www.rottentomatoes.com/tv/the-first-48

  • Wikipedia  page:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_First_48

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

Notes

none

When Guns are Outlawed, Only Outlaws will have Floods

downpourIn East Texas, a sudden flash flood, an occasional hazard in the arid area, reminds us that anything can kill you, even Dihydrogen Monoxide.

Merta White was waiting to be rescued from the roof of her house when she saw a bump in the water, the Palestine Herald-Press reported (http://bit.ly/1QHo5Cn ).

“I thought it was a mailbox, but then I realized what it really was, and I started screaming,” she said of seeing the body.

The bodies of two of the children were found in the front yard of a residence near the street. A continued search found the bodies Asberry and the two other children.

“The water came down the hill,” Muniz said. “The street was full of mud, so the water just came up. With the enormous amount of rain we had, we had people tell us that within minutes, the water was waist deep.”

via Woman, 4 grandchildren killed in East Texas flooding | KSL.com.

The bodies were a grandmother and her four grade-school-aged grandchildren of Palestine, Texas.

64-year-old Lenda Asberry and her grandchildren 6-year-old Jamonicka Johnson; 7-year-old Von Anthony Johnson Jr.; 8-year-old Devonte Asberry and 9-year-old Venetia Asberry.

They seem to have had no chance at all.

Capt. James Muniz of the Palestine Police Department told The Associated Press that six to 10 homes in a Palestine cul-de-sac were severely damaged following heavy rainfall over the course of just a few minutes after midnight. All other residents of the cul-de-sac were accounted for, he said.

“The water got up here extraordinarily quickly. The individuals tried to get out, however the water was already on the roof of the home,” Muniz said

Treasure your life, and treasure your loved ones. A few minutes rain is all that it took to break the hearts of this family’s survivors.

Will the Military Obey Unlawful Orders?

An officer's commission (here, a Continental Commission signed by President of the Con. Congress John Hancock). Enduring question: are you commissioned to obey orders, or sustain principles?

An officer’s commission (here, a Continental Commission signed by President of the Con. Congress John Hancock). Enduring question: are you commissioned to obey orders, or sustain principles?

The answer to that is, unquestionably, yes. You probably shouldn’t delude yourself on that score. Back in March, Commander Salamander noted this exchange between Brett Baier and Presidential candidate Donald Trump (exchange edited for brevity):

BAIER: [W]hat would you do, as commander-in-chief, if the U.S. military refused to carry out those orders?

TRUMP: They won’t refuse. They’re not going to refuse me. Believe me.

BAIER: But they’re illegal.

TRUMP: …They then came to me, what do you think of waterboarding? I said it’s fine. And if we want to go stronger, I’d go stronger, too, because, frankly…

(APPLAUSE)

… that’s the way I feel. ….We should go for waterboarding and we should go tougher than waterboarding. That’s my opinion.

BAIER: But targeting terrorists’ families?

(APPLAUSE)

TRUMP: If I say do it, they’re going to do it. That’s what leadership is all about.

This, Sal analyzes as follows:

There has been a lot of huff’n and puff’n from many who presently or once wore the uniform, including your humble blogg’r, roughly of, “We will not. No one will follow those illegal orders. We will just refuse.” The more I’ve thought about it, the more I think my initial instinct is wrong.

That might be an internal dialog, but once a senior officer looks you in the eye, and even if you make a protest says, “The JAG stated …” or “The Justice Department ruled that … “, there are very few who will resist. Anyone below 4-stars that does refuse will simply be fired and someone will step forward to execute the order in their place within minutes. That one person will have a clear conscience, but will also have a dead-end career, professional exile, and nothing will actually have changed.

In the main, orders will be followed.

This is a retired officer talking, who has held the nation’s Commission and done the nation’s duty at sea and ashore, and everything he says is 100% in line with what we observed in three decades of combined Active, Reserve and Guard service, most of it in SF with very good and very ethical officers.

He also cites an analysis by Rosa Brooks (again, edited brutally for brevity) that goes like this:

Military resistance is no safeguard against a future president — Trump or anyone else — who’s determined to have his way.

Laws can be manipulated, and they can be changed, especially when a president wants them manipulated or changed. The U.S. military has a strong rule-of-law culture, but it also has a strong commitment to civilian control of the armed forces.

If history and social psychology have taught us anything, it’s that most people, civilian and military alike, will go along with the instructions of those they perceive as authority figures…

….numerous lawyers in the armed forces have expressed private concerns about ….[it really doesn’t matter what, although she has concrete examples –Ed.]. But here again, don’t expect a mutiny or a coup.

Sal returns to the more general problem, and says (edited, for a third time, to the high points):

[T]here is nothing that our GOFO community have done in peace that would lead me to think that there would be any concerted effort to stand up and say, “No.” in times of crisis.

Amen. He does cite some rare examples, such as then-General Rick Shinseki’s resistance to the Iraq war (which was based, if you know Shinseki, on partisan politics, not integrity, but let’s roll with it and give the General the benefit of the doubt), and after that, Vice-Admiral Thomas Connolly’s falling on the proverbial sword over MacNamara’s insane TFX and its F-111B Naval offshoot. Connolly’s response to a Senatorial question about the thrust needed to get the porky jet off a carrier deck is legendary:

[Gerald E.] Miller [then a Connolly aide and later an Admiral himself] remembers vividly that Admiral Connolly swallowed hard, then declared, “There isn’t enough thrust in Christendom to fix this plane.”

Sal admitted he was out of examples, at that point; in the spirit of purple-suited late pop stars jointness, we’d like to vector him to two famous examples from Army service.

  1. Chief of Staff Matthew B. Ridgeway. A World War II hero and Korean War leader, Ridgeway resisted the Presidential and civilian national security establishment’s attempt to all but eliminate the Army and go to an all-nuclear defense posture to enable massive defense cuts. Ridgeway was prepared to fall on his sword rather than withdraw the Army from Europe . Here’s a somewhat partisan view of the thing[.pdf] by officer turned political analyst Andrew J. Bacevich (he wrote it to demean military criticism of his beloved Clinton Administration). Eisenhower pushed Ridgeway into retirement and replaced him with the model of the modern political GO/FO, Kennedy Family Made Guy Maxwell D. Taylor.  (Taylor, too, would leave angry with Ike, but would receive new high offices from his Kennedy pals).
  2. Major General John K. “Jack” Singlaub’s 1977 resistance to Carter Administration policies which favored a US withdrawal from South Korea and Korean reunification under Kim Il Sung, which led to Singlaub being fired, forced to retire, and, in an act of the pettiness for which Carter and his defense suits from Harold K. Brown on down were known, denied disability benefits. We’ve covered that previously (and linked to this paper [.pdf] on the situation).
Ancient History? (Carthage, proof that war doesn't solve anything... oh, wait).

Ancient History? (Carthage, proof that war doesn’t solve anything… oh, wait).

What brings this ancient history to the surface? And it is ancient history: Shinseki’s resistance to his lords and betters took place 13 years ago, Singlaub’s 39, Connolly’s 54 or so, and Ridgeway’s over sixty years in the past. The lesson, then, is not that officers do stand up to orders that they thought unlawful and immoral (Ridgeway’s opposition to policies that targeted enemy civilian population centers; Connolly’s to an aircraft that threw naval aviators’ lives away; Singlaub’s to Carter’s encouragement of a second Korean war and the enslavement of South Koreans) or simply unwise (Shinseki’s turned-out-correct insistence that higher force structure would be needed for a contested occupation).

One word: Martland. Martland was not persecuted directly by soldier-hating suits like Acting Secretary of the Army Patrick Murphy (a career politician) or Secretary Designee Eric “Fabulous” Fanning. Martland’s NCOER was deliberately crafted to harm him. It was prepared and signed by officers and NCOs who knew they were uttering a false instrument, knew they were rejecting the Army Way of criticizing subordinates face to face and in private, knew they were taking up arms in a political battle, and doing it on the side of falsehood, and injuring a good man who had done a good thing, because the Army had drifted off into a foamy pink froth of values that were politically constructed and inconstant. What would those people do with an unlawful order?

People who saw in their commissions, their documents of appointment of rank, their assignment to positions, not as a place to bring their own morals and character to bear, but a place where they would stake all on unthinking obedience? And rationalize it afterward?

That way? Go that way if you will. Be ready to board the boxcars. Your turn will come.

 

3D Printing Roundup, Number Whatever (Video / Image rich)

Did you know 2016 is the Year of Building Your Own Gun? It is. Get to it!

OK, here’s a new video on printing and assembling the Bolt lower, a bolt-together AR lower.

We’ve featured the Bolt many times before (including links to its files) but this is a new video. The names involved (Ma Deuce, RollaTroll, FOSSCAD, FP [Freedom Print]) should be familiar to everyone.

The Bolt looks like it easily would be modified for assembly with rivets, if you don’t like the idea of parts unscrewing themselves. Several mods of the Bolt already exist, like one by Warfairy adopting the profile of the Vanguard lower, and dispensing with any provision for a safety.

Homemade Charger How To

If 22 is your thing, here’s an Instructable (!) on doing a pistol based on the Ruger Charger design.

3DP Ruger Charger

The creator is another old familiar name, Buck Ofama. Sounds vaguely foreign; do you think that’s his real name?

Reminder, Here’s the Latest File Repository, “Ishikawa”.

Can’t go the mile if you ain’t got that file.

https://confab.fosscad.org/126/official-fosscad-mega-pack-v4-8-ishikawa-release

Some New Stuff — no Files yet

Ambi mag release for the Glock-mag Gluty pistol, based on Glock and AR parts.

Gluty ambi mag release

Treillage (sp?) competition stock from Warfairy — gives lots of adjustments on a regular carbine receiver extension. How it looks on the gun:

printed stock on firearm

How the parts break down, color coded:

treillage stock

Bear in mind that anything that’s still just a rendering, puts you on the bleeding edge of the tech when you go to print and use it. But for some of us, that’s half the fun!

New Videos from Guy in a Garage

We’ve already seen GiaG print, remove support material, and assemble a Vanguard AR lower in ABS plastic. But he’s been on a roll lately.

Here, he takes the Vanguard to the range — 300 Blackout with his homemade suppressor. (He blanks out his suppressor markings for privacy. Not that “they” don’t know, as it’s a registered receiver). After firing 60 rounds at the range, he analyzes the condition and performance of his lower.

Want to make your own suppressor like he did? Here he covers the regulatory issues.

He has printed at least three different AR lowers. Here he preps and assembles a Phobos, in ABS:

Here he preps and assembles a Charon, again in ABS:

Important note, he previously printed an early model and it was “off” dimensionally — this one is the 4.0 version.

And here’s a range safety bolt/chamber block for the AR. If printed in nylon, these would be oxen strong and easily dyed orange…. unfortunately we don’t know if he has released the files.

Some of these accessories are cooler than entire 3D Printed guns.

Case Trimmer Insert

Reloaders swear by the $70 Little Crow Gunworks’ WFT — World’s Finest Trimmer. The WFT2 version lets you use the same trimmer for multiple calibers with a $30 interchangeable insert (instead of a whole second trimmer). So Guy in a Garage printed his own insert for the WFT2 for .300 Blackout. This video shows it and tests it out.

Is this the first Registered 3d Printed Firearm?

Michigan has some weird laws. (Every state has a few). So the guy who made this Washbear is arguably the first manufacturer of a registered 3D Printed firearm, unless some poor wretch in the People’s Republic of Massachusetts, the Cosanostrian Emirate of Cuomostan, the Alternative State of California, or some other dystopia has done so already.

Registered Washbear

The cylinder has lined chambers, and is printed of Taulman 618. If you look closely, the pistol unlike the standard Washbear, has a frame made in two parts and joined by screws (and glue). That’s because this builder’s printer wasn’t big enough to print the whole Washbear frame in one shot.

The whole Imgur thread is worth reading in depth, as almost every picture has an informative caption. Enjoy!

How about some Tech on Carbon Fiber filament

Is “carbon fiber” and other exotic filament for normal FFF printers really that much stronger? Joe Binka, Lead Design Engineer for large-format-printer maker 3D Platform, wanted to know, so he did a very engineer thing and, making a test coupon and testing the coupons to failure, evaluated all the extra-strength filaments he could get his mitts on. (3D Platform’s printers use the same FFF technology as all open-source FFF printers, and can use all the same materials). The results were a little surprising.

3DP materials test-result

In this color map, redder is better and greener is worser. Joe discovered that while polycarbonate was the strongest, it was such a pain in the neck that he recommended the runner-up, PC ABS, instead. Polycarbonate…

is a pain to print with. It warps and curls really bad and I would rather avoid it if possible.

…. If I need a really strong material, I’m going to go with the PC-ABS over the carbon materials. It’s just much easier to deal with.

Joe has promised to add new materials to the chart, as they crop up.

Friday Tour d’Horizon, 2016 Week 17

This Tour d’Horizon is going up a bit late, and for that reason may be more telegraphic than usual. We regret the impertinence.

This week’s installment includes:

Guns

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

Free Magazine, if you Kannst Deutsch

dwj_50_year_anniversary_coverThe Deutsches Waffen Journal is a major German gun magazine, founded in 1965; over 600 editions have gone to press since then. If you know enough German to  wend your way through the DWJ Online store, register and select the product (match this cover you see on the left at the link, and look for the magic word kostenlos), they will happily deliver to you a .pdf of their May, 2015 edition. German shooters are definitely under legislative and regulatory threats right now, as are all EU subjects, but a look at the magazine teaches a Yank that our Continental brethren might be a small minority in their nations, and may lack our particular freedoms, but have a robust and worthwhile gun culture to defend.

Waidmannsheil!

dwj_50_year_anniversaryOne of the pages of the 50th Anniversary was this collection of covers. I remember hitting the Hauptbahnhof frequently on days off to see if a new DWJ or Waffen Revue was on the newsstands. The wall of covers tells me that if a digital subscription granted access to digitized back issues (like Guns Magazine and some aviation mags), I’d be all over a subscription like Richthofen on an F.E.2B.

The store also has a lot of really interesting books for collectors. Again, you have to read German, at least a little (you poor monoglots can always look at the pictures, though).

How Blowback Works

Max Popenker has started a new series of articles on firearms operating systems at All4Shooters.com, an international gun website. His initial post is on Blowback firearms. In our view it falls just a hair short because it does not cover the advanced primer ignition that reduced weight of, first, the Oerlikon 20mm gun, and later, many global submachine guns. (API is also why lots of cannon cartridges feature rebated rims, but that’s another story. Generally a good introduction to the theory of blowback, or “mass locking” as this never-actually-locked system is called in some languages.

Many thanks to Max for sending us the link. We look forward to reading his next post.

A Thorough SCAR 17S review

We’ve mentioned before that these things are really popular with the guys in a 10.3″ CQB configuration, especially as more and more hadjis turn up bent on mayhem and wearing the armor we gave our valiant Iraqi and Afghan allies before we, and they, bugged out. Yes, the plates will stop one or two 7.62 rounds, but how many times do we fire, class?

Anyway, Shawn at LooseRounds.com (yes, the 1000-yard M4 guy!) has a good evaluation of a SCAR-H. (His test rifle was not box-stock, as it came to him already fitted with the Geissele Super SCAR Trigger). He took it out to his favorite strip-mine site and made 19 of 20 hits on a skinny-man gong at 750 yards with 168-grain ball.

Shawn shooting SCAR-H

He has a pretty good breakdown on what it can and can’t do. Read The Whole Thing™!

Usage and Employment

The hardware takes you only half way.

Bang, Bang, You’re Sued

Law of Self Defense Andrew BrancaIn this case, it’s a pretty safe bet that the homeowner did not read The Law of Self-Defense, or attend the seminar either. Instead, he shot the fleeing career criminal. (The seminar explains why you can’t, generally, do that).

The homeowner did some time for a misdemeanor, not much but 30 days or so.

And then his troubles began. He got out to find that Lightfingers McGurk is suing him for pain and suffering. And the crook may actually win. Of course, the homeowner put himself in that position by plugging a plug-ugly who wasn’t posing a proximate threat at the point of pluggery.

Cognitive Biases

This article on cognitive biases was picked up by Aviation Week from Business and Commercial Aviation magazine. Despite its aviation focus, it’s something of value to any of us.

There are 100, or more, cognitive biases that are well known to psychologists. They influence or control ranges of behaviors, including eating and drinking, along with social, economic, religious and political actions. A few help us make good decisions with virtually no conscious thought. Most are relatively benign as long as you stay on the ground and steer clear of heated discussions. But there are about a dozen such biases that can kill you in an aircraft.

Such biases are formed through formal learning, personal experiences and hereditary factors. We use them to conserve our limited memory processing time and capacity.

For the astute readers of this blog, it should be relatively straightforward to adapt the arguments of this article to both firearms safety and to gunfighting. This is the kind of thing we’re talking about when we say the aviation world has been all over human factors, far more than we have been.

Cops ‘n’ Crims

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

Hey, Why Punish Criminals?

Seth Barron at City Journal describes the New York City Council’s newfound solicitousness to their central constituency: the “people who litter, drink from open containers, and urinate in public.”

Brooklyn council member Jumaane Williams previously sponsored a bill to end enforcement of turnstile-jumping in the transit system, arguing that being arrested can be “very disruptive” and “cause financial hardship” to the arrestee.

As you might expect from a dude named Jumaane, his constituency includes a lot of criminals and criminals’ family members. Since they apparently can’t do the time (or, for these small offenses, pay the fine), this kind of misconduct needs to be redefined as legal. \

Of course, New York went down this path during the Dinkins era; it seems to be in a hurry to go back. And the answer to the question in the titles is, in part, to make criminal behavior costly in personal terms, and thereby reduce it. 

Cop Gets Hep C… with Tragic Consequences

Some low-life addict bit a cop, and the cop contracted the bloodborne liver disease, Hepatitis C.

The cop is OK so far, but not his wife, who contracted the disease from him.

She’s dead. 

Will De Blasio Be the Next One Indicted?

We were hoping for Cuomo, but it looks like his downstate mini-me might go first in conjunction with campaign-finance corruption. His people are not saying he’s innocent, only that he was within, if barely, the letter of the law.

President Wants Felon Preference for Feds

Kind of like veterans preferences, but for the people he likes better. Right now, felons, who are usually career criminals, are supposed to be restricted from Fed jobs.

Here’s an 800-yard Drug Tunnel

The War on Drugs continues, but drugs seem to keep advancing. Here’s the longest tunnel ever found across one of the rare defended areas on the Mexican border.

Until the next one.

The Perils of Kathleen: Call That Girl a Waahmbulance

Our perennial gun-banning crime-doin’ crimefighter Korrupt Kathleen Kane, got spanked (as noted in last week’s edition) for whining about “selective prosecution.” After seeing her mouthpiece, one Gerald Shargel, threatened with contempt, she (or Shargel) withdrew some of the more outrageous demands she’d placed on the court.

She’s now filed a new motion (giving up on the idea of doing it under seal), alleging selective and vindictive prosecution. Remarkably, her defense is, at this point, essentially admitting the charges but using a tu quoque defense: the old “Billy did it toooo!” every parent has heard before.

She’s also appealing the judge’s rulings against her sometimes fanciful pretrial motions to state court, an appeal the prosecutors are contesting.

And she’s telling political supporters (pinky-ring union leaders) that she never planned to run for a second term, even before her indictment, law license suspension, etc.

Hey, what’s that disbelieving look on your face? She would never lie — she’s a lawyer! (well, she was).

Why are we interested in Kane? Because, financed by anti-gun activist money, she took office with an objective of eliminating self-defense and defensive carry in Pennsylvania and by Pennsylvanians in other States. She singlehandedly erased just about all the previously concluded reciprocity agreements, while going easy on actual armed criminals. So we not only want to see her face career and personal destruction, we take a malicious glee in seeing the rubble bounce.

Unconventional (and current) Warfare

What goes on in the battlezones of the world — and preparation of the future battlefields. (We’ll have more next week)

Is He Reading the Same Magazine?

Thomas Ricks, the anti-military military expert formerly bashing us at the Washington Post, appears in Foreign Policy bashing the Army (gee, that’s a breakthrough) and goes on to praise Army Magazine, the galactically dull party-line waste of wood pulp of the association you’re compelled to join if you’re an officer. Ricks:

ARMY magazine continues to impress me. It used to be at the back of the pack of military magazine — ProceedingsMarine Corps Gazette, and so on. But for the last couple of years, it has led the way.

Is this bozo reading the same magazine? The current issue includes the usual party-line drivel, including a turgid article by a command sergeant major of the current crop of reflective-belt micromanagement NCOs. Army is not worthless because it can be shredded and used for kindling. But apart from that use… it remains about 20 IQ points lower than the Naval Institute’s Proceedings. 

By the way, Ricks goes on to call fellow reporter Sebastian Junger a “combat vet.” In what world is Junger’s employer during his embed, the gay men’s fashion magazine GQ, a combatant? This is a perfect example of one Beltway self-serving (and self-servicing) drone bestowing on another a title that is not his to bestow. Not that this stops them. Nowhere on Earth are men more empty of merit and swollen with self-regard.

By the way, what Ricks sees as Junger’s “new skeptical lens” looks to the rest of us like the usual Beltway urbanist disparagement of Flyover America. Ye gods! We live in our own houses and drive cars, instead of piling into urban Cabrini-Greens and riding the buses like good proles.

Are Defense Pensions Defense Spending?

In case you were wondering how Russia and China manage to field modern weapons systems without the budget bloat for declining capability seen in nations like the US and UK, that’s one big reason. Vet pensions are part of the military budget in the democratic nations, and they’re high and growing, eating more and more of the budget.

In the UK Telegraph, Simon Heffer notes:

Donald Trump’s remark – echoing one by Barack Obama – that Nato countries rely too much on America for defence, and don’t spend enough, recalls my point last week about the Government shamefully including war pensions when claiming it spends 2 per cent of GDP on “defence”. A reader tells me that his 92-year old mother, a veteran in receipt of such a pension, is ready to report for front line duties if necessary. He adds that this magnificent lady saw more enemy action than has the entire present House of Commons put together. Thank God we have her when Putin turns ugly, for we have little else.

The US is similarly situated, actually. Vast amounts of social spending are baked into the military budget, including everything from Hognose’s pension to Davis-Bacon Act handouts to connected unions, to various Congressional mandated cashflow streams to various literal and figurative Congressional nephews. Nobody is talking about this, so thanks to Simon for bringing it up.

Ash Carter Resists Arming Troops

In a gentle FU to Congress in October, Carter announced that rather than develop a plan to allow military officers and NCOs to arm themselves in self-defense like other Americans, he would merely deputize a handful of recruiters and other “off-installation” workers to carry issue firearms in MP guard-mount style. This week, the defense authorization bill as approved by the House Armed Services Committee will cut Carter’s social-engineering slush fund by 15% if he doesn’t produce a plan this year, and also declares adult military dependents (spouses, mostly) residents of the state of assignment for the purpose of gun-buying locally. Anti-gun committee Democrats opposed allowing service members to exercise what they see as the privileges of carry licenses, but were outvoted on party lines; some of them joined the Republicans on the spousal residency issue. The bill still has to pass the full House and the Senate; it is widely thought to be veto-proof, politically speaking.

Veterans’ Issues

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

 VA Still Lying About Wait Times

We’ve previously mentioned this month’s GAO Report about how the agency lies about wait times. Here’s the report [.pdf], but this graphic shows how most of the wait time…

bogus_wait_time_calculation_va

…is simply waiting for the VA to get off its dead ass and call the vet back. And the VA misreports total wait time by leaving this 80% of it out!

As Martin Matishak at The Fiscal Times points out, that’s where we are two full years into the scandal, and, as his headline-writer put it, “System Still Stacked Against Vets”. Word.

In Tomah, WI, They’re Designing Their Way Out of Crisis

How? Literally. By hiring an interior designer. Vets Need Not Apply, but current Federal drones have the inside track. This is the hospital that local drug users call Candy Land because of its opiate-dispensing practices, where they call the cops on reporters, but not on mental-health employee Charles Davis who is charged with being a serial groper of female vets.

The Daily Caller’s Luke Rosiak notes presciently that, “A focus on appearances has often seemed to be VA’s way of covering for deeper operational problems,” and points out that the VA, which always cries about lack of money, went $1 billion over budget gold-plating a Colorado project, and blew $1.8 million on “art” in 2014. (And no, not in the year of 2014. In September 2014. The amounts for the other eleven months are unknown, but could be another million-plus each).

Senior Executive Service Association Tied to Shady Law Firm

The union that represents corrupt, violent, and other bad senior Federal officials, the Senior Executive Association, turns out to be little more than a front for the shady DC law firm of Shaw Bransford & Roth. The indispensable Rosiak:

There are nine employees listed on SEA’s website, but its personnel and resources are closely intertwined with the law firm, which it pays as its largest contractor, tax forms show.

Before he died in 2013, William Bransford, also a partner at the law firm, did double-duty at SEA. SEA was founded by the law firm’s other named partner, Jerry Shaw, in 1980.

The officials at the Senior Executive Association generally were never government executives; they’re just functionaries of the bad-officials’ defense law firm. Read The Whole Thing™.

Chicago VA Hospital adds Protein to Meals

Too bad it’s in the form of cockroaches. (On the bright side, we’ve finally found something that a VA hospital can’t kill!) But hey, the Senate is promising to fix it all. Doesn’t that make you feel better?

VA Union Official Assaults AG Investigator, Walks

David de Silva, a local Vice President with the American Federation of Government Employees, the union that represents bad VA rank-and-file employees, physically attacked OIG Agent (FNU) Lore during a presentation, for suggesting that employees should tell the truth and not take the fifth during OIG investigations, a position that bad-employees union official de Silva found personally enraging.

C. Allen Pool, a union-connected arbitrator who normally rules in favor of thieving and abusive employees, ruled in favor of de Silva and the union. Employees, unlike every other American, needn’t testify truthfully to Federal law enforcement officers.

Hat tip, Rosiak (who else)?

The Next VA Scandal?

The San Diego Union-Tribune, noting how the callous, incompetent handling of his mental health appointments led a local vet to attempt suicide, and how no one has been held accountable (they initially reported three officials were fired, but they were mistaken), concludes:

T]he next infuriating VA scandal is a question of when, not if.

And we’d add: “when” is a question of weeks, not years. Are we ready to disband this thing yet?

Lord Love a Duck!

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

Remember the Lady Whose House Got Leveled by Mistake?

The demo crew read an erroneous GPS and knocked down the house by mistake. The business owner has apologized and is trying to make it good.

Breaking: Another Chance for Martland

SFC Charles MartlandSFC Charles Martland, the Special Forces NCO who is being railroaded out of the Army for stopping an Afghan pedophile from continuing to inflict bacha bazi on a young slave boy, has been granted a reprieve to allow him to file another appeal. This news was released in a Friday night data dump, and some of the media are reporting as if Martland has won. According to SF soldiers who have seen the Army ruling, it’s just a temporary delay to let things blow over while a doomed appeal circulates, before pro-pedophile Pentagon personnel people get what they want.

While it’s impossible to put anything past the current leadership structure, the Fox News story indicated that the toxic “Army Values” determination has been removed from Martland’s records:

An Army spokesman said Thursday that Martland’s status has been changed, allowing him to stay in the Army in a statement to Fox News.

“In SFC Martland’s case, the Army Board for Correction of Military Records determination modified a portion of one of SFC Martland’s evaluation reports and removed him from the QMP list, which will allow him to remain in the Army,” said Lt. Col. Jerry Pionk.

The final outcome is unknowable at the moment.

The history of the case is this: Martland got QMP’d out (that is, dropped by a reduction in force mechanism known by the Orwellian name “Qualitative Management Program”) because of a bad NCO Evaluation Report. The bad NCOER, in turn, came about because he objected to the Afghan sacrament of buggery (now on its way to full sacramental status in the Pentagon, as well). You would think that they’d give a medal to a guy who saved a kid from sex slavery, but not Martland: what they want to give him is two in the hat. And the whole NCOER thing is a uniformed bureaucrat’s way of doing it in such a way that there are no prints on the murder weapon. “Oh, no, we didn’t whack him; it was all just automatic after that old meanie gave him the toxic NCOER.”

You would think that speeches like this stemwinder from a Virginia Delegate Nick Freitas would make a difference:

You’d be wrong. In the mixed-up, tossed-up, never-come-down world of Army Values, buggery trumps integrity every time.

And the Great Buggernaut rolled on. But perhaps it will not roll over Charles Martland. Not yet..

Update

This Ain’t Hell covered Martland’s situation based on the Fox News story linked above. Hondo and Jonn’s and his commenters appear to be more confident than we are, that this reversal is the real thing and Martland’s troubles are over, for now.

Administrative Note

We’ll be late with tonight’s Friday Tour d’Horizon. Meatworld pressures are upon us, everything from cat-sitting an ailing furball to trying to buy property to a non-life-threatening but vexatiously painful medical problem. Yes, that sounds like a lot of sniveling, because it is. There is a post set for 0600 tomorrow and we hope to catch up then, and backfill the missing piece. We regret the delay — Ed.

When Guns are Outlawed, Only Outlaws will have Utility Poles

The description of the accident is dry as dust. “Vehicle struck a pole.” Happens all the time, no?

A person was killed after a vehicle struck a utility pole in West Hollywood early Thursday morning, sheriff’s deputies said.

The crash was reported near Sunset Boulevard and Larrabee Street around 4:20 a.m. No other injuries were reported.

via 1 killed after vehicle hits utility pole in West Hollywood | abc7.com.

Here’s the picture.

vehicle hit a pole

This is not your everyday “vehicle struck a pole,” is it? There’s a story there that somehow didn’t make it into the news story; Lord knows what it was.

Of course, speculation can easily connect 4:20 AM, Judgment Juice® and “speed excessive for state of inebriation.” But it would only be speculation.

Not All Refugees Want to Blow You Up

suicide-bomber-schoolBut enough do that one wonders about the game of frog and scorpion Western leaders are playing. It’s as if virtue signalling to one’s peers is more important than small things such as survival. If these people were hosting these cuckoo’s eggs in their own nests — they are not going to New York or San Francisco — there would be a certain self-sacrificing nobility in it, but as we just noted, they are not, they are sending them to Manchester, NH or Kalamazoo, Michigan. (Indeed, the number 1 destination for islamist refugees and their embedded terrorist fraction is Texas, thanks to a Federal desire for disruption and the efforts of nihilistic “non-profits.”)

Consider Vox Day’s Three Laws of SJWotics from SJWs Always LieWhatever you think of Day, the book is a superior framework for understanding the Social Justice Warrior tactics of frame-and-shame shut-uppery that are in the forefront of modern discourse. The Three Laws are:

  1. SJWs always lie
  2. SJWs always double down
  3. SJWs always project.

And let’s add to that, the Law of Refugees from SFQC:

  • Experience teaches us that one in ten of refugees coming from an enemy or denied area is either working directly for, or at least reporting intelligence information to, the enemy.

We expected, if these laws are truly laws, for the social-justice obsessed refugee savers to respond to the Paris massacre as follows:

  1. To assert that the refugees are no threat in the future, and indeed, have never been a threat in the past.
  2. To insist on even more refugees.
  3. To suggest that those who would exclude terrorists, not those who welcome them, are a threat to the institutions of the country;

And those things all have happened.

We would further expect:

  • To see more terrorist attacks committed by refugees.

The last, only time will tell, but the first three reactions can already be seen, adding a data point to the data set supporting Day’s theses.

We’re using a bad definition of refugees here

The usual usage of the word refugee suggests a temporarily displaced person longing to return home once the natural disaster or war has abated. No one seriously thinks these are that kind of refugee. These people are looking for permanent resettlement — and some non-zero subset of them are expecting to get permanent resettlement, on perpetual welfare. They are not looking for traditional resettlement, like, for example, the Free Poles that remained in Canada and Britain after World War II rather than return to their Russian-enslaved homeland in 1945. Those people ultimately became the parents of fully-assimilated Canadians and Britons, for whom the Old Country and its ways are little more than an ethnic surname and perhaps some ancestral comfort-food recipes.

Our new wave don’t see themselves going back to their third world hellholes. Yet they don’t feel at all grateful for resettlement — egged on by Western “inequality” preachers, they feel entitled. 

The most probable outcome of these camps or nests of hostile moslems and Arabs in our nation is to see permanent, hard-shelled cysts of unassimilated foreigners embedded in our society.

1. The Lie: “The Refugees Pose No Threat”

Yes, they’re already saying that. Want examples? Barack Obama, the President. David Miliband, former British Foreign Secretary. Hillary Clinton, the Heiress Apparent. Nancy Pelosi, from San Francisco, which is promised zero of the wave (Pelosi’s speech at the link also credits the French government for sending the revolutionary Lafayette to America. No, Louis XVI did not send him). Let’s not just pick on the Democrats. Here’s Jeb Bush. Marco Rubio. And why stick to politicians? For the Brookings Institution, armchair expert Dan Byman sneered days before the Paris attack that “ISIS Doesn’t work that way.” That was, of course, before they “worked that way” the living crap out of Paris, but don’t expect a change in position from Byman (he’ll follow the Third Law).

And yeah, we even have statements that they have never done it, based on the fact that only three of the ISIL attackers in Paris have been positively ID’d as refugees so far. And only two of the Boston Marathon bombers.

We even had the Associated Press run a report that one of the firearms in the Paris attacks came from the United States. (It didn’t. The reporter made it up. That’s what they do).

Indeed. Remember Flashbang and Speedbump? The two “refugees” who absorbed millions in welfare and then committed mass murder with TATP-filled pressure cookers at the Boston Marathon?

Another specious claim we hear is that the US has always welcomed refugees. You know, like this kid:

Elian Gonzalez Raid

OK, maybe he’s not a good example, illustrating as he does that (1) for some Americans, the Cuban government is more beloved than our own, and (2) most Federal Agents will do literally anything if given an order. Look at the guy in the picture. Would he put Jews on cattle cars or push them into gas chambers? Would he shoot Polish officers in the back of the head? You can see at a glance that he would. The character and humanity has been trained out of him, and anything that can be rationalized, he would do.

So, if Elián González is a bad example, how about this one:

Romeike Family

These unwanted refugees fled an otherwise friendly but functionally state-atheistic government that is so opposed to their homeschooling, that the parents will be stripped of their children on arrival back “home”. They have been ordered deported, but the deportation order has been stayed pending further legal proceedings (and Congressional intervention).

Yay! More room for future Flashbangs and Speedbumps.

2. The Double Down: Even More Refugees

After seeing what an open door to unassimilable jihadi refugees gets you, President of France François Hollande closed French borders. For a couple of days. Then he announced he would take 30,000 more refugees, ergo, 3,000 more terrortists. (What does this wright, in due course? President Le Pen, for one).

Im the article linked above, David Miliband says the US must accept 100,000 Syrians a year.

And he doubles down, suggesting that the US reduce its minimal (and, frankly, ineffective, but that would be another post)  screening of the “refugees” for terrorists, because

the current process is needlessly slow.

So the US should…

…eliminate unnecessary time lags and get desperate refugees to safety quicker…

Yeah, Dave. All our trains and planes are not gonna bomb themselves, damn it. We need the 10,000+ terrorists in that bunch, stat!

Miliband suggests we should trust the UN, which

… identifies the families most in need…. screens each family, painstakingly documents their family composition and history of flight from Syria, then refers those who best qualify for the U.S. resettlement program on to the federal government.

That’s the same UN that stored rocket launchers for Hamas? The same UN that prints grade school textbooks for Palestinian “refugees” in which they learn math by counting grenades and RPGs, and word problems about how-many-Jews-has-Abdul-got-to-kill? That UN?

The same UN that sent a known foreign intelligence agent to collect against our base camp in Afghanistan? The UN that’s increasingly an arm of the Islamic Conference? The UN that has outlived its usefulness by decades? That UN?

The UN has been in the pocket of Arab and Islamic terrorists for fifty years, and no one with more than single digits of firing synapses should be willing to trust them to walk the dog, let alone sponsor terrorists into the USA. Frankly, UN sponsorship should be viewed with the deepest suspicion in the light of the wannabe world government’s rocky history with terrorism.

And Miliband goes on to make the false equivalency argument: the US resettled 320,000 Vietnamese in two years, where’s our appetite for Islamic terrorists in similar numbers? This is specious. The Vietnamese were the men who fought alongside ours, and their families, who fled their country under credible threat of death.  If any of these so-called refugees were fighters against ISIL, they ought to be back home, fighting against their enemy, who hasn’t won yet. Somebody’s back there fighting, and it’s not the teeming jihadis in the UN Camps, getting their three hots, a cot, and if UN refugee camps run true to form, instruction in marksmanship and bomb-making.

They don’t assimilate at all. In Belgium, the nation’s entire population of 640,000 moslems, who are mostly isolated from Belgian society, has produced 516 known terror jihadists, not counting the ones recently exposed by the Paris attacks. That’s a rate of 1/1260 or 0.079%, a small percentage, but that’s against a whole national population. Against the US moslem population of 6.2 million that the US immigration policy is expected to produce, that means about five thousand terrorists… if they’re as effective as the Paris attackers (exchange ratio 15.75:1), they could murder 77,500 Americans.

3. The Projection: “Wanting a Safe America is Un-American!”

You knew this was not long in coming. The same suspects are arguing that excluding these terrorists who claim to be refugees is somehow un-American, as if nothing is more American than laying your head down on the stump like Isaac and hoping to hell that the guy with the axe is Abraham.

Folks, many, many Americans, hundreds of thousands of us, have been to the sort of paradise produced by Islamism, and have engaged the sort of creatures this fanatical belief produces of humans. And by “engaged,” we don’t mean the Beltway style of having a no-consequences virtue signaling exchange of pleasantries: we mean exchanged fire with.

The nearest thing, in the popular culture, is the zombies of the Walking Dead, except with the ability to cooperate against the living. When someone chooses Islamism, he has chosen Death, for himself and anyone in range of his TATP onesie, and we can see no compelling reason to open the doors for him to try to make of this country the Mohammedan dystopia he has made of his own.

Counterargument: They’re Not All Terrorists

And you know what? We’ll concede that. They’re not all terrorists. They’re not even mostly terrorists, only a small minority, a percentage is (although what we’ve seen from polling and from studies of 2nd-Generation Refugees indicates that the SFQC Estimate was low).

But 10% of the 100,000 Syrians that Miliband and the UN insist we take per annum is 10,000 terrorists a year. If they are as effective as the Paris attackers, who managed an exchange rate of nearly 16 to 1 against French civilians and security forces, that means they will kill more than a million and a half Americans.

Other pressure cooker (and containing bag) remains of the bomb planted by "Refugee" Tamerlan Tsarnayev. FBI.

Pressure cooker (and containing bag) remains of the bomb planted by “Refugee” Tamerlan Tsarnayev. FBI photo.

The US Refugee policy has been extremely imbalanced, also, not accepting Kurdish and (until recently) Yazidi refugees, only Moslems, the most likely terrorists. Christians, who are subject to the same extermination threat as the Yazidis, remain excluded. A curious refugee program, that refuses the oppressed and welcomes their oppressors.

But then again, the US has always had a strain of irrationality in our politics. In 2016, it seems like Tip O’Neill’s aphorism needs to be updated, and all politics is irrational.

Finally, so what if they’re not terrorists? If every single one of them is the purest Enlightenment liberal, their kids revert to the ancestral religion — and the ancestral love of homicide — at the drop of a hat. Accepting these “refugees,” just like starting the various wars that spawned them, and just like fleeing from the consequences of starting those wars, is a voluntary, unforced error. However, unlike the war-starting and bug-out errors we’ve already made, it’s an error that can still be interrupted in the act of commission.

Before There Were Many 9MM Ultra Compacts, There Was One

Devel ASP 12Before there was the current rich supply of ultra compact 9 mm pistols, someone had to have the idea for the first time. In fact, the idea of a small 9 mm carry gun was widespread long before any factory produced one.

The market answered, after a fashion: cut-down versions of pistols were produced. Some of them weren’t cut down much, like the P-38K and the Colt Commander. Others were not really practical, like Baby Lugers, and always appealed more to collectors than self-defense carriers.

SW-semi-model-chartBut the natural host for these first-generation pocket nines in the 1970s and 1980s was America’s first pistol designed for what was then a European cartridge, the 9 mm Smith & Wesson Model 39. The M39 was a postwar design that sought to blend European and American design concepts, and not only did that but produced an attractive firearm at the same time. It combined a Browning-style tilting-barrel, and a Walther-like SA/DA operating system with a slide-mounted safety/decocker. Mag release and slide stop were also Browning style, and the barrel was positioned in the nose end of the slide by a collet bushing modeled on the one in the Colt Gold Cup.

The M39 was single-stack before single-stack was cool, and entered the market in 1954-55 after years of development. If you want to foray into the weeds of Smith auto pistol history, Chris Baker took a shot at decoding Smith’s nomenclature mess with the M39 and its legions of successors at Lucky Gunner Lounge last year, also producing the infographic on the right, which appears correct but incomplete.

But the reason that the M39 yielded those early conversions were (1) it was readily available, and (2) there was nothing vital and hard to relocate in the parts of the gun that a compact conversion hacked off. This picture from an S&W forum shows three cut-down 39s: from l-r, an Austin Behlert special on a Smith 59 (basically, a double-stack 39), a full Devel on a 39 with ambi safety, and a full devel (no ambi safety) on a 59.

Behlert Devel Devel

The first, and most exotic small Smith was the ASP, made beginning in 1970 by New York artist and espionage agency hang-around Paris Theodore, who partnered initially with George L. Nonte. This ASP picture comes from the same forum as the shot above, and illustrates the somewhat industrial finish on ASPs.

asp2

The magazine was patented, specifically for the unusual laid-back pinky rest. The open side made the transparent/translucent segment of the grips practical.

One of the ASP features that will never show in a side view is that about 40% of the width of the reshaped trigger guard was milled away on the strong side of the customer, to provide faster access to the trigger. Theodore claimed that an ASP had 212 modifications from the factory M39.

Theodore’s spy stories seem to have been cut from whole cloth, but he died young — here is an interesting, if credulous, obituary in the late, lamented New York Sun. A definitive ASP was trimmed in height and length, dehorned and softened in its angles, and fitted with a patented “Guttersnipe” trough sight and see-through grips to facilitate round counting.

The Devel was devel-oped (you may groan) by Charlie Kelsey. They tended to be better finished and often had fluted slides to reduce weight. Here are three Devels, a 59 and two 39s.

Three Devels

This is a Devel on a Smith 39-2 from a current GunBroker auction, but supplied with two ASP magazines.

Devel ASP 09

The seller says this about it:

Smith & Wesson Model 39-2 Devel Custom chambered in 9mm with a 3.5″ barrel. Used but in good shape! Frame and slide have some handling wear, couple scratches, and little bit of finish wear around the edges. Comes with two hard to find ASP magazines! Please look at the pictures for details.

Devel ASP 05

The cut-down for Devel and ASP alike was usually 3/4 of an inch to the barrel and slide, and about a half inch to the butt. The package usually included replacing the collet bushing with a plain bushing, on reliability grounds, and bobbing the hammer.

Devel ASP 06

As you can see, the gun is not only shortened but also “softened” or “dehorned,” but it’s not what Devel called a “full house” custom, as it lacks the squared-off trigger guard and lightening flutes in the slide.

Factory compacts like Smith’s own 3913 crippled the market for these niche firearms, and both ASP and Devel folded, victims of the success of their own product.

Like Paris Theodore, Charlie Kelsey died prematurely, but while Theodore lost a long and debilitating battle with disease, Kelsey was found shot and burned in a ditch in Georgetown, Texas. While there were indications he may have been suicidal, he certainly can not have set his own dead body on fire. His murder has never been solved.

 

Of course, true Dedicated Followers of Browning would not be caught dead with a 9mm flyswatter: their pistol-shrinker of choice was Detonics, or Behlert (who called his bobbed .45 the Bobcat). But that’s another story!