At a press conference introducing his opening of all combat positions to women, legislation be damned, lame-duck SecDef Leon Panetta also insisted, “[L]et me be clear, we’re not talking about reducing the qualifications for a job.” But at the same press conference, GEN Martin Dempsey, the painfully politically correct Chairman of the Joint Chiefs, had a different take on it.
Importantly, though, if we do decide that a particular standard is so high that a woman couldn’t make it, the burden is now on the service to come back and explain to the secretary, why is it that high? Does it really have to be that high?
What do you think they’re going to decide when this question comes up? There are two ways of analyzing that. One looks at logic and military culture, and one looks at history.
The logical/cultural view: given today’s senior military officers, what’s their answer going to be to this question: Hey, what’s more important, winning wars or giving ambitious women the careers they want?
The historical view asks these questions: How is this going to come out differently than the Navy’s post-Tailhook standards-drop that gave the world Kara Hultgreen? (The issue was not whether some woman could fly an F-14. The issue became, thanks to the Navy’s standards-drop, whether anyone had the stones to tell a woman who couldn’t fly an F-14 that she’d washed out. Instead, she had to crash the jet to find out). How is this going to come out differently than the Katie Wilder fiasco (where a litigious and well-connected woman officer sued her way to an unearned qualification, after being caught cheating at the school in question)?
Remember, these questions are being answered by guys like Martin Dempsey. He is an Academy graduate, and came up in the “hollow army” of the 1970s, where officers in hopelessly unready armor units taught him the fine art of the phony readiness report, a lesson in ethics that still informs his performance today. He avidly sought ticket-punches, and sports the novice parachute wings of the “5-jump chump,” and a Combat Action Badge for being under fire — as a general. (The more prestigious CIB cannot be awarded to generals and their CSMs, to prevent “paper awards.” This is unfair to the occasional real fighting general. They’re extremely rare birds, though).
Dempsey writes (or claims authorship of, anyway) regular, and mostly worthless, columns in Joint Forces Quarterly. Here’s a taste of Dempsey’s ability to write (empty, content-free platitudes with a skill that even few of his fellow politicians can match, from one of his recent columns:
We must continue to trust our men and women at the edge of our formations, to challenge them, and to leverage their talents and experiences. We must make sure they continue to be the best led, best trained, and best equipped in the world.
Best equipped? Maybe, unless you’re measuring by day-glow safety belts, in which case we lead the world by furlongs. Best trained? You’d have to ask, on what? It would be nice to purge the training schedule of training-distractor time-wasting personnel bullshit, and concentrate on combat training, but that’s not how Big D rolls. Best led?
Well, that’s really a question of whether you think people like GEN Dempsey, GEN Casey, and COL Johnson (all of whom we’ve covered in the past) are typical, or whether the many officers who stay out of the news are.
This post has been edited. It was initially posted without the links. Thanks to the commenter who provided the link we used, we initially read that same story on the non-mobile page but while we were writing this up had lost track of the original link!
The biggest thing in entertainment from the thirties to the sixties was the Western, and one of the biggest Western actors was Roy Rogers. He was ahead of the game with spin-offs, as you see here:
Math exercise for the reader: give your kid the Roy Rogers Quick Shooter Hat. Send him to school. How many times do you have to visit the ATM machine to withdraw his entire bail?
Exercise No. II for the reader: if this were a real, bullet-firing weapon, how would ATF classify it? (To the extent that anything about the Sinaloa Cartel Logistics Department is humanly scrutable).
There are several answers, of course. The Bible suggests that there was already a weapons user, or abuser, in the first human generation, in fact, the first born human: Cain, who slew his younger brother Abel. (The scriptures are silent on how exactly Cain did it, so maybe he didn’t use a weapon at all and just strangled the guy).
If you’re diffident about the creationist approach, we can offer you the fruits of science today. While no one is completely sure when the first Neanderthal bashed a peer’s ridged brow in with a rock, archaeologists had, until recently, evidence that projectile weapons like spears and arrows were invented twice, once about 60,000 years ago and again some ten or twenty thousand years later, after the technology died out once. But now they have new evidence that we’ve been spearing one another, and our now-extinct Neanderthal rivals, since about 71,000 years ago.
The (UK) Independent reports:
The fine stone blades were excavated from a prehistoric site called Pinnacle Point on the southern coast of South Africa and are between 6,000 and 11,000 years older than the previous oldest known samples of spear and arrow blades, scientists said.
The discovery suggests that the invention of lethal projectile weapons came far earlier in the course of human prehistory than previously realised and that, once invented, the knowledge was passed down the generations, according to a study in Nature led by Curtis Marean of Arizona State University.
Previously, scholars thought that the technology of “projectile weapons” was first invented about 60,000 years ago and then lost for many thousands of years before being reinvented between 40,000 and 50,000 years ago.“
Every time we excavate a new site in coastal South Africa with advanced field techniques, we discover new and surprising results that push back in time the evidence for uniquely human behaviours,” Dr Marean said.
Arrows and spears were probably the key weapons that allowed anatomically modern Homo sapiens to migrate out of Africa and successfully colonise other parts of the world, including Europe where the Neanderthals lived, he said.
“When Africans left Africa and entered Neanderthal territory they had projectiles with greater killing reach and these early moderns probably also had higher levels of hyper-cooperative behaviour,” he said.
“These two traits were a knockout punch. Combine them, as modern humans did and still do, and no prey or competitor is safe. This probably laid the foundation for the expansion out of Africa of modern humans and the extinction of many prey as well as our sister species such as Neanderthals.”
Of course, some Neanderthal genes and traits survive today in modern humans, thanks to ancient interspecies uggle-dee-boo. But if you look at what Dr Marean says were the advantages that allowed our ancestors to vanquish those Neanderthals, you see the same traits that make elements, units, and nations victorious today: superior projectile weapons with greater kliling reach (think of our essay on range here) and superior organized, cooperative behavior.
If only Abel had had weapons, and someone to team up with, the whole Book of Genesis might have gone a different way. Instead, he’s a dead end, like the Neanderthal.
One last thought: just because a weapon is superseded by new technology doesn’t mean it goes away. Many news stories have noted that American homicides are statistically more likely to involve blunt-trauma weapons (like Ogg’s rock up there) than “assault weapons, ” and that even Cain’s stranglin’ thumbs remain viable as lethal weapons millennia later. That’s why, while some combatants only master the latest lethal technology, whether it’s a sniper rifle or an F-22, true warriors apply the warrior spirit to any weapon that comes to hand, and failing any weapon at all, hands themselves.
Einstein’s famous observation that he didn’t know what weapons would be used in World War III, but “World War IV will be fought with sticks and stones,” was facile, but false in this: we never stopped fighting with sticks and stones. New weapons are additional, not in lieu of old favorites.
This entry was posted in The Past is Another Country, Weapons Education, Weapons Effects, Weapons Technology, Weapons that Made their Mark, Weapons Usage and Employment on .
Anti-Gun Gun Show is now a No Show
The Dutch/English/generally foreign and anti-American/ trade show organizer Reed Exhibitions has pulled the plug on the Eastern Sports and Outdoor Show. They say it’s postponed, but it’s not postponed to any particular date… so we don’t think the word means what they think it means. If it’s postponed to never, the word they’re groping for is canceled. They might have saved the show if they’d been willing to back down on their opposition to Evil Black Rifles and the vendors that sell them, but they put their anti-gun Euro principles ahead of their business.
It would be admirable if they had done it well ahead of time, before vendors were locked in (under threat of lawsuits, they’ve also backed down on their original intention to keep booth fees and other charges, and are cheerfully refunding them. Well, maybe not cheerfully, but the checks are clearing). To spring the change only when they thought their exhibitors were locked in was craven and cowardly. (It also left many exhibitors eating the cost of hotel rooms and airline tickets, so who’s really adhering to principle against interest, here?)
In a bitter and nasty statement, Reed’s Chet Burchett (is that spelled right, or are there a couple of l’s in there?) blamed his god-damned customers: “the atmosphere of this year’s show would not be conducive to an event that is designed to provide family enjoyment. It is unfortunate that in the current emotionally charged atmosphere this celebratory event has become overshadowed….”
Now, reread that with this in mind: this is a massive international media conglomerate with both in-house end hired public relations professionals. Thing is, a PR professional can only do so much if he or she has a stupid principal.
This one is made for an MBA case study; as an “own goal” or self-inflicted wound it is right up there with New Coke, the Ford Edsel, Microsoft Bob and Recoil, the Anti-Gun Gun Magazine. If there is a Hall of Fame for Corporate Negligent Discharges, Burchett and gang are as good as enshrined.
As a result of their underperformance, their contract to run the SHOT Show — which has been well-run, you have to give Reed that much — is under review.
Reed didn’t have much choice. All but one of their marquee sponsors, all the local gun shops, all the big gun manufacturers, and even many businesses completely unrelated to guns or shooting had withdrawn from what was certain to be a husk of a show and a waste of showgoers $14 admission. Over 200 featured exhibitors quit the show — even Olympic gold medalist Jamie Gray.
For More Information
- Shall Not Be Questioned, a Pennsylvania gun blog, has been all over this.
- Lancaster Online, a local newspaper’s online version, has also covered it rigorously and fairly. (Reed’s ham-fisted mishandling of reporter P.J.Reilly is one for PR textbooks).
- The gun culture is sticking together this time. This is a huge difference from 1994, and we think it is in part to the much wider penetration of the AR- type rifle in target shooting and hunting circles today.
- There’s a lot of us and together, we wield considerable power. It probably sucks to be a rural-state Democrat right now.
- The rest of the outdoor sports world is standing firm with us — some of them at great personal expense. It did our hearts good to see the bowhunters, bass fishermen, and safari guys standing up in our corner. Let’s be there for them if and when they need us.
Now, can we mend our fences with the video game guys? They didn’t deserve the bollocking they got from Wayne LaPierre and the other old women at NRA. They, too, have a product that millions enjoy without any visible harm, and that people who are not in their subculture revile. They’re our natural allies, actually.
…and one you seldom see discussed is fire. Not gunfire, the open-flame kind. Bullets, mortar and artillery shells, and even explosives simulators tend towards the incendiary, and military ranges tend to be on arid, non-prime land. Next thing you know, range fire.
New Zealand has just had two wildfires started by its very small, but very professional, army. Chris Hyde reports:
A fire that has been burning for two days on Defence Force land near Waiouru began after army live fire training.
The blaze was the second to start after an army live fire exercise yesterday. A fire near Christchurch, which started about midday, engulfed 50 hectares before being brought under control.
Chief of staff Dave Harvey said the Waiouru fire is in an area called Three Kings that was “very isolated” and “very rugged, way up in the back block”.
The fire began two days ago as a result of artillery fire.
Harvey said the fire may have burnt area of 350 hectares over the past two days, but was now contained to a five hectare area.
Extinguishers, shovels and sand buckets should always be part of unit range kits, but when the fire starts in a no-go impact area full of UXO, you don’t have a lot of options. Firefighters can only set a perimeter and let the fire in the impact area burn out (and hopefully burn up some of the UXO, most of which can’t be detonated by fire, but can be burned).
We used to do an airshow act which involved rappelling from helicopters, doing a bunch of wild shooting (blanks) and grenade-throwing (simulators), and then grab a guy and exfil by helicopter or (if the “rescued hostage” or “seized terrorist” — usually the air base commander — was game) by STABO. Sometimes we didn’t tell the commander in advance, if his staff were sure that he was a good sport. (They were only wrong once, but it was a memorable day).
But every time we did that, the grenade sims started the airfield’s infield grass on fire.
It’s hard to look like a killer commando when you’ve dropped your weapon to help kick sand on a grass fire.
People forget how hot a bullet, which has essentially been forged to a new shape by friction as it passes through a rifled barrel, really is. Unfortunates that get wounded by a rifle bullet are often left with a surprising memory of the bullet burning. In your flesh a red-hot bullet can actually cauterize smaller blood vessels. In grassy terrain, it can start a conflagration.
Not really sure what category this falls in. Good luck to the Kiwis both in extinguishing the fires, and in keeping rampant environmentalists from extinguishing training, both of which can be a challenge.
Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta never cared much for, or respected, the troops subordinate to him, but he loved him some of the perks, like the million-dollar private-jet commute to the megamillion-dollar California plantation he somehow acquired on a “public servant’s” salary. He couldn’t resist one last gut-punch to the troops on his way out the door: ordering all MOSes in all services open to women.
After all, sexual dimorphism in Homo Sapiens isn’t “settled science,” despite it having been evident in approximately one million years of pre-, proto- and early-human studies. Nope, it’s “culturally mediated.” Since 1970, we’ve been on a crusade to produce a New Warrior Woman that Trofim Lysenko himself would recognize.
Or, if you’re not buying what Lysenko so effectively sold to Stalin, here’s a quote from a retired Ranger and Infantry Command Sergeant Major, from this long thread at Socnet: “Congress and SECDEF can issues decrees and pass laws … but nothing they say or proclaim will cause a 110 pound female do more than sit on a 100 pound rucksack…”
Here are a few more links:
- J.D. Johannes, a veteran who has spent a lot of time downrange as an embedded reporter, calls for higher standards. Lots of luck with that; they will be lowered as required to make happy PowerPoint slides.
- In the Wall Street Journal, Marine combat veteran Ryan Smith makes some observations that the plump, sleek, sybaritic non-combat-veteran Panetta cannot: “Yes, a woman is as capable as a man of pulling a trigger. But the goal of our nation’s military is to fight and win wars. Before taking the drastic step of allowing women to serve in combat units, has the government considered whether introducing women into the above-described situation would have made my unit more or less combat effective?” The politically connected and ambitious Panetta performed national service during the Vietnam War as a deskbound intelligence officer, but did not go to Vietnam.
- This one is some months old but a good resource: combat engineer officer, and combat veteran, Katie Petronio gives her perspective on the demands of combat. It’s all worth reading, but here’s one quote: “For those who dictate policy, changing the current restrictions associated with women in the infantry may not seem significant to the way the Marine Corps operates. I vehemently disagree; this potential change will rock the foundation of our Corps for the worse and will weaken what has been since 1775 the world’s most lethal fighting force.”
Petronio is now probably terminal in her grade of major, despite her excellent record, because she dared to point out that the emperor has no clothes.
This entry was posted in Rangers and Rangerettes, Unconventional Warfare on .
“Pretty nice organization you have here. It would be sad if something happened to it.” That’s the essence of the threatening message sent by German PR executive Sven Lilienström to the NRA. The actual words are: “To the NRA Board of Directors: Try to protect your data/files and emails!” and if they can actually do it, he promises to show up with “two team members” to “polish 500 weapons” at the NRA annual meeting.
He shows he’s serious with a European’s idea of a threatening gangsta: some soft and lissome Eurotrash male model, wearing lipstick and gripping an Airsoft MP5K. In his weak hand. (Or maybe the weaker of two weak hands?) Lord love a duck. Apparently this is Sven Lilienström, as he sees himself. An edgy gangsta, commanding hordes of pimply hackers.
Lilienström doesn’t actually seem to be connected to the hacker community in any obvious way. Far from having techie cred, his education equips him to be a fitness trainer (German language link). He has almost zero presence n the net, apart from self-promotion — and inept self-promotion at that (he’s got a MySpace page! Himmel Herrgott, can we touch him?). As you can see from his real picture, he’s about as hip as Homer Simpson. He’s based in the international hi-tech nexus of Kaarst, in North Rhein-Westphalia.
Lilienström — he of the MySpace social media presence — runs a PR agency, which he says is expert on social and guerilla media. (What he means by that, as we shall see, is that he is unburdened with ethics). His firm is called Rheingewinn (loosely, Rhein profit!) showing that someone really did see the underpants gnomes as role models.
He’s done some self-promotion as a global warming causista, and some self-promotion while flacking for a european racket called the Plus-X Award which turned out to be “pay for play.” (German language, but a nomination cost €464 and a win — which a third of the nominees got — an adittional €3,064). We reckon it was a short step from bribery to extortion.
His new approach is a mock-Wikileaks called Populeaks. It works like this: Lilienström sends a threat to some target — in this case the NRA — and gives them a deadline.
While many of his past letters have attacked his old bêtes noires — One beats the global warming drum, and one rather rudely demanded answers about a micro-scandal involving manufacturers misleading Stiftung Warentest, a German equivalent of Consumer Reports and a respected competitor to his pay-for-play Plus-X Awards — most have not actually been threatening. One, to a Canadian government contractor, did claim that he had hacked Canadian immigration data.
So what we have here is part and parcel of Lilienstrom’s earlier work: self-promotion, with questionable ethics.
The NRA bet: Try to protect your data and emails! – The Leak Preventers.
The question is: does NRA have to worry? The answer: probably not. It’s hard to imagine the clownish Lilienström, a PR executive that could have been sketched by Gilbert and Sullivan (had such a trade existed in their era), being effective at anything.
But consider this: there are certainly people who have an interest in hacking NRA’s membership data, including news media organizations (the British media, which extensively cross-pollinates ours, is in the throes of a criminal hacking scandal at this very moment) and ATF management (it would be illegal, but mere black-letter law has never stopped them before). And those threats have always been out there. While the people that run NRA might be complacent, they’re not incompetent, and one must assume that they keep their data close and their systems closer, and have good security folks, if not in-house, on speed dial.
This entry was posted in Don’t be THAT guy, Lord Love a Duck, Phonies and Assclowns on .
It’s not all that special… it’s “just” a gun blog. But Everyday No Days Off, or ENDO as it’s called in the community, is one of our favorites. It has a certain… attitude. We were reminded of that when we saw the image here linked at GunsSaveLife.com, with a hat tip to ENDO. The graphic came from a Chicago Tribune story or editorial (if you think you can tell the difference you haven’t been reading the Trib) that was intended to explain the arcana of gun-ban legislation to the paper’s dwindling cohort of readers.
- The Trib’s stupidly hilarious misreading of a sling swivel as a mount for anything but a sling.
- Another media cock-up: Time Magazine (what, they’re not dead? Could have fooled us) ran an infographic about all the terrible things an AR-15 could do… while displaying the distinctive silhouette of an A-47. Once again, while purporting to emit facts about guns. Every PS3-owning kid in America knows the difference, but none of Time’s “layers of editors and fact-checkers”. The Emperor’s junk is in the breeze.
- And best of all, the completely NSFW recording of a 1990 public-access call-in show asking, “Should New Yorkers be allowed to have handguns?” (22 1/2 years later, the official answer still is, “only if they’re government functionaries, politically connected, or criminals — which is a bit threedundant). But the video is funny. Host Ken Sander is complacently swollen with liberal conventional wisdom, but you have to respect the way he takes the telephonic abuse, most of which questions his parentage or orientation, in his stride.
This story from 2011 gives you a clue as to the durability of Browning machine guns. Take a gun. Wrap it in several thousand pounds of airplane, with several hundred pounds of 115 octane fuel. Slam it into a peat bog. Dig it up 70 years later. Will it work?
Maybe, if John Browning designed it in the first place.
A Browning machine gun found in a downed Spitfire has been fired for the first time in 70 years.
The weapon worked despite being buried in peat since the aeroplane that housed it plummeted to earth in Donegal in 1941.
A team from the BBC went to the site and dug the guns from where the Spitfire had crashed and could even smell aviation fuel in the air.
Six Browning machine guns were found in good nick thanks to the ideal clay, soil and peat condition
Despite being buried for the last 70 years, the Browning machine gun worked perfectly
There were six guns that presenter Dan Snow reported were in ‘great shape, with belts containing hundreds of gleaming .303 rounds.’
They even found pilot Roland ‘Bud’ Wolfe’s leather helmet among the wreckage.
The guns were cleaned and a couple of pieces were straightened out after suffering some damage on impact.
The soil, clay and peat had provided the perfect conditions for the artefacts to be preserved and, when fired, they worked like a treat.
Mr Snow continued: ‘The gun fired without a hitch. There can be no greater testament to the machinists and engineers in UK factories in the 1940s who, despite churning out guns at the rate of thousands per month, made each one of such high quality that they could survive a plane crash and 70 years underground and still fire like the day they were made.’
While we’re all for giving credit where due, we think the anvil-like design of Browning’s original 1917 machine gun and its later variants including these .303-caliber solenoid-fired British models was a big factor.
The Browning is also a simpler and much more easily manufactured gun than the Vickers the British used as a ground gun at that time. But pulling a gun out of a hole and firing it after the passage of most of a century is a pretty neat trick.
The Supermarine Spitfire and its equally legendary rival the Hawker Hurricane were originally designed in 1934-35 around eight of these rifle-calibre machine guns. Mounting the guns in the wings, beyond the propeller arc, saved the weight and complication of interrupter/synchronizer gear, but required much additional wing structure, especially in the minimalist Spitfire. At the time these planes were introduced, standard fighter armament worldwide was two rifle-calibre guns — often variants of these same robust Brownings.
A little credit goes to the noncorrosive nature of the damp peat in which the Brownings slumbered for all this period. (The pilot, interestingly enough, was an American in the RAF. He survived. More details at the link).
Just the briefest of briefs for you. We reported on the Harrisburg Hunting and Fishing Show’s decision to ban modern sporting rifles and standard-capacity magazines already, but at the time only two small local gun shops had pulled out. That trickle of abandonment has turned into a deluge, as one vendor after another — Ruger was the first big name we heard — has grabbed the eject handle.
Dan Terrill at Guns Magazine has an excellent report on the state of the controversy. You can Read The Whole Thing™ which we urge you to do. But the nub of it is this:
The Eastern Sports Show had around 1,200 exhibitors signed up to attend, but, according to Lancaster Online, since Reed Exhibitions altered this year’s show more than 140 groups have opted out of the convention. These include names like Cabelas, Smith & Wesson, Ambush Arms, Leupold, Federal Ammunition, the Outdoor Channel, Trijicon, just to name a few.
via Eastern Sports Show steadily losing Exhibitors due to AR-rifle ban.
Dan also notes that the NRA, once committed to extending its outreach to the show, is now showing signs of withdrawal. It’s got to be a hard decision for NRA leaders. A booth at the show would certainly lead to more memberships, and, cruscially, more volunteers at election time — these are the things that get would-be gun-grabbing politicians’ attention. But one of the biggest perceptions the NRA has to fight, right or wrong, is that it represents the Elmer Fudds to the exclusion of the black-rifle and defensive shooter community.
With the show organizers, the British firm Reed Exhibitions, having gone full Fudd for this show, no decision the NRA makes can escape legitimate criticism — they’re damned whatever they do.
For manufacturers and dealers, the decision is easier. No one in the industry who was around in the 1990s can forget how Smith & Wesson, under its British owners of the time, went all-in for the Clinton Administration’s gun ban proposals. Or how that decision brought Smith to the brink of liquidation.
The industry and market also changed from the first Clinton term. Over a million AR-15s and derivatives are manufactured and sold to the public every year. It’s not only the fastest-growing part of the industry, it’s the youngest part, the part bringing in youthful, new shooters with enthusiasm and disposable income. Smith & Wesson, back from the dead, makes ARs, as do Ruger, Remington, Mossberg and a number of other names found in Elmer Fudd’s gun rack. Along with the Tacticool Tommys, erious hunters have embraced appropriately configured ARs, particularly for predator hunting, varmint hunting, feral hogs and invasive species.
So the gun that urban politicians and outdated industry satraps see as fringe is now the deepest and broadest current in the mainstream. You mess with Evil Black Rifles, and the millions that already own and use them, at your electoral and market peril. You can talk to the Blue Dog Democrats who went down in flames in 1994, or the former owners of S
&W who lost their shirts at a fire sale, about it.
It will be interesting to see where the show goes from here. It looks like it’s on track to be a lot smaller and a disaster for the organizers, but it’s hard to see how they can back down at this point.
In addition to Dan’s great coverage over at Guns.com, the local paper’s online presence, Lancaster Online, has been all over developments in the case. As of 10:55 AM on the 23rd, the list of withdrawn vendors has grown to 170. The list includes every major dealer in Lancaster County, many vendors who have nothing to do with EBRs including bowhunting and muzzleloader specialists, and hunting-show TV personalities.
Local Trop Gun Shop of Elizabethtown, PA, which we believe to have been the first vendor to punch out, is supporting the boycott in depth. They are raffling off a Windham AR to the winner of a drawing. To enter the drawing, bring Trop a receipt from any of the boycotting vendors.
Kevin was a former Special Forces weapons man (MOS 18B, before the 18 series, 11B with Skill Qualification Indicator of S). His focus was on weapons: their history, effects and employment. He started WeaponsMan.com in 2011 and operated it until he passed away in 2017. His work is being preserved here at the request of his family.