Friday, May 18, 2018

May 18, 2017 -- A Quick Run Around the Web

"7.62x39mm gel test: TulAmmo 124 gr 8M3"--The Chopping Block (6 min.)
As far as I know, the only source for the 8M3 ammunition is SG Ammo (Note: I've had very good luck with ordering from SG Ammo).


  • Update (5/18/2018)The weapons used were a shotgun and revolver belonging to the student's father. No AR15. The student has been identified as Dimitrios 'Dimitri' Pagourtzis, 17. One of the photos the perp had put on Facebook showed a black shirt with a Soviet/Communist symbol, a German Iron Cross medal, and an octopus, Leviathan or Kraken logo pin (the article states that it is a depiction of the idol Baphomet, but that is incorrect, because that is a goat headed man).
  • "Living with Guns"--Defense Training International (h/t Tactical Professor).  In this 2007 post from John Farnam, he noted that while the military trained soldiers how to use guns (and, especially, how to use them safely), it did not train soldiers how to live with loaded firearms around them constantly, with the result that negligent discharges were fairly common. He continues:
        In short, incompetent small-arms training was, and still is, “condition-based.” It is predicated on the false notion that unloaded guns are safe, and loaded guns are dangerous. Within this mendacious system of thinking, “safe” guns are routinely handled carelessly (no matter what you try to say to the contrary), and “dangerous” guns (on those rare occasions when they are actually handled at all), are apprehensively treated as if they were coated with poison. The rest of the time, we carry sterile guns and pretend to be armed.
            Conversely, competent small-arms training is “system-based.” There is only one system for handling guns, as all guns are considered dangerous, all the time. All guns are handled the same way, regardless of their ostensible condition. In other words, a gun’s suppositional “condition” has no bearing on the way it is handled. We have no safe guns! We carry loaded guns on our person at every opportunity, taking full advantage of every chance to experience “being armed” (not just pretending).
    • This is a long, but interesting read: "The Long Way Round: The Plane that Accidentally Circumnavigated the World"--Medium. Some of you history buffs probably know that the United States Navy had been preparing for war with Japan since the early 1920s. Thus, as relations with Japan worsened prior to the attack on Pearl Harbor, certain contingencies had been put into place in the event of war breaking out. One of these were evacuation plans for Pan Am's fleet of Clipper aircraft (these were the large float planes that flew the trans-Pacific routes) should they find themselves en route when war broke out. These plans, carried in sealed envelopes on each aircraft, gave a route that the plane would take to avoid capture and return safely to the United States. In this case, after the attack on Pearl Harbor, Pan Am flight 18602 began a journey that would take it to New Zealand and then west until it finally reached New York. (Parts 2 and 3).
    • "INITIAL IMPRESSIONS: THE G-SIGHT LASER TRAINING CARTRIDGE (GEN 2)"--Civilian Gunfighter. This is a dry fire system using a cartridge shaped laser that feeds into the chamber, and then activates when the firing pin strikes a switch on the back of the laser unit. Apparently it does not have extractor cuts so that it doesn't get ejected each time you rack the slide. There is also a smart phone app that works with the system to better record your accuracy.
    • ".38 Special: What I’ve Learned After 20,000 Rounds"--The Truth About Guns. The author has hand loaded and shot over 20,000 rounds of .38 Special, and outlines some of the characteristics that make it such an easy cartridge to reload and shoot. One point: 
    Over 20,000 rounds, I’ve found that there’s rarely a wrong way to do .38 SPL. I have used everything from simple lead to the most advanced machined copper bullets and found them all to be extraordinarily easy to load and shoot. When I say that there’s rarely a wrong way to do it, I really mean it. If you can follow simple instructions, you can safely load this cartridge.
      As you can see in the accompanying chart, several of the handloads I prepared maximize ballistic performance in a short-barreled S&W Model 637 revolver. In most cases, they feature light-for-caliber bullets constructed to expand at minimum velocities. Light jackets and generous hollowpoints with augmented expansion design features are the norm. I also included a heavy but soft, swaged lead hollowpoint bullet for comparison purposes.
      • "Guest Post: The Pirate Radio, by Henry Bowman"--Brushbeater. The author mostly skips over the legality of running a pirate radio station and instead, in his own words, discusses the "How, When, Where, What and Why, in my humble opinion, to fire up my 1-7w FM transmitter and broadcast."
      Sorry, I couldn't resist:
      The list of possible toolmakers includes the Denisovans, a ghost lineage of hominins known from DNA and a handful of Siberian fossils. The leading candidate, though, is the early hominin Homo erectus, since it definitely made its way into southeast Asia. The Indonesian island of Java has H. erectus fossils that are more than 700,000 years old.
             ... By regularly upgrading the Merlin engines, shedding weight with lighter materials, and using super-chilled rocket fuel to maximize density, the Falcon 9 rocket now is about twice as powerful as it was during its initial flight. Rarely during its more than 50 launches since June 2010 has a Falcon 9 rocket not had a handful or more changes from the previous edition.
                 All the while, SpaceX has had a singular goal for the Falcon 9 rocket: to build the most perfect and efficient orbital rocket it could. Now, finally, the company seems close to taking a final step toward that goal by closing the loop on first-stage reusability. As soon as next Monday, but more likely a bit later this month, SpaceX intends to launch the “Block 5” variant of the Falcon 9 rocket for the first time. Musk has said this fifth revision of the Falcon 9 should mark the final major change for the booster.

        Thursday, May 17, 2018

        Shooting AR and AK Pistols and "Non-shotgun" Shotgun-style Firearms

                 I was recently watching a video reviewing the FightLite SCR Pistol (the video is embedded below). 


        As you will notice, the SCR Pistol uses a Raptor grip. The Mossberg Shockwave and  Remington Tac-14 also use the Raptor grip. Watching the problems that the reviewer had with holding and aiming the SCR Pistol reminded me of the recent video from Lucky Gunner criticizing the Shockwave.

                 And that is the issue, of course: how to hold and aim the weapon.

                 Obviously, shooting from the hip is inaccurate unless you practice and become proficient (and it takes a lot of practice), and even then, you have to have your body and the weapon positioned just right in order to score a hit.

                  It appears that the only reliable method to use with the weapons sporting Raptor grips is to raise the weapon up so that you can see the sight (with your elbow sticking out to the side), pushing forward with your shooting hand, while simultaneously pulling backward with your hand gripping the handguard. I would note that Gabe Suarez recommends the push/pull method of holding these style of weapons when shooting. The producer of the video immediately below also attempts different methods of shooting a Tac-14, and you can see how they are impracticable except for the push/pull method.


        Other weapons can be even more challenging. For instance, a shotgun outfitted with a pistol grip does not lend itself to the push/pull method. (Watch the video below where the InRange team test the pistol grip only shotgun).


        The same problems apply to the pistol versions of AKs, ARs, or other weapon systems originally intended as long arms. That is probably why some gun writers have referred to such weapons as "almost-useless range toys." Another gun writer rhetorically asked "What do you get that you don’t get from a AR rifle?" His answer:
        Increased maneuverability.  The short barrel would be useful in urban combat situations.  That is all I can come up with.  I’m not trying to raise anyone’s hackles — I simply cannot come up with a single other benefit.
               Nevertheless, pistol versions of ARs and other weapons seem to be increasing in popularity as of late, especially in pistol calibers. Part of this popularity is undoubtedly due to the current interest in pistol caliber carbines (PCCs).

                Also, and probably more importantly, the ATF has determined that pistol stabilizing braces can be shouldered when shooting a pistol. This allows someone to purchase a pistol and brace, and, for all intents and purposes, have an SBR without the tax and hassle of going through the paperwork. In fact, there are some advantages to this route: you don't need to inform the ATF when you will be crossing states lines with the pistol as you do with the SBR, and some states do not allow you to carry a loaded rifle in your vehicle or concealed (so the SBR could not be carried, but the pistol could). The only downside, really, is that you can't install a vertical foregrip on a pistol.

              However, the ATF had waffled on this issue once, and given that the ATF appears to be headed to reversing its original decision on bump-fire stocks, I would not be surprised if the ATF again changes its decision as to pistol braces. Particularly as many newer designs offer the same functionality as an adjustable stock, and manufacturers and reviewers are not even pretending that the braces are for anything but shouldering. While we are still allowed to do so, though, the pistol arm brace certainly makes it much easier to steady and fire the short barreled weapons as we've been discussing. (See, e.g., the video below of Gabe Suarez showing off his Stakeout shotgun-type weapon using an arm brace).


               The other benefit of using the pistol arm brace is that it allows you to use standard sights on such weapons. Speaking as to those weapons sporting rifle sights, the majority of such sights (particularly those designed for the AR weapon system) are useless if the weapon is held out at arm's length. This necessitates bringing the weapon in close to the face, finding a pistol style iron sight, or attaching a reflex or red dot style sight.

               But what if you don't want to use a pistol brace or, heaven forbid, the ATF decides shooters can't shoulder the weapons? Then you are stuck with the push/pull method (made a lot easier if you have a single point sling that you can attach to the back of the receiver or frame of the weapon which can provide the pull--the bungee cord slings work especially well for this; although it changes it from push/pull, to just push).

               This is one area, however, where the AR pistol stands out. When putting together my AR pistol, I originally thought that the buffer tube sticking out the back was a negative. It made the weapon longer and, let's face, makes it look sort of funny. But even if you can't shoulder the weapon, the buffer tube can be used to obtain a cheek weld. While not as good as a stock would be at controlling recoil, it nevertheless provides a third point of contact for steadying the weapon when aiming. And with the appropriate covering (I used a dense rubber foam cover like those you find on the end of a shovel handle), it isn't too bad. Of course, I have a lot more shooting to do before I can definitively say I am foregoing a brace.

        May 17, 2018 -- A Quick Run Around The Web

        "Stupid Simple Targets"--Tier 1 Citizen (4 min.)
        Instructions on making some simple target stands that won't blow over--however, they do require that you be able to pound a spike (a short length of rebar) into the ground, so there are some areas here in Southern Idaho where these might not work because the basalt is so close to the surface.


                  An eruption from the Kilauea volcano's summit shot ash and smoke into the air early Thursday on Hawaii's Big Island, and the resulting plume is expected to cover the surrounding area, according to the Hawaiian Volcano Observatory.
                     The volcanic cloud reached 30,000 feet, the US Geological Survey said. That's a little below the cruising altitude of a jetliner.
                        "At any time, activity may again become more explosive, increasing the intensity of ash production and producing ballistic projectiles near the vent," the USGS said. "Ballistic projectiles may be produced should steam-driven explosions occur. Impacts will be limited to an area around Halemaumau."
                           Halemaumau is the crater within Kilauea's summit caldera.
                              Nearby residents are being asked to shelter in place if they are in the path of the ash plume, which the wind is carrying to the northeast of the volcano, the USGS said.
                  • "Gear Review: SecureIt Agile Model 52 Gun Cabinet"--The Truth About Guns. This is a heavy duty steel gun cabinet that incorporates a key pad lock, locks with three (3) one-inch steel bolts, and can be assembled yourself. It also features an interesting system allowing you to customize how the interior is set up for storing weapons, ammunition or other odds and ends. MSRP is $600, but the author indicates that retail is generally about $100 less. Total weight of the cabinet is a bit over 100 lbs. The manufacturers selling point is that you get the same level of security as most gun vaults, but in a smaller, lighter, less expansive package. The author of the review writes:
                  Again, this isn’t a safe. It won’t protect its contents in a fire and given a few minutes and the right tools, a good burglar can pop it open. But that’s not why you’d buy the Model 52 cabinet. It’s strong enough to keep guns away from family members who shouldn’t have access. It’s reasonably priced and light enough to move from one room to another without calling a mover. It’s hard to imagine a better product for its intended use.
                  However, if your primary purpose is to "keep guns away from family members who shouldn't have access," then a standard locking steel cabinet will do the same, and they weigh and cost even less.
                  • For those of you in living in the Treasure Valley: "It’s time to plant tomatoes and other warm-weather veggies"--Idaho Statesman. Also: "Fruit trees are loaded, but I’d suggest waiting until after 'June drop' to thin fruit. During the 'June drop' event, natural selection expels many fruits."
                  • "The Daily 202: The far left is winning the Democratic civil war"--The Washington Post. This article is a run down of some of the primary races around the nation, and how far left candidates pulled some upset wins over more moderate (aka not-as-far-left) candidates. It also mentions the Idaho gubernatorial race, both the Democratic winner and the Republican winner. The Republican winner was Brad Little, a long time state level politician and the current Lieutenant Governor. The other major candidates were Raul Labrador, who is leaving the U.S. House of Representatives (and was a founder of the House Freedom Caucus) and Tommy Ahlquist, who is an ER doctor and (together with his father and another partner) a wealthy real estate developer. Labrador and Ahlquist split the conservative Mormon vote--otherwise, I think Labrador would have won the race. (If the race had only been between Ahlquist and Little, I think Little would still have won). Part of me wonders if Ahlquist was pulling a Ross Perot--running not with the intent to win, but to undermine another candidate.
                  • "USMC to Transition to 12-Man Rifle Squads"--Overt Defense. Another article on the Marine Corps' decision to change the composition of their rifle squads. However, this adds some details that are missing from other articles. As  a reminder, however, the current rifle squads have three 4-man fire teams and a squad leader. The new squad will have three 3-man fire teams, and then a commend element with a squad leader, assistant squad leader, and a communications/systems operator. The latter will not only be in charge of communications, but will pilot drones embedded at the squad level and handle other network/intelligence duties. Also, all squad members will be armed with the M27 (a piston driven AR style rifle), and the squad will include a designated marksman using an M27 as an M38 (basically an M27, but with a variable power scope attached). (Marines in non-combat roles will be issued the M4 carbine). Another change is that each squad will be issued three M320 grenade launchers (most likely as a stand alone weapon rather than mounted under the barrel), presumably split up with one to each fire team. It appears that each squad may also have a MAAWS (Carl Gustaf recoilless rifle).
                  • "Theory vs. Practice"--Civilian Gunfighter. The article notes that Yogi Berra said: “In theory, there is no difference between theory and practice.  In practice, there is.” The theme of the article is that what seems will work in theory may not do so under stress and "on the street." Accordingly, they recommend classes, competition, force-on-force training (if available), and hunting as means of testing your theories.
                  • On a similar note: "RED DOT PISTOLS - MYTHS AND MISTAKES"--Gabe Suarez. An excerpt:
                          The pistol is useless if the red dot is occluded or covered with mud:  Absolutely not.  When I hear things like this I know the writer is a range shooter with likely no real life street or battlefield experience.  In class I take a red dot pistol, tape up the RMR so not even Superman with X-Ray vision could see the dot and go through close range gunfighting drills out to 7 yards, getting not only solid hits on the chest of the target, but at closer distances...face shots as well. 
                            I have said it time and time again (insert image of Tony Stark rolling his eyes) the sights or dot do not align the weapon, your grip and body do.  The ability to point shoot accurately when necessary is the mark of the professional.  The inability to do that is the mark of a range-based duffer. 
                              And incidentally, I have seen many more front sights fly off or get broken off in training, and on the street, than I have seen red dot problems with a quality and properly installed red dot.
                      • "Army Action Shooting Team Wins Big In Vegas"--Shooting Sports USA. The U.S. Army's team took top spot in this national 3-gun style event. What caught my attention were the photographs of some of the Army shooters. They were using tricked out AK rifles!
                      • The wages of sin socialism: "Venezuela seizes Kellogg cereal factory after closure"--BBC. The other day I linked to an article about Kellogg closing down its operations in Venezuela. Now, the Venezuelan government has seized the Kellogg facilities with the intent of resuming operations. The article reports: 
                               "We've begun judicial proceedings against the business leaders of Kellogg's because their exit is unconstitutional," Mr Maduro told cheering supporters in the central state of Carabobo.
                                 "I've taken the decision to deliver the company to the workers in order that they can continue producing for the people."
                            When you push bullets above 4,000 fps, strange things happen. I’ve seen paper targets sprayed with molten lead from a bullet’s core as it passed through. Apparently the heat and stress of the trip up a rifle barrel at that speed melted the lead cores. I’ve seen highly frangible .22 varmint bullets go through mild steel plate that .30/06 slugs couldn’t penetrate. Perhaps the bullets acted in the manner of a shaped charge and burned their way through.
                              To the best of my knowledge, the .220 Swift is the only cartridge offering factory loads with 4,000+ fps muzzle velocities.
                              • "David Brooks and the Lizard People"--American Greatness. Donald Trump's experience as a real estate developer in New York City and Atlantic City has given him great insight into how the Swamp works.
                              • "DB warns of US debt crisis."--The Grumpy Economist. The Deutsch Bank (Germany's central bank) is warning of an impending debt crises. What's the difference between now and past times when the debt has been run up? The author explains:
                                US deficits have, historically, been driven overwhelmingly by the state of the business cycle, and have very little to do with tax policies and spending decisions that dominate press coverage. In booms, income rises, so tax rate times income rises. In busts, the opposite, plus "automatic stabilizer" spending kicks in.
                                  This time, however, we see debt climbing while employment drops and incomes are rising. Whether this continues to be an issue will likely depend on whether Democrats gain power in Congress this fall.

                                  Wednesday, May 16, 2018

                                  May 16, 2018 -- A Quick Run Around The Web

                                  "The Police During SHTF"--The Contingency Plan (4 min.)
                                  The producer of this video speculates as to how police will act during any SHTF scenario. However, he focuses on a sudden SHTF scenarios, instead of slow-motion collapses which would allow law enforcement to adapt. My guess is that police will do what they always do: become corrupt. This will show up with both bribery and petty protection rackets (remember from the book Serpico, the author described officers as expecting free meals from restaurants, and some received bribes to keep a blind eye to organized crime activities), and perhaps, similar to Brazil, execution squads killing the worst of criminals. I'm not saying that every officer will be like this, but we will see it become epidemic.

                                  • "RG101: The Universal Revolver Reload"--Revolver Guy. A description of one particular method for quickly reloading a revolver which uses the dominant hand to perform all the fine motor actions, while the non-dominant hand is mostly to hold onto the revolver. A step-by-step description and photographs.
                                  • Quoted at Defensive Pistol Craft:
                                      The private citizen's rules of engagement are much better than the police officer's.  You don't have to warn the bad guy.  You don't have to ask the bad guy to surrender.  You don't have to attempt to arrest.  You don't have to pursue.  You can and should run away.   

                                       If you fear imminent death or serious injury to yourself or other innocent parties, you have legal justification to shoot the bad guy in the cranio-ocular cavity without warning from a meek countenance.  Which is correct.  Because if you give the bad guy any indication that you are a threat to him, he will shoot you first.
                                  We are losing the fight for the Second Amendment.  We are losing it in the courts.  We are losing it in the legislatures.  We are losing it in the media, in the schools and with young people.  The approach we have been using to protect the Second Amendment for many years has failed, is failing and will continue to fail.  That approach has basically focused on lobbying, elections, voting and using the litigation process without any serious attempt to change the philosophical or ideological bent of the country or to change the ideological trajectory of the country to the left which in the last five years has been accelerating, and without any attempt to change the basic progressive mindset which has dominated American politics for many decades.  The tactics we have used are archaic, dated, spent, don’t work and there has been no attempt to use bold new innovative tactics and unless that changes, we are going to lose this fight.
                                  The author proposes solution, the first of which is recognizing the problem:
                                              First, we need to recognize that gun control is a progressive idea.  If we don’t understand what progressivismis, then how can we understand the basis for gun control proposals and refute and defeat them?  It’s like trying to cure a disease when you don’t know the cause.  Progressivism has been the dominant political mindset for many decades, so failing to understand exactly what it is renders us helpless to respond to progressive policy proposals on any number of issues. In a nutshell, progressivism is the notion that there is a governmental solution to every human problem that can be executed without cost or harmful consequences.  Notice the underlying assumption after school shootings that there is some way to prevent them or at least make them extremely unlikely.  That is nonsense.  It’s like trying to make everyone above average in intelligence or wealth.  It ain’t gonna happen cuz it’s impossible.  Notice how this absurd assumption shapes the debate over school safety.  If our own proposals for school safety don’t guarantee that there will be no shootings ever, we have failed and our proposals will be rejected.
                                                Progressivism is not a rational political philosophy but is rather an irrational form of therapy whereby the progressive makes himself feel better by proposing some government action he thinks, without evidence or logic, will solve the problem.  That explains everything about how progressives react to mass shootings. Any role that government itself may have played in causing the event is ignored and the progressive must find a non-governmental scapegoat to blame.  Thus, in the Parkland Shooting, numerous government policies or personnel failed.  The shooter himself was the product of government schools and was bullied and ostracized there for years.  Yet, all we hear is that the NRAis to blame.  This is an obvious absurdity but perfectly understandable once you understand what a progressive is and how they think.
                                                  The progressive is constantly blaming a non-governmental scapegoat for the inevitable failure of their own doomed policies. Why? The progressive believes that state gun violence or the threat of it will improve society.  This always fails because it is absurd.  Yet, the progressive can never admit failure since he needs the progressive fantasy to cope with life.  Hence, the progressive is in an endless search for scapegoats to blame for the failures of his own policies.  Guns are a useful scapegoat for many failed progressive policies including school shootings, terrorism caused by endless meddling in other countries, street crime, the failed war on drugs and even suicide.  Inert pieces of metal called guns are the cause of all these problems and need to be confiscated and then all will be well.  So, more laws are passed, the power of the state increases, no effort is made to actually solve any of these problems by identifying their root causes, so things get worse and the crazy cycle of endless government growth continues.
                                                   Also, since the progressive instantly knows, without any investigation, the solution to any human problem, government action, the progressive shows little interest in doing a proper investigation of the causes of a mass shooting.  Yet, without such an investigation, such shootings are more likely to continue.  One commentator, Brad Wilcox, has noted how often mass shooters grew up without a father in the home.  If true, that fact might point the way to possible solutions that might make mass shootings less likely.  The progressive, judging from recent events blaming the NRA and private gun owners, shows no interest in a scientific investigation of the factsand thus, since they have dominated the debate, they make it more likely that mass shootings will continue.  Now, trying to get at the root cause of social problems is hard work, takes time and guarantees no immediate or perfect solution, so the progressive who craves an instant solution, is not interested.  They want therapy.  They want to feel good now dammit. They do not want to do the hard work of understanding the harsh and complex truth of the human condition.
                                                    I could say a lot more about progressivism but time is short.  If we don’t clinically dissect progressivism and use that information to respond to their gun monopoly proposals, we will continue to lose.
                                            He has more--8 general points and strategies in total. Read the whole thing.
                                                      Emails obtained by the Fox 9 Investigators show the Minnesota government agency was told millions of stolen tax dollars were going overseas and likely a portion of the money was being skimmed by terrorism organizations.
                                                         Scott Stillman spent eight years managing the state's digital forensics lab, meaning he mined data from computers and smart phones.
                                                           "I have never seen anything like this level or scope in my 27-year career as an investigator," he told Fox 9.
                                                             When the state started going after daycare centers suspected of fraud, Stillman was directly involved in the investigations.
                                                               Some of the businesses were gaming the system to steal millions in government subsidies meant to help low-income families with their childcare expenses.
                                                                 In many of the cases, parents would check in their children at a daycare, only to leave a few minutes later with the kids and sometimes no children would show up at the center.  However, it would still bill the state for a full day of childcare.
                                                                   Stillman was so alarmed by what he found that in March of 2017 he fired off a series of emails to his supervisors at DHS.
                                                                     "We are working on and overwhelmed by a significant amount of fraud cases involving organized crime, defrauding hundreds of millions of dollars annually in taxpayer monies," he wrote.

                                                              * * *

                                                                        According to Stillman, he alerted a number of people in DHS including the Commissioner's Chief of Staff with the following message: "Significant amount of these defrauded dollars are being sent overseas to countries and organizations connected to entities known to fund terrorists and terrorism."
                                                                          At a Monday press briefing, the governor told Fox 9 his office was not told about the warnings.
                                                                            Sources tell the Fox 9 Investigators people within the governor's office were told about the concerns a couple of years ago.
                                                                               This is a look at the Amateur Radio Hand-held Transceiver otherwise known as the HT. This is often the first piece of equipment that is purchased by new hams. This article will be emphasizing the basic parts and functions common to all major brands and commenting on some key features and accessories that we feel are important to consider.
                                                                                We highly recommend purchasing your new transceiver from a reputable U.S. dealer.
                                                                          The article then goes into the 2 basic types of transceivers, and the parts and equipment you need to get going.
                                                                          • What we are importing: "Thieves derail and rob freight train in Veracruz"--Borderland Beat. The article reports that "[d]uring the early morning of this Tuesday, it was reported that the Ferrosur locomotive with machine number 4713 was purposely derailed near Puebla. It was reported that a group of train robbers removed parts of the railway to cause the derailment. Subsequently, the thieves made off with the cargo that the hopper cars were carrying."
                                                                          • Related: "Train robberies are a family affair overseen by gang leaders"--Mexico News Daily. The article says that gangs will recruit locals, in groups of several hundred, to stop trains (including several instances of derailment) and assist with offloading the cargo. These groups include men, women and children.
                                                                          • A reminder that we live in the 21st Century: "Tom Bauerle Cracks His Surveillance Team?"--Anonymous Conservative. Bauerle had been accused of paranoia with his tales of stalking and spying. But it turns out he was right: he was being spied upon by “[g]raduate university students and people from certain entities, conducting supposedly ‘unauthorized’ research on state of the art cover and concealment technology, including invisibility techniques, such as non-linear optics, electronic cloaking and what is known in defense circles as ‘Phantom Bogey’ technology.”
                                                                          • Related: "How Invisibility Cloaks Work"--How Stuff Works. This article briefly discusses some of the technology being worked on for cloaking objects, including optical camouflage using a system to project an image on a reflective material (clothing) to display what is behind the person.

                                                                          Tuesday, May 15, 2018

                                                                          May 15, 2018 -- A Quick Run Around the Web

                                                                          "TrueOS: Linux or Windows Alternative"--Explaining Computers (14 min.)
                                                                          TrueOS is based on the FreeBSD operating system (itself a derivative of UNIX, I believe), but offers a graphical user interface. The producer of this video gives some background on TrueOS, shows how to install it, discusses some of the features and applications available, and then discusses what I think might be a useful feature for some people: an encrypted drive that you can set up and transport on a USB drive from one computer to another as long as the computers are using the TrueOS system.


                                                                          • A new Woodpile Report is up. Lots of good articles, but one that jumped out in particular was "Selco’s SHTF Reality Check: 5 Deadly Mistakes That Preppers Are Making" which discusses how many preppers get so locked into a particular scenario or plan that they are handicapping themselves should a real disaster hit. The 5 mistakes he mentions are: (1) making too specific of a plan and sticking to it, (2) overlooking the basics (e.g., stockpiling your bullets and bandaids, but forgetting about water), (3) underestimating the violence (violence is messier and more intense than you can imagine), (4) refusing to think in terms of "new world, new rules" (i.e., being too hide-bound), and (5) thinking it cannot happen here.
                                                                          • "LIGHTS IN A GUNFIGHT - THE TRUTH OF THE MATTER"--Gabe Suarez. He makes some good points about using a flashlight when you hear that bump in the night. A couple items. 
                                                                          First: "The need for completely illuminated target identification has been vastly overblown by lumen-peddling flashlight manufacturers and liability-centric instructors." He writes:
                                                                                   The figure in your house that is definitively not a member of your family...silhouetted in the moonlight, moving uninvited through your house is bought, paid for, and gift-wrapped.  There is no need to identify him any further - as a point of fact, he has been identified already has he not?  Yes he has.  "Not invited", and "Not a member of your family" are pretty clear.  You are not doing the cop thing of searching another man;s house for a 'suspect" of a crime and unclear about what or whom you will find.  Your home is pretty clear as is who belongs there after dark.
                                                                                     When you have enough to identify as not invited and not a member of the household, you really do have enough...except maybe in Maryland or some such place.  Keep the light off and your mouth closed and press the trigger.
                                                                              Another point: "Yes, in the real world people get covered with gun muzzles all the time....ALL THE TIME." He writes:
                                                                                The idea that you are never going to cover anything with a gun muzzle is a gun range fairy tale.  Get over that sort of thinking because aversion to point your pistol at a perceived threat gives that threat an advantage.  Unless he is a total incompetent fool, he will take that advantage and kill you.  Just because you point...even if you are touching the trigger...doesn't mean you are going to shoot.  But when you illuminate someone that by all accounts is a threat to you life, you better be ready to kill him.
                                                                                  He discusses other issues, so read the whole thing. But the reason I chose to highlight these two is because increasingly I see articles or books on self-defense that are too safety conscious, to the extent that I think it would seriously impair your ability to defend yourself. I will have more to say about this in a later article, but it is something that has been bubbling around in the back of my mind lately.
                                                                                  • I know you are going to be shocked (sarc.) but Broward County School District has been lying all along about whether Nicholas Cruz was part of the District's PROMISE program (forced on the District by the Obama Justice Department). The PROMISE program was designed to address the Obama Administration's concern that black and Hispanic students were being disciplined more often (including police involvement) than white or Asian students. The program sought to address this by placing students in a school program rather than referring students to law enforcement. Thus, even though there still existed a disparity in the number of disciplinary violations and crimes committed by black and Hispanic students, it fixed the statistical problem of those students being referred to law enforcement. Cruz was one of those students. Meaning that instead of obtaining a criminal record or involuntary psychiatric commitment that would have prohibited him from purchasing a firearm, his problems were swept under the rug.  Oh, and how much did the District receive in reward for implementing the PROMISE program? $54 million. Yes, that's right. The price of those dead and wounded in Cruz's attack was $54 million.
                                                                                    A couple articles and a link to a video detailing this in more depth:
                                                                                               Laura Janeth Garza, 38, was indicted last week on two counts of illegal voting. Attorney General Ken Paxton announced Monday that his office planned to prosecute the case.
                                                                                                Paxton's office says Garza, who used the alias Angie Yadira Zamora, illegally registered to vote in Harris County after stealing a U.S. citizen's identity. Authorities learned of the case when the victim applied for a passport and discover that one already had been issued in her name to someone else.
                                                                                        • "The Advantages (Real and Imagined) of Carbon-Fiber Barrels"--Field & Stream. Part of the problem with evaluating them is that there is a lot of hype about capabilities, but, according to the author, no definitive answers on some questions. The author also notes that whether carbon fiber radiates heat (cooling faster) depends on how it was wrapped and the type of adhesive used to bond the whole thing together. I've said it before and I will say it again: I think that carbon fiber barrels will be the future of barrels, including in the military, because of the weight savings that can be achieved without sacrificing accuracy.
                                                                                        • "When you break your optic, you’ll appreciate those iron sights…"--Mountain Guerrilla. This article is from a few years ago. He describes how he finally broke his optic--a Burris MTAC. He also broke the rail on his rifle. His conclusion was that backup iron sights are largely extraneous: 
                                                                                          As I pointed out in The Reluctant Partisan, Volume One, the chances of breaking a QUALITY combat optic, without irreparably breaking your gun in the process, are so slim as to be remarkable. Does this mean you shouldn’t run iron back-up sights? Not at all. If that tickles your taint, or gives you warm fuzzies, by all means, mount them. It’s not going to hurt anything, and the weight is negligible. When some knucklehead troglodyte at the gun store counter starts harping on how fragile optics are though, don’t get buffaloed by his baffling bullshit. You’re not going to break your optic, unless it’s a) a complete piece of shit, designed for Airsoft, b) you do it intentionally, or c) you do something really stupid, like fall off a mountain, drop your rifle off a mountain, or throw your rifle across a range to prove a point. (Bold added).
                                                                                          • "Trust But Verify"--Mason Dixon Tactical. The author recently discovered that topomaps he was using for a class had some serious errors--a "pipeline marked 550 meters North of where it actually was, and it didn’t even follow the correct azimuth, East to West." 
                                                                                          • "The incredible contempt of the political class for ordinary people"--Bayou Renaissance Man. As you probably know, Illinois is in a world of hurt when it comes to unfunded or underfunded pensions. Many local governments simply won't have the money to pay these pensions, and will probably have to seek bankruptcy protection or otherwise cut pension benefits. But the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago has a plan to save the pensions: an special "state-wide" property tax. The reason I put "state wide" in quotes is because the proposal would include a break for areas that already have high property taxes (i.e., Chicago), and only impose the burden on those with current, lower property taxes (the rest of the state). By imposing such a tax, the Chicago Fed believes that it will prevent taxpayers from easily leaving the state (and, thus, reducing the tax base) because the high property tax will make it harder to sell homes. Of course (of course!) the tax would be rescinded once the pensions were fully funded (i.e., never).
                                                                                          • Refugees welcome: "Is This The Worst Scandal In Minnesota History?"--American Experiment. More than $100 million in cash left left through the Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport last year in carry-on luggage, destined for various Muslim nations that  have no official banking system, including portions of Somalia controlled by terrorists. Most of the money represents remittances from Muslims sending it back to family in the "old country." But where did they get the money? 
                                                                                                    “We had sources that told us, ‘It’s welfare fraud, it’s all about the daycare,’” said Kerns.

                                                                                              ***
                                                                                                        Five years ago the Fox 9 Investigators were first to report that daycare fraud was on the rise in Minnesota, exposing how some businesses were gaming the system to steal millions in government subsidies meant to help low-income families with their childcare expenses.
                                                                                                          “It’s a great way to make some money,” Hennepin County Attorney Mike Freeman said.
                                                                                                              In order for the scheme to work, the daycare centers need to sign up low income families that qualify for child care assistance funding.
                                                                                                                Surveillance videos from a case prosecuted by Hennepin County show parents checking their kids into a center, only to leave with them a few minutes later. Sometimes, no children would show up.
                                                                                                                  Either way, the center would bill the state for a full day of childcare.
                                                                                                                    Video from that same case shows a man handing out envelopes of what are believed to be kickback payments to parents who are in on the fraud.
                                                                                                            The article goes on to discuss that welfare fraud is widespread amongst the Somali community.
                                                                                                                      "A nutritious breakfast being necessary to the development of a healthy child, the right of the people to keep and eat food shall not be infringed."
                                                                                                                         Who has the right to keep and eat food? The people or the nutritious breakfast?

                                                                                                                Monday, May 14, 2018

                                                                                                                May 14, 2018 -- A Quick Run Around the Web

                                                                                                                Today's video is one that has attracted a lot of attention. It shows an off-duty female military police officer in Brazil shoot an armed robber. The video is only 48 seconds, so give it a watch. One lesson that I particularly liked was that the officer fired her shot, then rapidly backed away so she had cover/concealment behind a car. The robber looked like he was trying initially to shoot back at her, but couldn't track her. After a moment (probably after she identified herself) he gave up. 


                                                                                                                • "Active Killer Salt Licks"--Active Response Training. The author of this guest post compares a "gun free" zone to a salt lick intended to attract deer; but in this case, the "gun free" zone attracts active shooters (or--and I like this term--rapid mass murder). He notes:
                                                                                                                While the active killer typically has Numerous Unstable or Troubling Symptoms, he is also a coward, not looking for a fight. He wants to kill a bunch of defenseless people, without risk to himself. He is looking out for his own personal health, safety and welfare. This is true even if he plans on committing suicide afterwards to avoid the unpleasantness of being held responsible.
                                                                                                                • "Calibers for Beginners: What You Need to Know About .45 ACP"--The Truth About Guns. The intent of the author is to present a quick overview of the .45 ACP to someone new to the cartridge. However, for some reason I was irritated by the repeated comments about the "myth" of the .45 ACPs stopping power and "over-hyped war legacy." It is true that given modern hollowpoint bullets, there is no advantage to using the .45 ACP over the 9 mm. But that wasn't (and isn't) the case when shooting full-metal jacket. 
                                                                                                                • "FBI Acknowledges Life-Saving Potential Of Armed Citizens"--Daily Caller (h/t Weasel Zippers). The final conclusion of an FBI report on active shooter events in 2016 and 2017:
                                                                                                                Armed and unarmed citizens engaged the shooter in 10 incidents. They safely and successfully ended the shootings in eight of those incidents. Their selfless actions likely saved many lives. The enhanced threat posed by active shooters and the swiftness with which active shooter incidents unfold support the importance of preparation by law enforcement officers and citizens alike.
                                                                                                                • "Martial Arts and Newton's Laws of Motion"--The Science Classroom.  Somewhere in my collection, I have a book on this subject, but this is an interesting introduction to how physics shows up in the fighting arts.
                                                                                                                • "Home invasion in Argentina: 3 Very important lessons learned"--The Modern Survivalist. An elderly man was forced to shoot and kill the perpetrator of a home invasion. Turned out that the perp was a young man that the elderly man and his wife had befriended, and using his girlfriend to gain admission to the house while armed and masked. FerFal has three lessons he draws from the incident: (1) you can't trust strangers (or people generally), (2) even a pipsqueak round can get the job done with the right shot placement (in this case, the guy was using an old .32 revolver), and (3) an example of how the revolver can be superior to the semi-auto for someone who is not going to practice and will end up throwing the gun in a drawer for decades with no care or concern.
                                                                                                                • "The U.S. Army is Looking for Its First New Submachine Gun Since WWII"--Popular Science. The Army has published a request for information (RFI) for a submachine gun, so don't read too much into this announcement. However, it seems in line with the Army's current preoccupation with finding a replacement to the 5.56, which will likely be a larger (and harder recoiling) round. Consequently, and somewhat counterintuitively, someone in the Army sees a need for a personal defense weapon for troops behind the line that will NOT use the new cartridge; and apparently the Army is interested in something that will use the same ammunition (9mm) as the service pistol, but not 5.56 ... because logistics. Frankly, I'm not surprised. The only reason that submachine guns remained in use among Western militaries for as long as they did (into the 1980s in some cases) was because 7.62 NATO was too heavy for auxiliary troops (compare this to the Soviet Union which jettisoned submachine guns after adopting the AK firing an intermediate cartridge). If we are returning to the larger weapons, we likewise will see a demand for a separate weapon system for auxiliaries. Whether that stays the M4 carbine, or is something new is questionable.
                                                                                                                • "EMP Commission warns ‘blackout’ of electricity, food, water to last ‘year or longer,’ huge death toll"--Washington Examiner. When I first saw this, I thought it was old news--EMP commission reports had been published in 2004 and 2008. But I was wrong. According to the article, the government had reformed the EMP Commission, and the warning is from a July 2017 report. While the references in the executive summary refer to more recent articles and papers, I don't see anything definitive about newer testing of equipment and effects from that relied on in the 2004 and 2008 reports. However, the article indicated that there were more reports awaiting declassification, so we'll probably see some more about the research and testing on which they relied.
                                                                                                                • "Assessment Of SOF Ambush In Niger, The Gun, And Major General Bob Scales"--The Captain's Journal. The ambush, as you may remember, occurred last year (2017). General Scales has suggested that if the SOF unit had had an improved weapon over the M16/M4, they would have fared better in the battle. Herschel Smith disagrees, arguing that the weapon and round (5.56) were not at fault, but, rather, the problem lay with the mission planning, poor reaction to fire, and the lack of combined arms such as a SAW or a grenade launcher. Read the whole thing and watch the accompanying video. 

                                                                                                                Reporting Illegal Aliens In Our Congregations

                                                                                                                       This topic came to mind because of an article that I recently came across at the LDS blog called By Common Consent (which I would describe as being liberal politically and theologically). The article is entitled "Immigration and the Twelfth Article of Faith," by Sam Brunson, who concludes that we should not report to immigration authorities those members who are in the United States illegally.

                                                                                                                       First, some background. Joseph Smith at one time penned a list of 13 basic principles and beliefs of the LDS Church commonly called the Articles of Faith. The twelfth of these reads as follows: "We believe in being subject to kings, presidents, rulers, and magistrates, in obeying, honoring, and sustaining the law." It seems pretty straightforward, essentially indicating that Church members should be good citizens of whatever country or jurisdiction in which they find themselves; same thing implicit in Christ's teaching to render unto Caesar what is Caesar's and to God what is God's.

                                                                                                                      However, there are occasions when what the law requires may not be moral, and our duties to our nation may conflict with our duties to God; an historical example being the Holocaust where Nazi Germany followed a policy of exterminating Jews, Gypsies and other "undesirables". Brunson seems to believe that the presence of illegal aliens in our congregations presents one of these moral dilemmas, and that dilemma should be resolved in favor of not reporting illegal aliens (at least those in our congregations) to Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE).

                                                                                                                      Here is the meat of Brunson's argument:
                                                                                                                         However, in the last couple of days, we at BCC have verified instances where Mormons have called ICE on their ward members. I assume they claim they’re doing it because of the Twelfth Article of Faith, and especially that part that says that we believe in “obeying, honoring, and sustaining the law.” 
                                                                                                                         Upfront: those people are lying. They’re calling ICE because they’re racists, xenophobes, or otherwise un-Christian-like.
                                                                                                                He then proceeds with an analysis of the Twelfth Article of Faith and presents his argument why the Article does not require us to report crimes; and, moreover, he claims that doing so would be hypocritical, thus attempting to use shame to discourage members from reporting illegal aliens.

                                                                                                                       Brunson's argument naturally, then, requires a discussion of why we have laws, why we should respect laws, and when we should report violations of laws.

                                                                                                                       Recognizing that laws can be oppressive or become oppressive, it is nevertheless the fact that most laws are enacted to serve the purpose of protecting or promoting a public good, such as health and safety, and to promote and sustain social order, peace, and justice. As the author of The Morality of Law has noted, laws represent the minimum acceptable behavior tolerated by a society. While we may disagree with particular laws, as good citizens, we have an obligation to uphold laws. Thus, for instance, even though I may believe that the posted speed limit along a certain road should be 45 mph instead of 35 mph, as a good citizen, I should still strive to not drive more than 35 mph on that road (supported, of course, by the fear that I could receive a traffic ticket if I was caught exceeding the speed limit).

                                                                                                                       Significantly, Brunson does not address--at least, not in the subject article--whether immigration laws are immoral or, in some other way, invalid. Certainly, he does not challenge the right and authority of Congress to enact laws restricting immigration and enforcing those laws including by resort to arrest and expulsion. This is significant because Brunson has effectively conceded that, in fact, immigrations laws are not ipso facto immoral. Thus, the issue is not the law but rather whether we should report violations of the law.

                                                                                                                      Of course, there is a difference between obeying laws oneself, and enforcing the laws on others. But we do it all the time: erecting fences on property lines, complaining to a neighbor about their noise or parking, or even informing the police about law breakers.

                                                                                                                      I will readily admit that whether we notify authorities of the breach of the law is largely dependent on whether the violation affects us personally or is sufficiently outrageous that we overcome our natural reluctance to become involved. For instance, very few of us would call the police to report a loud house party if we were driving past one well away from where we live, whereas if it was occurring on the other side of our back fence it would present an entirely different matter. Similarly, watching someone "roll through" a stop sign may irritate us, but rarely motivate us to get a license plate number or description in order to report the matter to the police. On the other hand, watching someone "roll through" the stop sign of a school bus would probably motivate most of us to report the crime. We certainly would be more excited about that type of traffic violation.

                                                                                                                       But I think that reasonable people could agree that reporting a crime does not require that the violation affect us personally or prompt moral outrage. That is, we would not be morally wrong to report a crime even if it didn't affect us personally or did not outrage us. For instance, suppose you see someone shoplift some small item--perhaps a chocolate bar--at a department store. You are not personally affected by that one instance, and may not even be too excited about the incident. Yet, would you be morally wrong to notify a store employee of the theft? I think most of us would say "no," and even hold that it was the duty of a good citizen to do so notwithstanding that the particular incident was of a minor nature. Most of us are adult enough to recognize that there are greater stakes at issue, including the aggregate impact of shoplifting and the need to generally deter theft. We may even recognize that preventing the theft of a small item may discourage the thief from engaging in future crimes of a different nature or seriousness.

                                                                                                                      The same concerns apply to illegal immigration. That is, even if a particular illegal alien causes no discernible harm, there is value to upholding immigration laws generally. Even if you believe that illegal aliens contribute to American society and the economy, there is a benefit to safeguarding borders and national sovereignty and following an orderly process in admitting aliens. Immigration laws protect and promote a public good; there is nothing inherently immoral or invalid about immigration laws. Thus, similar to the shoplifting example, there would be nothing morally wrong with reporting an illegal alien to ICE because it aids in the enforcement of immigration laws, which protect and advance a public good.

                                                                                                                      But this is the crux of the matter. Brunson does believe it is morally wrong to report someone to ICE--well, not any illegal alien, but one that is a member of the Church. Not because the immigration laws are immoral, but, because, as he states:
                                                                                                                It very clearly goes against Jesus’ command to love our neighbors. It actively disrupts the web of interconnectedness that Joseph Smith worked toward. And it’s 100% antithetical to Zion. We don’t live in a Zion community yet, but we’re trying to build one. And a Zion people would not try to alienate its members, much less rip a family apart.
                                                                                                                       In rebuttal, I am going to state that reporting a member for committing a crime is NOT against Jesus' command to love our neighbors, even if that crime is being illegally in the country. Who are our neighbors? The parable of the Good Samaritan clearly teaches that our neighbors are not limited to those within our religious community. So, per that example, it is irrelevant whether the illegal alien is a member of our Ward or Branch. Our neighbors arguable could include the person that loses his job or works under a lessor wage because of cheap labor provided by illegal aliens, it includes the persons who suffer identity theft by illegal aliens, and it includes our fellow citizens that are subject to increased crime and taxes because of the presence of illegal aliens and the flouting of our law.

                                                                                                                       What about the threat of splitting families and alienating members? All I can say is that is a possible consequence whenever a member breaks the law. Reporting other crimes may result in jail time, split families, or, at the least, hard feelings. And it will always create a dilemma requiring the weighing of costs and benefits. But just because there are negative outcomes to reporting a crime does not make the reporting of the crime immoral.

                                                                                                                       Brunson's argument that violation of immigration laws is a trivial offense (he compares it to jay walking, traffic violations, not paying taxes, etc.) is also unavailing because it isn't trivial. Protection and enforcement of borders is one of the basic functions of government. Violating immigration and citizenship laws is an attack on the foundation of a nation, namely, safeguarding a nation from invaders. And, as I noted above, in the aggregate, illegal immigration results in increased crime (including identity theft), higher tax burdens, and strengthens the criminal cartels that control the illegal immigration trade.

                                                                                                                       Finally, Brunson's contention that anyone that reports a fellow Ward member to ICE is a racist or xenophobe also fails for the reason that you don't need to refer to race or racial characteristics to justify immigration laws. That racial animus may motivate a particular person to report a particular crime does not mean that all persons reporting such crimes are racists, nor does the racial motivation of an accuser absolve the illegal alien of his or her crime.

                                                                                                                       In the end, Brunson's argument comes down to the fact that he does not agree with current immigration laws. And everyday I drive a section of road that should have a higher speed limit.

                                                                                                                Friday, May 11, 2018

                                                                                                                Nice: "Service Meant to Monitor Inmates’ Calls Could Track You, Too"

                                                                                                                https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Big_Brother_Is_Watching_You.jpg
                                                                                                                The New York Times reports on a service provided by Securus Technologies to law enforcement and corrections officials allowing them to track people's cellphones. From the article:

                                                                                                                          The service can find the whereabouts of almost any cellphone in the country within seconds. It does this by going through a system typically used by marketers and other companies to get location data from major cellphone carriers, including AT&T, Sprint, T-Mobile and Verizon, documents show.

                                                                                                                           Between 2014 and 2017, the sheriff, Cory Hutcheson, used the service at least 11 times, prosecutors said. His alleged targets included a judge and members of the State Highway Patrol. Mr. Hutcheson, who was dismissed last year in an unrelated matter, has pleaded not guilty in the surveillance cases.

                                                                                                                           As location tracking has become more accurate, and as more people carry their phones at every waking moment, the ability of law enforcement officers and companies like Securus to get that data has become an ever greater privacy concern.

                                                                                                                           Securus offers the location-finding service as an additional feature for law enforcement and corrections officials, part of an effort to entice customers in a lucrative but competitive industry. In promotional packets, the company, one of the largest prison phone providers in the country, recounts several instances in which the service was used.

                                                                                                                            In one, a woman sentenced to drug rehab left the center but was eventually located by an official using the service. Other examples include an official who found a missing Alzheimer’s patient and detectives who used “precise location information positioning” to get “within 42 feet of the suspect’s location” in a murder case.

                                                                                                                Opsec may mean leaving your cell phone behind or putting in a metal box able to shield against any RF transmissions.

                                                                                                                May 11, 2018 -- A Quick Run Around the Web

                                                                                                                In this piece, the producer reviews the Mossberg Shockwave, paying particular attention to its shootability--i.e., aiming and operating the weapon. And his conclusion is that the Shockwave is not a very good weapon when if comes to shootability in that it requires the user to employ a push/pull type of operation to aim and fire the weapon which is just slower. The "mostly useless" rating comes from the producer noting that it does make a great foundation for building a short barreled shotgun--pay the tax and replace the Raptor pistol grip with an actual stock. Of course, not everyone thinks the idea of a stakeout shotgun style firearm is bad. Gabe Suarez, in various posts at his blog, has spoken very highly of the concept, calling it the "The Ultimate Weapon For The Urban Citizen." Of course, there are "pistol braces" available for such weapons. I also linked to other articles from Suarez on using pistol gripped and stakeout style shotguns last year which you should check out, too.


                                                                                                                • TGIF:This week's Weekend Knowledge Dump by Active Response Training. Links and comments on numerous self-defense and survival related articles, including appendix carry, patterning a shotgun, using a tourniquet, identifying someone carrying a concealed weapon, and more.
                                                                                                                • One of the reasons that most of my AR magazines are steel: "Marine Corps Quick Fix for Tight Pouches"--The Firearms Blog. Even with the third generation PMAGs being somewhat slimmer to fit in magazine pouches, they are still too thick to fit in many pouches used in the military. This article links to a video by Underground Gunner (Chief Warrant Officer 4, Jesse M. Schertz) on how to get your pouches to loosen up. This advice applies to the Marines pouches made by Eagle Industries which use a hemp type material. Basically, you wet down the hemp fabric, allow the fibers to expand, and then insert two magazines with a spacer (thin plywood works) between them, and allow the pouch to dry.
                                                                                                                • "THE NAVY SEALS ALLEGEDLY LEFT BEHIND A MAN IN AFGHANISTAN. DID THEY ALSO TRY TO BLOCK HIS MEDAL OF HONOR?"--Newsweek (h/t SNAFU, who has some comments regarding the article). Long article, but makes for interesting reading.
                                                                                                                • How's that gun control working for ya? "Seven Dead in Western Australia Mass Shooting. Yes, Mass Shooting."--The Truth About Guns. Expect Australia politicians to respond, not by admitting that they were wrong all along, by doubling down and seeking even more gun control.
                                                                                                                • Meanwhile, back in the United States: "Another Month, Another Sales Record…and Another Million Guns Find Homes"--The Truth About Guns. Buyers may be suffering from AR fatigue, but gun sales are still going strong--the NICS records indicate that a little over 1 million firearms were sold in April 2018. Also, I would note that the table of NICS background checks goes back to November 1998, and from then to the end of April 2018, there were nearly 288 million NICS checks. Even if not all of these checks resulted in a purchase, it still suggests that over 250 million firearms were sold in the past 20 years, which makes an estimate of 400 million or more firearms in civilian hands much more likely than the 300 million that the media likes to report. Which, again, begs the question of: if firearms cause crime, why doesn't the United States have the highest crime rates on the planet?
                                                                                                                • This is what we are importing: "Kidnapping, extortion down but drug dealing soars 113% in CDMX"--Mexico News Daily. These statistics are just for the Mexico City area. Oh, and according to the article, homicides were up 15.5%. Should you worry? Maybe. Half of all Americans reside in cities, counties or states that have implemented sanctuary policies  stymying federal efforts to apprehend and deport illegal aliens.
                                                                                                                • No. Next question. "Is There Room in Diversity For White People?"--Quillette. Money quote:
                                                                                                                And yet wholesome is not the word that comes to mind when one assesses the newest wrinkle in academia’s attempt to balance the scales: an all-out, unapologetic assault on ‘whiteness’ itself. Today’s college administrators increasingly frame diversity and inclusion as lessons that must be learned by whites alone—and they’re lessons that too often unfold as interventions that force whites to regard themselves less as full partners in diversity than an obstacle to be overcome so that other constituencies might thrive. (This flows from another favored academic trope, the concept of the zero-sum society, wherein white success necessarily comes at the expense of non-white failure.) Colleges require the injection of units—if not whole introductory courses—on diversity in major subject areas “from physics to forestry,” as the Atlantic put it, and syllabi confirm the prevailing view of whiteness as something of an anachronistic disease that, like cholera, has no place in modern life.
                                                                                                                Fortunately minorities never experience racism from other people of color ... except when they do: "Ostracised and fetishised: The perils of travelling as a young black woman"--BBC News.
                                                                                                                The shift in black opinion represents a major break in the cultural firewall that has kept black people from embracing the Republican Party and left them taken for granted by Democrats.  Do Democrats pay any attention to widespread black views on gay marriage or transgenderism, for example?  Do they pay any attention to whether black teenagers need jobs and how calls for minimum wage hikes shut them out of the market?  Do Democrats pay any attention to how gun-free zones facilitate violence in black neighborhoods in places such as Chicago?  Do they pay any attention to how illegal immigration has driven down the wages of black unskilled workers?  Not in the least: The only thing they ask themselves is where else black people can go – and well, now they have their answer, because Kanye opened that door.
                                                                                                                        The decision by ConocoPhillips to seize the Caribbean assets of PDVSA, Venezuela's state-owned oil company, has established a dangerous legal precedent that could swamp the South American country's already impoverished oil monopoly under a wave of similar claims and cut deeply into its ability to operate, experts said.
                                                                                                                          The decision, which came amid the accelerating deterioration of Petroleos de Venezuela S.A.'s production capacity, could lead creditors to try to seize other Venezuelan assets abroad, including oil exports, to recover the more than $40 billion they claim they are owed.
                                                                                                                             “Creditors are now saying to themselves, 'Look, we now have confirmation that you can go out and embargo PDVSA,' and many of them are going to rush into court to ask for their own seizures,” said Antonio De La Cruz, executive director of Inter American Trends in Washington, D.C.
                                                                                                                               “We are at the start of a snowball” rolling downhill, added Russ Dallen, managing partner of Caracas Capital Markets, an investment bank in Miami. “Now that people have started to file lawsuits, we are going to see a run because no one wants to be the last in line.”
                                                                                                                                 Shortly after the 2016 election, I started tracking 20 early warning indicators of revolutionary movements in the United States. We started with six or eight indicators around Thanksgiving 2016, and by Thanksgiving 2017, we had moved up to 12 of 20 active indicators, either strong or weak. As of this morning, I’ve added another, which brings us to seven strong indications and six weak indications, for a total of 13 out of 20.
                                                                                                                                    For those new to understanding indicators, they’re a way intelligence analysts can judge how near or far we are from an event, or how dull or intense an event or condition is becoming. If three or four of 20 indicators are exhibited, then we’re on the low or unlikely end of the spectrum. If that number starts ticking up to 10 or 12, then we’re seeing moderate growth in likelihood or intensity. If the number of indicators grows to 15 or 17 or more, then we could produce a warning that a situation is serious or dire, perhaps imminent, or of a high intensity. At 13 of 20 today, this is a moderate issue and it’s something we’re actively tracking.
                                                                                                                                   Most likely, you are among the vast majority (at least 89 percent) of people who do not personally deal with any degree of same-sex attraction. Nevertheless, you are under relentless assault. Over two decades ago, psychologist Marshall Kirk and marketer Hunter Madsen wrote After the Ball: How America Will Conquer Its Fear and Loathing of Gays in the 90’s. This book outlined a PR campaign strategy that has been so well-implemented and long-sustained in the media that its success is breathtaking. Kirk and Madsen advised desensitizing the American public to homosexuality through a constant shower of gay images so that they would “get used to being wet.” Now, we are inundated to the point of drowning.
                                                                                                                                      This campaign is designed to make anyone who upholds traditional Christian teaching on sexuality look hateful and foolish. It seeks to “muddy the moral waters” by continually highlighting reports of Christian “epiphanies” about changing theological understandings. Through it all, the enemy of all souls wants to extinguish the light of God’s truth in every quarter, including you and your church. You need prayer as much as I did, and do, to resist the spirits of deception. Our battle is not against flesh and blood, but against powers and principalities. Fight accordingly.
                                                                                                                             She also warns about entering into a dialogue about matters clearly settled in scripture or nature if the dialogue includes the possibility of revising God's commandments and order, writing:
                                                                                                                            You must remain utterly clear and settled about where the boundary lines are regarding sexual activity. You cannot be a safe space if you are open to suddenly throwing us all back into the sea.
                                                                                                                            She raises some other good points as well: i.e., that admonishing a sinner is an act of mercy, be discerning and of sound mind; and be consistent and witness (testify) for God's truths regarding sexuality. Read the whole thing.