Wednesday, February 28, 2018

"Go woke, go broke"

Glenn Reynolds new favorite saying is "go woke, go broke." At its essence, this is an observation that businesses that choose to virtue signal over focusing on their core business (and, by the way, breaching duties to shareholders and risking the livelihoods of their employees) and alienating customers tend to be punished in the market place. The most recent examples being those companies that caved to the calls to boycott the NRA. The cited article noted that while favorable views of the companies did not increase, unfavorable views of several of the companies doubled. This will undoubtedly translate into dollars down the road. Conversely, Fed Ex resisted pressure and saw its stock prices go up. I would also note that Delta has jeopardized passage of a bill in Georgia that would have given it tax breaks on jet fuel. Not something to sneeze at considering that its largest hub is the Atlanta airport.

      And we can't forget Dick's Sporting Goods pervasive quest to commit suicide. After the Sandy Hook shooting, as you may remember, Dick's stopped selling AR rifles, but (wink, wink) continued selling at its Field & Stream stores. Now it will stop sales of ARs and full capacity magazines at those stores. While Dick's, which largely caters to the fitness crowd may survive losing the business of hunters and shooters, the Field & Stream stored probably won't fair as well. The president of Dick's claims to be a supporter of the Second Amendment, but his "credentials" for it is that he is an avid shotgunner. I don't mean to insult those who enjoy clays or bird hunting, but I've noticed over the years that public figures who use a shotgun to prove their Second Amendment bona fides, are generally the first to jettison gun rights.

(Update: 3/1/2018 -- corrected typos)

Tuesday, February 27, 2018

Flooding in Kentucky and Indiana

The Florida shooting has overshadowed other news, and not just the Steele Dossier. Violent storms that hit the Central US has caused high water in many rivers, and downstream floods along the Ohio River in Kentucky and Indiana, leaving 1,700 without power.

Flip the Assumptions

I often find it effective to focus an argument on the opposite side's assumptions. Weazel Zippers cites to an article where some gun idiot is suggesting a ban on "machine gun magazines", whatever those are. But, the article also quotes her as questioning "If guns made this country safer, we would be the safest country on earth, but we are far from it." But that isn't the issue. Rather, if guns are so murderous, why are murder rates as low as they are, and why does the US have one of the lowest overall violant crime rates in the world. If the gun idiots were correct, the US, at more than one firearm per capita, should be a never ending bloodbath. But it isn't. Rather, we see that homicide rates among white, non-Hispanic Americans is comperable to the most peaceful European countries. Also, if there was something particularly dangerous about AR rifles and similar, we should have seen murder rates go up since the expiration of the Federal assault weapon ban, but we have seen the opposite--declining homicide rates.

Florida Shooting: The Incompetence Gets Worse.

We have a new name to add to officials involved in this matter: Kelvin Greenleaf, a Security Specialist employed by the Broward school district. According to Deputy Scot Peterson, he and Greenleaf responded together to the building where the shooting was taking place (before Peterson decided the shots were from elsewhere). Interestingly, Cruz's threats and behavior were brought to Greenfield's attention in 2016.

       Another interesting matter from the arrest warrant, as described by Anonymous Conservative: " [A] Security Guard made it clear he recognized him and immediately put it on the radio as a possible shooter heading for building 1200. And he did it before the gun was even taken out, which means the SRO should have been right to that building with a gun, ready to rumble"

Monday, February 26, 2018

February 26, 2018 -- A Quick Run Around the Web

"React to Close Contact: Offensive Maneuver"--Max Velocity Tactical (5 min.)

         In a typical handgun injury, which I diagnose almost daily, a bullet leaves a laceration through an organ such as the liver. To a radiologist, it appears as a linear, thin, gray bullet track through the organ. There may be bleeding and some bullet fragments.
            I was looking at a CT scan of one of the mass-shooting victims from Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, who had been brought to the trauma center during my call shift. The organ looked like an overripe melon smashed by a sledgehammer, and was bleeding extensively. How could a gunshot wound have caused this much damage?
              The reaction in the emergency room was the same. One of the trauma surgeons opened a young victim in the operating room, and found only shreds of the organ that had been hit by a bullet from an AR-15, a semiautomatic rifle that delivers a devastatingly lethal, high-velocity bullet to the victim. Nothing was left to repair—and utterly, devastatingly, nothing could be done to fix the problem. The injury was fatal.
                Of course, this is only one victim, so it is impossible to determine whether or not this was typical of the wounds suffered by the shooting victims. Of course, anyone with an iota of knowledge of terminal ballistics knows that rifles typically produce (or have the potential to produce) more devastating wounds than handguns--that is one of the primary reasons we use rifles when hunting. So, histrionics aside, rather than illustrating why the AR should be banned, this article demonstrates why one might prefer an AR for self-defense over a handgun.
                  I would also note that Martin Fackler published an analysis of the wounds received by children in the 1989 Patrick Purdy school shooting in Stockton, California (PDF here). Purdy used an AK style rifle shooting 7.62x39mm FMJ ammunition. Fackler noted that the AK-47 round will generally penetrate 25 cm before yawing, resulting in wounds that typically are indistinguishable from a handgun wound if the round exits before yawing. Notably, Fackler indicates that the only children that died in the Stockton shooting were those where a bullet had penetrated through a vital organ, and of these, the largest tissue disruption (~3.81 cm) was in the right lobe of the liver. However, Fackler also noted that there was no damage to any organs not directly struck by a bullet. So, in that regard, the author of The Atlantic article cited above has failed to demonstrate that there is anything unique about the AR or the wounds that it can produce.
          • "Musings on Musketry — Part the First"--Large Fierce Mammal (h/t Maajak World). The author reminisces on his first rifle--a surplus Enfield .303--and discusses a bit of the Enfield's history in the Canadian military. 
          • "Basics of Solar Panels: Sizing Your Array"--Blue Collar Prepping. Some basic questions you need to answer before starting to look at equipment.
          • "Two New AK Chassis by Sureshot Armament Group"--The Firearm Blog. As the article describes them, "[t]he MK2 chassis consists of a top piece which provides a rigid top rail platform starting from around the middle of the receiver and going forward to the gas block. The lower piece is a free floated handguard"; while the MK3 "has a full-length top rail which is fixed to the barrel via the barrel nut and the second attachment point is on the stock adapter. This system will require to cut the original AK charging handle and replace the safety selector lever with a different one." Something to note is that they do NOT replace the stamped steel receiver the AK uses, but instead are about providing a stable optic mount and allow you to "free-float" (as much as that is possible) the barrel. However, they apparently replace the gas tube. It is not clear if they include the gas block, but I presume they would. 
          • "When wives beat their husbands, no one wants to believe it"--Los Angeles Times. From the article:
                    Partner violence by women is one of the most contentious subjects in social science. The first large-scale study of domestic abuse, the 1975 National Family Violence Survey conducted by the late University of New Hampshire sociologist Murray Straus and his colleague Richard Gelles (now at the University of Pennsylvania), found that similar numbers of women and men admitted to assaulting a spouse or partner in the previous 12 months. The researchers were skeptical initially, assuming most female violence had to be in self-defense, though in many cases the wife was the self-reported sole perpetrator. Later surveys showed that in mutually violent relationships, women were as likely as men to be the aggressors. These findings have been confirmed in more than 200 studies.
                      Critics have challenged the methodology of much of this research because it focuses on couple conflict and omits post-separation attacks. Yet two major federally backed surveys using different methods — the 2000 National Violence Against Women Survey by the National Institute of Justice and the 2010 National Intimate Partner and Sexual Violence Survey by the Centers for Disease Control — found that about 40% of those reporting serious assaults by current or former partners in the past year were men, and most of their attackers were women.
                        Female-on-male violence is often assumed to be harmless, given sex differences in size and strength. Yet women may use weapons — including knives, glass, boiling water and various household objects — while men may be held back from defending themselves by cultural taboos against harming woman. David Nevers, an Illinois man who went public about his experience as a battered husband 20 years ago, suffered serious, documented injuries — burns, cuts and a broken nose — despite being four inches taller and 100 pounds heavier than his then-wife.
                          Overall, studies find that female-on-male assaults account for 12% to 40% of injuries from domestic violence. Men also make up about 30% of intimate homicide victims, not counting confirmed cases of female self-defense. The 1998 killing of actor/comedian Phil Hartman by his wife, Brynn, who then committed suicide, is just one notable instance of a domestic murder in which the perpetrator with a history of violence was a woman.
                            Discussions of female-on-male abuse have been met with extreme hostility from feminist academics, activists and commentators. Scholars studying the subject have been attacked as apologists for misogyny. Battered women's advocates tend to explain away female violence as almost entirely defensive, despite evidence to the contrary. One reason for this attitude is solidarity with women as victims; another is the dogmatic view that battering is an expression of patriarchal power.
                              Abused men have faced widespread biases from police, judges and social workers, who tend to assume that the man in a violent relationship is the aggressor and to trivialize assaults by women. Much of this prejudice stems from traditional sexism: Battered men violate stereotypical expectations about manliness. Yet feminists perpetuate such sexism when they deny the reality of male victims and female abusers. Equality should include recognizing women's potential for abusive behavior.
                      • Not something you hear about every day: "Parents repel invaders at Oaxaca school"--Mexico News Daily. Who were these invaders? A rival teacher's union which members had been fired 3 years ago. According to the article, 3 parents were injured in the battle.
                      • "Rwanda: Police shot dead 11 refugees in food riot"--Deutsche Welle. Five of the refugees were from the Congo. The riots were not to get food, as the headline suggests, but a protest against the UN refugee agency cutting the amount of food it was providing refugees by 25%. Armed rioters attacked police, who responded with force. 
                      • "Syria war: Who are Russia's shadowy Wagner mercenaries?"--BBC. An excerpt discussing why Russia would want to use security contractors:
                                The mercenaries can be deployed in especially tough ground fighting alongside Syrian government troops. And as the Russian government does not officially recognise the mercenaries' existence it can deny or play down any Russian casualties.
                                  Their role has been compared to that of US military contractors in Iraq, who were deployed on a large scale.
                                    The US suffered heavy casualties in Vietnam, and later the Afghanistan war was very costly for Russia. Those wounds - and the associated public anger - encouraged both countries to privatise war in recent years.
                                      Military sources quoted by RBC said that when Russia helped Assad forces to recapture Palmyra it was the Wagner men who went in first. "First Wagner's guys go to work, then the Russian ground units come in, and then the Arabs and the cameras," an unnamed ex-Wagner officer said.
                                       ... Syria has become a battleground for global and regional powers -- including the United States, Russia, Turkey, Iran and Israel -- who are using the country as a venue for the pursuit of their own interests. The danger of an unintended clash has become extreme. And the conflict has become even more difficult for outsiders to understand.
                                           The various international parties to this war have all, almost simultaneously, launched massive attacks in the past few weeks. For much of the last 28 days, the Turkish army has been attacking the Kurdish militia YPG in the northern Syrian city of Afrin. And the Israeli air force launched a wave of airstrikes, which, it says, destroyed half of all Syrian anti-aircraft capability, after one of its warplanes had been shot down during a response to an Iranian drone incursion on Israeli airspace.
                                            Then there was this mysterious clash near the natural gas field, which some reports have depicted as the deadliest encounter between Russian and American troops since the end of the Cold War. Russian mercenaries were reportedly found among the dead, with some sources claiming that up to 200 Russians lost their lives. Local sources from the main military hospital in Deir ez-Zor indicate the death toll was likely between 10 and 20.
                                             The intervention of foreign powers in Syria is by no means new. But the current intensity of their conflicts can be largely traced back to a single source: Their joint enemy is gone. Since fall 2014, all powers could agree that Islamic State was the primary target. And even if there was room for doubts regarding the sincerity of Russia and Turkey, the fight against IS served to unite all involved.
                                                 Six suspects were arrested following a house robbery and murder at a farm in Charl Cilliers, near Secunda, Mpumalanga police said on Monday.
                                                  The suspects, aged between 35 and 39, and including a woman, were traced and arrested at their different hideouts in Embalenhle and Emzinoni after police acted on information received regarding their whereabouts.
                                                    According to police, on Friday night, at approximately 10:30pm, a 73-year-old man was watching television with his family when three armed men suddenly stormed into their house. They demanded keys to the safe and took the elderly man to the bedroom where the safe was mounted and in the process shot the victim.
                                                      In the classroom where Mackenzie Hill had been hiding, police broke through the door. As the officers were guiding students out, they noticed something odd: One of the students had put on a bulletproof vest.
                                                        The student said he'd been given the vest by his father, a police officer.
                                                          Even in the safest city in Florida, he'd brought it to school with him, just in case.
                                                            Peterson said the initial report was of firecrackers, not gunshots, in the 1200 building, where the killer was shooting his victims. When he reached the building, he heard gunshots, but “believed that those gunshots were originating from outside of any of the buildings on the school campus,” the statement said, in a quotation attributed to Peterson.
                                                               In the event of outdoor gunshots, sheriff’s office training calls for deputies to “seek cover and assess the situation in order to communicate what one observes to other law enforcement,” the statement said.
                                                                “Consistent with his training, Mr. Peterson ‘took up a tactical position between the 700-800 buildings corridor/corner,” the statement said. Radio reports of a victim on the football field reinforced his belief that the shooter was outside, according to the statement.
                                                                   He was the first sheriff’s office deputy to advise BSO dispatch of shots fired and he initiated the code red that locked down the entire campus.

                                                          Incompetence and the Florida School Shooting--Can It Get Any Worse?

                                                                    The chief problem facing America today is the decline of its institutions, coupled with the denial of that decline by the people in charge of its institutions. 
                                                                   The latest example of this problem is the Parkland school shooting in Florida. From the FBI, to local law enforcement, to the schools, everyone failed. There was failure early, there was failure in the middle, and there was failure late. And no one has taken responsibility.
                                                          Just some examples:
                                                          “I gave him a gun. I gave him a badge. I gave him the training,” Sheriff Israel told an NBC6 South Florida reporter in a video interview tweeted by Erika Glover. “If he didn’t have the heart to go in, that’s not my responsibility.”
                                                                 An anonymous first responder spoke to a WSVN-TV reporter about what he saw when he arrived to Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School on Feb. 14 — the day that 17 innocent people were murdered by a lone gunman.
                                                                    The EMT, who was too scared to give his name, shared a jaw-dropping account that provides context to reports that have already established the botched response to the active shooter situation.
                                                                     According to the first responder, everything about the response was completely botched.
                                                                        Everything I was trained on mass casualty events says they did the wrong thing,” he explained. “You don’t wait for the scene to be cleared. You go in immediately armed. Retrieve the victims. You can’t leave the victims laying there.”
                                                                          “We were asking to go in. Asking the scene commander to go in. Why are we all standing around? Why are we not having patients to treat? Why are we not going into the building and retrieving these kids? The response every time was law enforcement did not clear the scene and would not allow medical personnel to go in,” he added.
                                                                           The EMS worker believes that if he and other medical responders were allowed to enter the building as soon as they arrived, they could have saved more lives. He explained he was willing to risk his life to save the lives of others and was very frustrated over the situation.
                                                                              “Nobody told us,” Coral Springs Police Chief Tony Pustizzi told the Sun Sentinel, which first reported the tape delay.
                                                                                 But McKeone, one of the responding officers, said the delay did not hinder access to the victims.
                                                                                 “It had no delay. It didn’t slow us down to getting us to anybody,” McKeone told CNN.
                                                                                   The main difference, he said, was that officers thought they were going to confront the gunman.
                                                                                    In reality, the shooter had already left Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland.
                                                                                     “I expected to be in a gunbattle,” McKeone said.
                                                                                  Well, there was one person who should have known about the settings on the security video, and that would have been the school resource officer, Scot Peterson. Perhaps investigators ought to start looking at whether Peterson might have been an accessory to Cruz's attack.
                                                                                  Meanwhile, consider this. Broward County Sheriff Steve Israel said during a CNN town hall this past Wednesday that he doesn’t agree with the idea of arming teachers. “I don't believe teachers should be armed. I believe teachers should teach,” Israel said. Yet, just a few years ago, his department helped train local Muslims to provide their own security at Mosques. From an article published by Fusion entitled "Muslims and guns: A community under threat considers its options." From the article:
                                                                                           I'm shooting you, and I’m killing you,” Nezar Hamze told a crowd of over 100 Muslims sprawled across the carpet of a mosque. He pointed two fake blue plastic guns at the attendees and their children. “Everyone is just looking at what I’m doing, and I’m still shooting you,” he yelled.

                                                                                           Hamze, a Broward County Sheriff’s Office deputy, practicing Muslim, and regional operations director for CAIR, was leading an active shooter training for the Tampa-area Daarus Salaam Mosque. The goal: to help worshipers understand how they can better protect their loved ones and their mosque from Islamophobic shooters.

                                                                                           “When someone walks through that door, they don’t want to debate. They want to kill you,” Hamze explained. This year, 13 CAIR-sponsored active shooter trainings have been held in mosques across Florida, the only state to have done so, a CAIR representative said.

                                                                                            As part of a comprehensive safety plan, he urged mosque leaders to put together a safety and security council, consisting of members who have concealed carry permits who are on the site at all times. Attendees should also consider buying guns for themselves and their homes, he suggested.

                                                                                            A man in the crowd asked if being a Muslim gun owner might send the wrong message to the world, in a time where Muslims everywhere are acutely aware of being stereotyped as being violent.

                                                                                            “Are you gonna be more worried about that, or are you gonna be worried about protecting your family?” Hamze responded. “The minute we start thinking past that, we lose.”

                                                                                             The broader message Hamze was trying to get across was that Muslim-Americans need to step out of the “victim mentality,” and start using their rights to protect themselves—including the right to defend their loved ones by force if necessary—though he underscored the fact that guns should only be used defensively.

                                                                                            “This is the reality we’re living in right now,” Hamze said. “Everything is coming to a boiling point because we’re coming out into the open.”
                                                                                   So, Muslims arming themselves to protect Mosques against a theoretical danger is okay, but arming teachers or administrators is not.

                                                                                  Friday, February 23, 2018

                                                                                  Of Course: Deputy Scot Peterson Thinks He Did A Good Job

                                                                                  By now, you all have probably hear that Deputy Scot Peterson, the resource officer at the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, took a position outside a door to the school and never went in, although the deputy was armed. In fact, the deputy took no action for at least 4 minutes (although he never entered the school). Although most news reports indicate that Peterson "resigned," he, in fact, turned in his retirement papers. He made sure that not only did he go home safely at the end of his shift, he also retired safely. His pension will be 75% of  the average of his top five earning years while on the job.

                                                                                           To add insult to injury, Peterson has claimed that he did a "good job" handling the incident because he called in a description of the shooter and established a perimeter. In plain speak, he had Cruz in his sights and did nothing. However, the Department policy required officers to attempt to engage active shooters.

                                                                                         From the latter article:
                                                                                          And in an interview with the New York Times, Coral Springs Officer Tim Burton revealed Peterson hid from Cruz when the teenager started shooting.  
                                                                                           Burton said Peterson 'was seeking cover behind a concrete column leading to a stairwell,' because he was worried Cruz could be lurking in the lot. He said Peterson couldn't hear gunshots or screams to lead him to the precise location of the shooting. [So how did he radio a description of the shooter?]
                                                                                          Even more shocking was the revelation that Peterson had been told in 2016 about Cruz's Instagram posts about opening fire at a school. 
                                                                                          Call logs released by the Sheriff's Office show that on February 6 of that year, a neighbor's son called police and told them Cruz 'planned to shoot up the school on Instagram'. 
                                                                                           The deputy who responded determined Cruz had knives and a BB gun and the information was forwarded to Peterson.  
                                                                                          Israel [the Broward County Sheriff] said Peterson resigned when he was told he was being suspended without pay while police conduct an internal investigation, NBC Los Angeles reported. He said the cop said he'd met the requirements for retirement.   
                                                                                           'After seeing video and witness statements, and Peterson's own statement, I decided this morning... to suspend Scot Peterson without pay pending an internal investigation,' Israel said.  
                                                                                          He said the video shows Peterson arrive at Building 12, where most of the killing took place, and take position outside the school. 
                                                                                           Apart from getting 'on his radio' to alert police of the situation, Peterson did 'nothing' to prevent 17 innocent people, including 14 children, from being slaughtered, Israel said. 
                                                                                            Israel said that instead of just standing there, Peterson should have gone 'in, addressed the killer and killed the killer,' adding that instead he 'stood outside for upwards of four minutes.'  [Cruz was only engaged in shooting for 6 minutes total].
                                                                                          He said that Peterson's lack of action left him 'devastated. Sick to my stomach. There are no words.'  As Israel spoke there were tears in his eyes and he 'appeared emotional.' [Israel is a rabbit; a wolf would have been angry].
                                                                                            Peterson never discharged his gun during the shooting. 
                                                                                  But Peterson was not alone in his dereliction of duty. He was joined by some of his compatriots at the Broward County Sheriff's Department.
                                                                                  When Coral Springs police officers arrived at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, FL, on Valentine’s Day, they saw not just the officer assigned to the school but three more Broward police officers [sic: sheriff's deputies] with pistols drawn but taking cover behind their cars as a gunman was inside killing 17 students and staff, CNN’s Jake Tapper reported Friday, citing sources.
                                                                                         I had a colleague who indicated he wanted to talk to me (because I'm a "gun guy" in his words) about why anyone would need an AR-15. There are so many different ways to approach that question, I was having a hard time figuring out where would be the best place to start. But now I think my initial explanation will be because the police can't, and very likely won't, help you.

                                                                                  Interesting: The Las Vegas Shooter Was A Pedophile

                                                                                  Ammoland discusses an initial report on the Las Vegas shooting, which mostly just lists the items found in Paddock's hotel rooms. After discussing the types and numbers of weapons found in the rooms, the article mentions:
                                                                                  On page 47 of the report, it is reported that several hundred images of child pornography were found on a Dell laptop in the Mandalay Bay suite. The investigation into those images is ongoing. The same laptop held evidence of numerous searches about outdoor venues and other information that would be relevant to planning the mass murder that took place.

                                                                                  Time to Ban the Pontiac G3: "Five children die in 12-year-old’s joyride"

                                                                                  Mexico News Daily reports that "[a] 12-year-old-boy was at the wheel of a car that was traveling at 150 kilometers an hour when it crashed into a tree in the south of Mexico City Sunday, killing five children and injuring three more." The car was a Pontiac G3 passenger car. Obviously we need to ban the further sale of Pontiac G3 automobiles. And why does anyone need a car that can reach speeds of 150 kph (93 mph)? And was this accident because Hollywood and video games glamorize driving cars at high speeds? Auto manufacturers have blood on their hands!

                                                                                  New PDFs Available from Security and Self-Reliance

                                                                                  As I've noted before, the Security and Self-Reliance blog has been posting a "PDF of Week" (go to the website for the blog, and look at the upper left-hand corner). A couple new titles are up: (1) "Radiological Emergency Preparedness Handbook" by the Minnesota Division of Emergency Management, and (2) and a booklet on creating a own one acre homestead by Ed and Carolyn Robinson.

                                                                                  A New Weekend Knowledge Dump from Active Response Training

                                                                                  Greg Ellifritz has another of his Weekend Knowledge Dumps available for your perusal. This week's has some articles on mass shootings, including an article applying the concept of "black swan" events to crime and criminology. Also included is an article on braking (as in braking your car--part of emergency driving), tips for the international traveler, making long range shots with a short barrel, and a lot more on self-defense. Check it out!

                                                                                  Thursday, February 22, 2018

                                                                                  February 22, 2018 -- A Quick Run Around the Web

                                                                                  The example he gives is a gash in the lower arm that would be treated by direct pressure. He notes that current thinking is that if a bandage becomes soaked, not to remove it, but add another on top and continue applying pressure. However, this can be repeated over and over, and the result is a thicker wad of bandages and less actual pressure. He suggests that if direct pressure hasn't worked after 2 bandages, remove the bandages and try applying pressure in a slightly different location to see if it works better at controlling the bleeding.


                                                                                  • First off, I want to thank Grant Cunningham for linking to my article on escaping a burning building in his "Hump Day Reading List" for this week. Check out his list for other great articles.
                                                                                  • There was a lot of criticism about the Glock 19X because it combined a shorter slide with a longer grip--basically the opposite of what you want for a concealed carry handgun. Well, for those wanting the longer slide/barrel to use with a G19 frame: "Brownells Glock 17 Length Slides for Glock 19 Pistols"--The Firearm Blog. It appears to be similar to a Glock 34 slide (which is a long slide intended for the G17 frame), except it is a G17 length slide designed to fit on the G19 frame. The article indicates that these are compatible with Gen. 3 frames.
                                                                                  • "AR15 vs AR10 , Is Bigger Really Better? A Look at Big vs Little ARs Downrange"--Ammo Land. As you know, .308 and 6.5 Creedmore don't work in the standard AR15 receiver, so you have to go to an AR10 style receiver to accommodate the longer cartridge. So what this article is really about is the performance of .308 or 6.5 Creedmore versus .223/5.56 at longer ranges.
                                                                                  • "Do Handgun Optics Help You Shoot Better, Faster?"--Range 365. The author discusses the pros and cons to using a red dot sight on a handgun, and writes of his experience:
                                                                                           The first thing I found while practicing raising the pistol to target was that I tended to angle the muzzle up. Because I was focusing on the optical sight lens, I found myself raising the gun differently and I had to focus on pushing down the front sight to bring the dot into my sight picture. I think this was because my eye was wanting to focus on the rear of the pistol where the optic was mounted rather than the muzzle where the front iron sight lives.
                                                                                               There’s an easy fix for this. Don’t look for the dot. Keep on raising your gun and look for the front sight as always. You’ll find the dot will appear all on its own. This was the most significant learning “habit” to recognize and address. If you forget you have a red dot, you’ll find that dot naturally. If you focus on looking for it, you’ll tend to get wrapped around the axle.
                                                                                      He also compared used a shot timer to see if there was any difference in speed:
                                                                                         After coming home and dumping all my notes and times into a spreadsheet, the overall overage time to raise, sight, fire, and hit the plate using iron sights was 1.26 seconds. When using the Trijicon RMR, the overall average time was just .96 seconds. That’s about a 24% speed improvement. Adding the subjective observation, I felt that I was shooting more accurately with less effort using the red dot.
                                                                                                   Clare Schexnyder, a mother of a middle-school student in Decatur, Georgia [an Atlanta suburb], said she wants moms to take their kids out of school for a day to make a statement.
                                                                                                     She said a private Facebook page she launched announcing a meeting of her Stop School Shootings group after the Florida shooting attracted more than 7,000 followers overnight.
                                                                                                      Her protest is planned for March 2.
                                                                                                        “President Trump talked about the American carnage in the United States. This is the American carnage,” she said.
                                                                                                I'm pretty sure that name is probably pretty uncommon, even in an area the size of the Atlanta metropolis. Thus, it is reasonable to believe that the Clare Schexnyder that started the protest movement is the same person as the co-founder of Oh-Baby Fitness. And according to the Oh-Baby Fitness website:
                                                                                                Clare Schexnyder is the founder, CEO and co-owner of Oh Baby! Fitness. She was a producer at CNN for 17 years before she came to the fitness industry. Clare is a proud parent of a teenager and lives in Atlanta with her family. 
                                                                                                I found exceedingly rich, white men with enormous cultural influence are funding the transgender lobby and various transgender organizations. These include but are not limited to Jennifer Pritzker (a male who identifies as transgender); George Soros; Martine Rothblatt (a male who identifies as transgender and transhumanist); Tim Gill (a gay man); Drummond Pike; Warren and Peter Buffett; Jon Stryker (a gay man); Mark Bonham (a gay man); and Ric Weiland (a deceased gay man whose philanthropy is still LGBT-oriented). Most of these billionaires fund the transgender lobby and organizations through their own organizations, including corporations.
                                                                                                She also notes that the Tide Foundation donates money to the cause, but acts to protect the identity of its personal and corporate donors. But the bottom line (pun intended) is that pharmaceutical and medical companies stand to make a lot of money off those seeking to change their gender.
                                                                                                           The employers in the H-1B program (for foreign college grad workers, mostly in IT) say that they must have unlimited access to the world's best and brightest or else America's advances in technology will come to a screeching halt.
                                                                                                            But what they, do, in fact, is to hire a remarkably high percentage of their workers who just happen to be:
                                                                                                             Young,
                                                                                                               Male, and
                                                                                                                  From just three southern Indian states.
                                                                                                                     The employers' objective, of course, is to cut costs, taking hundreds of thousands of good jobs from residents of the United States.
                                                                                                                      Residents of Andhra Pradesh, Tamil Nadu, and Karnataka, as we will show, have 24 times the chance of being hired as an H-1B as the average resident of the world, excluding U.S. workers, who, of course, have zero chance of being hired in this program.
                                                                                                                      Nepotism also runs strong in India. Nearly 85% of the country’s businesses are family-run, and Bollywood is dominated by just a few families. Even job-seekers with impressive resumes have to fall back on personal connections to find work.

                                                                                                                       Those dynamics are now playing out at Oracle, the $160 billion California-based software giant run by Larry Ellison. Earlier this week, the US Department of Labor (DOL) sued (pdf) Oracle for wage violations and hiring bias, alleging that the company displayed “hiring discrimination against qualified White, Hispanic, and African-American applicants in favor of Asian applicants, particularly Asian Indians.”
                                                                                                              • "Fourth US man dies hunting for buried $2m treasure"--BBC. The deceased, Jeff Murphy, apparently fell 500 feet from a mountain side or cliff side in Yellowstone National Park looking for the treasure. The treasure was allegedly hidden by Forrest Fenn who then has published a couple books with clues to the location, including a poem that sets out the 9 primary clues to finding the treasure. (See also here). Fenn has also given interviews where he has given some additional hints. But one that he emphasizes is that he was 80 years old when he placed the treasure, so it is hid where an 80 year old man could transport a bronze chest and its treasure over a period of two afternoons--so if you are looking in someplace difficult or dangerous to reach, you are probably in the wrong place.

                                                                                                              Wednesday, February 21, 2018

                                                                                                              February 21, 2018 -- A Quick Run Around the Web

                                                                                                              Source: "What the world would look like without people: Shopping malls, houses and even a Ferris Wheel are reclaimed by nature after being abandoned"--Daily Mail.  The photograph shown above is of the railroad tracks running down the center of an abandoned rail station. The article has photographs of many different buildings and locations across the Eastern United States.

                                                                                                              Australia made it extremely difficult to buy a new gun as it instituted a gun buyback. This means that in 1996, there were 17.5 guns per hundred people and in 2016, the number was only down to 13.7 per hundred people. So Australia’s big accomplishment was to decrease the number of guns in its nation by 22 percent. How much of a difference would that make in America where there are 101 guns for every 100 citizens and open borders that would allow illegal weapons to stream in if there were ever a large-scale demand for them?
                                                                                                              • A couple for from Gabe Suarez on dealing with police after a self-defense shooting:
                                                                                                              • "Killing Within The Law: Managing the Initial Police Contact". Suarez takes issue with those that say you should not talk to the police after a shooting. He notes that there are two reasons you want to do so: (1) to help establish in the responding and investigating officers' minds that you were the victim and acting in self-defense; and (2) to point out evidence that support's your recitation of events, or at least motivate the police to look for corroborating evidence. 
                                                                                                              • "Killing Within the Law: Be The Gentleman Killer". The gist of this article is that the police will treat you according to how you present yourself. Act and talk like a foulmouthed brute, and the police will treat you (or ignore you) accordingly; but act and talk like a gentleman (or at least a decent, upstanding citizen) and the police will more likely consider and listen to what you say.
                                                                                                              • At one time, twist rate was (mostly) a non-issue because the manufacturer would generally make barrels with a good all-round twist rate for the particular caliber--although there are a couple spectacular examples where the manufacturers got it wrong. However, with more people wanting to shoot bullets that are long for the caliber, whether because they want a heavy bullet for long distance shooting or are using non-lead bullets, twist rate has gained more attention in recent years. It also is an issue because milspec ARs use a 1:7 twist which is really too fast for the common bullet weights used by most AR aficionados. In any event, a couple good articles on twist rate from Shooting Times. I believe that I have linked to the first one before, but it is worthwhile to mention it again:
                                                                                                              • "The Importance of Twist Rates". This is a good discussion on twist rates, and discusses a simple formula to determine the best twist rate for a given caliber and bullet:
                                                                                                              The Greenhill Formula for most standard cartridges is T=150(d/r), where T is the twist rate, d is the bullet diameter, and r is the bullet length to diameter ratio (bullet length divided by its diameter). For cartridges with a muzzle velocity of more than 2,800 fps, substitute 180 for 150.
                                                                                                              • "Practical Considerations On Twist Rate". This article is a good follow on to the one cited above. It goes into a deeper discussion of over-stabilized and under-stabilized bullets, spin velocity (including that the 1:7 twist on your favorite AR rifle is probably too fast for thin-walled varmint cartridges, which can literally come apart from the centrifugal force).
                                                                                                              • Some really dumb ideas are being fielded in relation to gun control. For instance, Ross Douthat (the New York Times' token "conservative") has proposed that different types of firearms should have different minimum ages for buying them. He suggests that the minimum age for buying an AR should be 30 years old. This, less than 6 months after a 64 year old man committed America's worst mass shooting. In any event, Sean Davis at The Federalist notes that:
                                                                                                                        Since the 1966 shooting at the University of Texas, an incident which many believe touched off the modern phenomenon of mass shootings (defined as a public shooting in which 4 or more people were killed), there have been 150 shootings involving 153 individuals, according to a detailed database published by the Washington Post. Of those, 150 were men, and the ages of 148 of them are known.
                                                                                                                          The average of those male mass shooters is just over 33 years old. 
                                                                                                                  • "Is The Second Amendment Worth Dying For?"--John Daniel Davidson at The Federalist.  The author argues that some things are more important than safety, even if it means that we may personally be put at risk in order to protect those ideals. He observes that, notwithstanding the nay-saying from leftist politicians, "[i]f we’re going to regulate firearms like cars, we’re going to have to decide that owning a gun will no longer be a constitutional right but a heavily regulated privilege. If we do that, we’re going to have to be honest about what that means: changing the very nature of the constitutional system America’s Founders designed." He continues:
                                                                                                                           Here it must be said that the Second Amendment was not meant to safeguard the right to hunt deer or shoot clay pigeons, or even protect your home and family from an intruder. The right to bear arms stems from the right of revolution, which is asserted in the Declaration of Independence and forms the basis of America’s social compact. Our republic was forged in revolution, and the American people have always retained the right to overthrow their government if it becomes tyrannical. That doesn’t mean that private militias should have tanks and missile launchers, but it does mean that revolution—the right of first principles—undergirds our entire political system.
                                                                                                                             That might sound academic or outlandish next to the real-life horror of a school shooting, but the fact remains that we can’t simply wave off the Second Amendment any more than we can wave off the First, or the Fourth, or any of them. They are constitutive elements of the American idea, without which the entire constitutional system would eventually collapse.
                                                                                                                               In this, America is unlike the European nations that gun control advocates like to compare it with. Germany can restrict the right to bear arms as easily as it can—and does—restrict free speech. Not so in America. If we want to change that, it will involve a substantial diminishment of our constitutional rights as we have known them up until now. After last week’s school shooting, some Americans are okay with that, especially those families who are grieving. But I suspect most Americans are not willing to make that trade-off, and might never be—unless they suffer the same of kind personal loss.
                                                                                                                                Returning to Wallace’s thought experiment, we might rephrase it like this: is the Second Amendment worth dying for? That’s another way of asking what the American idea is worth. It’s not an easy question, and I don’t pose it lightly, as I’m sure Wallace didn’t.
                                                                                                                                   But it’s one we need to ask, even in the face of heartbreaking and devastating loss. Is ours a generation of Americans called to make great sacrifices of our personal safety in order to preserve our democratic way of life? If we will not sacrifice some measure our personal safety, are we willing to sacrifice something like the Second Amendment? If so, what else are we willing to sacrifice?
                                                                                                                          • "Ban Secularism and Fatherlessness, Not Guns"--PJ Media. There are many who have tied mass shootings to SSRI drugs, but there are other similarities between the teens that have become mass shooters: a lack of a father in their lives. From the article:
                                                                                                                                    The break-up of the traditional family and the rise in fatherless boys have woven themselves into the natural, narcissistic consequences that result from free and unfettered sexuality. With that freedom, though, comes pushback when one person's freedom is another person's prison. In moments of conflict, what recourse do those steeped in the moral vacuum of secularism have other than to lash out?
                                                                                                                                     Wilson concludes his short article by poetically pointing out that when confused, fatherless, godless boys lash out, "they find a gun, left around from simpler times, and do their bloody work. Our proposed solution is to ban all reminders of those simpler times."
                                                                                                                                       Douglas Wilson's article is a needed reminder that the answer to gun violence is found in Christianity. Instead of banning guns, we need to ban godlessness and fatherlessness. Sadly, as Wilson knows and alludes to, secularists will never cede their gains in society, even if that means sacrificing children.
                                                                                                                                • For some perspective, even with this shooting in Florida there are nations that suffer through much worse, including our neighbor to the immediate south. Just in the past week:
                                                                                                                                • Something is rotten in Germany: "Germany's lack of military readiness 'dramatic,' says Bundeswehr commissioner"--Deutsche Welle. The article notes that "[t]he call on politicians to double-down on reforms and increase funding came in the same week a Defense Ministry paper revealed German soldiers did not have enough protective vests, winter clothing or tents to adequately take part in a major NATO mission." The article also points out other problems demonstrating an increasingly hollow German military, including a lack of officers (27,000 unfilled positions), and that "[a]t the end of 2017, no submarines and none of the air force's 14 large transport planes were available for deployment due to repairs."
                                                                                                                                • Related: "German War Planes Grounded By Eco-Gas"--The Washington Free Beacon. Germany is trying to go "green" on its jet fuel, including using biodiesel in its fuel. Problem is, the mixture has to be precisely tuned or it will gum up the jet engines. It was not precisely tuned, and now Germany's air force is grounded until fuel tanks can be flushed. Political correctness will be the death of Europe.

                                                                                                                                Tuesday, February 20, 2018

                                                                                                                                Trump's Call for Bump Stock Regulations

                                                                                                                                I'm sure that many of you have already seen reports from one media outlet or another that Trump has directed the Department of Justice to issue regulations banning bump stocks. This article from PJ Media relates:
                                                                                                                                        Trump said more than 100,000 public comments were received during the Justice Department's rulemaking period that ended Jan. 25. Today's memo directed the DOJ "to dedicate all available resources to complete the review of the comments received, and, as expeditiously as possible, to propose for notice and comment a rule banning all devices that turn legal weapons into machineguns." 
                                                                                                                                         "Although I desire swift and decisive action, I remain committed to the rule of law and to the procedures the law prescribes," said the president's memo. "Doing this the right way will ensure that the resulting regulation is workable and effective and leaves no loopholes for criminals to exploit."
                                                                                                                                Trump is generally careful not to alienate his base, but he also likes to give his opponents plenty of rope with which to hang themselves. Trump knows that the ATF has already reviewed this issue before and concluded that the bump stocks did not convert a rifle into a "machine gun" as that term is defined under the law, so I have a hard time believing that he expects that it will somehow be different this time absent some, shall we say, "creativity" on the part of the ATF. He also is not the type that cedes anything to the opposition without gaining something in return, which makes me leery of concluding that he has simply rolled over to the gun-grabbers. Yet his direction to the Department of Justice is clear. So, either he has concluded that his base (speaking as whole) doesn't really care about the bump-stock issue and he can use it as a sop to the Progressives, or he believes that he can somehow use this to make his opponents look foolish, or he believes that it opens the door to some other advantage, or some combination thereof.

                                                                                                                                        I will say this: if there is a regulation, no matter how badly it mauls the definition of "machine gun", I fully expect it to be upheld by a court regardless of the logical and grammatical contortions necessary to do so. It is a trite saying that "bad facts make for bad law." And that is exactly what we are seeing.

                                                                                                                                February 20, 2018 -- A Quick Run Around the Web

                                                                                                                                "Earth’s Magnetic Flip | Earthquakes & Volcanoes"--Suspicious Observers (5-1/2 min.)

                                                                                                                                • A new Woodpile Report is up.
                                                                                                                                • BREAKING: Optics Planet complying with the magazine restrictions of the County in which it is located. Stories from The Firearm Blog and The Truth About Guns. Apparently someone just noticed that Optics Planet doesn't sell magazines of greater than 10 rounds and started hyperventilating about it on the Internet, falsely suggesting it was because of the recent school shooting in Florida.
                                                                                                                                • "224 Valkyrie: Breaking Down the Numbers"--Range 365. The author provides charts and numbers outlining the external ballistics of a 95 grain exemplar. Short story: Compared to the .223, "[t]he 224 Valkyrie will allow you to shoot more accurately at longer distances. Not only is the trajectory flatter, but the bullet is also less affected by wind so you’ll have an easier time accounting for that." Also, "[t]he Valkyrie delivers similar results to larger cartridges like the 6.5mm Creedmoor but with smaller size, ability to use a standard AR-15 lower receiver, and with a lot less recoil."
                                                                                                                                • "10mm Auto vs. 357 Magnum Ammunition : Ballistic Gel Test Results"--Ammo Land. Article and video at the link. The author tried to eliminate variables as best he could by shooting similar loads out of weapons with similar barrel lengths. The ammunition he used was Hornady Custom line with a 158 grain XTP bullet for the 357 Magnum and a 155 grain XTP for the 10mm. He notes that 155 grain is on the light side for 10 mm. Shots were into ballistic gelatin blocks and through 4 layers of denim per FBI protocol. The 10 mm penetrated 16-inches and expanded to 0.70 inches. The .357 penetrated to 22 inches and expanded to 0.54 inches. One thing I would note, however, is that the test is against the clear gelatin rather than the 10% ballistics gelatin. I've seen articles discussing that there can be some variance in performance between ordnance gel and the clear gel (see here and here, for example), but it generally is pretty close. 
                                                                                                                                • A review of the Ruger “Officer” Size SR1911 9mm at The Tactical Wire. This is a compact 1911 style pistol using an aluminum frame and 7-round magazine. Weight is 27 ounces. 
                                                                                                                                • Oops. "São Paulo Military Police Glock G22 Gen5 initial test setback"--The Firearm Blog. An initial shipment of handguns had accessory rails that were out of specification.
                                                                                                                                • "Pat McNamara: Why Mobility Is Essential in a Real-Life Gunfight"--Tactical Life. One of the key points he makes is: "Tactical shooting is more than target discrimination and proper bullet placement. It’s about eliminating predictability, surviving through mobility and being lethal." He adds:
                                                                                                                                        Two things not practiced enough, or at all, on the range are proprioception and kinesthetic sense. Proprioception is the sense of the relative position of neighboring parts of the body and strength of effort being employed in movement, and kinesthetic sense helps us detect weight, body position and the relationship between movements in our body parts such as joints, muscles and tendons. In short, it is the muscle sense. It lets us know whether the body moves with effort and where the body parts are located in relation to other parts of the body.
                                                                                                                                          Kinesthetic sense is closely related to muscle memory, which is the memory that we possess due to constant repetition of a motor task, like signing your name or walking. Hand-eye coordination is also largely related to the sense of kinesthesia. This sense becomes automatic because of constant training.
                                                                                                                                            Guys with little or no athletic background sometimes suck at this. They move like they’ve got a broomstick shoved up their asses. Movement should be smooth and martial-art like. When we are in motion, we tend to be more confident. Confidence and performance work hand-in-hand. Additionally, cognitive performance is increased when we are in motion.
                                                                                                                                    He also recommends stepping to one side when you draw a firearm. Read the whole thing.
                                                                                                                                             ... Broward County used to lead the state of Florida in sending students to the state's juvenile justice system.  County leaders responded with a perfectly progressive solution: "lower arrests by not making arrests."
                                                                                                                                               Authorities agreed to treat twelve different misdemeanor offenses as school-related issues, not criminal ones.  The results impressed the people who initiated the program.  Arrests dropped from more than a thousand in 2011-2012 to less than four hundred just four years later.
                                                                                                                                               One particular motivation behind programs like Broward County's was the pressure from multiple sources to reduce the statistical disparity between black and Hispanic student arrests on one hand and white and Asian student arrests on the other.  ...
                                                                                                                                                 By virtue of his name alone, Nikolas de Jesús Cruz, the adopted son of Lynda and Roger Cruz, became a statistical Hispanic.  As such, authorities at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland had every reason not to report his troubling and likely criminal behavior to the police.
                                                                                                                                                     According to a source who spoke to the Miami Herald, Cruz had been suspended from Stoneman Douglas High for fighting and also for being caught with bullets in his backpack.  This was apparently at least one of the reasons why administrators reportedly emailed a warning to teachers against allowing Cruz on the campus with a backpack.  He was later expelled for reasons that have not been disclosed, but he was apparently not arrested.
                                                                                                                                                     Since 1990, there have been 22 shootings at elementary and secondary schools in which two or more people were killed, not counting those perpetrators who committed suicide.
                                                                                                                                                       Whereas five of these incidents have occurred over the past five-plus years since 2013, claiming the lives of 27 victims (17 at Parkland), the latter half of the 1990s witnessed seven multiple-fatality shootings with a total of 33 killed (13 at Columbine). 

                                                                                                                                                Monday, February 19, 2018

                                                                                                                                                February 19, 2018 -- A Quick Run Around the Web


                                                                                                                                                The last several weekends have been too wet to go shooting. Well, not too wet to actually do some shooting, but too wet to get to the place I typically go shooting. But, after a windy week where we didn't get much precipitation, I decided to give it a try, and found the road (a glorified cattle trail, to be honest) to be passable. It was cold--temperature was about 28 degrees (F) plus a constant strong wind. Based on the various flags I passed on my drive, the wind was at least 20 mph. (Here is a nice tip for estimating wind speed using a flag: "Estimate the angle between the bottom of the flag and the pole if the flag is extended. Divide the estimated angle by 4 to get the wind speed in miles per hour. For example, if you estimate the angle to be 45 degrees, the wind speed is approximately 11 miles per hour (18 kilometers per hour). This is the method used by United States Army sharpshooters"). Needless to say, I was not shooting any great distance, and had to switch to a kneeling position for some of my shots because my body was swaying too much because of the wind. I used my Riflecraft shooters sling on this outing and was very happy with it. Since it was too windy to put up target stands, I was just shooting at a couple of reactive steel targets--the types that look like large jacks
                                                                                                                                                Anyway, on to some articles:
                                                                                                                                                          Americans consume about 46% of the world’s brand name drugs but supply 70% of patented drug makers’ profits. France, Norway, the United Kingdom, Japan, Canada, Italy, and other government-run health systems buy the identical drugs at bargain prices — usually half what Americans pay. These state-run health systems often threaten to exclude a drug from their country entirely, even if it could save lives, until they extract a deep discount. Norway barred Roche’s breast cancer drug Perjeta, until the company slashed the price far below what Medicare pays.
                                                                                                                                                            These foreign governments know, when push comes to shove, a manufacturer will sell for a price that barely covers the cost of production, rather than not sell at all. That leaves American consumers stuck paying exorbitant prices to cover the sunk costs of researching and developing a new drug.
                                                                                                                                                              So many have fled to neighboring Colombia for health and other reasons that its president, Juan Manuel Santos, announced last week that his country would beef up security along the 2,205-kilometer border. Just last month, Santos had reiterated Colombia's longstanding offer of "humanitarian support in the matter of food and medicines," and his criticism that "the Venezuelan government has refused because they do not want to accept the serious crisis they have on their hands."
                                                                                                                                                                Colombia's foreign ministry estimates that roughly 600,000 Venezuelans have arrived in the country, straining the health system.
                                                                                                                                                        • Deep dreams: "The Dark Secret at the Heart of AI"--MIT Technology Review. A lengthy article, but worth the time. The gist of it, however, is that the most successful AI systems have been developed using artificial neural networks that are capable of learning. And they have been pretty successful at learning difficult tasks and spotting patterns that have eluded humans. The problem, however, is that the scientists, engineers, and programmers that have developed these systems don't really know how they work. Yes, the systems have learned how to perform tasks, and deliver useful results, but the developers don't know how these neural networks think; that is, the processes and considerations that they use to get from the raw data to the final conclusion or result. And this could be a problem if the systems make a mistake--the developers won't know how to debug it.
                                                                                                                                                        • Antipathy toward homosexuals is a consequence of the disgust response: "Gays Getting Parasites From R***ming"--Anonymous Conservative. AC cites an article in which the author complains of having to be treated for Giardia and Entamoeba histolytica, two parasites that are transmitted via fecal matter. The amazing thing about this is, notwithstanding the author's repeated infections and infecting his "boyfriend", that he has not considered changing the behavior that led to the infections. Rather, he is upset that a medical clinic that caters to LGBT has not done enough to warn the gay community.
                                                                                                                                                        Update (2/20/2018): Edited the headline of the last article to avoid offense by adding asterisks.