Friday, May 3, 2019

May 3, 2019 -- A Quick Run Around the Web

  • TGIF: Greg Ellifritz's Weekend Knowledge Dump
  • "Record 26 Ebola deaths in DRCongo in a single day"--France 24. That day was Sunday, April 28, 2019, and was in the DRC's North Kivu province, which is where most of the fighting in the country's civil war is taking place.
  • A renewed interest in sabot ammunition? "One Mile Per Second or 5,280 FPS"--The Firearm Blog. That speed was what they got with a .22 air gun pellet shot out of a .300 Remington Ultra Magnum. Sabots have been looked at in the past, and while they can deliver devastating velocities, the accuracy has been lacking -- especially because these are generally envisioned for use in long-distance varmint shooting. For instance, in the comments, one of the testers acknowledged that the spread was about 6 inches at 20 yards. It will be interesting to see if these researchers/experimenters can overcome the accuracy problem.
  • John Low writes:
     If you're going to carry pepper spray, take a class and learn how to do it properly.  
         You have to practice with inert units, otherwise you won't know the trajectory of your stream, fog, or spray; and you won't know how the wind can blow it back in your face.  
           You have to experience it in your eyes, otherwise you won't know how it affects you.  You have to see how it affects the other students in your class, otherwise you just won't understand.
             In my military police training, I learned that pepper spray debilitates me.  I observed that it had no effect on about 10% of the Marines in my class.  I saw that about half of the Marines could fight through the effects and accomplish the mission in spite of the pepper spray.  [So, as a civilian, I made the decision not to carry pepper spray, because it has 100% effect on me (when the wind blows it back in my face) and stops only 50% of my assailants.  This may not be a reasonable decision for you.]
               If you decide to carry pepper spray and refuse to take a class from an expert, you should at least know to spray across the assailant's eyes from left to right.  If he is wearing glasses, spray across his forehead from left to right.  Of course, you're not going to know at what distance you can do this, because you never took the class.
                 If you're going to carry pepper spray, get some of the real stuff, not the cheap junk.  The cheap junk don't work, because the Scoville Heat Units are too low.  That's a measure of the concentration of the oleoresin capsicum.
            He then links to a National Institute of Justice paper about pepper spray (PDF).
            • "PrepperMed 101: A Diabetic Prepper Speaks"--Beans, Bullets, Bandages and You. While you probably won't be able to stockpile insulin, the author does discuss the importance of being able to accurately gauge your blood sugar levels and some tips if things start to get out of whack.
            • One of the articles Jon Low linked to is about the dangers of intervening. The author of that piece, Evan Marshall, comments: "Let me be perfectly frank. Those who think that intervention will bring fame, honors, glory, etc., are delusional." (See also my post: "The Dangers of White Knighting"). He notes incidents where, as a police officer, he had complaints or even lawsuits filed against him, not by the perp, but the victim. And he also recollected some domestic violence calls where the victim tried to kill the officers responding to the call. He continues:
                     I carry a gun to protect myself and the people I love from the Monsters that roam the earth. When I’m away from those that mean everything to me, I carry so I can return to them. Are there circumstances where I would intervene to help a stranger? Yes, but such intervention would be on my terms at my pace. I am not going to jump into a situation with gun drawn.
                      Rather I would seek cover and carefully evaluate the totality of the circumstance. When I was convinced I knew what is really going on I would respond with the minimum amount of force necessary whether that required drawing my cell phone or my pistol. If all we have is a pistol we have severely limited options. I carry three pistols, oc, cell phone, and a flashlight, and I am a PPCT Defensive Tactics Instructor. I am willing and trained to respond with the appropriate level of force even if that is “only” a command voice. I understand the force continuum and know what the appropriate level force is in a given situation. Ignorance of such critical parameters can have horrific consequences.
                        Those who think the mere display of a weapon will stop hostilities are na├»ve in the extreme. The same people we will be confronting know what an appropriate level of force is and when we make outlandish or unjustified threats we’ll show our true colors. These people can tell when we’re serious and we will quickly find ourselves disarmed and in real trouble.
                    (Underline added).
                    • Paying attention to the underlined portion of Marshall's comments brings me to a recent article by Greg Ellifritz on "When the Criminal Doesn’t Obey Your Commands." He notes that a lot of people will become frustrated and simply shoot the criminal, even if the criminal is not posing an imminent threat. Ellifritz warns:
                              Don’t let your ego interfere with your safety.  EXPECT the criminal to ignore your commands and have a backup plan for when it happens.  Don’t get angry.  Don’t allow the criminal to manipulate you by challenging your ego.  I’ve seen it happen in both real life and in training.  The results are not pretty.
                               Mentally program yourself right now.  Expect criminal non-compliance.  Think through your options.  If the criminal doesn’t comply, but doesn’t escalate, you generally have a little time to act.  At first indication of such an experience, either use the opportunity to escape or transition to another, more appropriate, weapon.
                                 Don’t get angry and do something you might regret in the future.
                                 As always, I'm not your attorney and this isn't legal advice, and laws can vary by jurisdiction, so hire your own an attorney if you want a legal opinion. In my humble opinion, your biggest risk when engaging in self-help to eject a trespasser is a police officer or prosecutor that doesn't know the law (or doesn't care). At the common law, the general rule was that "[a]s an incident to the ownership of property, a person may, after notice to a trespasser to depart and his failure to do so within a reasonable time, eject him by force, and this right, reasonably exercised, may be pleaded in defense of a charge of assault and battery." 25 A.L.R. 508.  Yet I once had a young city attorney tell me in all earnestness that private citizens did not have the right to remove a trespasser from their property, but had to call the police. I don't know if this deputy prosecutor really was ignorant of the law or believed that exercising the right to eject someone from your property constituted a breach of the peace, but if she'd had her way, every bouncer in the valley would have been at risk of being arrested!
                               But, putting that aside, this is a great opportunity for thought experiments. Try out a few scenarios in your mind:  
                                 (1) You look out your window and see a couple older teens (17 or 18) playing basketball in your front drive. You go outside and tell them to leave. One teen leaves, but the other just stands there and defiantly tells you, "make me!" 
                                  (2)  You are awakened by a loud thump. Grabbing whatever weapon you keep for defending your house, you carefully stalk out to your living room and discover someone that you think is a neighbor standing over your television which is lying on your floor. ("You killed my best friend!") You order him to turn around so he is facing away from you. Your "neighbor" raises his hands to waist level but away from his waist, telling you to calm down, but doesn't turn around as ordered. You do not see any obvious weapons. 
                                 (3)  Same as (2), except this time the "neighbor" had a handgun, but drops it to the floor when first confronted.  
                                And if you think you might risk holding someone at gun point while you call the police, ask yourself this question: if you had to hold a criminal at gunpoint, could you still do so while operating a phone? Shotguns and rifles have many advantages over a handgun, but the ability to be used with one hand is not one of them.
                          • Speaking of someone not impressed at having a firearm pointed at them: "NSFW - CLOSE RANGE USE OF A SHOTGUN"--Gabe Suarez Blog. Embedded video at the link. Unfortunately for our victim, the person with the shotgun was not kidding, and, as a result, our victim had a large chunk of his right arm blown off.
                          • Related: "Another devastating Kel-Tec KSG injury"--The Gun Writer. What happens when your hand is in front of the muzzle of shotgun. Note: you have to click a link in the article to view the actual photograph of the post-shooting wound.
                          • I am completely gob-smacked that the House passed anything helpful to gun owners: "Congress Passes Pro-Gun ‘Target Practice and Marksmanship Training Support Act’"--Western Journal. So, as you may or may not know, the federal government imposes an excise tax on firearms and ammunition, which funds are used for conservation projects and other outdoor items. This new law would allow states to use more money they receive from federal excise taxes on guns and ammunition to upgrade and create public shooting ranges. Previously, if a state wanted to build or improve a shooting range with these moneys, the state had to chip in 25% of the total cost. This bill reduces that amount to 10%.
                          • "A Brief History of British Gun Control (or, How to Disarm the Law Abiding Populace by Stealth)" by P.A. Luty. An example of "the slippery slope" in action. In just over 100 years, the English went from having a broad freedom to possess arms and defend themselves, to being helpless sheep that not only can't own any reasonable means of defending themselves, but can't even publish books about how to make firearms.
                          • "Data call into question supposed benefits of police review boards"--John Lott writing at the Dallas Morning News (h/t Anonymous Conservative). Lott is writing in opposition to a planned adoption of a police review board by the Dallas P.D. From the article:
                                    Houston tried the same experiment in September 2011, similar to Detroit. Houston's review board didn't appear to reduce the number of suspects who were killed or wounded by police officers. During the five years preceding the board's creation, the police killed an average of 9.8 suspects annually, and wounded 13.2. The number of killed and wounded rose to 10 and 16, respectively, in the five years after the board was established. The number of near misses or cases where the injury status of the suspect was unknown increased more substantially, from an average of 13 to 23 cases a year.
                                    Before the board was established, Houston's murder rate was falling relative to the rest of Texas. Those percentages represent real lives. The number of murders in Houston fell from 351 in 2007 to 198 in 2011, and then rose to 301 in 2016. Something clearly changed in 2011, and it is hard to think of any other likely explanation. Perhaps the city suffered because the police department proceeded too cautiously with the new review board looking over its shoulder.
                                      Houston's rape rate increased by 44% after the board was created, and rose 8% faster than in the rest of Texas. Houston's aggravated assault rate went up by 14%, 15% faster than elsewhere in the state. There was improvement in only one category of violent crime: assaults fell by 3%, and fell 12% more sharply than in the rest of Texas.
                                        Review boards may increase crime not only because they discourage the police from doing their job, but if they are used to exaggerate racial discrimination by police, they risk doing what they were designed to prevent. They may alienate citizens from the police and discourage minorities from helping police solve crimes.
                                         Increased oversight sure sounds like a good thing, but a review board risks politicizing the process. Boards may create the very problems in the minority communities that they were designed to solve.
                                    • "Are You Defenseless Without Your Carry Gun?"--The Truth About Guns. Good question. Do you have any empty handed skills? Do you carry a knife and know how to use it? The author discusses carrying a knife or a collapsible baton, but then throws in this to show that gun laws disarm some of our most vulnerable:
                                             The problem is, guns won’t always help. Women between the ages of 16 and 19 have the highest rates of victimization for violent crimes, followed closely by those 20-24. In cases of rape, half the victims of rape are under the age of 18 years. A full third of all the rapes that occur happen to females between the ages of 12 and 17. The numbers say the average rape victim is a teenager.
                                              Here’s the point: by the time women are old enough to legally carry a gun, they have already passed the age when they’re most likely to be abducted or sexually assaulted.
                                        • An oldie but a goodie: "The Mental Training of Chuck Norris"--Marcus Wynne. Norris believed it critical to have a positive mental attitude and use detailed mental imaging of yourself performing techniques and so on. A short excerpt:
                                          Visualization, the conscious creation of an image within the mind, is one of the training techniques encouraged by Norris. This method, in which an image of what a student wants to achieve or improve is implanted in the subconscious, is capable of shifting the visualizer's entire psyche toward the fulfillment of that particular mental picture. At the deepest levels of the mind, the brain and nervous system cannot distinguish between something vividly imagined, and an actual occurrence.

                                            • They really do hate you: "The War Against White People"--Minding the Campus. After citing some examples of racial animus against white people, the author asks:
                                                    How did we get to this place, in which hating white people, the majority of Americans, not to mention wishing them all murdered, is deemed a virtue? The answer is that our liberal democratic culture emphasizing individual freedom and equality has transitioned, particularly among university and media elites in large cities and on the coasts, to a new culture that classifies and treats people by race, gender, sexuality, and ethnicity. Some observers have called this new culture “victimhood culture,” others have called it “diversitarian culture,” but most generally it is referred to as “social justice” culture.
                                                      “Social justice” culture replaces the individual with census categories and ranks these categories on a hierarchy of power and a converse hierarchy of virtue. Categories are distinguished between those with power, which are oppressor categories, and those without, which are victim categories. Intersectionism is a tool encouraging the accumulation of credits for belonging to multiple victim categories.

                                                  * * *

                                                        However, [under social justice] individuals are regarded as evil not because of their attitudes or actions, but because of the structural position of the category to which they belong. White skin is equated with white supremacism. ...
                                                             The primary sources of anthropogenic CO2 are no longer Western nations, which are only responsible for about 30 percent of all global emissions. The biggest single culprit, if you want to call it that, is China, responsible for 28 percent of global emissions, nearly twice as much as the United States, and 28 times as much as the United Kingdom.
                                                              Rapidly industrializing India, responsible for 6 percent of global CO2 emissions, is on track to become the most populous nation on earth. The chances that China and India will sacrifice their national future in order to reduce CO2 emissions are zero. The same holds for every emerging nation, including the demographic heavyweights Brazil, Indonesia, Pakistan, Nigeria, Bangladesh, along with all the rest.
                                                                The logic of these protestors also fails when it comes to the science of climate change, although to suggest something might be off in their thinking is heresy. So rather than point out that moderate warming might actually be beneficial to the planet, or that extreme weather is more highly correlated with a cooling planet, let’s accept all the popular wisdom with respect to “climate science.” So what? According to their own theories, it’s already too late. Climate alarmists have repeatedly said we had just a few years left—or else.
                                                            Also: "While it’s disingenuous for those of us who don’t believe anthropogenic CO2 is a mortal threat to humanity to use the emissions-free argument to promote nuclear power, it’s important to recognize that nuclear power plants don’t emit anything into the atmosphere."
                                                            • And this is from a conservative publication? "It’s Time to End the Death Penalty Nationwide"--American Conservative. And his argument is ... wait for it ... because all the other Western nations have ended it. And if they all jumped off a cliff ...? He also argues that the death penalty doesn't serve to deter crime. And, of course, it wouldn't when a prisoner might be 20-years on death row, and get a last minute reprieve or his conviction overturned. Whether the death penalty deters crime is beside the point, in my mind. Rather, the real benefit of the death penalty is that it ensures that certain criminals never have the opportunity to walk free, whether from an escape, social upheaval, political mechanizations, and so on. Some people are so dangerous to the public, and pose such a risk of re-offense, that they should be killed for the protection of the public. Crazy, isn't it? But I also have different thoughts about the classification of murder, such that I think the primary criteria for whether capital punishment should be imposed is not whether the crime was premeditated, but the risk of re-offense. Thus, the first degree murderer who planned the death of an abusive partner might not be a candidate for the death penalty, but the crazy guy that in a sudden flash of rage chases his neighbor's child around his house repeatedly stabbing her until she died would be subject to execution, even if he was found not to have premeditated the crime.
                                                            • "Seven wonders of the Ancient World brought back to life in stunning 3D reconstructions which reveal how the architectural masterpieces would have looked in their heyday"--Daily Mail.
                                                            • "What The Hell Is Going On With UFOs And The Department Of Defense?"--The War Zone. An excerpt:
                                                                     When it comes to the so-called "Tic Tac" incident that involved the Nimitz Carrier Strike Group off the Baja Peninsula in 2004, conclusions that are nearly impossible not to draw from it are so reality warping that even the forward-thinking aerospace community doesn't seem to have even begun coming to terms with them. 
                                                                       The main revelation is that technology exists that is capable of performing flying maneuvers that shatter our perceptions of propulsion, flight controls, material science, and even physics. Let me underline this again for you, the Nimitz encounter with the Tic Tac proved that exotic technology that is widely thought of as the domain of science fiction actually exists. It is real. It isn't the result of altered perception, someone's lucid dream, a stray weather balloon, or swamp gas. Someone or something has crossed the technological Rubicon and has obtained what some would call the Holy Grail of aerospace engineering. 

                                                                  * * *

                                                                          What most don't realize is that the Nimitz Carrier Strike Group wasn't just equipped with some of the most advanced sensors the world had to offer, but that it also had hands-down the most advanced networking and computer processing capability of any such system. Dubbed Cooperative Engagement Capability (CEC), this integrated air defense system architecture was just being fielded on a Strike Group level for the first time aboard Nimitz and the rest of its flotilla. 
                                                                            Our readers are familiar with CEC and the follow-on iterations that have come since, as we talk about the concepts behind them often. At its very basic level, it uses the Strike Group's diverse and powerful surveillance sensors, including the SPY-1 radars on Aegis Combat System-equipped cruisers and destroyers, as well as the E-2C Hawkeye's radar picture from on high, and fuses that information into a common 'picture' via data-links and advanced computer processing. This, in turn, provides very high fidelity 'tracks' of targets thanks to telemetry from various sensors operating at different bands and looking at the same target from different aspects and at different ranges. 
                                                                               Whereas a stealthy aircraft or one employing electronic warfare may start to disappear on a cruiser's radar as it is viewing the aircraft from the surface of the Earth and from one angle, it may still be very solid on the E-2 Hawkeye's radar that is orbiting at 25,000 feet and a hundred miles away from the cruiser. With CEC, the target will remain steady on both platform's CEC enabled screens as they are seeing fused data from both sources and likely many others as well. 

                                                                          * * *

                                                                                   The key takeaway here is that if ever there was an opportune time to capture the very best real-world sensor data on a high-performance target in near lab-like controlled settings offered by the restricted airspace off the Baja Coast, this was it. And by intention or chance, this is exactly what happened. 
                                                                                     By multiple accounts from vetted first-hand sources, the hard drives that record CEC data from the E-2C Hawkeye and Aegis-equipped ships were seized in a very mysterious fashion following the Tic Tac incident. Uniformed U.S. Air Force officers showed up on these vessels and confiscated the devices and they were never to be seen again. This is not rumor or hearsay, this is attested to by multiple uniformed witnesses that were on the vessels that made up the Nimitz Carrier Strike Group at the time. 
                                                                                      At the same time, on an official level, the Navy seemed to shut down any further investigation into the incident. The aforementioned after-action report states that the Nimitz Carrier Strike Group’s senior intelligence officer, whose name is redacted, alerted the Navy’s 3rd Fleet intelligence officer, or N2, about the incident via secure Email. That same Email, known as a Mission Report (MISREP), included the video footage and other details. 
                                                                                        For unexplained reasons, officials at the 3rd Fleet N2 declined to send this report up the chain of command. They also deleted the MISREP, but speculated that paper copy should have been available. However, there is no indication that anyone went looking for this physical copy of the MISREP during the investigation. 
                                                                                          When interviewed, the Nimitz Strike Group’s senior intelligence officer also offered up the opinion that “he believed it [the UFO] was part of a counterdrug operation based on the area of operations,” which seems wholly incongruous with the available information.
                                                                                            As such, even though there is no official indication that an investigation into the events that week ever occurred at a very high level beyond after-action reports, we know someone within the military had a very high interest in what went on and wanted the high-fidelity radar data collected from the Strike Group. Not just deleted, but seized, potentially for exploitation.
                                                                                             So yeah, someone was highly interested in this event within the DoD. Whether that was because it was of an unexplained nature or part of a test of a very capable secret aerospace program, remains unclear. 
                                                                                          The author speculates that the tic-tac aircraft could have been ours:
                                                                                                   There is no better place to test such a system than against the Nimitz Carrier Strike Group with its CEC abilities during its workup off the Baja Coast. It is not an operational environment. Aircraft are not armed and nobody is expecting a fight. It is high-level integrated training with crews that have sharpened skills as they prepare for a cruise in which they could very well be called upon to fight for their country. Those warning areas and range complexes that extend out and down from the Channel Islands off the SoCal coast are among the best space the U.S. military has for training and testing advanced hardware and tactics in a secure and sanitized environment. 
                                                                                                     In other words, it was an ideal testing environment that featured the very best aerial, surface, and undersea surveillance sensors and sensor crews on the planet. 
                                                                                                It is a long read, but worth it, so read the whole thing.

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