Wednesday, May 20, 2020

A Quick Run Around the Web (5/20/2020)

"Best Compass for You"--David Canterbury (17 min.)
A look at several different styles of compasses and what he believes is the best for newbies or general outdoors/wilderness use.

  • The latest Woodpile Report has links to articles discussing the various impacts of the Wuhan virus outbreak and the subsequent lock-downs, including the possibility of food shortages and hyperinflation due to the debt load that has been taken on. 
  • Today's Hump Day Reading List from Grant Cunningham has commentary and links to articles on whether you will freeze when faced with a threat, pre-attack indicators, and prepping for a power outage when you live in an apartment. 
      Having lived for years in an apartment while in college and first starting into my career, I can address the latter topic reasonably well. Oil lamps/storm lanterns are good (my wife and I used them), but we had a couple of propane Coleman lanterns that gave out much better light. Just be sure with both (or either) that you have gotten them ready and tried them out before you need them. Oil lamps are pretty hard to screw up, but you will want to have filled them plus have extra oil on hand and matches and lighter and tried them so you understand how to adjust them and make sure that the adjustment knob works. The propane lanterns use a mantle that has to be burned to turn it into char before you can use it--something better done before you need the lantern. I would also make sure to have extra mantles on hand. As far as cooking, the couple times we needed it, we used a small two-burner Coleman camp stove which also could use the same propane bottles as the propane lanterns. And, while in college, we lived in an apartment with electric baseboard heating, we also had a kerosene heater on hand to both supplement the baseboard heating (it was cheaper to run the kerosene heater than pay for the extra electricity) and as backup heating.
        The most significant power outage we had while living in apartments was while I was still in college. A transformer had blown out and it took a good portion of the day for crews to fix it. But about half-an-hour after they finished, it blew again, so the outage stretched well into the evening. I decided to take a walk after we had eaten dinner. Walking through the apartment complex, there were a handful of other apartments that were lit--the majority were dark. And what was interesting to me is that the lit apartments were where my fellow LDS congregation members lived. I think you can see the OPSEC implications of that.
          There are a couple tactical options that tend to be overlooked in the planning stages of a tubular assault. SWAT commanders seem to focus on the entry point of the plane and the close proximity of innocent hostages – which is a legitimate concern. 
           However, it’s important to consider a couple of key tactical options:
        Sniper-initiated assault
               This is a great option if the hostage takers routinely peer out the window from the aircraft cock pit. Here’s the drawback, your snipers need to have training data on aircraft glass barriers before they initiate the shot. Training your snipers with aircraft glass is mandatory before you deploy that tactic. They must shoot various rounds and angles so that they know their dope with this shot. 
                  POLICE: What's the highest number of rounds you've seen shot into a person who's survived?
                    Vail: The largest number of bullet wounds has been 22. Some were just entry, some were entry/exits. But 22, I think, was my maximum number. It's not uncommon for me to get 8 or 10 or 12 wounds and people survive.
                     I got involved in wound ballistics and what it really took to stop a threat during residency in Philadelphia because I had a friend on the police force who lost his job for use of excessive force by shooting somebody, I think it was, 18 times, and I always thought, maybe he needed to shoot that person 18 times to stop the threat.
                       As a surgeon, I saw what bullets don't do to the human body, meaning they don't kill it, they don't just stop it...which is why I wrote that article about stopping power; it's really a myth. I know that the human body can tolerate many gunshots and still function so that the person is still a threat to the police officer. So I make it known that I am willing to help defend a police officer who is accused of excessive force based on the number of shots fired. If it's a clean shoot, I'm happy to review it. If I can agree with them after that review, then I'll be there to testify for them.
                          POLICE: Is there really a significant difference in terms of wound ballistics between a 9mm, .40, and .45?
                           Vail: Other than the size of the ballistic projectile, nope. Because unless you hit something vital, it doesn't matter what you hit them with. You could hit them with a .45 in the shoulder, they're gonna survive. You hit them with a 9mm in the shoulder, they're gonna survive. You hit them with a .22 in the brain they could die. So, stopping a threat really does not come down to caliber, it is shot placement.
                             Handguns are lousy stoppers; it doesn't matter the caliber, they are just not great at stopping threats. Because of the ballistics profile and the amount of energy that a rifle round carries with it and dumps into the body, a rifle is a much better instrument to stop a threat.
                                The .36 caliber pistol, Colt’s or otherwise, was an almost ideal size handgun for weight, balance, and accuracy. As for the popular .36 caliber round ball, at a weight of 80 grains, backed by a 22- to 25-grain charge of black powder, an 1851 Navy had a muzzle velocity in the neighborhood of 850 fps; delivering sufficient mass and velocity for a fight ending shot at typical gunfight distances, which could have been anything from arms length to 50 feet or more. Further, the “or more” was proven in 1865 by Wild Bill Hickok, who famously and very publicly extended the effective accuracy of the 1851 Navy in a gunfight to a distance of some 225 feet.
                                 On July 21, in Springfield, Missouri, he shot and killed gunman Davis Tutt at what is believed to have been 75 yards across the town square in a long distance stand up gunfight. Tutt missed his first and only shot. Wild Bill, who had drawn his 1851 Navy but not fired first, rested the barrel of the Colt on his left arm. He then took aim and shot Davis Tutt dead where he stood. Further, Tutt suffered a single .36 caliber ball to the chest from half a block away.
                                   Hickok’s shot is the stuff of legends. Further, the 1851 Navy, among others of similar size and caliber, proved to be ideal belt guns for soldiers, lawmen, outlaws, and most anyone who chose to pack a pistol in the late 1860s.
                              • Type I: Failure to feed
                              • Type II: Failure to eject
                              • Type III: Double feed
                              • Type IV: Failure to extract
                              • Type V: Bolt Override
                                He explains how the malfunctions are caused together with photographs to illustrate them, as well as how to clear them. The first two are generally covered by the standard tap, rack, bang. The third may require you to unload the firearm to clear. The fourth:
                                          Type IV is a case stuck in the chamber. You’re pulling the charging handle, but there’s no rearward movement—the case is stuck in the chamber, and the bolt’s extractor is hooked on the case. The AR is telling you to unload.
                                           Should your AR stop working in a defensive situation and you’re within handgun distance, the most efficient way to get hits on the threat will be to transition to a pistol. However, at some point, you’re going to want to get the AR running again.
                                              Should your AR stop working in a defensive situation and you’re within handgun distance, the most efficient way to get hits on the threat will be to transition to a pistol. However, at some point, you’re going to want to get the AR running again.
                                                Remove the magazine. Hook two fingers on the charging handle, supporting the AR with the other hand. To generate the force needed to pull the case from the chamber, bang the rear of the stock against something solid while pulling rearward on the charging handle. Cycle to clear the chamber, then load. This action will either clear the case, or it rips it, which unfortunately means it takes time and tools to correct. This is a good time to transition to the pistol.
                                          The next type is also a bit more complicated to clear:
                                            A Type V stoppage is a “bolt override.” A round or piece of brass gets stuck above the bolt. The AR lets you know it’s a Type V via the charging handle. It will usually come back part of the way, but there’s no spring pressure on it. Remove the mag. Put a finger or other tool up the mag well and in front of the bolt; the other hand should be on the charging handle. Pull back on the charging handle while pressing the bolt to the rear. Once the bolt is all the way back, hold it there and work the charging handle forward. This frees the obstruction. Quickly remove the finger/multi-tool and let the bolt fly forward.
                                            Over the years, many of the most successful gunfighters in the world have quietly shared their philosophies and principles of surviving the fight. From these rare texts we can harvest what can be seen as the cornerstones of gunfighting. First up is decisiveness. The phrase “hesitation will get you killed” is not just a clever cliché. It is a fact. Nestled inside that mindset, though, is the deep-seeded willingness to be violent. While this may seem obvious, it is one of the major factors behind hesitation. Violence of action many times will determine the outcome of a lethal confrontation.
                                                    In my time with these two guns, as well as shooting my Bond Arms derringer in a few different calibers, I’ve never had a cartridge fail to extract with either system.
                                                     I’ve also never had the pistol fail in any way. There’s just not much to go wrong. It’s an extremely simple design, and the pinnacle of reliability. Cartridge manufacturer and bullet shape are irrelevant to reliability. If the Bond Arms derringer failed to fire, suspect the cartridge, not the gun.
                                                • "Something is Better than Nothing"--The Anatomically Correct Banana. The author is an older gentlemen working as a long-haul trucker. He noticed that he was getting winded doing some of his work and decided he needed to do something to get into better shape. The problem is that being on the road, he is not in a position to cook his own meals, and he doesn't know where or when he might be able to stop so getting out of the cab and go jogging or dropping to do situps or pushups on a urine smelling parking lot was not going to be practicable or safe depending on where he was, and he didn't have the room for any significant amount of exercise equipment. His solution was to get a couple light dumbbells (10 lbs each) and a jump rope. His fitness guru son said it wasn't going to be enough. But after a while at it, he found that he was in better shape.
                                                        After about 6 weeks I am up to 30 reps a day and regularly skip 50 or 60 times without missing. I feel better and stronger, and I don’t get winded from cranking up the landing gear. I am trying to think what else I might do in my limited space with my limited equipment. 
                                                          The moral of this story is that it is worth doing, even if you’re not going to be a professional bodybuilder. I do what I can within my limitations and that is just a hell of a lot better than doing nothing at all. I have overcome the inertia and now I want to do more. You can, too. 
                                                            Step 1) After you’ve done the deed (taking your time—a pandemic is no time for a hernia), grab your bottle.
                                                             Step 2) Reach underneath and spray front to back (especially important for women and girls). Depending on the size of the bottle you selected, you may need to elevate your carriage some off the throne to get the right angle. Be mindful of the back of the toilet; this was designed for outdoor use, after all. Try to keep your hand out of the way of any splashback, but don’t worry too much about it. We’ve all had lots of practice with the proper technique for washing hands these days.
                                                               Step 3) Depending on how much you are trying to conserve toilet paper, you can either grab a square or two of TP to dry off, or let things air out au naturel.
                                                                 Programming note: Do NOT get fancy and start thinking that you can conserve your home water supply by using urine in your DIY bidet. The uric acid will give you diaper rash.
                                                            • "How to Hide Your Guns during Martial Law"--Primal Survivor. This November 2019 article observes that although the Constitution ostensibly protects your right to keep and bear arms during an emergency, and there is a federal law prohibiting local governments from seizing firearms in times of emergency, "[i]f the government is consistent about any one thing, it is this: it has an unnerving tendency to exploit crises and use them as opportunities for power grabs under the guise of national security." An excerpt:
                                                                    The first thing about hiding guns during martial law is knowing where not to hide them.  Remember, we are prepping for the worst – which means armed soldiers with gun-sniffing dogs and ground-penetrating radar coming into your home.
                                                                      Hiding your guns in the normal places – like a hidden compartment under your kitchen cabinets – isn’t going to work in these worst-case scenarios.
                                                                        Ideally you don’t hide your guns inside your home.
                                                                          If you must hide your guns inside, count on the fact that authorities during martial law probably won’t have a lot of time to do a thorough search (again, we don’t know what will happen – we can just weigh the likely possibilities).
                                                                           Places like inside a hollow hot water tank or a watertight bag under the gravel in a fish tank could work.  Ammo could go in a hollow curtain rod.
                                                                              An off-site hiding place might also work.  I’m not talking about your Uncle Jim’s house, because the authorities will go there to confiscate firearms too.  By off-site, I mean a storage shed somewhere.
                                                                                Of course, the authorities could also search all storage sheds – it just might take longer for them to get to those so you may have time to grab your stored guns and GO before they are confiscated.
                                                                            For those wanting to bury a cache, the offer recommended an article which we've looked at before, "Hiding a gun — The rules of three," at Backwoods Home Magazine.
                                                                            • "5 Effective Improvised Weapons That Spies Actually Use"--Ballistic Magazine. The author is purportedly a ex-CIA spook. In any event, as you might expect, the weapons are improvised slung-shots, saps, and shivs. Specifically: (1) purchase a large nut and tie a bit of paracord through it; (2) stuff something heavy (e.g., an unopened can of soda) in a sock; (3) tightly roll up a magazine which you can use to thrust into soft areas of the body, like the neck or abdomen, or strike the side of the head; (4) throw the contents of a thermos of hot coffee, tea, etc. on an attacker; and (5) "Go to Walmart and spend a dollar on some hair barrettes. When you bend off the top, you’re left with some seriously sharp edges" which can be used to slash with, and, as an added bonus, are easy to conceal.
                                                                            • "The Ground Where I Stand: Determining the AO"--Lizard Farmer. From the lede:
                                                                            The Operational Area (AO) for our purposes is going to be the area we primarily defend PLUS areas of interest connected to it.  An Area defense is a defense that encompasses just that – an area.  A point defense for our purposes is a static location – i.e. your homestead.  We’ll get into point defenses much later on.  For now lets concentrate on Areas.   I’ll tell you right up front – this is not word for word .mil terrain assessment or IPB – that’s not the point here.  The IPB is a complex process and this draws elements from it however to go into the IPB would be a complete waste of time when you could read an FM.  This is presented as an educational tool for the complete novice.
                                                                            Read the whole thing.

                                                                            Discussion of social violence, when pepper spray might be appropriate, why backing down to a threat display may be appropriate, but mostly a caution as to involving yourself in a third-party dispute.

                                                                            • Related: "Thousands of lives could be lost to delays in cancer surgery during COVID-19 pandemic"--EurekAlert. The study, which was out of England, found "that a delay of three months across all 94,912 patients who would have had surgery to remove their cancer over the course of a year would lead to an additional 4,755 deaths. Taking into account the length of time that patients are expected to live after their surgery, the delay would amount to 92,214 years of life lost." Just imagine what the lives and lost years of life will be here in the United States. I know a woman whose cancer surgery to remove a tumor was cancelled because it was deemed "elective" and had to go to another state to get the surgery.
                                                                            New York City is the center of the Wuhan epidemic in the United States, and in response to the virus, governors across the country have imposed shutdowns that might possibly be appropriate in New York, but are bonkers as applied to local conditions. Initially, most of us tried to be good sports. But as shutdowns lingered from weeks into months, and small businesses were destroyed by the hundreds of thousands for no apparent reason, the spirit of rebellion began to grow.
                                                                            • "Monopoly On Violence"--Captain's Journal. Herschel cites an op-ed by Charles Lane at the Washington Post in which Lane states: "On the whole, though, no state worthy of the name can permit exceptions to its monopoly on legitimate deployment of armed force like those in Michigan or North Carolina. Surely no sensible interpretation of the Second Amendment right to keep and bear arms would say a state must tolerate them." Herschel observes: "You will never see a clearer admission than this from a collectivist.  They believe that the only legitimate use of force is when it is employed by the state." I know, I know--one shouldn't quote from Wikipedia, but it does relate that "The monopoly on violence or the monopoly of the legitimate use of physical force is a core concept of modern public law, which goes back to Jean Bodin's 1576 work Les Six livres de la République and Thomas Hobbes' 1651 book Leviathan." The founders likely were aware of Bodin's work, and certainly were aware of Hobbes' writings, but deliberately chose to reject it. Not only does the concept derive from the theory of the rule by an absolute monarch--and, hence, anathema to a Republic that derives its power from the citizens--but it leaves the citizen no recourse should the state be unable or unwilling to act to protect the citizen. 
                                                                            • Related: "EXPLOSIVE RICE MEMO DECLASSIFIED"--Powerline. We already knew that former National Security Advisor Susan Rice had created a memo in January 2017 documenting that she had been directed to not inform incoming National Security Advisor Flynn about the Russian collusion investigation into him. Now a key paragraph has been declassified that indicates that former FBI director Comey provided the excuse or justification for that action.
                                                                            • And what skeletons does the judge have in his closet? "J’Accuse: Judge Sullivan marches on and invents his own judicial procedures"--The New Neo. The judge presiding over the Flynn case has completely lost it in the face of dismissal of the charges against Flynn. Although there is no provision in the Federal Rules of Criminal Procedure allowing for the appointment of what is essentially a special prosecutor (John Gleeson, an ex-Brooklyn judge) to argue against the dismissal of Flynn's case. Similarly, and again not provided for in the rules, the Jude Sullivan is permitting third parties to file amicus curiae ("friend of the court") briefs to argue against dismissal. 
                                                                            • Related: "Our plea bargain system can make the innocent admit guilt. Enter Michael Flynn."--George Will at The Washington Post. I've heard plea bargaining, as it is currently carried out in the United States, described as the equivalent of Medieval torture, its purpose being to extract a confession even where no wrong was committed. Will essentially describes the same. For instance, he writes:
                                                                                  ... We shall return to Flynn below, but first consider Habeeb Audu, who is resisting extradition from Britain to the United States, where he is charged with various financial crimes.

                                                                                  The Cato Institute’s Clark Neily was asked by Audu’s lawyers to write, in accordance with British extradition practices, a Declaration — an “expert report” — about the risk that Audu would not have a meaningful right to a fair U.S. trial. Neily, a member of the American Bar Association’s Plea Bargaining Task Force and head of its subcommittee on impermissibly coercive plea bargains and plea practices, concludes that extradition would “guarantee” Audu’s subjection to a process that “routinely” coerces through plea bargaining. So Audu probably would experience “intolerable pressure designed to induce a waiver of his fundamental right to a fair trial.”

                                                                                  Plea bargaining is, Neily argues “pervasive and coercive” partly because of today’s “trial penalty” — the difference between the sentences offered to those who plead guilty and the much more severe sentences typically imposed after a trial. This penalty discourages exercising a constitutional right. A defendant in a computer hacking case, Neily says, committed suicide during plea bargaining in which prosecutors said he could avoid a trial conviction and sentence of up to 35 years by pleading guilty and accepting a six-month sentence.
                                                                                    The pressure prosecutors can exert — piling on (“stacking”) criminal charges to expose defendants to extreme sentences; pretrial detention, nearly always in squalid confines; threatening to indict family members — can cause innocent people to plead guilty in order to avoid risking protracted incarceration for themselves and loved ones. Such pressures effectively transfer sentencing power from judges to prosecutors. How exactly are these pressures morally preferable to those that used to be administered by truncheons in the back of police stations?
                                                                                     These are reasons why of the nearly 80,000 defendants in federal criminal cases in fiscal 2018, just 2 percent went to trial and 90 percent pleaded guilty. In 2018, 94.7 percent of criminal convictions were obtained through plea bargains in the Southern District of New York, which is seeking Audu’s extradition.
                                                                                       Prosecutors have discovered that almost any defendant can be persuaded to plead guilty, given sufficient inducements. This discovery has been partly a response to the fact that the over-criminalization of life, and particularly Congress’s indefensible multiplication of federal crimes, means that otherwise the court system would, in Justice Antonin Scalia’s words, “grind to a halt.”
                                                                                          To understand our politics, we need to understand the cultural values that drive it. The integral cultural map developed by philosopher Ken Wilber identifies nine global cultural value systems including the archaic (survival), tribal (shaman), warrior (warlords and gangs), traditional (fundamentalist faith in God), modern (democracy and capitalism), and postmodern (world-centric pluralism). When combined with Pew’s voter typologies, Wilber’s cultural levels offer a new map of America’s political landscape.
                                                                                            Of Wilber’s nine global value systems, the Traditional, Modern, and Postmodern categories are most useful to understanding our moment. Traditional culture values disciplined adherence to assigned gender and social roles: men are providers and heads of households, marriage is between one man and one woman, and the institutions of the military, law enforcement, and the clergy are all highly respected. Historically, traditional cultures were monarchies or states ruled by “strongmen.” Modern culture superseded traditional systems in the West during the Enlightenment, and values rationality, democracy, meritocracy, capitalism, and science. Individual rights, free speech, and free markets harness an entrepreneurial spirit to solve problems.
                                                                                             Postmodern culture offers a borderless, geocentric political view that values pluralism. It challenges a pro-American narrative by focusing on the horrors of American history, including the exploitation of Native Americans, slavery, and persistent inequality disproportionately affecting historically disadvantaged groups. Those left behind by modernity and progress now seek recognition, restoration, and retribution via a politics of protest, and show little interest in building political organizations or institutions. We are currently living in a postmodern political moment of disruption, best described by author Helen Pluckrose in her Areo essay “How French Intellectuals Ruined the West: Postmodernism and its Impact, Explained”:

                                                                                          If we see modernity as the tearing down of structures of power including feudalism, the Church, patriarchy, and Empire, postmodernists are attempting to continue it, but their targets are now science, reason, humanism and liberalism. Consequently, the roots of postmodernism are inherently political and revolutionary, albeit in a destructive or, as they would term it, deconstructive way.
                                                                                            When we overlay Pew’s data with Wilber’s Value levels, six cultural political categories emerge: Traditional Left and Right, Modern Left and Right, and Postmodern Left and Right.
                                                                                            Contrary to the foregoing, I see "modernity" as wanting to pursue an imperial path that most Americans never wanted. In any event, I found interesting this description of one of the groups comprising the post-modern liberals, who are strongly insular:
                                                                                            Solid Liberals is a bit of a misnomer as they tend to reject liberalism in its classical form. They are progressives who hold strongly negative views of businesses, question or reject the concept of the American Dream, and see the world through the lens of identity politics. They are mostly white, well-off, and well-educated, and they are the most secular voters found across voting groups. Ninety-seven percent strongly disapprove of Trump’s job performance. They are unlikely to have friends outside their political circle, and over half of this group would say “that a friendship would be strained if someone voted for Trump,” much higher than any other Democratic group. It isn’t just Trump they dislike. They are highly partisan in general and the least tolerant of Republicans among all Democrat groups. They are the largest engaged Democratic voting group and the largest of all voting groups in Pews voter typologies. They make up 25 percent of engaged voters.
                                                                                                    To be clear: We do need to think about the past, especially to learn from it, which we can do in a number of ways. Also, we need to contemplate the future in order, most importantly, to create it; for without anticipation of it, we would merely react and be a victim of circumstances, much as animals are.
                                                                                                      But the trouble with idealizing the past is that we can so easily get stuck there. For the past tends toward a sort of myopic nostalgia for us all. Even if our childhood or our youth was not ideal, at least we were young then, and so more energized, more attractive, and, critically, so much further statistically from that endpoint we call death. So the vice of the past is its nostalgia-inducing torpor.
                                                                                                       The future is quite different, though. When we contemplate the future (assuming we are not a hypochondriac, or chronophobic, or some such), we find there is the only virtue left in Pandora’s box when all the others have fled: hope. I used the word “contemplate” rather than “think” about the future since I wanted to suggest a deeper level of involvement with the future. Implicit in “contemplate” is the idea of our imaginations engaging with it, and so shaping and creating it.
                                                                                                  Perhaps I am being pedantic, but I took some exception to the author's comment concerning the story of Lot and his family, that "[t]he story may be pure myth, or it may be literally true; it is difficult to know." There is a growing body of evidence showing that the Cities of the Plain, including Sodom and Gomorrah, were destroyed by a large meteor blast, similar to the 1908 Tunguska blast or a more powerful version of the bolide that exploded over Chelyabinsk, Russia in 2013, creating a shockwave that blew out thousands of windows. According to a Times of Israel article on the subject:
                                                                                                           According to the paper’s abstract, the scientists discovered evidence of a “high-heat” explosive event north of the Dead Sea that instantaneously “devastated approximately 500 km2.” The explosion would have wiped out all civilization in the affected area, including Middle Bronze Age cities and towns. Silvia told Science News that the blast would have instantly killed the estimated 40,000 to 65,000 people who inhabited Middle Ghor, a 25-kilometer-wide circular plain in Jordan.
                                                                                                           Likewise, the fertile soil would have been stripped of nutrients by the high heat, and waves of the Dead Sea’s briny anhydride salts would have — tsunami-like — washed over the surrounding area. ...
                                                                                                      See also articles at Forbes and


                                                                                                      1. Good Sam video is scary as hell. The meteor is very interesting . . . .

                                                                                                        1. When I was a kid, one of my brothers had a poster of Murphy's Law and it corollaries, which included the admonition that "no good deed goes unpunished."