Thursday, September 21, 2017

September 21, 2017 -- A Quick Run Around the Web

"CHP's Newhall Incident Training Video"--The Santa Clarita Valley Signal (42 min.)

          The Newhall Incident (sometimes called the Newhall Massacre) was a shootout between California Highway Patrol (CHP) officers and two bank robbers on April 5, 1970, just north of Los Angeles. In approximately 4-1/2 minutes, the two robbers killed 4 officers. The incident prompted a serious look at police training and protocol. The video linked to above is a CHP presentation of the facts of the incident, and appears to be intended for in-house training. In researching this matter, I found an analysis of the shooting by Mass Ayoob which sets out the lessons to be learned for the law enforcement community. 

             However, in watching the video and reading up on the incident, what struck me was the overall poor shooting performance of the officers involved. A total of 40 rounds were fired in the incident, 25 by the perpetrators, leaving 15 for the four officers and a witness who briefly tried to assist. None of the officers struck any of the perpetrators with shots from their revolvers; and of the shotgun rounds fired by the police, only a blast through the back window of the perpetrators' vehicle resulted in a hit--a single pellet of buck shot that, having gone through the back window, caused only a superficial wound although the perpetrator had been struck in the head. Conversely, the perpetrators obtained multiple hits on the officers that were killed. There were other mistakes, to be sure--and it can be argued that one of the officers might have lived if he hadn't been too busy trying to reload his revolver from a "dump pouch," although considering the wounds he had already suffered, I doubt it--but the poor shooting is clearly a significant factor.

         It would be easy to blame the poor shooting on the use of revolvers by the police. However, the perpetrators were initially armed with revolvers and made effective use of them, so that is not an acceptable answer. I would suggest it probably came down to practice. The events that led to the shooting started when the perpetrators were testing the effective range of their walkie-talkies, and it makes sense that if they were testing their other gear, they probably also practiced with their weapons.

First off, buckshot.  I highly recommend Federal's Flite Control rounds as one's primary buckshot load for defensive use.  I prefer the #1 buckshot reduced-recoil (i.e. slower muzzle velocity) cartridge (15 pellets per load), but others choose 00 buck in standard-velocity or reduced-recoil rounds.  The special Flite Control shot cups hold the load together quite a long distance from the muzzle, so that even out to 30 yards, most of the pellets will hit a human-size target.  Most 'conventional' buckshot is lucky to get half as far without some of the pellets drifting off target, and at 30 yards, you'll be lucky to get two or three buckshot pellets in the kill zone.
Other Stuff:
             Sports photographer Michael Orta's Port Arthur house was destroyed after it was filled with four feet of stagnant flood water.
               He found his son's precious Woody doll floating in the water.
                 Even though Orta and his son Maddox lost everything in Harvey, the pair went to help others by unloading a donation truck.
                     'We're still blessed because everyone's still alive and we have family,' Orta said. 'But when Maddox lost his Woody doll, I remember seeing Woody's little hat floating in the water, and I just remember how upsetting that was for me.'
                      Orta had to pause speaking because emotions began to overwhelm him.
                         'When these guys showed up, they said I have something for your son.' Maddox and Orta spotted a Woody doll hanging out of a backpack on the truck. The toy had been donated by another young boy named Xander.
                            A handwritten note came with the doll. It read: 'Praying things get better for you all. Woody is very special to Xander so I hope whoever gets him gives him a loving home.' 
                • "The Statue of Mikhail Kalashnikov is Unveiled in Moscow"--The Firearms Blog. The article notes that in addition to this new statue, there are others of Kalashnikov in Ijevsk, in the Russian Federal Military Memorial Cemetery, on the campus of Izhevsk State Technical University, and in a Russian military base in Armenia.
                • Celebrating diversity: "Danes In The Midst Of Low-Tech Jihad"--Anonymous Conservative. He cites an article reporting that "[t]housands of incidents involving loosened wheel bolts on cars, large rocks or cinder blocks thrown from highway overpasses, and thin steel wires strung across bicycle paths meant to decapitate unsuspecting cyclists, is spreading a growing sense of horror among the Danes." The article also indicates that "[i]n almost all cases, the perpetrators have turned out to be from MENAP countries (Middle East, North Africa, Pakistan)."
                • A couple new stories about Obama's spying on the Trump campaign:
                           Samantha Power, the former U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, was 'unmasking' at such a rapid pace in the final months of the Obama administration that she averaged more than one request for every working day in 2016 – and even sought information in the days leading up to President Trump’s inauguration, multiple sources close to the matter told Fox News. 
                               Two sources, who were not authorized to speak on the record, said the requests to identify Americans whose names surfaced in foreign intelligence reporting, known as unmasking, exceeded 260 last year. One source indicated this occurred in the final days of the Obama White House.
                             According to media reports this week, the FBI did indeed “wiretap” the former head of Trump’s campaign, Paul Manafort, both before and after Trump was elected. If Trump officials — or Trump himself — communicated with Manafort during the wiretaps, they would have been recorded, too.

                             But we’re missing the bigger story.

                              If these reports are accurate, it means U.S. intelligence agencies secretly surveilled at least a half dozen Trump associates. And those are just the ones we know about.

                                Besides Manafort, the officials include former Trump advisers Carter Page and Michael Flynn. Last week, we discovered multiple Trump “transition officials” were “incidentally” captured during government surveillance of a foreign official. We know this because former Obama adviser Susan Rice reportedly admitted “unmasking,” or asking to know the identities of, the officials. Spying on U.S. citizens is considered so sensitive, their names are supposed to be hidden or “masked,” even inside the government, to protect their privacy.

                               In May, former Director of National Intelligence James Clapper and former Acting Attorney General Sally Yates acknowledged they, too, reviewed communications of political figures, secretly collected under President Obama.
                    She goes on to warn of the dangers of allowing the intelligence agencies to become king makers.

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