- It's Tuesday and time for a Woodpile Report.
- "Good News Alert: U.S. is Safer Than We’re Led to Believe: For Americans in their 30s, this is the safest the country has ever been in their lifetimes."--Range365. The article indicates that you are about four times more likely to be struck by lightning than to be the victim of a mass shooting and the overall violent crime rate has been halved since 1991.
- "NOT EVERYONE CAN AFFORD A TRIJICON RMR"--Gabe Suarez. Some advice on acceptable (and not acceptable) alternatives. Out: the Burris Fastfire (I assume any generation), the Sig Romeo, and the various Vortex units. What he thinks may work well enough is the Holosun HS507C.
- "Skills Check: 5 Body-and-Head Drills"--Shooting Illustrated. The author notes that "The typical silhouette target has a large center-scoring area in the body and a smaller scoring area located in the head. Typically, the center portion is described by a circle or oval around 8 to 10 inches in diameter, and the head scoring zone is usually rectangular and about 3x5 inches. For these drills you’re going to need a couple of silhouette targets, or you can make your own targets with a couple of paper plates and 3x5 index cards on a piece of cardboard."
- "Your Tactical Training Scenario- Properly Timing your Resistance Efforts"--Active Response Training. No, not timing of when to close distance and strike, but when, in a situation, to offer resistance and when to wait. As Ellifritz notes, you can't outdraw someone that merely has to press the trigger. "I’m not advising you to give up. Just wait for your opportunity. Wait for the bad guy to be momentarily distracted. Act while he is doing something else or when he looks away for a second."
- "18th Century Firepower – The Ferguson Rifle"--The Firearm Blog. This was one of the first, if not the first, usable breach loading rifle designs, using a threaded breech plug which screwed up and down to close the action. A limited number were manufactured for the British and used to outfit a small unit led by Ferguson during the American Revolution. Ferguson was injured in battle, which led to the disbanding of his unit, and he was later killed in action, with the result that all efforts to develop his rifle stopped.
- "Pistol vs Shotgun vs Rifle for Home Defense"--Abe's Gun Cave. The author discusses each of the options in detail. His conclusion, though, for those too impatient to read his article:
Pistols have the best maneuverability, good magazine capacity, and can be suppressed. However, they are the worst people stoppers and are the hardest to aim under stress.
Shotguns have excellent power, and are (very) slightly more forgiving with shot placement. However, they have the highest recoil, lowest magazine capacity, are the slowest to reload, and are very limited in both bullpup and suppressor options.
Rifles are very accurate, have excellent power and the least problem with over-penetration (assuming proper ammo). They have the highest magazine capacity, extremely mild recoil, are easy to suppress, and there are several bullpup options. The downside? Good bullpups are a bit expensive, and rifles are extremely loud when un-suppressed. Other than that, I truly can’t think of any.
My Opinion? (if it wasn’t obvious by now).
I think a Suppressed .223/5.56 bullpup rifle with proper bullet selection is an ideal home defense weapon.
A couple points: Self-defense now and post-TEOTWAWKI are different creatures. Your odds of having to engage a large number of motivated attackers in your home is probably pretty small, so, combined with its terminal performance (at least with 00 buckshot), I don't believe that the low number of rounds and slow reload time for a shotgun is as significant as some people apparently believe. Also, unlike an indoor shooting range, there is a considerable amount of material in your typical house to absorb sound, so most handguns won't need to be suppressed--i.e., you are not going to be deafened if you or someone near you shoots a 9 mm or similar.
- "WRITING A TACTICAL SOI"--American Partisan. SOI stands for Signals Operating Instructions, and is a standard procedure or plan for using radio communications, including backup channels. The article also discusses the use of radio communications for a partisan unit. Interesting reading.
- "GOVERNMENT ACQUISITIONS: A DETRIMENT TO A SNIPER’S MISSION SUCCESS"--Small Arms Defense Journal. Unlike SOCOM that can largely bypass the normal acquisition process, regular snipers are stuck with the bureaucracy and "one size fits all" mentality of procurement. The author contends that this will make snipers less flexible and less effective.
- As we are on the verge of new regulations that will classify bump-stocks as "machine guns" without any grandfathering or re-opening of the machine gun registry, it is good to reflect on the fact that the ATF did not inspect the Las Vegas Shooter’s guns before the bump stock ban was proposed. That's right: while blaming the high number of casualties on the use of a bump stock, the ATF doesn't know if any of the bump stock equipped weapons were actually used.
- I had been assured that the opioid crises was the result of over-prescription: "New Documentary Reveals How Border Insecurity Exacerbates Opioid Deaths"--The Federalist. From the lede:
Two of the major issues that are raging in the United States right now appear unrelated on the surface, but are keenly connected when one looks a little deeper. A new documentary film from reporter Sara Carter, “Not in Vein,” tackles the intersection of border control and opioid addiction in a terrifying light that reveals how Mexican drug cartels are terrorizing Americans with the most deadly drugs on the market.
And heroin isn’t just heroin anymore. It’s often laced with Fentanyl — a substance that can kill you with an amount as little as 2 grains of salt. Fentanyl has contributed to rising death rates and, as one DEA officer said, could “literally be used a weapon of mass destruction.”
The same officer called the Mexican drug cartels “the greatest threat to the U.S.” In fact, in Nebraska recently, a tractor trailer was pulled over with 118 pounds of Fentanyl — enough to kill 26 million people.
In short, Congress has made it harder for people with chronic pain conditions to get the medications they need, but refuse to do anything about border security that might cut down on opioid deaths. An unbiased observer could come to the conclusion that the Congress-critters really don't care about Americans.
- The Yellow Vest protesters have won at least a small victory: "France protests: PM Philippe suspends fuel tax rises"--BBC. The article reports:
Mr Philippe said that the next planned rise in the so-called carbon tax on vehicle fuel, which had been due to come in on 1 January, would be suspended for six months to allow consultations across the country to see what accompanying measures might be introduced to ease the burden for the worst-off.
He also said planned increases in gas and electricity prices this winter would be halted, and that a toughening of the rules for vehicle emissions tests would also be postponed.
It is a major climbdown by the government of President Macron, who has said the measures are necessary to combat climate change and meet budget deficit reduction targets.
- Cultural enrichment in Britain: "'It's like she’s been savaged by a DOG!': Toddler is scarred for life with 15 bites on her face and neck after CHILDREN attack her at soft play centre"--The Daily Mail. Although the article doesn't mention it, the main culprit was a 3 year old Somoli (see this video for details). The article does describe that "[t]he mother was forced to pull a little boy off Willow's neck when it emerged she had 15 bite marks all over her body." I think a strong kick might have worked better. Also, the mother claimed that "her daughter was blue and the youngster 'had a big smile on his face and blood all around his mouth'." The article goes on: "She eventually found the mother of the child, who she claimed insisted 'That's what kids do, that's what kids do!'" Good reason to not import them into the West, then.
- "Europe Is Dying"--American Conservative.
The fall in the Italian birth rate has reached its lowest level ever in 2017. In a country of 60.5 million inhabitants, just 458,151 children were born last year, and even less, about 440 thousand, are the new births predicted for 2018 — just over 7 per 1,000 inhabitants, 30 per cent under the median of the European Union, which is already the region of the world with the lowest birth rate.
If you consider the fertility rate – or “total fertility rate” – which ensures zero growth, that is, the equal exchange of the population, is 2.1 children per woman, then observe that the Italian figure has been dramatically under that for decades. In 2017 it sank to 1.32, with several regions even more prone to births, and with Sardinia even settled at 1.06.
These are already numbers that attest an inexorable march towards the extinction of a people.
Rod Dreher notes that the majority of marriages in Italy that result in children are religious marriages; foreigners marrying and second marriages for natives are generally civil marriages that produce no children. But "[t]he number of first marriages and “religious marriages” (marriages conducted under the auspices of the Church) is in freefall. First marriages declined 7.3 percent in a single year (from 2016 to 2017), and the number of church marriages plunged by 10.5 percent in that same time period."
- Of course: "Forging Islamic science"--Aeon. There is a steadily growing number of illustrations claiming to date from the Medieval period showing Muslim "scientists" looking through telescopes, examining globes, or otherwise engaged in scientific pursuits, but which are fake. From the article:
From Istanbul’s tourist shops, these works have ventured far afield. They have have found their way into conference posters, education websites, and museum and library collections. The problem goes beyond gullible tourists and the occasional academic being duped: many of those who study and publicly present the history of Islamic science have committed themselves to a similar sort of fakery. There now exist entire museums filled with reimagined objects, fashioned in the past 20 years but intended to represent the venerable scientific traditions of the Islamic world.
The irony is that these fake miniatures and objects are the product of a well-intentioned desire: a desire to integrate Muslims into a global political community through the universal narrative of science. That wish seems all the more pressing in the face of a rising tide of Islamophobia. To be clear, Muslims always conducted science, despite the claims of Islamophobes to the contrary, but often it wasn’t visually expressed in a way that we find easy to recognise today. But what happens when we start fabricating objects for the tales we want to tell? Why do we reject the real material remnants of the Islamic past for their confected counterparts? What exactly is the picture of science in Islam that are we hoping to find? These fakes reveal more than just a preference for fiction over truth. Instead, they point to a larger problem about the expectations that scholars and the public alike saddle upon the Islamic past and its scientific legacy.
What these fakes reveal is a desperation to portray Islamic culture as more important than it really was.
- "A Middle East Monarchy Hired American Ex-Soldiers To Kill Its Political Enemies. This Could Be The Future Of War"--Buzz Feed. From the article:
Cradling an AK-47 and sucking a lollipop, the former American Green Beret bumped along in the back of an armored SUV as it wound through the darkened streets of Aden. Two other commandos on the mission were former Navy SEALs. As elite US special operations fighters, they had years of specialized training by the US military to protect America. But now they were working for a different master: a private US company that had been hired by the United Arab Emirates, a tiny desert monarchy on the Persian Gulf.
On that night, December 29, 2015, their job was to carry out an assassination.
Their armed attack, described to BuzzFeed News by two of its participants and corroborated by drone surveillance footage, was the first operation in a startling for-profit venture. For months in war-torn Yemen, some of America’s most highly trained soldiers worked on a mercenary mission of murky legality to kill prominent clerics and Islamist political figures.
Their target that night: Anssaf Ali Mayo, the local leader of the Islamist political party Al-Islah. The UAE considers Al-Islah to be the Yemeni branch of the worldwide Muslim Brotherhood, which the UAE calls a terrorist organization. Many experts insist that Al-Islah, one of whose members won the Nobel Peace Prize, is no terror group. [ed: since the Nobel Peace Prize is generally awarded to dictators and terrorists, this is no defense]. They say it's a legitimate political party that threatens the UAE not through violence but by speaking out against its ambitions in Yemen.
The mercenaries’ plan was to attach a bomb laced with shrapnel to the door of Al-Islah’s headquarters, located near a soccer stadium in central Aden, a key Yemeni port city. The explosion, one of the leaders of the expedition explained, was supposed to “kill everybody in that office.”
When they arrived at 9:57 at night, all seemed quiet. The men crept out of the SUV, guns at the ready. One carried the explosive charge toward the building. But just as he was about to reach the door, another member of the team opened fire, shooting back along the dimly lit street, and their carefully designed plan went haywire.
The operation against Mayo — which was reported at the time but until now was not known to have been carried out by American mercenaries — marked a pivot point in the war in Yemen, a brutal conflict that has seen children starved, villages bombed, and epidemics of cholera roll through the civilian population. The bombing was the first salvo in a string of unsolved assassinations that killed more than two dozen of the group’s leaders.
The company that hired the soldiers and carried out the attack is Spear Operations Group, incorporated in Delaware and founded by Abraham Golan, a charismatic Hungarian Israeli security contractor who lives outside of Pittsburgh. He led the team’s strike against Mayo.
The article goes on to discuss various implications from this attack and others, including the increased reliance on assassinating specific individuals rather than targeting military infrastructure or equipment, the return to using mercenaries, and what responsibility, if any, the United States should bear. It is a long read, so set aside some time before you start digging into it.
- "We Weren’t Made for Endless Work"--by Gracy Olmstead at The American Conservative.
- "It’s not science I don’t trust – it’s the scientists"--James Delingpole at The Spectator. An excerpt:
If research supports a liberal shibboleth — say, the notion that violence is a learned behaviour rather than innate — then it will be given huge prominence. In 2000, the American Academy of Pediatrics testified to Congress that ‘more than 3,500’ studies had investigated the link between exposure to media violence and actual violent behaviour. This was a lie. Even those few studies — fewer than 1,000 — that purported to find a causal link often did so on the flimsiest of evidence. For example, one established the elevated ‘aggression’ caused by watching an exciting film by asking a child ‘whether he would pop a balloon if one were present’.
If the evidence doesn’t accord with the correct ‘woke’ narrative then right-thinking social scientists tailor it till it does. This is what happened to a 2007 study showing racially diverse communities are more suspicious, withdrawn, ungenerous, fractured and fractious. Such an incendiary refutation of the well-known truth that ‘diversity is strength’ could not go unedited. So it didn’t. Publication was delayed until the author could ‘develop proposals to compensate for the negative effects of diversity’. To publish the facts on their own would be ‘irresponsible’.
Eventually, the author published it with a disquisition on how increasing diversity would lead to ‘significant benefits in the medium or long term’. This accords with ‘contact theory’ — a notion popular among social scientists (see also the imaginary encounter with the gay canvasser, above) that the more we’re physically exposed to diversity the more we’ll learn to love it. And if the hard evidence speaks otherwise, well never mind. You can just do what the author of that diversity report does: every time some unhelpful conservative type cites it to back up their argument that diversity causes social problems, he accuses them of selectively citing his findings because they’ve ignored the bit at the end where he explains that diversity will be good one day.