Monday, November 30, 2015

Malfeasance Rewarded

Imagine if you will that you worked for a large company and were issued both a company car and company-provided credit card. Then imagine what would happen if you decided to use that company car to drive to a casino, to use that company-provided credit card to get a cash advance to buy chips, and you did it all on company time.

You would likely be fired and perhaps even prosecuted for stealing from your employer. Or, at least, that is how it should work in the real world.

However, if you were a BATFE Special Agent and you did this, then you just might get promoted to Special Agent in Charge of a Field Division and move into the Senior Executive Service. According to the summary report from the DOJ's Office of Inspector General posted to, that is exactly what happened.
Investigative Summary:
Findings Concerning On-Duty Gambling and Related Misconduct by an ATF Special Agent in Charge While in a Prior Position

The Office of the Inspector General (OIG) initiated this investigation based on information from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) alleging that a current Special Agent in Charge (SAC) gambled on duty and engaged in related misconduct while in a position with ATF prior to being promoted. The OIG investigation determined that the SAC gambled on duty, misused his government travel card to facilitate his gambling, and misused his assigned government vehicle by using it to travel to casinos. By gambling while on duty, the SAC violated federal regulations that prohibit federal employees from gambling while on duty. In addition, the SAC violated ATF policy by, among other things, misusing his government travel card to obtain cash advances to gamble, and using his assigned government vehicle to travel to casinos to gamble, which is not an “official purpose” for which use of the government vehicle is authorized. Prosecution was declined. The OIG provided a report of investigation to ATF for appropriate action.
So the question remains, which one of the 25 Special Agents in Charge (SAC) on this list is the culprit? Was it Eric Harden in LA, Delano Reid in NYC, Carl Walker in Atlanta, or someone else?

Inquiring minds want to know.

Do Mag Bans Reduce Casualties In Mass Shootings?

Bans on standard capacity magazines, that is, magazines with a capacity over 10 rounds, are supposed to have an impact on the number of casualties in mass shootings. The question is do they?

The simple answer is no.

As David Yamane reports in his Gun Culture 2.0 blog, criminologist Gary Kleck presented research at the recent American Society of Criminologists annual meeting that studied this question. Kleck’s research looked at mass shootings in which more than six people were killed or wounded. He went with six because that is the capacity of most revolvers and thus no standard capacity magazine would have been needed.
Even with this restrictive definition of a mass shooting, Kleck found that large capacity magazines – defined as holding over 10 rounds – were used in only 21 of the 88 incidents (24%). So, in 76% of the incidents, a large-capacity magazine ban would have made no difference in any event.

Kleck then goes on to analyze further the 21 incidents in which a large-capacity magazine was used. In every case, the shooters carried either multiple guns or multiple magazines. Therefore, even without a large-capacity magazine, the shooters could easily switch guns or magazines.

Kleck also marshals evidence to show that the rate of fire of most mass shooters is so slow that having to change guns or magazines more frequently would not diminish their casualty counts.
The bottom line to Kleck's research, as David notes, is that it isn't the tool but the desire of the evil doer to kill as many people as possible.  However, this conflicts with the desire of politicians and gun prohibitionists to "do something".

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Doing My Part To Stimulate The (Gun) Economy - 2015 Edition

In years gone by, I have worked hard to include every firearm, tactical, big box sporting goods store, and accessories sale that I could find for Black Friday and Cyber Monday. Call me lazy but this year I will point you to two very good compilations that already exist. I don't see any reason to reinvent the wheel or do extra work when others have already done it.

First, has done an extraordinary job in compiling the Black Friday/Cyber Monday ads from all the major players and then some. It can be found here.

Second, for those who are seeking more tactical items, Soldier Systems has their Black Friday list which is sponsored by Tactical Distributors. You can find it here. If it is like last year, it will be a work in progress with more and more sales and discounts added.

One sale I got in my email box that I haven't seen in either of these two lists is from Going Gear. If you are looking for a high lumen flashlight, then they can help. Find them here. Another sales going on is from ALG Defense. They are offering 20% off all their AK and AR triggers plus some other stuff. ALG Defense is connected with Geissele which is also having a Black Friday event. It is listed on the Slickguns page.

Feel free to add sales and discounts you come across in the comments section. I would welcome it and I'm others will find it helpful.

NSSF Points Out The Contradictions In Big City Police Chief's Advice

Last Sunday in an interview on 60 Minutes DC Police Chief Cathy Lanier said that if you can take out an active shooter, do it. She noted that even the best police response time will be 5-7 minutes. NYPD Police Commissioner Bill Bratton disagreed with that advice saying essentially it was a good way to get killed. He didn't think a person with a handgun could take out someone with an AK-47 as they would be "outgunned".

The NSSF video below shows the contradictions in what Lanier says and what Bratton says.

However, the problem in both New York and the District of Columbia is that Joe Average can't get a carry permit. Donald Trump has a carry permit but he also now has Secret Service protection. Michael Bloomberg doesn't need a carry permit because he has a swarm of armed guards around him all the time. The bottom line is that a lot of people will get killed in either city before the cops arrive.

Monday, November 23, 2015

One Shot Draw Drills

Enough with the political stuff! Here is something interesting that you can use at the range if they allow you draw from a holster. While most indoor ranges forbid it, you could do it at an outdoor range in most places.

In this training video from the National Shooting Sports Foundation, Doug Koenig demonstrates how he uses a one shot draw drill to speed up his response time for steel challenge competitions. He notes that he first starts out doing the drill at home with dry-fire practice. That is something everyone could do regardless of what his or her favorite range allows.

This Is Getting Tiresome

The New York Daily News - "New York's Picture Newspaper - is keeping up their propaganda campaign against the NRA and Republicans for refusing to add those on the FBI's Terrorist Screening Database to the NICS denied list.

They are now reporting that NYPD Police Commissioner William Bratton and Sen. Charles Schumer (D-NY) are supporting efforts to add those on the "No-Fly" list to the NICS denied list. What they are forgetting is that the FBI still runs a check on everyone who buys a gun through a FFL.

As Bratton made clear yesterday on NBC's Meet The Press, he is more worried about people put on a list for some unknown and ephemeral reason buying a gun than he is about ISIS using Syrian refugees to smuggle in jihadis into the United States. Clearly one does not get to be the commissioner of police without bowing to one's political masters.

Sunday, November 22, 2015

Just How Are We Supposed To Do That In DC, Pray Tell, Chief Lanier?

Emily Miller, author of Emily Gets Her Gun and one of only 45 people in the District of Columbia with a carry permit, tweeted this yesterday afternoon.

It was in response to the interview with DC Police Chief Cathy Lanier by 60 Minutes. In the interview which dealt with active shooters, Lanier said that it was unreasonable to expect the police to arrive in time to stop most mass shootings. She told Anderson Cooper:
I always say if you can get out, getting out's your first option, your best option. If you're in a position to try and take the gunman down, to take the gunman out, it's the best option for saving lives before police can get there. And that's-- you know, that's kind of counterintuitive to what cops always tell people, right? We always tell people, "Don't-- you know, don't take action. Call 911. Don't intervene in the robbery"-- you know-- you know-- we've never told people, "Take action." It's a different-- this is a different scenario.
 You can see the full interview below which also includes comments by NYC Police Commissioner William Bratton.

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Tabloid Journalism At Its Finest?

As posted on Facebook by the Daily News.

To paraphrase one of the Daily News' most famous headlines -  NRA to NY Daily News: Drop Dead.

It shouldn't surprise anyone that this sort of drivel comes from the New York Daily News. Until 1991, their tagline was "New York's Picture Newspaper." In other words, they were the paper meant for functional illiterates who needed the story told in pictures rather than words.

The gist of the article is that pro-gun Republicans are standing in the way of legislation that would add those people on the FBI's Terrorist Screening Database to the NICS denied list. They quote from a GAO report showing how many people on this list were allowed to purchase firearms. Given the error rate and vague criteria for being added to the list, this should not be surprising. What I do find surprising is that the GAO was even given this data given the secretive nature of that list.

The article quotes major proponents of the list (and enemies of civil liberties) such as Rep. Peter King (R-NY) and Sen. Charles Schumer (D-NY). Both have been longtime proponents of using the Terrorist Screening Database as another means of denying firearms purchases.

The timing of the article days after the terrorist attacks in Paris is not coincidental. It is an overt effort on the part of the Daily News to cast the NRA - Hillary Clinton's favorite punching bag - as enablers of Islamic terrorism because they oppose efforts to tie the FBI's vague and inaccurate terrorist list to the NICS System. It is yellow journalism at its worst.

UPDATE: Colion Noir makes an excellent point on Facebook regarding those on the FBI terrorist list who (legally) obtained firearms. He said, " If there are 2000 suspects on a terror watch list and each of them "legally" bought firearms that means they underwent a FBI background check, which means the FBI knew about each attempted purchase and approved them."

I agree with him that this is "dishonest manipulative garbage".

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Quote Of The Day

As the march of the social justice warriors advances across colleges and universities across the nation today's quote of the day provides the explanation. It comes from the Letters to the Editor column of today's Wall Street Journal.

Remember when they started giving every kid a trophy? Those children are in college now.

Mike Simone
Gahanna, Ohio

An alternative explanation is that Obama's former campaign organization now called Organizing for America or OFA has been training every disgruntled group on a college campus in Alinskyite tactics. While this is probably the more realistic explanation, I prefer the "every kid gets a trophy" explanation myself.

Saturday, November 14, 2015

You Can't Make This Sh@% Up

It seems that the Demanding Moms for Illegal Mayors got a little ahead of themselves here and had to delete the tweet below.

Mass shooting? Nice dumbing down of a terrorist attack there, Shannon.

I guess if France had universal background checks then these ISIS terrorists couldn't have obtained their full-auto AK-47s. Oh, wait, you have to have a firearms license which includes a psychological examination, criminal background check, and a defined purpose for having a firearm before you can even possess a firearm.

Those full-auto AKs? Illegal for civilians to possess. I guess terrorists don't play by the rules. Funny how that works.

Thursday, November 12, 2015

The Name Of This Rifle Illustrates How Times Do Change

During the 1850s and 1860s, the Swedes decided to introduce compulsory military training into their school system. This was to include target practice in their equivalent of high school. The training would take place with real rifles. Remington provided the earliest of these rifles with their 1867 rolling block rifle. These were eventually replaced by rifles made by the Swedish arms maker Carl Gustafs Stads.

The name of this rifle? The Model 1867-89-93 School Shooting Rifle.

If you gave a firearm that name today, bills would be introduced in Congress, the BATFE would pay a visit, and you'd probably be out of business very soon. However, if you think about it, the name given to that rifle is very correct. It was to be used in school shooting and marksmanship programs.

Allan's Armory, a dealer in antique and curio and relic firearms, has more on the rifle above here.

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

At The Eleventh Hour

Today, November 11th is Veterans Day. It is a day in which we honor all of veterans. To which I would like to offer my sincere thanks to all who have served in our armed forces.

However, this post will be about an earlier time. Before 1954, November 11th was known as Armistice Day. It commemorated the armistice which ordered the cessation of hostilities and ended World War I. The telegram below shows the orders received by Allied units on the Western Front.

Found on Tumblr

Thus, at "eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month" of 1918, the war ended.

You would think that with the cessation of hostilities scheduled for 11 am that most soldiers and most units would do everything in their power to avoid any contact with the opposing forces. You would be wrong. There was still fighting that November morning and men still died.

The last British soldier to die was George Edwin Ellison who was shot while on patrol in Mons, Belgium at 9:30 am. He is buried near Mons and his grave faces that of John Parr who was the first British soldier killed in 1914.

At 10:45 am on the November day, Augustin Trébuchon became the last French soldier to die. Because the French were embarrassed for having sent soldiers into battle without knowledge that the Armistice would begin that morning, they listed the date of death as November 10th. This was corrected in 1998.

George Lawrence Price, a Canadian soldier, was killed by a German sniper at 10:58 am. He had been in a house near Ville-sur-Haine, France and had been warned about snipers in the area.

While the United States did not enter the war until 1917, we had the last soldier to die during WWI. He was Private Henry Gunther of Baltimore who died at 10:59am. Gunther was assigned to Co. A, 313th Infantry Regiment, 79th Division.

From Obit of the Day:
Private Henry Gunther, of Baltimore, had learned of the planned cease fire at 10:30 a.m. He and his company remained pinned down by German machine gun fire waiting for the minutes to pass.

But in a surprise to his compatriots - and the Germans - Private Gunther scrambled out of his foxhole, rifle in hand, and began to charge the gun battery. The Germans pleaded with the 23-year-old to stop his charge reminding him that the war was soon to end but he continued running and firing his rifle. They had no choice but to return fire.

Private Henry Gunther died at 10:59 a.m. on November 11, 1918. The last soldier killed in action in the conflict later called World War I.

Although he never gave a reason for his actions, Pvt. Gunther was recently demoted from sergeant to private after a letter critical of Army life was intercepted by military censors. A German-American, he was already under some level of suspicion this did not aid his cause. He would tell his fellow soldiers that he wanted to “make good.”

Following his death Private Gunther was returned to the rank of sergeant and awarded the Distinguished Service Cross. His body was returned home and buried in Most Holy Redeemer Cemetery in Baltimore.
More on Sgt. (then Private) Gunther can be found at the Baltimore Sun.

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Quote Of The Day

If you have been watching the pathetic nonsense going on at the University of Missouri, you know that both the president and chancellor have resigned. This came after 30 African-American members of the football team threatened to boycott the next game if the president hadn't quit. They were supported in this by their coach Gary Pinkel.

Rich Lowry of the National Review, noting that Mizzou is an SEC school, said that when the members of the football team team joined the protest it was all over for President Tim Wolfe. He did, however, go on to point out that the football program this year was 1-5 in conference. He then wrote this:
If anyone running the university had any guts, the school would have told the team, “Come back and talk to us when you can beat sad-sack Vanderbilt, or at least score more than three points against them.” Given the team’s performance, the proper rejoinder to its threatened boycott should have been, “How would anyone notice?”
Vanderbilt, by the way, is 1-4 in the conference and 3-6 overall. Mizzou was its only conference victory. The Commodores started the season by losing to Western Kentucky of Conference-USA in Nashville.

If I Have To Google Your Headliner To See Who She Is....

I got an email tonight from the Brady Campaign with "BREAKING NEWS" that Ingrid Michaelson would be at their New York City gala. You can call me old and out of touch but I had no clue who this was. I figured she was some NYC politician of note. After Googling her I find that she is a indie pop and folk singer. Go figure.

The invite to the event is below:
  Brady’s upcoming gala in New York just keeps getting better!

Join Ingrid Michaelson, Julianna Margulies and special guests on Thursday, November 19th, as we celebrate the progress that has been made and the tipping point we’ve reached in gun violence prevention because of your support. The evening includes a performance by Ingrid Michaelson, award presentation to Senator Charles E. Schumer and the inaugural presentation of the Governor Mario M. Cuomo Leadership Award to the Honorable Hillary Clinton.

You won’t want to miss it!

Limited tickets are available.

Brady Center to Prevent Gun Violence

P.S. If you can’t join us in person, please make a contribution in honor of those we’ve lost this year and those who have stood up on behalf of all Americans to create a safer America.
Nothing says elitist more than making your minimum individual ticket price $1,000 per person. If you want to be a Bronze Level sponsor and get a table for 10, be prepared to kick in $15,000.

Hillary should feel right at home when she gets her "Leadership Award" since the riff-raff can't afford to be there.

The Edmund Fitzgerald Sank 40 Years Ago Today

If you listened to any pop music station during the mid-70s, you knew the haunting Gordon Lightfoot song that begins:
The legend lives on from the Chippewa on down
Of the big lake they call Gitche Gumee
The lake, it is said, never gives up her dead
When the skies of November turn gloomy
With a load of iron ore twenty-six thousand tons more
Than the Edmund Fitzgerald weighed empty
That good ship and true was a bone to be chewed
When the gales of November came early

The ship was the pride of the American side
Coming back from some mill in Wisconsin
As the big freighters go, it was bigger than most
With a crew and good captain well seasoned
Concluding some terms with a couple of steel firms
When they left fully loaded for Cleveland
Then later that night when the ship's bell rang
Could it be the north wind they'd been feelin'?
The M/V Edmund Fitzgerald really was the pride of the American side. At the time, it was the largest ship in the largest US-flagged fleet on the Great Lakes.  Launched in 1958, the Edmund Fitzgerald was 729 feet long and had a beam of 75 feet.  It was the flagship of the Oglebay Norton Corporation fleet. The company, started in 1854 as an iron ore agency, begain sailing the Great Lakes in 1921 with 11 ore boats.

Part of my interest in the Edmund Fitzgerald and the Oglebay Norton Corp. was that my first cousin Meredith sailed on their ships from the 1960s into the 1980s. My cousin, who has been known to stretch the truth a time or two, told me that he was supposed to be on the Fitzgerald but missed his sailing and thus was on the steamer Arthur M. Anderson which followed her. The Anderson was the last ship to have contact with the Fitzgerald before it sank. Nonetheless, I have no doubt that Meredith knew many of the sailors on the Fitzgerald and lost some friends when it sank.

November storms on the Great Lakes are known to be horrendous. Since the Edmund Fitzgerald sank, ships on the Great Lakes don't head out when a storm is expected.
The wreck shook Great Lakes shipping to its carlings. To this day, 35 years later, freighters won't get underway on Lake Superior if there's a storm in the forecast, said Laura Jacobs, archivist for the Lake Superior Maritime Collection at the University of Wisconsin-Superior.

"They became much more cautious," she said. "When they put out a weather report now, ships don't move. The [Superior] harbor was stuffed" before and during last month's storm, in which a buoy recorded 19-foot waves on the lake.

Lake Superior's water is so cold year round that people who fall off boats and ships often die before rescuers can reach them, even in midsummer, Jacobs said, so storms are not to be trifled with.

"Navigation on the lakes is a real different animal," she said. "We have captains that come up from the oceans and say they would rather be on the Atlantic than deal with the storms here. They're talking about storms in the North Atlantic, and ours up here are worse."
You can get an idea of what the storm and seas were like listening to this conversation between the captain of the Arthur M. Anderson and the US Coast Guard. They were asking him if he could go back out into the storm and search the area where the Edmund Fitzgerald disappeared.

The primary searchers for the Edmund Fitzgerald were the US Coast Guard cutters Naugatuck, a 110-ft tug, and Woodrush, a 180-ft buoy tender. They found an oil slick, some debris from the deck such as life rings, and not much more. The Duluth News Tribune has some accounts of the search and memories of the ship here.

I came across the deck logs of both the Naugatuck and Woodrush today from November 11th which details in sparse terms their search. The second log page from the Woodrush notes that they found a ring buoy.

USCGC Naugatuck Log

USCGC Woodrush Log (page 1)

USCGC Woodrush Log (Page 2)

It is hard to believe that it has been 40 years since the Edmund Fitzgerald sank. It was my freshman year of college and I can't believe that was 40 years ago either.

When the ship sank, it took with it 29 men. These were hardy men who worked in all sorts of weather conditions. I can't imagine the terror they felt in their last moments as the ship sank. As Gordon Lightfoot concluded in this anthem to them:
In a musty old hall in Detroit they prayed
In the Maritime Sailors' Cathedral
The church bell chimed 'til it rang twenty-nine times
For each man on the Edmund Fitzgerald
The legend lives on from the Chippewa on down
Of the big lake they call Gitche Gumee
Superior, they said, never gives up her dead
When the gales of November come early

Madison Rising's Birthday Wishes To The Marines

I met the members of Madison Rising at the Gun Rights Policy Conference in Orlando a few years ago. Their lead singer, Dave Bray, was a Navy FMF Corpsman attached to the 2nd Marines which explains this birthday message to the USMC.

Happy 240th Birthday United States Marines
Please join us in wishing a happy 240th birthday (November 10, 2015) to the greatest fighting force in the world: The United States Marine Corps!Special thanks to The Young Marines national youth organization, R. Lee Ermey, the producers of The Hornet's Nest and the Dept. of Defense. Semper Fi!
Posted by Madison Rising on Tuesday, November 3, 2015

Happy 240th, USMC!

Today is the 240th birthday of the United States Marine Corps. I'd like to offer my sincere thanks to all Marines, past or present, for their service to our country. Semper Fi!

The official birthday message from Commandant of the U.S. Marine Corps Gen. Robert Neller and SgtMaj of the Marine Corps Ronald Green is embedded below:

Friday, November 6, 2015

Happy Fountain Pen Day

The first Friday in November is officially Fountain Pen Day.

It is a day to celebrate ink-stained fingers, old-school technology, and leaky pens. In other words, it is a day to celebrate those curios and relics of writing instruments which some of us still hold dear.

Recognizing that this is a gun blog, let me put it into a firearm perspective. The difference between a fountain pen and a ballpoint or roller ball is like the difference between a Browning Hi-Power and a Glock 17. Both shoot 9mm, both have double stack magazines, both have been carried by military units, and both will get the job done. While the Glock 17 is a well-engineered, highly reliable, efficient handgun, it is still a blocky mixture of utilitarian steel and plastic just like a Bic ballpoint. By contrast, the Browning Hi-Power is a old-school sensuous blend of blued steel and walnut that comes in a variety of configurations. It was handed down to us from Heaven by John Moses Browning and delivered to us on Earth by Dieudonné Saive.

Just like the Glock and the Browning Hi-Power, the ballpoint and the fountain pen both have their place but my heart will always belong to the Hi-Power and the fountain pen.

Many of the sponsors of Fountain Pen Day are having sales and giveaways. You can find more on them here.

Next year I promise to have up photos of my fountain pens. Just like anyone who holds a Curios and Relics FFL will tell you, I have a few.

Wednesday, November 4, 2015

A Picture To Start Your Day Off Right

Michael Bloomberg spent a pile of cash in Virginia to help Democrats try to take over the State Senate.

He failed.

Posted by Miguel on Facebook

The Richmond Times-Dispatch reports that the composition of the Virginia State Senate will remain at 21 Republicans and 19 Democrats. If the Democrats had won just one seat then Lt. Gov. Ralph Northam (D-VA) could vote to break ties. The real battle was for two open seats - the 10th in the Richmond area and 29th in the Manassas area - which were held by the Republicans and Democrats respectively. Voters in both districts voted for the status quo ante bellum.

Gov. Terry McAuliffe (D-VA), no friend of gun owners, is term-limited to only one term. With Republicans holding both houses of the Virginia General Assembly, any plans he has for more gun control go nowhere.

Below is an example of the ad that Bloomberg's Everytown Moms for Illegal Mayors ran in the Virginia 10th Senate District against Republican Glen Sturtevant. He ran a similar ad in the Virginia 29th Senate District against Republican Hal Parrish. In that case, he had more success.

Sebastian at Shall Not Be Questioned had a number of posts regarding Bloomberg's efforts, Andy Parker's unstable behavior, and the Virginia elections. He recognized the impact of these elections before most in the gun blogging community.

On a related note, Mr. and Mrs. Gabby Giffords dropped a pile on the race between Sen. Dick Black (R-Loudon-Prince William) and pediatrician Jill McCabe. Final results show Black winning majorities in both Loudon and Prince William counties.

H/T Miguel

Monday, November 2, 2015

The Question Not Asked On 60 Minutes

Lesley Stahl had a long piece on so-called smart guns last night on CBS' 60 Minutes. She talked to a lot of people including New Jersey State Senator Loretta Weinberg. Here is the part of the transcript where Stahl speaks with Weinberg and intersperses it with comments from a Maryland FFL.
Loretta Weinberg, the New Jersey state senator who authored the law, didn't foresee its consequences.
Loretta Weinberg: We passed that bill to help spur this technology.

Lesley Stahl: It appears it totally backfired because it spurred this passionate objection to the gun.

Loretta Weinberg: Because of the intervention of the NRA and the Second Amendment folks.

Lesley Stahl: That, they say, the reason they intervened is because of the mandate.

Loretta Weinberg: Right. It isn't the law that's stopped the development. It is the people who threatened folks who actually wanted to sell such a gun.

Andy Raymond came to realize that even if he had sold the Armatix gun in Maryland, it might've triggered the mandate, banning the sale of regular handguns in New Jersey.

[Andy Raymond: The people of New Jersey: my apologies. You got nothing to worry about from me.]

Andy Raymond: I did apologize. I'm... I'm sorry. Sorry to this day.

Lesley Stahl: Did you actually sell any of the Armatix guns?

Andy Raymond: No.

After his case came to her attention, the New Jersey senator offered to rescind the mandate if the gun lobby publicly removed its opposition to smart guns. She's yet to hear back.

Loretta Weinberg: They seem to oppose almost everything. Anytime we suggest anything we've gotten very little cooperation back.

Lesley Stahl: If the law were completely repealed, do you think that the gun lobby would then let this go forward?

Loretta Weinberg: No.
Earlier in the story, Stahl said that the so-called smart guns could help on-duty cops because it would prevent criminals from using the cop's gun on the cop as has been the case so often. As the story shows, it worked for James Bond in the movie Skyfall when a bad guy tried to shoot 007 with his own gun.

The New Jersey Childproof Handgun Law mandates that once the Attorney General of that state certifies that so-called smart or personalized handguns are available for retail sale anywhere in the United States that only these sort of guns can be sold to consumers in New Jersey. However, there are exceptions and the biggest one is this:
b. The provisions of this section shall not apply to handguns to be sold, transferred, assigned and delivered for official use to: (1) State and local law enforcement officers of this State; (2) federal law enforcement officers and any other federal officers and employees required to carry firearms in the performance of their official duties and (3) members of the Armed Forces of the United States or of the National Guard.
 Given this large and glaring exception to the personalized handgun mandate in New Jersey, why didn't Ms. Stahl ask Sen. Weinberg something along these lines:
Stahl: Sen. Weinberg, given that police officers guns are often turned on them by criminals, why did you specifically exempt law enforcement officers from your bill?

Weinberg: Ummm. Because cops need a reliable gun and this technology is not reliable? Can we get back to talking about how it is the NRA's fault that none of these guns are available for sale!
I would posit that Stahl did not ask the question because she already knew the answer or, at least, the producers of the segment knew it. To ask the question would have muddied the narrative and that just wouldn't do.

You can see the whole episode here.

Sunday, November 1, 2015

Ted Kopel Writes A Book And Now The Media Notices A Problem

The lead story on CBS Sunday Morning was on the vulnerability of the power grid. The story revolved around a new book by former ABC News journalist Ted Kopel called Lights Out. He asserts that the power grid is very vulnerable to hackers due to its connection to the Internet. Kopel holds that both Russian and Chinese hackers, presumably affiliated with those governments, are already in the grid and could take it down at any time.

Kopel's book also discusses prepping and food storage. He notes that the Mormons as a group lead the nation in preparedness. This portion got a mixed review in the Salt Lake Tribune.

You can see the CBS Sunday Morning story below:

The prepper community has discussed this for years. Indeed, Prof. William Forstchen's One Second After reached number 11 on the New York Times bestseller list. Forstchen's novel described the impact of an electromagnetic pulse (EMP) event on Black Mountain, North Carolina. He has now followed this up with One Year After which continues the story.

Long before Ted Kopel wrote his Lights Out, prepper author David Crawford wrote his own Lights Out regarding the impact of an EMP event on a small Texas neighborhood outside of San Antonio. It, like Forstchen's One Second After, is an excellent book.

Gun blogger Bob Owens has discussed other vulnerabilities of the grid with regard to domestic and/or international terrorism. He noted that power substations were often located near roads and trails where anyone could access them. A few well placed shots could drain the oil used to cool the transformers causing it to burn out.

While I'm glad that attention is finally being paid to the vulnerabilities of the grid, I think it sucks that the only reason the mainstream media is giving it a second thought is because one of their own wrote a book. If I didn't know better, I'd think the CBS Sunday Morning story was merely an effort to push Kopel's book and not an effort to urge both people and government to be better prepared.