There are a lot of articles and discussion forum threads on barrel twist rate for AR-15s. So why am I writing one? Well, some of the information on the web is very wrong. Additionally, this closes out comment threads we've had here touching on this topic, EMail exchanges I've had with readers, and personal conversations I've had with shooters and friends about this subject. It's natural to put this down in case anyone else can benefit from the information. Or you may not benefit at [read more]
In September of 2010, I had some stark remarks about the American electrical grid. Pay close attention, and learn just how stupid and stolid is your political leadership.
The most vulnerable structure, system or component for large scale coal plants is the main step up transformer – that component that handles electricity at 230 or 500 kV. They are one of a kind components, and no two are exactly alike. They are so huge and so heavy that they must be transported to the site via special designed rail cars intended only for them, and only about three of these exist in the U.S.
They are no longer fabricated in the U.S., much the same as other large scale steel fabrication. It’s manufacture has primarily gone overseas. These step up transformers must be ordered years in advance of their installation. Some utilities are part of a consortium to keep one of these transformers available for multiple coal units, hoping that more will not be needed at any one time. In industrial engineering terms, the warehouse min-max for these components is a fine line.
On any given day with the right timing, several well trained, dedicated, well armed fighters would be able to force their way on to utility property, fire missiles or lay explosives at the transformer, destroy it, and perhaps even go to the next given the security for coal plants. Next in line along the transmission system are other important transformers, not as important as the main step up transformers, but still important, that would also be vulnerable to attack. With the transmission system in chaos and completely isolated due to protective relaying, and with the coal units that supply the majority of the electricity to the nation incapable of providing that power for years due to the wait for step up transformers, whole cites, heavy industry, and homes and businesses would be left in the dark for a protracted period of time, all over the nation.
In March of 2013, in Surviving The Apocalypse: Thinking Strategically Rather Than Tactically, I remarked that “The first bloody corpse dragged from a home invasion by government forces hunting for firearms will be the occasion for some deep soul searching by millions of firearms owners across the country,” directly within the context of the electrical grid vulnerabilities.
I also cited Bob Owens’ piece in which he examined the vulnerabilities farther down the grid, and Bob remarked later that:
Some people seem appalled at the fact that the sort of attacks that American forces have used so successfully overseas (Iraq’s electrical grid is still in the process of recovering from two wars) might be used against American cities… and that is the exact point both Smith and I were trying to make. Neither of us are advocates of such attacks, as both of us probably have a better idea than the layman of the effect such attacks would have. I’d likely lose several people I love very much who have medical conditions were such an attack to affect this region. these aren’t things we want. these are things we fear.
Smith and I are pointing out the fact that if states or the federal government is willing to push citizens into a Second Revolutionary War over the natural right to self defense, they will feel the wrath of the right of revolution that is the birthright of ever American.
Well after my 2010 article, The New York Times stated (concerning the vulnerabilities):
By blowing up substations or transmission lines with explosives or by firing projectiles at them from a distance, the report said, terrorists could cause cascading failures and damage parts that would take months to repair or replace. In the meantime, it warned, people could die from the cold or the excessive heat, and the economy could suffer hundreds of billions of dollars in damage.
While the report is the most authoritative yet on the subject, the grid’s vulnerability has long been obvious to independent engineers and to the electric industry itself, which has intermittently tried, in collaboration with the Department of Homeland Security, to rehearse responses.
Of particular concern are giant custom-built transformers that increase the voltage of electricity to levels suited for bulk transmission and then reduce voltage for distribution to customers. Very few of those transformers are manufactured in the United States, and replacing them can take many months.
Do tell. Some two years after I pointed this out. Now three years later, the federal government is figuring out that there may be a problem.
Power grid vulnerabilities are finally garnering some attention by government officials.
An electrical grid joint drill simulation is being planned in the United States, Canada and Mexico. Thousands of utility workers, FBI agents, anti-terrorism experts, governmental agencies, and more than 150 private businesses are involved in the November power grid drill.
The downed power grid simulation will reportedly focus on both physical and cyber attacks. The antiquated electrical system in the United States has been one of the most neglected pieces of integral infrastructure.
The EMP Commission, created by Congress, released a report in 2008 calling for increased planning and testing, and a stockpiling of needed repair items.
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If the power grid fails, a lack of electricity and food delivery are only the first wave of troubles facing the American people. Police could face major problems with civil unrest. Of course, there also would not be any electric heating or cooling, which easily could lead to many deaths depending on the season.
Listen to me carefully. A cyber attack or an EMP attack aren’t the real worries, nor is the fact that the systems are “antiquated” (I don’t even know what that means anyway). If by antiquated they mean that utilities don’t repair transmission lines or replace transformers by clicking on buttons on a computer screen or using an iPhone app, I guess so.
The real vulnerability remains, and the drill simulation isn’t going to do anything about the fact that transformers are ensconced at a location, aren’t numerous, are difficult and time-consuming to transport, and aren’t made in the U.S.. General Patton is reported to have said fixed fortifications are monuments to man’s stupidity. A power plant is a fixed fortification, except that it isn’t fortified. Understand?
It could happen by hurricane as with Sandy, where electrical coverage wasn’t complete even three months after the event. I lived through hurricane Hugo, where we were without power for two weeks (and I studied for my professional engineering examination for two weeks by candle light).
It might take the form of foreign terrorists attacking our electrical grid, or it might take the form of men who, after watching innocent people shot in SWAT raids, their animals slaughtered in front of them, their wealth stolen from them to feed the lazy masses, and their future sold to bread, circuses and illegal immigrants, can take no more.
Whatever the form, the vulnerability remains, and while the Johnny-come-lately federal government finally understands the threat, it can do nothing to ameliorate it. It can only conduct feel-good simulations to pretend that we’re prepared for the worst. This drill isn’t testing us for the worst. We won’t lose any power, we won’t see riots in the streets, people won’t be starving, there won’t be any run on the banks, and the stock market won’t crash.
The only question is this: are you prepared for the worst? The government is feigning preparations. Yours needs to be real.