Should Christians Own Guns?

Herschel Smith · 20 May 2015 · 11 Comments

After ISIS’ slaughter of Christians everywhere they go, the sufferings of the Coptic Christians in Egypt under the Muslim brotherhood, and the kidnapping of young Christian girls by Boko Haram for the purposes of sexual slavery, it may be tempting to ask yourselves, “What kind of an idiot would continue to press the notion that Christ demanded that we disarm in the face of danger?” The answer is that those idiots are everywhere.  I confess that I have not read Wayne Grudem’s…… [read more]

Glocks With Flaws

BY Herschel Smith
1 week, 3 days ago

Bob Owens has written a piece for the LA Times on why LEOs shouldn’t use Glocks.  Something about light trigger pulls.  Go read it for yourself.  Mike McDaniel writing at TTAG has written a response.  Go read it for yourself.  To me, if cops shouldn’t be shooting Glocks because of light trigger pull, they shouldn’t be carrying a weapon at all.  But frankly, I couldn’t care less what happens to Glocks or whether LEOs carry them.  The pistol is ugly and boxy, and I don’t like the sharper frame angle.  I would rather shoot a 1911 or Springfield Armory XDm.  But this might be a flaw that I cared about if I carried a Glock.

BARDSTOWN, Ky. (WDRB) — Dangerous defects were found on the guns that Bardstown Police Officers carry with them on a daily basis.

Hairline fractures appeared on 12 guns, which were immediately taken out of commission. That’s nearly half of the weapons of the 27-man department and Captain Tom Roby says it’s a serious concern.

“At one point the gun would actually fall apart,” said Cpt. Roby.

The issue was discovered on the Glock model 23s during recent training practices. Those guns were purchased back in 2000.

“It’s a hairline crack, Roby said. “But with a little pressure you could spread it open. And .40 caliber is a high pressure handgun.”

Cpt. Roby said, over the years that pressure adds up. He said officers continually train with their weapons. Many even practice shooting on their off days.

“What people don’t understand is police weapons take a lot of abuse,” said Cpt. Roby.

After about 15 years of wear and tear, the police department will receive $12,000 from the city. That money will be used to purchase new guns after the severity of the cracks was demonstrated to council members.

If the flaw is real.  It sounds more likely that this “flaw” is a fabricated problem to convince the politicians to spend more money.  Besides, the chamber pressure of a 9 mm and .40 is about the same, and 9 mm has been in service a very long time.  On the other hand, if the weapons have been in service too long to be reliable, they should be replaced without having to demonstrate “flaws” to the politicians.

What do readers think?

Jennifer Mascia Is A Michael Bloomberg Astroturf Soldier

BY Herschel Smith
2 weeks ago

David Codrea first reported on Michael Bloomberg’s next move in cyberspace:

Anti-gun billionaire Michael Bloomberg will be expanding his influence over managed information about guns the public is exposed to when he launches a propaganda effort masked as news in June, a Friday Capital report notes. The announcement of two principals setting the tone and cranking out the propaganda is instructive on what we can expect.

James Burnett, formerly of The New Republic and New York Magazine will be bringing his established “progressive” flair to the helm as editorial director. Jennifer Mascia, who worked on the strictly one-sided Gun Report for The New York Times, is also “attached prominently to the Everytown news project.”

Ah.  The truth comes out about Jennifer.  Recall I had said the following about her credentials.

Tommy Gnosis is someone named Jennifer Mascia, who has her own web site.  In fact, she was one of the authors of the now defunct “The Gun Report” for the New York Times.  Recall that report?  That awful, hideous, dreary rundown of shootings every day?  As if all we have to do is remove those awful guns from society and sin goes away because evil is located in things rather than the heart of man (a noted neo-Platonic and stoic view).

Anyway, I did an IP trace and found that the address was owned by Bloomberg.  It makes sense, since I also found out that she works for Bloomberg via Everytown For Gun Safety.  Her Disqus account is active, and features snark, misdirects, sarcasm, insults, and most of all, prose designed to demoralize and demonstrate the complete impotence of whatever group she is berating at the moment.  The prose is designed to cause depression and dejection.

Here is the lesson.  Bloomberg is paying her to visit web sites – particularly gun rights web sites – and spread discontent and dejection.

Nope, said she in the comments.

Hi Herschel,

I am not paid to comment here, or anywhere, nor have I ever been. There is no “tactic.” I have never worked for a political organization or a nonprofit, only media companies, and before that, restaurants. No one at Everytown knows I comment here. I actually don’t work with the advocacy arm of Everytown. The news site will be staffed with journalists, not lobbyists. We have zero to do with elections or phone banks. We won’t be working with Everytown staffers.

Her Disqus account was by “Tommy Gnosis.”  I outed her and she posted as “Guest.”  She responded that she isn’t paid to comment anywhere.  There is no “tactic.”  She claimed no relationship at all to Bloomberg.  Now we find out that her use of an IP address that pointed back to Bloomberg was no coincidence.  She is indeed trafficking in propaganda, and she is in the employ of Bloomberg.  Let’s continue with Codrea’s second article on Bloomberg’s next move.

“Tommy Gnosis is someone named Jennifer Mascia,” Herschel Smith at The Captain’s Journal posted in March. He was describing someone who, under cover of anonymity, “visits web sites — particularly gun rights web sites — and spreads discontent and dejection.”

That’s consistent with the “elaborate subterfuge” technique for “infiltrating and disrupting alternative media online” used by those with an agenda. Per Canadian research, such “Internet trolls aren’t just mean — they’re sadists and psychopaths.”

That would also seem consistent with the control-all megalomaniac who hired her, in a company-he-keeps kind of way. Mascia is one of two paid flacks “attached prominently to the Everytown news project,” an experiment in virtual Astroturf that billionaire Michael Bloomberg will be rolling out this summer.

David then goes on to explore her past as daughter of a mob hit man.

What drives Mascia is anybody’s guess, but chances are her father having been an underworld killer with multiple hits under his belt had an influence. That probably comes as a surprise to many gun rights advocates, unaware that Al Jazeera told its readers “America’s best hope for tracking gun deaths is a mob enforcer’s daughter,” and Bloomberg’s Moms Demand Action gushed on social media that her story was “Amazing.”

Readers who have been with me a while may recall that commenters pushed Jennifer around a bit when she visited this web site.  In fact, my readers drove her completely off of Disqus, as my oldest son Josh remarked to me.  But don’t feel sorry for her.  David notes that:

At this point, though, good people would still feel a degree of sympathy. After all, Mascia had no control over who her parents were or what they did. Their defects and failings were not her fault.

The problem is, she’s chosen to become part of an effort to make the rest of us defenseless against sociopath predators like her father, and enablers who help them kill, like her mother. She knows full well no “law” proposed by her billionaire patron would have any effect on stopping diseased animals like John Mascia from working his sick will on more victims.

David is right on target.  I said to Josh that “You absolutely must remember that she is the kind of person who would send the SWAT team to forcibly take your guns.”  And that’s the point after all.  Despite any sympathetic feelings you might have for such people, it isn’t that they want peace for all men.  Jennifer knows that we will never voluntarily give up our guns.  She knows that it will take a bloody civil war to try to disarm us.  She doesn’t care.  She supports violence if it is perpetrated by the state.  Just like Bloomberg, if it’s her folks with the guns, she’s okay.  She is only in favor of disarming certain people, and readers should realize that you are among that group of “certain people.”

As for pushing Jennifer around, I’ve made clear that if you want to come in this back yard and run with the big dogs, you’d better be prepared for some rough business.  And as for Jennifer herself, you weren’t entirely honest with us, were you?

David Codrea’s First Article

David Codrea’s Second Article

Criminals Perpetrate A No-Knock Raid Claiming To Be Police

BY Herschel Smith
2 weeks, 1 day ago

Salt Lake City:

HOLLADAY, Utah – Unified Police are looking for four suspects in a home invasion robbery overnight.

Police said four Polynesian men dressed in all black kicked the door in at a basement apartment in Holladay.

According to the two victims who were home at the time, the men said they were police officers and began searching the home and taking electronics.

One of the victims was able to run down the street and call 911.

The suspects chased him a few blocks and then ran before police arrived.

Police set up roadblocks and began searching for the men but didn’t find them.

“It’s very disturbing that someone would go out there and announce themselves as police and commit a crime like this,” Unified Police Lt. Justin Hoyal said.

“Very disturbing,” huh?  This certainly isn’t the first time this type of thing has occurred.  So just how disturbed are you?  Enough to stop all no-knock raids by your department because you and the criminals are using the same tactics against powerless home-owners?

In another part of the country the police are worried about SWAT raids too.

Online video game players may be strangers who live across the country or around the world, but the Internet offers them a window into each other’s homes. Some have taken advantage of that window, calling police to report fake crimes for the amusement of seeing a video game foe faced with real law enforcement.

Triangle law enforcement officers say the prank called “swatting” – prompting a SWAT raid of the home of another gamer, either as revenge or for amusement – is dangerous and potentially deadly.

When Woody Woodworth’s wife told him someone was lurking in the dark outside their Apex home, he armed himself in self-defense.

“She’s like, ‘There’s people in the yard dressed in black, scurrying around,'” Woodworth said.

After spotting two men behind a tree, Woodworth grabbed his gun.

“I grab my shotgun and I head down the stairs,” he said. “I headed down the front stairs and they’re like, ‘Put the gun down. It’s the SWAT team.'”

So how was he supposed to know this was a police SWAT raid instead of a criminal home invasion (I know, that’s redundant, but bear with me for a moment)?  How was he supposed to know even after the police announced themselves?  The hoodlums do that too.

If you are a LEO and you’re reading this, do you see why we cannot allow home invasions of any kind, LEOs or not?  Do you see why home owners cannot trust announcements, orders or ultimatums to lay down our means of self defense?  Do you see how immoral that would be of us, to abdicate all means of protection of our families because we hear someone barking out orders?

Notes From HPS

BY Herschel Smith
2 weeks, 1 day ago

David Codrea:

The National Rifle Association last week called a U.S. Court of Appeals ruling, in favor of the American Civil Liberties Union and against Director of National Intelligence James Clapper, “a significant victory” and “a big loss for Big Brother.” The lawsuit challenged the National Security Agency’s position that collection of telephone “metadata” was authorized by the so-called “Patriot Act.”

“Your NRA had participated in the case by filing friend of the court briefs at different stages of the proceedings,” the Institute for Legislative Action report advised. “We have also supported legislation to curtail the NSA’s dragnet surveillance of American citizens.”


Aren’t we told NRA is a “single issue” organization, focused solely on promotion and protection of the Second Amendment?

Yea, I’ve heard that claptrap for years now, especially from the progressives over at reddit/guns.  It annoys me because it’s so hypocritical.  The NRA and their advocates get to say that when it’s convenient.  When it comes to something like immigration and what it portends for gun control, well, that’s entirely another story.

From Seymour Hersh, the real story of the UBL raid.  Or not.  And really not (via Mike Vanderboegh).  Listen folks.  Seymour Hersh has a reputation for padding his stories with anonymous sources and things that cannot be verified.  And no one ever comes forward later to exonerate Sy Hersh.  Take everything you hear, see and read with a grain of salt.

Trans-Pacific Parnership: Stupid Party Cedes Working Class To Democrats – Setting Up Next Defeat.  See also this.  The GOP is so in-the-pocket of corporate America they can’t see straight.  They are whores, every one of them.  And both parties are completely corrupt.

Another Hammer Attack And The Need For A Ban On Assault Hammers

BY Herschel Smith
2 weeks, 1 day ago

News from New York:

UNION SQUARE, N.Y. (PIX11) Police are searching for a man wanted for bashing two women with a hammer in Union Square and who may be connected to two other attacks in Manhattan.

A photo of the alleged attacker was released midday Tuesday. Earlier in the day, police sent out a sketch of a possible culprit but later said to disregard that image, replacing it with a grainy surveillance photo.

NYPD said the man began his rampage about 7:30 p.m. Monday when he took out a hammer from inside a bag and hit a 28-year-old woman on the head. The victim was sitting on a bench in Union Square Park.

About 10 minutes later, he slammed a hammer on a 33-year-old woman, attacking her from behind near 44 West 18th St. and leaving her with a scalp wound, police said.

I don’t want to hear another damn word about how dangerous guns are until someone makes a law that controls these implements of death with universal background checks and bans all assault hammers.

So What Is Operation Jade Helm Really All About?

BY Herschel Smith
2 weeks, 3 days ago

We’ve only briefly touched on Operation Jade Helm and what it really means.  There are far better analyses (via Mike Vanderboegh) than any I have provided, and the reader is recommended to study those articles.  Mike Vanderboegh also has an analysis that’s worth studying in detail.

Of the claims I have seen, it is obvious that every ridiculous piece of disinformation from the 90s has been resurrected for this one, including the old hoary “rail cars with shackles” canard. Personally, were I a militia unit commander in the Jade Helm Area of Operations, I would take the advice above and have my folks — in civilian clothes — follow, watch and learn. Monitor, to the extent that it is possible, their movements. Observe their tactics. Document them. After-action analyze what you learn. I doubt very seriously if you will be able to monitor their communications, but much can be learned — especially by your friendly sources within local law enforcement in the AO — about what is happening.

Try to remember that all this disinformation-driven hysteria does is discredit your position. IT IS DESIGNED TO DO THAT. If the PTB can use things like this to convince serious people who might otherwise be our allies that we are all just a bunch of Alex Jones loons, then they have shaped the future battlefield in unseen ways that are to their advantage. Keep calm, watch and learn. Vocally (and loudly) object in local political venues about troops training amongst the population. It is dangerous. It is unnecessary. And training accidents certainly happen. One day, somebody is going to screw up and fly a Blackhawk into a crowded elementary school. Raise these very real objections with your local authorities, especially your county sheriff. BUT DON’T BUY INTO THE HYSTERIA. IT IS DESIGNED TO DIVIDE YOU FROM YOUR NATURAL ALLIES, THE MEN AND WOMEN WHO TOOK AN OATH BEFORE GOD TO DEFEND THE CONSTITUTION. Indeed, for the purposes of Leviathan, if Alex Jones didn’t exist already, they would have to invent him.

Well, perhaps.  But I take a slightly different view of things.  I think this is indicative of an evolution in military strategy.  In order to understand the way I see this operation one has to go back to Dr. David Kilcullen, the heralded “Jedi Master” of counterinsurgency who advised the now defamed General David Petraeus on COIN and stability operations in Operation Iraqi Freedom (regarding which I have some pictures of the news coverage outside the federal courthouse taken in Charlotte during a lunch time walk when Petraeus’s lawyers were plea bargaining his case – and I will share some thoughts in the future about manly discipline).

One also must remember that the tilt towards collectivist thinking isn’t just being driven from the civilian rule of the military.  The officer corps – especially that of the Air Force, Navy and Army, with the Marine Corps lagging far behind in post-modern thought – has become increasingly liberal.  Witness the teaching at the Army War College by professor Steve Metz if you doubt me.  So the officer corps has been looking for a new mission since China, Russia and other possible near-peer states are such friends and allies with us now!  David Kilcullen provides that new mission for them, even in the absence of his champion Petraeus.

Kilcullen supplies his vision for the future to us in redacted form from several years ago.

This era’s unprecedented urbanization is concentrated in the least developed areas of Asia, Latin America and Africa.  The data shows that coastal cities are about to be swamped by a human tide that will force them to absorb—in less than 40 years—almost the entire increase in population absorbed by the whole planet, in all of recorded human history up to 1960. And virtually all this urbanization will happen in the world’s least developed areas, by definition the poorest equipped to handle it—a recipe for conflict, crises in health, education and governance, and food, energy and water scarcity.

Rapid urbanization creates economic, social and governance challenges while simultaneously straining city infrastructure, making the most vulnerable cities less able to meet these challenges. The implications for future conflict are profound, with more people fighting over scarcer resources in crowded, under-serviced and under-governed urban areas.

[ … ]

The food security effects are equally severe, as pollution from coastal urbanization imperils fish stocks, and peri-urban areas surround city cores whose infrastructure is scaled for populations far smaller than they now support. This newly settled peri-urban land was once used for farms, market gardens and orchards, but as cities expand into this space, the distance between the city core and its food sources increases significantly. Food must now be produced further away and transported over ever-greater distances, increasing transportation and refrigeration costs, raising fuel usage and carbon emissions, exacerbating traffic problems, and creating “food deserts” in urban areas.

[ … ]

The three megatrends of urbanization, littoralization and connectedness suggest that conflict is increasingly likely to occur in coastal cities …

[ … ]

The implications for civilian agencies of government are equally obvious—the ability to expand social services, city administration, and rule of law into peri-urban areas are clearly important …

Right now I know what you’re thinking.  You’re thinking, “Kilcullen has recommended a focus on littoral and urban stability operations, and Operation Jade Helm is anything but littoral and urban.”  Yes, but you have to see the bigger picture.  Kilcullen also recommends a strong emphasis on meeting community needs, community engagement, and coupled operations between the armed forces and constabulary forces – wherever might be the area of operation.

And that last part is important.  Kilcullen doesn’t recommend for or against any particular engagement, he is merely pointing to trends.  Those trends and recommendations involve not regular warfare and large unit operations on the field of battle, but a focus on stability operations using all means at your disposal, including civilian assets and police.

So does Operation Jade Helm include preparations for constabulary operations on American soil by the U.S. armed forces?  Of course not, at least as far as you and I know.  You will never hear anything about such a notion, and even the leaders of the operation will not have been told that.  It’s more subtle and insidious than that.  It involves an evolution in thought to that of irregular, urban, constabulary operations rather than conventional war-making.

While it might be popular to suppose that the U.S. learned the right lessons from Iraq and Afghanistan and will never be involved in such military (mis)adventures again, that’s simple childish thinking.  We will, somewhere and somehow, and it just might be on American soil.  The evolution in thought Kilcullen has pressed doesn’t need Iraq or Afghanistan.  It merely needs a willing listener, and the U.S. armed forces are willing indeed.

And so are U.S. LEOs.  The SWAT teams just love to be coupled with the CQB experts with the Army and Marines in mock exercises.  And the experts in the so-called “social sciences” love to be called upon by the military to lend a hand in community stability (witness the participation of civilian anthropologists in operations in Iraq, more frequent than most readers know).

Finally, take note that the DHS is interested in biometrics.

April 28, 2015 – The Office of Biometric Identity Management (OBIM) of the Department of Homeland Security has posted a request for information (RFI) to get industry information regarding current and near future technologies to store, match, and analyze biometric data.

OBIM will use this information to provide customers with important data regarding immigration violators, criminals, and known or suspected terrorists and supports immigration management and border security decision makers.

Supporting national security and public safety as well as enabling operational missions across DHS mission areas, OBIM’s biometric identification and analysis services help government and law enforcement decision makers determine whether individuals pose a risk to the United States and whether those individuals meet the requirements for a specific government benefit or credential.

Folks, listen to me.  This is right out of the Marine Corps play book for Fallujah in 2007.  Unadulterated and unmodified, straight out of the Marine Corps play book.  Biometrics.  When the U.S. government is interested in biometrics and they begin discussing “terrorists,” watch out.  That means you.

So I don’t look to the “disinformation of the 90’s” for what’s happening with the DHS.  I am looking to more recent history and trends for politics and warfare I am seeing in the military thinkers I watch.  Alex Jones is a clown who wants to make money.  But Operation Jade Helm concerns me for reasons completely unrelated to him.

The Imperial Presidency

BY Herschel Smith
2 weeks, 3 days ago

World Net Daily:

Congress is being urged to approve the Trans-Pacific Partnership trade plan even though most have not read it, and a leading gun-rights activist says the plan could give President Obama the power to limit the importation of ammunition and implement his political agenda in many different ways.

“Fast track authority in the context of this treaty means a blank check,” said Gun Owners of America Executive Director Larry Pratt.

“By a majority vote, the Congress is preparing to give the president authorization to negotiate a treaty. When he brings it back, it would take two thirds of the Senate to vote it down because of the way they set up the parliamentary system,” Pratt told WND.

The Trans-Pacific Partnership, or TPP, debate is made even more bizarre by the intense secrecy surrounding the proposed treaty. A Politico article described the hoops lawmakers must jump through just to see the bill.

“If you want to hear the details of the Trans-Pacific Partnership trade deal the Obama administration is hoping to pass, you’ve got to be a member of Congress, and you’ve got to go to classified briefings and leave your staff and cellphone at the door,” stated the article by Edward-Isaac Dovere.

“If you’re a member who wants to read the text, you’ve got to go to a room in the basement of the Capitol Visitor Center and be handed it one section at a time, watched over as you read, and forced to hand over any notes you make before leaving,” Dovere continued. “And no matter what, you can’t discuss the details of what you’ve read.”

Pratt is appalled that the public is getting no chance to weigh in on TPP.

“This is incredible. This is the administration that advertised itself as the most transparent that there ever would be. Give me a break. This is really going to the other extreme. Where is the objection just on procedure, let alone any of the details,” said Pratt.

If the terms of TPP are under lock and key, how does Pratt know that Obama is poised to restrict ammunition imports?

“I don’t know that it’s there. I’m just assuming that a guy that’s done everything he can heretofore with his pen, as he said he would do, will do it again when he’s given a blank check,” said Pratt, who says Second Amendment defenders aren’t the only ones who should be worried.

“It’s not just guns. We could be talking about any number of other subjects where the president could just go hog wild,” he said. “For people who say, ‘Just because you haven’t seen the treaty, why are you objecting?’ Wait a minute, the only time anybody will be able to see the treaty is when it’s too late to do anything.”

In government, secrecy is the enemy of honesty and righteous rule.  That’s why this administration has been so loath to tell anyone anything about what it’s doing.

But I’ve come to the conclusion that this administration has actually been a good thing for America, albeit painful.  Heretofore, we only thought of the democrats as the gun grabbers, collectivists and advocates of socialized medicine, and big government control freaks.

But this administration has forced the GOP to tell the world what it’s all about.  So for instance, Senators like John Thune (and many others) who voted to confirm Loretta Lynch have told us that they think just like the democrats.  Anyone who enables this president to press his ill-conceived ideas on America is a traitor, and that includes GOP and democrats alike.  And they deserve to be treated as traitors.

Notes From HPS

BY Herschel Smith
2 weeks, 3 days ago

David Codrea:

A balance sheet appearing on a German government website for Armatix GmbH, the German company behind the controversial iP1 “smart” handgun, shows significant financial losses. Further, a German journalist has provided Gun Rights Examiner with documents purporting to show gun developer and Managing Director Ernst Mauch is not only no longer with the company, but that he has been banned from its facilities under threat of a criminal complaint.

The sweet smell of success.  It’s all I ever wanted with “smart guns” – i.e., for the engineering value (or lack thereof) to govern the process of growing or killing the technology in the free market rather than forcing such a monstrosity on the public by edict.

David Codrea:

“Let’s take all the guns away,” he proposes.

Think about that for a moment.

“Let’s…” he advocates. That would be he and those who believe like him, albeit odds are he’ll send a paid proxy in lieu of trying to disarm anyone himself — no matter how truly entertaining it would be to see him attempt it.

Like most advocates of confiscations, he’d never be on the deadly SWAT raids to effect such draconian measures.  Which reminds me to remind you again in case you’ve forgotten.  To all the LEOs who would actually do such things, you understand that the elitists don’t want any part of it, don’t you?  They consider you to be knuckle-draggers and bad people and thugs.  You’re just their thugs, and that makes it okay with them.  Do you like being thought of that way?

Kurt Hofmann:

The Constitution of the United States, as brilliant a document as it is, does not, cannot defend the rights it guarantees all by itself. The pen may indeed be mightier than the sword, but the sword is a great deal more effective for hacking people to death. One retains only the rights one can defend.

Yes, it’s like when folks have told me “they can’t do that, it’s a violation of the constitution.”  I always respond that they (whomever they is) can do what they want until they are stopped with guns.  And what if those trying to squelch free speech weren’t the bad guys affiliated with the Islamists?  What if they were the guys affiliated with the government?  Do you see the value in guns now?

Guns Tags:

Rifle Qualifications In Comfort

BY Herschel Smith
2 weeks, 3 days ago

Marine Corps Times:

Marines in Hawaii are using rubberized shooting mats on the rifle range, a comfort upgrade officials credit with dramatically reducing failures during annual marksmanship qualifications.

The Puuloa Range at Marine Corps Base Hawaii was notorious for its unpleasant, uneven surface, lack of grass and blood-red dirt that threw shots and stained Marines’ uniforms. Marines who trained there were at a “clear disadvantage,” said Chief Warrant Officer 2 Jordan Kramp, the range officer in charge.

“The condition of firing lines prohibited their ability to acquire foundational shooting positions,” Kramp said. “Hardened, overly matted-down surfaces prevented Marines from acquiring proper positions for firing, [resulting in] both firing and support elbows sliding out during specific stages of fire.”

The new mats were installed in January at the Puuloa Range’s 200-, 300- and 500-yard firing lines. Early results suggest there could be about a 90 percent reduction in the number of Marines who fail their first qualification.

“They were so comfortable especially in the prone,” said Cpl. Brittney Vella, a combat correspondent assigned to the base’s Headquarters Battalion. “If you had rocks on your elbows it was difficult to have a stable base, so the mats helped us be stable and you felt like you connected with the ground a lot better.”

Uh huh.  “Connected with the ground a lot better.”  Right.  I’m sure the enemy will pause and let you put soft mats under your body so that you won’t have appendages and body parts slipping out from under you when you try to kill them.  And don’t worry about all that mud in the jungles or dirt in the “sand box.”  I’m sure all that is just exaggerated bravado.

Federal Government Operations In South Carolina

BY Herschel Smith
3 weeks ago

Via WRSA, this from Matt Bracken:

I saw a fascinating covert DHS convoy Sunday in South Carolina on I-95.

On Sunday, April 27th at 3:30 pm I was driving by myself southbound on I-95 in the middle of South Carolina. The speed limit was 70 so I was going 80. I passed a convoy of DHS vehicles traveling in tight formation in the slow lane moving at about 75. None of the vehicles was marked in any way with any government or law enforcement decals or insignia. However, they all had black and white U.S. government tags on their rear bumpers.

What was really interesting was the fact that the two lead vehicles had radar or satellite equipment on top of them. I was unable to take any photos, but I took some notes so that I could describe them accurately. I looked for some images on the internet and found the exact types of vehicles, minus the radar/satellite/commo gear on top. I’ll post the photos at the end. Keep in mind these are NOT photos of the trucks I saw, but they are exactly the same types that I did see, minus the tech gear on top.

I’ll start at the back of the convoy, the way that I encountered them in passing. All of the trucks were painted with the same shade of blue-gray. All of the vehicles appeared to be very new, with perfect paint jobs, all were very clean, as if they had just come out of a car wash. That clean. At the rear were three new-looking Suburbans, each hauling a Horton trailer like the one I will post at the end. The trailers were also the identical blue-gray color as the other vehicles. Each trailer had a full ramp for the rear access, that is, the rear wall of the trailers were folded-up ramps, so that I suppose ATVs or other vehicles could be driven in and out when the trailers were parked and the ramps were lowered. Each trailer also had a very large white air-conditioning unit on top. The AC units are not shown on the Horton trailer image I’ll post at the end.

Each trailer was being pulled by a shiny new-looking Suburban. All of the vehicles in the convoy had dark tinted windows, but in passing I did see one driver, he appeared to be around 30-40 years old, and FWIW he had a short trimmed beard. (Grooming standards can be a unit “tell.”) Each Suburban, (in fact, all of the vehicles), had a heavy-duty cable winch on the front bumper.

Next in line in front of the Suburbans, there was a big utility vehicles with a basic square body behind the cab, nothing on top other than radio antennas. This utility vehicle was a Ford F-450 with a body like a tool carrier. Next, there was a heavy-duty GMC utility vehicle about the size of the F-450 or a bit larger. On top of the flat body of the truck there was a radar or satellite dish that was folded down to the rear so that it was horizontal. The dish was approximately five feet in diameter, with all of the hinged gear required to erect it to vertical, all of it folded down beneath the dish transformer-style.

The lead vehicle in the convoy was another heavy-duty GMC truck, but this one had a white radar or satellite communication dome on top of the body of the truck. This white dome stood approximately four feet tall above the flat roof of the back of the truck, and it was about three feet in diameter. That is, it was in the shape of a cylinder, but round on top. I will post pictures of similar vehicles at the end of this report. They are, as far as I can remember, identical to the vehicles I saw, including their dark blue-gray paint jobs.

The convoy drivers had terrific route discipline, that is, they kept a very tight spacing while traveling pretty fast in the right lane. If you have ever tried to keep six vehicles together in heavy highway traffic at 75 mph, (including three with trailers), you will understand that this was a highly professional outfit. Cars entering the highway got between the DHS trucks, but the trucks quickly passed them and reestablished their convoy order with no more than 100 feet between them. These guys were pros, let there be no doubt about that. This was first-tier all the way. Top notch. Extremely impressive.

I am just a little curious about why they were totally unmarked, except for the license plates. Not even a DHS sticker the size of a playing card. Nothing. I did copy down the license plate # of the lead vehicle, the one with the four foot tall radar/satellite dome on top. On top, the plate read U.S. Government. On the left side of the plate, aligned vertically, it read 6G71. These small numbers were aligned vertically, not horizontally, with the 6 on top. On the right side of the plate was the number G177L, aligned normally, that is, horizontally. All of the vehicle plates had the interesting vertically aligned numbers on the left side. (One of the trailers had no license plate at all, but I suppose they were not too worried about being pulled over by the SC state troopers!)

Just after I finished passing the convoy, they exited at Interstate 26, but I was unable to see if they headed north or south. They are probably located today (4-28-2015) between Colombia and Charleston, if you happen to spot them. Also, incidentally, there was an unusually heavy presence of law enforcement vehicles all along I-95 in central South Carolina. At one point I passed about a dozen LE vehicles (cruisers and SUVs) parked in the median strip, like they were ready to move out conduct a raid or some other operation. I have no way of knowing if the extremely heavy LE presence was connected to the DHS convoy or not. Anyway, I thought it was interesting enough to take notes and write this report.

I’m guessing that they were part of a VIP protection detail at the POTUS level, or they are some type of technical response team, such as a NEST (Nuclear Emergency Search Team).

Now, let’s address a number of issues that came up in the article, as well as these two comments at WRSA:

put (sic) your tin hats away. they are wmd/cst. that is, teams formed in the 90’s to detect and react to a weapon of mass destruction attack and coordinate relief efforts and evidence gathering. they are manned by national guard, air force and some civilian technical personnel. there were at last count nearly one for every state, though i recall r.i./conn shared a team. they train DAILY on mock attacks to be highly proficient with very technican (sic) equipment/techniques. they are the good guys, they are there to help,but (sic) pray to your god you never need them.

And this:

Got a buddy from the service who went border patrol on EAOS, then switched to a Dept of Energy job a few years later, transport team for “hot” items. Armored containment tractor/trailer with escorts, armed to the freaking gunnels. What they saw might have been one of these TACLET (his term) units moving something with zoomies in it.

Oh goodness.  So much confusion, so little time to sort it out.  I always hate it when people talk nuclear, biological and chemical weapons when they don’t know what they’re talking about but feel they need to say something.  They say things like “zoomies,” which means everything and nothing, a catch-all word to use when no one knows what to say.

So let’s begin by dividing this up into nuclear material and biological / chemical weapons.  Nuclear material may be divided into (a) so-called “dirty” devices which spread radioactive contamination and (b) fissile material that forms the core of nuclear weapons.  The U.S. is no longer enriching weapons grade fissile material (the exception to this is Naval nuclear cores which require highly enriched fissile material, but those cores are very small and the amount of material limited).  Of course it is a stupid decision not to continue to make the most effective deterrent to war known to mankind, but our country is stupid, so it’s par for the course.

Right now engineers are busy at Los Alamos National Laboratory and Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory performing calculations to demonstrate whether decay of the fissile isotopes into daughter products (which contaminate the mixture) over the course of the life of our existing weapons constitutes an inability to use the weapons we currently have.  Pantex is the only plant left still able to fabricate the weapons.  We are a long way from the days of massive enrichment of fissile material at Oak Ridge to press the nuclear weapons program forward.

Fissile material is rarely transported.  Savannah River still makes Tritium (the only source for weapons in the U.S.), but Tritium is not fissile.  It is used in thermonuclear weapons for fusion from the heat generated by a fission explosion.  Transportation of Tritium is not inherently unsafe.  Neither is transport of fissile material unsafe as long as the amount and geometry don’t lend themselves to criticality concerns.

I know folks who protect fissile material the infrequent times it is moved from place to place.  They are the same ones who protect it in place as part of weapons.  They are Marines, heavily trained in CQB, and when they travel they travel with a light footprint, small signature and very discretely.  They don’t move in large packs, they don’t announce their presence, and unless you knew to look for the several black SUVs roughly together, you wouldn’t suspect who they are or what they’re doing.  Only a few guys know where they are going when the move, and that’s because someone has to drive.

Their job is so boring – so they have told me – that the ones I know spent all of their time lifting weights, training, and mostly sitting on shift at a hidden facility waiting for the event that never occurs.  The ones I know had to get out that line of work into an infantry Battalion before they lost their minds.  As for so-called dirty weapons, they suffer from the same fate as chemical and biological weapons like with Anthrax.  Dispersal devices reduce the concentrations.  You will sustain more risk on the highways trying to drive away from these things in the madness of the traffic than if you sit still and sheltered.

I’m sorry to have gone through that level of detail, but the picture I’m painting isn’t one of Mr. tacticool riding around in up-armored vehicles so that everyone knows who they are.  You never see the guys I’m talking about.  What’s described above wasn’t a protection detail for fissile material.

In order to explain biological and chemical hazards, it’s best to use an example.  Let’s take Legionella.  Legionnaire’s disease was diagnosed with the first recognized cases at the Bellevue-Stratford Hotel in Philadelphia.  Legionella bacteria is everywhere, usually connected with the humidity in the air.  It isn’t concentrated enough to cause problems in normal situations.  But when concentrated in air conditioning evaporator coil condensate or cooling towers for HVAC or power plants, it can become deadly.

The HVAC design at the Bellevue-Stratford Hotel included outside air intake adjacent to the cooling towers (this is the design flaw), in which the bacteria was taken in through system suction, transported, and dispersed in still-concentrated form.  And by the way, this is why you keep your evaporator coil clean and pour Clorox into your drip pan running trap once every half year or so to make sure that it isn’t clogged.

This is key to understanding chemical and biological hazards.  During chlorine attacks in Iraq (primarily in the Anbar Province by AQI), very little damage was done and very few people were injured.  Dispersal by plume caused the chemical to become much less concentrated.  They would have been more effective to have used conventional ordnance than chemical weapons.

Chemical and biological threats MUST include the following things to be effective: concentration, transport prior to dispersal, and then dispersal after transport.  In short, it’s an engineering challenge, and amelioration of such threats is also an engineering challenge.  The federal .gov boys apparently want to send in tacticool operators carrying guns, body armor and up-armored vehicles.  What’s needed is engineers, technicians, chemists and medical professionals.  Go home, DHS soldier-boy.  Your “skills” aren’t needed and won’t be used.  You’re just in the way.  If you wanted to be useful in such a circumstance, you should have stopped bullying kids on the playground and paid greater attention in your technical courses like math and science.

Transport of enriched fissile material is done very discretely as opposed to the gaudy, extravagant operation described above.  Amelioration of chemical and biological threats involves technical folks, not up-armored vehicles.  Except for the pain and trauma, the incident is over by the time soldier-boy arrives.  The perpetrator is long gone, and doctors and nurses are needed, and folks who know how to use anti-C’s and prevent the spread of contamination.

As to the notion that we should “pray to God we never need them” (the folks in up-armored vehicles, that is), I can say with confidence that we don’t need them.  Their skills are as irrelevant to such threats as they are too rudimentary to assist in recovery.  So I am left with one of two options.  The first one is that the federal *.gov departments are chock full of imbeciles who, when taken collectively, aren’t capable of the intellectual capacity of a gaggle of monkeys if they believe that DHS jack-boots will be useful in events like those described here.

The second option is that the convoy of men and equipment described by the report from South Carolina had nothing whatsoever to do with nuclear, chemical or biological weapons.  Take your choice.  The government is comprised by idiots, or they have designs on population control and stability operations in the “homeland” and the report documents trial operations.

I suppose there is another possibility from the comments at Matt’s Facebook entry.  This was DHS/TSA VIPR teams out and about.  Perhaps.  But I’m equally doubtful that any good could come of this.  Up-armored vehicles and tacticool operators who aren’t at the scene of the attack to prevent the carnage cannot possibly do any good once the carnage has occurred.  That requires doctors, nurses, medical technicians and scientists.

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