“Military-style” no longer cutting it, now it’s “law-enforcement style”

[T]he suspect, Aaron Alexis of Texas, bought a law-enforcement-style shotgun ? an 870 Remington pump-action ? and used it on Monday as he rampaged through the navy yard, said the officials, who requested anonymity because the investigation was continuing.
[snip]

The gunman then perched himself above an atrium where he fired down on people who had been eating breakfast, officials said, adding that he used shotgun shells that had roughly a dozen large ball-bearing-like shots in them, increasing their lethal nature.

?When he discharged, the pieces of lead would spread the farther they went,? the one official said. ?It is similar to weapons used in bird shooting but on a more serious scale. These were not bullets but many small pieces of lead flying through the air.?

The New York Times

Evidently The New York Times is not satisfied with simply calling the Remington 870 “a pump-action shotgun” and had to slip “law-enforcement style” in there to make it sound particularly scary.?Also, they evidently haven’t heard of buckshot before and make it out to be some sort of special, unusual, extra-deadly type of ammo.

Is a shotgun loaded with buckshot dangerous? Absolutely.?It’s a gun. Putting black plastic furniture on one of the most popular shotguns in the country for sporting, self-defense, and yes, law-enforcement use doesn’t make it any more dangerous than the same shotgun with wood furniture.

EU committee on piracy at sea finds that putting armed guards on ships reduces piracy

The committee admits it has “changed” its view on the use of armed guards since its last report on the issue, in 2010, finding that “no ship with an armed guard has been pirated and the use of guards has not escalated violence”.

via BBC News – EU anti-piracy fight with warships ‘must go on’.
That’s really no surprise: pirates are in it for quick money. If guards on a ship fire a couple warning shots at their tiny little boat it indicates that they’re on guard for pirates and it seems likely that the pirates would say “screw this” and hightail it out of there.
It’s also good to see the Europeans recommending that they continue to help police that area of the world: stopping piracy is everyone’s business.

Colorado Shooting

The news is reporting that someone opened fire in a theater in Colorado, shooting 71 people and killing 12.
I’m not really sure what to say, or if there is anything that can be said.
Although I can’t do anything from where I am, I’d like to express my heartfelt condolences and sympathies to all those affected by this tragic incident.

US Diplomat in Pakistan shoots two, claims self-defense

From the BBC:

An American diplomat in the Pakistani city of Lahore has shot and killed a Pakistani motorcycle rider and his pillion passenger, police say.

They say that the consular official fired his pistol in self-defence. US embassy officials confirmed that an American was involved.
The men were pursuing the American in his car when the incident happened.
[…]
Weapons were recovered from the bodies of the dead men.

I’m sure that this is going to do wonders for US-Pakistan relations.
Even if the shooting turns out to be perfectly justifiable and legal, there’s going to be a lot of drama.

Stolen

Sometime last night, my car was broken into (note: window tinting is not too effective at stopping criminals from breaking through glass).
The thieves stole my Dell Inspiron 1521 laptop (old, crappy, and heavily encrypted). Dell service tag/serial number HQN87F1 with a StuffBak asset tag of 000KHNC. Not a big deal; it’s just hardware. The data is encrypted and backed up.
However, they also stole my Glock 19 pistol (9mm, serial MLV023). It had a full magazine of Federal HST JHPs.
I normally take both the computer and gun inside at night, but I was going to have a drink or two with friends last night so I left it in the car to be responsible. That seems to have been not a good idea in this particular case.
The police and insurance have been notified, but I’d appreciate it if folks online and in Tucson are aware.
Fortunately, I keep detailed records of all my guns, and so was able to give them all the useful information. Google Docs is a good thing.
Update: I may not have been clear in the original post: I wasn’t at a bar, I was staying at a friend’s house for the week (I work in Tucson and live near Phoenix, so rather than commute ~2 hours every week, I stay down here during the week with friends) and the drinking was taking place in the house.
Since they were kind enough to let me stay for the week, I try to keep things clean by keeping my things in the car. Normally I also bring the laptop bag and gun inside, but it seemed more sensible to keep them locked in the car to keep the computer and gun away from potentially drunk people for that night. I was evidently wrong.

UK Police Searching for Smuggled Guns

Police in Britain are searching for guns smuggled from the US, according to the BBC.
The alleged smuggler, who is in custody in the US, is accused of smuggling 62 guns into the UK.
The last paragraph, however, stood out to me:

Former Scotland Yard counter-terrorism chief Andy Hayman said details of the case were “genuinely shocking”.
Writing in The Times, he said: “This makes a mockery of the stringent checks we all endure at US airports, such as removing our shoes and belts, having our toothpaste confiscated and all the other irritants.
“Steven Greenoe’s guns could just have easily been bombs.”

Mr. Hayman clearly is not familiar with how things are done in the US when it comes to firearms and air travel. There are clear rules and procedures for traveling with checked firearms. In general, the firearms must be unloaded, kept in a locked case, be in checked baggage (there are certain exceptions for police officers that allow them, in certain situations, to fly with weapons on their person), and be screened by the TSA.
Since Mr. Greenoe’s firearms were in his checked luggage, they were inaccessible to himself or others during the flight. This is in accordance with US travel laws, as well as my understanding of UK laws relating to traveling with firearms. Thus, Mr. Hayman’s comments about this incident making a “mockery” of the searches of passengers and their effects is not relevant. Don’t get me wrong, I think the current passenger screening policies are absurd and well deserving of mockery, they have nothing to do with the carriage of firearms in checked luggage. While his luggage may have contained bombs, one can hope that current screening methods for checked luggage would have detected them. In addition, bombs are inherently dangerous (for example, they could explode by themselves if mishandled or if constructed incorrectly), while disassembled firearms are simply inert pieces of metal. There’s quite a difference.

Congresswoman shot in Tucson

According to NPR:

Rep. Gabrielle Giffords and six others died after a gunman opened fire at a public event on Saturday, the Pima County, Ariz., sheriff’s office confirms.
The 40-year-old Democrat, who was re-elected to her third term in November, was hosting a “Congress on Your Corner” event at a Safeway in northwest Tucson when a gunman ran up and started shooting, according to Peter Michaels, news director of Arizona Public Media.
At least three other people, including members of her staff, were injured. Giffords was transported to University Medical Center in Tucson.

This just happened, and things are still developing. Hopefully the reports of the deaths were in error, and the victims survived. One can only hope.
This hits a bit close to home.
I really, really hope this is just some random nutjob, rather than something political.
Update (1:01pm): Reuters says she’s still alive:

“She is currently in surgery. She’s alive,” University Medical Center spokeswoman Darci Slaten told Reuters. Slaten added that nine other shooting victims were being treated at the hospital.

Let’s hope she, and others, stay alive.
Update (2:37pm): The Arizona Republic says that the Congresswoman made it through surgery, but that several people, including a 9-year-old kid, were killed. Evidently the attacker was a 22-year old male, and opened fire using a pistol with an extended magazine.

Someone’s planning a party…

NPR reports the following excitement in California:

The news from AP that California Gov.?Arnold Schwarzenegger “has declared a state of emergency in San Diego County following the discovery of what police called a virtual bomb factory in an Escondido-area home,” led us to some startling reports about what’s been uncovered there.
Local authorities, reports FoxNews.com, say they may have discovered “the largest quantity of homemade explosives found in one location in the history of the United States.”

Someone’s planning a party. A hell of an exciting party.
It’s so much stuff that the bomb squad is planning to burn the house down in place (presumably with some sort of protective material around it to capture any projectiles emitted from the house), rather than risk moving the unstable chemicals out of the house.
When they do, I hope they put up streaming video. Should be fun.

What Not To Do

From the Arizona Republic:

David Walter, a 30-year-old Surprise resident, entered the Walmart near 129th Avenue and West Thunderbird Road around 1 a.m. While in the store, witnesses told police he repeatedly fidgeted with a holstered semi-automatic pistol.
[…]
At one point, a clerk working the electronics section told police that Walter took the gun out of its holster and then removed and replaced the gun’s magazine.
[…]
He removed the gun from the holster again, causing the magazine to come loose and fall to the floor. Walter re-inserted the magazine and continued manipulating the gun when it fired, sending one round into the ceiling…

Sweet hog of Prague, this is precisely what one should never, ever do.
If you’re going to carry, either openly or concealed, do so safely and responsibly. If you absolutely must handle your firearm, do so safely in a discreet place. Unholstering a gun and removing/replacing the magazine in the electronics department of a Wal-Mart is neither safe nor discreet. Drawing the gun a second time and, somehow in the process dropping your magazine, is even worse. Fiddling around with the loaded gun is a surefire recipe for disaster.
Don’t be like this guy. Please.