How To Get Shot

Police pose as burglars by trying to open people’s windows and doors in the middle of the night, occasionally dragging residents out of bed to scold them. Why? They want to remind people to secure their property and cut down on burglaries.
If this happened in the US rather than Britain, it sounds like a sure-fire way to get shot.

Campus Self-Defense Club

The University of Arizona’s daily newspaper, The Daily Wildcat, printed an article today regarding a new self-defense club available on campus, primarily for women.
They discuss how this club teaches situational awareness, which I support wholeheartedly, and self-defense “techniques”, which I support somewhat less so. I note a distinct lack of firearms training, possibly due to the fact that it’s against state law and university policy to for CCW holders to possess firearms on campus.
If self-defense gets to the hand-to-hand stage, things have gone Very, Very Wrong. Better to avoid it where possible (hence situational awareness) or, if unavoidable, deal with it decisively.
A 110lb female college student, even with some self-defense training, is likely to be at a considerable physical disadvantage compared to a 180lb male attacker (a majority of attackers are male). A firearm — and the training and will to use it if needed — corrects for that disparity.
But no, they instead put up more “blue light phones” around campus and hand out free cans of pepper spray to female students (with no training on the proper use of it), as well as teaching self-defense “techniques” that are unlikely to work when confronted with a real attacker.
While I’m hardly an expert when it comes to self-defense firearm use, I’d be happy to take any UA student, male or female, at my expense, to the range to learn the basics of shooting. From there, I’ll happily point people toward instructors and programs that teach armed self-defense far better than I could.

First Rule of Piracy

I actually have no idea if there are rules of piracy, but the first one should be “Don’t attack US-flagged ships.”
The second one should be “Don’t attack the same US-flagged ship that similar pirates did a few months ago, which resulted in said pirates getting their asses handed to them by US Navy SEALs.”
The third one should be “Don’t attack French-flagged ships.” The French don’t mess around with this kind of stuff.
At the risk of pissing off the AP, I’m going to quote some bits of the article:

Somali pirates attacked the Maersk Alabama on Wednesday for the second time in seven months and were thwarted by private guards on board the U.S.-flagged ship who fired off guns and a high-decibel noise device.
[…]
An on-board security team repelled the attack by using evasive maneuvers, small-arms fire and a Long Range Acoustic Device, which can beam earsplitting alarm tones, the fleet said.

By Jove! Using firearms to defend oneself against armed attackers actually works!
Indeed, I’d go so far as to suggest that having an armed crew/team on a ship is more effective at self-defense than being personally armed in public (i.e. CCW), because one has less “noise” to deal with (there’s a lot of people walking around in cities who aren’t criminals, there’s not many small boats with armed Somalis cruising around major shipping lanes that aren’t up to no good), there’s advanced notice (you can spot the boats from a good distance away), you can design the ship to make it difficult to board (particularly if it’s an enormous cargo vessel), and once the balloon goes up you have at least several minutes to prepare (as opposed to a few seconds in a personal self-defense scenario).

Vice Adm. Bill Gortney of the U.S. Naval Forces Central Command, said the Maersk Alabama had followed the maritime industry’s “best practices” in having a security team on board.
“This is a great example of how merchant mariners can take proactive action to prevent being attacked and why we recommend that ships follow industry best practices if they’re in high-risk areas,” Gortney said in a statement.

Good.

However, Roger Middleton, a piracy expert at the London-based think tank Chatham House, said the international maritime community was still “solidly against” armed guards aboard vessels at sea, but that American ships have taken a different line than the rest of the international community.
Shipping companies are still pretty much overwhelmingly opposed to the idea of armed guards,” Middleton said. “Lots of private security companies employee people who don’t have maritime experience. Also, there’s the idea that it’s the responsibility of states and navies to provide security. I would think it’s a step backward if we start privatizing security of the shipping trade.”

It doesn’t surprise me that this gentleman is in London and feels this way.
I fail to see how it’d be anything but positive to have private security (be it an armed crew, or an armed security detail) on commercial shipping vessels. Even if there are navy vessels in the general area, they’re often a fair distance away and aren’t all that fast. Even aircraft cannot arrive instantly, and are likely to arrive after the incident is concluded, for better or for worse. The only two parties who are assured of being at the scene of the attempted hijacking are the pirates and the intended victim. The pirates are already armed. Why shouldn’t the would-be victims be permitted to have effective means of self-defense?
Mr. Middleton’s mindset makes absolutely no sense whatsoever.

Somali pirates understand one thing and only one thing, and that’s force,” said Capt. Joseph Murphy, who teaches maritime security at the school. “They analyze risk very carefully, and when the risk is too high they are going to step back. They are not going to jeopardize themselves.”

I’m not sure about how much risk analysis the Somali pirates do, but I’ll leave that in Capt. Murphy’s hands as it’s clearly a subject he knows more about than I do. Nevertheless, I agree wholeheartedly with the first sentence.

The wife of the Maersk Alabama’s captain, Paul Rochford, told WBZ-AM radio in Boston that she was “really happy” there were weapons on board for this attack.
“It probably surprised the pirates. They were probably shocked,” Kimberly Rochford. “I’m really happy at least it didn’t turn out like the last time.”
A self-proclaimed pirate told The Associated Press from the Somali pirate town of Haradhere that colleagues out at sea had called around 9 a.m. ? 2 1/2 hours after the attack.
“They told us that they got in trouble with an American ship, then we lost them. We have been trying to locate them since,” said a self-described pirate who gave his name as Abdi Nor.

Awesome.

Underscoring the danger, a self-proclaimed pirate said Wednesday that the captain of a ship hijacked Monday had died of wounds suffered during the ship’s hijacking. The pirate, Sa’id, who gave only one name for fear of reprisals, said the captain died Tuesday night from internal bleeding.
The EU Naval Force has said the Virgin Islands-owned chemical tanker the Theresa was taken Monday with 28 North Korean crew.

I bet that ship followed Mr. Middleton’s advice and didn’t have any weapons on board, nor anyone trained in using them. Result: the ship was hijacked, the captain killed, and the ship and crew are likely to be held for ransom.
When will people learn that you cannot stop criminals from committing crimes by keeping the intended victims disarmed and helpless?

Gun Free Zones

From the Brady Campaign:

America has seen an epidemic of horrific gun violence at churches and synagogues, workplaces, health clubs, high schools, universities, police stations and now Army bases.? This latest tragedy, at a heavily fortified army base, ought to convince more Americans to reject the argument that the solution to gun violence is to arm more people with more guns in more places.? Enough is enough.

Take a look at that list of places. Notice a common “feature” of these places?

  • Churches, synagogues, and other places of worship are almost always listed as “gun free zones” in firearm-related legislation, overriding the choices of the individual attendees, the congregation as a whole, and the leader of that particular place.
  • The majority of workplaces prohibit employees from possessing firearms on their property, under penalty of being fired.
  • Health clubs, while perhaps not prohibiting firearms, are essentially “gun free zones” as people are more focused on exercise and carrying a gun while lifting weights or doing cardio can be impractical, if not dangerous.
  • High schools and universities are near-universally declared, either in law or policy, to be “gun free zones”.
  • It’s often illegal to carry a loaded firearm in a police station.
  • The carriage of loaded arms on military bases is prohibited, except in very limited situations (e.g. MPs, soldiers undergoing training [and then, the guns are only loaded while at the range and soldiers are searched for ammo and brass prior to leaving the range], etc.). CCW is strictly prohibited.

Basically, all of the places where such horrific violence has taken place are places where it’s prohibited or extremely impractical for ordinary people to possess firearms for self-defense.
I noted the decided lack of violent crime at the NRA Annual Meeting, even though thousands of people were carrying guns. Violence at gun shows is essentially unheard of; I think there may actually be more violent crimes committed in courthouses than there are at gun shows.
Even so, violent crime can occur anywhere. Fortunately, a prepared person can fight back and defend oneself, even if they don’t end up firing their gun. An unarmed, unprepared person cannot.
To summarize,

  1. Be prepared. No need to be paranoid, but being wary and prepared is key to staying safe.
  2. So-called “gun free zones” are completely ineffective at stopping criminals. To put it bluntly, they Do. Not. Work.

Fortunately, I think that more people are catching on to the fact that gun control doesn’t affect criminals and helps enable these terrible massacres. When the only examples of terrible violence that the Brady Campaign can list are places where guns are already prohibited by lawful people, that says a lot about the effectiveness of their proposals.

Crimes Committed With Machine Guns

The topic of machine guns used in crime came up in a conversation I had today. Specifically, the other person was saying that guns like the Glock 19 (( I had no idea why they included this common pistol as an example. )), the M249 Squad Automatic Weapon, and the G36 “enable these sorts of rampages” where “these sorts” evidently referred to the Ft. Hood and Florida shooting sprees.
I’m able to point out, from memory, the two cases since 1934 where a legally-owned machine gun was used in a crime. However, I’m not able to think of any noteworthy crimes committed with illegally-owned machine guns in recent history other than the North Hollywood shootout. Most references to machine guns used in crimes seem to relate to the prohibition era.
Anyone know of any more recent uses of machine guns, legally owned or not, in crime in the US?

British Raid Safe Deposit Boxes

The Daily Mail has more.
Honestly, the only good thing I see coming out of that raid is the picture where the cops are displaying good trigger discipline. Everything else seems completely outrageous.
They also show a picture of a “gun” found during the raid:

Correct me if I’m wrong, but that looks completely different from any Glock pistol I’ve ever seen. The finger grooves suggest that it’s a third-generation Glock (previous generations didn’t have the grooves), but everything else seems suspicious: there’s no metal rails on the receiver for the slide to run on, the barrel’s “breech block” is grossly oversized and looks to be made out of plastic, there’s no ejector, the spring and guide rod in the baggie don’t look anything like the type of spring (real Glocks have a flat, coiled spring instead of the round, coiled spring displayed here) or guide rod (real Glocks have a plastic guide rod that holds the spring captive), the texture on the grip looks wrong, and the flat “label” at the bottom of the grip doesn’t exist on the left side of Glock pistols. Additionally, there’s no “GLOCK” emblem on the grip.
I’d show a picture of my Glock 19, but it has a Hogue sleeve on the grip, and so conceals the left side of the grip. As such, I’ll present this image of a third-generation Glock 17 that I found from Google Image Search:

Note the differences?
If the police and newspapers can’t identify a fake pistol (probably an airsoft knockoff), dare I ask how accurate the rest of the claims made by the police are?
While I have no doubt that some of the boxes raided belonged to criminals, I’d suspect that many of the boxes belonged to ordinary, law-abiding people. Hopefully they can get their stuff back. Good luck getting anyone to keep stuff in safe deposit boxes in the future.

On Getting Mugged

Caleb got mugged.
Threatening a competitive shooter with a knife is almost certainly a bad idea.
Fortunately, it ended with no shots being fired, Caleb being unstabbinated, and the bad guy suffering from HotCoffeeToTheFace Syndrome.
It also goes to show you that a Beretta Jetfire in .25 ACP is a “gun that you carry when you can’t carry a gun” — Caleb wears business casual to work, so concealing a full-size pistol is a bit difficult. Nevertheless, his Jetfire saved the day.

Observations of a Gunfight


(Video courtesy of CBS News)
Evidently there was a gunfight in Toledo, Ohio on October 8th.
According to the police (as reported by CBS), there were five gunmen involved in a fight. The fight was evidently sparked when the barman asked a patron selling marijuana to leave.
I’ve made a few observations:

  • Security cameras always seem to produce video inadequate to identify people depicted in the image.
  • The barman rapidly produces his cellphone, presumably to call the police, after the first fight starts.
  • Many people fled immediately. This is smart.
  • Some people remained to engage in a gun battle. This is stupid, particularly if the police are on the way.
  • Running back into the building to engage in further gun battle is really stupid.
  • There were no observable weapon malfunctions. Whether this is due to regular maintenance by the gunmen, luck, or some other condition is unknown.
  • It is illegal for people to carry firearms in establishments that serve alcohol in Ohio. They did so anyway. Clearly, criminals are not deterred by nor do they obey such laws.
  • If you wish to hit your target, aiming is important. These individuals did not aim well.
  • Very few objects in a bar offer cover, rather than concealment.
  • All participants in the gunfight used semi-auto pistols, rather than revolvers. According to the police, 17 casings were found at the scene. This is a substantial amount of evidence for police.

Based on these observations, I’ll be bold enough to make? a few recommendations:

  • Avoid gunfights wherever possible.
  • This can usually be accomplished by staying out of seedy places and staying away from seedy people.
  • You should be aware of the mood in a bar. If things start getting tense, seriously consider leaving.
  • Once things go tits-up (e.g. a fight starts), it’s time to leave. Now.
  • If, for some reason, you decide to stick around after the barfight, be aware of patrons drawing guns. Once this happens, there is no possible way that the situation will improve. Get out. Now.
  • Gunfights are like fires: you should flee in the most expedient manner possible and remain out of harms way. I can’t think of a single reason why an everyday person should ever consider returning to a gunfight. You should absolutely not, under any circumstances, return to the gunfight to continue fighting.
  • If you are deploying security cameras, get good ones. High-quality video and sound recording is very useful.
  • If it is necessary to call 911, it’s preferably to do so from a landline phone. This has the advantage of immediately displaying the exact address of the phone that placed the call, which can speed police response considerably.
  • Violent criminals do not obey the law, and violent crime can occur anywhere.
  • If you are willing and able to carry in a safe and responsible manner, do so. While fleeing to safety is almost always the best thing to do (and fortunately seemed to be possible for every innocent bystander in this incident), it’s not always possible — a gun can give one a fighting chance of surviving and escaping if left with no other option.

Of course, the best advice of all is to simply avoid fights and, by extension, gunfights.

Swords Will Cut You Wide Open

As this burglar discovered the hard way.
Of course, this happening in Maryland requires the following bit of hand-wringing:

Authorities are determining whether the student will face criminal charges, Guglielmi said.

He’d better not. According to the CNN article,

Police did not release the name of the suspect, who Guglielmi said had a long criminal history, or that of the student.
[…]
The burglary suspect had been released from prison Saturday, Guglielmi said.

and

Burglars had taken two laptops and a Sony PlayStation from the students’ home Monday[…]

Student with a sword has three witnesses, presumably a police report documenting Monday’s burglaries, and the burglar has a long list of priors. Sounds open-and-shut to me.
I can’t imagine the horrible mess that a sword-stricken burglar, suddenly sans left hand, would leave in one’s apartment. I can only hope the cops left the students a sponge.
Update: More information from the Baltimore Sun and the AP. Evidently the bad guy was a habitual criminal.