31 December 2012

Firearm Lethality: Part Two: copper and lead.

By the end of the 1800's the French had taken the lead in military technology with the 8mm Lebel cartridge.  It contained a brass case, a primer, smokeless powder, and a full metal jacketed spitzer bullet.  The lack of commercial 8mm Lebel ammunition on the market today is no reflection on the actual design of the cartridge, in power it is sufficient, and other than being a rimmed cartridge (something that seems quaint today, despite our perennial fondness for the 30-30 Win) there is nothing inherently wrong about it, save for the dismal failures of the French in actually using it to win wars or market firearms for sporting purposes.  The 8x57, 7x57, 30-06, 6.5x55 are all common sporting calibers to this day, and yet the Lebel is not.

Different formulas for bullet jackets have come and gone, the industry standard in western culture is "gilding metal" which is 95% copper, 5% zinc, which makes it actually a brass alloy.  Different allows, cupronickel, tin, even steel have all been tried with various levels of success.  Soft steel is still largely used by the ComBloc industries, mainly for cost savings purposes over gilding metal.  The ComBloc ammunition industry also has a fondness for steel cartridge cases for the same cost savings benefit.  We will leave the ComBloc ammunition behind for the rest of this discussion as FMJ bullets behave the same in tissue (unless they fragment due to velocity on impact).

7x57 loads by Kynoch, far left representative of the original 173gr load
The first truly "modern" military cartridge that saw widespread international adoption was the old 7x57 Mauser (modern in the sense of being a bottlenecked rimless cartridge design).  This is because it was adopted by so many military forces across the planet and by many sportsmen in Europe and America (to include the British who renamed it the 275 Rigby.  From elephant to dik dik the 7x57 took game all over Africa, and made quite a good showing of it.  The original military loading of the 7x57 was quite sedate by modern terms, a 173 grain full metal jacket bullet at 2,400 fps.  A historical side note, two Colt M1895 machine guns in 7x57 were used by Roosevelt's Rough Riders, and it was the performance of the Mauser design and 7x57 cartridge in the Spanish American war that directly led to the abandonment of the Krag rifle and 30-40 cartridge and the adoption of the 1903 Springfield and 30-03 cartridge (which would be reworked to 30-06 three years later).

Note this number, 2,400 fps, it comes up a lot.  The 416 Rigby, a "Safari" stopping cartridge used a 400 grain bullet at 2,400 fps.  The 375 Holland and Holland used a 300gr bullet at 2,400 fps.  It should be noted that the 9.3x62 Mauser cartridge is capable of launching a 286gr projectile at 2,350 fps.  This velocity seemed to be the right mix for early nitrocellulose based propellents and available bullet technologies to make reliable animal stoppers for hunting in Africa. 

So, you are asking, since we have smokeless powder, modern primers, brass, and firearms, why the sedate velocity?   That is a very good question.  The first answer is that not all smokeless powder is created equal.  The British Cordite propellant and other nations smokeless propellents were not mixed with burn controllers or coated with burn regulators.  So in terms of ballistics, you "got what you got" from a propellant and had to make the most of it.  And if you have to make the most of it, go for Accuracy and Penetration.  So the heavy for caliber bullets at moderate velocities continued to dominate.  Even the 30-30 Winchester is famous for using heavy bullets for the powder charge given.

6.5 Carcano wound profile, similar FMJ RN wound profile for 7x57 173gr FMJ RN loading or 6.5 Mannlicher, or original 6.5x55 military load.  Note the deep, straight penetration.
But all of that is background data to explain jacketed bullets.  Ballisticians discovered that the spitzer bullet flew better than round nose bullets.  And Germany once again lead the way, with the adoption of a spitzer bullet for the 8x57 (.323 bore) JS as the first imitator of the Lebel Ball D in 1905.  Countries around the world followed suit; America in 1906, Russia in 1908, Great Britain in 1910, and Spain in 1913.  FMJ bullets are the norm by the time WWI comes around.  Italy wouldn't adopt a spitzer bullet until the 7.35x51 Carcano round between the wars, and Sweden holding on until the last minute before WWII.  The FMJ spitzer with a boat tail or flat base carries momentum well, has a relatively high Ballistic Coefficient, and wounds adequately.  In tissue the long nose and squat base of the bullet cause the bullet to "flip around" in tissue or ballistics gelatin in order to achieve the most stable manner of movement, putting the center of mass forward.  The only difference between a 22 caliber bullet and a 30 caliber bullet is how quickly that transition takes place.

FMJ bullets are a "cup and core" bullet. The jacket is drawn first, then the core is inserted, lastly the jacket is rolled over the base of the core to keep it locked in place.  This rolling over the base of the bullet is why FMJBT bullets are not used for competition by serious competitors.  The Open Tip Match (OTM) or Hollow Point Boat Tail (HPBT) is a reverse drawn jacket, meaning that the core is put in from the front, and then the jacket is smoothed down to form the nose ogive.  This puts the "folding" errors of the final step much closer to the center of rotation (increasing stability) and gives the match bullets a much more uniform base.

Traditional soft nose hunting bullets, flat base or boat tail, are built the same way as the competition bullets, save that the lead is exposed in order to provide expansion.  Various methods of keeping the jacket together with the core to provide stability to the core have been done over the years, from metalic bonding to locking rings.  Some premium bullets abandon the tradition drawn jacket and core method, such as the Partition, which puts a solid gilding metal divider between the front core and the back core.
6.5mm Berger 140gr hunting VLD.  Total separation on a deer shot from a 6.5x284  Photo by BigShooter of californiapredatorsclub.com
So why have I gone into methods to keep the core and the jacket together?  Remember that magic number? 2,400 fps?  This is the "magic velocity" where the traditional cup and core bullets will hold together, expand reliably, and give good penetration and weight retention.  Above this velocity the jacket starts to separate and weight is lost, below this velocity the lead doesn't expand much.  For what it is worth, the magic velocity to make normal FMJ bullets fragment reliably is around 2,500 fps and higher.
Courtesy Dr. Martin Fackler

Now you can put it all together as to why Bell was shooting elephants with a sedate 7x57.  The FMJ load was heavy, giving good sectional density and very little deformation to ensure excellent penetration, and the velocity was adequate to get the bullet where it needed to be.  On a different note, after switching to a heavier rifle in 318 Westley Richards, Bell commented that some of his "inexplicable misses" suddenly went away.

However, let us go away from the first quarter of the 20th century.  Roy Weatherby has succeeded in igniting velocity fever, and normal bullets aren't getting more lethal, in fact they are going so fast that when they hit they open up completely before penetrating deeply (something that Col Charles Askins would discover again with his 8mm-06 wildcats pushing 150gr bullets over 3000fps).  This causes a lot of wounds clost to impact, but poor immediate lethality.  The advertisements for the "250-3000" included such phrases as, "I'm thankful for 3000 feet per second!" when referrencing encounters with bears, unfortunately the 86 grain bullet developed a reputation as a "wounder" as it did not hold together sufficiently when impacting at high velocities at short range.

There are two answers to this. The first answer is:  Use heavier traditional bullets at a reduced velocity.  Shooting a 150gr bullet at 3,400 fps into ballistics gel will show you that it won't penetrate nearly as well as a 220gr bullet at 2,800 fps.  Mass gives momentum, and momentum allows for penetration.

The second answer is; Use tougher bullets.  Bonded core (where the lead is basically soldered to the gilding metal jacket), partitioned bullets like the venerable Nosler Partition already mentioned, or the Swift A-Frame pictured, use a bullet with a thicker jacket, or use bullets with locking rings, a thicker portion of the jacket that circles tighter around the core to keep it in place.  Since the velocity craze has not gone away (and velocity is nice when you are trying to buck wind), the current market for extra tough bullets able to handle impacts on tissue at high velocity is better than ever and still expanding.

So there you have it, smokeless powder and new cartridge designs combined with better bullets gave rise to the velocity craze (300 Weatherby Magnum came about in 1944, Nosler Bullets started their business in 1948, so the premium bullet segment lagged behind the velocity department by a little bit).  It should be noted that powder improvements have allowed even sedate old standby rounds to get a new lease on ballistic life.  The 375 Holland and Holland can be loaded a bit faster than 2,400 fps with a 300 gr bullet now that it is not dependent on cordite (easily over 2,500 fps now without any issues of peak chamber pressure).  Although the continued success of the 30-30 Win and resurgence of 45-70 Government cartridge indicate there is a still a part of our shooting community perfectly happy with heavy bullets at moderate velocities to harvest game cleanly.

I have not gotten into monolithic bullets here, or bullets where the gilding metal is used as the expansion portion of the bullet.  Nor have I covered other metals added to bullets to increase armor piercing attributes.  That however, will be another post.

On the pistol front, there was no velocity revolution to cause any sort of new designs to come out requiring metal jackets.  Metal jacketed pistol bullets are generally around simply to allow shooters to not have to deal with barrel leading, and Hague treaty compliance for military forces (in FMJ form).  All other traditional jacketed type of bullets are simply gilding metal clad variations of their pure lead counterpart.  More exotic types of handgun projectiles will be covered later.

Firearm Lethality, part one.

Firearm lethality comes in threes.  Accuracy, penetration, tissue disruption.  This is the first of series, dealing with lead bullets.  I will cover other aspects in later posts.  I initially tried to cover bullet technology from muskets to Barretts and that was just too much.  I had to break it down into chunks.

Back in the ancient days bullets were round balls.  We'll skip straight into the "rifled" era of firearms to make things simple.  A round ball with a greased patch rammed tightly into the bore of a firearm was the most accurate projectile on the battlefield (or hunting field) for a long time.  Round balls are still every bit as deadly as they were four hundred years ago, even if tissue disruption varies from none to a lot.  A half inch or larger hole in anything is nothing to sneeze at.

Image from Georgia Outdoor News forum member Nicodemus.Ball on left recovered from a deer, unfired ball on right for comparison.

Round balls were very accurate at reasonable ranges.  However round balls are not very aerodynamically efficient, which limited the effective range.  The next invention was the Minnie Ball (named after the French guy whose name has that little accent mark I can't figure out how to put into text).  The minnie ball is a very modern looking bullet, it has a conical open base that expands when the powder is touched off to engage the rifling.  A pointed nose made it more aerodynamic.  The minnie ball took a horrible toll in the Civil War.

Minnie ball picture courtesy of Oldguns.net, please note the hollow base.

At the same time as the minnie ball was killing lots and lots of Americans, metallic cartridges loaded with black powder were killing lots and lots of buffalo.  I know the timing isn't exactly right here historians, but I'm telling a yarn so give me a little creative license.  The bullets used were "paper patched" to keep the lead from fouling the bore with lead, and accuracy was legendary.  The Sharps rifle firing paper patched bullets gave us the term "sharpshooter" which we still use to this day.

Of these three black powder, pure lead, bullets, all three were accurate, with the paper patched metallic version the most accurate, followed by the minnie ball, and followed by the round ball.

Penetration was quite good, assuming equal weight for all projectiles, the paper patched and minnie ball would out penetrate the round ball (the round ball having the lowest sectional density). 

Tissue disruption with a round ball is usually a straight wound channel.  Round ball projectiles do not generally deform much at all unless they happen to hit bone, and then expansion will be irregular and unpredictable but still very deadly.  The minnie ball expanded a bit and paper patched bullets would expand quite a bit, "to about the size of a half dollar" in some cases if you believe the oral history of the buffalo hunters. The paper patched bullets win in the expansion department because the center of mass of the bullet was further rearward, allowing the nose to deform more before the center of mass "caught up" with it.

Image from Corbin's of bullet swaging fame.  A paper patched bullet, note the smooth sides.  The bullet profile is a flat nose, but many long range black powder shooters use a round nose profile made from custom molds.

Now as progress continued, smokeless powder took over, and cartridges could be made smaller, fire more shots without the barrel fouling beyond use, and velocities could be increased.  It is as this point where the "big bullet at moderate velocity" school of thought of the Buffalo Hunters meats Roy Weatherby with his "velocity is King" idea.

We will stay with lead bullets for now, but suffice to say that only paper patched and “gas checked” metal bullets were able to handled the added velocity of smokeless powder. A “gas check” is a disk of copper (or aluminum to some folks that make their own) that protects the base of the bullet from the effects of the propellent gas. Bullet makers have called modern “cup and core” bullets, “full length gas checked.”

In small arms, these lead bullets, either paper patched or gas checked, have plenty of lethality at reasonable ranges. The limiting factor for long range use is the poor aerodynamic shape of the lead or lead alloy projectile.
Image from UniversalShootingSports.com forum member reloader7.62.

The picture shows a few of the more common bullet profiles, flat nosed, round nose, and wadcutter.  Note that the driving bands are separated by lube grooves.  The paper patched bullet above has solid sides, and gains a small bit of aerodynamic advantage as a result.

 Photograph from of Glenn E. Fryxell, http://www.leverguns.com/articles/fryxell/old_rifles_old_friends.htm demonstrating the expansion potential of lead bullets as used by buffalo hunters.

That is pretty much it for "state of the art" lead rifle bullets.  Not a lot has changed in the last century, and if you take up bullet making (casting or swaging) as a hobby you can kill things every bit as dead as the fella paying over a buck a bullet for some premium pills.  Please note that alloying the lead will change the expansion characteristics, to the point where some bullets will shatter or crack instead of expand.

Now let us talk handguns.  Handgun velocities are slower, which means to get penetration you need momentum.  Lead bullets such as; wadcutter, round nose, truncated cone, all give you adequate penetration.  What they will not do is reliably expand and disrupt tissue.  So someone got the idea to turn a hollow base bullet around, and create the first "hollow point" bullet.  The idea is that the hollow point will hit tissue, fill up with stuff (especially liquid) which will hydraulically press the lips of the cup outward, causing more tissue disruption.
Image from http://castboolits.gunloads.com user Hogokansatsukan  The second from the right is a "hollow point."

The lethality of hollow points is hard to quantify, as it is a feature that affects only the second and third part of lethality, penetration and tissue disruption.  Very few hollow point bullets will "under penetrate" at normal handgun velocities, but something truly weird happens as you increase velocity, penetration declines as the bullet expands more quickly initially and encounters more resistance to the larger surface area.  If you push a hollowpoint pistol bullet fast enough, it will come apart quickly in tissue instead of penetrating deeply.  However, at normal velocity, the expansion does not significantly degrade penetration to the point of decreased lethality, and the increase in surface area aids in tissue disruption.

Image from thefiringline.com user Snuffy bullet on the left had a round hollow point cavity, bullet on the right had a pentagon shaped cavity.

It is interesting to note that the Webley "Manstopper" bullet was a hollow base hollow point cylinder bullet.  The hollow base sealed against the bore the way the old minnie ball did (not that old at the time really), and the hollow point caused reliable expansion even at sedate Webley velocities.

Now, as a closing note, I want to address the question, "Why Lead?"  The answer is that Force equals Mass times Acceleration.  If you want to increase force, you either have to increase Mass (meaning use something heavier, ie, more massive.  Lead is also very maleable, so it can conform to the bore and get a tight gas seal.  Replacements for lead, denser like depleted uranium and less dense like copper, have been used, which will be discussed in an upcoming post at some point. 

Some handy equations to remember.
Force = Mass X Acceleration
Momentum = Mass X Velocity
Energy = 1/2 Mass X Velocity Squared

What passes for serious leftist thought

Donald Kaul, an old died in the wool leftist who unfortunately didn't die from his recent heart attack, proposed this as a solution to Sandy Hook.   You can find the full article here: http://www.desmoinesregister.com/article/20121230/OPINION01/312300033/Kaul-Nation-needs-a-new-agenda-on-guns?nclick_check=1

I have copied the 3 bullet points that Donald, in speaking to the entire world through an OpEd column, has proposed as a serious solution in the current discussion on violence in America.
• Repeal the Second Amendment, the part about guns anyway. It’s badly written, confusing and more trouble than it’s worth. It offers an absolute right to gun ownership, but it puts it in the context of the need for a “well-regulated militia.” We don’t make our militia bring their own guns to battles. And surely the Founders couldn’t have envisioned weapons like those used in the Newtown shooting when they guaranteed gun rights. Owning a gun should be a privilege, not a right.
• Declare the NRA a terrorist organization and make membership illegal. Hey! We did it to the Communist Party, and the NRA has led to the deaths of more of us than American Commies ever did. (I would also raze the organization’s headquarters, clear the rubble and salt the earth, but that’s optional.) Make ownership of unlicensed assault rifles a felony. If some people refused to give up their guns, that “prying the guns from their cold, dead hands” thing works for me.
• Then I would tie Mitch McConnell and John Boehner, our esteemed Republican leaders, to the back of a Chevy pickup truck and drag them around a parking lot until they saw the light on gun control.
And if that didn’t work, I’d adopt radical measures. None of that is going to happen, of course. But I’ll bet gun sales will rise.
This shows a clear lack of thinking, and possibly dementia has set in for poor Donald.

1.  Repealing the Second Amendment, which is properly written and well understood in the wake of Heller and MacDonald, would do nothing to "get rid of guns."  It didn't work in the UK, South Africa, Australia, China, Japan, or Russia.  Making owning guns a privilege would only create a society of "haves" and "have nots" which is quite in line with the rest of Leftist thinking.  Leftists don't want "equality" they want an aristocracy, with themselves as our dear unelected leaders.

2. Declaring the NRA a terrorist organization is a good way to do what exactly?  Make it like the Nation of Islam, or drive it underground like the PIRA?  If you want to make people into terrorists, declaring them to be so is a great way to politically marginalize them.  If you make it impossible for someone to legally participate in the political process, having a gun (or a bomb, nerve agent, etc) means you still have to listen to them.  If you make peaceful redress impossible, violent redress is the ONLY option Donald.  Don't go around trying to make criminals, the war on crime has been even less successful than the war on (some) drugs or the war on poverty.  I will address the "from their cold dead hands" schtick at the end.

3.  Torturing someone until they see your point....  Didn't you come out against waterboarding when Bush did it?  Somehow torture is fine when it is for "political re-education" but not to get information needed to kill those actual terrorists who want to destroy you?  How Communist of you Donald, how utterly unprincipled and short sighted.

And back to "prying the guns from their cold, dead hands" idea that works for you Donald?  Molon Labe bitch.

30 December 2012

Defensive Power Factor, why formulas are useless


George Hill, you can find him on the sidebar as MadOgre, uses a formula for "Defensive Power Factor" to describe pistol cartridges.  You can find the whole article here:  http://65.48.65.168/Interviews/ballistics.htm 


But first, a little history is in order.  The first real big formula for calculating how deadly a cartridge was in comparison to other cartridges was the "Taylor Knock Out Formula" (TKOF).  The "TKO" formula is thus:

TKO = (mass in grains X velocity in fps X bullet diameter in inches) divided by 7000.

The TKO formula automatically gives a bonus to large bore bullets, and tries to minimize the velocity factor by dividing by 7000.  This gives some impressive TKO numbers to the traditional "Safari" cartridges, but leaves such sedate numbers as the 6.5x55 and 7x57 looking like they should launch bullets that bounce right off an animal.  This is because the qualities known as "sectional density" is completely ignored.

Let us remember that Momentum equals Mass times Velocity.  So the TKOF can be rewritten.

TKO = (Momentum times bullet diameter) divided by 7000.

So the TKOF is good at comparing heavy, slow cartridges with good momentum, giving the advantage to larger diameter bullets.  If two bullets have the same mass, and same velocity the one with the larger diameter will have the higher TKO number, even though the smaller bore bullet will have better sectional density and penetrate more.  With bullet diameters we are talking about normally though, this isn't a deciding factor in lethality.

Now that TKOF is out of the way, lets get back to MadOgre's Defensive Power Factor.

Defensive Power Factor (DPF) = (Bullet Weight in Grains Times Caliber Times Velocity) Divided by 1000

So here we have a variation of the TKO, the only thing that has changed is dividing by 1000 instead of 7000.

Once again we rewrite the formula DPF = (Momentum times caliber)/1000.

So let us run some numbers, shall we? First a 7.62 Tokarev with the fastest loading.

DPF = (.308x1650x85)/1000 = 43.1

And a run of the mill 9x19 load.

DPF= (.355 x 1050 x 125)/1000 =  46.5

And a run of the mill 45 ACP load.

DPF = (.452 x 850 x 230) /1000 = 88.3

Clearly the 45 is a monster compared to the 9x19 and you would need to shoot someone twice with a 7.62 Tokarev to get the same effect (sarcasm people).

How about lets see how that compares to a run of the mill M193 5.56x45 load from an AR?

DPF = (.224 x 3300 x 55) / 1000 = 40.6  Not even as effective as the 7.62 Tok, what is going on here?

Ok, so according to George Hill, the DPF for a rifle is half of that for a pistol.  This is why formulas are relatively meaningless for explaining any sort of effect on a living animal.  It also helps to explain that formulas are really only good at comparing cartridges with similar energy levels.  But clearly the most effective "manstopper" that we calculated for, the M193 ball ammo, has the smallest DPF number, so lets take a look again, this time at a 30-30 Winchester

DPF = (.308 x 2400 x 150)/1000 = 110.  

Is the 30-30 three times as effective as the 223?  Not really.  The TKO and DPF are weighted to give better numbers to larger bores and heavier bullets, that is all.  

On the other side of the house, we have "energy" which is E = 0.5mass times Velocity squared.  When you compare the energy of an M193 load against any pistol load, you see that the velocity advantage gives a HUGE energy advantage.  There is something to be said for "light and fast" when it comes to energy.  If you can get a bullet to expend all its energy in fragmenting or tissue disrupting.

There are other formulas out there, such as the Thornilly formula, which when you plug in the data shows the 375 Holland and Holland Magnum to be unsuitable for hippopotamus.  http://www.beartoothbullets.com/rescources/calculators/php/thornily.htm?v1=300&v3=.375&v2=2400

So why do people keep trying to reinvent the wheel about creating a formula that shows what bullets should do on animals?  Because it is a way to sell guns, and a way to try to model reality.  I honestly think in the case of Taylor it was a way for him to compare cartridges in a fairly limited range of Safari rifles available in his time.

Bottom line, lethality comes in threes.  Accuracy, you have to hit where you are aiming.  Penetration, the bullet needs to get through the exterior into the part that you really want to damage.  Finally, tissue disruption, the bullet needs to make enough of a mess of what you really want to damage to cause death through blood loss or central nervous system failure.

Choose a round with enough oomph to get there and beyond, choose a bullet with enough strength to stay together and enough expansion to do what you want.  With a thin skinned animal this isn't hard, as things get bigger and nastier bullet selection becomes more of a critical factor, some dangerous game gets non-expanding solids (cape buffalo, elephant, rhino, hippo) where some get traditional soft points (lion, leapord, hyena, jackal, wolf).  A lot of very good bullets are designed to give good expansion and penetration, I'm a fan of the solid copper variants myself.

When dealing with things that can bite, scratch, claw, stomp, rend, or toss you like a rag doll, insurance shots are always a good idea.  Humans fall into this category quite often.  If you care to know more about the different formulas and why they all fall apart when it comes to actually figuring out performance, here is a pretty good article http://africanxmag.com/debunking_ballastic_myths.htm

29 December 2012

Fiscal insanity.

Ronald Reagan said that (and I paraphrase) "Liberals aren't stupid, they just know so much that isn't so."

Which brings me to this golden money quote.

That's because the primary driver of deficits is a lack of growth.

From the article "Everything you know about the deficit is wrong: Fixing it is painless": http://www.businessinsider.com/closing-the-deficit-is-painless-2012-12#ixzz2GUtw4gjo

To which I don't believe there are enough face palms in the universe to properly address that level of "something that just isn't so."

The only driver of a deficit is SPENDING more than you TAKE IN. 

If Joe Weisenthal were correct, a man facing bankruptcy might say "I'm in debt because I didn't get that raise!" to the judge and be taken seriously.  If you told the bankruptcy judge that line you would rightly get a lecture on BUDGETING.

Now, I know that the real reason the author is blaming a lack of growth is "non-discretionary spending" as a portion of the budget.  The economy has not grown fast enough to support all the non-discretionary benefits that Democrats promised them starting with FDR.

So here is the deal.  If Daddy can't cover the house, electric, and gas bill AND give little Johnny his allowance, what should Daddy do?  Should Daddy take out a loan against little Johnny's future so that he can have an allowance now?  Or should Daddy sit down with little Johnny and explain that "times are tough all around."?

If I ever get to rewrite the Constitution, I'm so adding that Congress cannot dictate "non-discretionary spending" at all, right next to specifying the "non-delegation of powers" clause. 

Adults have to decide when the can not afford something.  That is what adults do.  That is what Congress has failed to do.

27 December 2012

Identity Politics is a long road.

Identity politics won't work for conservative, pro-freedom ideals?  Identity politics is all about addressing specific issues to specific groups.  Let us take a look at gun rights.

The Rodney King Riots in LA proved that there were two types of people, those with guns, and those without.  Read the story of a Jew who learned the necessity of a firearm for self defense: http://www.seraphicpress.com/jew-without-a-gun/#more-14061

The same event, covered from the Korean American perspective: http://www.humanevents.com/2012/12/23/when-assault-weapons-saved-koreatown/

The key to building political power isn't to gain control of any one group, but to gain enough inroads with that group that you can form a dominant coalition.  We don't need every black in America to vote Republican, but we need enough pro freedom blacks so that the black community can have the pro freedom/anti freedom debate without getting Wayne LaPierre involved.

Things that we can bring up, point out, and discuss.  Registration leads to confiscation.  In New Orleans after Katrina.  In California after the state decided to retroactively ban the SKS Sporter that they had required to be registered.  It happened in New York City in 1991.  It happened in Chicago

We have separate groups, all affected by disarmament policies.  Blacks and Jews have felt the sting of an oppressive state looking to keep them disarmed second class citizens.  Koreans have seen the cops retreat from an angry mob and were left to defend themselves and their livelihoods in the chaos.  Minorities in California have suffered from the "not white" syndrome when applying for their "mother may I" concealed carry permit.

So how do we use all this data to our benefit?

First off, counter the "guns are bad" narrative and highlight the stability of areas that have a high percentage of legal firearms.  Ask the question (meaning, "implant the idea"), do "white suburbs" have low crime because they are "white suburbs" or because they hold a very high percentage of legal firearms? 

Secondly, remind people of the dangers of relying on the police.  The message (implant the idea) is that police don't live in your neighborhood, and are more concerned about going home at the end of their shift.  Police are useful for marking where the bodies lie, but when seconds count are at best minutes away.  It is your community, why do you expect someone else to take care of it?

Third, EMPOWER people.  Take them to the range.  Everyone smiles after their first range trip.  Everyone.

The Democrats have had "Community Organizers" for years now, supported by limousine liberals who could afford to put paid spin doctors and agitators into impoverished communities to dominate the message.  That is information warfare.  In the military we call that "civil affairs" or "MISO" messaging.  It is probably already too late for America, but it is never too late to try to cushion the fall somewhat.  Imagine if the "coming civil war" wasn't about the entire impoverished ghetto rising up to loot en masse, but only about 80 percent of the impoverished ghetto?  That's a lot of people that you would no longer have to fight, and 20% more allies than you had before.

25 December 2012

Advertising Fail

I know that Ryan has no control over some of the add space on his blog.  Whoever decided that MAIG needed space on TSLR should probably rethink their strategy.  Sometimes you do have to try to break out into a new market, but I'm pretty sure that people who read TSLR aren't the type to be swayed by MAIG.


Non Lethal Targeting and Identity Politics

Anonymous has given me grief about "identity politics" as if it is a completely unworkable tool for liberty.  

In a counter insurgency (COIN) the discipline of Non Lethal Targeting becomes key.  Here is a paper written by a 2LT (don't worry, he's prior service, mid career commission so you can read what he wrote and reserve your judgement on the subject matter at hand, not the rank of the author):  http://www.dtic.mil/cgi-bin/GetTRDoc?AD=ADA494917 here is another article, slightly more technical http://www.thefreelibrary.com/Non-lethal+targeting+in+COIN%3A+economic,+political,+and+civil+actions...-a0234229653

In terms of targeting, we can target individuals (such as a key politician, religious leader, or influential businessman), we can target groups (by ethnicity, geography, or socio-economic status, or group affiliation), we can target systems/organizations (court system, police system, etc), even events (sporting, religious, etc) 

In order to get results by Non Lethal Targeting we have to expend resources in terms of manpower (to provide security or services), we have to expend resources in terms of time specifically mentoring people how to do their jobs more effectively (in Afghanistan or Iraq, this might not apply to every situation).

Another side of targeting is Military Information Support Operations (MISO, what we used to call Psychological Operations or PSYOPS).  It takes a long time to build a successful MISO campaign, and a smart commander starts early with targeted messaging.

Now, addressing specific issues by specific groups seems an awful lot like "identity politics" doesn't it?  So why do we call it "non lethal targeting" when we do it as a military, and pat ourselves on the back for our COIN successes and then turn around and curse the Dems for doing the exact same thing on the home front to advance their agenda?  Cursing the enemy for being better than you is a waste of energy.

War is politics by other means.  The reverse is also true, that politics is a low level war.  If we went into war with no MISO targeted messages to control the narrative, or no non lethal targeting to improve our security position, then we would repeat the same mistake that we did in 2003 in Iraq, fighting to depose a dictator and then having it blow up in our faces because we didn't think past that point.  Or Vietnam where we took Green Berets out of Village Stability Ops and police development and told them to "go kill the enemy" because we thought that killing the enemy would win the war (cause that's what worked in WWII by gum).

The only identity politics that the Republican party plays is to the increasingly irrelevant conservative Christian vote.  Sure they have a lot of moral authority, except to people who see them (rightly so) as busybodies who want to make sure no one else is having any fun.  And this gives the Dems a good soundbite about the Republicans wanting to set up a theocracy (perception perception perception).

One of the endearing lessons of perception is reality that should hit home with anyone reading this blog is the TSA.  The TSA is completely ineffective, but somehow it makes people feel safer instead of violated.  If you want to get rid of the TSA, you need to make people realize that they've been violated, that their rights have been trampled on.  Most Americans do not understand risk very well, which is why Sandy Hook is such a shocker to most, and why planes flying into the Twin Towers was a sucker punch to most.  People react with a visceral, gut level, unthinking, irrational response.

To win in politics, you need to harness that.

24 December 2012

Why the fiscal cliff is inevitable

Democrats want the fiscal cliff.  Democrats will blame the Republicans for "blocking legislation" to stop the fiscal cliff.  Dems want higher taxes, and they know that no amount of "soak the rich" is enough to keep their favorite pork spending around.

So why are the Dems even trying to look like they are searching for a solution to the fiscal cliff, even after not being able to produce a budget since they took a majority?  Why?  Because Dems have a better psyops/propaganda cell to get their message out.  They believe based on their experience that they can shift blame to the Republicans.

At this point it our government isn't about actual functioning, it is about the appearance of functioning.  Congress has been reduced to the equivalent of two children pointing fingers at each other and saying, "It's your fault! Nuh uh!" in an attempt to get the public to buy either sides story of how the other kid started the fight and they were just standing up for themselves.

Republicans, if you can't fight dirty, go the fuck home.  If you can't keep proposing real solutions that force the Dems to back down (and show your math, coming off as a technocrat isn't a bad thing in our society), then just roll over and piss on yourself like Boehner already has.

Politics isn't about getting things done, it is all about perception.  All the world is a stage, and politics is center stage.  Any politician who claims to have done something useful with their life in politics by creating legislation is a deluded fool at best, a narcissistic sociopath at worst.  A politician who claims to have done something useful simply by blocking other politicians attempts to rape my freedoms might actually have a claim to the title of "useful."

So, the fiscal cliff is going to come, but Republicans need to start the narrative NOW that it is the Democrats who fought for it, who refused to compromise, who raised taxes on the middle class.  All good little soundbites for the next election season in the house.

The Dems have been playing by Alinsky's rules for a generation or two now.   The battle for the hearts and minds has been won so far by the Dems, but the great thing about an insurgency is that the hearts and minds get swayed the other way.

23 December 2012

The next generation of Liberty

As a middle aged white guy I am looking to the future of freedom (or tyranny) and it doesn't rest with middle age white guys.  No matter how much a feminist wants to believe it, white men have been marginalized to the point of lunacy in this great nation of ours.  Sure our vote counts as much as anyone's but no one is catering to the white male political vote.

The bastion of liberty for the future is women.  This is why the Democrats constantly tell the lie about the "Republican war on women!" as if it were something more than a propaganda sound bite.  But tell a lie often, tell it all the time, make it big, forget any sort of details, and idiots will believe it.

We had our George Washington, Dwight Eisenhower, it is time for our Joan of Arc and Hypatia.  Expect them to get skewered harder and more consistently than any man ever faced based on the media's treatment of Condaleeza Rice and Sarah Palin.  Hell, look at the media eating their own when they decided to support Barrack over Hillary. 

In this world there are people who want freedom, and people who want control over other people.  We can't win this war with just middle aged (and older) white guys.  Can't be done.  Can't win this war without a solid political element.  Can't be done. We need a solid political front, and we need women to take the lead.  Despite the utter ball of suck and fail that was the NRA presser last Friday the choice to put a woman in a leadership position was the silver lining to a very very very dark cloud.

The fastest growing segment of gun owners in America is women.  At the risk of making a really bad pun, I'd like to tap that resource.  There are more minority Republican governors than Democrat.  There are more female Republican governors than Democrat.  Yet why in the hell is the Stupid party playing defense and letting the Democrats control the narrative?  It is either incompetence or criminal negligence. 

On facebook one of my more liberal friends asked me to sign a petition to get the Westboro Baptist Church classified as a hate group.  I calmly explained that that was a losing battle, and she replied, "better to fight and lose than not fight at all."

I disagree.  Fighting to lose is stupid.  It wastes your time and resources.  If you are going to fight, fight to win.  And we need women, and minorities, to win.  After all, women and minorities have a pretty big stake in preserving individual liberty.

The answer to the infringement on freedom doesn't lie with the NRA alone.  Nor does it lie with the Threepers alone.  The hard part about the pro-freedom movement is that we don't play nice with each other, and that leaves us at a distinct disadvantage.

22 December 2012

Rumor mill scuttlebutt on Camo

I got an email from a senior NCO that the next Army camo pattern has been chosen.  Where he got his information I don't know, so I can't verify it against an official document.  But evidently ADS is the winner (take with a grain of salt).

http://soldiersystems.net/2012/02/14/ads-unveils-army-camouflage-finalist-patterns/ 

To simplify the system, there will be three camo patterns (transitional, woodland, and desert) instead of one (UCP, universally crappy pattern), which simplified the old two (woodland and desert).  There was nothing wrong with BDUs or DCUs, and going to UCP was, in my opinion, a criminal waste of taxpayer dollars.

One of the crazy things is that all this camo pattern changing is definitely "stimulus spending" as procurement requirements mean "made in America" for the DOD. 

Expect imports in the "new pattern" to be on shelves before the ink is dry on the made in America stuff.  Bottom line, if your concealment efforts rely on a printed camouflage scheme you suck at fieldcraft.  Rolling around Afghanistan in big ass armored vehicles doesn't require great stealth, and when you move stealthy dismounted at night, any mostly dark camo pattern works.

21 December 2012

Addition to the sidebar, ammo.net

The recent unpleasantness in Connecticut caused some retailers to step back from freedom.

You don't know who your friends are until things get dark, and times get tough.

I was contacted by the owner of Ammo.net with a not about his company and their philosophy on individual freedom.  I have not purchased ammunition from ammo.net, but I believe that Wes is sincere in his vision.  So I've added ammo.net to the sidebar, and if you do purchase commercially loaded ammunition, please give them a shot and let us know how the service is for you.  Comments are open (as always for any post under a week old) for anyone who has used ammo.net to share their experience.

UPDATE: ZerCool in comments pointed out the Luckygunner.com/bulkammo.com/ammo.net connection with links to Linoge's site, Wallsofthecity (see sidebar).  Luckygunner.com was quite enthusiastic about courting the gunblogger community (you can find plenty of reviews about the hosted shoots with free ammo).  Heck, anyone remember the ammo girl skirt kerfuffle?

I don't think this is a scam, I think this is a different take on the same strategy of "e-guerrilla advertisement" except that instead of inviting gunbloggers to hosted shooting events they appeal to patriots by donating 1% of the purchase value to a pro-freedom organization.  Personally I prefer retailers that participate in the "NRA Roundup" so to me this is a natural extension of that for people who love freedom and think the NRA isn't doing enough.

Was it unethical behavior to try to portray different e-stores as separate entities?  Yes, I can't think of any way to make that look like an ethical business practice.  However, do I expect corporations to act ethically?  No, I expect corporations to be in the business of making a profit.  And getting back to that binary logic fallacy, having multiple storefronts and not telling the public they are the same entity is a much less egregious ethical lapse than polluting a river or using sweatshop labor.  However I didn't have any skin in the game of the luckygunner.com events, so I don't feel betrayed or misled as others who were. 

Gun Buying Frenzy

I've reached a point that I don't really need any more guns for myself.  So the latest round of gun sales has not impacted me too much (I buy bullets by the thousand, primers by the sleeve, and powder by the 8 pound keg, I'm set for a bit).  I did trade in an XD45 for a Beretta 92FS (train as you fight, right?), and the gun store owner said, "Right now I'm taking no trade ins on ARs."  Which I understand, it is a sellers market. 

What I see as conspicuously lacking is a sales pitch to get the panic buyers involved in something involving their new purchase.  Yes I know that some of them are not first time buyers, but enough of them are. 

"Congrats on buying your first Glock, why don't you stop by the steel plate match on Saturday and have some fun with your new pistol?"

"Congrats on your new AR, why don't you stop by on Saturday for a 100 yard reduced distance High Power match?"

"Congrats on your new firearm, here is a website that you can go to that shows how the Second Amendment Foundation is working to keep your right to keep and bear arms uninfringed."

Sometimes preaching to the choir makes a better choir.

20 December 2012

Air Rifle Training

I have been struggling lately to keep a decent grouping since I came back from a week long business trip.  Some of my targets have seemed to have a bulletproof black, and my hits on the TEN pinhead have been rare, and mostly dumb luck.

I'm a better shot than this, in the back of my mind I remember the marksmanship coaches from the AMU, from Appleseed, and I go through the motions.  And I'm getting worse.  I have two empty pellet tins starting a stack in my basement and a third about to join them.  Over a thousand pellets since I started training in earnest in October and I'm getting worse.

I will admit it is a bit discouraging.  I started scouring the inernet look for advice about what to do when practicing more means getting worse.  I found this bit of wisdom from coach JP O'Connor, http://www.pilkguns.com/jp016.htm/ 

Performance Plateaus – Many an athlete faces this challenge in their shooting career, usually many times. If not addressed, frustration will mount and the athlete may even leave the sport prematurely.
Solution: You must maintain a vigilant attitude for new weaknesses. You must know your opponents; know what it will take to win. You must be willing to get worse before getting better. You must have an open mind to new ideas and changes. You must have confidence in your new approach.
“How good do you want to be?” Although this question was copied verbatim from Dr. McCann’s notes, many of this author’s students already knew it by heart, having heard it many times in training sessions and conversations. When presented with a particularly challenging exercise in training, they often smile and say: “I know; ‘How good do I want to be!’” It’s true. Ask yourself the question. Do you have an answer?
On that note, do you want to merely raise the level of your own game? Or do you want to raise the level of the entire game? Michael Jordan and Tiger Woods are different for a reason. They work harder and they think differently. And they believe in themselves. Develop the courage to go against the grain. You will amaze yourself!

I recently started trying to find a better standing position because Air Rifle competition rules do not allow me to use my shooting jacket.  Since the Sporter Air Rifle rules are very specific about what can be worn, that is what I've been experimenting with, different sweat shirts in different thicknesses.

I finally found that the "pulled up from the top of my head by a string" stance I use in High Power just does not work for me with an air rifle without a jacket.  So I adopted a more natural position, the rifle more vertical, my head dropping onto the stock a bit instead of really bringing the rifle up to my head.  And this change caused my front sight to be much more stable on target, the oscillations much smaller.

But my groups opened up, and things got very frustrating.  And here is the rub, I am more consistently bad with the new technique than I was inconsistently good with the High Power technique.  I think I can make this stance better.  I don't know if I can make it better quickly, but pellets are cheap and so there is no excuse for not training.

19 December 2012

Legitimacy

Alternate title for this post was "Fifty Shades of Legitimacy" but I'm not sure I wanted all the frustrated soccer mom attention that title would get.

Some things in life are truly binary such as certain quantum states.  The voltage is either sufficient, or not sufficient to power a circuit, is a good binary decision point when choosing a battery.  Aristotle is the most famous philosopher to endorse the "excluded middle" idea that reduces things to binary decision sets.

Most things in life are not binary.  For example not all mammals birth live young, and not all reptiles lay eggs externally.  Every time someone says, "all things do this" you should take it skeptically.

Political legitimacy seems to be binary.  Either something is legit or it isn't right?  Wrong.  Political legitimacy is not gauged on a binary "yes/no" set, it is gauged against other the legitimacy of other political entities.

Which is more legit the ATF or the FBI?  Which is more legit, the Government of Canada or the Government of Italy?  Which is more legit, the Army or the Marine Corps?  These closer the institutions are in political legitimacy the harder it is to get a qualitative and quantitative answer to the question of legitimacy.

I'm not a political scientist, so I apologize for the gross simplification for those of you who happen to be better educated than I in this area.

In the Army we do assessments on whether a government is effective at delivering basic services, a SWEAT-MFS assessment or similar.  Sewer, Water, Electricity, Academics, Trash, Markets, Financial, Security.  The idea is that an effective government has an effective level of all of those assets available to the citizens (or subjects).

When you take a look at America, a SWEAT-MFS assessment shows a very competent government, which gives political legitimacy to that government.  If the government of the United States was illegitimate and utterly corrupt, then I would expect that our assessments of services would continually get worse and worse, at least until we got a Dictator who made the trains run on time (which is normally just propaganda to try to keep the Dictator in power).

Generally speaking the more force a government has to use to maintain power, the less legit it is.  However, that DOES NOT STOP the government from being perceived as a legitimate.  China is a good example of this, and the government gained legitimacy by liberalizing economic restrictions, travel restrictions, etc.

The government we have is "uniquely American" in that the Socialists won, but we still have a relatively functioning Democratic Republic (leaning a lot more towards mobocracy lately than I like).

Engaging in lawfare against the ever encroaching state does not give legitimacy to the state.  It sets the state up to lose legitimacy when it ignores the rule of law.  As long as the state plays by the rule of law then it can maintain legitimacy, which is why it is so important to change the rules to pro freedom instead of pro state.  More Americans have been molested by the TSA than killed by Al Quaeda.  Which is more dehumanizing?  To be treated as an enemy by terrorists?  Or to be treated as terrorists by your government?

Lawfare may turn back the onslaught on freedom.  Or it may force the state to rip off the mask of legitimacy and act like a tyrant.  I see no downside to engaging in lawfare to defend liberty at this time.  I hope my opinion doesn't change in a few years.

18 December 2012

The gun control insurgency

The newspapers are dying, the network news is untrustworthy if you care to trust the Gallup polls.  Still every network save for Fox has been dancing in the blood of the dead and invoking the old guard to push to disarm yet ever more people to increase the victim pool.

The half of my friends calling for gun control have been largely silent for the last few days.  The half of my friends that are pro gun are still taking the Sandy Hook shooting apart, pointing out how each law that the Libs think would stop violence failed utterly.

The pro gun rights crowd has been on a full court press against the anti rights extremists for all of my adult life.  First at the state level, then at the federal level.  It took lots of people, lots of organizations, and lots of time and money, to gain back some of the ground we lost.

Over that same time period both Republicans and Democrats have legally eroded protections for our other rights, against unlawful search and seizure, against being secure in our own homes, heck even against freedom of speech.  The insurgency in America has been engaged in "lawfare" with those who would rule us.

As long as "lawfare" can be successful, there is no need for a shooting insurgency.  However, for lawfare to be successful, there has to be a full court press against the unconstitutional Patriot Act, NDAA 12, GCA, NFA, etc.

This is why the politicization of the courts has been so corrosive to America.  FDR knew that he couldn't take away freedoms without a court that would rubber stamp his communist policies.  The Socialists had their revolution, and they won.  For now. 

To roll back the onslaught on our freedoms it takes a full court press, in the polling booth, in the court of public opinion, in education, in the court of law.  At this point in our history I believe that it is possible to maintain and even improve on our legal protections for freedom and liberty.  I hope my opinion doesn't change too drastically in the next three years.

16 December 2012

Politics is harder than tactics

The first Continental Congress met in 1774, and it wasn't until 1788 that the basis for our modern government emerged.    That is 14 long years of well educated men debating the proper place of government, trying to balance the need to protect individual liberty with the need to have an effective government.

I can imagine the hot summer days, no air conditioning, and men who had no modern distractions of television or internet to pull their minds away from the task at hand.  I often wonder how many of our founding fathers thumbed through a copy of "Republic" or "Leviathan" as they argued what the shape of the future should look like.

14 years to collectively look at a problem.  14 years to learn, debate, and gain a common understanding of the economic, social, and political realities facing the 13 colonies cum states.  In contrast the war for independence lasted from 1775 to 1783, a mere 8 years.  Anyone remember the first president of the United States?  John Hanson?  He served a one year term, and notably John Hancock was also President a few years later.

More than once I've been tempted to say "screw it" and avoid blogging about the politics of freedom, and where we want to end up in the future.  But then I remember the founding fathers, and they didn't get it perfectly right in 14 years.

It is easy to learn the tactics of the Infantry.  It is hard to build a government that encourages citizens to learn the tactics of the Infantry because it has no fear of revolution, because it enjoys the full consent of the governed from who it draws legitimacy.

On another historical note, Congress met in a large number to taverns, a practice that I think should be adopted again. 

13 December 2012

Problem Solving, simple solutions are always wrong on their own

I can't remember who said, "There is nothing wrong with this country that another Depression couldn't fix."  But oh sweet shivering Shiva is that a dumb statement.  What is wrong with the country now?  Debt caused by socialist programs that came from?  Oh yeah, the last "Great Depression."   Insanity is expecting to get more freedom and individual accountability from doing the same thing that gave you the problem of less freedom and less accountability in the first place.

It seems that there is a segment of the population that believes "X Million Deer Hunters" are a defense against Tyranny!  Really?  They've done a bang up job up until now, someone let me know when they will be effective.

The problem with the Patriot movement is that it it is stuck on stupid, looking for simple fixes to a complex problem.  No one has taken Artic Patriot/Pilgrim's challenge on coming up with a viable plan to deal with the population in America who live on the public dole.  Killing them all is a solution, but it is both simple and morally wrong.  I have devoted a lot of brain power to this problem, and the only thing I can come up with is to provide economic incentives to get off the dole.  And I can't do that without giving such huge tax benefits that we become functionally Sweden.

I've been looking at this problem for a few years, call it over a decade.  The problem isn't Taxes, or Liberty, or the Nanny State, or Dependency, or Education, or Culture, or media bias.  It is all of it together in a synergy of suck.

AP is correct about sliding morality.  But creating a moral people is an impossible task.  Sure it would solve all the problems, because moral people don't spend like immoral idiots or stick their noses into other peoples business, except to enforce the morality for the common good.  And enforcing morality for the common good is "Tyranny" and we are right back to where we started, no better off.  Accepting that people are selfish and short sighted is probably a smarter way to go about looking at humanity.

I've asked people about what they want, and the answers coming back are pretty vague.  Not something that I would want to plan a campaign around.  Remember the goal, "A free and democratic Iraq" from a few years back?  We accomplished that goal, but ended up with an Iraq that is just as hostile to American interests.  The goal did nothing to further our national interests.  The Patriot Movement needs goals that are relevant to short term success, that builds towards some ultimate long term end state.  We aren't done in Iraq, but we have much less control over our desired endstate than we did four years ago.

The other side has a goal.  The Democrats/Socialists/Progressives/Communists want a Nanny state that consolidates power.  And they are working towards that goal.  Even as the court system clarifies the Second Amendment rights, we know from the example of Europe and Russia that owning a gun is NOT a deterrent to tyranny or Nannies in general.

So what is the problem?  Or if you can't sum it up, what is the host of problems?  How are they connected?  What is the driving force behind the connections? 

If you can't think about that, think about what you want, and what would be the appropriate level of government to protect that. 

Americans want Socialism, because they have voted for it every time they voted for someone with a D after their name.  Americans even want the Republicans to be Socialist, just a more business friendly "Sweden" style socialist.  So the future of America, as I see it right now, is Socialist.  Is there any dissenting voice?  Is there any hope from the Tea party?  Ron Paul?

So, if you had to live in a Socialist state, what rights would you find critically essential?  Free speech?  Already gone, why do you think I blog anonymously?  Right to Keep and Bear Arms?  functionally dead, even with progress in the courts.  Your right to carry a firearm stops when a cop decides otherwise.  I'm sure there are good cops out there, but there aren't enough of you to make a spitwad worth of difference.  Right to be secure in your home, papers and effects?  Deader than Hoffa. 

Limited government is over, the Revolution was, and it is all over for the America that once was.  The Empire fell in 1929.  When did Rome fall?  It wasn't built in a day, nor did it fall in a day.  This is the decline of the Empire towards a dictatorship.

So that is where I see us, our current "Operational Environment" so to speak.  Given these conditions, what are the problems that we want to solve, or at least improve, and what do we not waste effort on?

We need to have this conversation, until we share a common understanding of the problem set, and everyone understands the solution set.  Remember, simple fixes on their own are wrong.  You need a lot of simple fixes to fix a complex problem.  The good news is that a lot of fixes are simple, the problem with simple is that it is always harder to implement than you think.

Problems

Sometimes my job causes me to fall off the world for a time, and recently it did.  A week of solid "staff olympics" turning a DIV level OPORD into a BDE OPORD.  Staff training is always hard to schedule because they all have daily jobs doing staff work, but when a unit can pull it off it is well worth the effort.  This is my second time through an iteration like this (the first time was as an E5 filling in for an O3 position) and despite all the pain associated with it I'm actually looking forward to doing it again in the future.

There is a whole discipline to "Problem Solving" in the military.  My first taste as a young NCO was the military ethical decision making process.  An ethical problem is when two deeply held beliefs collide (such as the need to protect prisoners verses the need to protect your battle buddy).  The problem solving process basically became, "define the points of conflict, brainstorm solutions, pick the solution that best serves the Army."  It was an effective mental tool to get small groups of Soldiers back on track.  3 special steps, that's all you need.

Later on as a new Lieutenant the Troop Leading Procedures were drilled down into my skull with no remorse by merciless TAC officers.  The TLP process is good for getting an Order, and turning it into reality.  Later still (closer to the present) I got a bunch of instruction on the Military Decision Making Process.  MDMP is a lot like the TLP process in that you are always handed a mission as a starting point.  Going from the NCO level to the BN Staff level went from 3 steps, to 8 steps at the Company, to 7 major steps of MDMP, with 18 substeps for COA analysis alone....  Things are supposed to get more thoroughly thought out the higher you go, and the planning/decision making processes associated with each level reflect that.

In the last few years the phrase "Army Design Methodology" has come about, been batted around enough to land into doctrine.  The idea is that sometimes Higher Headquarters will just lob a steaming pile of shit on your lap in the form of an OPORD and tell you, "Get on it."  This is when a subordinate commander, at whatever level (in full disclosure, my entire career has been at DIV level and lower so I really can't talk about echelons above reality) need to understand more than just what they were told to do.

For example, the recent decade of conflict in Southwest Asia has given us a unique perspective on exactly how many "right" and "wrong" answers there are to the mission, "Provide Security and Stability in X Province."  Sometimes the same answer was both right and wrong, only the province changed.

So that is why commanders are embracing "Design" as it has come to be known, not because it is a problem SOLVING tool, but a problem UNDERSTANDING tool.  Long before you can be effective at "Providing Security and Stability in X province" a Commander needs to understand WHY that steaming pile of shit has landed on his desk, is the lack of security due to; criminal activity, tribal conflicts, political manipulation, corruption of the local government, terrorist cells, a legitimate anti Coalition sentiment caused by an overly aggressive/abrasive previous unit, anger over promises not kept by an NGO, etc.

So the problem isn't to "Provide Security and Stability" the problem is really, "figure out why there is instability, and figure out how you can use the resources at your disposal to do something about it."  And the closer we get to the true nature of what Higher HQ really intended for us to do, the more actual understanding of the Operational Environment is required.  With perfect understanding we would have perfect wisdom to solve problems, however it is the job of the Commander to make decisive decisions in the absence of perfect understanding.

Anyone who knows about the initial invasion of Iraq (part II) knows that the "insurgency" didn't happen right away.  Things were quiet for about nine months.  What did we do, or didn't do, that changed all that?  Crazy to think about, but once the statues of Saddam had fallen and the bastard was in custody, why weren't we looking forward for the next step of warfare?  When the CENTCOM plans GEN Franks approved are finally declassified (if ever) I expect there will be some interesting reading.

So how does this apply to anything touching reality?  Simple.  Anything involving large amounts of land and people is inherently a "complex problem."  Complex problems do not have a single simple answer, although they will often have multiple simple answers that all need to be addressed (all of you who ever filled out a SWEAT assessment know what I'm talking about). 

The other lesson is that "all of us know more than any one of us."   And when it comes to achieving a desired endstate, you need even the "normally unimportant" to have a say about how they see the operational environment.  We adopted COIST cells as a best practice because even though they aren't trained Military Intelligence Soldiers, having a crew dedicated to taking a look at what is going on in your small slice of the pie is a huge benefit to being effective at your assigned mission. 

And lastly, a good Commander steers the boat around obstacles, even when it deviates from that straight line shot towards the desired endstate. 

04 December 2012

The Bible, The Law, and Faith.

ArticPatriot asked this question, A legalistic reading of the law?  A follow on comment told me to stick to tactics, that religion was over my head.  Sometimes you have to go full retard to make a point.  I thought I'd already gone full retard by showing scripture that supports what we consider immorality in modern society.  No, someone wants to have the conversation about Godly morality in accordance with the law, so we are going to go the full measure. Cue "Black Eyed Peas" Let's get retarded in here.

In the New Testament, we find the phrase, "in spirit and in truth" used frequently in the KJV.  We also see Jesus telling the Pharisees that there were as "whited tombs, clean on the outside but full of unclean death on the inside" (I paraphrase to get the point across).  It is important to know what the law, the Pharisees, and "in spirit and in truth" mean.

To understand, we must first understand Tanakh, Torah, and Talmud.  We must first understand the Pharisees and their doctrinal position.

The Torah is what we Christians generally refer to as "The Books of Moses" or Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers and Deuteronomy.  

The Tanakh is what we refer to as the "Old Testament" and when something seems contradictory to "Torah" in the minor prophets and histories, then "Torah" wins out.

The Talmud is the collection of discussions about the Torah and Tanakh.  Originally the Talmud was a verbal thing, but due to the various diaspora events suffered by the Jewish people, the Talmud was recorded, and bit by bit, line by line, the law was built.

This is the environment in which Christ came to walk with his people.  The Pharisees had taken God's laws, and placed additional rules before them just to be safe.  The verse, "don't boil a kid in its mother's milk" gradually became, "never serve meat and dairy in the same meal." 

The examples of this can go on and on, but this is what Jesus was referring to when he said that the Pharisees put grievous burdens on men, while not being burdened themselves.

So what is the purpose of the Law?  The purpose of the law is to condemn, to allow Satan, the accuser, to point to the law and say, "See here! this is the violation, and the just punishment is death!"

And that is why our Lord and Savior had to die, to fulfill the law. 

And once the law was fulfilled, what purpose does the Law have in someone bought and redeemed by Christ's shed blood?  We see Peter and Paul no longer keeping the dietary restrictions, yet we see Paul ensuring Timothy was circumcised?  Especially in the light that we read that the gentile believers have no need to be circumcised.  But let us take a look at what Jesus says about the Law and the Lawyers.

Matthew 23:
23 Then spake Jesus to the multitude, and to his disciples,
Saying The scribes and the Pharisees sit in Moses' seat:
All therefore whatsoever they bid you observe, that observe and do; but do not ye after their works: for they say, and do not.
For they bind heavy burdens and grievous to be borne, and lay them on men's shoulders; but they themselves will not move them with one of their fingers.
But all their works they do for to be seen of men: they make broad their phylacteries, and enlarge the borders of their garments,
And love the uppermost rooms at feasts, and the chief seats in the synagogues,
And greetings in the markets, and to be called of men, Rabbi, Rabbi.
But be not ye called Rabbi: for one is your Master, even Christ; and all ye are brethren.
And call no man your father upon the earth: for one is your Father, which is in heaven.
10 Neither be ye called masters: for one is your Master, even Christ.
11 But he that is greatest among you shall be your servant.
12 And whosoever shall exalt himself shall be abased; and he that shall humble himself shall be exalted.
13 But woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye shut up the kingdom of heaven against men: for ye neither go in yourselves, neither suffer ye them that are entering to go in.
14 Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye devour widows' houses, and for a pretence make long prayer: therefore ye shall receive the greater damnation.
15 Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye compass sea and land to make one proselyte, and when he is made, ye make him twofold more the child of hell than yourselves.

In the same Sermon Jesus taught his followers to obey the Pharisees, who taught the Law, but he taught that the becoming a Pharisee would make you a child of hell.  How can this be?  The Law does not save.  The Law condemns.  The Law is there to point to our imperfections and desperate need for a Savior.  The Law is uncompromising because we need Mercy from one who wrote the Law.


Legalism is death and damnation.  The righteousness of the law is nothing.  A living relationship with God is what is required for life.  The Bible is clear on this point.

John Chapter 4:
22 Ye worship ye know not what: we know what we worship: for salvation is of the Jews. 23 But the hour cometh, and now is, when the true worshippers shall worship the Father in spirit and in truth: for the Father seeketh such to worship him. 24 God is a Spirit: and they that worship him must worship him in spirit and in truth.

Notice that the law is not mentioned.

Galatians chapter 5.
22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, 23 Meekness, temperance: against such there is no law.

Paul was making the point that the law is always against something, prohibiting something.  The law is silent on the fruits of the spirit, because it has no power to stop anyone from a relationship with God through Christ.

James chapter 5
Be ye also patient; stablish your hearts: for the coming of the Lord draweth nigh. Grudge not one against another, brethren, lest ye be condemned: behold, the judge standeth before the door. 10 Take, my brethren, the prophets, who have spoken in the name of the Lord, for an example of suffering affliction, and of patience.

 John chapter 7

23 If a man on the sabbath day receive circumcision, that the law of Moses should not be broken; are ye angry at me, because I have made a man every whit whole on the sabbath day? 24 Judge not according to the appearance, but judge righteous judgment.

This is why I don't kill witches or stone adulterers.  Because Jesus didn't.  Jesus helped the possessed, offered forgiveness to the adulterers.  The law is harsh, mercy is outside the scope of the law.

 If you have the opportunity to save a sinners life, but don't do that because they are a sinner, is that righteous judgement?  If you have the opportunity to stand up for every persons right to find God as individuals, and you don't, is that righteous judgement?  If you want to sit in Moses' seat and argue the law, by all means that is your choice, but know that focusing on the Law is focusing on the trivial. 

Jesus is the law of life.  He is the law of mercy, and kindness, and doing good to those that do not deserve it.  And when we say that "I will not fight for your liberty, you immoral person" we are blaspheming against the Holy Spirit.  In essence that is passing judgement on another soul condemning them to death instead of allowing them more time to get to know God before the grave robs the of any more chances.

Where there is life there is hope, and our actions speak so much louder than our words.  If we are a cold, judgmental people, our faith is clearly dead.  If we accept people with their faults, show kindness, mercy, forgiveness, and are a living example of an imperfect person seeking perfection, that is faith proven by works.

03 December 2012

Chuck asks the 64,000 dollar question.

So Chuck left a comment saying I was self selecting to not be on his reading list anymore, and then asked this question. 
I'm wondering why someone who is so invested in the pro-diversity, feminist, LBGT rights, blah, blah, culture is in ANY way associated with patriot/liberty blogging.
And that is a really good question.  But first, let us highlight a few words.
I'm wondering why someone who is so invested in the pro-diversity, feminist, LBGT rights, blah, blah, culture is in ANY way associated with patriot/liberty blogging.
And once we take out the extraneous labels, Chuck answers his own question with this statement.
 Someone who is invested in rights is associated with liberty.
 The crux of the matter is that I just don't care about my own rights and liberty.  I care about yours, and the people you are free to despise, belittle, or marginalize as well.  Thomas Jefferson preferred the troubles of too much liberty than those troubles attendant to too little liberty.  Benjamin Franklin wisely noted to some of the most cantankerous men of his age that "Gentlemen, if we don't hang together, we shall surely hang separately."  The Founding Fathers allowed the racism of slavery to continue, and it wasn't a century before we fought the American Revolution, round Two, and liberty lost.  Had our founding fathers stood true to the idea of liberty, and "all men are created equal, with inalienable rights" we might have a different President in the White House right now.  Maybe someone more like Alan West, Condaleeza Rice, or Herman Cain.

I am a libertarian, which means fiscally conservative and socially permissive.  Liberty means that people get to do things that you don't approve of, no matter how much you believe that it is "degrading to the culture" or "weakening our society."

If our society is so fragile that it is threatened by two men kissing in public, then how can we call ourselves any better than the Wahaabists?  You know what changed me from a "Conservative" with "Conservative Christian Values"?  Seeing what a theocracy really looks like with my own eyes.  And it does not look like Liberty.  It does not look like freedom.  It looked like petty and cruel men gathering power for themselves and forcing their own version of morality on people who did not want or desire to be ruled.

02 December 2012

Integration and Segregation.

The Powers That Be, The PC Crowd, heck some comments are still aimed at The Jews as a source of nefarious intent to steer the glorious white culture astray.  A lot of comments have been made about how gender integration is being shoved down our throats.  Knowing a little history, having lived a little history, I think that I'm an unlikely champion of women's rights, but I think I've made my point several times now.

So at this point I'm just having fun.

jwoop66 left this little gem.

Just look at greater society. Next is Black soldier organizations within the military. Hispanic soldier organizations. Women soldier organizations. Gay soldiers alliance. No white soldier groups, we can't have racism in the ranks. Of course lets not forget "Foreign and Immigrant soldiers for intigration and excellence".
What, you mean like the 369th Harlem Hellfighters?  An all black unit sent to fight in "The Great War" and became the one of the most highly decorated American unit to serve in World War One?  Or maybe like the 442nd Regimental Combat Team, an Asian American unit that became the most highly decorated unit out of World War Two?

Here, lets take a look at the wikepedia blurb for the 442nd.

The 442nd Regimental Combat Team (Japanese: 第442連隊戦闘団) of the United States Army was a regimental size fighting unit composed almost entirely of American soldiers of Japanese descent who volunteered to fight in World War II even though their families were subject to internment. The 442nd, beginning in 1944, fought primarily in Europe during World War II.[2] The 442nd was a self-sufficient force, and fought with uncommon distinction in Italy, southern France, and Germany. The 442nd is considered to be the most decorated infantry regiment in the history of the United States Army. The 442nd was awarded eight Presidential Unit Citations and twenty-one of its members were awarded the Medal of Honor for World War II.[3] The 442nd Regimental Combat Team motto was, "Go for Broke".
And lest I forget my Hispanic brothers, the 65th Infantry Regiment.  How about a blurb about the 65th?
They proved themselves several times in drills against the best in the U.S. Army, they fired the first shot in World War I and they performed impressively during the Korean War playing a critical role by containing the Chinese advance and supporting the U.S. Marines in the aftermath of the Battle of Chosin Reservoir.
Those years in Korea proved to be difficult for the 65th Infantry as they were almost wiped out during a battle at Jackson Heights. Although facing elimination, discrimination, the harsh cold climate and a language barrier the Borinqueneers fought past all barriers and participated in nine major campaigns earning a Presidential Unit Citation, a Meritorious Unit Commendation and two Republic of Korea Unit Citations. Individuals earned ten Distinguished Service Crosses, 421 Silver Stars and 156 Bronze Stars. The regiment killed six thousand Communist soldiers and captured two thousand. They lost 600 brave men and over 3 thousand were injured.
In 1956 the Borinqueneers were deactivated making them the last segregated unit to be deactivated and the only unit to be transferred from an active Army to the Puerto Rico National Guard.
 And let us not forget our immigrant Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen, and Marines who have distinguished themselves in battle.
March 25 is National Medal of Honor Day, a date set aside each year to pay tribute to the recipients of our nation’s highest award for valor. Since the first Medals of Honor were presented during the Civil War, more than 700 recipients of the award have been immigrants who distinguished themselves by their gallantry during military action.
 Ok, so we've covered Black, Asians, Hispanics and Immigrants.  That leaves Homosexuals.  Believe it or not the Homosexuals have really just wanted to do their jobs and earn the same rights, respects and privileges as the rest of us.  Some came out of the closet as a political statement, which was a brave but potentially career ending move.

Wait, I almost forgot the women's organizations.  Yup, and we shouldn't forget Dr. Mary Walker either.

And now moving back to Aesop, who left this little gem of enlightenment.

If you want to stay on the "Because It's Better - Because SecDef/CoS Chose It - Because It's Better - Because SecDef/CoS Chose It" merry-go-round, enjoy the pony ride. For every Ranger Tab w/a star careerist slobbing Hillary Clinton's knob over this asinine anti-military social engineering, there's scores of folks from company grade down to E1 Beetle Bailey, who can and will regale you in detail and at length with why it hasn't worked, isn't working, and never will. So do you want to trust General Confusion, or your lying eyes?

Let's remember the same a-holes who instituted this policy were the same guys who didn't want to deploy armor and AC-130s to Somalia because it might upset the warlords. I'm sure they only had the military's best interests at heart then too. Sh'yeah, and monkeys fly outta my butt.

Relax. Some of them are female monkeys, and they fly better than the males.
Remember folks, the plural of "anecdote" is not "data."   And in a 3 million person fighting force, "scores of folks from company grade down" isn't exactly even scratching the tip of the iceberg.  Score points for bringing Hillary in, although I have no clue what the former First Lady/SecState has anything to do with DOD policy.  I guess Hillary is the boogeyman used to scare bad little knee jerk reaction conservatives to go to bed on time.

Oh, and those AC-130's?   Let's just say that I have no problems with a woman providing fire support with a minigun.

If you don't like policy, by all means elect someone else.  It isn't like the Republicans tried to roll back integration (that would be the Democrats who tried to block racial integration of the military).  If you can convince enough people that your ideas are worth implementing, then GO for it Aesop.  Otherwise get back to yelling at kids to get off your lawn.

Like I wrote before, if women are a drag on efficiency, the problem will sort itself out.  If they aren't, then they are here to stay. 

Obviously you can't see or daren't say that there isn't any job a guy can't do, but no number of jobs a woman can't do in the military without being more trouble than simply choosing not bringing her along in the first place.
 Please explain how a man can serve on a Female Engagement Team, Aesop?  Quit talking out your ass and realize that COIN isn't going away, and we need women to conduct COIN ops in a culture where there are serious taboos about foreign males having access to local females.  Educate yourself.