Thursday, September 30, 2010
This is the sort of thing that you find at MDM. I have no idea what it's called, but I love it none the less:
If oiled walnut and leather slings get you hot under the collar, then a good three quarters of the stuff here won't interest you. I get feint just talking to the Raytheon reps while they gleefully point out every inner working of a Javelin missile, if that tells you anything. "You guys are soooo coooool! Quick, sign my boobs!"
Well, maybe not that excited.
All pictures here are clickable, btw. The one item I meant to bring and forgot was a camera, so my Samsung Galaxy S camera sufficed.
When you first walk in, Whammo, there it is, FN SCARS all up in yo' face, love it. Here are the SCAR 16s and 17s in all their Flat Dark Earth beauty:
These rifles are all well worn from countless trade shows. Also, they're extremely light for their size. Of all of the 5.56 and 7.62 rifles on the floor here, the SCARs are by far the lightest.
Here is FNs HAMR/IAR (Infantry Automatic Rifle), a rifle that everybody and their brother is trying to build to meet a Marine Corps requirement:
Nice rifle, but count me in the 'not a big fan of non-belt fed automatic rifles' crowd. An automatic rifleman should have a weapon with linked ammo in rolls of at least 100 rounds, not some magazine fed abomination with a heavy barrel spec'd to requirements written to reach around the overly complicated acquisition process. Bitter, am I.
This beasty is the coolest rifle that I have ever seen. I must own one.
My heart skipped lots of beats when I picked up the FN SSR (Sniper Support Rifle). It weighs 2.4 metric tons, but I forgive it. I lovingly fondled every inch of it's ample, anodized Dark Earth receiver, and breathlessly noted how well it brought out the color in that parkerized suppressor. And what better scope to crown it's rail with than a Schmidt und Bender! I could give a damn how much it costs; I will own one. I'm sure the two feet of suppressor added to the weight, but either way, a .308 semi auto rifle with a match barrel will be heavy. What's cool about this rifle though is that the trigger can be set to be either single or two-stage. Neat-oh!
The venue was very crowded, so I didn't get to talk to everyone that I wanted to. I did want to talk to a FN rep about SOCOM dropping the SCAR 16, so I bypassed the FN gurus who were hawking the 16s and instead went over and asked the rep standing by the latest M240. He gave me a half smile and a "I saw what you did there" look, but still seemed prepared for that question. His response was that for what he has been told, SOCOM favors the SCAR 17, and is not dropping the 16 as much as they are buying less of them, and a corresponding number more of the 17s. Good parry sir!
I arrived at the MDM with good company, and I didn't want to drag my fellow coworker to every booth, so I fixated only on the gun and optic booths. Besides, you could easily spend a full day here and only see half of the vendors, so it's best to narrow your approach.
Smith and Wesson has started coating their M&P15Ts in all the fashionable colors, as this Desert Tan model shows:
Do note the Magpul stock, grip, trigger guard, and rail covers.
Up next, I stopped by the Metal Storm booth and checked out the MAUL (don't know what it stands for), a very lightweight folding stock shotgun:
It fires from 5 shot tubes, and can use different forms of ammo.
Here's a video showing the distinct lack of recoil. This thing is very small and light, and fires five shots basically semi auto and recoil free. It feels substantial and not cheaply made, but is just over a pound and a half in weight. To reload or change ammo types, twist the barrel out and slide in a new tube of rounds, and then replace. The process is way faster than jamming individual hulled shotgun shells into a magazine tube. Slick!
I stopped at the Remington booth when I saw the MSR rifle in all its aluminum glory, and my knees started knocking:
I didn't get to pick it up as the table was swarmed, but the barrels look heavy, and I'm sure that makes the rifle a beast, too. I do like how the stock folds against the receiver, locking the bolt handle down. I bet that's a handy feature when jumping out of a plane with that thing strapped to your pack. I did pick up the ACR, and it's very heavy as well. Nicely made, mind you, but heavier than a SCAR. I guess the Marines don't care for lighter loads these days, but bigger arms. I really dig that little suppressor.
Also, you may recall that Remington is back in the 1911 buisiness with their R1, but I got to handle their all steel tactical version that sports a bolt on 1913 rail, lanyard loop, and no-see-um coating. The 90 degree slide cuts are terribly aggressive in an awesome sort of way, to the point where if you ran the gun dry knocking down commies, you could easily abrade them to death with the slide. Of course they may stop attacking you at the mere sight of the awesomeness, and will probably switch sides so they can be issued one! I don't know what they're calling it, as it's not on their website and I didn't get to ask, but if you look in the ACR picture above you will see a stainless model with a suppressor. Here's the goods:
If you are not active duty, or not in uniform, some of the vendors won't give you the time of day. A lot of the people at this show are loosely affiliated with industry, and are just trying to bilk pens, posters, and beer coosies from the tables. Since I still have short hair, and clean cut, and rock more T.A.D. than Chris Costa, most of the guys at the tables will talk to me, especially since I'm a gear dork and follow industry trends, and also because I lead with a well planned question that shows that I'm not a schmoe.
This tactic worked well for me at Trijicon's booth, as I asked the fellers' there if the big-ass TA648-50 ACOG sitting on top of a Mah-Duece was the same type issued to the Brits with their sweet LMT LM308MWSE. They gave me an astonished look, and without a word we then did the secret handshake that only CIA special warfare operatahs and gun dorks know. I was in! They then showed me the RMR which would be great on an AR. What I like about Trijicon optics is the general lack of batteries, but a nice lit reticle. Trijicon uses tritium, fiber optic, and who knows what other kinds of sorcery to make their reticles glow oh-so-beautifully. Their BDC reticles are to die for.
At the Leupold booth were stacks of rubber rifles fitted with their latest wares, which included the Deltapoint that I wanted to see very badly, but didn't, and the CQBSS which at 1-8 variable power is the holy grail of tactical scopes.
It features a Horus or Horus-like reticle, making me a big fan, and like a $4,000 dollar price tag, which makes me sad. What I thought was great about this scope was that the exposed tactical turrets have a squeeze ring on the top which you have to compress in order to turn the turret. This lets you have exposed turrets without worrying that your gear will twist you off your zero, but lets you quickly make adjustments. It's really very clever. Leupold also sports one of the best warranties in the business, with customer service to match, probably because they have been making scopes for so long, when Alexander the Great went through sniper school, he was issued a VX II. No lie.
At the Colt booth, I got a picture of their version of the IAR, which again the concept is an abomination:
They also have a new AR rifle with a folding - yes, you read that right - folding stock that also has a buffer tube. Nothing clever with springs running through the receiver.
What will they think of next?
Probably the star of my day was the Larue OBR 5.56 (Optimized Battle Rifle). I pestered the Larue rep for some answers, like how to get that free float tube, which he promptly pointed out was bolted to the upper receiver, and not the barrel nut like all the other rifle makers. So I then naturally asked how much a Larue upper was with the FFT, and he told me that I had to buy the whole rifle. That smarted a bit as I already have an upper and lower for a build, and he told me to sell it and buy a Larue OBR! I will have to do just that.
The rail on the Larue OBR is a work of art. It has everything you need and absolutely nothing you don't. Most FFTs for AR rifles are bristling with 1913 rails, and if you don't know what that means, picture the front stock of your Marlin carbine as being two 2X4's covered with rusted staples. Thick, rough, and uncomfortable, AR rail systems get covered with plastic rail covers that make them like stupid huge. The Larue rail is very svelte, and feels awesome in the hand. You can bolt on exactly as much rail as needed wherever your heart desires so that you can still bolt on that IR lazer that you will never use. The guy behind the table says that he designed and machined the rail and upper, and I can tell he is proud of his work. He should be, as that rifle is excellent. I want one.
He also gave me a Dillo, which Larue usually gives out when you order something from them, but know that if you already have one, mine is more awesomer than yours because it has Modern Day Marine 2010 emblazoned on it! Read it and weep!
Magpul was there giving out free magazines, posters, and cool catalogs. Talking about their next generation of BUIS sights, I accidentally ended the rep's conversation with a rather large and irritated Marine who looked like he wanted to stab me in the face with a folding chair. Sorry about that, hoss! The sights will be on the shelf in a month or so, and are a bit lower in profile than the current generation.
Stopping by the Beretta Defence booth, I got to handle the ARX160. Super light weight with flip up sights and a folding, retractable stock. I wish I could shoot it, as I don't know anything about it. She shore is purdy, pawwwwww:
Also, this rifle is what brought me to a screaching halt. It's the Sako TRG 22 folding stock with Integrated Tactical Rail System, with the TRG 44 in .338 LPM behind it wearing a gorgeous Steiner riflescope which I can't find any information on.
I believe the TRG 22's barrel to be 18", with a 20" option offered. It's very heavy. I refrained from dry firing it, as I don't know how the reps would like me dropping the hammer on a $4,500 rifle. While I was holding the 22, a JROTC cadet weighing in at about 75 lbs snatched up the suppressed 42 and tried to shoulder it. "Whoa is this thing heavy!" he said before just about dropping it. Eat your wheaties, laddie.
LWRC International had a table there, and I struck up a conversation with the rep there over the M6A2 Tricon.
That superbly spiral fluted barrel gives some ridgidity (is that a word?) to the barrel that helps keep accuracy when the barrel gets good and hot, like when your blasting away at the hordes of skinnies trying to overtake your LP/OP and you need to take a last second eyeball shot to save your wounded agent friend. Also, they have some unique rail covers that are not like other covers, so your rails don't feel like you glued luan across them. Good stuff.
The last bit I have for you is a couple of picks from the Knight's Armament table. I wanted to handle the SR25EMC with suppressor, but instead got to handle the PDW, which is frickin' amazing.
The full sized skeleton stock folds flat as can be against the little receiver, which looks just like an AR/M16 receiver, but smaller. This thing just might be the next best thing in concealed carry; no banger is gonna out gun you when you draw this! Reach for the sky, scumbag!
I wanted to know though about the SR25EMC barrel, and if its chrome-lined, dimple-fluted sub-MOA deliciousness was gonna be available to the grass eating public for three gun competition, hunting, or Blackhawk Down reanactment, but the rep gave me the "Knight's doesn't sell to non-operators" vibe, and said that they only offer the rifle as built, for about $5,700. Too bad.
I don't have any pictures, but I stopped by both the Mystery Ranch booth to look at their Crew Cab pack which I will be buying in sweet Multi-Cam goodness very soon, and Vortex optics to check out their gear. The Mystery Ranch folks were great, and sold me on their product. I've been looking at packs for awhile now, and had the Crew Cab on my list, but after they let me molest the pack for a few minutes I got hooked. As for Vortex, the vendor that I talked to was excellent, and may have sold me on one of their 1-4 variables, like the PST.
My only gripe with optics these days, from all manufacturers, especially the short variables, is everybody is on this First Focal Plane craze, wherein you're scope sux if it's not FFP. I have a FFP scope, and it's great for ranging stuff at long distance, I just don't see the point if you're not going to be shooting at 1,000+ yards. Who's going to want to range a 600ish yard tango on 1 power? It doesn't make sense. So anyways, everything just HAS to be FFP, so what you end up with is a 1-4x25 scope with this teensy weensy reticle that you can't see until you zoom in, so to compensate for it on 1 power they make a gigantic ring in the reticle for you to be able to CQB with all your airsoft buddies. Just stick with SFP unless you make your living shooting bad guys at 1,500 yards or more. Leave the OMFGCIADELTA!!!!11@ FFP stuff for the snipers.
I had a great time at the convention. If I had my way, I could have easily wandered about for the whole day, or even two. There are lots of force protection vendors, as well as body armor, holsters, knives, explosives, armored vehicles, UAVs, you name it. The UAE even had some of their Special Forces Soldiers there to hang out with and drink tea. At least I think it was tea. Maybe I should have stopped there.
Wednesday, September 29, 2010
What hopes do our Navy's warships and carriers have against such an advanced threat? US Sailors across the globe are terrified. . . . .
. . . . . .to miss the opportunity to shoot down one of those slow ass caveman planes with whatever kick ass weapons the ship is outfitted with!
I can only imagine the scene of hundreds of Sailors onboard ship tripping over one another to get to one of those twin 20mm machine guns to cut loose on a sortie of Iranian stealth swamp boats! It would be madness!
Nowhere is this concept more tauted than in DC. The problem with it? How about this story:
As the funeral for 21-year-old Ashley McRae at Walker Memorial Baptist Church in the 2000 block of 13th Street let out and cars lined up for the funeral procession, shots rang out, Collins reported.Just to make it abundantly clear what happened yesterday: at a funeral for a girl shot to death over a simple domestic dispute, gang bangers attending the funeral taunted one another to the point where they decided it was best to not let the funeral procession even get to the location to put the first shooting victim in the ground; no, it was best to get into a vehicular firefight on a busy street and flip cars and kill one another.
People were getting into a car, presumably to join the funeral procession, when shots were fired at that car, D.C. Police Chief Cathy Lanier said.
Two cars sped onto U Street where more shots were fired. One car flipped onto its roof, and another crashed into a truck. The incident ended at 11th and U streets.
The Wild West is so yesterday folks. We're talking new age stuff now -- the Wild East. Obviously what is needed here isn't a change in the violent culture that nobody wants to talk about, but some new laws. Because nothing shows you're dead serious about keeping the peace like some fresh ink on the books at City Hall:
"We are absolutely fed up with this madness, which is present today, but it has been present before," said Graham, who returned from vacation when he heard about the shooting. "And we need new legal remedies."Mmmmmm, yeah. I feel it now. Give me those legal remedies! Every DC citizen should post them on their door to show those pesky gang bangers that shooting up a funeral or terrorizing a neighborhood can land you a
Hey jackass!! Something tells me that "Mess with the best and serve like the rest!!!" doesn't quite send the hardcore message that you intended. So I can get this straight, in my head, you're suggesting that the laws barring criminals from murdering, attempting to murder, discharging firearms in the streets, shooting from a moving vehicle, etc., are not strong enough legal remedies? More are needed? Like what, exactly? Shooting from a Vehicle in the First Degree?
That's what the revolving door of DC's justice system reeeeeeally needs! MORE HINGES!!
"This resulted from a taunting," said Councilman Jim Graham. "This was a taunting at a funeral! And we have this kind of a serious consequence as a result.We need some seriously worded stuff here, like Class A Felony Taunting While Attending a Funeral. There's no time to lose!
"The young girl whose funeral was held today, she's dead because she was talking to somebody other than her boyfriend at a club. This is the level that we're dealing with right now in terms of the madness and insanity that permeates these activities."
"It's a continuation of a pattern of violence in this city that's gone on too long," Weaver said.
Why oh why somebody, anybody, is not bringing up the fact that there is a cultural problem that very well may be the key to the front door of the violence problem. But let's not get into that! It's TOO HARD!
There is another way, and that's to stop letting the gang bangers out of prison like six frickin' times, giving them the chance to wreak havoc. Compare and contrast the outcomes of the justice systems separated by that muddy water and tell me what works. How about instead of giving a convicted violent felon the benefit of the doubt, you try giving him three times the maximum sentence. Scumbags who are behind bars have a hard time shooting up city streets and flipping SUVs, so I hear.
Tuesday, September 28, 2010
A man who nearly killed his wife and himself during a brutal domestic situation last year was ordered yesterday to spend 30 years in prison.His first offense, and hopefully his last. That's how you do it. Reading the article, hearing what he did to that woman, makes me sick in my stomach.
Kim Randall Munson, 56, was sentenced to life in prison with all but 30 years suspended.
His wife, Anne Marie Starr-Munson, was bashed repeatedly in the head with a 71/2-pound rock and suffered severe brain damage.
If he lives to see life outside of bars, he will be too feeble to hurt anyone else, and I'm totally cool with that.
Thank you Judge Beck.
Monday, September 27, 2010
Oh yeah, but the other 30% of the guns traced were not perfectly distributed amongst the 57 states, so there's cause for alarm. You know, I haven't had the time to read through the entire study, but something tells me that there's a bunch more under whelming stuff in there. I'll get right on top of it.
Friday, September 24, 2010
Today I found an older video from Afghanistan that captures a mortar attack on a US FOB. **NSFW -- Language**
Mortar attacks in Afghanistan and Iraq on FOBs were sometimes a day to day occurance, and one never forgets that sound of those incoming rounds.
On Camp Ramadi, there was this supposed early warning system that would broadcast "INCOMING INCOMING INCOMING" across the whole place via loud speaker in what was perhaps the most terrified voice imaginable. 99% of the time it would be a false call, and often a mortar or rocket would impact on the facility moments after the "ALL CLEAR" signal was given. I would joke that you were never safer than when the INCOMING call was sounded.
Now, pray for our troops.
Update: This video has the scary man INCOMING voice right before a mortar impact.
I went over to the Fenix side when I saw the little pocket monsters that they produced were around $50 or so, put out close to 200 lumens, and had other functions. It seems that Surefire noticed the competition, and upped their bar a bit. Good. I couldn't see spending $200 on another anodized aluminum light with one function and 65 lumens, when I could get something more compact and bad ass.
Thursday, September 23, 2010
Connecticut's medical examiner, Wayne Carver, described a painful and panic-stricken smoke inhalation death likely suffered by Michaela. He said her death likely took several minutes, as soot in her lungs and air passages showed she breathed smoke after the men set fire to her home.This article gets much, much worse. I have tears welling up in my eyes.
I will help point out some of the problems of why the family was raped and burned alive in Connecticut. Here's one:
Buglione testified that he interviewed Hayes the day of the crime and that an emotionless Hayes, who smelled of gasoline, told him in detail what happened at the home in Cheshire, an affluent community in suburban New Haven. He testified Hayes, a paroled burglar, said he was financially desperate at the time.That's one. But another:
The detective said Hayes and his co-defendant, Joshua Komisarjevsky, who had met 18 months prior at a halfway house where they had attended alcohol and drug abuse meetings, hatched a plan to rob a home.Two young cons out on parole, courtesy of a lenient justice system, slaughter the better part of a family while joyriding.
Sorry Lord, but I could not forgive these men if I were that father. If these monsters had done this to my family, their debt to me would be paid with nothing less then their life.
WASHINGTON – Drugmaker Abbott Laboratories said Wednesday it is recalling millions of containers of its best-selling Similac infant formula that may be contaminated with insect parts.Can't have your special boy sucking a beetle through that imitation nipple, now can we. Funny though, once he gets old enough to walk, he'll be crunching on tasty beetles in the back yard for years to come. After that gets old, there's always crayons!
Hey Similac, while you're at it, how about coloring those scoops?
Wednesday, September 22, 2010
I don't know the details from this video, or where it took place. The bad guys like to film their work, and sometimes they get smoke checked before they can collect the footage and our Soldiers and Marines find the camera.
I have been on the receiving end of 155mm fire before, due to very close proximity to an impact area that had some short rounds land on the edge of our sleeping area. That is a terrifying sound and feeling that I will never ever forget! I've also been at the receiving end of some insurgent rocket and morter fire, which was scary for sure, but just does not compare to those one-five-fives!
Right off the bat, hearing that Birmingham is treating this like the war on drugs was a bit unsettling, but hearing that 95% of the people that find their way into this court are on drugs can be telling.
Then again, what constitutes a positive drug test? Popping positive for pseudoepedrine or something similar doesn't count in my book, but there is often no rhyme or reason on how a court sets the bar for that sort of thing.
The concept is to not ruin someone's life over the carrying of a firearm, which I can agree with as long as that individual is not some violent scumbag. That seems to be the whole thing. There is one fellow quoted in this article that sounds like he might not fit the profile of what the court is looking for; that being "19- to 23-year-olds who carry a gun because they think it looks cool."
OK, so younger men and women who are looking to get into trouble, hanging out with the wrong crowd, getting arrested on a non violent drug charge or shoplifting and looky-here-they-have-a-gun. They drew attention to themselves by acting irresponsibly, they're young, and they were carrying a gun. I don't necessarily disagree with that at all; but as sure as the sun rises, some poor guy who doesn't fit the narrative will get hung up in the cogs of this machine, and what then? In a perfect world, the judge would be able to tell that these individuals are not trouble prone, and were not trying to impress their friends. But gun laws are hardly clear, and you can't just run everyone who violates every arbitrary law through a gauntlet of drug testing, anger management counseling, weekly spot checks and such. That's what sounds like will happen though, which may be the gripe of the afore mentioned fellow who ended up in that court:
Project ICE detectives screen every gun seized by officers in the city. Those that don't rise to the level of federal prosecution -- such as carrying a pistol without a license or presenting a firearm -- are referred to Gun Court.Doesn't it sound like every gun "crime" gets scrutiny? That alone is pretty scary, as gun laws are written to be arbitrary so as to catch as many people as possible. I would be pissed to get hit by some bored cop on some sort of technicality concerning the carry of a gun, and then end up in this court. Fortunately, it seems like the successful navigation of the hoops that they want you to jump through give you a clean bill of record, which is far better than what tends to happen right now.
I have to agree with this particular line of thinking from a Birmingham police Sgt:
"There is a responsibility in carrying a gun," said Birmingham police Sgt. Ron Sellers, who oversees the police department's role in the program. "If you choose not to be a responsible person, then we are going to teach you there are consequences to your action."Fair enough. Those who do not control themselves will be controlled - a maxim of law. Let's just hope that this doesn't end up as a way to control people who do not need controlling.
I am a skeptic, and will forever be one, but right at the moment there seems to be an all or nothing approach to gun laws. Get hit on violating one, and it's your ass. This is at least an attempt to find middle ground and not ruin someone's life with a felony for a victimless non-violent crime. It's all on the system now to not screw it up.
There is definitely a "don't try this at home" warning associated with this advanced technique, as the security guard aptly demonstrated.
I will have to seek out some outside-the-box uses for guns for future posts.
If the RCMP were truly able to run the program for $4-million, the management of all government departments should probably be turned over to the Mounties. Until then, the program that has cost roughly 500 times more than promised should be held to a very high standard of proof of its worth.Ouch!
The article goes on to say that the registry is baaaah-ah-ah-ah-ah-d, and ineffective, with given examples, but then goes on to say that licensing gun owners is good to go. That just doesn't compute.
At least the tide seems to be turning in Canada.
Tuesday, September 21, 2010
For anyone who wanted to know whether a kevlar hemet is actually bullet proof, it isn't, but it can still deflect enough to keep a bullet from hitting gooey stuff.
The AUS8 steel in this knife may not qualify as a super steel, but it's just stupid how sharp it gets. When I say I can get it shaving sharp, I mean that I could lather my face up and get a clean shave with it. I just can't do that with a Microtech.
A couple of years ago my brother-in-law was on the hunt for the perfect beater knife. His requirements were for high quality, decent price, and for a knife that could take not only a savage beating, but years of harsh neglect. I steered him towards the Recon 1 at a local gunshow, and the knife exceeded his expectations and mine, to the point (feel my pun!) where I bought one myself.
It has been, by far, the best EDC pocket knife I've ever owned.
As an aspiring knife collector, I have all kinds of knives that I can carry for EDC, and the quality of this knife is very high for what you pay. My Benchmade Rukus has a better fit and finish, and has a heavier super steel blade, but the Recon 1 is 85% of that knife for almost a fifth of the price. I am more likely to use the $75 Recon 1 in a manner that it was not intended than a $250 Benchmade, regardless if it can stand up or not.
To give you an example, the blade of the Recon 1 came with some sort of black coating, but one day at work the foreign made can opener in the break room shit the bed, and I didn't hesitate for a minute to use my knife to open that can of Ravioli. The can scratched off some of the coating on the blade, so I just removed the rest of it so that it didn't look so trashy. I don't use it as a pry bar, but I'll put it to harsh use when I need to.
Would you pull out your $300 Tactical Tommy Night Ninja auto, complete with glass breaker and tourniquet hidden in the skateboard taped handle, and jam it matte side down into a can of pork n' beans? What, don't want to risk tearing up the finish? Yeah, me neither. It's just not a problem though with the Recon 1.
As for the baby Glock, I highly recommend the Infidel holster from Comp-Tac. I simply must have one for every gun that I own, as it's very convenient to be able to don or doff my blaster with the least amount of effort. It stays put and doesn't come off with a draw, and at like $70 it's affordable. You should get one.
I've been sticking with the convenient carry arrangement for the last couple of these posts, as the small-and-light gun/knife combo really works. For my next post, I'm gonna have to change gears.
I've picked through this article and its sources a bit, and I note that there is a glaring error, among others, from one part to the next part to the next.
In elementary school, this phenomenon was demonstrated to me and my class in the game called Telephone; whereas the teacher whispers instructions in the form of a couple of sentences in a student's ear, and then that student whispers it into another student's ear, and so on and so forth until the message makes it all the way through the class. The last student to hear the message speaks it out loud, which always ends up making the class roar with laughter as the message is butchered out of proportion to what the teacher initially had said. This game is a great demonstration of the human factor, which is the element of error applied in a situation from a well intentioned but error prone human.
Back to the article, let me show you where the human factor has skewed the facts from what was originally a statement made by Mexican President Felipe Calderon.
Sayeth the above linked article:
"One recently released study by the Woodrow Wilson Center and the Trans-Border Institute at the University of San Diego found that out of 75,000 firearms confiscated by Mexican authorities in the last three years, 60,000 of them — or 80 percent — had come from the U.S."To start with, I went to the Woodrow Wilson Center's website and browsed through their material to find the particular study that claims this; something you would expect National Investigative Correspondent Michael Isikoff to have done, considering he quoted them. Turns out that he did in fact quote them, though not word for word:
"According to information provided by the Mexican government, which has received training from ATF on identifying firearms, U.S.-origin firearms account for the vast majority of firearms seized in Mexico over the last few years. In May 2010, for example, President Calderon said that of the 75,000 firearms Mexico has seized in the last three years an estimated 80 percent or 60,000 firearms came from the United States." - U.S. Firearms Trafficking to Mexico: New Data and Insights Illuminate Key Trends and Challenges
Not the same, but close; Isikoff didn't skew the facts though. So now the question remains: did Felipe Calderon say that? I don't have an degree in investigative journalism, so it was incredibly hard for me to click the link cited in that study to find the news article with the quote.
Here's what Calderon actually said:
"Calderón said his government had seized 75,000 guns in Mexico in a three-year period and found that 80 percent of those whose origin could be traced were bought in the United States."See that? "Whose origin could be traced." So we went from "80% were bought in the US" to "80% whose origin could be traced were bought in the US." That is not insignificant. What has happend here is that the authors of the study saw '75,000' and '80 percent', and they did some quick math and ran with that, instead of taking in what was actually said.
The difference is that of the alleged 75,000 guns confiscated in three years, not all of them were submitted for tracing to the ATF. If Mexican authorities had confiscated a hundred weapons from a drug bust, and fifty of them were full auto AK-47s with Russian and Chinese emblems stamped all over the receiver, twenty were RPGs and 40mm grenades, and the rest were AR-15 or M16 rifles, than why would they bother handing the whole lot over to the ATF when it's obvious that some of them didn't come from the US? The AR/M16 rifles and the 40mm grenades would be handed over to the ATF, as it's well known where they probably came from.
But that doesn't mean that they were purchased by the cartels from a gun store in the US, nor does it mean that they were all made there. What Calderon essentially said was that out of, say, 100 AR-15 or M-16 rifles confiscated, that 80 of those rifles originated in the US. Not surprising is that that family of rifles are generally - not always - but generally, made in the US of A, so no duh that they would be traceable back here. If I were an ATF agent and a Mexican Army Captain handed me a truck full of worn full-auto Galils and RPGs for tracing, I'd think he was a moron. They aren't manufactured in the US, and are not readily available. I would instead tell that Captain to submit them to an agent for the country where those weapons were made. It's common sense.
Back to the article, I found this little tidbit interesting:
"The report also faults a timid investigative strategy by ATF that concentrates on low level “straw purchasers” of illegal firearms rather than high level weapons trafficking organizations."You don't say? Well, that makes sense too. Busting an element of a major cartel takes lots of time, effort, and danger, I would imagine. Monthly low risk busts would look great on the resume', and you have way less chance of getting into a Blackhawk down type shootout if you call in the SWAT team on Bubba John's trailer at 3am. I mean, who doesn't fear the Reaper, right?
I found lots more stuff that doesn't make the papers because it would be bad for the Mexican Drug Farce meme. It's not hard to find. One would think that an "authorized journalist" would take the ten minutes out of his morning and track down the quote that is the main thrust of his article.
But that's just not how humans roll.
The class is laughing now, so perhaps you reporter-like critters should use some sort of editorial oversight or something to cut down on the human factor.
Monday, September 20, 2010
Saturday was the best day. I ended up at my sister's house to test fire the 308 to make sure that I had properly re-assembled the gun. I picked up another 4' plastic folding table from Home Despot, as they are actually stable enough to shoot off of. With a Caldwell shooting bag up front, and several Brownells shooting bags under the deadly pistol grip and buttstock, I had the most stable shooting rest that I've had in years. The range was 119 yards from the muzzle.
I achieved what I was looking for, in that I have determined that 168 grain Federal Gold Medal Match are not the bee's knees for my gun, and that my earlier handloads of 165 grain Sierra Game Kings on top of 43.4 grains of Reloader 15 are good shooters, but a little slow for my tastes. All I was asking for was some consistency, and I got that. As usual, time ran out and I had to pack it up.
Time is my mortal enemy; when I die I'm going to track down Father Time and kick his punk ass for leaving me perpetually short all these years. The bastard.
Here's the work that I got done:
The shot in the center of the paper was to see where I was at after taking the gun apart two weeks ago. Two inches low is not bad considering I had removed the scope and barrel entirely, and then put it all back together again. Gotta love ARs! With a quick scope adjustment, the next three rounds went into the top center target, which verifies why you should never take a three shot group as the absolute truth. That little bughole group looks great and all, until you see the two five round groups bracketing it on the left and right at the top. Those are the 168g FGMM. I think I pulled the extreme right shot on the right target; this ammo shoots better than that.
The lower five shot group on the right were my handloads, and I wasn't at all impressed with it, so I decided to shoot a ten shot group, which is on the left. The one shot furthest to the left was my fault, as I was riding the sear and let that shot go before I had paused my breathing. All in all, even taking in the pulled shot, the group measured 1.7" which is a little outside of MOA. Ten shot groups tell a better tale.
Sunday was not a good day at the range. Father Time had me on a shorter string, and the worst of it was that I had not eaten the first thing all day, and during my afternoon session my hands were shaking so bad I doubt I could have fed myself with a fork. My groups reflected this:
Crappy cell phone pick tells the tale; five shot group in lower right target (not the three targets at the bottom that you can only see half of) are FGMM, consistently inconsistent, which is what I wanted to know. All of those random shot holes along the bottom are my wheel-weight cast, handloaded 102 grain LRN .380 acp fired from 15 yards off hand. I have not yet pulled the velocity data off my chronograph from those because of the aforementioned problem with that prick Father Time, but they didn't blow the gun up, and they all hit pointy side first. All is well with those for right now, and I'll have more information on them soon I hope.
What is astounding to me is the five shot group in the center, and the eight shot group at the top left. Those are 150 grain factory Remington Cor-Lokt that I keep buying because they're cheap, and I use them to foul the bore before shooting expensive match ammo or carefully loaded hand loads. They have astonished me before. During the top left group, my hands were shaking terribly, which is why they are strung out horizontally -- and they were fired last, hastily as I was out of time, and while the barrel was already too hot to touch from firing the FGMM . The vertical dispersion is telling, as is that five shot group. I went ahead and dialed the scope in on those; time to buy a few more boxes of em'.
Guns have personalities like people, and it makes sense that this rifle would tell me that it likes something in particular. Those Remingtons are crimped along a cannelure, which I strongly believe is why they are so consistent in this auto-loading rifle. The feeding cycle is way more violent in an AR than with a bolt gun, and in non-crimped ammo like the FGMM, I have found that the bullet jumps forward from the inertia of feeding, which makes it inconsistent. Also, I have gotten more consistent accuracy in the past from flat based bullets like the Cor-Lokt over boat tailed bullets. Too bad the B.C. on flat based bullets suck; I won't be shooting 1,000 yard matches with them for sure, but they should work great for 500 yards and closer.
I'm pretty happy with the results. I have to do more shooting with the Remingtons to make sure that I can live with them, and also to get velocity data for a drop chart. Looking over past targets and data shows them to be really solid performers, which is funny to me because I have always hated Remington ammo of any kind. In my youth, if a rifle or shotgun was going to jam from ammo, or was going to shoot horribly, it was always, always with Remington ammo. I've gotten these rounds for as little as $11 a box, so it's win win for me apparently!
Look out Bambi, here I come!
The huntress demonstrated the utility of her knife when the gator wasn't feeling the power of whatever .22 caliber weapon she first used. Good for her.
Also, browse the comments for a chuckle. I found this one to be the best, from commenter Ryan:
Some of you people are fricken nuts. You live in your little condos in the city eating tofu and drinking lattes and buy your mexican raised meat from your local grocer. What's the point in arguing with people who think Obama is a great president. I'm going to bed so I can get up in the morning, drop my daughter off at school and go shoot a deer with my bow and arrow. Afterall, it helps feed my family for nearly a year.Well said!
Update: More reading in the comments reveals the reason for the .22:
Attention city people with big mouths and no knowledge of gator hunting.
It is illegal to hunt alligator with anything other than a 22. Its dangerous to shoot into the water at close range with anything that has more power. The reason for the poor weight/meat ratio is because it is the tail of the gator that is eaten, not the body which holds the bulk of the weight.
Alligator are not endangered. They do need to be culled to avoid overpopulation. By taking a few you keep the population stable so there is plenty of food for the gators. If you dont know what you are talking about, best to keep your mouth shut rather than be viewed as a ignorant loud mouth fool.
Yes, it may shock you but some people still harvest their own meat. If you get your meat in a plastic wrapper there is no reason to bad mouth people that still choose to legally obtain their own meat from wild game. It's the law!
The comments are where it's at, apparently.
EMBED-Kid Accidentally Shoots Dad's AK-47 Indoors - Watch more free videos
Sadly, this type of behaviour is almost expected among our youth these days; why 90 lb. juveniles think it's cool to cover their face with bandannas while spouting hard words at a camera is anyone's guess..
Hey hoss, keep your focus on the fundamentals right now, like not peeing on the toilet seat, before setting your ambitions any higher. And I'm afraid guns will never be your thing, so get that out of your head.
Friday, September 17, 2010
When she opened the front door, her boyfriend--who is also her ex-husband--came down the steps in a T-shirt and boxers, Timm said.I'm thinking a grease stained wife-beater instead of a T-shirt, and I would bet you a shiny new paycheck that he had a piece of straw clenched in his teeth when he opened the door. Perhaps even had some David Allen Coe blaring in the background. Oh yeah.
The hostages included McNulty, Chris Wood and a security guard. Police said 43-year-old Lee had been armed with starter pistols and homemade pipe bombs.I did not know that crazy Baltimore gunman guy had starter pistols. The bombs I did know about though.
Maybe someone should pass a law making gunman paint starter pistol barrels orange or something.
Then, McNulty said, a calm came over him and "I started thinking, 'OK, I'm a hostage, what do I need to do?'"Where's your Kel-Tec? Glock? Oh, yeah that's right, it's Baltimore. It's gun free.
A naked D.C. firefighter apparently was caught on camera preparing food for a party in a firehouse.I guess I could see how the female firefighters might not approve, but being the non-offendable person that I am, I just can't see why everyone gets so bent out of shape over some nudity.
The photo was supplied to News4 by a source who says complaints have been made by female firefighters and paramedics who were there at the time.
Not that I walk around in the buff or anything; I just can't see getting a case of the vapors, fumbling around desperately with the phone to call the cops, my therapist, my pastor, or my bestist friend, all over the sight of genitalia that we all have, and see every day. Well, most of us anyways. But then again, I drive past cow and horse pastures to and from work every day, so the sight of humongous pairs of balls and worse makes anything that a firefighter could produce seem pretty insignificant.
Thursday, September 16, 2010
A woman who shot her boyfriend during an argument over a submarine sandwich pleaded guilty to malicious wounding yesterday.None of this would have happened if she had just got him a sandwich like he asked! Get me my sandwich, or you'll see the back of my hand!!!
All jokes aside, I still find it odd that this woman faces 21 years at most for purposely shooting her boyfriend in the face over food, while this old geezer faces an 80 year sentence for getting off via webcam. He's a creepy guy for sure, and could be violent, but in the case of Lyles, she is definitely violent.
Which one would you rather live next to?
Wednesday, September 15, 2010
Let me point out something really obvious to everyone. It doesn't matter where a drug cartel thug requisitioned his Colt rifle from in regards to traceability, whether it be he deserted the military and took his issued weapon, or bought it from Billy Bob's gun shack in Arizona, or payed some starving Mexican Federale for his, because every Colt rifle starts life in the same exact place. So no shit the rifle can be "traced back to the US!" That's where it was made! Virtually all AR type rifles are manufactured in the US, so of course they're going to be traced there. I bet every one of the Chevy Tahoes that the cartels use to deliver a car bomb can be traced back to the US too!
From browsing this thread and comparing it to the Mexican Armed Forces thread, it's easy to see that a lot of the heavy hardware starts its service in the hands of Mexican government employees and somehow makes its way into the hands of the cartels. You can argue how that is happening all you want, or not happening, or can't happen, but in every other picture of captured cartel weapons there are those shiny gold canisters that are about 40mm in diameter, and if you look close you can also see them here. Hmmmmm.
Also, the grenades that the cartels use originated in the US too. I gather that the LAW rockets and M203s did as well, and probably the M18 claymores. So don't get all wrapped up around the axle when some alphabet news man or internet commando says that the cartels get weapons from the US. Smile knowing that every one of the 8,000,000+ M16/AR15 pattern weapons that the US brokered to Mexico can be traced back stateside, and then ask is it possible that the cartels may be getting them from the corrupt Mexican government. Trace them all you want to; we know where they're getting them!
I have come to realize that I am working my life away. I'm all about serving mankind, but these days my wife and I struggle just to make time to go to the grocery store. When did it all end up this way? Do any of you out there even know a retired person who is truly retired, not one that has retired from like two different jobs? It just seems like all Americans do anymore is work.
To bad this idea won't affect me; I could use an extra day to spend with the kids.
Tuesday, September 14, 2010
The ingenuity in the baby care department is seriously lacking.
At approximately 0'dark thirty this morning I was up with CTone the youngest, cursing under my breath as usual as I was navigating those shitty monochrome buttons on the pajamas, when I realized that I hated the next part of the event before it had even happened--making a bottle.
Everyone's technique is basically the same: grab a clean bottle, turn the water on full hot, keep a hand under the water to tell when it gets warm, fill the bottle when it gets to the proper temperature, and then you have to add baby formula to finish the deal. Simple enough, except that you have to measure the formula using the provided measuring scoop, which being clear in color buried in white powder makes it a pain in the ass. I mean, the engineers at the baby formula factory might as well make the scoop out of the fucking camouflage from Predator.
So it's dark, because any light whatsoever makes baby think that it's time to play, and you have a wet hand, and you have to fish around in the jug of formula for a scoop that you can't possibly see, so you end up trying to delicately find the end of the scoop without getting the powder all over your hand. And if you get that shit under your finger nails, you're done son. Baby formula and water is what they use to make Gorilla Glue.
Huge pain in the ass.
Does Enfamil get a better deal on clear plastic scoops? Are engineers these days even smart enough to engage their brains and make scoops for white powdered formula out of a colored plastic that disgruntled dads can see at night? Would it be asking too much to make the scoop handle out of red plastic? Fuck! It's not rocket surgery! Fix it!
While we're still on the subject of stupidity, clear plastic, and baby stuff, perhaps the engineers at NUK and other companies that make pacifiers would be so kind as to make them in readily seen colors as well. After the bottle/formula incident this morning, I found something else to bitch about.
Pacifiers were sent to the earth by Satan himself to torture working moms and dads, and if you're going to use them, at some point you should know that it means nightime hourly trips cribside to give screaming baby the plastic thingy that he can't find for himself in the dark, inches from his face. The plastic ninny is a fucking addiction, so you would think that making them blaze orange, or maybe putting some tritium inserts in the damn things would be wise so that you don't have to be the one swirling your hands around in the crib trying to detect them without swatting little Johny in the face.
They're made in either clear, white, baby blue, light green, light pink, or light yellow plastic. Stop right now and think about the sheets on your little precious' bedding -- that's right, white, baby blue, light green, light pink, or light yellow. Don't Soldiers wear clothing that blends into their surroundings so that they cannot be seen? What do you jackasses think you have done when you make baby's pacifier in those colors? You've made them camouflage. Why do we even have to be stuck with those colors anyways? There's a whole pallet of thousands of colors to chose from, and you idiots pick the same ones every time?
While I'm thinking about it, when the hell is Magpul going to make a pacifier in foliage green or flat dark earth, so that I can see it in the crib at night?
You don't have to conform to the same theme that everyone else has done for years. It's like an ant line, where every ant follows the one in front of it because that's just how it's done. Oh yeah, I'm calling you engineers ants! You're ants! Mindless little worker ants, who have to stay in line or they get lost and hose the whole line of ants up behind them! You go get a degree so that you can do the same shit that everyone else does! Can't you think for yourself?
Seriously though, I can't stand the pacifiers; I never used them because I have thumbs, and because those thumbs are attached to my hands, I didn't drop them on the pitch black dirty floors at Outback, run them over with the stroller in Wal-Mart, or lose them in a dark crib. They were always there when I needed them, and I quit sucking my thumbs when I was four, so the whole "you can't take away their thumbs; they'll suck them until they're thirty" argument is moot.
The pacifier will eventually become a major issue when you have to take it away from your rugrat. I'm not kidding about the addiction part; if you take them away for the day to only be issued out at night, your kid will wander around the house aimlessly, mumbling over and over about "ninny; where is my ninny?"
I realize that baby equipment is new territory, not like, say, parachutes, where the learning curve was way more steep and required advancements that pretty much took everything off the table early on.
Before you build something, sit back for a minute and picture yourself as a dog-ass tired dad, scooting out of bed at 2 a.m. to attend to screaming Johnny, dried out contacts, brain disengaged, you walk out into the hall barefoot and step on those annoying little plastic animals that might as well be steel spike strips, cursing under your breath; do you really want to be trying to find a white plastic thingy on a white sheet in the dark?
You would think that y'all would learn some of this shit in school, and not be getting it from a no name blog. It's alright though, my advice is free. Now, what are you going to do with it?
Monday, September 13, 2010
I heard that one of the little pirates shat himself, giving new meaning to the term poop deck!
Here's some pics of the smackdown, which ended without shots fired. I see a M40A5 with Schmidt & Bender 3 - 12 x 50mm in that first pick.
And in case you didn't scroll through that whole page, there are US Soldiers throwing hand grenades at Taliban fighters at the edges of the FOB. That would be pretty scary to have the enemy that close to where you sleep.
In situations like this one, it's hard to say what could have been done to prevent it from happening. He started shooting his own family, and who would expect that, and then went over to his neighbor's house and started killing there too. Again, not what you would expect.
Here's the part that I find notable in this whole thing:
Sims said that when state police arrived about an hour after the gunfire began, they heard a single gunshot and found Neace's body on the porch in the unincorporated community of Mount Carmel in Breathitt County, which is home to about 16,000 people.This is not a knock on the cops; it sounds like a remote part of the state, and who knows how long it took for someone to place a call. I point it out because calling the cops is not always the quick answer to a problem. Sometimes you may be on your own for awhile.
Friday, September 10, 2010
I see a Stechkin APS with detachable wooden stock/holster (very cool), a VSK-94 suppressed sniper rifle, a VSS suppressed sniper rifle, and an AK-101 with grenade launcher, among other things.
Some of those so called soldiers look like they were planted just for the photo shoot. Clicking through that thread shows some dudes from heartier stock that look like they actually do this stuff for a living.
PHILADELPHIA – Minutes after a woman was suspended from her job at a Kraft Foods Inc. plant and was escorted out, she returned with a handgun and opened fire, killing two people and critically injuring a third before being taken into custody, police said.The timeline says she came back with a gun "about ten minutes after the woman was escorted out." Time will tell whether she drove home to get the gun, or if she kept it in her car, which raises other questions. I would bet that she knew the axeman cometh, and prepared for the event accordingly.
Thursday, September 9, 2010
I read in a Shotgun News not to long ago that the Philipine police snipers had just awarded a contract to Savage to buy some of their model 11os. Cool to see them again.
If you are a violent psychopath that started your career of mayhem at the age of ten, then you qualify for like a year or two of time in state prison--most of it suspended--for every violent crime you commit up until the point where you are indicted for murdering five people.
If you are a violent psychopathic woman who stabs someone in the chest with a kitchen knife, then you qualify for five years in state prison, but will only serve six months so that you can do it all over again as soon as possible.
If you are a violent psychopathic man who has a lengthy criminal record for such peaceful acts as assaulting a cop, then you qualify for six months in jail with four and a half months suspended, making it possible for you to drive around at night while firing your gun in the air.
If you are a violent psychopathic scumbag with a lifelong penchant for hurting people, and you are arrested for tying a guy down to a chair with a lamp cord and beating his face in over a drug deal that didn't go your way, then you qualify to serve five years in a state penitentiary.
If you are a violent psychopathic scumbag with ten felony convictions, then you qualify to be released on parole once again from state prison so that you can rape, sodomize, and murder a depressed woman and leave her body to freeze in the woods. It's cool. We know you like that, so we'll give you a break this time too.
Now, if you're a creepy older guy with no known prior convictions, and you pull your winky out in front of your web cam to impress a 13 year old, than you qualify for 80 years in state prison.
I'm not concerned about the well being of the creepy guy, but when the hell do violent people get shown to the revolving door while the guy who is accused of what is arguably a victimless crime get fed into the grinder? What am I missing?
I don't know about you, but if I was, say, searching for a home to move my family to, and I had to chose between having a neighbor who was convicted and served time for showing his junk to an undercover cop posing as a kid, or a guy who was convicted and served time for taking hostages and shooting up a post office, and for shooting his girlfriend in the chest while he was wanted for having sex with a child, then which one do you think I would pick?
I understand that the economy thrives in part on the sale of prisoner's bonds as securities, but come on now!! You've got it all backwards!! Is this some sort of inflation backlash from the new sex crime laws? Somebody needs to go back and rethink murder and other violent charges so that they're up to par.
I've read somewhere before that 15 years is the average time served in America for murder. You have to have one seriously mangled schlong to traumatize someone to the point where you should get more time in prison than the fella who tries to hire a hitman to cut the throat of his ex-girlfriend's new boyfriend. Hey Virginia, how about some crime reform?
Now raise your hand if you think Raul is going to turn that ship around and sail right into the lap of luxury; after all, even with a battered economy, I'd take the homeless life in America to the average life in Cuba any day.
Personally, I have no dog in the DC Mayor fight; I think they have both shown to not care very much about the rights of their constituents.
"I do not support a bill that would have us give up our right to legislate and have us give up our gun control laws," said Gray.
"But if we had to make that call on a close margin, I do believe a majority of District residents say: 'Give us the vote. Give us the vote, and we hate this gun law, but we'll find a way to get rid of that if necessary.' "
Where a candidate stands on a simple human right tells a big tale about how they will treat you as a person. Both fail under my standards, but then I don't have to live by their rules. I can safely stand back and mock whichever one wins from the relative safety of my keyboard. Either way, I wish DC folks well. It's like having to decide between cat shit or dog shit for dinner.
MEXICO CITY – The third Mexican mayor in a month was slain by suspected drug gang hitmen on the same day the U.S. secretary of state raised hackles in Mexico by saying the country is "looking more and more like Colombia looked 20 years ago."Knocking off mayors and using car bombs shows that this mess is far beyond semi auto rifles and where they came from. And not to throw cold water on Hillary's plan absent the facts that she has, but didn't we already have Special Forces Soldiers train the Mexican military? Last I heard, that was not working in our favor.
Hillary Rodham Clinton and other U.S. officials pointed to Mexican drug cartels' use of three car bombs, a tool once favored by cartel-allied rebels in Colombia, as evidence that the gangs "are now showing more and more indices of insurgency."
Wednesday, September 8, 2010
"According to criminal complaints, the two men began negotiating in April 2009 to buy 300 stolen automatic weapons from FBI undercover agents and police officers. In addition, Hamayel sought to purchase grenades, improvised explosive devices, remote-controlled detonators and C-4 plastic explosive, the complaints said."One would think that a Palestinian Authority militant would have plenty of places besides Miami to obtain automatic weapons. Thinking about it though, why not just buy all this stuff for basically nothing at a gun show in Texas like the Mexican cartels do? No background checks for C-4 at a gun show, so there's no risk when purchasing them there, and grenades are finally back in stock after the great ammo rush of 2009! The Feds can't say a thing when you show them your receipt!
Last weekend or so I had a disappointing range trip with the 308 and 168 grain Federal Gold Medal Match. I blamed the barrel nut for my woes. The next day I chiseled an action block out of two pieces of 2 x 6, which to tell you the truth I could have easily just ordered one from Brownells, but I wanted it that day so that I could take the rifle apart and check the barrel nut.
All seemed well with it, as it was still tight, but I took it off anyways and re tightened it. Now I need to shoot it again to see if it made a difference.
Last night I seated my first round of .380 auto, so I'll be cranking those out like a goon here too. I want to make fifty to start with so that I can get some chrono data and make sure that they won't blow up in my face. Range Report with pics to follow, if I ever get the time to shoot again.
Tuesday, September 7, 2010
I have an obligations to my family: I owe my kids a father, and my wife a husband. I can't make good on that if I'm not alive.
Fortunately, there are plenty of outdoor activities to go to, such as the Chancellorsville battlefields and many parks. If you're a history buff, and have read up on the American Civil War, then you have no doubt heard of Chancellorsville, The Wilderness, Fredericksburg, and Spotsylvania. Some epic fighting went down there, and the battlefields have been largely preserved for you to take your family to.
Since our kids are so little, and taking into consideration that they're all sick as a dog, we didn't take them trekking for miles on end in the woods of Spotsylvania; a half mile round trip at a time seems to be the logical distance before you retire for a couple of hours for naps, lunches, bottles, and such. First though, we hit the museum to see guns and stuff which left my kids unimpressed:
Click to make bigger and more beautiful.
In that last picture, you can see a cannon ball stuck in a piece of a tree. Now, if you could only imagine being in a line of battle marching toward your enemy when the guy next to you gets smashed in the chest with one of those! That would surely take away any morale that you might have had!
There were small arms in the museum too, like muskets, rifles, carbines, sidearms, and sabers:
I was itching for a gun show after leaving the museum.
Wandering the woods gives you a sense of how scary fighting in that terrain must have been. All battles are fought with some sort of formation of troops - at least initially anyways, and I can easily see why Union officers loathed "The Wilderness" so much; marching your troops through any forrest would suck to say the least. Ten feet into the brush here are Confederate trenches, which means that if you're in the front of some clanking and cursing formation trying to fight your way through the undergrowth, you would have walked right into the teeth of the enemy who lies there unseen and very protected in the earth:
I grew up in the area, and just casually strolling the woods here can be exhausting. Fighting in it would be unimaginable. My kids didn't finish the walk on the first evening, and needed a hand getting back to the car:
On another day, we checked out some of the artillery that is so abundant here:
This particular spot is Hazel Grove, and was a pretty big tactical blunder for the Union Army back in the day. For some reason, they gave this high ground up, which was promptly taken over by the Confederates; they paid for the mistake in blood as the Confederates rained ordnance down on their lines from 1,200 yards away:
I highly recommend the battlefields as a day trip for the kids. This place is saturated with American history. There's much more to see than can be done on a weekend, but in my case my kids are not very interested in the historical aspect. They don't mind hanging out in the shade for awhile though:
Now do you see where the bulk of my time goes?
We also took them down to Alum Springs park and let them play in the creek. Kids need a free pass to get dirty every once in awhile, and yesterday was that day:
The Fenix PD20 helped point out the fish. My kids aren't very outdoorsy, as we found out this weekend. Again, taking into consideration that they were sick, they could go from happy to irate to happy again in about two seconds, so the whole thing was an adventure. My wife and I have agreed that this was more fun than anything we could find to do in town. We're going to be taking little trips like this again in the near future.