Saturday, January 31, 2009

Praxis: "Nazi Zombies" -- Guerrilla Marketing Communications in Austin, Texas

“Nazi Zombies! Run!!!”

These are Nazi Zombies.

No, wait, THIS is a Nazi Zombie.

At least that is what one looks like in Dead Snow, the Norwegain zombie movie/horror flick/dark comedy about Nazi zombies that have their sights set on a team of young medical students vacationing in the mountains. It made quite a splash at the Sundance Film Festival this year.

THIS is a sign warning Austin, Texas motorists about a Nazi Zombie Attack.

This story covers how it happened that someone reprogrammed road warning signs to warn about Nazi Zombies. There are all sorts of applications and permutations of this guerrilla marking communications scheme that I can think of. The story says that someone has posted instructions on the Net about how to hack these signs. A cursory search of Google this morning turned up nothing to me, but perhaps there is a talented Three Percenter out there willing to dig it up?

Sign hacker broadcasts zombie warnings

By Katie Petroski | Wednesday, January 28, 2009, 04:10 PM

Someone reprogrammed two city construction road signs near the University of Texas early Monday morning in an attempt to warn Austin of an imminent zombie attack.
Messages that typically alert Lamar Boulevard drivers to a detour for Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard splashed several warnings like “Caution! Zombies Ahead!” and “Nazi Zombies! Run!!!”

As he drove south on Lamar, traffic controller Bruce Jones saw the first sign flash the Nazi zombies message at 6 a.m. and wheeled his truck around for another look. Then he said he noticed that the second sign, directed at northbound drivers, had also been tampered with

Jones, who has one of only two keys to the locked access panels on the portable signs, said that the hacker broke into the panels on each sign and bypassed the passwords before leaving five different zombie messages and even changing one of the passwords. Jones said he had to wait until 8 a.m. to call the manufacturing company to figure out how to override the hacker’s work. He speculated that the hacker could be a computer genius from UT.

The biggest safety hazard came from drivers slowing down or stopping their car to take pictures, Jones said.

The hacking occurred within weeks of various articles appearing online with descriptions of how to hack into these road signs — which point out that such an act is illegal.

Dennis Crabill, project manager with the Public Works Department, said the access panels are always locked and are not programmed with the default passwords these sites suggest. Short of having a watchman on duty around the clock, he said there is little more the city can do to prevent such vandalism.
“It’s a pretty childish prank,” he said.

Crabill said he is optimistic that MLK Boulevard will be open to two-way traffic again by this weekend, and the detour will no longer be necessary.

No zombies have been seen in the area, and with any luck, Tuesday night’s cold front killed off any undead with ghoulish plans to invade the city.

Here is the link to the Dead Snow trailer.

I would have preferred a message like: "Nazi Zombies Ahead. Designated Marksmen Up." Or, Nazi Zombie Crossing Ahead. Do You Have Enough Ammo?"

Friday, January 30, 2009

"An Evening Visit"

Go to What McAuliffe Said and read this excellent piece.

Just a snippet . . .

An Evening Visit

I had a full day. Places to go and things to do. Family matters. Writing, both scripts and blog/letters. I got up and stretched and retrieved a cup of fresh brewed tea. When I sat back down, I couldn't quite shake the growing fatigue. As I occasionally do, I laid my head down on my arms and dozed. Quick naps get me through the night.

As I drifted, I heard a whisper.


"What is a lifetime supply of ammunition?": Twenty rounds and all you can scavenge out of dead men's ammo pouches.

Over at Snowflake's place they are asking the question "What Calibers Do You Keep Stocked?".

So everybody kicked in how much ammo they had and of what types. Of course, from an OPSEC point of view this is pretty stupid, but they are a trusting lot. I even made my own contribution, but as you will see, it doesn't give much hope for the ATF PR coup.

One post did attract my eye, from JustJoe. Quoth JJ:

So here is a question: If you knew that you could never buy any more ammo, how much would you buy? What is a lifetime supply of ammunition?

Figure range sessions once a month, 100 rounds handgun, 40 rounds center fire rifle, and 200 rounds rimfire. Throw in 100 rounds of shotgun, too. Figure that you will be shooting for 20 to 40 years, and that adds up to quite a pile, even if you reload. You also have to add in training ammo for anyone you introduce to guns.

For twenty years supply, (240 months) would be 48K rounds of 22, 24K handgun rounds, and almost 10K each for rifle and shotgun. This would be spread across whatever calibers you need.

At today’s prices, that would run around $2000 for the rimfire (at $20/brick), about $7000 for rifle, $6000 for shotgun, and $12000 for handgun, without reloading.
Total: $27,000.00 for a lifetime? supply of ammunition. YMMV

I suspect that you could get a quantity discount to do better than that, but its a starting point.

I could see finding enough room to store several cases of 22’s, but I have no idea how big a pile the rest is going to be.

To which I responded thusly:

"So here is a question: If you knew that you could never buy any more ammo, how much would you buy? What is a lifetime supply of ammunition?"

Twenty rounds and all you can scavenge out of dead men's ammo pouches.

"I suspect that you could get a quantity discount to do better than that, but its a starting point."

Maybe, but my plan has the advantage of being free. There is, however, a little risk involved -- you must act like a free man. If ammo is banned, the war starts. Anything else is arguing how many angels can dance on the head of a pin.

As a famous blogger once said, "Give me liberty, or I'll get up and get it myself."

Two Countries

You know, I've been saying for some time that we are really two different countries. The only thing we share with the other side is a common language (still) and the fact we were all born within the same national boundaries. As evidence of that theory, I present the article below, found here from the "progressive" website OpEdNews.

We viewed the disgraceful spectacle of the Holder fiasco as a disaster for the GOP and for the rights and safety of Americans generally. Lefties such as Leser look at it entirely differently. Read it, and I'll have some comments on the other side.

January 29, 2009 at 08:09:03

Holder Confirmation Controversy - GOP Members Guilty of Extortion, Obstruction of Justice and Racketeering?

by Steven Leser

As news came out of the Senate Judiciary Committee's approval of Attorney General Nominee Eric Holder, sending his nomination to the full Senate, reports came out of a possible agreement struck between Holder and various Republican members of the Senate Judiciary Committee. One of those reports, detailed here in the Washington Times, , suggests a deal that could be described by some ugly terms.

According to the Times:

Eric H. Holder Jr.'s confirmation as attorney general is speeding toward approval thanks in part to his private assurances to a key Republican senator that he does not intend to prosecute intelligence agency interrogators for their actions during the prior administration.

The assurances, reported by Sen. Christopher S. Bond, Missouri Republican, to The Washington Times on Wednesday, went beyond Mr. Holder's earlier public testimony in which he said he could not prejudge his actions regarding cases he had not seen.

"I believe [Mr. Holder] will look forward to keep the nation safe and not look backwards to prosecute intelligence operators who were fighting terror and kept our country safe since 9/11," Mr. Bond said in the interview.

A Holder Aide denied that any such deal had been made. As reported in Talking Points Memo here as well as the above Washington Times article, the aide said:

"Eric Holder has not made any commitments about who would or would not be prosecuted," the aide said via e-mail. "He explained his position to Senator Bond as he did in the public hearing and in his responses to written questions."

The aide pointed to Holder's written response to a question from Sen. Jon Kyl (R-AZ):
Prosecutorial and investigative judgments must depend on the facts, and no one is above the law. But where it is clear that a government agent has acted in "reasonable and good-faith reliance on Justice Department legal opinions" authoritatively permitting his conduct, I would find it difficult to justify commencing a full-blown criminal investigation, let alone a prosecution.


The Republican members of the Senate Judiciary Committee including Senator Bond had better hope that no such deal has been struck. A deal that was made under the threat of withholding something from Mr. Holder (approval of his nomination) unless he agreed not to prosecute a crime could be construed as Extortion and Obstruction of Justice. Since this Extortion and Obstruction of Justice would deal with prior bad acts (Torture and crimes against humanity) by other members of the same group, in this case, Republicans (in the Bush administration) and those to whom they gave orders, one could then assert that the GOP is an ongoing criminal organization and seek to prosecute those involved under RICO, the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act.

This is easier understood if paraphrased. If a member of a mafia crime family went to a district attorney who is applying for membership to a country club and says he will help him get into that country club if he refuses to prosecute a member of that crime family for an unrelated crime otherwise he will block his membership, that is bribery, extortion and obstruction of justice and would also potentially lead to RICO indictments.

RICO has been applied very liberally since it was passed and according to how it reads in the Cornell University Law School site, would seem to encompass what is suggested to have transpired here. One of the reasons RICO was passed was to allow prosecutors to go after powerful organizations that commit crimes and then use threats and influence peddling to prevent those crimes from being prosecuted. That is exactly what we have here.

Mr. Holder is almost certain to be confirmed by a full Senate vote. If he did agree to what Senator Bond suggests, that probably does not constitute a crime on the part of Mr. Holder if he ignores the alleged agreement. He is, however, duty bound to name a special prosecutor to investigate the situation and he must also investigate the Bush administration's use of torture and other illegal methods of interrogation and treatment of prisoners. To do otherwise would implicate him in the alleged GOP scheme.

Even if the agreement did not happen as Senator Bond alleges, the fact that he thinks that he executed such an agreement, or that he is claiming this agreement exists as a way to try to prevent soon to be Attorney General Holder from prosecuting a crime might constitute Obstruction of Justice or a Conspiracy to Obstruct Justice. It will be interesting to see if anyone else notices this and it will be interesting to see whether Senator Bond and other Republicans back away from these statements.

Moreover, what I wonder if Senator Bond realizes is the very fact that he has publicized that he thinks an agreement is necessary proves that he believes that members of the Bush administration along with those to whom they passed interrogation orders or instructions NEED that agreement. In other words, he thinks they ARE prosecutable and guilty of some crimes. After bragging to the Washington Times about this alleged deal with Holder, Senator Bond may find himself on one of those shows detailing America's dumbest criminals.

An OEN Editor, Steven Leser specializes in Politics, Science & Health, and Entertainment topics. He has held positions within the Democratic Party including District Chair and Public Relations Chair within county organizations. Steven Leser writes for, an internet only media site that has grown to become one of the highest traffic news sites in America, reaching more traffic, according to, than all but the thirty largest daily newspapers in the US. Mr. Leser is one of the 500+ liberal pundits who, each month, are published in what has become one of the top five Liberal/progressive media sites

MBV: A final thought. One of the things we see here is that lefties criminalize political thoughts and speech. And if they want to prosecute US Senators under the RICO statute, I guess there's no doubt what they want to do with US.

NRA Diversification: Getting Into A Business They REALLY Understand.


Well, folks, the NRA, unwilling to spend its "political capital" on the fight against Eric Holder, has found something to do with plain old capital -- you know, its members' dues money -- by going into a sideline. It's not uncommon for a business in the middle of a downturn to try to diversify in order to survive and here is the NRA's attempt:

Yes, that's right, wine. Pete at WRSA reports it with derision this way:

Friday, January 30, 2009

Get Your Stinking-Cheap NRA Wine Right Here, Ladies and Gentlemen!
Goodness me!

In an email received this evening by NRA members, the Lairds of Fairfax have stooped to hawking table plonk.

Is there anything the Lairds won't do for money?

Next, I'm thinking that a NRA Geek-o-Rama Sideshow would be a real crowd-pleaser. We could have Wayne "He's French, You Know" LaPierre garbed in a blaze-orange skintight latex jumpsuit biting the heads off live poultry, while an overall-and-gingham-clad Chris "Deep Insider" Cox demonstrated various techniques of, shall we say, animal husbandry.

NRA Board Member Joaquin "I'm a Law Enforcement Legend" Jackson could tell us again how "assault weapons need to be (only) in the hands of the military and the police."

Then, to top off the freak show, former NRA President Sandy "Harvard Law" Froman could enter on rollerskates while juggling piglets and tell us all again what a famous victory Heller was.

Man, I know I'd pay big bucks to hear all of these mutts tell us, once again, how that SCOTUS decision means that the "Second Amendment as an individual right now becomes a real permanent part of American Constitutional law.”

We could make and sell DVDs afterwards, and maybe even have pay-per-view live streaming video.

Then, after enough money is raised to pay these overpriced Quislings' salaries and expense accounts, we could get back to business.

Like instead of spamming their membership earlier this evening with emails pushing rotgut wine, how's about calling in the chits for the Senators NRA helped to elect and get one or more holds put against AG-nominee Eric Holder?


That might burn bridges. Senators, law enforcement Gauleiters, and various imperial lobbyists might not invite the Lairds to their cocktail parties after such a radical step.

Can't have that.

Not if Wayne et al are going to keep their membership in the exclusive DC Insiders club, a/k/a The Beltway Bandits.

After all, they've got a wine business to keep afloat.


Drop the NRA.

Join GOA. They sent this email alert re the last stand against Holder this morning.

Let Wayne and his posse twist in the wind.

They've earned it.

Now, I love Pete like a brother, and while I concur with everything he said above (including "table plonk"), I think he's taking this entirely too seriously. OK, their franchise line of work certainly isn't working out. It's embarrassing, really. They've reduced themselves to being Judenrat conductors on the freight train carrying their members to the camps. "All aboard the 'Arbeit Macht Frei' Express! Would you like a bottle of wine to go with your moldy bread and fetid water?"

And yet, why shouldn't the NRA diversify? I mean if they're not going to spend their members' money fighting for Second Amendment rights as advertised, going into the wine business so they can at least recoup a little money is, I suppose, only doing their fiduciary duty.

But as knowledgeable as Chris Cox and Wayne ("He's French!") LaPierre are about Washington dinner parties, I don't think they'll make a success of this wine business. OK, they are cheese-eating surrender monkeys, and wine goes with cheese, but I just don't think they've quite got it right yet as a business plan.

No, I think they should go into a venture they REALLY understand. Forget the wine, guys, how about THIS marketing idea?

Now THIS is an area of expertise for the Lairds of Fairfax. THIS is something they really know about. They've been diddling their members for years with false representations of how tough they are as a lobbying group. Now they can put that knowledge to work for a change. Waddayathink? Am I right, or what?

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Praxis: 3 from Strategy Page -- "Vacuum Packed Comfort"; "Itch Free In The Mountains Of Afghanistan"; and "Why The RPG Rules".

Here's three posts at Strategy

Vacuumed Packed Comfort.

January 29, 2009: Afghanistan is a different kind of war than Iraq , especially for the infantry. For one thing, Afghanistan requires infantry to spend more times out in the country. This requires them to carry their gear in a rucksack. To make the rucksack easier to use, troops use many high tech items of civilian camping gear.

The stuff the military issues is often years behind the latest gadgets available to civilians. So the troops buy the latest items in order to make their lives in the field a bit easier.

One of the more popular items in Afghanistan is the air purge compression sack. This is an airtight bag, for sleeping bags, or other items, with a one way air valve (or, in the latest models, special material that allows the air out, but not in). With these sacks, items can be, well, compressed, so that you are not carrying a lot of bulky (puffed up with air) on your back.

Itch Free In The Mountains Of Afghanistan

January 29, 2009: As more U.S. troops head for Afghanistan , those who have already been there have one bit of good news; the new U.S. Army winter clothing (the "Generation III" set) really works. It keeps you warm, even if you are running around in freezing weather and working up a sweat. And it isn't bulky or itchy. It's good stuff.

Five years ago, the U.S. Army has been testing a new Winter clothing ensemble (officially called , generation III of the extended cold-weather system or Gen III ECWCS.) The new wardrobe handles temperatures from minus 50 degrees Fahrenheit to above freezing (45 degrees Fahrenheit, or -45 to 7 degrees Celsius). The wardrobe consists of an interchangeable twelve-piece clothing system that can be worn in layers depending on the weather and the mission. The layers are lightweight and use modern fibers that allow sweat to escape while keeping body heat in. All the clothing is commercially available for Winter sports and activities. The army is making bulk purchases. Only the items likely to be worn on the outside have to be given some kind of camouflage pattern.

The new Gen III ECWCS is actually lighter, and less bulky, than the older Winter clothing (Gen II ECWCS), and doesn't itch, like some of the GEN II stuff did. The GEN III items are also quieter. The older gear tended to "swish" at times, which at night would let the enemy know you were in the area. The GEN III gear consists of two long sleeve undershirts, an outer shirt and thermal pants, a fleece jacket, a water and wind resistant jacket and pants, a waterproof windbreaker, a waterproof cold weather jacket and pants, a neck gaiter, a face mask, and gloves designed to allow easy use of weapons and a cold weather parka and pants. The GEN III gear is lightweight, commercial grade stuff. The army basically went to see what was available for Winter sports (especially camping and mountain climbing), and adapted it to combat use. This meant making sure the clothing was compatible with body armor and other combat equipment troops would have to wear.

The army was following the experience of SOCOM (Special Operations Command), which has a budget for experiments in using civilian gear. SOCOM operators have been using civilian cold weather gear for years. Most troops in Iraq and Afghanistan have been issued the new gear over the past two years, as part of the field testing program. Now everyone will get it.

It actually gets pretty cold and nasty in Iraq during the Winter. Even down south, after the sun goes down in January and February, the temperature often drops to below freezing. Up north, in the mountains, it gets much colder. But in Afghanistan, up in the mountains, it gets bitterly cold, similar to what you encounter in the North American Rocky Mountains, or Korea (where the troops finally got Gen III this Winter, and found the new gear able to withstand bitterly cold Winter weather common to South Korea.)

Why The RPG Rules

January 29, 2009: Shoulder fired rockets (like the Russian RPG or U.S. LAW and AT4) are very commonly encountered on the battlefield. That's because these things are cheap and very useful. The Russian designed RPG series is the cheapest, which is why the about 55 percent of these weapons are of the RPG family, but account for only about 45 percent of the money spent to buy them. The more expensive Western models are more effective, but more expensive.


Less wealthy armies the world over, including irregulars, love to use their Russian made RPGs (Rocket Propelled Grenades). The RPG evolved from the World War II "bazooka" type weapons and was introduced by the Russians in 1961. The current RPG 7 weighs about 17 pounds, with most grenades weighing five pounds each. American tanks and M-2 Bradley infantry vehicle (with additional appliqué armor) are mostly invulnerable to RPG fire. During the Iraq fighting, it was common for most of the armored vehicles in a unit to be hit at least once by an RPG round.

The real damage from RPG fire was the fragments from the exploding grenades. Even the anti-tank round (the most common fired by the RPG) would throw out wounding fragments for 10-15 feet. These rarely killed, but troops were often wounded in the arms, legs and face, and often put out of action for a while. But most armies, and irregulars, like the RPG because it is cheap, easy to use and very effective against troops lacking protective vests and helmets. The RPG is also effective against many other armor vehicles. Most RPG anti-tank rounds can penetrate 12-20 inches of ordinary armor. But most modern tanks no longer have ordinary armor, which is why the U.S. M-1 tank and M-2 infantry vehicle can take an RPG hit and keep going.

The RPG launcher costs anywhere from $100-$500 (lots of second hand stuff out there.) The most common RPG ammo is the anti-tank rocket and these go for $50-100 each. Costs add up, however, as you have to fire a dozen or so rounds to develop some accuracy. Unlike the launchers, RPG ammo doesn't get cheap, unless some wealthy nation is flooding an area with it, because the ammo gets used up and the launcher does not. Without much practice, a user can hit a vehicle sized target most of the time at ranges of 50-100 meters. As an operator fires more rounds, he becomes capable of hitting stationary targets at up to 500 meters, and moving targets at 300 meters. It's this last skill that has made the RPG dangerous against helicopters.

Irregulars also like using the RPG as a form of artillery. Get a bunch of RPGs firing at the same area say, a kilometer away, and you will do some damage to any people walking around. The rather more rare (and expensive) anti-personnel RPG rockets will spew out fragments up to 30 feet or more.


The RPG-29 is the most common recent development of the RPG line. It entered production just before the Soviet Union collapsed in 1991. It is available through legitimate, or black market, arms dealers and is more expensive than the RPG-7 (which is manufactured by many countries.) RPG-29 launchers cost over $500 each, and the rockets go for about $300 each.

With a ten pound launcher firing a 14.7 pound 105mm rocket, the RPG-29 warhead is designed to get past some forms of reactive armor (ERA). The larger weapon (3.3 feet long when carried out, six feet long when ready to fire and 65 percent heavier than the 85mm RPG-7) is more difficult to carry around and fire, but has an effective range of 500 meters. The warhead can also penetrate five feet of reinforced concrete.

Meanwhile, troops in the West had to improvise a bit. After September 11, 2001, the U.S. military revived an “obsolete,” four decade old anti-tank weapon because it was a cheaper, and more portable, way to provide the infantry with some “portable artillery.” This is the LAW (Light Anti-tank Weapon). These 7.7 pound, one-shot (the launcher is disposable) anti-tank rockets were a replacement for the World War II bazooka (similar to the Russian designed RPG). However, by the 1970s, it was obvious that the LAW was not able to kill most modern tanks, and in late 1980s, was replaced by the AT4. However, the heavier (15 pounds), and more expensive AT4 ($2,700 per each disposable launcher and four pound warhead) is also larger (40 inches long and 3.3 inches in diameter.) Since American troops rarely faced enemy tanks, but did frequently need some additional firepower to deal with enemy infantry in bunkers or buildings, the AT4 was seen as a step backwards.

The LAW has several advantages. It is compact (20 inches long, 2.6 inches in diameter), light (7.7 pounds) and cheap (about $2,000 each). It’s 2.2 pound warhead can still knock out light armored vehicles (and unarmored ones as well), but it most often used against enemy troops inside bunkers and buildings. For that job, the U.S. Department of Defense had bought the SMAW (Shoulder-Launched Multipurpose Assault Weapon). This was a 17 pound Israeli design (in response to the RPG). But the SMAW launcher costs $14,000, and each rocket costs more than their RPG equivalents (and are a bit more effective.) Actually, many troops have expressed an interest in just getting the RPG, which has a larger (6 pound) warhead, and is a lot cheaper (the RPG launcher goes for about $500 each, brand new, and the more advanced rockets can be had for under a hundred dollars each). However, the compactness of the LAW, and better accuracy, does make a difference on the battlefield, and is considered worth the cost. The LAW is simple, light, easy-to-use and relatively cheap. It’s hard to improve on that, which is why the LAW is making a comeback. Actually, it never went away in many other armies.

But the king of bargain-basement, but effective, infantry artillery remains the RPG-7.

MBV: I still like rifle grenades.

Urban War: "Outsource criminal justice back to the people."

Once again thanks to Global Guerrillas' John Robb we have this story from the Christian Science Monitor about the growth of neighborhood defense militias. Here is his take on it followed by the article.

Thursday, 29 January 2009

GG Radar

The Christian Science Monitor has taken notice of the early signs that militias are growing in the US (as anticipated by this blog) due to: a spike in property crime as the economy collapses and insolvent state/local governments are the main drivers. Of note: neighborhood Twitter alerts called BOLOs (be-on-the-lookout).

As property crimes increase, more neighbors are on patrol

By Patrik Jonsson Patrik Jonsson – Tue Jan 27, 3:00 am ET

Atlanta – It's not unusual for Jennifer Litkowiec to have problems with her husband's off-the-wall ideas, but this one took the cake.

Hispanic gangs had seeped into the couple's quiet corner of the working-class town of Cudahy, Wis., just south of Milwaukee, stealing garage door openers and returning later to score the contents.

So what was Jason Litkowiec's plan? Shine a light on the night. "I finally had enough," he says.

Against his wife's loud protestations, the young steamfitter joined a dozen other neighborhood men and set up the Rosewood night patrol.

Armed with nothing but flashlights and cellphones, the group followed suspicious cars and even set up an impromptu sting when a neighbor left town and forgot to close his garage door. They called in police to arrest the suspects after a brief chase.

High foreclosure rates, a spike in brazen break-ins, and slashed police budgets are causing turmoil in America's transitioning urban communities, auguring what Atlanta anticrime activist Larry Ely calls an "urban war."

So far, this is a largely unarmed conflict defined by nighttime jogger patrols with flashing headlamps, unofficial block patrols with cop-like "beats," and neighborhood all-Twitter alarms – short text messages dubbed "BOLO" or "be on the lookout" when something potentially dangerous or illegal happens.

A sense of humor helps. Some who take part have signed on to the "World Superhero Registry," an online outfit where a member must be one "who does good deeds or fights crime while in costume."

But like other historical flash points, when the public becomes personally involved in crime fighting, vigilantism becomes a threat, experts say, especially if government appears powerless.

"When you go broke, be creative. Outsource criminal justice back to the people," says Peter Scharf, a criminologist at Tulane University in New Orleans. "When you go through a very chaotic period with crime, people are going to become more innovative."

Hard numbers on the rise in amateur crime fighters don't exist, but policing experts say the trend is noticeable. At the National Sheriffs Association (NSA), which runs some 26,000 Neighborhood Watch groups, activity has risen to nearly the levels of the winter of 2001, following 9/11.

NSA crime prevention specialist Robbie Woodson links the uptick directly to the Congressional decision in 2007 to cut community policing grants by 68 percent, much of which had been aimed at low-level crime in transitional neighborhoods. Ms. Woodson says President Obama's inaugural call for "a new era of responsibility" took direct aim at what she sees as a widening gap – both perceived and real – between criminal activity and the ability of police to control it.

"It's an absolute perfect storm," says Woodson. "[Federal policing grants] were cut before the economic crisis, which is just now playing out on the law enforcement front. And now you have people being laid off, and some of those people are going to start stealing in a variety of different ways."

Rising property crimes a factor

Though violent crimes are down across the nation, property crimes by many accounts are rising. (FBI crime figures for 2008 won't be available until fall.) Transitional neighborhoods around major urban centers are particularly prone to the cause-and-effect between rising crime and community patrols, as national migration figures slow and more and more Americans hunker down.

"When we retreat, we feel vulnerable," says Gregg Barak, a criminologist at Eastern Michigan University in Ypsilanti.

What seems to have sparked many groups isn't just low level crime, but high profile incidents and brazen tactics like bashing in front doors to get at large flat-screen TVs. The murder in Atlanta of a bartender by four armed bandits on Jan. 7 resulted in the creation of a group called Atlantans Together Against Crime (ATAC). In the span of two weeks, the group had almost 5,000 members on Facebook.

"I'm not sure the total level of crime is changing significantly, and the conveyor belt that produces crime is more or less the same," says Robert Friedmann, a criminologist at Georgia State University. "The problem comes when you have a human story that suddenly has a new twist."

Two years ago, Lisa Cater was part of a real estate boomlet in East Atlanta Village, a community about three miles from downtown, as mostly white suburbanites flooded back to the city. But now that movement has largely stopped, many houses are empty, and criminals have become more brazen and open, she says.

"This is the worst I've ever seen it," she says, describing what she calls a "property-driven turf war."

With her partner, Maria Midboe, Ms. Cater patrols her street in an imposing black Jeep, often using a high-power spotlight to shine on suspicious characters.

"The only way we can make a difference is to take personal responsibility and do something about it," she says.

Amateur crime fighters like Cater can be found across the nation.
In Plano, Texas, residents created a watch group to look after vacant and abandoned homes. In New Orleans, groups like Silence is Violence are using Twitter alarms and cell phone messages to fight that city's violent crime wave.

Clayton County, Ga., is one of a growing number of police departments putting arrest and warrant information online in map form to give residents a sense of who has had previous run-ins with the law.

And though Twitter alarms and other tech-savvy warning systems can sometimes ratchet up the perception of crime rates, they're also being used effectively: An Atlanta break-in captured by home cameras and then put up on YouTube helped police catch several suspects last month.

"Just by the nature of crime trends in the metropolitan environment and this financial environment, it's difficult to put the resources on the street that we may have had in the 1980s," says Cudahy Police Chief Tom Poellot. "Police can't do this alone."

Citizen awareness is part of the foundation of modern policing, born when 19th century London bobbies used whistles to call in civilian backup.

But community fear has in the past turned to violence in a country where vigilantism has sometimes flourished.

The Nation magazine recently reported that after hurricane Katrina, vigilantes killed several black men for simply walking through a neighborhood. Several registered sex offenders have also been killed. Citizen patrols became a controversy in New Haven, Conn., in 2007 when the Edgewood Park Defense Patrol included some armed with licensed firearms.

"If it's largely white citizen groups trying to protect new turf, you run the risk of creating flash points," says Stan Stojkovic, dean of the Helen Bader School of Social Welfare at the University of Wisconsin, Milwaukee. "But to me, this is a much different kind of situation. There's hope in this kind of thing, as long as it evolves into ... a form of integration."

The power of "Hey!"

That's what Lewis Cartee is careful to address with the more gung-ho members of his block patrol group in East Atlanta, known as Safe Atlanta for Everyone (SAFE). He calls the group "a glorified neighborhood watch" where he uses Google maps to chart out "beats" for some 40 residents. He says he stresses what he calls "the power of 'Hey.'"

"You've got to go meet people, because the guy down the street you're suspicious of could be a good guy, and you run the risk of putting that guy off," says Mr. Cartee. "No way do you want that patrol being seen as us versus them."

Done inclusively, neighborhood patrols can be a powerful deterrent, says Rufus Terrill, an Atlanta mayoral candidate.

"Bad guys don't like to be seen doing things," says Mr. Terrill. "They don't want people's eyes on them. They fear that as much as a gun."

In Cudahy, it took Litkowiec and his band of civilian crime fighters a mere three weeks to effectively deter the garage robbers in the Rosewood neighborhood.

"We basically figured we should be able to outsmart some common thieves," says Litkowiec, who last week was handily elected to the city council on an anti-crime platform.

Open OODAs: War-gaming Our Future.

If you aren't making Global Guerrillas (here) a daily stop, you should be. John Robb is a brilliant observer of trends societal and military.

Tuesday, 27 January 2009


Open source insurgencies (both global guerrillas bent on disorder and resilient communities focused on stability), the general description for movements where many small groups with different motivations cooperate to move the war forward, have a big advantage over traditional hierarchies (both conventional militaries and guerilla movements formed in the 20th Century). They adapt well to highly ambiguous, complex, and rapidly changing environments.

One way to look at this is through the lens of John Boyd's OODA loop. It is arguably the best description of personal and organizational decision making that has been constructed to date. Unfortunately, the model breaks down in the modern environment's hyper-complexity, torrential feedback loops, and rampant network connectivity. The reasons are clear:

** It is a serial process. The only way to speed up decision making is to make the loop go faster. This serial process quickly reaches the hard limits of human communication and collaboration. Also, the slowest part determines the speed for the entire system.

** It isn't flexible or creative enough. The orientation process of any single organization is insufficient to accurately model the existing environment. In short, a dog's brain that runs 1,000x faster is still a dog's brain.*

** It's hermetically isolated. Decision making improvements in modern organizations don't naturally propagate horizontally (by design). The process used is opaque as possible and the results are often intentionally obscured to enable that organization to gain advantage.**


Open source insurgencies solve these problems by (I'll draw a revised OODA process for this when I find the time):

** Decision making processes run in parallel. The larger the number of loops, the faster it goes.

** Multiple responses by a diverse group of participants (anybody can participate) generates a wide variety of hypothesis and decisions. Many of which, work.

** Sharing and rampant copying of the processes (i.e. the hypothesis and orientations) that work yields strong horizontal propagation. It scales, potentially even to a global level.

* It's even worse than described. Most modern hierarchical organizations and their supporting professions actively avoid the employment of the most important types of minds necessary for decision making in complex environments: pattern matchers and system thinkers that can routinely develop new synthetic models of complex processes. In Boyd's lingo: the sign outside almost all modern organizations, both corporations and government, is "no snowmobile's allowed." Here's an example: the US government's and the economic profession's abysmal decision making effort in response to the emerging global financial and economic meltdown.

** This damages the speed of response and the scalability of response. Why? A lack of horizontal propagation prevents system wide synchronization of new modes of operation as well as the development of ecosystems.

Posted by John Robb on Tuesday, 27 January 2009 at 09:38 AM

The Narcissist Dictator Receives the Adulation of the Masses

Narcissism describes the trait of excessive self-love, based on self-image or ego.

The term is derived from the Greek mythology of Narcissus. Narcissus was a handsome Greek youth who rejected the desperate advances of the nymph Echo. As punishment, he was doomed to fall in love with his own reflection in a pool of water. Unable to consummate his love, Narcissus pined away and changed into the flower that bears his name, the narcissus.

A Boeotian hero whose archaic myth was a cautionary tale warning boys against being cruel to their lovers.In psychology and psychiatry, excessive narcissism is recognized as a severe personality dysfunction or personality disorder, most characteristically Narcissistic personality disorder, also referred to as NPD.

The terms narcissism, narcissistic, and narcissist are often used as pejoratives, denoting vanity, conceit, egotism or simple selfishness. Applied to a social group, it is sometimes used to denote elitism or an indifference to the plight of others. -- Wikipedia.

Here's one view:

Here's another:

Here's a third:

Creepy, huh?

Praxis: Rations from WalMart

At WalMart in Trussville, Alabama, I chanced upon these:

What caught my eye was the expiration date: "Best by 10-20-11." I bought the Chunk Light Tuna in Sunflower Oil ("Fresher Tasting! No Draining.") 6.4 ounce packs for $2.16 each. I also picked up ten 2.6 ounce packs for $.86 each. Bought ten of each as that was all the disposable income I could afford. Most of my "disposable income" is already disposed before the check gets here.

Still, they are handy, require no can openers and are as light a package of tuna as you are going to find. And they last almost three years.

If any other Three Percenters have other ration ideas (or better yet, know where I can get these cheaper than WalMart), please post them here.

Praxis: A Better Source for M14 & M16 Stripper Clips, Spoons and Bandoleers

I am informed that Cheaper Than Dirt, despite emailing everybody that they have 5.56 stripper clips in stock, still show them as backordered. May the fleas of a thousand camels infest their nostrils and camel spiders come to chew upon their lying entrails.

However, fear not. Courtesy of jeepster and others we have this better source.

Go here. Look under weapon categories and you will find both M14 and M16 ammunition repack components.

Old Sarge's Drop Zone has what you need.

Character, Guns and Criminals

Another great Gaddy column. Go here and read.

"Camps": We are not "good Germans." We will not acquiesce in our own enslavement.

Pete has a post here that everyone needs to read. Here is the bill it refers to.

My attitude is this:

What? You think we weren't paying attention to the central lesson of the 20th Century?

You may build the camps, we will not go.

Try to put us in them by force, and we will kill you.

Try to fill them with political prisoners, and those of us you have not snared will break the wire, shoot the guards, slit the throats of the commanders, burn down the businesses of those who collaborate with tyranny to support them and blow up the rails, roads and bridges leading to them.

We are not "good Germans." We will not acquiesce in our own enslavement.

Build the camps if it pleases you. Use them for tyranny, and watch what happens.

Mike Vanderboegh
"If this be treason, then make the most of it."

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Cheese-eating GOP Surrender Monkeys: Single Bullet Arlen Comes Around on Holder (What did I tell you?)

United States Senator Arlen Spector, Republican, Pennsylvania

Oh, boy, that's what the GOP calls "not smooth sailing"? They held out for exactly a week. To call them "cheese-eating surrender monkeys" is an insult to honest cheese-eating surrender monkeys everywhere, even the French ones. I told you it was "puppet theater." Orrin Hatch, R-Utah; Charles Grassley, R-Iowa; Jon Kyl, R-Arizona, Jeff Sessions, R-Alabama; Lindsey Graham, R-South Carolina also voted for this stench in the nostrils of decent people.

Jeff Sessions, Cheese-eating GOP surrender monkey from Alabama, votes to approve Eric Holder.

The original Washington Times article is here.

Specter now supports Holder
Ben Conery
Wednesday, January 28, 2009

The political wrangling surrounding the nomination of Eric H. Holder Jr. for attorney general appeared to end Tuesday with his most vociferous Republican critic pledging to back President Obama's choice to lead the Justice Department.

Sen. Arlen Specter, Pennsylvania Republican, said he will support Mr. Holder, 58, when his nomination comes to a vote Wednesday in the Senate Judiciary Committee, which virtually ensures it will be approved by that committee.

"I think that Mr. Holder is entitled to the benefit of the doubt in the context of the excellent record he has," said Mr. Specter, who is the top Republican on the Judiciary Committee.

Mr. Holder is all but certain to win confirmation from the Democratic-controlled Senate. A spokesman for Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, Nevada Democrat, would say only that the Senate would move as quickly as possible to vote on the nomination should it clear the Judiciary Committee.

Charles Grassley, cheese-eating GOP surrender monkey, listens to Eric Holder's obfuscations with sage approval.

"I am glad that Senator Specter has resolved his concerns and will support Eric Holder's nomination to be the next attorney general," said Sen. Patrick J. Leahy, a Vermont Democrat and chairman of the committee. "Tomorrow, the committee will move forward to report this historic nomination to the Senate, and I hope the Senate will debate and vote on Mr. Holder's nomination without further delay."

Mr. Specter said he doubted Mr. Holder would see the same Republican resistance that Treasury Secretary Timothy F. Geithner saw during his confirmation vote. Mr. Geithner faced resistance after revelations he had failed to pay some of his taxes. Mr. Specter said the difference is that Republican Party concerns about Mr. Holder related to his judgment, not his integrity.

The nomination of Mr. Holder, who stands to become the first black attorney general, never seemed in serious doubt. But Republicans on the Judiciary Committee had vowed that Mr. Holder's nomination would not be "smooth sailing."

John Kyl, cheese eating GOP surrender monkey from Arizona, after his hair is caught in a sudden gust of hot air from the mouth of Eric Holder.

They made good on that promise by using Judiciary Committee rules to delay for a week the vote on Mr. Holder's nomination.

Republicans on the committee expressed concern about Mr. Holder's role in the controversial pardon of fugitive financier Marc Rich by President Clinton; Mr. Holder was a top Justice Department official at the time. Republican Party lawmakers also criticized his involvement in clemency given to members of a Puerto Rico nationalist organization that the FBI considered a terror group, as well as his part in the decision by Justice not to investigate allegations of campaign-finance violations by then-Vice President Al Gore.

And after nearly eight hours of testimony last week, Republicans said they needed more information about whether Mr. Holder would seek to prosecute soldiers and intelligence officials who carried out so-called enhanced-interrogation techniques that some consider torture.

Lindsey Graham, cheese-eating GOP surrender monkey from South Carolina, leaves the Senate Judiciary Committee room for a hot date after voting for Eric Holder.

Mr. Specter said he met privately with Mr. Holder last week and received a "satisfactory answer" about that issue.

According to Mr. Specter, Mr. Holder said soldiers and intelligence officials engaging in interrogation techniques that were authorized by legal opinions from the Justice Department would have a strong defense against prosecution. But Mr. Holder also said he couldn't make any definitive decision without knowing all the facts of a particular case.

Mr. Holder made similar statements during his confirmation hearing when he said such legal opinions would be a "huge factor" in making decisions about potential prosecutions.

The confirmation of Mr. Holder would allow the Judiciary Committee to begin considering the dozens of other nominees for key jobs at the Justice Department. They include David Kris for assistant attorney general for national security, Tony West for assistant attorney general for the civil division, and Lanny Breuer for assistant attorney general for the criminal division.

Orrin Hatch, cheese-eating GOP surrender monkey from Utah, pulls a long face in mock gravity as Eric Holder is confirmed. The joke, he knows, is on us.

Among Mr. Holder's first jobs, should he win confirmation, will be to come up with a plan to deal with the 245 detainees who are in the military prison at Guantanamo Bay. President Obama last week signed an executive order calling for the prison to be closed within the next year.

Mr. Holder will consider having the detainees' cases heard in civilian courts, military courts or even in some form of the military commissions set up during the Bush administration.

Don't worry about Guantanamo, torture, military tribunals and all that. They'll reopen them all for us when it suits them. Thanks, Arlen. Thanks a hell of a lot.

And now for something completely different . . .

Well, I've been pushing the edge of the envelope here recently -- mentioning armor piercing ammo and armored limousines in the same paragraph; trying to get people to think ahead about smuggling ammo; even pushing dumpster diving as a recreational event suitable for patriots. ("Oh, the shame of it all!")

So now, for something completely different we have this courtesy of cbrant:

Peter asked me to forward this to you.

III = Indignant Indigenous Individualists

I like it! Although the Prags will say it is "Insane Ill-mannered Idiots." I still like it.

Ministry of Defense Training Film: "How Not To Be Seen" (1970)

Praxis: SLAP-ing the Enemy

Good morning, boys and girls. Please ignore our vulgar pre-schooler in the front row. This morning we are going to talk about SLAP-ing your enemy. But before we do, you should be aware that this topic makes certain government officials very nervous. So much so that they have passed laws against some of what we are going to be discussing. As a disclaimer, you should know the following.

If you are NOT a Federal Firearms Licensee under the Gun Control Act of 1968 (i.e., you are an individual), it is permissable to own, sell, buy or shoot armor-piercing ammunition. It is NOT permissible to to MAKE AP ammo (18 USC sec. 922(a)(7)) or to IMPORT AP ammo (18 USC sec. 922(a)(7)).

The only persons who can make AP ammo are holders of a Type 10 FFL, also needed to make destructive devices, and ammunition for destructive devices. The only persons who can import AP ammo are holders of a type 11 FFL, who can also import DD's and ammo for DD's. The FFL's cost $1000 a year.

Also know that AP ammo is the bullets ONLY, not the loaded ammo, although ATF has identified some AP ammo by the loaded ammo, not projectiles, for the information of FFL dealers, who are not supposed to "willfully" transfer AP ammo. From this it follows that loading the bullets identified above intocompleted rounds does not constitute "making" AP ammo; making the bullets themselves does.

Now, aren't we all happier knowing that? Our subject today children is the Saboted Light Armor Penetrator, or SLAP cartridge.

7.62 NATO SLAP Rounds

SLAP ammunition is designed to penetrate armor more efficiently than standard armor piercing ammunition. The SLAP design incorporates a polymer sabot, which allows for the use of a tungsten penetrator projectile of a lesser diameter than the original bore.

These are sabots:

By using the casing of a large cartridge with a lightweight projectile, the velocity of the projectile is greatly increased. SLAP rounds are designed for use against lightly armored vehicles and aircraft. They make a perfect hash out of SAPI plates too, but more on that later.

Saboted rounds are used to get a flat trajectory (like Remington's Accelerator varmint rounds), or for armor penetration (APDS or SLAP ammo), or to use long, narrow projectiles stabilized by fins (APFDS or flechettes). The Accelerator was an effort to get flat shooting, small caliber performance from a .30 caliber cartridge by firing a 5.56mm soft point in a plastic sabot. Muzzle velocities are in the neighborhood of 4000 feet per second. As a varmint round, Accelerators are more expensive than regular ammo but no more accurate, although certainly the terminal ballistics are more, uh, spectacular.

It is when you substitute a tungsten steel penetrator for a soft tip bullet that things get really interesting. The U.S. military developed Saboted Light Armor Piercing rounds to get greater penetration from small arms. The 7.62mm SLAP round is designated the M948 and the SLAP tracer is M959. The .50 BMG round is designated as the M903(non-trace) and M962(trace). The SLAP family of ammunition is produced by the Winchester Cartridge Company and Olin Manufacturing. The sabot that contains the sub-caliber is manufactured by Cytec Industries.

The 7.62 NATO round has not been particularly successful in terms of accuracy. The Norwegians and the Swedes are reported to have done better in terms of precision sho placement. The main usage of 7.62 NATO SLAP rounds in U.S. service is in the Gatling gun type weapons where accuracy is less important. And the .50 caliber SLAPs are said to be much better than their smaller brothers.

So why, if the M948's are not as accurate should we care about them? Because they penetrate armor. The P-T-B have denied the American armed citizenry so-called destructive devices even as they cloak themselves in armor of various types. SLAP rounds, and other standard AP rounds, threaten that cocoon of safety they wrap themselves in. Most of us cannot afford a fifty caliber rifle. We CAN afford SLAP and other AP rounds.

I know a fellow who has obtained a number of M948 rounds (he found them at a gun show) and is busily pulling the projectiles and sabots and reloading them for his .300 Winchester Magnum bolt gun. Early reports are quite favorable, both as to accuracy and penetration. At one hundred yards, they went through a small SAPI plate like it wasn't even there. He is increasing the number of steel plates to see what kind of penetration on armor he can expect, but I doubt any Bradley or M113's fuel cell is immune from such treatment.

Why should we even worry about the ability to pierce armor? Because we know from past experience that the people designated to come and kill us may be riding in these:

And the people who send them ride in these:

'Nuff said?

Editorial Note: The photo originally used as the last illustration has been changed due to an allegation that it represented the President's new limo. As I am on record as discouraging Presidential assassinations in the strongest terms, the illustration has been changed to protect the innocent. And I don't mean Obama. I firmly believe he should live to see the end of his term. If it works out like we are afraid it will, he needs to stay alive for the war crimes tribunal, if nothing else. ;-)

"We submitted with pleasure...We purely and simply deserved everything that happened afterward." -- Applying Solzhenitsyn's Advice

Pete at WRSA has this. I like it so much I'm reprinting it in its entirety.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Applying Solzhenitsyn's Advice

Most freedom-minded people are familiar with the following quote from volume 1, page 13, note 5 of Solzhenitsyn's Gulag Archipelago:

"And how we burned in the camps later, thinking: What would things have been like if every Security operative, when he went out at night to make an arrest, had been uncertain whether he would return alive and had to say good-bye to his family? Or if, during periods of mass arrests, as for example in Leningrad, when they arrested a quarter of the entire city, people had not simply sat there in their lairs, paling with terror at every bang of the downstairs door and at every step on the staircase, but had understood they had nothing left to lose and had boldly set up in the downstairs hall an ambush of half a dozen people with axes, hammers, pokers, or whatever else was at hand? After all, you knew ahead of time that those bluecaps were out at night for no good purpose. And you could be sure ahead of time that you'd be cracking the skull of a cutthroat. Or what about the Black Maria sitting out there on the street with one lonely chauffeur -- what if it had been driven off or its tires spiked. The Organs would very quickly have suffered a shortage of officers and transport and, notwithstanding all of Stalin's thirst, the cursed machine would have ground to a halt!"

But how does one actually prepare for such an unpleasant possibility here in early 21st-century America?

A reader sends the following suggestions, subtitled "Things to Do Inside When the Bossman Tells You It's Too Cold to Work Outside":

1) Put on suitable music for working inside. Don't know about you, but bagpipe music makes me angry. You might want to go there if you want to get motivated.

2) Retrieve the "good" (i.e., preferred by GIs) .30-06 rounds that had been in storage. These are the more common black-tip rounds from WW2, of which tens of millions were made.

3) Check each round for storage degradation by looking for verdigris and other indications of deterioration. Also check each round with a case headspace gauge (available from Dillon and other places). Clean up each round as needed.

4) Put the checked rounds onto M1 clips.

5) Look at the headstamps: you are looking at life in a different era. You are looking at Lake City 1952, 53, etc, plus Salt Lake City from the same vintage. Take a think back to those times and those circumstances, and pull up your balls realizing that what's in your hand is all so corrosive. We don't do that s... anymore, but we can still use that ammo in our Garands and our bolties.

4) Bring the entire process of checking out each round with the case gauge, loading the good-to-go rounds into "inspected" clips, then transferring the en blocs into cardboards and bandoleers to your kitchen counter. No problem for me -- my wife is good with it and more. It's all good spousal talk, and brings things from the cold shop into the warm house.

5) Mark up the bandoleers with a Sharpie as to what's in each one. Four bandoleers make a .30 cal can of good-to-go old-style Garand ammo, from the days when the black tips were preferred to the unavailable and less capable M2 bullet for the Garand.

Today, I test-fired some of that old stuff, since I wouldn't want to post bad advice on resurrecting WW2 black tips. Posting, without testing, would not be fair to either side of the equation.

For our own side: they all went bang.

For the opfor: Do you know about how many other rounds of the good WW2 black-tip ammo are still out there, in good hands? Don't forget either about the millions of rounds of black-tip '06 produced by FN up through at least the Sixties. Word is that those 250-round cans still have that faint ether smell when you open them, which, as you know, is a hallmark of well-preserved, fully-functional ammo.

Bad legislation can only go so far, to the point where bad laws mess with good peoples' lives. Then the bad guys must make their choices and deal with consequences of those choices.

Winter goes on, but spring is coming. During the interim, I'm looking at what I see as presidential decrees of bad times ahead for folks like us. Might as well do something worthwhile with the bad weather.

Look towards your most effective close-range ammo.

I say again -- look towards your best close range ammo.

Get it in the best shape that you can. Be calm in knowing that .30-'06 USGI black-tip ammo is going to go bang and do its job nearly sixty years after it was made.

And never forget the final section of Gulag's note 5:

If...if...We didn't love freedom enough. And even more - we had no awareness of the real situation. We spent ourselves in one unrestrained outburst in 1917, and then we hurried to submit. We submitted with pleasure...We purely and simply deserved everything that happened afterward.

Solzhenitsyn's mugshot upon release from the Gulag, 1953.

Whatever alibis the Soviet-era Russians and other captive peoples might have had as the Gulag's apparatus churned and grumbled, we kulaks of the Obamanation have no such excuses.

Alea iacta est.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Praxis: 5.56 NATO Stripper Clips Back in stock at CTD

Just received this email:

Some time ago, you requested notification when particular products were back in stock at Email questions to

Item Description Price Available Action
ARR-037 AR-15 .223 Stripper Clips 100 Pack of 100 Ten Round Stripper $9.97 plenty Buy Now!

Thank you for shopping with us!

NOTE: Prices and product availability are subject to change without notice, but were valid at the time this email was sent.

Praxis: A Review of EDC (Every Day Carry) Flashlights

When I was moseying around on Military Times, I also found this by Rob Curtis.

E.D.C. Flashlight - Cordon & Review

January 19th, 2009 | Cordon & Review | Posted by Rob Curtis

One battery. One lonely little AAA, AA or CR123. What could it do in a flashlight when most of us remember state-of-the-art as those huge two or four D-cell man-beaters? Well, with the latest L.E.D. technology, a little CR123 battery can run a light for hours that’s no bigger than your finger but nearly as bright as a car headlight.

All the major players you know, and a few you don’t, have embraced the L.E.D. So, we’ll give you a primer on the new millennium flashlight tech and offer capsule reviews of 11 lights you can carry everyday without weighing you down or making folks wonder if you’re just glad to see them.

Hit the jump for the GearScout’s take on everyday carry (E.D.C.) lights.

BONUS- Leave a comment with a valid email address and you are entered to win one of these flashlights!


The Beam: The shape and quality of a flashlight beam has come a long way from the focusable Mini-Mag. Old-school lights made with sometimes off-center bulbs and smooth reflectors produced nasty rings, holes and artifacts that reduced the utility of a beam and caused eye fatigue during extended use.

Perfectly centered L.E.D. modules, textured and specially engineered reflectors, and tuned optics combine to make old-school, focusable, Mini-Mags about as cool as brick phones.

Beams can now be tuned at the factory to produce a tightly focused spotlight, a broad diffused glow or a combination of the two. Let’s call the amount of light that surrounds the center hot spot the “spill.” Lights that use an optic to define the beam will generally have a tight hot spot with little spill, great for lighting up objects at a distance. When reflectors are used, the beam can have a much larger usable spill area and a less defined hot spot, better for lighting a whole area. A light with no hot spot, like the Zebra H30-Q5, is considered “floody.”

The high-end lights like Surefire’s E1B and Blackhawk’s PL3 XTR contain shatter-resistant Pyrex or precisely engineered reflectors to make beams with defined center spots. More affordable lights will use lower-quality optical material and their beams will appear less defined and may actually change color as you move from the center of the beam outward.

The last quality of a beam to consider is the color. When talking about white light, noticeable tints will range from blue to yellow. The yellow end of the spectrum appears more like a light bulb and is easier on the eyes. Blue tints appear whiter and more brilliant.

One important thing to note with L.E.D.s is that radiate a more limited spectrum than light bulbs. This means that you can’t throw an accessory IR filter over your light and use it with your NVGs. If you want an IR light, you’ll need to buy an I.R. L.E.D. light or get one that has a separate, secondary I.R. L.E.D. emitter.
Controls: Modern flashlights contain microprocessors to manage their output. This allows a range of function, but having only one or two controls limits the user interface and has created some imaginative control schemes.

The two most popular controls are “clicky” and “twisty.” Clicky means the switch is binary: press the button until it clicks and the light remains on with your finger off the switch until you press it again. Twisty means you twist the part of the light in relation to its head to activate the light. Generally, twist it tight and it’s on until you unscrew it.

Clickies are intuitive but they can be loud and their contacts will eventually wear out. Clicky variations include reverse clickies, as found on the Leatherman Seracs and Fenix, which only switch the light on during the switch backstroke. On the plus side, the switch has to be depressed completely before it activates, making pocket activations unlikely. The minus? No momentary, or tactical, switching. Forward clickies allow momentary activation with a half-press so that as soon as you remove your thumb from the switch, the light turns off.

“Twisty” switches are very reliable and reduce the size of the light but drawbacks include accidental activation and inelegant interfaces. The Fenix LD01’s three light levels are cycled by quickly twisting the switch back and forth. With some practice, you can do this with one hand but it can be a little awkward at first. Some twisties can go on momentary by using the play in the tail cap threads as a buffer.

Brightness and Modes: Most manufacturers offer lights with multiple brightness levels and flashing modes. Nitecore’s EX10 gives you two fixed settings and a third setting that you choose by ramping up (or down) the light to any of 100 steps between the extremes.

Don’t be seduced by the brightest beam, though. Consider your use: in everyday carry (EDC), you’ll most likely use lower light levels to extend battery life and to keep from blinding yourself when using the light during close-up work. Surefire’s E1B offers two settings, and the tail switch cycles between the two with a half-click, always coming on at full power after power-down. But if you intend to stun an attacker or light up a house number from the street, make sure your light can put out more than 65 lumens in a tight hot spot; the Blackhawk Sentinel PL3 XTR or the Surefire E1B are perfect for this.

Power Source: The three batteries found in most handheld lights are AA, AAA and CR123. The AA is ubiquitous, cheap and contains a moderate amount of power but it’s relatively large and heavy for a pocket light. The AAA carries less power than a AA but its small size and the efficiency of modern LEDs mean it’s a tradeoff worth making for many applications. The CR123 has become much easier to find lately, though it’s still expensive. But its increased voltage is needed to drive the brightest flashlights to their potential. If you never know what battery you’ll have on hand, take a look at the Gerber Omnivore. It can use a AA, AAA, or CR123.

Go to the link above and you can also find individual reviews of the following lights:

Fenix Digital LD01 Q5
Fenix Digital LD10 Premium Q5
Surefire E1B Backup
PentagonLight Molle Light Phantom
Leatherman Serac S2
Leatherman Serac S3
Blackhwk Sentinel PL3 XTR
Gerber Infinity Ultra-M
Gerber Infinity Omnivore
NiteCore SmartPD EX10 GDP
Zebra H30Q5

Praxis: The three things you have to worry about.

Only three things you gotta worry about in the infantry. Your rifle and your two feet. -- Sgt. Rock, Fixed Bayonets!, 1951

Fixed Bayonets! remains one of my favorite war movies. I suppose this is partly because it was done by Sam Fuller, a combat infantryman in World War II who also made classics like Steel Helmet, Merrill's Marauders, and The Big Red One. It is also partly because the principal theme of the work is the natural reluctance and doubt that someone has when they are thrust into leadership and responsibility. This theme is also explored in another movie I like, The Immortal Sergeant, starring Henry Fonda.

Fuller's movies crackle with realism and Fixed Bayonets! is no exception. Sgt. Rock's lecture about the three things you have to worry about in the infantry is one mundane truth. Throughout the movie there's a constant theme about the search for dry socks and the care of infantrymen's feet. Someone is always looking for dry socks, finding dry socks, scheming to steal dry socks from another man, or wondering what's going to happen when the owner of the dry socks discovers they have been stolen.

In this scene, Rock has his squad bunch together for warmth and to massage their feet. I thought of this when I ran across this on the Military Times blog posted by Rob Curtis.

I had a chance to walk the floor at the Outdoor Retailer show in Salt Lake City last week and got lots of gouge on gear coming down the pike.

Mixed in amongst the treehuggers and corporate types were a cadre of buyers from DoD SOF, Army SF, Army Rangers, the Navy Seals, AF Pararescuemen, the FBI, local search-and-rescue units and acquisition professionals from all four services. I’ll pick out a few gems and follow up with lots more in coming posts.

One of these gems was this:

Said Rob:
Darn Tough Socks -- I found out that every Ranger in the regiment is getting a dozen pair of Vermont-made Darn Tough socks. This is in addition to the $1.5-million buy the Marines made to get good socks for every deploying Marine.

You can find Darn Tough socks on the web here.

Bob Wright, commander of the 1st BDE, New Mexico Militia, used to say that you could tell how serious a militiaman was by how many pairs of boots he owned. The same goes for socks.

While you're stocking up on ammo, beans and toilet paper, set aside a few dollars for some good quality socks -- a LOT of good quality socks.

Calling all Arms Smugglers, Freedom Fighters and Native American Entrepreneurs to Rendezvous at "Apacheria."

Meet Janet Napolitano, new "Czar" of "Homeland Security" (How many oxymorons can they fit in one sentence?)

Miss Napolitano, we are told in this Washington Times story by Audrey Hudson, is going to be concentrating on the Canadian border and not the Rio Grande. Why? Well I have some thoughts on that, but why don't you read the relevant portion of the story yourself first? (A H/T to David Codrea for bringing this to my attention.)

Vulnerabilities along the Canadian border are one of more than a half-dozen priorities identified by Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano during her first week, along with cybersecurity and ensuring that federal officials are properly communicating with state and local officials.

"The northern border of the United States has become, since 9/11, important to our national security," Miss Napolitano wrote in an action directive issued Friday.

"As we have designed programs to afford greater protection against unlawful entry, members of Congress and homeland security experts have called for increased attention to the Canadian border," the directive said.

Miss Napolitano asked for an oral report by Feb. 10 on current vulnerabilities, the overall strategy to reduce such, a budget and time frame for improving security, and the level of risk that will remain once the programs are completed.

Right, well we knew that the southern border was no longer going to be of interest to DHS because of what Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid told the Detroit Free Press back in November as reported in the Weekly Standard here:

Harry Reid told the Detroit Free Press that he expects comprehensive immigration reform to be passed relatively early in the next Congress:

Q. With more Democrats in the Senate and the House and a Democrat in the White House, how do you see congressional efforts playing out on such issues as health care and immigration?

A: On immigration, there's been an agreement between (President-elect Barack) Obama and (Arizona Republican Sen. John) McCain to move forward on that. ... We'll do that. We have to get this economy stuff figured out first, so I think we'll have a shot at doing something on health care in the next Congress for sure.

Q: Will there be as much of a fight on immigration as last time?

A: We've got McCain and we've got a few others. I don't expect much of a fight at all. Now health care is going to be difficult. That's a very complicated issue. We debated at great length immigration. People understand the issues very well. We have not debated health care, so that's going to take a lot more time to do.
One senator who wields significant influence on the debate is Robert Menendez, and he seems to be pushing ahead on the issue as well. Menendez is no extremist among Senate Democrats, either; he's just been named head of the Democratic Senate Campaign Committee. Expect Menendez to lead a push--apparently with Reid's blessing--to get comprehensive reform passed in the first half of 2009.

Proponents will argue that while the measure may be unpopular, it's better to swallow a bitter pill far in advance of the midterms. And if it seems that they lack the votes to pass it in the next few months, they'll bargain for a commitment for passage later in 2009.

Now, I am on record as saying that if the Obamanoids truly were interested in seizing power rather than playing by the old rules, they would go for early amnesty for illegals in order to generate the 15 million plus new loyal Democrat voters in time for the 2010 elections. I said it before Harry said the above. Think of those numbers. With those numbers Western states like Colorado and even Texas go reliably blue. No conservative (forget the GOP, they should go the way of the Whigs for getting us into this excrement)of any party will ever be elected in a national contest again. Their "majority rule" will collapse the Republic.

So we can see why the southern border is no longer a priority, but why is Napolitano so interested in the Canadian border? Well, maybe, just maybe, because of this:

or maybe, this?

As John Bystrom so cogently points out here:

Ammo Accountability, Taxes, Cigarettes And a New Class of Smuggling

On the ride home from camp, I tuned into "Steve Gruber's Wildlife" on WJR 760 AM. The conversation was about the proposed micro-etching of a unique identifier onto each and every projectile sold in a particular state, and the entire country, if Congress and the President should take it up. The conversation explored the idea that the technology to put a tag on each projectile was not available, and the costs would make ammo unavailable to the average gun owner.

Well back in the day, I remember hearing a professor from an Ivy League college say that the "right to bear arms" does not have a corresponding right to possess ammo. S0, here is the next threat to gun ownership. In addition, otherwise legal gun owners will become criminals, due to an arbitrary law designed to render useless, firearms possessed for legal purposes.

So what happens when a government, makes a legal product too hard or expensive for it's citizens to possess? Lets take a quick look at the Canada and the excessive cigarette taxes. In the Canadian cigarette case, a full 30% of the cigarettes in Canada in 1993 were contraband and untaxed. Political pressure caused the cigarette tax to be reduced, but the amount of contraband cigarette in Canada is still unknown.

Just as in the Canadian cigarette situation, cross border smuggling is likely to occur. Canadians have always supplied the United States with outlaw goods, such as whiskey during prohibititon, and Americans have cooperated with Canadians to smuggle cigarettes. Why would ammo be any different?

Native Americans and First Nation Canadians have an independence streak that should be admired by all. These native peoples do not always agree with the policy of the US or Canadian government, and often times are not willing to adhere to policy that they deem unecessarily obtrusive. In the case of cigarettes, the Candian brand cigarettes were shipped/exported to US Duty free shops, and then smuggled back into Canada by Native Americans and First Nation Canadians.

Exactly how it will work with ammunition. Natives will bring ammo manufactured in Canada, or exported into Canada, through border reservations making a nice profit. American shooting sports enthusiasts will have no problem acquiring ammo at a lower cost than the "tagged" ammo that can be acquired by commercial means.

The legislation will do nothing to work toward it's stated goal. The government will create a whole new class of criminal, out of law abiding gun owners if this legislation is ever passed.

"A whole new class of criminal." Yes, and some tactical alliances of benefit to all parties except the governments.

Take John's idea about the Canadian Indians, who already serve as the contact point for cigarettes smuggled into Canada might naturally become the distribution nexus for ammo coming back south in the same trucks. No wonder Janet is worried about the northern border.

But we can take it one step further. There are many Native American autonomous zones within the United States. Many generate revenues from casinos, which in the economic downturn will be suffering. Folks who have no money cannot get up the gas money to gamble, let alone place the bets. So, the reservations will be neediongd new sources of income.

Why not ammunition plants? Even firearms manufactories? If memory serves, the Lakota have a manufacturing plant at Wounded Knee, South Dakota, that makes camo netting and body armor for the U.S. mlitary and they get tax breaks and other incentives to do so. Why not use the system of "economic recovery" to facilitate our liberty rather than government power?

I'd like to see the US government tangle with the Apaches again. Anybody ever read the alternate history novel Apacheria?

From the inside flap of the book:

In this riveting, action-packed alternate history, the Apaches forge their own bold nation and enter the world of racketeering and politics--all the while maintaining their traditional ways--as a new neighbor to a United States that will never be the same again . . .

In 1884 only one thing stood in the way of United States expansion: the Apaches. The U.S. Army believed it could easily defeat this ragtag band of savages who viewed one another more as rivals than allies. But one of those "savages" was a military genius: Juh, "He Who Sees Ahead." It was Juh's vision that persuaded the various tribal leaders to set aside their differences and work together, thus turning the disconnected bands of warring Apaches into the most cohesive fighting force the West had ever seen--and crushing the invading army.

Thus was born Apacheria--the Apache Nation--and a world where Juh and his son, Little Spring, matched wits and weapons with a cast ranging from Teddy Roosevelt and Carrie Nation to Al Capone and J. Edgar Hoover. A world where it was best to stand with the Apaches, and never against them . . .

There is much food for thought in this novel, not the least of which is the military truth that, in the novel at least, actually wins the Apaches their independence: Find out what your enemy values most and take it from him. It's not always his life.

More on the strategic lessons of Apacheria in a future post, but for now start looking around for business opportunities in Native American and Canadian Indian autonomous zones. It wouldn't hurt to put a bumper sticker on your vehicle: "Custer Had It Coming."