This story from GruntDoc tells the whole tale. What these guys did is harder than anything I've ever been asked to do, or want to do. We often think of the serviceman, the armed citizen, and the policeman who confronts evil directly. But the medics are the ones who pick up the pieces, and start putting it all back together.
That's the title of this article on efforts to build giant robots for the Army. One reservist has built one in his backyard that can shoot spikes and spit fire. Can't walk yet, but... one thing at a time.
Things like this and the TRAP make me think that the military is thinking ahead. What I imagine they are thinking is this: "We used to have the best marksmen in the world, because they all grew up shooting squirrel in the backwoods. What are we going to do when all our potential volunteers have only Xbox shooting skills?"
Well, we'll have the best giant robot warriors around, no doubt.
Why, oh why, must these manufacturers of automobiles make battery terminals out of such poor quality steel?
Battery died in the truck today, so I hiked into town, got a new one, and carried it back. (An aside: these things are not feathers. My son, who is two, was deeply impressed. He kept trying to lift it after we got back home,and then pointing it out to his mother, and saying, "Daddy do!")
I have exactly the right size ratchet socket for the business of replacing the battery: 7/32. (For some reason, however, other bolts in the engine are metric; parts I have to take off to get at the battery are 12mm.) Fits like a glove; but no matter. The negative terminal came off with no problem, but add a little corrosion, and it's no go on the positive. The "steel" bolt stripped away like butter.
I ended up having to pry the thing loose with a pair of these. What a pain.
So, that's how I spent my afternoon. How was yours?
On the upside, the wife did compose a new song in honor of the occasion. She calls it "the Daddy Hero song." That's a bit much, but it is nice to hear her praise me to the boy, and it is nice to know I made her day.
The GeekWithA.45 has a story today that is both proud and tragic. It is tragic because it involves the death of a good, brave man acting in his proper role as a citizen: a defender of the common peace. It is proud for the same reason.
This law abiding fellow found himself outgunned by the criminal who killed him. He had armed himself with a 9mm handgun, to carry on his daily business. The fellow who came looking for trouble came with a Kalishnikov rifle, plus a bulletproof vest overtop of which he was wearing a flack jacket.
The armed citizen wasn't the only one outgunned; the police suffered three casualties as well. Mr. Mark Wilson, the armed citizen, is credited with saving the life of one of the intended victims, at the high cost of his own.
Another citizen, Ron Martell, followed the fleeing criminal by car in order to point him out to police. Between the two citizens, enough time was purchased for the police to coordinate their response and kill the criminal.
The Geek comments:
We must also remember that the problem of the armored opponent is solveable, and can occur at any time.Indeed, it is, and it can. There's enough body armor out there to pose a threat to police and citizens alike; we see it popping up just now and then among the more vicious criminals, the ones who set out to cause mayhem rather than just make money at their crime.
One of the easiest ways to solve the problem of body armor is with a rifle. Only the very best body armors can stop even one rifle round, though some of those can stop multiple hits of small-caliber rifle rounds. In addition to a vastly increased ability to overpower body armor, though, the rifle has the advantage of increased accuracy. At the short ranges at which gunfights are likely to take place, a rifle is almost pinpoint accurate. Striking areas not protected by the armor becomes much easier.
When I was growing up, it was entirely usual for people to carry a rifle or two in their truck, in town as in the country, mounted in a gun rack. I never heard of any of those weapons being used in a crime, and they provide a much improved capacity for a citizen called upon by Fate to do his duty for the common peace. In many states, there is no need for a permit to carry such a rifle, so long as it is openly displayed and/or carried without ammunition in the chamber.
There is an old adage: "Never take a handgun to a gunfight." Of course, we don't go looking for gunfights. But if you're going to prepare for the possibility that one might find you, a rifle can make a big difference.
China e-Lobby has a piece that points to an interesting fact: Huawei Technologies is a "principle supplier of Iraqi communications hardware for the current cellular contract."
Why is that interesting? Because Huawei has experience working with Iraq. They are "the Communist Chinese firm that integrated Saddam’s air defenses in 2001."
Good job, too. It's almost enough to make you wonder if they were on our payroll the whole time; indeed, I expect the topic to pop up any time on DU.
Setting aside conspiracy theorizing, however, I do wonder about this business. There was a great deal of moaning and whining about the CPA keeping French companies out of Iraq; but Communist Chinese ones, ones that actually participated in Saddam's defenses, are OK? Or has Iraq's interim government decided that they care more about integration into the world economy than they do about punishing bad actors? That would be an understandable sentiment, though I am always sad to see anyone doing trade with China's defense industry.
Speaking of which, here is a Xinhua piece on US-Japanese military integration. The Chinese have been feeling a bit sour since... well since about 1930, where Japan is concerned. But they've been especially irritable since this joint US/Japan statement on Taiwan. There are attempts to play it down, but there's no doubt that it's big news. I expect to see, in the next year or two, a Japanese amendment removing the pacifist language from their Constitution.
I suppose a man writing from a publication called "The Daily Collegian" must desire an education, and I think he's going to get one. JHD points out that he's earned the wrath of a particularly fearsome bunch: The Marine Corps Moms.
Although I have no use for the fellow at all, I can only pity him a bit. Still, it should be a learning experience indeed. In a few years, when the bruises heal and he's old enough to understand what he's about to be hit with, he should have ample fodder for reflection and edification.
It's snowing -- again -- and has been all day. However, this time I don't mind so much. The last time it snowed, I went out and bought some Eagle brand condensed milk, and so this time I was kitted out to make snow cream.
1. Start with 6 to 8 cups of CLEAN, FRESH snow.I haven't had the stuff since I was a little boy. It's very good, just as I remember. To make sure the snow is clean enough, wait until it's been snowing for at least two hours. That should draw down all the pollution from the air. Go and clean off a place outside -- the hood of a truck, say -- and then wait for snow to build there. That snow should be perfectly clean, assuming no animals have gotten at it.
2. Gradually add condensed milk (not evaporated). Continue mixing, adding more snow and milk until desired consistency is reached.
3. 1/2 teaspoon of vanilla can be added if desired.
4. Best if eaten immediately, but can be frozen (the consistency will be hard, more like popsicles).
Never let it be said that the Chinese people are cowards. Chinese culture may have little use for soldiers or warrior virtue, but there is a native heedlessness of violence: the spirit of the famous man who stood down the tanks at Tiananmen.
The celebration of the Chinese New Year (Year of the Rooster, this year) is ongoing across Asia, including southern Thailand. Despite a massive car bomb set off there last week, celebrants flocked to this famous temple. And no wonder! Anyone who will turn up to participate in that ritual isn't worried about a little thing like a car bomb.
INTEL DUMP has a piece on the rise of militias and private regiments in Iraq:
Greg Jaffe had an exceptional piece in Wednesday's Wall Street Journal (subscription required) describing the rise of 'irregular' Iraqi units around the country, which were popping up on their own, raised by individual officers, funded privately, with little connection to the U.S.-led effort to raise an Iraqi army. Surprisingly (or maybe not so), these ad hoc units appear to be better led, better equipped, and more combat effective than their 'official' brethren. And, perhaps more importantly, some U.S. officers are recognizing this, and figuring out how they might co-opt or work together with these Iraqi forces.Hat tip Chester. The militia, I belive, is an idea which has come again -- or which is, rather, coming again quickly. Nothing says "defense in depth" like an armed citizenry, which complicates the planning for hostage-takers and other terrorists immeasurably.
In case you are not familiar with the fellow, Abu Bakir Bashir stands accused of being the most important terror-supporting religious leader in Asia. He is accused of being the "spiritual leader" of Jemaah Islamiyah, and is currently standing trial for alleged involvement in various bombings across Indonesia. Although it's largely passed below radar in the US, his is the biggest terror trial in the world just now.
He's going to walk, too.
And not only that, he deserves to walk. This trial has been a joke from start to finish. A prosecution that can't do better than this does not deserve a conviction. The prosecution, which started off pursuing capital punishment, is today reduced to stridently repeating its "demand that Bashir be sentenced to eight years in jail." This trial has seen convicted bombers -- themselves under death sentences -- walk across the stage to kiss Bashir on the cheeks, before testifying that of course Bashir knew nothing about anything at all. It's seen a former US State Department official testify that the whole prosecution was cooked up by evil George Bush.
The only good thing that's come out of the business has been that Bashir condemned terrorism against civilians, although in the same breath he urged Indonesians to go fight Americans in Afghanistan.
This is the problem with the law enforcement approach to terrorism. It just doesn't work real well.
The only person ever to cheat me in a financial transaction was a minister, so I suppose I shouldn't be surprised by bad behavior from the pulpit. Still, this use of a common prayer to sneer at political opponents is ugly, low behavior.
Of course, it was ugly last year, too. I'll point this year's offender in the same direction.
Those of you who have given, from time to time and as asked, to the Walter & Adam Fund know that it was providing resources to a pair of young American snipers in Iraq. Together, we bought them the best of scopes, laser rangefinders, and body armor. But no armor is ever quite good enough.
I have terrible news to relate. A car bomb exploded in Mosul on Wednesday Feb 17, 2005, killing this young man:Kim links to this piece by Rivrdog, who came from the same hometown. Doc Russia has something as well.
U.S. Army Sergeant Adam J. Plumondore
From: Gresham, Oregon
Assigned to: 1st Battalion, 24th Infantry Regt., out of Fort Lewis, WA.
I regret to tell you that Sgt. Plumondore is the “Adam” of the Walter-Adam Fund.