Archive for October, 2014
27 Oct 2014

More Ottawa Shootout Details

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The National has a full play-by-play description of exactly how Kevin Vickers took down Michael Zehaf Bibeau.

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What Pistol did Sergeant at Arms Kevin Vickers use?

S&W_5946
Smith & Wesson 5946

(Dean Weingarten identified it.)

Bibeau was using a Model 1894 Winchester .30-30 lever-action carbine, with a tubular magazine holding six rounds (in addition to a round in the chamber). Retired Mountie Kevin Vickers took from his desk the RCMP standard sidearm: a Smith & Wesson Model 5946 9mm semiauto, almost certainly with a 15-round magazine (plus one in the chamber).

Vickers had Bibeau decidedly outgunned. Vickers could fire 16 shots as rapidly as he could press the trigger. Bibeau had only some portion of seven rounds left, and needed to work the lever to eject the spent cartridge case and chamber a new round before he could get off another shot.

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Mike McDaniel doesn’t like the Double-Action semiautos designed for the police market (and I agree).

[M]ost police officers [today] are not gun guys and girls. Many officers shoot their issued handguns only when necessary for qualifications–commonly only once a year–and clean their weapons far less often. Many police officers don’t own personal weapons, and many don’t carry any handgun off duty. Skill with handguns, and particularly revolvers requires constant and serious practice. Most police officers aren’t willing to do that.

Police executives were scared to death of the pistols available in the 70s, which were primarily the Colt 1911 and Browning Hi-Power, both single action pistols correctly carried “cocked and locked.” The sight of those cocked hammers sent shivers up their spine and made their knees weak, so manufacturers developed double action mechanisms so that they functioned more or less like revolvers, except they didn’t. After the first, vague, long and heavy double action trigger pull, the second and subsequent shots have a short, light pull, generally making the impact points of at least the first two shots far apart indeed.

Col. Jeff Cooper called double action pistols “an ingenious solution to a non-existent problem.” And so they were.

But Kevin Vickers clearly had fired that Smith & Wesson at a range many times in police practice sessions. He was familiar with his weapon and proved quite capable of shooting it accurately at a man-sized target.

27 Oct 2014

SNL Mocks Obama

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26 Oct 2014

Denver Post Critic Deplores Union Station’s Racist Architecture

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DenverUnionStation
Denver’s Union Station.

Denver is in the process of renovating its long-neglected Union Station, built in 1914 in the Beaux Arts style. Denver Post Fine Arts Critic Ray Mark Rinaldi has serious issues with the renovation of a building designed exclusively in European styles, which thus inevitably celebrates European culture and civilization, while neglecting to represent all those various peoples of colors which our liberal friends all tell us are destined very soon to displace us as the American majority. Evidently Mr. Rinaldi thinks that Denver ought to be consigning European culture, architecture & European history to the ash-heap of history right now.

Union Station is a neo-classical mix of styles — European styles. The symmetry, arched windows, ornate cornice and stacked, stone walls have their roots in the glory days of France, England, Greece and Rome, in empires that were nearly absent of ethnic minorities and who felt fully at ease invading, exploiting and actually enslaving the people of Africa, subcontinent Asia and South America.

Yes, that’s all in the past; things have changed. But the $54 million renovation of Union Station doesn’t take that into account. It restores the symbols of an old world with no updates. The gilded chandeliers have been rewired, the marble polished, but there’s no nod to the present, no interior walls in the bright colors of Mexico, no Asian simplicity is in the remix. There are no giant sculptures by African-American artists bonused into the lobby, no murals on the basement walls.

Would any of those updates have made Union Station more welcoming, made it “Ready for the Next 100 years,” as its marketing proclaims ? Could they still?

A preservationist might object to physical updates. Restoration is about the exact, the original. History has its ups and downs, the thinking goes, and you can’t blame buildings for the good or bad that happened. But a preservationist just might end up with a building that draws mostly white people — with a Union Station.

The present restoration harkens back to Union Station at its height, in the first half of a 20th century when many Americans suffered the social indignity and economic disadvantage of a segregated America. Denver’s neighborhoods, parks, schools and social amenities were divided sharply by race. Denver’s branch of the Ku Klux Klan, one mayor a member, kept things in their place.

The trains themselves were not officially segregated here, but you can bet many people on them boarded or disembarked in stations where blacks entered in separate doors and rode in restricted cars.

Denver’s bigshot bigots are gone, schools and workplaces desegregated. But the structures of back then look the same — are they to be honored or altered to make the past palatable for everyone?

The programming does little to mitigate the obstacles. The local restaurants and chefs that made it onto Union Station were the city’s highest-profile operators whose establishments serve mostly white clientele, and their fans have followed along. Minority businesses were part of the station’s redevelopment, but many of the key players were white, too. These people are not racists. They are our among our best, most creative thinkers.

Still, something is missing. There’s no traditional Mexican restaurant, no soul-food restaurant, no sushi bar, as if no one noticed that the Mexican-American, African-American and Asian-American families that own and operate those places across the city are also our best food purveyors. …

Union Station is programmed toward wallets. You need a password to use the Wi-Fi. Its product is elegance, even exclusivity. You can’t even find the Cooper Lounge unless you know where you are going; it’s set up for insiders. Exclusivity has its own historic baggage. Whether it’s about keeping Jewish people out of a subdivision or gay people out of the military, it historically benefits the majority.

That’s only part of it, of course. Because today’s Denver has a growing middle-class of minorities. Plenty of blacks and Latinos could afford to play at Union Station. The surrounding neighborhoods are diversified with residents who could simply bike over or take the light rail or downtown shuttle. There is no one at the door looking folks over. The workforce is mixed. There’s no open policy of exclusion.

But there may be an institutional one. RTD had a thousand choices when it was rehabbing the station. It could have put in a farmer’s market or a suite of micro-offices. It could have let its imagination run wild and installed a basketball court or a rec center, day-care facility, museum, a theater that any group could rent, an indoor playground, or yes, a Subway.

But it chose a different path. RTD, whose buses and trains are the most diverse places in Denver, created a monster of separation. You can’t keep private enterprise from doing this sort of deed, but a public entity, a common asset, might have more democratic obligations.

Union Station will make plenty of money and that will help keep our transportation system solvent. But how much is lost?

This really was a chance to define today’s Denver, to show off to the world, to say we are as interesting and relevant as anywhere you can name. But this project has defined us narrowly, darkly, negligently. There is danger in that, too.

26 Oct 2014

The Wisdom of Hillary Clinton

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Appearing on Friday at a Boston rally in support of behind-9-points-in-the polls Democrat gubernatorial candidate Martha Coakley at the Park Plaza Hotel, Hillary Clinton dismissed the idea that businesses create jobs. I guess Hillary must simply be projecting her family’s life experience, that all wealth is derived from politics, onto universal reality.

26 Oct 2014

Utah Man Called Suicide Prevention Hot-line, So SWAT Team Arrived and, Naturally, Killed Him

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CalzadaHouse
Police mill around in front of the late Jose Calzada’s house in Roy, Utah last Tuesday.

Opposing Views:

Jose Calzada called a suicide hotline from his home in Roy, Utah, at about 4:00 a.m. on Tuesday morning, but by 11 a.m. he was shot dead by a SWAT team.

After Calzada called the suicide hotline, the SWAT team arrived and negotiated with him for hours (video below).

“At some point those negotiations failed and unfortunately the SWAT team was involved in a shooting, and the subject is now deceased,” Officer Matt Gwynn, public information officer for the Roy Police Department, told Standard.net.

“There were people in the home at the time the [suicide] call was placed,” Officer Gwynn told ABC4 News. “They left the home shortly thereafter.”

There was no hostage situation, but news reports say that something happened in the home’s garage that caused SWAT officers to shoot Calzada.

“It seem like there was one shot, and then a pause, and then four or five shots after that, that were very rapid,” said neighbor Ron Smith. “The pause after the first shot was really brief. After that I went inside and shut the door.”

The Weber County attorney’s office is investigating the shooting. The officers who fired their guns at Calzada have all been placed on administrative leave during the investigation.

The Roy Police Department’s advice to suicidal people struck an ironic and chilling tone.

“We encourage those having suicidal thoughts or tendencies to contact a physician or expert that can talk them through it,” stated officer Gwynn. “In this particular case he attempted to do that, it’s unfortunate and sad that it failed.”

In numerous press reports, Police Spokesman Gwynn is simply quoted verbatim. Although he is obviously being evasive why the police thought it was necessary to fire on Mr. Calzada, the press incompetently fails to insist on that obvious question being answered.

25 Oct 2014

Ottawa Shooter Could Not Legally Own a Gun

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canada-shooting-cartoon

The Montreal Gazette observes that there is no possible way that Michael Zehaf Bibeau could have legally purchased or owned a firearm in Canada.

A leading firearms expert and criminal defence lawyer says he would have been “shocked beyond words” to learn that Ottawa shooting suspect Michael Zehaf Bibeau had obtained his gun legally in Canada.

Solomon Friedman, who was locked in his downtown office for much of the day Wednesday as Ottawa police attempted to secure Parliament Hill and the surrounding buildings, says several layers of safeguards are in place to ensure that a person like Zehaf Bibeau does not have legal access to firearms. The former Quebecer, who shot and killed a reservist guarding the National War Memorial before moving up to Parliament’s Centre Block and opening fire, had a criminal record that included convictions for drug possession, uttering threats and possession of a weapon for a dangerous purpose.

“Anytime you’re convicted of any type of serious criminal offence — anything dealing with drugs or violence — the judge has an opportunity to impose a firearms prohibition on you,” Friedman explained. “They exercise that regularly.”

RCMP confirmed late Thursday that Zehaf Bibeau had indeed been banned from owning a gun.

“Even if you don’t get a weapons prohibition, you still need to fill out a licence application (in order to purchase a gun) where there’s a rigorous background check. I can tell you from personal experience that individuals with records like that simply get denied,” Friedman said. “I would be shocked beyond words if this individual had a firearms licence.”

In addition to his criminal record, Zehaf Bibeau had recently had his passport revoked by the federal government. Friedman said that based on a grainy photo of the 32-year-old that began circulating on Wednesday evening, the weapon in his hands was probably a lever-action 30-30 hunting rifle. RCMP have also confirmed that theory.

Read the whole thing.

Hat tip to the Gun Feed.

25 Oct 2014

“A Nigerian Prince Called Islam”

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IslamistNonbeliever

Dan Greenfield (very amusingly) compares the Western elites determination to believe in “the Religion of Peace” with Nigerian email investment opportunities, and finds that the root of those elites’ delusion lies in their determination to pretend that the world we are all living in is the same as the world they desire.

Western elites, who fancy themselves more intelligent and more enlightened than the wise men and prophets of every religion, and who base their entire right to rule on that intelligence and enlightenment, are not in the habit of admitting that they have been played for fools. …

In 1993, Israel cut a land-for-peace deal with a greasy Egyptian bloke named Yasser Arafat. The Cairo-born Arafat would turn his gang of terrorists into a government and police force, and rule over an autonomous territory, in exchange for ending the violence. Clinton smiled beatifically as hands were shaken and a new era of peace was upon us.

The era, however, has yet to show up.

Over two decades of terrorism have not shaken the belief of the American or Israeli establishments in the “Two-State Solution”, which has solved absolutely nothing, except perhaps the problem of how to make the Middle East into an even worse place. As the violence increased and the pathways to peace decreased, American Presidents and Israeli Prime Ministers redoubled their concession offers and their faith in the Two-State Solution—now an article of faith in most circles. Denial isn’t just a river in Egypt; it also laps at the shores of Tel Aviv, flows out to the English coast and floods cities across Europe.

Ask a Eurocrat for the time of day and he’ll calculate how much to charge you for the subsidies to the artisanal clock farmers that it will take to answer that question. Ask him about Islamic integration and he will instantly tell you that everything is going smoothly and the problems only exist in the minds of a few bigots and the pages of a few sensationalized tabloids.

Muslim integration into Europe is going swimmingly, much like the Israeli-Palestinian peace process and the Arab Spring. It’s going like a house on fire, not to mention a bus, a lot of cars and two towers on fire—on the other side of the Atlantic. Whatever problems there are, as with the peace process and the spring process, are undoubtedly the fault of someone who isn’t a Muslim. …

Most people project their own desires and motivations on to others. Americans assumed that Muslims just wanted democracy, free enterprise and apple pie. Muslims assume that Americans are conspiring to destroy them through a byzantine series of plots and conspiracies, because that is what they would do in our place… and that is what they are trying to do.

Good article, read the whole thing.

25 Oct 2014

Glasswing Butterfly

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glasswing-butterfly
Glasswing Butterfly (Greta oto)

They have large, transparent, 5.6 to 6.1 cm (2.2 to 2.4″) wings. They’re native to Central America, and can be found from Mexico all the way down to Colombia. Occasional visitors to Florida.

Wikipedia article

Ark in Space

Hat tip to Kuriositas.

24 Oct 2014

Retired Mountie Meets Muslim Terrorist

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Bibeau
Canadian-born, but of Algerian descent, Michael Abdul Zehaf Bibeau was armed with a .30-30 Winchester Model 1894 and an Islamic-style headscarf.

Bibeau had a record of five arrests in Ottawa dating back to 2004, three drug possession (marijuana and PCP) and two parole violations.

Zero Hedge:

Witnesses said the soldier [standing guard at the Canadian National War Memorial with an unloaded rifle] was gunned down by a man dressed all in black with a scarf over his face.

“I looked out the window and saw a shooter, a man dressed all in black with a kerchief over his nose and mouth and something over his head as well, holding a rifle and shooting an honor guard in front of the cenotaph point-blank, twice,” Tony Zobl, 35, told the Canadian Press news agency.

Zobl said he witnessed the incident from his fourth-floor window directly above the National War Memorial, a 70-foot, arched granite cenotaph, or tomb, with bronze sculptures commemorating World War I.

“The honor guard dropped to the ground, and the shooter kind of raised his arms in triumph holding the rifle,” Zobl said.

Zobl and other witnesses said the gunman then ran up the street toward Parliament Hill, and later entered the main building there, where dozens of shots rang out.

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Vickers
Kevin Vickers, Canada’s House of Commons’ Sergeant-at-Arms, just after shooting Bibeau.

Canadian MPs barricaded the door of the House of Commons chamber with furniture and hid, while 58-year-old, retired-Mountie Kevin Vickers, who occupies the largely-ceremonial post of Sergeant-at-Arms of the Canadian Commons, went to his office, retrieved a 9mm pistol from his desk, and engaged and killed the gunman.

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Kevin Vickers, understandably, received a hero’s welcome when Parliament opened the following day.

24 Oct 2014

James Delingpole, Sportsman

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GoingAway375
(photo by me)

James Delingpole has succumbed to hunting mania, and like most of us he’s having difficulty affording it. I wonder if Roger Scruton (who also hunts) has any advice.

I have fallen in love with an unsuitable male. My wife isn’t totally happy about this relationship because she recognises how dangerous it is. The problem with Eddie is that his vices are my vices. He’s reckless, an adrenaline junkie who likes always to be up front. Really, a most unsuitable companion for a skinny, breakable family man fast approaching 50.

And did I mention how expensive he is? It’s as bad as having a high-class mistress or a serious cocaine habit, but I’m powerless to resist. I love hunting. I love my mount Eddie Stobart. When I’m riding to hounds, all my worldly cares vanish. It makes me feel like I’ve finally discovered the point of existence. Tragic, isn’t it?

It’s tragic because I know I could quite easily die — or worse. And also because I can’t afford it. A day out with my local hunt, with hireling, will set you back around £300. But really, if you want to get any good at it — which I do, so as to improve my chances of not breaking my neck — you want to be going out at least twice a week. It’s at times like this that you learn seriously to regret those early career choices. If I’d gone into the City and made my fortune, maybe I could have retired early and spent the rest of my days doing what I was really born to do: being a Master of Foxhounds, of course.

Read the whole thing.

Perhaps we should start crowd-funding conservative intellectuals’ equestrian activities in the interest of promoting better journalism.

23 Oct 2014

King Tut: The Awful Truth

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king-tut-real-face

ArtNet quotes a Daily Mail article describing the unhappy result of a virtual autopsy of the late 19-year-old boy Pharoah.

The golden burial mask of King Tutankhamun shows a young man with strong, idealized features: a strong jaw, full lips, high cheek bones, and a regal brow. Thanks to high-tech 3D imaging, reports the Daily Mail, the truth has finally been unwrapped, and it is far less pretty.

Tut underwent a “virtual autopsy,” with CT scans, genetic analysis, and over 2,000 digital scans used to generate a computer model of the pharaoh. Previous attempts to reconstruct Tut’s visage were fairly attractive, based on the theories that he had sustained facial injuries in a fatal chariot race crash or when he was murdered.

This new research not only indicates that Tut was born with the misshapen features and prominent overbite that he took to his grave at 19, but that he was physically unable to participate in chariot racing. (A fracture in Tut’s skull is now believed to have been sustained after his death.)

The boy king, the new science reveals, was sickly and crippled, with twisted, malformed hips. He suffered from epilepsy and malaria, and had to walk with a cane due to a club foot. It would have been impossible for him to stand in a fast moving chariot. So what was likely responsible for these deformities? Incest, which was not considered taboo in ancient Egypt. Genetic testing strongly indicates that King Tut’s parents were brother and sister, and Tut is known to have married his half-sister at the tender age of about 10.

Read the whole thing.

23 Oct 2014

Most Confusing or Inefficient Firearms Design Contest

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leeroy1915 said: What is the most confusing or inefficient firearm design in your opinion?

peashooter85:

The Shattuck Hatfield palm pistol. .22 caliber, early 1900’s.

ShattuckHatfield1

ShattuckHatfield2

Via Ratak Monodosico.

22 Oct 2014

Nelson’s Flag Signal

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NelsonSignal
Sent at 11:45 A.M., just as Nelson’s two parallel columns of ships prepared to break through the French & Spanish line.

22 Oct 2014

Nelson’s Double-Barreled Pistol Hanger

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NelsonSwordPistol1
NelsonSwordPistol2
Nelson1

Carried by Nelson at the Battle of Trafalgar, 21 October 1805. Because fighting aboard ships was likely to occur in confined spaces, Naval officers were more likely to carry a hanger (a short hunting-style sword) into battle, rather than a full-length sword.

Via Ratak Monodosico.

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