Monthly Archives: April 2015

Friday Tour D’Horizon

A Cynical View of the H&K G36 Problem

From a few months ago, by a smart Aleck named Riller.

Some Ammo Cross-Sections

Found on ARFCOM.

A Cynical View of Army Morale

The subject that’s practically been our theme for this week gets covered pungently at Ace of Spades. Read the Whole Thing™. They can’t understand why morale is so messed up, with so many from the Beltway Peerage working so hard on it. Us neither. For another cynical view, Dalrock.

NY TImes Discovers .mil Health Care Stinks

If they had any veterans on staff, they might have known that already. But it’s always Baby Duck Day at the Times when they interface with the services. Of course, they find the bad guys right away: military officers, who, in the Times caricature, are heartless, inhuman monsters, withholding health care from the needy.

This story actually revives a series that started almost a year ago and produces about a story a quarter, whether you need it or not. Considering that the Times seems to pre-write most of their stories, with a designated Good Guy and Bad Guy selected well in advance, you’d think they could swing a little more productivity than that.

Crime: Vault Heist in London

These pictures, from the Metropolitan Police tell the story.

From the outside lookin' in. (yes, it embiggens).

From the outside lookin’ in. (yes, it embiggens).

From the inside lookin' out.

From the inside lookin’ out.

A team of four to six thieves jimmied an elevator and rappelled down the shaft (a favorite drill — not — of CT units). They forced entry for the second time, into a basement that abutted the Hatton Garden Safe Deposit firm’s main vault, then they drilled their way through the walls of the vault. Once they were in, on a Friday night, they stayed for nearly twelve hours (during which they tripped an alarm, about three hours in). They came back, not that night but the next night, and spent eight more hours, presumably going through those safety deposit boxes.

The Grauniad has this graphic showing how it was done:

hatton_garden_heist_web

 

Like all the images, that embiggens with a click (probably not necessary).

And this juicy detail:

The gang that raided a safe deposit vault in the heart of London’s jewellery district were inside the building when police decided not to respond to an alarm that could have led them to interrupt the multimillion-pound heist.

The Metropolitan police said investigations were continuing into the decision not to send a police officer to investigate the alarm, which was triggered after the robbers had been inside the building for three hours.

The cops are pretty defensive about that, and probably should be. Note the various linguistic evasion “tells” in the following statement:

An alarm call from Southern Monitoring Alarm Company was received at the Met’s central communications command at 12.21am on 3 April, saying that an intruder alarm had been activated at the Hatton Garden Safe Deposit Ltd.

The call was recorded and transferred to the police’s computer-aided dispatch system. A grade was applied to the call that meant that no police response was deemed to be required. An internal investigation is ongoing to identify why this grade was applied to the call in conjunction with the alarm company.

Ow. Sounds like Inspector Lestrade the Scotland Yard plod that was always having to call Sherlock Holmes. Sherlock’s a fictional character. Pity.

The TSA Continues to Excel

TSA PervReally? Well, maybe not.

According to law enforcement reports obtained during the CBS4 investigation, a male TSA screener told a female colleague in 2014 that he “gropes” male passengers who come through the screening area at DIA.
“He related that when a male he finds attractive comes to be screened by the scanning machine he will alert another TSA screener to indicate to the scanning computer that the party being screened is a female. When the screener does this, the scanning machine will indicate an anomaly in the genital area and this allows (the male TSA screener) to conduct a pat-down search of that area.”
Although the TSA learned of the accusation on Nov. 18, 2014 via an anonymous tip from one of the agency’s own employees, reports show that it would be nearly three months before anything was done.

The fix was in, and while a couple of the TSA miscreants (not all of them) were fired, the case was quietly broomed away, no one was charged, and the TSA refuses to release the videos and case reports, “because we believe it would be contrary to the public interest.”

Nobody good, decent, competent, intelligent, moral or ethical has ever been employed in TSA in any capacity whatsoever.

TSA Again: Who’s Got the Gun?

A Federal Air Marshal, part of the TSA and determined to show it, left his or her firearm behind on boarding a flight.

Nobody good, decent, competent, intelligent, moral or ethical has ever been employed in TSA in any capacity whatsoever.

DHS? ICE? Other Unhappy Fed? There’s a Tip Line

According to Federal News Radio, t goes to the Chairman of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, Rep. Mark Meadows (R-NC). TellMark@mail.house.gov. Use it wisely.

And Here’s Part of Why They’re so Unhappy

Here’s an edit of a cynical agent’s rewrite of one of the overhead tuskers’ resumes.

I am pleased to announce the selection of XXXXX as the new Chief of Staff for HSI. XXXXX comes to XXX office from HSI International Operations, where XXXX has served as the Operations Chief for the Asia-Pacific region (PLACE WHERE NOTHING HAPPENS AND CANT SCREW UP) since returning to HSI headquarters (CAN’T HANDLE THE FIELD) for XXX second tour (WHO GOES BACK???) in 2013.

Before XXXX current headquarters tour, XXXX served in several critical (SERIOUSLY? CRITICAL?) field office and headquarters positions. Immediately preceding XXX assignment with HSI International Operations, XXXX was the Assistant Special Agent in Charge for Investigative Services in New York( IN OTHER WORDS, NO REAL INVESTIGATIVE GROUPS TO TRUST WITH AND WAS NEVER A GS) XXX has also previously worked on the EAD staff (MET PEOPLE) as a liaison and program manager (COULD MAKE POWERPOINTS), where XXX was responsible for supporting (MAKING COFFEE) the daily operations of the HSI front office. Other assignments included XXXX work on the Cornerstone Initiative (WAS MAYBE ASSIGNED AND DID NOTHING) and as a criminal investigator (COULDN’T MAKE GS OR A CASE SO WENT TO HQ) in Los Angeles.

XXXX’s extensive management (NEVER A GS OR REAL MANAGER?) and law enforcement experience (ARRESTED ANYONE?), coupled with XXX expertise in human, financial, and information resources (NOTICE NO CASE WORK???), make XXX an ideal (SERIOUSLY?) candidate to serve as Chief of Staff and to work with (MAKE COFFEE FOR) the HSI executive leadership in our efforts to move the agency forward (YEP..WE ARE A PRIME LE AGENCY..MOVING FORWARD WITH THESE WINNERS). Please join me in congratulating XXXX on XXX new position.

Sheesh. But according to Jeh Johnson, those guys are so dumb they wouldn’t knoe that they were so unhappy if those meddling kids in Congress didn’t break the Code of Beltway Omertà and tell them their morale’s for the birds.

Movie Reviews: James Jay Carafano

Analyst Carafano reviews a set of six movies about “thumping defeats,” and doesn’t even get to one of Hollywood’s Alamo retellings. We agree with him on most, including Khartoum, Zulu Dawn, Gallipoli and They Died With Their Boots On. We haven’t seen Dien Bien Phu, and we thought Hamburger Hill was not terribly good. He has trailers for most of the six at the review.

Poly-Ticks: 10 Anti-Gun Republican Senators Vote for Ammo Bans, ATF Gunwalking

A vote to confirm Loretta Lynch was a vote to continue the policies of the present DOJ. At her confirmation hearings, Lynch refused to swear off ammo bans or to stop gunwalking to Mexican cartels. It became clear that at least five Republicans had defected to the anti-gun side, and with Lynch’s confirmation inevitable, five more squished on over to try to get some liberal talking points before this year’s election. Most of them are the usual suspects; Mark Kirk votes the straight Democrat line on guns, chinless (and that’s not all-less) Mitch McConnell owes his seat to the Democrats who saved him from an actual Republican in the primary and never seems to stop paying them back, and Lindsey Graham has to vote how he has to vote because Harry Reid has photos of him and a [redacted], probably taken in Graham’s office in the Senate cloakroom closet.

If you want to know if your Republican Senator is one that doesn’t want pro-gun votes in 2016, The Hill has the story, with the list.

 

When Guns are Outlawed, only Outlaws have Frozen Rivers

609302_Augusta.searchWe’re always hearing about “gun deaths,” with numbers that seem high because they include justfied shootings (a small number) and suicides (by far the majority of deaths by gunshot in the USA).

 

The picture at left shows the bleak events of a March search for an apparent suicide who demonstrated terminally than one does not need a firearm to make a permanent solution to all of one’s temporary problems.

The Portland Press-Herald reported:

Two women who watched the events from the nearby Kennebec Plaza apartments said it appeared the woman was talking on a cellphone. They said she put the cellphone on the ice and then stepped or jumped into the open water, clinging briefly to the ice.

They watched as police threw a roped buoy to her, but they said it looked as though she pushed it away. Police recovered an item the woman left on the ice, but it was not a cellphone and did not help to identify her, Mills said. Mills did not specify what the recovered item was.

The Press-Herald’s headline was a sensitive one, referring to the woman who “went into the river.” It didn’t say the “s” word; that’s for a coroner’s inquest, perhaps, but some journalists do, from time to time, get the facts into the story without pouring gratuitous salt into the wounds of bereaved family members, struggling to understand. (Normal, sane people probably can’t understand the thought processes of a suicide).

No one will try to ban rivers because of this untimely death. That would be silly, right? But what if this unhappy woman had chosen an S&W .41 Magnum instead of a cold river as the stage for her final act? You can probably name the politicians who would be all but gargling her blood to push gun bans.

It seems a customary reaction for a certain type of person, on hearing of someone doing something irresponsible with an object, is to try to punish everyone else who has such an object and hasn’t done anything irresponsible with it.

GIs in Red Heels: Cadet Command Responds

Nope, not to us. To Military.com, where they knew a friendly reporter (one Bryant Jordan) would spin it as best as could be done. And he complied. Still, there’s more than a whiff of Combs’s CYA in this statement.

While ROTC command acknowledged that units were told to take part in the “Walk a Mile in Her Shoes” event as part of Sexual Assault Awareness Month, it “did not direct how the units would participate,” command spokesman Lt. Col. Paul Haverstick said in a statement.

“We are currently gathering facts in order to review how local ROTC units implemented their participation in these events designed to raise awareness on the issue of sexual assault,” he said.

1347531Cadets with Arizona State University’s ROTC unit also took part in the walk/run there, many donning heels but not their uniforms.

Photos from the ASU ROTC Facebook page show that that last sentence/paragraph above is a falsehood, as two minutes on the net would have told Bryant Jordan. So he had the story pre-written and/or didn’t spend those two minutes fact-checking it, and neither did his “layers and layers of editors,” or the high-heels-in-uniform pictured of Sun Devil battalion cadre and cadets would, one hopes, have caught his eye.

This statement from the mouthpiece Haverstick tells you where the Command is going with this: they’re going to deny, deny, deny and throw the commanders of the individual cadet battalions under the bus.

(Aside: thanks for sending us the names and numbers of the Cadet Command SHARP commissars. You know who you are. Although the temptation to turn those numbers and email addresses loose on the Internet is strong, we don’t think our side wins by flooding the inboxes of low-level flunkies. They already know we don’t like them: that’s why they’re trying to destroy us).

German Defense Minister: “No Future” for the G36

In a decision that echoed from Oberndorf to Berlin, Defense Minister of the German Federal Republic, Ursula von der Leyen, has announced that the discussion is over — and so is the G36’s 19 year run as the standard rifle of the Bundeswehr. 

Heckler-und-Koch-G36-2

 

The rifle was beloved of HK fanboys worldwide, enough so that American fans kitbash G36 clones from HK SL8s and surplus parts of demilled G36s. There are many such on HKPro and on ARFCOM, and probably 99 other places on the net as well.

Here’s what the German paper Die Welt (The World) wrote about the ill-fated service rifle:

Defense Minister Ursula von der Leyen considers the standard weapon of the Bundeswehr, the Sturmgewehr G36, unusable due to massive problems with accuracy. “This rifle, so, the way it is built, has no future in the Bundeswehr”, the CDU politician said according to meeting participants Wednesday, after a meeting of the Defense Committee of the Bundestag [the legislature — Ed.]. At the present time, around 167.000 of these rifles from the firm Heckler & Koch are in troop use.

Von der Leyen is a member of the CDU, a center-right party who are normally the defense hawks among German politicians.

The technical problem that sank the rifle:

The phenomenon of the increasing size or shot groups and declining hit probability with a G36 heated by firing posed “a significant deficiency, from a military perspective,” an internal paper has been quoted by the media. The problems were of “significant combat relevance,” in that soldiers in combat could not be confident of engaging their opponents at 200 meters [and beyond].

A Google translate of that article is here.

This brings to an end a lot of debate on the rifle, at least in German officialdom (the debate will continue on the internet forever. Hell, we’re still arguing Brown Bess vs. Charleville nearly 250 years later). As recently as 2012 the MOD was defending the firearm, and as recently as this month, HK still was fighting to keep it alive.

The heat problems that ultimately sank the G36 seem to be different from the heat problems that cropped up in US testing of an Americanized version, the XM8 weapons system; in the end the XM8 was sunk less by technical faults than by the spastic nature of US small arms procurement, but it looks like the US GI may have been lucky to avoid the rifle.

What Comes Next?

What von der Leyen has not said is: what comes next? Germany has only a few firms that can make modern small arms in national quantities, including Rheinmetall and HK itself, but Rheinmetall does not have a current design. For fast re-equipping, the Heer will have to select some variation of the HK 416 or, something that must be unimaginable to Germans, select a foreign weapon like the SCAR or a Beretta.

The Belgian and Italian assault rifles have been getting better reviews than the unfortunate G36, and the HK416 has achieved some of the export success HK once wanted for the G36, selling to allies as disparate as Norway and the USA (for some SOF, some of whom aided its development, and the USMC’s Infantry Automatic Rifle program). HK claims that the G36 sold to 35 countries, but the only large adopters have been Germany and Spain.

Loss of the G36 program must have been long anticipated, as well as feared, at HK. Their last Bundeswehr G36 order was in 2012 for 3,770 rifles.

The future of highly leveraged HK is threatened, not necessarily by the direct financial consequences of this failure, but possibly by the psychological consequences of losing the home military market. In early April, the firm’s bond prices collapsed as the Germans neared this decision, despite assertions from the firm’s CFO that Bundeswehr G36 orders and refurbishments were a negligible part of the firm’s expected revenues. HK bonds had already collapsed, and never recovered, in September 2014, but the company continues to issue new bonds. They are a speculator’s investment at this time.

When Guns are Outlawed, only Outlaws Will Have Mothers

mom tattooUsually, a mother is a good thing to have. But sometimes there are mothers who don’t live up to the name.

Like this cretinous wench who dumped her handicapped son so she could go play The Dating Game, interstate version. Literally dumped, not Joe-Biden-Literally.

A mother abandoned her quadriplegic son in a wooded area of a Philadelphia park for nearly a week so she could visit her boyfriend in Maryland, police said.

The 21-year-old disabled man was found by a passerby on Friday night lying on leaves and covered by blankets with his wheelchair and Bible nearby, said Philadelphia police Lieutenant John Walker.

Police said the man who was abandoned in the woods is unable to talk and suffers from cerebral palsy.

Miraculously, this kid is likely to live, no thanks to his dam, Mother of the Year for Philadelphia. (And what is it about Philadelphia anyway that gives life to these people?)

Walker said authorities plan to file charges of aggravated assault and failure to care for a dependent person against the mother, whose name was not released. She is still in Maryland, Walker said.

Investigators believe the quadriplegic man may have been stuck in the woods since Monday. Officials at the school he attends became alarmed when he did not attend last week, and they called the man’s mother and aunt. The aunt reported the man missing on Tuesday, police said.

Well, it’s nice his aunt gave a rat’s rump about him, even though his mother didn’t.

Here’s hoping her next visit with her Maryland Romeo involves Visiting Day in a Pennsylvania jug.

It’s Not Just Army Morale Circling the Drain

Looking for DHS, ICE, etc., morale?

Looking for DHS, ICE, etc., morale? Good place to start.

In some parts of the government, like the FCC and the IRS, morale is soaring. They’ve never had more power to drive us before them and hear the lamentations of their women. And then, there’s the parts that defend America from enemies foreign and domestic. We’ve already covered how the Army’s morale is under the outhouse, and from time to time we’ve mentioned organizations like ICE, CBP, and in fact all of DHS, where workers are squeezed between an important mission and abominable leaders who are deeply committed to giving the mission lip service — and lip service only.

That’s how you get things like the 2014 Federal Employee Viewpoint Survey (FEVS), conducted by the Office of Personnel Management, which puts DHS in the very caboose of the civilian employee morale train, a place that DHS has practically had a lock on since its establishment just over a decade back. As Kelley Beaucar Vlahos reported at Fox:

Based on overall positive responses by its employees, DHS got a 44 percent score, the lowest since it was established following the 9/11 attacks. Putting that into context, the cabinet agency with the highest ranking in 2014 was NASA, and it got 74 percent.

That DHS has gotten consistently bad scores from its own employees based on morale, leadership, compensation and more, was of particularly interest in Thursday’s “Worst Places to Work in the Federal Government” hearing by the Government Operations Subcommittee headed by Chairman Rep. Mark Meadows, R-N.C.

“The Department of Homeland Security rests as the worst place to work among cabinet agencies, and saw its scores drop by nearly three points from 2013,” he pointed out in his opening statement. It scored lowest on leadership, fairness, empowerment and skills to match the mission, he pointed out.

“Are agency leaders doing enough?” he said. The results, he answered himself, “suggest that not enough has been done.”

Of course, DHS is just the bottom of the heap, it’s not all alone down there. The DVA and the Department of the Army are also in the low numbers, along with the Nuclear Defense Facilities Safety Board, all agencies that have been punitively deprioritized since 2009.

While DHS itself scored a lowest-of-large-agencies 44 percent, some of its sub-agencies scored even lower:

Among the 314 agency subcomponents ranked in the survey, two DHS departments come in dead last: ICE (35 percent) and the Office of the Under Secretary for Science and Technology (35 percent). The Transportation Security Administration did a little better with 39 percent.

Jeh Johnson has the Solution

The Homeland Security head, widely seen as a man who has ridden affirmative-action preferment far beyond his optimum level of incompetence, didn’t testify at the Congressional hearing — he was there, but he had a flunky, Catherine Emerson, DHS’s Chief Human Capital Officer, read a prepared statement and stumble over questions for him.

Prior to the hearing, Johnson explained that the problem wasn’t his men having low morale, it was things like the survey and the hearing telling the agents that their morale was for $#!+. If he could just get the Congress to stop hearings, and the press to stop reporting unhappy agents, why, all would be rosy in his world. Per Federal News Radio (which, yes, is really a think in the Beltway, where nobody works but everybody reports to a government job, usually one interfering with the guys and gals in the field who do government’s actual work):

DHS’ morale problems also have been duly noted by the department’s leader, but he suggested that he was sick of hearing about them from outside sources.

“One of the ways that you improve morale is to stop continually telling my workforce that you have lousy morale,” Secretary Jeh Johnson said he told committee members in a meeting before the hearing began.

That, and his unicorn.

(Actually, one of the ways that you improve morale is to stop continually saddling his workforce with crappy leadership).

It’s unlikely a leader like Johnson, himself the product of a tee-ball entitlement culture, could improve a poisoned command climate whatever he did, but what he’s actually doing is a top-down headquarters initiative that has, not a low probability but a  zero probability of improving the embattled department:

DHS has embarked on a … campaign, which it calls the “Building-The-Department-You-Deserve” initiative, Emerson said. It has revived an awards program for employees that was dormant for six years. It is also making the hiring process more transparent, because employees have requested it. That includes posting notices in more prominent locations and training hiring managers, she said. In addition, the agency is focused on improving its Senior Executive Service corps, with which Johnson has met twice.

There’s a lot of verbiage about process there, and not one word about measurable, quantifiable results. But that’s how the beltway game is played.

And the morale problem is not in the overpaid, underworked SES corps, the only part of the agency that Jeh Heh Heh seems to have any affinity for. The best thing DHS could do with its SES corps is to send them all back to FLETC and, in the unlikely event that any of them pass, put them on the street as GS-9 1811 investigators to learn the job and people skills that a champagne diet seems to have flushed from their braincases.

One last note: The Veterans subgroup of the FEMS survey population were considerably more cynical about the probability of the survey achieving anything. Wonder if vets are overrepresented in DHS, too?

vets_survey_results2_

Or maybe they just got infected with cynicism and low morale serving under BG Peggy Combs in the Army?

 

Defensive Gun Use? Doesn’t Sound Like It

Let us explain why we, and you, carry and should carry a gun (or guns): to defend lives (and perhaps property) from unlawful deadly force. Period. Full stop.

And why should people not carry guns? To play at cops, to bend people to your will, or to try to enforce societal standards on others. Not our department, fellow citizens. In this case, Sumdood 1 got in a beef with Sumdood 2 and “held him at gunpoint.” When the police showed up, they didn’t exactly deputize the self-anointed junior G-man: nope, they arrested him.

According to police, the incident began when [Christopher] Nazario and Anthony Santiago were passing over the Sagamore Bridge and continued in the northbound lanes of the Everett Turnpike. Nazario followed when Santiago exited onto Ledge Street, then passed him illegally, police said.

Nazario hit his brakes, then swerved to the left and collided with Santiago’s vehicle after he had turned in order to avoid a collision, police said.

The impact sent Santiago’s vehicle into a bus stop terminal, where Nazario drew a gun and ordered Santiago to get out and down on the ground, police said. Police arrived to the scene and interviewed both drivers, who sustained minor injuries but did not require medical attention. Officers recovered a loaded 9 mm handgun from Nazario and took him into custody without incident, police said.

via Man arrested after drawing gun following car crash | New Hampshire.

Pro tip: Dirty Harry and Death Wish (plus, to one extent or another, sequels) are not concealed-carry training videos. Even real detectives can wind up on the wrong side of the courtroom if they’re dumb enough to act like TV detectives always do. For regular muggles missing that patent of nobility, The Badge, such actions lead inexorably whence they’ve already taken Christopher Nazario: to jail.

If you have a tendency to wig out in a car (ask your friends, because the actual wig-out-prone cases are always the last to understand), you might want to change to an old man’s car with indifferent performance, but comfortable seats. Not to mention a really good radio, tuned to a “soothing music” station or just playing classical CDs. Listening to Prokofiev or Mendelssohn is less likely to bring out your inner Avenging Vigilante persona than, say, listening to Def Leppard. (And N.W.A. is right out).

Just because you have the right to be armed doesn’t mean “freedom to brandish and threaten.” Exercising your rights does not excuse you from exercising your judgment and using your forebrain, not your amygdala, to drive your interpersonal relationships.

Now, this initial news report could be all wet. That’s for the court to decide, in due course. But it’s not hard to retrace Mr Nazario’s steps and come up with several points where he had better options than the ones he opted for.

He’s lucky he didn’t actually pop the guy — he’d be the next poster child for irresponsible carry, and a nine days’ wonder of the national media.

A Brief Wednesday Weapons Website of the Week: Waffenkultur

Cover of the current issue.

Cover of the current issue.

Most of you can probably figure out what Waffenkultur means, knowing that the German language has an affinity for compound words, and that Waffen is the word for Weapons. And yes, while there are some false cognates between Deutsch and Englisch, as it happens, kultur is a true cognate, nearly the same in both languages. So the name of the publication is Weapons Culture.

Its subtitle is, “The Open-Source Magazine for Weapons Users.” It’s been published since 2011 and all issues can be found on the website.

It’s published online for the whole German-speaking (well, -reading) world, which may not include all of you. You can download the issues as .pdfs, or read them online; so for our fellow Americans who are convinced that the secret to communicating with any foreigner is louder, slower English, you can run them through Google Translate.

Cover of the first issue, 30 Sep 2011.

Cover of the first issue, 30 Sep 2011.

Run through Hoggle Translate, the contents of the latest issue (link’s to the .pdf):

  • More than just a “plop”: Suppressors on the hunt
  • Black Label M4: Long Term Test Intermediate Report
  • Made in Bavaria: TPG-3 A5 by Unique Alpine
  • Old Acquaintance: Aimpoint Micro T-2
  • IWA 2015: What we noticed (IWA is a large annual trade show in Nuremburg. 2015’s set a new attendance record)
  • EnforceTac 2015: Riding the Security Updraft (a report on a sub-expo devoted to law enforcement and security “stuff”).
  • Quality Close Up: The Gamsbokk Tacstar Professional (review of high-end field pants)
  • Interceptor: Foul Weather Jacket MIG 2.0 by Carinthia
  • Let’s blow some shit up: Tannerite exploding targets  (This was in English in the contents!)
  • Book Recommendations

Update

Here’s the link to the main site. Apologies for not including it A brief word about the contents: high-end modern guns and gear for the modern Teuton. (Not historic stuff).  Frederick the Great would probably approve.

SWATting Comes to Rural NH

Rye, New Hampshire, is a well-to-do town on the New Hampshire Seacoast. It has about 5,000 people, about seven miles of prime Atlantic coastline, and a really nice golf course that has one hole played in full view of that ocean. It’s not Pebble Beach, perhaps, but it’s not bad; to give you a sense of the neighborhood, abutters include former Governor and Presidential Chief of Staff John Sununu and his family, and megaselling novelist Dan Brown (The Da Vinci Code, etc.) and his family. (Brown is, on fact, a former member of the club, although now he’s a member of a different club in a nearby town instead, the details and circumstances of the change being Mr Brown’s business alone, not ours). We don’t golf, having quite enough costly, time-consuming obsessions already. But we do have family members in this club, and have dined there. It’s a nice place with a first-class staff and some very nice (and as you might imagine, successful) members.

So it’s not the sort of place one expects to have a SWATing. But we were in the Rye Town Hall on routine business when our sister-in-law texted “hostage situation at the Abenaqui!” (She may have used more exclamation points than that). This led to the clerks frantically looking up local news sites, and a bit of text goonery that was probably won by the Blogbrother’s dry: “Thats why I don’t golf. Too dangerous!” But it’s hard to overstate how shocking a “hostage” call feels here.

A meeting of roughly 80 members of the New England Club Managers was interrupted because of the incident, as someone called 911 stating he had two people hostage and had a knife and an explosive device in the club, according to Rye Police Chief Kevin Walsh.

“Officers from the Seacoast area responded and searched the perimeter and notified management and evacuated the building,” Walsh said. “We verified that everyone was OK and no such incident happened.”

This Rich Beauchense photo from Seacoast Online shows just how chaotic a multi-agency response can be. Disregarding the various uniforms, the police cars alone are from Portsmouth, Hampton, Portsmouth, Rye, and State Police. There were more than that. But it was not as chaotic as it looks because all these agencies train, drill and respond together.

This Rich Beauchense photo from Seacoast Online shows just how chaotic a multi-agency response can be. Disregarding the various uniforms, the police cars in this shot alone are from Portsmouth, Hampton, Portsmouth, Rye, and State Police. (Newcastle, Greenland, and Fish and Game were among the other responders). But it was not as chaotic as it looks because all these agencies train, drill and respond together. The huddled citizens are members of a country club managers’ group that was meeting at the club when the call came in.

 According to emergency police communications, a caller or callers reported that a man had people “tied up” inside a country club building, that he “does have a weapon” and he made threats about there being a bomb on scene.

via Police swarm to false report of threat at golf club – News – seacoastonline.com – Portsmouth, NH.

Within minutes, the cops knew that the call was probably a hoax, but they had to systematically clear the building at this point. NH State Police provided a bomb dog and handler, and some of the more athletic cops searched roofs, attics and basements of the club facility.

The police response was professional (note this guy's indexing and muzzle control -- a lot of the younger cops around here are vets, and others pursue training at the SIG Academy), but a lot of cops were tied up for a long time, and the meeting was disrupted. Beauchesne photo.

The police response was professional (note this guy’s indexing and muzzle control — a lot of the younger cops around here are vets, and others pursue training at the SIG Academy). But a lot of cops were tied up for a long time, and the meeting was disrupted. Beauchesne photo.

Now comes the painstaking part: trying to find the little waste of skin who phoned the hoax in. Unfortunately, highly publicized celebrity SWATtings have provided TTPs that some miscreant can follow, if he’s so inclined. And it’s remotely possible that this was some maleficent actor, making the call to time or measure the police response, in support of some future mischief.

But Occam’s Razor suggests that in most of these cases the doer is some narcissistic puk kid. Or someone with an irrational grievance against the target of the SWATting. In this case, the fact that the caller knew there was a meeting of club officials at the Abenaqui at this date and time, when the club has yet to officially open for the season,  strongly suggests the latter — and gives the cops a manageable shortlist of suspects.

See, this is the kind of thing that sinks Army morale

Yesterday, we discussed a couple dozen things that bad leadership does to produce morale lower than a boil on a bushmaster’s belly. The kind of morale that the Army has right now.

But that was before we saw the latest in imbecilic social-engineering from these losers who couldn’t lead feces down a drainpipe to a septic tank. We are not making this up:

Mandatory high-heel march:

Location unknown.

Location unknown. In some places the organizers provided the shoes; in others, the cadets were made to buy them.

Mandatory high heels march at Temple U.

Mandatory high heels march at Temple U.

Peggy Combs -- hates the men under her command.

BG Peggy Combs — hates the men under her command.

And no, despite the date, it was not April Fools. Well, not officially; it was April, and the fool in question is one BG Peggy Combs (.pdf bio), a “woman in sensible shoes” who sees the essential function of her command, the Army ROTC Cadet Command, as humiliating and shaming the men unfortunate enough to be in her passive-aggressive power.

And yes, it was “a date with Amanda, Amanda Tory” event for the unfortunate cadets. You could opt not to go, but if you didn’t, Combs hissed, you didn’t “support the command’s SHARP/EO program,” and you might as well just change your name tape to Rapey McRaperson. While some schools simply provided detail support to (i.e. warm bodies to set up/break down) these events, and others (including West Point, where the Corps of Cadets thank their lucky stars they are not in Combs’s purview) were truly voluntary, other cadet battalions made the event “voluntold” or “volunandatory,” with the example below, using threats against a cadet’s potential commission, from ASU-Tempe:

Yes it is mandatory - and punitive

All we can say to that cadet is, it’s only the stupidest thing you’ve ever done so far because you’re still a cadet. Wait till you see how dysfunctional your basic branch training and actual troop units are. Remember, that’s where Peggy Combs kept getting promotion after promotion.

This one was in the real Army, at Grafenwoehr.

This one was in the real Army, at Grafenwoehr.

Mandatory at Temple, mandatory at ASU where the Cadet BN Cadre sent the following text:

This text reminded ASU cadets that the march was mandatory.

This text reminded ASU cadets that the march was mandatory.

(We're assuming he's a "guy" because of the 'stache, but we may just be displaying cisgendered heteronormative privilege or something).

The ASU ROTC logo.

Hmmm… so where’s the heels on this guy? It seems like the least that they could have done, is to humiliate their mascot the way they humiliate the cadets.

(Note: we’re assuming he’s a “guy” because of the ‘stache, but we may just be displaying cisgendered heteronormative privilege or some other microagression. He might not be a guy. He might be GLBTQWERTY or some other flavor of Unique and Special Snowflake™. He might be a gal, and the ‘stache is explained because he’s a Latina. In Arizona, that’s not as improbable as it sounds, right?)

More images of idiocy follow.

Temple U marchers

Temple U ROTC cadre at least set the example by humiliating themselves, along with their troops.

“No, we don’t use the military for social engineering,” say various Beltway potentates and Acela Corridor made-guys. “It’s all your imagination.”

Location unknown

Not sure where this bit of mandatory fun is (ASU again?), but these guys’ faces show that it is indeed mandatory fun.

This is just pathetic. This whole thing is the Olympics of assclownery.

On the bright side, as the old joke goes, we joined an Army where cross-dressing was prohibited; survived an era where if you did it, you were expected to keep it to yourself; and were able to retire, fortunately, before it was mandatory.