Monthly Archives: December 2016

When Guns are Outlawed, Only Outlaws will have Tour Buses

Buses in Asia don’t need to “plunge” any more. They can just carom into a retaining wall, and still run up a horrific death toll — 14 dead and 16 injured.

The horror crash took place at 4am local time today in Muar, outside Kuala Lumpur, the capital of Malaysia.

As many as 25 firefighters rushed to the scene of the destruction.

The front has been entirely ripped off and luggage and belongings had been strewn across the side of the road.

It was thought to be on the way to the capital from Johor Baru, a city further south.

According to firefighters, the injured passengers included seven Malaysians, six Singaporeans, two Myanmarese and one whose nationality was not verified.

Police said the 14 dead included six men and eight women, including a young girl.

Initial investigation showed that the road surface was in good condition when the incident happened, firefighters confirmed.

“This pre-Christmas tragedy is so far the most horrific accident in Johor state for 2016,” Mohammad Yusof Mohammad Gunnos, deputy director of the fire department said.

Dude’s got two Mohammad’s in his name, but it sure sounds like his heart is in the right place.

Deadly road accidents are common in Malaysia despite efforts to crack down on poor driving, especially during festive seasons when people return to their hometowns.

via Horror crash: Bus smashes into wall killing 14 in early morning carnage | Daily Star

“Deadly road accidents” were once common in the West, meaning North America and Western Europe, but decades of working on it has made them much less common despite an explosion in miles-driven, driver/pax seat-miles, or any usage metric you care to use.

Poor driving is one thing, but poor driving by a bus driver is fairly rare. In highly corrupt and familial-based societies, like Malaysia, it can be more common, as is cheating on all measures of driver training, etc., but still, the most likely cause will be poor driving by some other driver, with the consequences felt by the unfortunate pax on the bus.

The rule of law can bear the weight of society because the various sticks of the laws, and general compliance with the law, produces a solid foundation. The lesson of “broken window” studies is that when respect for and compliance with the law goes in a small thing, like driver licensing, auto insurance, or illegal immigration, it drives noncompliance with a greater and greater percentage of the whole statute book until your uninsured illegal-immigrant motorists have rationalized rape, robbery and murder, and bribe the cops or judges to avoid consequences. It may amaze Americans, Canadians, Western Europeans, but in much of the world that is the current situation.

From the condition of the bus, the driver is almost certainly beyond mortal consequences at this time — whether or not his action or dereliction was causative here.

Couldn’t Happen to a Nicer Guy Dep’t

Meet Ronald A. Gray. He’s the one in the Jacob Marley rig in this quaint old photo. He’s in his fifties now; his crimes not only predated the Internet (not entirely, as we had Lexis/Nexis and Arpanet at the unit a few years earlier, but to a first approximation), but he’s been on death row longer than the any of the people he killed lived. (There were at least four, for which he was convicted). Those of his rape victims that he did not murder (at least five for which he was convicted) have lived with the consequences. In the worst case this has been death, living, for longer than her carefree if dimly-recalled period of life before she met this brute.

Another measure of how long ago all this happened is this: the only uniform items in the picture that are still worn by the US Army are the paratroopers’ maroon berets, the black necktie,  and some of the shiny doodads. If we didn’t know the picture was shot on 6 Apr 88 (by Marcus Castro of the Fayetteville, NC, Observer; nice job, the way the moving subject’s in focus and the foreground and background distractions aren’t), we’d be able to date it to the 80s by the Class A green uniform, the light-green shirt, and the MP’s Hitler mustache and lightweight summer BDU. (Or is it a late square-pocket ERDL? Too lazy to pull examples out of the Old War Wardrobe).

In the picture, Gray is wearing the uniform of a cook in the 82nd Airborne Division, a Specialist, 4th Grade, none of which he was at the moment the picture was snapped, for he had just been sentenced to a dishonorable discharge, forfeitures and reduction to E-1, as well as life sentences (for the rapes that happened under military jurisdiction) and death (for the murders). Civilian courts also sentenced him to eight life terms, five concurrent and three consecutive, for seven other crimes, including two more murders. (“Who gets jurisdiction” when a soldier commits crimes on and off post, and against civilian and military victims, can get complicated, but they work it out).

Although he contested the court-martial, Gray admitted his guilt in civil court with that same self-satisfied smirk you see in the picture. And then he sat back and let lawyers champion him. Which some lawyers, true to their species’s belly-sliding, sidewinding, no-shoulders, smooth-but-cool-to-the-touch nature, did do.

His current lawyers are the hybristophiles — which is a person with a dysfunctional and antisocial love of criminals, if the word is new to you — of the Death Penalty Information Center. Despite its focus-grouped euphemistic name, it is really a Death Penalty Opposition Center. (Any penalty, really; its activists tend also to oppose life sentences, and often, any sentences, for serial killers and other predators and pathogens). It is a nest of very strange humans who walk erect on their hind legs, and ride high on the benefits of a civilized lifestyle, but believe that criminal enemies of that civilization have the absolute right to walk free. And victims have the right to die, or get raped and assaulted, and shut up about it.

Some of them (perhaps, all of them) take a ghoulish and voyeuristic delight in the suffering of the direct and indirect victims of murderers and rapists, like Our Boy here. Let us pause for a moment and insert something that is missing from most of the articles about Gray: his victims and their sufferings. From an appeal to the Court of Military Appeals (.pdf):

In January 1987, appellant was identified and arrested for the rape of a woman in the vicinity of Fairlane Acres, a trailer park near Fort Bragg, North Carolina. The next day the body of Ms. Kimberly Ann Ruggles was found near that area on Fort Bragg. “She had received multiple stab wounds” and had “suffered bruises on her eyebrow, bruises on her nose, and a laceration on her lip.” She had been raped and anally sodomized. Evidence in her vehicle and in his possession implicated appellant.

OK, but that’s just one case (well, two cases, but only one murder).

Later the same month, the body of Private (PVT) Laura Lee Vickery-Clay was found. “She had been shot four times (while she was alive), in the neck, forehead, chest, and back of the head. Also, she had suffered blunt force trauma to the right cheek, the left side of her face, around her left eye, her left breast, abdomen, and both legs and arms.” PVT Vickery-Clay “had been raped and anally sodomized.” Evidence on her car and the murder weapon implicated appellant.

OK, two brutal murders, one violent rape…. and counting…

Subsequent media coverage of appellant’s arrest for these crimes produced another victim (PVT Nameth), who recognized his face from photographs of appellant on television and in the newspaper. She reported that appellant had “raped her, and stabbed her repeatedly in the neck and side”; she “suffered a laceration of the trachea and a collapsed or punctured lung.” 37 MJ at 736.

Here’s a little more on Ruggles, whose grieving father, and three children who are older now than she was at her death, still wait for justice.

She was working as a taxi-cab driver near Fort Bragg, N.C., where Gray was stationed, and her last fare was a passenger named “Ron.” The cab was found abandoned nearby.

A medical examiner said she had been raped and stabbed, and bled to death.

Gray left her, naked and bleeding and full of his DNA. She was moonlighting to help support her kids.

Gray was convicted of all these murders and rapes, and a number of lesser included crimes. In addition, there were his state rapes (convicted) and murders (he pled guilty to those).

Against this, we have anti-death-penalty, and pro-Gray pshrink David Armitage testifying (.pdf) that Gray’s crimes should be excused because he had it tough as a child:

Well, he had early in life a fair–fairly substantial socioeconomic depravation [sic], multiple male figures in the home, multiple physical moves, living in substandard–proverty [sic] conditions, circumstances where the electric lights were turned out by the company because bills were not paid, projectal[sic] living, things of this nature – multiple school changes.

Sure, that turns everybody into serial killers.

He had a stepparent at one time who was extremely abusive to his mother and abusive to himself, using belts on him to the point of inflicting injury, drawing blood.

OK, that’s a little less common than just being poor, but what other slings and arrows of outrageous fortune drove Gray to this?

He felt the need to protect his mother from–from this abuse. Lived in a–in a part of Miami that certainly was–was not where you and I would want to live by any means.

So he protects his mama by raping and killing a bunch of other women. If that makes sense to you, You Just Might be a Shrink. (And you probably need to be locked in a room with no doorkob on your side of the door and a nice neoprene wall treatment).

Shorter Armitage (all these quotes are from his testimony in this appeal .pdf), he’s depraved on account of he’s deprived. How does Armitage explain all those people who grew up poor and got a whuppin’ for childhood discipline, like, we dunno, maybe two-thirds of the Greatest Generation of World War II? How does he explain everybody who grew up in a bad neighborhood and goes on to work himself out of poverty and do his best to raise a family? He doesn’t, not until they murder somebody. In fact, Armitage admired the kid:

Curiously enough, in all of this, however, he didn’t succumb to some behaviors that many people in those environments succumb to. He didn’t become a drug abuser; he didn’t become an alcoholic. As far as we know, didn’t become a petty thief…

Sure, he became a serial rapist, sodomizer, and murderer, but he did it sober, and didn’t shoplift between homicides! What a guy! (Except the appeal makes clear that Gray was also a burglar and a thief, other charges on which he was convicted). All in all he was convicted of some forty to fifty felonies, 22 in state court.

It’s easy to have contempt for psychiatrists, as the profession is irresistible to something-wrongniks whose real motive is self-diagnosis. Likewise, the practice of law attracts some unattractive people, Hollywood’s version of law firms notwithstanding. Some are avaricious, some are lustful for power, and some… well, some are attracted to criminals. Others just want to see the world burn, just as much as a Ronald Gray does. One reason Gray still has a positive carbon footprint at Death Sentence Plus ≈29 Years is that some of these particular unattractive people from time to time get elevated to the bench. And they’re always a soft touch for a sob story about a poor misunnerstood serial rapist and killer who has helped the nation by providing lifetime employment for therapists for raped women, and who took a direct hand in reducing overpopulation — by butchering the young and fertile.

Gray, today, in a Leavenworth mugshot.

But Gray’s case got in front of, from his point of view, the wrong judge this week. And the stay, long ago imposed by one of those judges who believes that nothing should hurt the hair on the (probably definitely bald now) head of an aging serial killer, has been lifted.

Gray is now on track to an execution date for the first time in a long time. The Fayetteville Observer:

Earlier this week, Judge J. Thomas Marten ruled the stay was no longer in effect and denied Gray’s request to further block the military from moving forward with the death sentence.

His crimes were committed in 1986 and 1987 on Fort Bragg and near Fairlane Acres Mobile Home Park off Santa Fe Drive.

Gray killed cab driver Kimberly Ann Ruggles, Army Pvt. Laura Lee Vickery-Clay, Campbell University student Linda Jean Coats and Fairlane Acres resident and soldier’s wife Tammy Wilson and raped several other women.

According to a notice filed by an assistant U.S. attorney on behalf of Col. Dawn Hilton, commandant of the disciplinary barracks, officials intend to set a new date and time for Gray’s execution no earlier than 30 days from the date of their notice, which was filed on Nov. 21.

And the Observer article was accompanied by the Leavenworth mugshot you see here, showing that our speculation was correct… Gray now is bald.

When the Army Resisted the M16A2, Part 1 of 3

The M16A2 was adopted by the Marines in 1983, and then by the Army three years later, but all of its development was done, largely on a shoestring, by the Marines.

For example, the finger bump on the A2 pistol grip? The very first prototype was built up by a Marine officer on an A1 grip, using plastic wood or body filler! Most of the modifications to the A2 were aimed at:

  1. Increased practical accuracy;
  2. Increased effective range;
  3. Increased durability; and,
  4. NATO compliance (adopting a NATO round equivalent to the FN SS109 round).

In a brief overview of the service life of the M16 series for American Rifleman in June, 2012, Martin K.A. Morgan encapsulated this history well:

In November 1983, the U.S. Marine Corps adopted a product-improved version of the M16A1 chambered for the 5.56×45 mm NATO round. The new rifle was called the M16A2 and it differed significantly from its predecessor: improved rear sights, a brass deflector, a heavier barrel and 1:7-inch rifling were among the changes. The M16A2 also replaced the M16A1’s “AUTO” selector setting with a “BURST” setting delivering three rounds with every trigger pull. The Army followed the Marine Corps’ adoption of the improved rifle in March 1986 when it ordered 100,176 M16A2 rifles from Colt. In September 1988, the U.S. government placed an initial order for 266,961 M16A2s with Fabrique Nationale’s North American subsidiary, FN Mfg., Inc. of Columbia, S.C. Late the following year, when 57,000 U.S. military personnel conducted the Operation Just Cause invasion of Panama, the M16A2 was used in combat for the first time.

For practical accuracy, the A2 had new sights, with a square front post; for range, a new round with a heavier bullet, and new rifling to match; and for durability, new stocks and handguards and significant metal reinforcement in the lower receiver’s weak areas, the pivot pin bosses and buffer tower.

The rifle was not without controversy in the Army. Indeed, contractors for the Army Research Institute for the Behavioral and Social Sciences examined the rifle and concluded that, as their paper’s abstract notes:

[U]se of the M16A2 rifle by the Army would be extremely problematic, a-fact due, in part, to the vast differences between the marksmanship training philosophies of the Army and the Marine Corps.

(The paper is here:

The Army had been researching improvements to the M16A1 for years, but hadn’t actually implemented any. In the foreword to the Army Research Institute paper, the word “problematic” crops up again and one gets the sense that the problem was this solution was Not Invented Here, and moreover, not developed the way the Army wanted to develop one. 

Referring to earlier research, they wrote:

A detailed evaluation of M16Al performance was conducted to determine adequacy, peculiarities, etc. The findings clearly indicated that the M16Al was an adequate combat rifle; however, many shortcomings were identified that should be addressed in a new rifle or any rifle Product Improvement Program (PIP).

They considered that the improvements in the A2, listed below, were suitable only for the peculiar circumstances of Marine Corps service.

The Marine Corps test results stated the following advantages for the PIP [Product Improvement Program -Ed.] rifle:

  • Ease of training (handling and ease of sight movement).
  • Improved safety (no hazard when adjusting elevation on the rear sight even with loaded weapon).
  • Increased effectiveness at long ranges (more hits, better accuracy, and greater penetration).
  • Improved handling characteristics and durability in hand-to-hand close combat.
  • Reduced barrel jump and muzzle climb during automatic and rapid fire.
  • Increased contrast and less glare with square front sight post.
  • Stronger, more durable and improved grasping characteristics of front handguard.
  • Stronger barrel with quicker twist to take advantage of increased effectiveness provided by new ammunition.
  • Improved sighting characteristics providing quick target acquisition for moving targets and better detection of targets in low level light conditions at close ranges, and more accurate long range fire by use of two modified rear sight apertures.
  • Increased ammunition conservation and more effective use of ammunition with burst control device.
  • Conformity to human factors standards by lengthening stock (alleviating bruised eyebrows, noses, and lips).
  • Stronger, more durable stock.
  • Stronger, more durable buttcap which also reduces slipping on the shoulder during firing.
  • More controllable and comfortable pistol grip contoured to the shape of the hand.
  • Improved brass deflector which protects left handed shooters from hot ejected brass casings.
  • Can use NATO type improved ammunition (XM855) which provides improved performance and penetration at long ranges.

The Army evaluators were impressed by that list of solutions, but thought they all traced back to four specific USMC objectives or requirements:

The above list of advantages is very impressive. It appears that the rifle meets the primary requirements stated by the Marines:

  • A sight adjustable to 800 meters.
  • A bullet with better accuracy at 800 meters and the capability to penetrate all known helmets and body armor at ranges of 800 meters.
  • A rifle with more durable plastic parts and barrel which will take a beating during bayonet training and extended field exercises.
  • The replacement of the full automatic capability with a burst mode which fires a maximum of three rounds with each pull of the trigger.

…but they thought that the requirements were too Marine-centric.

The list, however, represents the objective and subjective evaluation of Marine Corps personnel who are emphasizing the most positive aspects of rifle characteristics as they pertain to envisioned Marine Corps requirements.

This is the first of a three part series. In the second part, tomorrow on, the Army contractors damn the A2 with faint praise and list a litany of A1 shortcomings that they believed that the A2 did not resolve. In the third part, the modifications that they suggested in lieu of or in addition to the A2 mods are enumerated.

As it was, the contracting officer’s representative approved the paper in February, 1986. In March, and probably before any of the responsible officers read the paper, the Army went ahead and adopted the M16A2, just the way the Marines had shaken it out.

That makes this paper a time capsule.

Wednesday Weapons Website of the Week: Tom Scott’s Things You Might Not Know

Tom Scott is an engaging young Briton who gives you an occasional video — hundreds of them, and counting — under the titles Things You Might Not Know and Amazing Places

His entire YouTube Channel, which so far as we know — we have not seen all the  videos by any means — has little to do with weapons, is fascinating.

Here he tells the story of RAF Fauld, something we’ve been meaning to write about for years (we actually have a partially written post on this, but he hits the high point; Things He Might Not Know include that Britain participated in the Manhattan Project, and was in on the nuke secret from the very beginning, as was Canada. In fact, before the merger, the British project, code named Tube Alloys, was well ahead of their transatlantic allies. Churchill approved a-bomb development over a year before Roosevelt did).

There is the video up at the top, on Swiss water system redundancy. The Swiss were preppin’ before preppin’ was cool.

And there is this — one way nuclear tests are monitored by an internationally maintained infrasound system in remote Qaanaaq, Greenland.

And this — a university tramway whose brain is a repurposed Minuteman missile computer.

Even when he yields up the floor to a guest presenter, like Sally lePage here, the channel’s fascinating.

Yes, it’s not directly weapons related, but we suspect it will be right on target for many readers. He’s got a couple hundred videos (151 Things You Might Not Know) so we’ll see you some time in February.

Just Doing the Victims Americans Won’t Do

What the hell is the point of deporting people if they just come back and commit more violent crimes?

Nicodemo Coria-Gonzales faces six charges including aggravated sexual assault and kidnapping.

In one case, a victim told police he poured gasoline on her and tried to set her on fire.

Oh yeah, that is totally your huddled masses, burning to breathe free. Just doing the human arsons that Americans won’t do.

Police said Coria-Gonzalez admitted he had picked up prostitutes and beat them out of anger. He is currently being held without bond on an immigration detainer.

“There’s bad, really bad people, who want to do us real harm who are coming at us from all different directions north, south, east and west,” said Immigration specialist Thomas Esparza, Jr.

If the allegations against him are true, Nicodemo Coria-Gonzalez illegally immigrated to the United States six times and then sexually abused several women.

“If that guy came back, he came back to do us ill, but there’s not that many people who are able to come back that often and that successfully. That’s the kind of person that even immigration lawyers are going to say, ‘You know, he should be prosecuted,’” said Esparza.

Tom Esparza has way too much faith in immigration lawyers.

In August, Coria-Gonzalez was arrested after a woman told police he tried to set her on fire. While investigating, officers realized he had sexually assaulted several women in a secluded area off Ferguson Lane.

Investigators also learned Coria-Gonzalez had previous charges that convinced U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement to deport him five times.

“Five times deported and he’s still here? What did he do the first time to get himself deported? And why didn’t he learn after the second or the third or the fourth time? But already five times?! And he’s still back?! He’s a determined son of a gun, but at some point the dance is over and so, unfortunately, the dance is going to be over for him and he’s going to be in jail,” Esparza said.

via Austin sex assault suspect previously deported five times – Story | KTBC.

Isn’t Austin a “Sanctuary City?” This is what Sanctuary Cities are sanctuaries for.

When Guns are Outlawed, Only Outlaws will have Sleeping Train Drivers

The train driver nodded off, in guns-more-or-less-outlawed Bronx borough, NYFC, and the train crashed violently, with four killed and “dozens” injured.

So the sleepy — or stoned? — driver went to jail, right? Oh, no. He lawyered up, with the help of his Bad Train Drivers’ Union, and the railroad and the city and state rolled over and played dead.

Incompetent, reckless train driver William Rockefeller not only isn’t receiving the consequences he deserves, the greedy killer is double-dipping with two pensions, one for PTSD, because the crumb twaumatized himself by crashing his train and killing a fistful of innocents.

The Journal News reported Friday that William Rockefeller will receive $3,200 a month for life from Metro-North Railroad.

Rockefeller was at the controls of a Metro-North train that derailed in the Bronx in December 2013, killing four passengers and injuring dozens.

Prosecutors said Rockefeller fell asleep at the controls but declined to prosecute him.

The Journal News said officials cited medical privacy issues in refusing to discuss Rockefeller’s disability. In September, Rockefeller’s union said he was seeking the disability for a post-traumatic stress disorder brought on by the accident on Dec. 1, 2013.

The Metro-North pension is in addition to Rockefeller’s federal railroad retirement pension. The amount of that pension has not been disclosed.

via Report: Engineer in fatal Bronx train derailment to get lifetime disability pension |

Two pensions. And that’s still not enough for the avaricious, grasping, moral zero and his gang of soulless lawyers: they’re suing the railroad for its negligence.

Rockefeller has filed a $10 million federal lawsuit against Metro-North. He claims the commuter railroad was to blame for the accident.

$10 million? Why not. When you’re a public servant, the whole public is your servant. And negligence? Yeah. They let him drive a train, and look what happened!

Between the two pensions, the guy will likely be drawing an upper-middle-class income, guaranteed by the chumps taxpayers, for as long as his greedy, grasping fingers can cling to his miserable life.  Even if he doesn’t suck $10 Mil out of those commuters who have, so far, survived his attempts to bump them off.

Of course, the world is probably better off paying Rockefeller not to work. At least this way he can’t kill any more of his passengers.

202 BC: Scipio Uses Hannibal’s Spies Against Him

The battle of Zama in 202 BC was the end of the line for Carthage’s brilliant general Hannibal Barca and the Second Punic War. After the Roman victory, Carthage faced terms more punitive than those of the notorious Treaty of Versailles: they were disarmed of their naval and military power, and subject to fifty years of tribute. When the Carthaginians made their final tribute payment, the Romans would soon demand the Carthaginians further disarm — and then  destroy the Carthaginian city, civilization, and people utterly in the Third Punic War.

In the  Battle of Zama which decided the Second Punic War, and greased the skids for the complete elimination of Carthage in the Third, there were many reasons for Roman victory. The Romans had logistical advantages, a better field position, far superior infantry (n quality, at least), and at least equal cavalry, thanks to some Numidian horsemen changing sides. But the Roman general Publius Cornelius Scipio enlarged those advantages by playing a trick on Hannibal Barca, his Carthaginian counterpart.

Now, what we know the battle is limited to the tales told by two Roman historians, Livy and Polybius, writing from a position far away and after the fact. The site of the battle has never been confirmed or even found. And the two of them  disagree about some details of this tale. But in most things, their two stories are consonant.

Plus, it’s a good story!

in ancient times spies were as much a part of warfare as they have been ever since, and then, as now, or perhaps, even more than now, a spy faced great risk with little prospect of reward. So three Carthaginian spies, who fell into the hands of Roman patrols shortly before the battle, must have commended their souls to their heathen gods and braced themselves for a miserable death.

The key question Hannibal needed the answer to, his EEI or CCIR to use more modern acronyms, was this: had Scipio’s infantry and Masinissa’s Numidian cavalry joined forces? In that case it would be better to refuse battle. Or was the enemy camp one of the forces, alone? In the latter case the African had the advantage over his Italian enemy.

In Hannibal’s Last Battle, Carey writes:

These three spies were taken prisoner by the Romans about the same time that Masinissa arrived at the camp with Numidian reinforcements. This force consisted of 4,000 light cavalry and 6,000 infantry.

Here the Roman historians’ stories diverge, and the authors consider what that signifies:

Polybius and Livy differ on the timing of these events. Livy maintains that the spies arrived after Masinissa, and reported back their numbers, while Polybius states that the Numidian king arrived the next day unobserved by the spies.320 Both authors agree that Scipio ordered the spies to be treated well and given guided tours of the camp and to report back to Hannibal what they observed. Polybius’ account would make sense if it were Scipio’s intention to mislead Hannibal into believing the Roman’s were weak in cavalry. This may be why Hannibal continued to march west towards Scipio. Livy’s account would ring true if the spies returned to Hannibal’s camp with intelligence on Roman troop strengths that worried the Punic general.

Of course, there’s another possibility: Scipio was simply playing a dominance game with Hannibal, the equivalent of a ballplayer trash-talking his opposite number, or a gorilla beating his chest. In any event, Hannibal met Scipio five or six days’ march west of Carthage, at the still unlocated field of Zama, and the two leaders met between their armies, with only each one’s dragoman in attendance.

Hannibal regretted that Rome and Carthage had ever pursued conquest on the other’s side of the great sea; was there any way to resolve the nations’ open issues without bloodshed?

Scipio’s response was long, flowery, and recounted a litany of Carthaginian misdeeds relative to Rome, ending with an offer of the only terms that would prevent the battle: unconditional surrender.

The fact is that you must either put yourself and your country unconditionally into our hands, or else fight and conquer us.

(This would have been known to Roosevelt and Churchill, both better educated than their modern counterparts, when they made their “unconditional surrender” decision in World War II).

With no way to avoid the defeat except by fighting, the fight was on, and the next day they fought. Hannibal survived and was not captured, but the Carthaginians wound up unconditionally surrendering.

At first, the Romans planned to destroy the city and enslave the citizens, but they were talked around to simply imposing harsh terms. Cary reports:

The terms Scipio set to end the Second Punic War were very harsh, no doubt set as a reminder to the Carthaginians of the truce which they broke when the convoy was attacked off the coast of Carthage in early spring 202. According to the treaty Carthage would:

  • Lose all territory outside of Africa and recognize Masinissa as the king of a greatly expanded Numidia.
  • Reduce her fleet to only ten triremes.
  • Have all her war elephants confiscated.
  • Pay an annual indemnity of 10,000 silver talents for fifty years.
  • Refrain from making war outside of Africa unless Roman permission was obtained.
  • Return all Roman prisoners and deserters without ransom.
  • Supply Rome with three month’s worth of food and supplies and pay the occupying Roman army’s wages until the treaty was ratified by the Roman Senate.
  • Pay reparations for the loss of the convoy and its supplies.
  • Finally, Scipio demanded hostages from the leading Carthaginian families to ensure their cooperation

The Roman prisoners were freed, but the fate of the deserters was different — crucifixion for Romans, or beheading for Rome’s foreign levies, as the wages of treason.

The Carthaginians met the terms, but war came soon after the tribute’s half-century ran out. The Romans had rejected an offer to repay it early, in 191 BC, because they wanted to keep their Mediterranean rival on a short leash. The Romans threatened to invade again, and demand the Carthaginians disarm. When the Carthaginians did so, handing over 200,000 sets of individual arms and equipment and 2,000 siege machines, the Romans invaded anyway, and took the city after a three-year siege, destroying it utterly in 146 BC.

To exit, here is a wargame-produced simulation of the battle of Zama in its context of the Punic Wars.



Carey, Brian Todd. (Allfree & Cairns, maps). Hannibals Last Battle: Zama and the Fall of Carthage. Barnsley, South Yorks., England: Pen & Sword, 2007.

Who Doesn’t Make ARs? Not Savage (any more)

Well, not Savage any more. Numerous leaks of sales information online (the models are shown on several jobber and distributor sites already) makes it clear that new “Savage MSRs” are coming, including an AR-15 called the “MSR-15” and an AR-10 called, you guessed it, the MSR-10. Street price will run from around $700 to nearly $2,000.

All are direct-impingement operating system and there is a lot of use of Blackhawk! parts, which helps the Massachusetts company meet its price points. But surprises include non-reciprocating side charging handles on the AR-10s and a 6.5 Creedmoor chambering.

Savage MSR-15 Patrol

Specific models include the entry-level MSR-15 Patrol, the mid-length gas-system MSR-15 Recon, and MSR-10s in Hunter (carbine barrel) and Long Range (20″ rifle) trim.

Savage MSR-15 Recon

Brand MFG Part Nº UPC Model family Model Caliber Barrel Length Magazine List Price Street Price (est)
Savage 22900 0-11356-22900-7 MSR 15 Patrol .223 Wylde 16.125 30RD $852.00 $700.00
Savage 22901 0-11356-22901-4 MSR 15 Recon .223 Wylde 16.125 30RD $999.00 $800.00
Savage 22902 0-11356-22902-1 MSR 10 Hunter .308 Win 16.125 20RD $1,459.00 $1,300.00
Savage 22903 0-11356-22903-8 MSR 10 Hunter 6.5 Creedmoor 17 20RD $1,459.00 $1,300.00
Savage 22904 0-11356-22904-5 MSR 10 Long Range .308 Win 20 20RD $1,999.00 $1,850.00
Savage 22905 0-11356-22905- MSR 10 Long Range 6.5 Creedmoor 20 20RD $1,999.00 $1,850.00

Savage MSR-10 Hunter Creedmoor (.308 appears identical). Note that the image shows a conventional charging handle, although the specs and description promise a side charger.

All these models feature Blackhawk! parts, with the Patrol including “Flip-Up rear sight, M-LOK handguard, Pistol grip, 6-Position buttstock, & Blaze trigger” from the accessory maker. at the other extreme, the Long Range (for which we do not have a photo) uses the Magpul Precision Rifle Stock (PRS) Gen 3, and an M-LOK  but does retain the Blackhawk! Blaze 2-stage trigger. All the AR-10, er, MSR-10, variants, come without sights.

Barrels are finished with QPQ Melonite. At least initially, you can get any color you want, so long as it is black. Expect to see this new Savage tribe introduced at next month’s SHOT Show. A lot of SHOT new products are leaking or being teased now that Christmas is over. (The Firearm Blog is a good place to watch for them).


Each LCS is Worth More as Scrap

Earlier today, we wrote, “Now if they could just stop paying a half a billion for the million dollars’ worth of scrap aluminum that is a Littoral Combat Ship, we’d be getting somewhere.” However, it’s been pointed out to us that there is not a million dollars worth of scrap in an LCS. 

Value of the Littoral Combat Ship
Combat Value = 0
Scrap Value = $702,635.20
DWT (metric) = 797
Deadweight pounds (MT x 2204) = 1756588
Assuming it’s all Aluminum, Al scrap/pound (average) = $0.40

Conclusion: Scrap Value > Combat Value.

Ergo, the best way to recover value from these ships is to go straight from the building yards to the wrecking yards. However, it would destroy less value not to build them in the first place.

When Guns are Outlawed, Only Outlaws will have Meth Moms

It’s the child-abuse equivalent of Oscar Season out there, folks. Here’s another entry in the Mom Of The Year™ stakes, one Erin Piche-Pitts; she didn’t whack the kid with a gun, which is good because she’s a prohibited person on several grounds, and if she’d killed the kid that way she might be in trouble.  And yes, she looks unhappy in the mugshot because she’s just killed her baby. Indeed, she just did that for the second time; she killed another one the same exact negligent way seven years ago. Via CBS News:

A central Florida woman has been arrested following the second “co-sleeping” death of a newborn within seven years.

Erin Piche-Pitts, 25, was warned by numerous agencies about the dangers of sleeping in the same bed with an infant following the 2009 smothering death of her 13-day-old baby girl, reports CBS affiliate WTSP. That death was ruled accidental.

Why are people with hyphenated names (unless both sides of the family have a long tradition of postnominal letters, like KCMG, OBE, DSO and all that) such monumental losers? It’s almost as if the name expands as the character contracts, or vice-versa.

Piche-Pitts reportedly gave birth to another child, a boy, on Sept. 18. She was warned again by a primary care physician about the dangers of sleeping with the infant during the infant’s Sept. 21 exam, the station reports. Police said the mother had also completed a “Healthy Start” training program and was provided “counseling and information” about how to properly put an infant to sleep on their back.

Amazing. “Parenting classes” by “trained professionals,” applied to a negligent mother, produced… a negligent mother.

Despite the warnings, police say on Piche-Pitts fell asleep in her bed with the boy in the crook of her arm Oct. 6 at her Polk County home. She awoke about two and a half hours later to find the infant unresponsive under her, according to the Polk County Sheriff’s Office.

The child was later pronounced dead at a hospital.

Piche-Pitts is charged with aggravated manslaughter of a child due to negligence in the boy’s death. Deputies determined that after the repeated warnings, the boy’s death was “through her own culpable negligence,” reports the Orlando Sentinel.

What could make a mom fall asleep on top of her baby

Deputies say Piche-Pitts has a criminal history which includes charges for burglary, possession of methamphetamines, battery and domestic violence.

via Erin Piche-Pitts, Florida mom, charged after second infant’s “co-sleeping” death – CBS News.