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February 06, 2004

Will wonders never cease!

The state of Illinois has dropped charges against the man who shot an intruder who was invading his home.

Charges dropped in Wilmette gun case 'We choose to prosecute the real criminal'

By Dan Gibbard
Tribune staff reporter
Published February 6, 2004, 12:44 PM CST

In a slap at Wilmette village officials, Cook County prosecutors today announced they would not pursue charges against a homeowner, who shot and wounded an alleged home intruder, for letting his state firearms registration lapse.

"We choose to prosecute the real criminal here, the person who broke into this house not once, but twice," said Assistant State's Atty. Steve Goebel, supervising prosecutor in the Skokie courthouse.

I previously blogged on this here. So, I feel duty bound to bring it up that at least the State is actually coming out in the open and poking Wilmette officials in the eye, and not just ignoring the whole thing as they could have done.

Wilmette resident Hale DeMar had been charged with failing to renew his state Firearms Owner's Identification Card when it expired in 1988. Had DeMar been found guilty of the misdemeanor, he could have been fined up to $2,500 or sentenced to a year in jail.

"He purchased a gun legally. It was registered. What he failed to do was keep current (his FOI card), and we chose not to prosecute this memory lapse," Goebel said.

Prosecution, Goebel said, "would violate the spirit of the law and be a narrow-minded approach." He said his office decided not to pursue the case after conferring with Wilmette police, who brought the charge.

While I commend the language, Illinoisans are still at the whim of a state official who may twist with the prevailing winds. But for now, good on Mr. Goebel.

And, It's still not over.

The resident still faces village sanctions for having allegedly violated Wilmette's handgun ban. His attorneys have filed a court challenge to the ordinance, saying it violates their client's constitutional privacy rights. The next hearing in that case is set for April 22.

If convicted under the village ordinance, DeMar could be fined up to $750.

Let's pull for DeMar and hope he gets the ban overturned!

The whole article is here. Hat tip to fellow Twit Teresa for pointing it out!

by John on Feb 06, 2004 | Gun Rights
» Say Uncle links with: Cool - sorta

CMDR Lloyd Bucher, USN, RIP.

bucher ussp6.jpg

Goodbye to a hero
Oliver North

February 6, 2004

WASHINGTON, D.C. -- "The United States won the Cold War without ever firing a shot." It's a claim I've never understood.

Though our victory was secured without a cataclysmic nuclear exchange with the Soviet Union, it took a terrible toll on American lives, limbs and treasure. From battlefields in Korea, Vietnam, Central America and the Middle East -- and in the shadowy world of espionage -- the Cold War was only "cold" to those who didn't fight in it.

Last week, Cmdr. Lloyd "Pete" Bucher, USN, one of the most courageous of those "Cold Warriors," passed from this veil of tears -- a loss barely noted by my colleagues in the media. On Jan. 23, 1968, Pete Bucher was in command of the USS Pueblo, a surveillance ship that was attacked and captured by North Korea in international waters. Captain and crew were held captive for 11 months, brutally beaten and deprived of sleep, food and medical care. Their ignominious treatment wasn't much better after they returned home.

The story of Pete Bucher is an American saga. Born in 1927, and orphaned as an infant, he was a ward of the state until adopted by Mr. and Mrs. Austin Bucher. But they, too, died during Pete's childhood, and once again he was remanded to a state home. Finally, in 1940, Pete learned about Boys Town in Nebraska by watching Spencer Tracy portray Father Edward Flanagan. Pete wrote to the real Father Flanagan, who responded with a train ticket. Pete would later explain, "Boys Town was the only home that I ever had."

After joining the Navy and working his way up the ranks, Bucher hoped to command a submarine. Instead, he was given the helm of the USS Pueblo, a 176-foot, World War II-era converted cargo vessel, a "flat bottomed and hard-riding ship," according to Pete. The Pueblo carried electronic and radio equipment to intercept communications and gather intelligence. On the eve of its maiden, and only, voyage, Rear Adm. Frank Johnson cautioned Bucher, prophetically, "Remember, you are not going out there to start a war."

The Pueblo's orders were to cruise well off the eastern coast of North Korea, part of a top-secret mission called "Operation Clickbeetle." But by the time the Pueblo arrived off the coast of Korea in January 1968, the uneasy armistice that had prevailed since the end of the Korean War was fraying. The North Koreans were actively infiltrating agents into South Korea, and when they attempted to assassinate South Korean President Park Chung Hee, nobody bothered to notify the Pueblo.

On Jan. 23, 1968, while in international waters, the Pueblo, armed with only two .50-caliber machine guns, was attacked by four North Korean torpedo boats. After evading a North Korean boarding party, Bucher and his crew were subjected to a barrage of cannon fire. One American crewman was killed, and 10 were wounded, including Bucher. Despite frantic radio messages from the Pueblo seeking air support, no help was forthcoming. A second North Korean boarding party captured Bucher and the surviving 81 crewmembers.

Flash Traffic (extended entry) Follows... »

Interested in where they are going with the new soldier weapons?


Here's an edited briefing on the current 'way-ahead' for the XM29 system. Armament geeks - enjoy!

February 05, 2004

Logistics and Reenlistment.

Somehow, I think Matt, Donnie, Eric, Mike and Mike the Marine will approve the findings. Harvey, too.

Subject: Military History Lesson.

There are a lot of leaders out there today, who argue that soldiers shouldn't drink while "deployed". A long time ago, we looked at things much differently. One of our biggest challenges is how to make soldiers want to reenlist. One of the biggest logistical problems facing our "technologically advanced" forces today, is how to provide them enough fluids to keep them that the leaders are thinking water.


Morale, Welfare and Reenlistment - as affected by logistics. You'll need Powerpoint© or Powerpoint Viewer©.

Hat tip to Dom and Mike.

by John on Feb 05, 2004 | Observations on things Military
» Blackfive - The Paratrooper of Love links with: Thursday Links
» Quibbles and Bits links with: Re-Enlistment bonuses
» AMCGLTD links with: Re-Enlistment Made Easy
» a little ludwig goes a long way links with: Military Logistics

A report from the field.

From an email. I've confirmed there is an officer by this name in this unit, so I'm inclined to accept this at face value. There are elements here that make me suspect this if from a website, possibly with a copyright - so if anyone has any further info, please let me know so I can act appropriately.

UPDATE: And I was right. It's from the Army Times, a paper I quit reading long ago when I got tired of their format shift to tabloid headlines. And I *know* they'll have copyright issues, so, if you are coming to this late: you'll either have to subscribe to the Army Times, or send me an email, and I'll email it to you.

Thanks, John.

The article is here.

Rather than play the 'fair usage' game and editorialize on CPT Morgan's comments, I'm just deleting most of it because I don't have anything useful to add, except this observation from a former "certified TRADOC platform instructor". You are paid to be in class, pay attention - the guy on the platform usually knows what he's talking about - even if he hasn't been there, the material he's presenting was prepared by people who were.

Throughout this conflict, I discovered that most things taught in Army schools remain valid and worth remembering during my decision-making process. The most important factors that were reinforced to me that applies to everything discussed here is the necessity to conduct combat AARs after every patrol, whether there was contact or not. Second, Troop Leading Procedures are vital, especially conducting a reconnaissance, rehearsals and building a terrain model, and supervising platoon and leader operation orders and rehearsals. Third, and most important, maintain an offensive spirit always. Look for the enemy to shoot at you, shoot back and kill or capture them. Bold leaders are dangerous and that is what you want in them as they fight this fight.

The Soldier's Load


In 1950, Brigadier General (then COL) S.L.A. Marshall wrote a book called "The Soldiers Load and the Mobility of a Nation" Marshall was a reservist who pioneered the use of interviewing combat troops right after combat (hours, literally) to gather both historical information and lessons learned, a practice now institutionalized in the US Army Center for Army Lessons Learned, CALL. This book was written on his own time and own dime - and details the impact of loading up the troops with stuff. As far as I know, the only official studies done by the US military was by the Marines, using the Makin Raid in 1943. That's changed. Here is the results of CALL's analysis of the soldier's load in in Afghanistan. I also have the OIF version, but it's big enough I have to figure out how I want to host it.

The Modern Warrior’s Combat Load
Dismounted Operations in Afghanistan
April - May 2003

Simply put - they've got too much to carry. And anyone who has had to wear all this stuff (just think of the batteries alone!) knows what I mean. But at least we're thinking about it.

I know some of you will be sucking this one down, and badgering me for the other! 8^D Sorry, but you'll have to have that resource hog Adobe Reader in order to read it.


February 04, 2004

From the Smallest Minority

Kevin details some activity by the Australian police - that of keeping the law-abiding law abiding, and not, perhaps, pursuing the non-law abiding. There are some cogent observations in the comments, too.

Can you imagine the size of the brick of shite these Ozzie police would drop in my basement?

by John on Feb 04, 2004 | Gun Rights

Happy Birthday, USO!


(Click the logo to visit the USO homepage)

On this date, in 1941, in response to the growing US military build-up prior to our entry in WWII, the United Service Organizations was formed from the combined resources of the YMCA, YWCA, National Catholic Community Service, the National Jewish Welfare Board, the Traveler’s Aid Association and the Salvation Army, in order to provide recreational services to the troops in remote locations. And they haven't looked back.


My uncle, my father, and I all benefited from the service provided by the USO. They are among the organizations I donate to annually. Wherever the troops go, you'll find the USO... close enough that USO workers hear the sound of the guns. Heck, if it weren't for the USO, we wouldn't have this picture of Joan Jett!


How sad would that be? Of course, the greatest trouper the USO ever sent around to the troops, who gave us shows in WWII, Korea, Vietnam, and Desert Storm, was Bob Hope. Hat tip to the USO and all the entertainers who visit the troops!


by John on Feb 04, 2004 | Observations on things Military
» Blackfive - The Paratrooper of Love links with: Wednesday Warp

February 03, 2004

Matty, Donnie, it just ain't our Army anymore...

Though Don Sensing probably approves (no disrespect intended, Don! You got the call, not me, so I'm a little rougher on the edges than you).

Lap dances are the cause of discipline problems. Not unsteady leadership? Not deployment stress and uncertainty? Lap dances? There really has to be more to this than is being reported. At least I hope so.

In my experience, declining discipline is almost exclusively a leadership issue - whether it's political or military. It isn't exotic dancers. At best, they are a symptom.

Hey - we still managed the stymie the Soviets, even with Margaret at Grafenwoehr!

Virtually the entire Canadian Army is in this photo...

...can you find them? Okay, bad joke aside, the Canadians have developed a great camouflage for Canada. Now let's see it in Afghanistan, Iraq, Eritrea, along the Golan... Sorry John, just couldn't resist!


National Firearms Registry in Canada.

Maybe, just maybe, the Canadians are going to get a chance to undo a little bit of liberal folly.

Some key points:

The final battle over the $1-billion federal gun registry is set to be waged over the next two months, with a senior Liberal MP telling constituents he believes the controversial program may die of "financial malnutrition" after a free vote in the Commons.

For those of us in the US, a 'free vote' means that the MPs are going to be allowed to vote their conscience, not the party line. In the past, PM Chretien threatened any vote would be a 'confidence vote' which could trigger new elections if the vote didn't go the way the PM wanted it to.

Gallaway recalled the anger of Liberal MPs last year when Chretien declared a vote on $59 million in supplementary estimates for the Canadian Firearms Centre would be a vote of confidence in the government, meaning an election would have been called had the motion been defeated.

Since no one was willing to topple the government over the issue, it wasn't going to get overturned. Now however, there's a chance.

However, the usual suspects aren't happy.

The leading advocate for the registry, Wendy Cukier of the Coalition for Gun Control, calls the prospect of its demise "tragic."

Cukier accuses Martin and his government of undermining the program through anonymous leaks about a current review of the scheme.

She also criticized the January declaration by Albina Guarnieri, the minister for emergency preparedness who is reviewing the program, that all options are open.

Cukier expressed frustration at the meagre resources available to mount a last-minute lobbying campaign to retain the program. She accused the government of failing to communicate positive aspects to the public and MPs.

Ms. Cukier - perhaps that's because they read the report of the Auditor General?

Martin said during his leadership campaign that changes to the program last year in the wake of a scathing report by auditor general Sheila Fraser were insufficient. He said last month Canada must continue to register "weapons," but that left the door open to continue the decades-long practice of registering handguns while ceasing the registration of rifles and shotguns

Fraser touched off a firestorm in December 2002, when she disclosed massive overspending on the program, which the government originally said would cost $2 million. The latest estimates are $1 billion by the next fiscal year over the 10 years it has taken to implement the program. The program now costs about $113 million annually.

Now, some elements of the US political structure have wished to have the same sort of thing. Given those costs for Canada, imagine what it would cost here!

Let's give Ms. Cukier a last word:

"I think it would be tragic if Paul Martin's legacy was that he was the prime minister who killed gun control in Canada."

I'm just guessing here - but I bet there are other things Canada could spend 1 Billion dollars on. Just a thought.

by John on Feb 03, 2004 | Gun Rights

Small Mortars, Part 1. The Japanese "Knee" Mortar.

Okay, lets face it. If you are an infantryman, life sucks. It sucks because your own guys make fun of you (as long as there is room to run). When they get sloppy they accidentally kill and maim you. The pay ain’t that great, and living under canvas or in muddy holes just isn’t all that much fun. (These are many of the reasons I was an artilleryman, lending dignity to what was otherwise a vulgar brawl). Add to that the crappy food, full of sand, smothered in flies (mmmmm, protein!), and living in filth with nasty, inadequate clothing (while those b*st*rd quartermaster guys lived in requisitioned houses and replaced all their clothes all the time, not to mention running the bath and laundry, and always treated you like you were stealing when you needed to replace something), and amusing yourself by seeing how many rats you could kill with your bayonet while waiting for the bombardment to end, or for those flying a**holes to drop their bombs and bugger out for 3 hots and cot with nightcaps at the club.

Then. THEN there’s that other poor dumb b*st*rd who is just as miserable as you are and he’s trying to kill you in the bargain. On purpose, not just by accident, like your own artillery, tanks, and aircraft are doing. (But ya wanna know the dirty little secret? Except when it's for real, and sometimes even then, good chunks of it is fun. As long as there's no serious blood, on either side).

Anyway, people who try to kill you suck. And ones who are trying to do it on purpose, well, they REALLY suck. And not in that nice “lady of the evening” way, either. These people just really, really suck.

So, first they tried to kill you by stabbing you, hacking you, bashing you.

Like with this Georgian infantry officer’s sword, Saxon battle axe, or Swedish war hammer, all standing in for the thousands of years that most people who sucked were trying to do you in at close range. What’s a feller to do? Sharp pointy things, sharp-edged things, and blunt objects HURT.

Flash Traffic (extended entry) Follows... »

Here's a thought - kick 'em in the butt, don't try to understand 'em.

Interesting bit on Tech Central Station today by Dr. Helen Smith:

Violence breeds violence -- but so can nonviolence. This is often forgotten in the debate over terrorism, as illustrated in some reviews of the new book by David Frum and Richard Perle, An End to Evil: How to Win the War on Terror. Perle and Frum lay out a bold plan to defend America. But more important than their specific proposals, they provide insight into how our leaders are confronting -- or not confronting -- the war on terrorism.

As a forensic psychologist, what I found most worthwhile about the book was this unapologetic attitude toward terrorists and terrorism. I believe the authors are correct when they promote strong tactics in dealing with terrorists. In fact, I believe that the liberal stance of trying too hard to "humanize" our enemies is a mistake that will make the problem worse, and produce more violence rather than less.

Frum and Perle's view is not popular among the media elite. Case in point: a New York Times review by Michiko Kakutani that criticizes the authors as they
"purvey a worldview of us-versus-them, all-or-nothing, either-or, and this outlook results in a refusal to countenance the possibility that people who do not share the authors' views about the war in Iraq or their faith in a pre-emptive, unilateralist foreign policy might have legitimate reasons for doing so."

One might wonder if that's because Michiko's preferred approach hasn't worked yet? And if there is one thing leftylibs are good at, it's following a failed policy forever, confident that with just a lot more money, a little more time, and that fact they their intentions are good, this failed policy, which hasn't worked and shows no signs of working, will suddenly, miraculously, work. Dr. Smith goes on to say:

I suppose it follows from this statement that Kakutani would rather promote understanding and empathy with respect to injuries that Muslims feel they have suffered at the hands of the United States. No surprise here: Frum and Perle state that some commentators even suggested that Islamic anti-Americanism should be regarded as an understandable reaction to the materialism and hedonism of American life, as refracted through MTV, pornography, and the Internet. Apparently, they were anticipating Kakutani's review. In a Clintonian sort of approach, some Americans seem to believe that if we can "feel our enemies' pain," then we will be on the path to enlightenment and peace. This belief could not be further from the truth.

Now, go read the rest, and see if you don't agree with her. This little observation is why you should:

Those patients who threatened me backed down only when I got up in their face and told them forcefully to stop -- the slightest hint of fear or intimidation (or sympathy!) on my part was met with increased threats. In the real world of private practice, confronting real murderers, I learned to act in ways that were different from what I had been taught in graduate school.

Unfortunately, there are still those in the ivory tower who have not learned this valuable lesson. They continue to believe that to humanize and to empathize with violent students, professors, and terrorists is the only way to treat those who wish to do them harm. In fact, however, the old saw "give them an inch and they'll take a mile" applies. Without clear boundaries, and a sense of consequences, their behavior will spiral out of control until they injure themselves and others.

Today sucked in the North Atlantic in 1943

When four Chaplains lived up to the scripture John 15:13, "Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends."

The Chaplains The Medal

It was the evening of Feb. 2, 1943, and the U.S.A.T. Dorchester was crowded to capacity, carrying 902 servicemen, merchant seamen and civilian workers.

Once a luxury coastal liner, the 5,649-ton vessel had been converted into an Army transport ship. The Dorchester, one of three ships in the SG-19 convoy, was moving steadily across the icy waters from Newfoundland toward an American base in Greenland. SG-19 was escorted by Coast Guard Cutters Tampa, Escanaba and Comanche.

Hans J. Danielsen, the ship's captain, was concerned and cautious. Earlier the Tampa had detected a submarine with its sonar. Danielsen knew he was in dangerous waters even before he got the alarming information. German U-boats were constantly prowling these vital sea lanes, and several ships had already been blasted and sunk.

The Dorchester was now only 150 miles from its destination, but the captain ordered the men to sleep in their clothing and keep life jackets on. Many soldiers sleeping deep in the ship's hold disregarded the order because of the engine's heat. Others ignored it because the life jackets were uncomfortable.

On Feb. 3, at 12:55 a.m., a periscope broke the chilly Atlantic waters. Through the cross hairs, an officer aboard the German submarine U-223 spotted the Dorchester. After identifying and targeting the ship, he gave orders to fire the torpedoes. The hit was decisive--and deadly--striking the starboard side, amid ship, far below the water line.

Ladies and Gentlemen, I say to you, "Reverend George L. Fox, Rabbi Alexander D. Goode, Reverend Clark V. Poling, Father John P. Washington."

At Castle Argghhh!, we dance In Memorium. And follow with four shots of tequila to honor the fallen.

Read the rest of the story here. I mean it. Read the story. My blurb here doesn't do these men justice.

by John on Feb 03, 2004 | Observations on things Military
» Blackfive - The Paratrooper of Love links with: Tuesday Links

On this day, in 1947, it also sucked...


At least it did in Snag, Yukon.

FEB 3, 1947

The lowest temperature in North America was recorded at Snag, Yukon, at -64C.

That's -83.2F for those of us south of the Great White North.

That was a lousy day for a troop who had to poop!

Hat tip to JMH for sharing!