Grab a Weapon

Wednesday, May 20th, 2015

As far back as the 3rd Century B.C. military men were ridiculing any concern with empty hand fighting as beneath them, James Lafond explains:

In an age when military men hacked each other to pieces at arm’s length, they could have cared less about unarmed fighting, as they knew it to be all but useless in a military context. Over the ages military establishments have either ignored the empty hand question, or have farmed it out to specialists, or made it the personal duty of officers.

For one example of the later let’s take the British military during the Zulu Wars of the late 1800s. The foot soldiers were recruited from a stunted and malnourished population living on starvation rations, and stood about 5-foot 6-inches and weighed around 140 pounds.

The Zulu warriors they fought were drawn from a well-nourished beef-eating population and stood about 6-foot and weighed in between 160 and 180 pounds, with some chiefs and famous warriors being of goliath proportions. The Zulus supplemented their thrusting spear and shield training with wrestling and stick fighting. These were formidable hand-to-hand warriors. As with most warrior cultures throughout history, the Zulus concerned themselves with weaponry and grappling; grappling being the way to obtain a weapon once one has lost his own, as well as a way to neutralize an enemy’s weapon once one has lost his. It is exceedingly rare to see any concern with empty hand striking as it is largely useless in armed combat.

The man in charge of the ‘physical education’ of the British soldier was his officer, a well-fed spoiled rich boy who stood 5-foot 10-inches and weighed in at about 170-pounds. This man would wrestle with pro wrestlers that he and his rich fellows would sponsor at home, as well as spar with famous prize-fighters. [Teddy Roosevelt did this in the white house when he was president!] This officer would then wrestle and box with his entire unit, lining them up and beating their emaciated asses, just like the prize-fighters had worked him and his rich friends over. The wrestling was intended to develop one’s ability to maintain his footing and his hold on his all-important rifle-bayonet, a fearsome weapon even when unloaded. The boxing was purely psychological conditioning, intended to fill the soldier with a tenacious confidence that he could endure the worst.

When the Brits were overrun in one battle, and their ammunition ran out, the Zulu’s suffered horrendous casualties in hand-to-hand combat. It was all about the bayonet. Even with empty guns, it was still the gun that mattered. We cannot forget, when writing unarmed combat scenes involving military combatants, that they are all indoctrinated — a most potent indoctrination, as it is built on a natural primate impulse to seek a weapon — to fight with empty hands only as a way to access a weapon or to deny enemy access to a weapon. There are patchy records of military men striking with fists when in desperate straits, though this is more an act of final defiance than a tactical option.

Gentrification in Baltimore

Monday, May 18th, 2015

The fact of urban gentrification in Baltimore is that hipster homesteaders have moved into traditional working-class white enclaves:

These areas were sought by the first hipster pioneers to benefit from the protection of the tough whites in those areas who had held out against the black-on-white race purge that was the 70’s and 80’s in Baltimore. The end result is that the housing values go up so much that the working and poor whites must move out as they can’t pay the taxes.

Recently, beginning in the 2000s, Johns Hopkins University and Hospital have been buying up vast swaths of vacant property in East Baltimore [where Boomy the Nigerian cabby rescued the ‘blonde woman of the yuppies’] and along the Charles Village Corridor. This was in response to blacks preying on hospital and university staff. These large institutions are buying up the criminal seed beds which constitute perhaps a third of the black Baltimore economy [with welfare constituting roughly another third]. This has caused more damage to the drug gangs than any police action, and is covered in the final season of The Wire. Over the past two years a concerted effort to discourage white resettlement of Baltimore has been made by black criminal residents. However, the news spin and statistical manipulation engaged in by the leftist city government has successfully blinded the prospective home buyers of these facts until it is too late.

It is no accident that the prime targets of the mob attacks were the Shoppers supermarket [which was successfully defended thanks to the early warnings put out by black cashiers from the neighborhood], and the CVS drug store which the Mayor gave orders not to defend. Both of these locations were only established due to city government initiatives to bring businesses into the neighborhood.

Note that the most successful pockets of gentrification such as South Baltimore, Locust Point and Canton, fared better than the Hopkins controlled areas and the others, because they are neighborhoods with their backs against the water, and raiders have only one way out, with Locust Point, which terminates in Fort Mchenry National Park, being a virtual fortified position.

With the white trash priced out of the community, the protective basis for resettlement is now gone. Without nasty whites to fight the blacks at street level, and with the police now exposed as enfeebled, the hunt for Whitey is on in earnest. This is how I have lived my life, as a white hunted by blacks across an urban crimescape, what H.L Mencken famously called, “the ruins of a once great medieval city.”

Pre-Modern Life Expectancy

Sunday, May 17th, 2015

Basing quality-of-life estimates on average life expectancy at birth warps our view of pre-modern life:

For Neanderthals and other pre-modern humans life was short and brutal primarily because they had to kill animals with handheld weapons at close range. Neanderthals who survived into their thirties looked like they had been pulled out of a Humvee that was hit by an IED. One fellow was missing an eye, an arm, a thumb and a foot! These guys suffered from no known diseases. However, their main food [according to chemical analysis of their bones] was the auroch — basically a rodeo bull — which they had to kill be wrestling with it, stabbing it, and smashing it with rocks!

For a Neanderthal 35 years old was as old as it is for an NFL running back or a lightweight boxer. If one imagines a world where such athletes were executed at retirement, and that all men were such athletes, you get a good idea of the climate for thirty-something folks in the Old Stone Age.

Mature Stone Age hunting and gathering societies, which had not yet invented alcohol, and which did not live with disease bearing domesticate animals, and did not engage in repetitive chores that wear away their connective tissue, produced healthier warriors and women than more technologically advanced societies until the 20th Century. Although few men survived to old age due to constant small scale warfare, male leaders and women living into their 70s was common. As with other apex predators, like lions, most of a primitive’s day consisted of leisure activities.

Agriculture caused people to live in one place, which encouraged disease. With the addition of domestic animals living in close proximity, humanity acquired the measles, all the pox diseases, and venereal disease [don’t ask how]. The result was that few children lived to age five. This is reflected in the fact that many societies did not name children at birth, and that children were seen as a burden until they were able to engage in the horrid economy which the adults were shackled to.

An agrarian man typically worked from sunrise to sundown doing a small cluster of repetitive motions, resulting in a terribly worn body by about age 30. The woman had it no better, on her knees grinding grain all day long, and becoming arthritic before age 30.

This was a nasty way to live, so conquerors lived according to the more ancient primitive tradition. The apex of the population — the nobility and royalty, being the top 5% — continued to live as primitives, hunting and fighting and enjoying leisure time, and making all of those great scientific, literary, artistic, and military advances.

The common agrarian person was a machine, a brute who ate, worked, shat and died in misery, and was regarded as subhuman by his masters, who lived, essentially, as a primitive warrior class.

Note that the age of majority has always been based on man’s prime as an athlete or war fighter. Ancient Greek warrior-athletes, Roman soldiers and medieval knights were not considered fit for combat until age 21, and were regarded as pretty well shot by 40. This has not changed, with modern boxers and football players considered subpar until age 22 and over the hill by age 35. Likewise, various social rights, such as firearms licenses, drinking privileges, voting rights, and military service, have typically not been granted until the 18–22 year age range. It has also remained nigh unthinkable for a head of state to be younger than 35 years of age. This athletic life span corresponds with the hunting life span of the Neanderthal auroch hunter.

The Same Restless Quest for Physical Excellence

Saturday, May 16th, 2015

Gottschall had to make a decision about what his book was going to be about:

Violence is a huge topic, and I found that the kind of violence that I was really interested in was the duel, broadly understood. In my definition of the duel, we have everything from sports to a staring duel to a pissing contest to certain kinds of arguments, and so forth. So I stayed away from the more tactical, real-world, self-defense type of writing.

One of the reasons I think your article on the topic is so great is that I think every guy our age can relate to this. Men with families suddenly realize, “Holy shit. My dad doesn’t live with us anymore. If somebody comes through that door, it’s my job to deal with it.” So I absolutely have thought about that.

I live in a place — southwestern Pennsylvania, right on the border with West Virginia — where almost everyone owns a gun. And most working-class guys carry their guns everywhere.

So I’m living in the heart of gun culture, but I’m not a gun guy. I didn’t grow up with them; I was never a hunter; my dad was never a hunter. I’ve shot a handgun, and it really scared me. I also enjoyed it as I got more comfortable with it. And I do think about getting a gun. I’m not comfortable being at such a force disadvantage when everyone else is armed.

Right now, my self-defense, home-invasion plan is based on an ax handle that’s within easy reach in the kitchen, and I also have a hatchet in my bedroom. I chose the hatchet very carefully. In the sitcom, the dad always keeps a bat handy. But a bat is too long. You can’t swing it in a hallway, and it’s also not as terrifying as a hatchet.

[...]

A few times a year in my small town, one of these monkey dances goes off, and the guys are carrying guns, and they shoot each other. Or they shoot each other after a road-rage incident.

I think we have very similar attitudes toward guns and gun culture. I’m not an abolitionist, but I would like the laws to be stiffer. Now I can walk into a gun store in my town and buy military-grade weapons. You’d be shocked by the amount of firepower you can buy — .50 caliber sniper rifles and the same shotguns the Marines carry in Iraq or Afghanistan. It doesn’t matter whether I know how to use these things — I can just walk into a store and buy them.

And if I do get a handgun, I can take it to the sheriff’s department, and in about as much time as it would take me to order a value meal at Wendy’s, they will give me a concealed-carry license. There will be no screening at all to see whether I’m qualified to carry a gun in public — which I absolutely am not. That’s one of the reasons I haven’t gotten a gun in the first place: I don’t know how to use one.

Gottschall clearly isn’t comfortable with — or particularly informed about — guns or gun laws. That makes this stand out even more:

My little brother is a federal law enforcement officer, and he’s also a firearms instructor. He came up recently to visit, and we went out to the range. Part of why I was attracted to the idea of owning a gun was self-defense, and part of it was that I’ve been fascinated by guns since I was a little kid, and I want to play with them. It seems like a lot of fun. And I had a great time. It was probably because I had such a skilled teacher. My brother really knows what he’s doing, and he knows how to make it safe. Shooting with him, and seeing his expertise, I had a tiny eureka moment. I suddenly realized that when it comes to the use of firearms, my brother is a badass martial artist. And I think that a lot of people who like training with guns are probably drawn to it not only for practical reasons, but also in that same restless quest for physical excellence that draws people to a martial arts dojo.

Yes, a lot of people who like training with guns are on the same restless quest for physical excellence that draws people to a martial arts dojo.

The Real Problem With America’s Inner Cities

Thursday, May 14th, 2015

America is not reverting to earlier racist patterns, Orlando Patterson writes — in the New York Times:

[C]alling for a national conversation on race is a cliché that evades the real problem we now face: on one hand, a vicious tangle of concentrated poverty, disconnected youth and a culture of violence among a small but destructive minority in the inner cities; and, on the other hand, of out-of-control law-enforcement practices abetted by a police culture that prioritizes racial profiling and violent constraint.

First, we need a more realistic understanding of America’s inner cities. They are socially and culturally heterogeneous, and a great majority of residents are law-abiding, God-fearing and often socially conservative.

According to recent surveys, between 20 and 25 percent of their permanent residents are middle class; roughly 60 percent are solidly working class or working poor who labor incredibly hard, advocate fundamental American values and aspire to the American dream for their children. Their youth share their parents’ values, expend considerable social energy avoiding the violence around them and consume far fewer drugs than their white working- and middle-class counterparts, despite their disproportionate arrest and incarceration rates.

In all inner-city neighborhoods, however, there is a problem minority that varies between about 12.1 percent (in San Diego, for example) and 28 percent (in Phoenix) that comes largely from the disconnected youth between ages 16 and 24. Most are not in school and are chronically out of work, though their numbers are supplemented by working- and middle-class dropouts. With few skills and a contempt for low-wage jobs, they subsist through the underground economy of illicit trading and crime. Many belong to gangs.

Their street or thug culture is real, with a configuration of norms, values and habits that are, disturbingly, rooted in a ghetto brand of core American mainstream values: hypermasculinity, the aggressive assertion and defense of respect, extreme individualism, materialism and a reverence for the gun, all inflected with a threatening vision of blackness openly embraced as the thug life.

Such street culture is simply the black urban version of one of America’s most iconic traditions: the Wild West.

Low Moments in How-To History

Thursday, May 14th, 2015

The hipsters at Boing Boing ironically share this shooting gallery plan as a low moment in how-to history, because shooting BBs at rabbit and squirrel silhouettes is obviously wrong:

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Military Woodblock Art

Tuesday, May 12th, 2015

We tend to associate traditional Japanese woodblock prints (ukiyo-e) with traditional Japanese subject matter — namely Hokusai’s Great Wave — but the popular art style found itself applied to modern military subjects, too:

This should not be too much of a surprise, however: the most famous of the great Japanese woodblock artists died only a few decades before Commodore Perry brought his black boats to Edo bay. Much of their era would disappear in the miraculous changes of the Meiji revolution, but as the prints included here show quite clearly, much of the old order lived on into the 20th century.

Woodblock, Kobayashi Kiyochika,  In the Battle of the Yellow Sea

These prints all depict episodes from the Sino-Japanese War of 1894 or the Russo-Japanese War that was waged a decade later. Remarkably, none of these prints were designed to be great works of art; the great majority were carved and colored to accompany news reports from the front-lines, printed in newspapers or periodicals circulating in Japan on short notice. The artists never saw the battlefields they depicted, relying instead on common visual tropes, reporter’s accounts (you can see a gaggle of such reporters in the bottom right corner of the print placed directly below), and their own imaginations to create these images. The prints are therefore less useful for understanding the tactics or battlefield conditions of these wars than they are for understanding the attitude of a Japanese public mobilized for external conquest for the first time in centuries.

Woodblock, Yasuda Hampo, Picture of the Eighth Attack on Port Arthur

As historical sources the prints are revealing. A comparison of the physical features of the Japanese and Chinese soldiers depicted testifies to how thoroughly the Japanese people had adopted the racialist ideology common in European circles at the time. The prints, like the wars themselves, also betray how eager the Japanese were to prove that they were the equals of the Western powers. Perhaps most interesting, however, is how exultantly they depict the wars of their day. Tactically, the Russo-Japanese War was not far removed from the Great War that soon followed it, but the way the Japanese portrayed their experience with industrial warfare could not be further removed from the collective horror Europeans felt when they fought in the trenches. These woodblock prints were some of the first artistic renderings of industrial age warfare; never again would a people forced to wage such a war render it so beautifully.

Woodblock, Mizuno Toshikata, Hurrah, Hurrah for the Great Japanese Empire

Woodblock, Kobayashi Kiyochika, Our Forces Great Victory in the Battle of the Yellow Sea

Police Legions

Monday, May 11th, 2015

Riot police may look vaguely like Roman legionaries, but they certainly don’t fight like Roman legionaries — or fight at all, really:

Some of the police are unfit, some female, and most of them are having trouble seeing with the head gear on, causing them to lift their chins and expose themselves to the type of damaging blow taken by the casualty. This engagement is a classic rout of a superior heavy force by a mobile light force. These cops have not been trained to work as a unit larger than two, and many of them seem unable to stay in the front rank out of sheer timidity. I could only imagine what a Roman Centurian would have done to these slackers.

They’re also not allowed to fight. We can’t ignore that.

I can’t help but think that they could use an Israeli-style sniper of one kind or another.

Useless and Out of Control

Sunday, May 10th, 2015

Baltimore-resident James Lafond talks to a 35-year-old Nigerian cab driver at 2:30 in the morning during the recent troubles:

“Sir, thank Dear Jesus above that I am alive! I made good money tonight. People did not want the buses, were being targeted at bus stops. I was driving down Eastern Avenue into Canton and Fells Point to see if anyone needed a ride. You know, Sir, it is all yuppies moving in up there. The demographics have changed, and these yuppies cannot fend for themselves. So I was looking out for them, suspecting a need for help. I got to Fell’s Point and the blacks were coming with sticks and bricks so I pulled out. Not a cop in sight.

“I headed back east up this way looking for needful people. As I was crossing Alicane I saw ten black men with heavy clubs. They were about to cross the street. On the other side of the street was this blonde woman, just standing, wondering, waiting for the bus — a woman of the yuppies. I U-turned and pulled up, saying, ‘Miss get in, quick!’

“She dove in and I pulled off with the blacks in pursuit.

[This guy is blacker than any American black I have met. I like his accent.]

“The lady directed me to her home at Highland and Fayette. When I pulled across Highland these fifteen black men wave me over to them. They wanted the blonde woman!

“I did a U-urn and screeched wheels and they began firing handguns at us — boom, boom, boom! I thought we would die, but their fire discipline is as poor as their manners.

“I took the lady to a hotel, and we both thanked Dear Jesus above.”

I asked him, “What is your name, Sir?”

“Boomy, Sir, I am Boomy — a Christian. What is your name, Sir?

“James.”

“Well Sir James, I have something to say, and I do not wish you to take insult from it.”

“Sure, Boomy, what is it?”

“Sir, I love America — your wonderful country, and am glad to be blessed in being here. But your mayor is a stupid woman that should be married off to Boko Haram, and your n—–s, Sir — your n—–s are useless and out of control, and need to be shipped off somewhere very far away from decent people. Good day, Sir, and God bless!”

The World’s Leading Cause of Homicide

Friday, May 8th, 2015

Gottschall went through a mid-life crisis before finding MMA:

But this crisis about fighting and about courage and about whether I was brave is an old crisis. I was a very late bloomer as a kid. I came into my adult size and muscle very late. Whenever I was confronted in the schoolyard, I found some way to avoid the fight. I ran for it. I backed down. Psychologically and emotionally, that isn’t a low-cost course of action for most boys. You avoid a physical beating, but you pay a real social and psychological cost for it. Those moments of walking away from fights, even though I knew it was the rational and civilized thing to do, cost me tremendously. I think that’s why I finally got in that cage to fight.

People say the duel is dead. The duel really isn’t dead in the sense of escalating conflict over honor. It’s now what it always was — the world’s leading cause of homicide — when one guy brushes another guy’s shoulder in a bar and says, “Hey, man, what the fuck?” Before you know it, they’re bashing each other over the head with beer bottles. That’s a kind of duel.

How Riots Start, and How They Can Be Stopped

Wednesday, May 6th, 2015

Riots are more common in democracies, Edward Glaeser notes — writing at the time of the London riots a few years ago:

The deadliest was the 1863 Draft Riot. More than 120 people were killed when the streets of Manhattan were taken over by protesters, many of them immigrants, who were furious at the prospect of having to fight in the Civil War.

In the early decades of the 20th century, cities such as Atlanta and Chicago were torn apart as whites attacked newly urban blacks for perceived transgressions. Chicago’s 1919 riot began when a child crossed an invisible racial barrier while swimming in Lake Michigan. In the 1960s, there was widespread unrest. In many cases, including the 1965 Watts Riot, the violence began with an argument over law enforcement.

These public disturbances are a classic example of tipping-point phenomena, which occur when there is some positive feedback mechanism that makes an activity more attractive, or less costly, as more people do it.

There is a tipping point in rioting because the cost of participating — the risk of going to jail — gets lower as the number of people involved increases. If I decided to start rioting tomorrow in Harvard Square to express my outrage at the closing of the beloved Curious George children’s bookstore, it’s a pretty good bet that I would be immediately arrested. But if thousands of others were involved, I’d probably get off scot free. The police would be overwhelmed, and my probability of incarceration would fall to zero.

Thus, riots occur when the shear mass of rioters overwhelms law enforcement. But how do these mass events get started?

In some cases, such as the New York Draft Riot, organizers get people out on the street. In others, such as the 1965 Watts Riot, a peaceful crowd provides cover for initial lawlessness. Sporting events, such as Game 7 of the Stanley Cup Finals in Vancouver this year, can easily produce the crowds that allow a riot to start. Most strangely, riots can follow an event that creates a combination of anger and the shared perception that others will be rioting. The acquittal of police officers in the Rodney King case seems to have created these conditions in Los Angeles in 1992.

The London riots appear to have had a simpler starting point. About 300 people gathered at a police station to protest the shooting of a 29-year-old suspect. Once there were so many angry people in one place, setting fire to an empty police car became a low-risk piece of pyrotechnics for the protesters.

After riots, there is often an attempt to explain the outburst as the result of large societal forces. The events in the U.K. have been blamed on growing inequality and the current government’s austerity program. The disorder in the U.S. in the 1960s was attributed to racism.

But across U.S. cities, there has never been much of a link between unrest and either inequality or poverty. In fact, the riots of the 1960s were actually slightly more common in cities that had more government spending. Riots were significantly less common in the South, where the Jim Crow laws were making their long overdue exit. This isn’t to say that many people involved in riots don’t have valid grievances, but plenty of people have serious grievances and don’t riot.

Somewhat paradoxically, even though the police often provide the flash point for these outbreaks, larger police expenditures per capita in a city in 1960 was associated with fewer arrests and arsons when riots occurred. Even if a riot provides a wakeup call for police reform, in the short run, the outbreaks typically end only when there is enough law enforcement to ensure that such behavior leads to arrests.

I hope the U.K. can handle its violence with a purely police response, but in the U.S. restoring law has typically meant bringing in the military. The 1863 Draft Riot ended when federal troops arrived after a long march from Maryland. Detroit’s terrible 1967 tumult ended with tanks on the streets. The National Guard was deployed in Los Angeles in 1992. Trying to stop a riot with too small a force can often lead to more, not less, bloodshed, because as the riot continues, vigilantes step in and beleaguered policemen can resort to brutality.

My colleague Christopher Stone has argued that there is another lesson about fighting riots to be learned from the incidents in the Paris suburbs in 2005, and the violence that didn’t happen during the Republican National Convention in New York City in 2004. In France, the police initially arrested relatively few people, but sought serious criminal penalties for those they did arrest. The New York Police Department arrested more than 1,000 people and let them go. The New York strategy protected the city; the French strategy wasn’t as effective.

The lesson: Light penalties widely applied and serious penalties applied to a few can both deter unlawful behavior. This is a central conclusion of Gary Becker’s path-breaking economic analysis of crime and punishment. But in the case of riots, it is awfully hard to actually prove wrongdoing and extremely important to clear the streets. Arresting widely and temporarily can be far more effective.

A Good Guy with a Gun

Wednesday, May 6th, 2015

We have yet another example of a good guy with a handgun stopping a slaughter, in the recent Garland, Texas shooting, where a police officer apparently used his .45-caliber Glock to stop two AK-armed terrorists before their rampage got started in earnest. An unarmed security guard got shot in the ankle, but no one else was harmed:

The national media has gone to great lengths to try and discount the potential impact of someone with a firearm and the knowledge to use it making any positive difference in an intended mass-casualty event, but every time there is armed resistance present at the opening stages of an intended slaughter it turns out completely different to the plans of the bad guys. A sixty year old off-duty police officer armed with a handgun saw these two chuckleheads roll up and open fire…and apparently without hesitation he pulled his pistol out and used it to excellent effect. Kudos, sir. I hope you remain anonymous for the sake of your personal safety, but I think I speak for tens of millions of people when I say I’d like to buy you a beer and a few boxes of ammo. You. Rock.

Two dudes with AKs bent on slaughter versus one guy with a pistol is some pretty bad math on paper… but violence doesn’t happen on paper. In the real world the ability to put a bullet exactly where it needs to be exactly when it needs to be there can make the critical difference. From what I’m hearing, the good guy here fired his weapon with exceptional accuracy delivering hits on both terrorists that were almost instantaneously physiologically debilitating if not instantly mortal. If you want a handgun to make someone stop their violent actions, you have to put the bullets in important bits of their anatomy. There’s no better way to overcome being outnumbered and outgunned than putting bullets into the hearts and central nervous systems of the bad guys with lethal efficiency.

A Time for Men

Tuesday, May 5th, 2015

Baltimore, the Greatest City in AmericaJames Lafond, who lives in Baltimore, suggests we may be entering another time for men:

I have noticed that many libertarians and masculinity advocates in their 30s and 40s are hoping for civil unrest and government breakdown so that men may once against find a place in society along traditional lines, as protectors, as the strength of a family, or the autonomous drivers of a business.

[...]

Commercial districts and residential areas were patrolled by gangs of 5–15 mature black men with clubs, unopposed by police, but easily deterred by the two gun armed white men who stood up to them. The professional gun-armed black criminals were staging home invasions, drug stash-house raids, and stealthy break-ins of high value targets under cover of darkness and were not present as officers with the bully packs, as they were in Rwanda, making these incursion teams shy away from organized and/or gun-armed white men.

Approximately 12 murders were reported on social media and are, just now — a week later — being looked into by police and the media. I theorize that as many additional drug gang executions and assassinations took place during this period, and that the riots and zero police presence outside of the riot zones, has facilitated easy disposal of the bodies and blocked any effective investigation. It seems likely to infer that the three gangs that organized these riots: the Cripps, Bloods and Black Guerilla Family, have strengthened themselves at the expense of rival crews, which may therefore alter the scope of the next round of unrest in ways I could only guess at.

Over 200 businesses, including at least 13 pharmacies, and up to a third of liquor stores, have been wiped from the face of the earth, many of them minority businesses which are uninsured and will not recover. This places the drug gangs in a position to expand the illegal economy in areas where businesses will not return — as they did not return after the 1968 riots — which offsets losses of territory recently suffered at the hands of Johns Hopkins Hospital and University buying up drug territory.

[...]

The leaders and academics of our sick corrupt society have labored for nearly two centuries to emasculate our young men from the cradle to the grave.

I now observe, through what of my primal man’s eye I have been able to salvage from this systematic assault on my humanity, that all it takes is a few urban savages to rip the mask away from the slave mistress that owns us to expose her for the impotent squabbling bitch that she is, and open the door for men to be men once again, as the lie that encases our souls crumbles to dust with every fumbling falsehood that falls flat beneath the reality of naked force. The hooting black heathens that have hunted me in the streets of Baltimore for over 30 years might be my enemies, but they at least acknowledge my manhood as they probe for my every weakness, and have struck a resounding blow against the slave mistress society that seeks with its every apparatus to render me weak to the point of meek.

The Enemy of My Enemy is Still My Enemy, and I recognize his achievement, even as I prepare to oppose him.

(Hat tip to our Slovenian guest.)

Spinel

Tuesday, May 5th, 2015

The US Naval Research Laboratory has created a transparent, bulletproof material that can be molded into virtually any shape:

This material, known as Spinel, is made from a synthetic powdered clay that is heated and pressed under vacuum (aka sintered) into transparent sheets. “Spinel is actually a mineral, it’s magnesium aluminate,” Dr. Jas Sanghera, who leads the research, said in a statement. “The advantage is it’s so much tougher, stronger, harder than glass. It provides better protection in more hostile environments — so it can withstand sand and rain erosion.”

What’s really cool is that unlike most forms of commercially available bulletproof glass — which is formed by pressing alternating layers of glass and plastic sheeting together — Spinel doesn’t block the infrared wavelength of light. That means that this stuff can protect a UAV’s surveillance camera or the lens of a HEL-MD laser without hindering the device’s operation. Plus, Spinel weighs just a fraction of a modern bulletproof pane. “If you replaced that [pane] with spinel, you’d reduce the weight by a factor of two or more,” Sanghera continued.

Gallipoli

Sunday, May 3rd, 2015

The Gallipoli Campaign may go down in history as one of the great military blunders, but it stemmed from a reasonable strategic aim to restore the line of communication with Russia via the Dardanelles to keep the Eastern Front active. Further, the original plan was rather different:

There were three ways that the Allies could employ to gain control of the Dardanelles and the Bosphorous. One method was to send a fleet to force the Strait and then, presumably, bombard Constantinople itself from long range.

[...]

Another option was to land troops on the weakly defended Gallipoli Peninsula, secure the coast of the Strait, then march overland to Constantinople.

[...]

The third option was to do both: seize the Straits and the Peninsula. These attacks would mutually reinforce each other: land forces seize and hold the forts while minesweepers clear the Straits, then Royal Navy ships fire in support of the troops as they approach Constantinople. Admiral Fisher, First Sea Lord, immediately seized upon this option but stressed that it must be simultaneous and it must be done as soon as possible.

[...]

Opposition to Fisher’s plan, especially amongst generals on the Western Front who wanted every man available for the trenches, led to a half-way compromise.

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The first naval attack occurred on February 19th, 1915 when the ships exchanged fire with the Turkish forts. Poor weather caused a full attack to be delayed until February 25th. Initially, the attack went well. Turkish gunners fled from the heavier bombardment from the battleships. Small units of British soldiers and Marines were landed on both sides of the strait and encountered only light resistance except one fort on the Asiatic side whose defenders inflicted heavy casualties on Royal Marines before capitulating.

The Turkish gunners, however, soon returned and resumed firing as the Allied troops abandoned the forts. The small minesweepers, manned by civilians, fled from the harassing fire despite not being hit. The task force again withdrew to regroup. Another full attack was planned for March 18th. By then, the Turkish forts seem to have found their range. Minesweepers cleared the first line of mines, but again the small ships fled once under fire of the forts. In this attack, the Bouvet, the Irresistable, and the Ocean were sunk. The Inflexible, the Suffren, and the Galois were damaged enough that they were out of action. The Albion, the Agamemnon, the Lord Nelson, and the Charlamagne were heavily damaged.

The naval commander, Admiral de Robeck, at first wanted to renew the attack but by March 22nd, the decision had been made by the Kitchener to send the troops required for a land campaign. The naval task force turned to await the arrival of the troops.

Had the troops been present, this would have been the perfect time for the Allies to succeed. The naval attack had induced panic in the Turkish army and their German allies, who sent urgent requests for reinforcements of any kind. No counterattack was ever executed against the landing parties that were sent ashore. When news of the British attack reached Constantinople, the Turkish populace panicked. Government officials made plans to flee the capital. The naval attack had come on the heels of an abortive Turkish invasion of Russia which ended with massive Turkish casualties at the Battle of Sarikamish on 4 January 1915. The German embassy expected the Turks to sue for peace and burned their records in expectation of fleeing the city. Even a few shells lobbed into the city might have caused a complete collapse. The only ones that expected the allied attack to fail were the allies themselves. The Turkish government was so panicked that they entirely turned over the defense of the Dardanelles to the ranking German advisor, General Liman von Sanders. Sanders knew that an amphibious attack was coming and, looking over the panicked Turkish defenses, said: “If the English only leave me alone for eight days!”

The allies gave him four weeks. Although the War Council had planned to send troops if they naval attack did not succeed, very few preparations had actually been made.

Some of the beach landings went disastrously. Some went well:

Only two of the landings were being disputed and troops at the other locations had complete freedom of action to attack the Turks on their terms. The most difficult part of an amphibious assault — getting off the beach — was all but accomplished.

But then the allies stopped. At S Beach, a British battalion was confronted by an overstretched Turkish platoon. But their orders were to get ashore and wait. And so they did. The British commander in charge of Y Beach, where there were no defenders at all, was told to wait for orders to push on. He received no communication of any kind from his higher headquarters for 29 full hours after landing. During this lull, Hamilton remained afloat having chosen not to make the landing at any one place to preserve his situational awareness. This may make sense today with modern communications systems, but in 1915 it rendered Hamilton unable to affect the situation. So much planning had gone into the landings that, once the landings were accomplished, subordinate commanders had no direction.

The Brits could have used a young Rommel on their side.