When I started college in the mid 1960s I decided I’d give accounting a try. After a couple of courses I discovered I had no propensity for the subject. I test drove a couple of other business courses before deciding I might be better suited for art and politics.
With this in mind you can imagine how stupefied I was in learning last evening that the US Department of Defense can’t account for $21 trillion dollars. Yeah, that’s trillion with a “T”.
Putting some perspective on this number just let me say that the entire federal government budget for 2017 was just a little over $4 trillion. The entire national debt is $19 trillion. It is estimated that the gross national product for the United States in 2018 will amount to $20 trillion. So, the DOD is missing more than the value of all goods and services produced in America during the current year.
For several weeks now I’ve taken a serious look at the AR-15, trying to separate truth from fiction. The only truth I’ve found is that there is great disagreement. While the AR-15 is America’s favorite rifle there seems to be a wide diversity of opinion about its standard ammo, the .223 cartridge. I Googled the title of this post and saw lots of people claiming the .223 is not what our military should be taking into combat.
I read a statement from an Army sharpshooter about how many bullets it took to finally take an enemy soldier out. You’ll find lots of disagreement about the .223 being an effective bullet for deer hunting. You’ll also find some articles by ER and trauma doctors who have seen the damage up close and personal.
One trauma doctor said the damage done by a .223 looks like a bomb went off inside the victim’s body while being hit by a 9mm can seem to be not much more than a knife cut. What the .223 does to the body is caused by its velocity. As it travels through the body the bullet is traveling at such a high rate of speed it sends out a shock wave that compounds its effectiveness.
So while I don’t see any mechanical difference between a hundred year old semi-automatic rifle and the latest version of the AR, I do see a great difference in their respective ammunitions. I’ve said in other posts that while I’m not opposed to the AR I am opposed to any device that increases the number of rounds and the rate of fire. Maybe it’s time to consider the permitted velocity of civilian .223 ammo.
Click HERE for an informative article about the damage done by the .223 cartridge.
Ever see Chris Rock’s take on violence in the schools and gun control?
Lot of talk these days about security clearances and the lack of them. I’ve undergone two background checks by the federal government having to do with my being a radioman in the Navy and afterwards for a job offer from the CIA.
Many of you are familiar with Trae Crowder, The Liberal Redneck. He’s kind of a liberal version of Jeff Foxworthy except that he says “fuck” a lot. I find him funny and often dead on in his social and political rants. Here’s Trae’s most recent take on what happened in Florida and some of the solutions offered.
I just read an article in the Lexington Herald Leader about Pike County, KY’s school board authorizing qualified teachers with concealed carry permits. As a retired teacher I am very opposed to teachers taking on the added responsibility of armed guards. There are many things that I find abhorrent about this but nothing bothers me as much as the level of training, skill, and fitness needed for the task.
We’ve all seen enough TV news about our infantry troops training for urban warfare. These professionals spend months and years honing the tactical skills needed. They are also required to maintain the highest level of physical fitness. They have to be strong, agile, and fast of foot. They also have to make instant life and death decisions. These are things not often found in America’s army of mild-mannered schoolmarms. Before teaching I worked jobs that demanded physical strength and endurance. Once I entered the classroom, however, I spent the next thirty years lifting sticks of chalk and passing out textbooks.
Think about the teachers you had in school and then go to YouTube and look at some videos about police and military tactical firearms training. Looking back over my career I can’t think of a single teacher, including myself, who should have been permitted to carry a weapon in the classroom.
Based on my assumption that there are less critics of a common and long existing .22 caliber semi-automatic rifle, like the one I gave my grandson, than of a .223 caliber semi-automatic rifle that has been labeled an “assault” rifle, I’ve been doing a lot of research on where the truth lies and so far it remains elusive.
Yesterday my son dug through his junk box and came up with a couple of different sample rounds, a 9mm and a .223. I searched and found a .22 hollow point. As you can see in the photo I took the 9mm projectile is quite larger than the other two but the case of the .223 is much larger. The diameter of the .22 and the .223 are almost identical with the .223 projectile being somewhat longer and more aero-dynamically shaped. The cartridge case of the .22 is miniscule compared to the two other rounds.
So, what’s all this mean? It means my grandson’s .22 semi-automatic shoots a bullet almost identical to the military .223 used in an AR-15. The target is getting hit by about the same amount of metal. The 9mm bullet, being larger, will cut a larger hole in the target. In addition to the bullet size is the amount of gunpowder in the cartridge case, the more powder the faster and further the bullet will travel. And when it arrives at the target less energy will have been spent and the potential for damage increases. If the target is an animal or human the bullet may begin to tumble as it enters the body which could multiply the damages. Distance would also be a factor. On the assumption that the 9mm would be shot from a pistol distance would have a major influence on bullet’s potential. Being fired from a rifle the bullet could travel further before losing it’s ability to be effective. In this comparison the .223 reigns supreme because of its speed or velocity.
While there is no end to the science behind ballistics and to the debate over which is the best ammo round. The one truth I understand is that every bullet has the potential to kill. Oh, and that includes a BB, “it will take your eye out!”
When I was a kid my uncle Homer owned a single shot, bolt-action, J.C. Penny .22 rifle. I would often borrow it and go “plinking” at a trash dump on Wolf Rd. Firing the weapon required opening the chamber with the bolt lever, inserting a cartridge, closing the chamber, and cocking the rifle by pulling back a firing pin mechanism. Very simple, very reliable, very accurate, and very very slow.
Some years ago I traded for a Remington semi-automatic .22 rifle with a tubular magazine that held maybe 10 rounds of long-rifle ammo. The rifle required one trigger pull per round but you could very rapidly empty the magazine. Reloading was pretty slow, nothing like ripping out an empty clip and slamming a full one in.
I’m not sure I ever fired this weapon and later gave it to my grandson along with a .22 nine round revolving target pistol.
When I was in the Navy, and later the Air Force Reserves, I got to fire a variety of weapons and became “qualified” with a couple of pistols. I fired a Garand M1 rifle, a Browning BAR, a Thompson sub-machine gun, a 38 pistol along with a .45 semi-automatic pistol. In boot camp I carried a Springfield 1903 five shot bolt-action rifle. The only one I ever actually fired was a rental I used for my one and only deer hunting experience. My boot camp 1903 didn’t even have a firing pin and the barrel may have been plugged.
I currently own a single shot .16 gauge shotgun and two revolver pistols and though I know how to use them I am not practiced.
I say all this to demonstrate that I’m not firearms ignorant and I’m not opposed to owning guns, hunting, and shooting sports. I basically support the 2nd Amendment but strongly believe, as does the Supreme Court, that it comes with limits. Government has the right to restrict many aspects of gun use and ownership. This said, however, the NRA and other groups deny the Founding Fathers meant there should be limits. They radically oppose any limits on all things gun related.
In the past few years I have wrestled with my feelings about the most controversial of all guns, the AR-15 and I’ve finally arrived at a conclusion. These “assault style” weapons are no different from the simple .22 semi-automatic I gave my grandson. You could go to a gun shop and buy the gun I gave my grandson and fewer critics would complain. But you buy that same weapon made to look like a military rifle it immediately gets labeled an assault rifle and the critics go nuts. The real difference between the civilian and the military weapons is the rate of fire. The military version has a firing option the civilian doesn’t; it can fire (depending on the model) in full-automatic or burst-automatic. Burst function lets the rifle fire three rounds with each pull of the trigger. Full-automatic will fire as long as you hold the trigger in or until you shot all the bullets. The civilian versions are legal to buy, own, and use. The military versions are mostly illegal.
These are some of the basic facts we all need to be aware of. But, in the words of Paul Harvey there is a “rest of the story.” The truth is that any semi-automatic weapon, pistol or rifle, is deadlier than single-shots because they have a much higher rate of fire. In the time it took me to shoot my uncles J.C. Higgins and reload, a ten-round semi-automatic could easily have ten bullets in the air. They could also be reloaded in less time than with my uncle’s gun.
I’m going to make a major compromise with the gun crowd and publicly state that I won’t support a ban on any gun that is currently legal. I won’t support the government coming to your door and defrocking you of your manhood unless there is reason to think you’ve broken a law. But, here’s what I won’t do:
I won’t support the NRA in any way as long as they remain the radical organization they have become. When the ammosexuals decide they are ready to give up protecting the sale of cop-killer ammo and arming the insane, maybe we can begin talking.
I won’t support the current loopholes in gun registration and sales. I demand that thorough background checks take place on each and every gun sale in the nation, even private sales. Private sales would have to go through a licensed broker who would perform the background check.
I won’t support the current manufacturer and sale of any device that increases a weapon’s rate of fire. Example the bump stock that was used by the Las Vegas shooter to turn his AR-15 into a fully automatic weapon.
I know it is controversial but I won’t support any legislation that bars the registration of all firearms.
I won’t support any legislation that bans waiting periods before buying a gun.
I will not support the continued ownership of any clip or magazine that holds more than ten rounds of ammunition. All such devices should be totally outlawed and all violations should carry a heavy penalty. General George Patton called the Garand M1 the best weapon of war ever invented. It was the rifle that won WWII, it was a semi-automatic, and it only held eight rounds. With a ten round clip a person can target shoot, hunt, protect their families, and partly get their testosterone fueled rocks off. And unfortunately, they can still wipe out a school hallway.
I won’t support the sale of any firearm or ammunition via the mail or the Internet.
I won’t oppose reasonable legislation that limits the amount of ammunition one can purchase.
I won’t support the increase of age to buy a gun. I will always believe that if being eighteen is enough for voting and military service it should be enough to buy a beer or a gun. Turning eighteen should come with all the rights of an adult.
I won’t support any decision to permit people with mental issues, a history of violence, a history of serious crime, and other issues that may threaten the public safety to purchase or possess a firearm.
I won’t support the arming of teachers. These people want to be educators and mentors to the young, not armed guards. As a retired teacher I’ve tried to imagine myself as a fit thirty year old with a weapon. Regardless of training I can’t help but think of all the things that would make that a bad idea. I doubt I could pull the trigger on a student without some delay or hesitation that would only worsen the situation. After all, if four trained sheriff deputies in Parkland, FL couldn’t do it, what makes me think the caring and loving English teacher, Ms. Jones, could do it?
This is my list at time of writing. It is subject to be added to and/or amended. I believe, however, that this is a list of sensible and reasonable gun laws. It doesn’t take away a “good person’s” gun but together it does relieve what I believe the worst truths about guns in America…there are simply too many guns and they are far too easy to acquire.
Oh, one more item for the list…I won’t vote for any politician, regardless of party, who disagrees with me and/or accepts money from the firearms industry or the NRA!
Maybe forever the Republican Party has billed itself as the party of conservative fiscal policy. They always claim to opposed to government’s size and what government spends. Less government, less taxes is their age-old mantra.
At least in recent decades they have had a hard time keeping true with these basics. The Reagan administration tried to outspend the Soviet Union and ran up a huge deficit. George W. Bush spent money like an undisciplined teenager with his own credit card. And Donald Trump may think he behaving in a conservative fashion but the reality is much different.
I’ve said this many times and it’s true, you can’t cut taxes and spend lots of money and end up not deeper in debt. George W. Bush couldn’t have a major tax cut for the wealthiest and then create Part D of Medicare, deal with the nation’s needs during both 9/11 and Katrina, go to war in Afghanistan followed by Iraq. and deal with the collapse of the housing, banking, and automobile industries and avoid adding a ton of borrowed money to the national debt.
The reigning Commander in Chief just ordered his first military action in which a highly trained Navy Seal was killed along with possibly 20 Yemeni children, one a US citizen. The Trump administration, denying what many military people are saying, is claiming the missions goals were entirely reached and the effort a total success.
For the moment I’ll let people who know better than me to sort it all out. One thing that did catch my attention, however, was the cost of the V-22 Osprey that was lost. Years ago I took my history students to the Air Force Museum in Dayton and noticed that each example of military plane carried a notation about what the government paid for each of those planes. The Wright Flyer was the first and it may have cost $1.98 each. The last plane I recall was the F-117 Nighthawk stealth fighter which the government paid over $400 million each for the first ones it purchased. Walking through this history of escalating cost provided a number of lessons for my students.
WE LOVE TO BOMB: Researchers have estimated, probably on the light side, that during the last year of Barack Obama’s administration the US military dropped 26,171 bombs on seven different nations. Continues to leave open the question of the worth of Curtis LeMay’s aerial bombardment as a workable strategy.
I was listening to a TV discussion this afternoon and one of the subjects talked about was how we are having to deal with things that most of us thought were long gone into the pages of history. As a history major in college I was required to take a class in historiography, which includes theories of why things change. One idea that most are familiar with is that history repeats itself.
There are other theories but what we’re seeing unfold today has elements that were common in the decades between the two world wars. Throughout much of the world there was a huge increase in militarists and nationalists groups. In Japan the military came to power and pushed for military solutions to Japan’s problems. In Italy and Germany people turned to dictatorial leadership and its promise of resolving the effects of the First World War and the Great Depression.
I grew up and became educated after these things had occurred. In my time most of us came to believe we’d seen the last of fascism, Nazis, genocide, and religious and ethnic wars. My generation grew up in the post war prosperity of the 1950s, got an education, a decent job, and went on to out do our parents. I suppose we thought it would always be that way, if not get even better.
Well, it wasn’t to be. Changes in business practices and rapidly changing technology turned against the middle-class prosperity I had witnessed. Millions of jobs went where labor was cheaper, became obsolete, or are now performed by robots. The good “people” jobs remaining in America now go to those who have a high degree of technical skill. What’s left are low paid, low skilled, and too few.
So here we are, back to those days when jobs are few, education expensive, young adults are still living at home, and whole parts of America is in ruins. The same feelings of despair that turned Germans to fascism in the 1930s have given rise to right-wing extremists in 2016’s America. Both Hitler and Trump are the products of people feeling desperate.
Next time you’re wondering what causes our story to change, add desperation and despair to the list. But keep in mind that history repeats itself so the good times may someday return. I just hope we don’t have to endure what the world witnessed that last time so many became desperate.
FOOTNOTE: Since I wrote this piece both Putin and Trump have began talking about increasing each nation’s nuclear arsenal. From out of nowhere the world is suddenly knocking on the door of another nuclear arms race and the weapons makers are seeing their stock values hit the roof. It’s good to be a war monger!
In an attempt to end on a happier note reading this article I’m reminded of the bit they did on Hee Haw about, Gloom, Despair and Agony On Me!
If you read either of the stories I republished yesterday about Greenfield’s USS Arizona survivor, Jim Wise, you’ll understand the significance of this story from Stars and Stripes. It’s the story of two brothers who served on board the Arizona and on December 7, 1941, one lived and the other lost his life.
On its own the story is plenty interesting. But add in one of the brothers mentioning having saved the life of a man from Greenfield, Ohio, it takes on a whole deeper dimension. I don’t know if Jim Wise or his family ever knew who pulled him out of the Arizona but now, 75 years later, they do.
FOOTNOTE: Jim Wise is not mentioned by name but he was our only person on the Arizona so it has to be him. Also, as of yesterday there were only five remaining survivors of the attack on the USS Arizona.
Originally published on December 7, 2011. Republished here in honor of the 75th anniversary of the bombing of Pearl Harbor.
70 years ago today a young man from Greenfield, OH survived and suffered from a tragedy that would forever mark his life and end the lives of so many of his friends ans shipmates. James Louis Wise, Seaman First Class, of Greenfield, was serving aboard the USS Arizona at Pearl Harbor, Hawaii when the air forces of the Japanese Empire began their early Sunday morning bomb runs on the just arising soldiers and sailors of America’s military establishment in the Pacific. It would mark the beginning of America’s entry into the Second World War and a personal war Wise would deal with the rest of his life.
No one of my generation doesn’t know the significance of December 7, 1941. I hope such is true of today’s generation. Have a discussion with your kids today.
Originally published on December 9, 2011. Republished here in honor of the 75th anniversary of the bombing of Pearl Harbor.
I saw your article on the USS Arizona and seaman James Wise and thought you might like some additional information from what was handed down to me. I’m his son, James L. Wise Jr., and grew up in Greenfield.
I always stop and reflect on December 7th about what all the men and women went through that horrible day. He was 19-years old and thought the US Navy was invincible, as they all did.
Usually at 12:55 pm our time, 7:55 am Hawaiian time, I try to stop what I’m doing and remember that solemn hour the attack started. By 1:10 pm our time, 8:10 am their time, it was all over for the USS Arizona. The battle only lasted 15-minutes for them.
Not that there is any less but, back in the early days of the Obama administration there was lots of controversy regarding America’s health care system. In trying to sort through all the claims and myths about how other nations approached it I read a book by a researcher who had been hired by some institution to visit certain countries and evaluate their systems.
I don’t recall many details but I do remember that Canada and Taiwan were near the top of the best ten list. Some of the other countries he investigated were Germany, England, France, and the US. At no surprise the US ranked at the bottom of the list. Not because of poor health services and facilities but because it was too expensive for too many Americans.