Archive for the ‘Guns’ Category

Obit watch: January 14, 2018.

Sunday, January 14th, 2018

Some more from the past couple of days:

Keith Jackson, legendary announcer.

Edgar Ray Killen is burning in Hell.

David Toschi passed away a week ago Saturday. FotB RoadRich mentioned this to me in the middle of the week – he saw it on a low-rent cable channel – but I had a lot of trouble finding a good obit. I couldn’t find the actual obit on SFGate: I was only able to get at an arthive.org version.

Anyway, “David who”? He was a famous San Francisco PD detective. He was one of the lead investigators on the Zodiac killings.

He was removed from the case after revelations that in 1976 he had sent several letters praising his own work to a San Francisco newspaper writer under fake names.
“It was a foolish thing to do,” he acknowledged at the time.

I don’t remember where I picked up this detail (maybe in the archive.org version), but that “newspaper writer” the NYT doesn’t name? Armistead Maupin, who was working as a reporter for the SF Chron at the time.

But that wasn’t the only reason he was semi-famous, at least among us common sewers connoisseurs:

Mr. Toschi was a personality in the police department even before his involvement with the Zodiac case, so much so that Steve McQueen had borrowed from him for the fictional police officer he played in the 1968 movie “Bullitt.”
“They literally were filming in my dad’s office,” Ms. Toschi-Chambers said. “My dad took off his jacket, and Steve McQueen said, ‘What is that?’ And my dad said, ‘That’s my holster.’ And Steve McQueen told the director, ‘I want one of those.’ ”

(I wonder what that holster was: and if it’s out of production, how much do vintage ones go for? There’s a discussion on defensivecarry.com, but I can’t judge how accurate it is.)

Clint Eastwood also drew on Mr. Toschi for his portrayal of the title character in “Dirty Harry,” Don Siegel’s influential 1971 movie about a San Francisco police inspector, Harry Callahan, who hunts a psychopathic killer. Mr. Toschi, though, was bothered by Callahan’s penchant for administering his own brand of justice. He is said to have walked out of a screening of the movie, which was released when the Zodiac investigation was in full swing.

(Damn shame. He missed out. And I still haven’t seen “Zodiac”.)

Edited to add: this might lead to a longer post later, but: there are certainly worse hobbies in the world than engaging in Steve McQueen cosplay. Though I will concede that could get expensive quick, especially if you go full “Bullitt” and start looking for a Mustang.

Obit watch: December 20, 2017.

Wednesday, December 20th, 2017

This is one of those “wow, I’m surprised to see this in the Times” obits: Lones Wigger Jr.

Shameful confession: I was unfamiliar with Mr. Wigger until I read his obit. But he’s considered by many people to have been the greatest rifle shooter ever.

Wigger broke 29 world records and appeared in three Olympics, in 1964, 1968 and 1972. He also qualified for the 1980 Games in Moscow, which the United States boycotted in protest of the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan.
In the 1964 Games, in Tokyo, he won the gold medal in the sport’s showcase competition: the small-bore rifle, three-position (prone, kneeling and standing). At the same Games he took the silver medal in small-bore rifle, prone, missing the gold on a tiebreaker.

He also won gold in Munich in 1972 (three position free rifle).

Wigger also won 58 United States championships and more than 20 on the world stage. In five-Pan American Games, from 1963 to 1983, he won eight gold medals.

Inside the sport, he was self-effacing. “I’ve never been gifted with a lot of talent,” he once said. “I probably succeeded because I persevered.”

Mr. Wigger served honorably in the military:

…became an Army officer and rose to lieutenant colonel, mostly based in Fort Benning, Ga., as a riflery instructor. He had two tours of duty during the Vietnam War and taught American soldiers there marksmanship.
After three weeks of training in Vietnam, he told Sports Illustrated, his snipers were hitting their targets at 600 meters with the first shot from their M-14s.
“My best sniper was a ghetto kid from Chicago,” he said. “A Chicano we called Poppa Leech. He had all the patience in the world. He’d sit out there on a trail for three days straight, in the heat and the dark and the bugs.”

This makes me tear up a little:

His own children followed in his footsteps. His daughter, Deena, and his sons, Ron and Danny, have all been successful competitive shooters. Ron Wigger became the rifle team coach for the United States Military Academy at West Point.

As does this:

“How do you define ‘The Best Ever?’ Team USA quoted the two-time Olympic medalist Lanny Bassham as saying. “Would you add up the total medals won to see who is on top? Would you add up the total number of years he has dominated his sport? Would you take a survey of everyone who has been his competitor, to determine who received the most votes? Would you look at the number of national and world records held?
“Not only is Wigger the only name at the top of these lists; no other shooter even comes close.”

Because he got high.

Monday, December 18th, 2017

Because he got high, Ryan Boehle threatened to shoot cops.

Okay, that may be a slight exaggeration: “he planned to celebrate his 50th birthday by shooting police because he was upset about a drunken driving arrest in which his blood test came back negative for alcohol”.

Mr. Boehle was arrested. The police seized a total of 13 guns, “1,110 bullets” (sorry, I’m quoting the Statesman here) and 6.3 grams of marijuana.

Mr. Boehle was never actually charged for the threats. The judge in the case is quoted as calling his writings “marijuana-induced gibberish.” It sounds like this is one of those true threat/not a true threat sort of legal distinctions that Ken White keeps trying to explain to myself and other people, and I keep not understanding, but that’s getting off topic.

(Also, “Marijuana-Induced Gibberish” would be a great name for a band.)

But we have to throw him in jail for something, right?

(“Why?” Hey, that’s not the kind of question you should be asking.)

I know! We’ll get him for “making a false statement in connection with the attempted acquisition of a firearm”! Mr. Boehle has a misdemeanor domestic violence conviction from 1993 in Connecticut: he allegedly “slapped, choked and bit his girlfriend”. As a result of this, he apparently failed the background check at three Austin area gun shops (again, per the Statesman).

However, during pretrial litigation the charge was determined to be insufficient to prohibit gun possession.

Oh, dear. Now what is the state going to do?

Wait: there’s that devil’s lettuce they found!

With their case weakening, prosecutors held tight to the gun-and-weed charge, using it to successfully to argue that Boehle should be denied bond and kept in jail pending the resolution of the case. Characterizing Boehle as a habitual marijuana user took little effort from the government, which not only had the pot found in his home but also test results from the DWI arrest that showed the presence of the drug.

Cutting closer to the end of the story, Mr. Boehle pled out to a charge of “owning a gun as a prohibited person”. You see, pot is still federally illegal, and the law says it is illegal for a pot smoker to own guns.

The 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals established the definition of an unlawful drug user who is unable to own guns in 1999, when it affirmed the conviction of a Midland man who had been arrested several times with marijuana. He argued on appeal that the law fails to establish a time frame for when a person must use a controlled substance in connection with the possession of a firearm. The court ruled that an ordinary person could determine the man was a drug user. He was sentenced to two years in prison.

This doesn’t happen a lot. The Statesman quotes one California attorney who specializes in pot law as saying he’s never seen this in 50 years of practice. On the other hand, though, the Honolulu PD famously recently sent out letters to people with medical marijuana cards: “Give up your guns, or else.” (They apparently haven’t followed through on the “or else” part yet.)

Mr. Boehle was sentenced to five years of probation, and will be drug tested as part of that. The twist at the end is: he has a form of epilepsy, and wants to use a low THC marijuana extract to treat it. But he’s going to have to get his probation terms modified to allow this treatment. Texas has only recently legalized the use of the extract to treat epilepsy (“…only after a patient has tried at least two other treatments”) so Mr. Boehle will be venturing into uncharted territory.

So, so close…

Thursday, December 14th, 2017

Hutto is a fairly small city near Austin (about 15,000 people).

Two Hutto residents are facing charges after law enforcement found found meth and cocaine, nearly two dozen firearms, explosive devices and other paraphernalia inside a house.

Inside the home, the release says Hutto investigators recovered 21 rifles and handguns. One of the recovered firearms had been reported stolen 18 years ago, officials said.

Molotov cocktails, pipe bombs and several other weapons were arranged in a “defensive posture” throughout the residence, the release says.
Hutto police also found an illegal alcohol distillery at the property. Texas Alcohol Beverage Commission agents joined the other agencies in the house search to dismantle the distillery.

So we’ve got:

  • Alcohol
  • Firearms
  • and Explosives

Man, if they had just had untaxed cigarettes or something else equally ludicrous, we would have had the BATFE quadfecta.

Is safe! Is not safe!

Monday, December 11th, 2017

Another thing I haven’t had a chance to blog before now:

Vaultek makes gun safes. Among their models is the VT20i, which has a fingerprint reader and Bluetooth. You can use Bluetooth and an app to unlock the safe.

And, yes, you already know where this is going, don’t you?

In this case, the responsible party is Two Six Labs. This is a pretty fascinating takedown.

High points:

  • “The manufacturer’s Android application allows for unlimited pairing attempts with the safe. The pairing pin code is the same as the unlocking pin code. This allows for an attacker to identify the shared pincode by repeated brute force pairing attempts to the safe.”
  • “There is no encryption between the Android phone app and the safe. The application transmits the safe’s pin code in clear text after successfully pairing.”
  • “An attacker can remotely unlock any safe in this product line through specially formatted Bluetooth messages, even with no knowledge of the pin code…the safe does not verify the pin code, so an attacker can obtain authorization and unlock the safe using any arbitrary value as the pin code.”

Even if you aren’t into guns, or safes, or gun safes, I think this is a pretty good “how do I go about banging on a Bluetooth device” primer.

Somewhat to their credit, Vaultek says they are offering a patch, though it looks like you’ll have to send your safe back to get it. (Vaultek says they’ll cover shipping both ways, which can’t be cheap.)

Edited to add: something from Vaultek’s site on this issue:

Either of these methods are not easily captured and require several factors to execute including time, the right equipment, and close proximity to the safe.

They also refer to the attack as requiring “special equipment”. The “special equipment” is an Ubertooth, which you can get here and here, among other places.

As for proximity, that’s a good question that Two Six Labs didn’t address: with the right antenna and Bluetooth adapter, how far away can you be to make a successful attack? Does anyone remember the “Picking Bluetooth Low Energy Locks from a Quarter Mile Away” talk from DEFCON 24?

(Yes, door locks have to be accessible from the outside, while your gun safe is almost certainly inside. Modern construction almost certainly attenuates the signal some. But how much? Could I drive through the neighborhood with a Sena UD100 or something very much like it, just sniffing for Vaultek safes? And then come back later to attack them?)

Short notes from the legal beat.

Friday, December 1st, 2017

Dabrett Black is the man who shot Trooper Damon Allen to death on Thanksgiving Day.

Police camera footage obtained by WFAA-TV from the 2015 incident in Smith County, about 95 miles east of Dallas, shows Dabrett Black beating a sheriff’s deputy. The deputy, identified as Wesley Dean in court documents, no longer works at the department. The court documents say he suffered black eyes, a broken nose and lacerations above his eyes that required stitches to close. The footage also shows him talking to the in-car camera saying to imagine if he had had a weapon and talking about his belief that law enforcement officers target minorities.

Mr. Black was allowed to plead to a misdemeanor charge instead of two felony charges. The plea was not approved by the local DA or his assistant, which is apparently a violation of policy. However, the current DA has said he’s not going to fire the ADA who took the plea. That current ADA is running for the DA position, and doesn’t have any opposition.

When the shooting occurred, Black was free on $15,500 bail in another Smith County incident where he was charged with assault on an officer and evading arrest after a police chase this summer ended with Black allegedly ramming a patrol car.
Probation officers had told staff to be careful of Black in internal emails after the 2015 attack, according to the material obtained by WFAA. In a July 2015 email, a probation officer told staff he believed Black was trying to provoke them into responding and encouraged them to be vigilant both inside and outside the office because he believed Black was the kind of guy who would ambush someone.

Back in September, a man named Brandon Berrott was arrested and charged with making terroristic threats against his girlfriend. After his arrest, the threats continued: he was jailed “at least” three time, had to post bail, and lost his job.

The girlfriend, Lisa Marie Garcia, ultimately called the mayor of Baytown and complained that the state district judge who was presiding over the cases against Berrott was taking bribes to let Berrott out on bail.

And you won’t believe what happened next, as BuzzFeed would say:

Lisa Marie Garcia was charged with retaliation and online impersonation in a case prosecutors called “a nightmare.” She is accused of using fake social media accounts and cell phone apps to manufacture false threats and claims that appeared to be from her boyfriend. If convicted, she could face up to 10 years in prison.

Yes, it’s another classic “b—-h set me up!” case that turns out to be true.

After her boyfriend made bail, Garcia set up Instagram accounts pretending to be him and sent messages to herself and the other woman threatening to kill each of them for calling the cops on him. She then took the messages to the Baytown Police Department and the Harris County Sheriff’s Office, leading to seven charges being filed between Oct. 21 and Oct. 31.
Each time he got out on bail, Garcia would fake more messages and call the police, landing Berrott back in jail or court. He was accused of violating his bond conditions and no-contact orders.

Mr. Berrott was lucky enough to have an attorney who actually believed in his innocence, and who was able to convince the authorities to do more investigation.

[Britni] Cooper [the prosecutor – DB] said the onslaught of charges in October did not immediately raise red flags because the complaints were filed with different agencies. Once the DA’s office, the sheriff’s office and Baytown police department put the pieces together, the pattern and the holes, were easy to see.
As the investigation continued, she said prosecutors were instructed to stop accepting charges from Garcia, who continued calling the police and filing false reports even while Berrott was working with authorities to clear his name.

What kind of holes?

…one threatening message was sent at the same time as Berrott was on video handcuffed in the back of a police car.

The defense attorney was Carl Moore. Folks in Baytown, remember that name, and please throw some business his way if you can: it sounds like he’s one of the good guys. The scary thing is: how many other people are in jail for similar reasons, and don’t have that kind of support network?

This news broke late last night, while I was at the CPA class, so I wasn’t able to blog it at the time, and it has been covered a lot elsewhere. But I did want to say a few things about the acquittal of Jose Ines Garcia Zarate on charges of killing Kate Steinle, since I’ve touched on it before.

1. I’ve written before about my belief that “the verdict of a jury deserves a certain amount of deference“. I still believe that: the jury was there, I wasn’t, the jury saw and heard all the evidence, I didn’t, the jury deliberated, I didn’t. But sometimes, it’s real hard to hold on to your principles. Then again, if it was easy to have principles, would they be principles?

2. In that vein, “Law is the manifest will of the people, the conscious rule of the community.” But a lot of the comments I was reading last night at Instapundit are…disturbing. Have we really reached the point where people are ready to form lynch mobs?

(“Hain’t we got all the fools in town on our side? And ain’t that a big enough majority in any town?”)

3. There’s a lot of smart stuff from other people out there on this case. In particular:

(Follow the thread from there.)

4. Also smart: Sarah Rumpf’s “Have We Been Lied to About the Kate Steinle Case?” There’s a lot in there that I didn’t know: I wasn’t following the case that closely, but other people have said the same thing. For example, the bullet that hit Steinle was actually a ricochet off the concrete pier.

There’s also some things that I have problems with, which are not Ms. Rumpf’s fault. In particular, the whole thing about the SIG being unusually prone to “accidental discharge”. I don’t own any SIGs: Mike the Musicologist is the SIG (and FN) guy. I also don’t own one of those cool trigger pull measuring gadgets, so I can’t tell you what the trigger pull on any of my auto pistols is. It looks like standard trigger pull on a Glock is somewhere between 5.3 and 6 pounds according to GlockTalk.

Is 4.4 pounds too light? That seems questionable. And a lot of those cited incidents seem to involve holstering the gun: could the problem not be with the SIG, but with people not keeping their booger hook off the bang switch?

In a four-year period (2012-2015), the New York City Police Department reported 54 accidental firearm discharges, 10 involving SIG Sauers.

But:

New NYPD officers are allowed to choose from one of three 9mm service pistols: the SIG Sauer P226 DAO, Glock 17 Gen4, and Glock 19 Gen4. All duty handguns are modified to a 12-pound (53 N) NY-2 trigger pull.

It’s also not clear to me which model of SIG was involved in the shooting. I think this whole “bad gun!” thing needs some more investigation, and my short notes are already long enough as it is.

5. Also smart: Patterico on California homicide law. (Has anyone ever seen Patterico and Ken White in the same room together? Just asking.)

Early morning drinking.

Tuesday, November 28th, 2017

Shot:

White men who fear poverty are more attached to their guns, Baylor study finds

Chaser:

(Warning! Slideshow!)

A photographer documents heat-packing women and the guns they love

(Warning! Slideshow!)

Quickies: November 25, 2017.

Saturday, November 25th, 2017

What do we always say, folks?

That’s right: don’t bring a knife to a gunfight.

Mike Riley out as Nebraska head coach. 19-19 over three seasons.

And this isn’t sportshirings.com, but that soft wet sound you heard recently? That was the sound of Gregg Easterbrook’s head exploding. (For those who don’t remember, Easterbrook had some sort of grudge against Chip Kelly during his NFL coaching career, and wasn’t hesitant to advance that grudge in his column.)

Administrative note.

Friday, November 24th, 2017

This is your yearly reminder that, if you shop at Amazon using the search tool on my sidebar, links in my posts, or through my store, I get a small kickback on each purchase.

Said kickbacks allow us to indulge our eccentricities, and purchase such things as expensive books on Smith and Wesson revolvers, knives, and even the occasional firearm accessory. Thank you for your continued support.

While we are on the subject of the holidays: if you are inclined to get me a present, please do not purchase this book for me. Not in a one, ten, or 20 pack. Thank you.

Also, while I would kind of like a hat from The Boring Company, $20 seems way way high to me for a gimmie cap.

The touch.

Thursday, October 12th, 2017

Once again, I’m asking you to help somebody out.

Great and good friend of the blog, and founder of Operation Blazing Sword, Erin Palette, was pretty seriously injured Tuesday night. Erin is recovering at home, but has expenses and will probably have more.

There’s a GoFundMe here.

You guys know the drill: tomorrow’s payday, and I plan to donate as soon as the direct deposit shows up. I won’t ask you to give to a cause I won’t give to.

Noted.

Thursday, September 21st, 2017

Court paperwork filed Tuesday said an armed good Samaritan stopped an attack on a runner on a popular trail near Rainey Street last week.

Another jogger who was carrying a flashlight and a handgun heard the victim scream and ran over to help.
The affidavit said the jogger told police he shined his light in the direction of the screams and saw the victim on her back and the attacker on his left side on top of the victim.
The jogger pointed his gun at the suspect and demanded he get off the victim. The attacker stood up and was naked from the waist down, the affidavit said.

More tales from the bizarro world.

Tuesday, August 22nd, 2017

I seem to have a run of these lately.

Yesterday, someone tried to kill Judge Joseph Bruzzese Jr. as he walked into the Jefferson County courthouse in Steubenville, Ohio. The attack is being called an “ambush”: judges have reserved parking spaces, and Judge Bruzzese was attacked as he walked from his space into the courthouse.

The judge, who is described as “an avid hunter”, returned fire. Reports say the judge and his attacker fired five shots each. The judge was wounded and taken to a hospital in Pittsburgh: the most current reports I’ve seen say he’s expected to recover.

The gunman was killed by a probation officer.

Shooting a judge is bizarre enough that I’d probably make note of it here. But there’s a twist:

The gunman was the father of a former Steubenville football player who was convicted of rape.

You may remember the Steubenville rape case from 2013. Briefly, a group of football players sexually assaulted a fellow student, filmed the assault, and shared pictures on social media. There were allegations that school authorities in Steubenville knew about the sexual assault and tried to cover it up. The whole mess was big news in 2013.

The really odd thing is, Judge Bruzzese didn’t have anything to do with the rape case. That case was heard by another visiting judge. Judge Bruzzese was hearing a wrongful death suit being pressed by the alleged gunman against the local housing authority, and there was a hearing scheduled for next Monday.

So why shoot the judge now? Maybe you think he’s biassed and want to try your chances with someone else? But how did he expect to get away with this? The whole thing was apparently caught on camera (though I don’t believe the video has been released). And it’s not like Steubenville is a big city.

Maybe it was judgement juice:

A man who was in the car with the shooter was grazed by a bullet and was taken to Trinity Medical Center West. He told law enforcement interviewers he had been unaware of what was happening. Abdalla said that man and the shooting suspect had been drinking last night when the suspect said he had to be in court early today.

We extend our best wishes to Judge Bruzzese and hope for a speedy recovery.