Sunday, March 3, 2013

Daily Briefing for Sunday, March 3, 2013


Before I share my thoughts on the latest news in the preparedness world, I wanted to take a quick moment to thank all of you who followed our saga with Foxy last weekend on Facebook.  We are so thankful to have friends like you who shared their thoughts, prayers and other acts of kindness over the past week.  Kendel and I hated putting her down, but given her situation, it was our only option.

There are lessons to be learned from little Foxbat, and I hope to share those with you soon when I can be more objective about her life.  In the meantime, on Saturday we welcomed Kate into our home.  She is a rescue from a local animal shelter. 

The Suburban Dad Survivalist Handicaps The Latest Conspiracy Theories

Before I get into this, let me share a quick (and somewhat unrelated) story with you - several years ago, I've found a fool proof way of keeping you people (okay, not you people, but the public at large) from taking the middle seat next to me on a Southwest Airlines flight.  When I sit down in the aisle seat, I get out the meanest, scariest gun magazine I have and read it at eye level, so every passer-by will see it and think I am some anti-social lunatic.

Apparently, given the current state of our economy and world affairs, being "that guy" is no longer considered passe'.  Hell, in my flights over to New Orleans last week, it was a conversation piece.  The people sitting next to me wanted to know what I was reading and what measures they should be taking to be better prepared.  The fear of what may be coming - be it economic slow slide/downturn/currency war/austerity measure-fueled civil unrest/NCAA football playoff system - is waking a lot of folks up and forcing them to pay more attention to things they ignored in the not so recent past.  And that's a good thing.  Having people sit next to me on the airplane?  Not so much.

Back to tonight's topic.  If you've been into preparedness any length of time, you soon learn you will need to choose a particular camp to join - the "conspiracy theorist" camp or the "I'm not a nut job like those conspiracy theorists" camp.  I've been a member of the latter for quite some time now, although I will be the first to confess it's becoming more difficult to believe the conventional wisdom as to what ails our nation.

I don't normally delve into the conspiracy stuff, in large part because a) it turns a lot of people off and b) some of the more high profile theories (second shooters in the assassinations of JFK and MLK come to mind) have been debunked in convincing fashion.  That's not to say we shouldn't be skeptical and unwilling to examine alternative theories of monumental events.  I'll admit to watching some videos from Architects and Engineers for 9/11 Truth (which I DO NOT recommend you watch if you want to fall asleep tonight.....) 

But recent news stories continue to fuel speculation as to what the government may be doing or for which perils it's planning.  And these theories are gaining popularity not only with the preparedness movement but with many educated, main stream people.  So tonight, I'm going to look at a couple of these and give you my take on them.

Conspiracy Theory: The government recently purchased two billion hollow point rounds in an effort to prepare for a war with the American people.

Paul's take: It doesn't matter if you're a conspiracy theorist or not.  This should concern all of us for at least one of many reasons.

Investor's Business Daily waded into this story three weeks ago, despite the fact alternative media has been reporting on this for close to a year now.  Even Laura Ingraham brought this story up last week on her radio show. 

In short the theory goes something like this: the government is buying five times the amount of ammo necessary to shoot every man, woman and child in the United States.  Why would the government need that much ammo?

Well, for starters, there are benefits to buying in bulk.  You get better deals.  And that's precisely what the Feds have done here.  We should all want our federal law enforcement officers to practice regularly to be proficient in the use of deadly force, and practicing proficiency means spending time on the range and firing significant amounts of ammo.

A couple of other theories/Internet rumors I've heard include:

  • The government is purchasing gargantuan quantities of ammo to keep the American citizenry from being able to purchase it.  (Note there were no notable shortages of any kind of ammo, of any popular caliber, until the Sandy Hook shooting in December.  The government began purchasing ammunition in large quantities in early 2012, with little noticeable impact on the ammo market.)
  • Certain departments within the federal government use ammo as a sort of currency for inter-agency trades and purchases.  (I have no evidence this is is true.  But it would be interesting if it is...confirming that ammo makes for a good barter item.  And even it it is true, I am not sure it poses any threat to our liberties.)
So no worries, right?  I'm not sure that our analysis should stop there.  If I'm bothered by this story, it's for two reasons:

  1. Why is the federal government purchasing expensive hollow point ammo for training purposes, when it could by cheaper target ammo at a substantial savings?  This seems to be a waste of tax dollars.
  2. If the government feels it's necessary to have that much hollow point ammo on hand, they should tell us what threat or threats they fear.  Make no mistake: two billion hollow point rounds constitutes a tremendous amount of fire power.  What is the government preparing for?  Another terrorist attack? Civil unrest from some sort of economic downturn?  I don't know about you, but I want to be prepared for the same threat the government is preparing for.  If they think they need a lot of high quality defensive ammunition, then shouldn't we want some to protect ourselves from the very same threat?

Conspiracy Theory: The government is using targets in the image of pregnant women, children and the elderly to condition law enforcement to shoot them in the coming war on the American people referenced above.

Paul's take: Lighten up, Francis.

This one's pretty easy to explain.  Alex Jones published this report regarding the government's recent order of non-traditional targets.  These targets depict less than scary looking people holding weapons.  The idea is to condition officers to be willing to use deadly force against threats they might not expect.  After all, the "bad guy" isn't always some six foot four guy with a beard.  Threats come in all ages and genders.  Law enforcement officers need to feel confident they can use deadly force against anyone who is a deadly threat to another.  These targets are one way to do that.

I've trained with similar targets.  It's a bit disconcerting when you draw down on a picture of a young mother.  However, the mother in the picture is pointing a gun at you.  Under the law, she constitutes a threat; good tactics dictate we deal with that threat.  In other scenarios, the gun in her hand is covered up, forcing you to quickly recognize she's not a threat and to take care not to harm her.

I'm not worried about this one.  There are legitimate reasons to use these training aids.

So what can we conclude from all of this?  If there's one thing I've learned in the last five years, it's that things are never what they seem to be.  It's a lot like this scene in Shooter, where the old guy tells Mark Wahlburg that when he thinks he's got it figured out, he's wrong:

In short, be skeptical about everything you read or hear.

1 comment:

  1. Regarding "why purchase HP ammo instead of target ammo".

    While I cannot speak to the precise reason why they are doing it, I can speak to a general reason why this would be good to do:

    "Train as you would fight".

    We both know that the recoil and POA vs POI of say a Winchester Whitebox 115 grain 9mm vs. a Speer Gold Dot 124 grain +P... they won't be the same. If we COULD train with the Gold Dot, why wouldn't we? We'd train closer to the circumstances under which we'd use things, and that's better for practice and training.

    We just don't do it because the cost is more than we can bear.

    But you know... it's the .gov... just raise taxes, print more money, go into debt... the money flows endlessly. While I cannot condone fiscal irresponsibility, set that aside and accept that they have mountains of money and they're going to spend it... to ensure their people have the best training and/or ability to train, and best equipment and resources, etc. as possible.

    So from a pure training perspective, I cannot fault this.

    As for 'what's the reason'... it may be no more than "buying in bulk". Or are they buying it all? or just ordering or being blessed to order it? I seem to recall it was actually not any order placed, merely a blessing through the "purchase order" process and budget process that that much COULD be purchased. Can't say for sure either way, but it sounded more like just a fiscal and budget thing.

    That said, I also recall in the past doing some math. And when it came down to how many rounds purchased, how many "operators" worked for them, and doing some math on how things worked out... it actually wasn't a lot of rounds per person. If it worked out to having a reasonable training of say a few hundred rounds a month (or even a luxury like a few thousand rounds), and then having some more on hand for whatever reason (cause we all understand the value of having a stockpile), then well... after doing some basic math, it really didn't seem to be such a big scary number. I mean, I saw some video or maybe it was a picture... of Jerry Miculek and there was something like 50,000 rounds of ammo just for him... because he goes through that much in a year from practice and competition. Granted, he's a far exception(al) person, but perhaps it also offers some perspective on "amounts".

    - Hsoi