Theodore Roosevelt, 1903

"Let us speak courteously, deal fairly, and keep ourselves armed and ready." - Theodore Roosevelt, 1903

Friday, February 28, 2014

RANDOM SHOTS! Cops shoot 90 lb teeager for nothing; ATF Agents Losing Duty Guns; Greenpeace Co-Founder says no Global Warming; UM Black Students say Crime Descriptions Racist?



FIRST SHOT!

Cop says "We don’t have time for this," and shoots 90 lb mentally ill teenager to death

On January 7th, of this year, Boiling Springs, North Carolina, police responded to a call.

It would be a call that the parents of Keith Vidal, an 18 year-0ld boy who suffered from schizophrenia and depression may have regret making.

Their call for help ended with their son Keith being shot like a dog.

His parents called the police when Keith was having a schizophrenic episode. They called the police to help them with the boy because they were worried that he might hurt himself.

The first officer to arrive initially reported a confrontation in the hallway, but then repeatedly told the dispatcher that everything was OK.

The second and third officers arrived 14 minutes after the first.

Seventy seconds later, the second officer shot the teen in what he called “self defense.”

Self-defense?

Back in the Old West, one could merely make a threat and that would be provocation enough for another to use "self-defense".

Did Keith have a knife, a brick, a gun? No, but he did have a screwdriver - which the other two officers took away from him after they tasered him.

In fact, at the time the second officer shot the teenager, the two other policemen were holding Keith Vidal down after they had tasered him several times.

The teen was no threat.

But it is a sorry fact that the second officer said “We don’t have time for this,” drew his pistol, and simply shot Keith while he was being held by the two other officers.

Yes, the second officer shot in between the other two to kill Keith Vidal.

The second officer, who was worried about how much time he was spending there, killed the 90 lb teen instantly.

Mark Wilsey, the boys father, stated that Keith was never violent towards anyone, and that although he did have a tiny screwdriver in his hands, it certainly wasn’t big enough to hurt anyone with.

The other officers had the situation under control, and Keith Vidal had been tasered. Yes, that in itself made it highly unlikely that the second officer was in any kind of life threatening danger.

As the news report said, perhaps he was just late to dinner.

In January, reports said that one of the officers that arrived on the scene, Detective Byron Vassey, had been placed on paid administrative leave, though the police chief will not confirm that he was the one who pulled the trigger.

Well, on February 4th, CNN reported that Keith Vidal, 18, was killed on January 5th at his family's home during a confrontation with police.

Interesting how CNN changed the story to make it sound like Keith Vidal was in a confrontation with the police?

But nevertheless, CNN reported that Detective Bryon Vassey has been charged.

The Southport police detective who shot and killed the mentally ill teenager has now been indicted by a grand jury on one count of Voluntary Manslaughter, the Brunswick County District Attorney's office said in a news release.

Now, I'm no lawyer, and my criminal justice degree is over 30 years old, but I can't see why he is being charged with Voluntary Manslaughter and not 2nd Degree Murder?

Voluntary manslaughter is an unlawful killing through some sort of voluntary action -- but supposedly without intent or malice aforethought. Voluntary Manslaughter typically involves a willful disregard for life. 

On the other hand, 2nd Degree Murder is an unlawful killing with intent or malice aforethought without the aggravating factors that would make it First Degree Murder -- such as premeditation.

To me, when Vassey said, “We don’t have time for this,” then drew his pistol, before reaching out to make sure he shot between the two other officer - this all demonstrated malice and clear intent to shoot the teen like a dog.

Detective Bryon Vassey of the Southport Police Department was given until February 12th to surrender, which I gather he did.  But, a judge set his bail at rather small $50,000.

"After I reviewed the case I found that a crime almost certainly did take place," District Attorney Jon David told reporters. "It was a 'bad shoot.' A grand jury has agreed."

Last month, Vassey, through his lawyer W. James Payne, claimed to CNN that he feared one of the other responding officers was in danger.

So yes, believe it or not, with two officers holding down the 90 lb, Detective Vassey thought one or the other was in danger? Right, and Obama is not a liar!  

Keith Vidal, 18, was shot to death on January 5th at his family's home in the eastern North Carolina town of Boiling Springs Lakes.

Three law enforcement officers from three different agencies answered a 911 call asking for police to help in dealing with the schizophrenic teen and fighting with his mother.

Family members said the first two were able to calm the situation, but things quickly devolved after Vassey arrived. Within a few minutes, their son was dead.

CNN reported that "None of the officers was injured in the incident."

Good for them, it is nice to see that CNN would mention that the officers were not injured in the incident -- yet left out the facts about how the other officers on scene had the situation well in had before Vassey decided to reach between them and shoot the kid!

The teen's family is devastated, and hopes to get justice for what was a cold-blooded murder of their son.

"There was no reason to shoot this kid," the teen's stepfather, Mark Wilsey, told WECT. "They killed my son in cold blood. We called for help, and they killed my son."

No, there was no reason in the world for him to have shot that kid. He should pray his jury is made up of people a lot more lenient than me.

SECOND SHOT!

ATF agents reportedly lose track of dozens of guns

On February 26th, 2014, it was reported that ATF agents are losing track of their government-issued firearms at an alarming rate.

Yes, believe it or not, according to a new report, records show multiple instances where officers forgot their guns after leaving them on top of cars, in bathrooms, and in automobile glove compartments.

As crazy as it sounds, the incidents were catalogued in a report by the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. Internal records obtained by the newspaper reportedly show ATF agents had their guns lost or stolen at least 45 times between 2009 and 2013.

Though most of the "lost" weapons were handguns, the newspaper reported that at least two were assault rifles.

The report detailed two incidents where agents left their guns on the roof of a car.

One Illinois agent placed his Smith & Wesson on top of his car while dropping off his children at a soccer game, and drove away. The gun was later found on an off-ramp.

Another North Dakota agent left his gun on his car roof and forgot about it, until his daughter drove the car to a friend's house, according to the article.

The gun was never found.

In yet another incident, two boys in Iowa reportedly found an ATF gun in a storm drain.

And yes, only then did the responsible ATF agent bother to tell his superiors that he had "misplaced" the gun.

According to the report, the ATF has a bigger problem with lost or stolen weapons than other federal law enforcement agencies.

The newspaper previously reported on a questionable operation in Milwaukee during which an ATF machine gun was stolen from an agent's truck in 2012.

All these incidents are separate from the discontinued Operation Fast and Furious, which allowed hundreds of guns to be sold and carried into Mexico as part of an anti-trafficking sting.

ATF guns are supposed to be stored in "secured, locked locations" when not being carried by the agents.

The Journal Sentinel reported that ATF has reduced the minimum punishment for the first-time loss of weapons from three days of unpaid suspension to one day -- supposedly to encourage agents to quickly report such losses.

So in other words, their agents need to be bribed into doing their job correctly - which includes maintaining their equipment.

A spokeswoman told the newspaper that it is the responsibility of agents to secure their guns. The spokeswoman obviously didn't say there was any disciplinary actions taken against those who "lost" or "misplaced" their guns.

So why do I mark the words "lost" and "misplaced" in quotes?

Well, about 35 years ago, I worked for one of the biggest Security companies in the world as Chief Field Supervisor/ Investigator.

In those days, the company employed a few armed guards who had "lost" or "misplaced" on a regular basis whenever they needed money.

Yes, there is a lot of money to be made if one sells his or her handgun, or in the case of one ATF agent his assault rifle, for cash.

Since there are over One Million sworn peace officers in the United States, I can't help but wonder how many are crooked enough to sell their duty weapon or an assault weapon and claim it "lost" or "misplaced"?

Just food for thought.

THIRD SHOT!

Greenpeace co-founder: No scientific evidence of man-made global warming

February 25th, 2014, it was reported that the co-founder of Greenpeace said that there is no scientific evidence of man-made Global Warming.

Imagine that for a moment, and ask yourself if that admission would change the minds of con artists like Al Gore or his followers?

There is no scientific evidence that human activity is causing the planet to warm, according to Greenpeace co-founder Patrick Moore, who testified in front of a Senate committee on February 25th.

Moore argued that the current argument that the burning of fossil fuels is driving global warming over the past century lacks scientific evidence.

He added that the Earth is in an unusually cold period and some warming would be a good thing.

“There is no scientific proof that human emissions of carbon dioxide (CO2) are the dominant cause of the minor warming of the Earth’s atmosphere over the past 100 years,” according to Moore’s prepared testimony.

“Today, we live in an unusually cold period in the history of life on earth and there is no reason to believe that a warmer climate would be anything but beneficial for humans and the majority of other species.”

“It is important to recognize, in the face of dire predictions about a [two degrees Celsius] rise in global average temperature, that humans are a tropical species,” Moore said.

“We evolved at the equator in a climate where freezing weather did not exist. The only reasons we can survive these cold climates are fire, clothing, and housing.”

“It could be said that frost and ice are the enemies of life, except for those relatively few species that have evolved to adapt to freezing temperatures during this Pleistocene Ice Age,” he added.

“It is ‘extremely likely’ that a warmer temperature than today’s would be far better than a cooler one.”

It's true! Fact is, cold weather is more likely to cause death than warm weather.

RealClearScience reported that from “1999 to 2010, a total of 4,563 individuals died from heat, but 7,778 individuals died from the cold.”

Only in 2006 did heat-related deaths outnumber cold deaths.

In Britain, 24,000 people are projected to die this winter because they cannot afford to pay their energy bills.

Yes, believe it or not, roughly 4.5 million British families are facing what is being called “fuel poverty.”

“The fact that we had both higher temperatures and an ice age at a time when CO2 emissions were 10 times higher than they are today fundamentally contradicts the certainty that human-caused CO2 emissions are the main cause of global warming,” Moore said.

“When modern life evolved over 500 million years ago, CO2 was more than 10 times higher than today, yet life flourished at this time,” he added.

“Then an Ice Age occurred 450 million years ago when CO2 was 10 times higher than today.”

Moore, a Canadian, helped found the environmental activist group Greenpeace in the 1970s.

He left the group after they began to take on more radical positions. He has since been a critic of radical environmentalism and heads up the group Ecosense Environmental in Vancouver, Canada.

Moore’s comments come after President Obama declared global warming a “fact” in the State of the Union.

The Obama administration has attempted to argue that the recent U.S. cold snap was influenced by a warmer planet.

Sure makes sense if you don't think about it and only take Obama's word for it, right?

Well, climate scientists, however have been struggling to explain why global surface temperatures have not risen in the last 17 years and why atmospheric temperatures have been flat for the last decade.

“From 1910 to 1940 there was an increase in global average temperature of [0.5 degrees Celsius] over that 30-year period,” Moore said.

“Then there was a 30-year ‘pause’ until 1970. This was followed by an increase of [0.57 degrees Celsius] during the 30-year period from 1970 to 2000. Since then there has been no increase, perhaps a slight decrease, in average global temperature.”

“This in itself tends to negate the validity of the computer models, as CO2 emissions have continued to accelerate during this time,” the former environmental activist added.

“The increase in temperature between 1910-1940 was virtually identical to the increase between 1970-2000.”

“Yet the IPCC does not attribute the increase from 1910-1940 to ‘human influence.’” Moore continued.

“They are clear in their belief that human emissions impact only the increase ‘since the mid-20th century.’ Why does the IPCC believe that a virtually identical increase in temperature after 1950 is caused mainly by ‘human influence,’ when it has no explanation for the nearly identical increase from 1910-1940?”

Don't you just hate being scammed by a bunch of con artists like Obama who think that just because they say it -- it is a "fact"?

And by the way, where's Al Gore when the truth comes out? Probably counting the millions of dollars he cheated out of people who bought his line of crap!

LAST SHOT!

Minnesota University Black Students claim Racial descriptions of Crime Suspects are Racist

No, they don't want to call a spade a spade. In fact, they was to ignore that altogether!

On January 31th, 2014, it was reported that the administrators at the University of Minnesota have been asked to stop considering race when compiling physical descriptions of crime suspects.

That's right, as stupid as it sounds, a group of University minority students and teachers representing the African American and African Studies department, Black Faculty and Staff Association, Black Graduate and Professional Student Association, Black Men’s Forum, Black Student Union and Huntley House for African American Males sent a letter to UM President Eric Kaler demanding that campus crime response protocols be reconsidered.

At issue is the campus crime alerts.

At UM. when a crime is committed, the university authorities release a physical description of the suspect to the campus populace.

Since race is an important identifying physical detail, a suspect’s ethnicity is included in the alert.

Makes sense since a full "physical description" should not leave out any detail, right?

Well, not for those so-called minority teachers and their minion.
As hard as it was for me to believe, the minority groups identified this as a racist practice - according to Campus Reform.

“Efforts to reduce crime should never be at the expense of our Black men, or any specific group of people likely to be targeted,” said the letter, according to CBS.

Their logic has no logic, but they went on to say, “In addition to causing Black men to feel unsafe and distrusted, racial profiling is proven to inflict negative psychological effects on its victims.”

In addition to no longer including a suspect’s race in the crime alerts, the letter also asked for campus police to receive more diversity training.

Kaler did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

University Vice President Pamela Wheelock said racial profiling “would not be tolerated.”

However, she stressed that it seemed important to include more information about suspects in the alerts - rather than less.

“I believe that sharing more information in our Crime Alerts, not less, is most beneficial in terms of public safety, especially when that information is available,” said Wheelock in a statement.

If the university did put an end to its practice of considering race in crime alerts, it would be an ironic exception to campus policy.

UM practices affirmative action, and actually considers an applicant’s race when deciding whether to admit.

Like many others, I'd like to know if the Black Men’s Forum at UM wants to put an end to considering a person's race when deciding whether or not to admit as students.

But honestly, anyone reading this knows as well as I do that the minority teachers and students in the story want it both ways:

On one hand they say Blacks need an edge to gaining admission, while on the other they say don't report that it was a Black man or woman who committed the crime because it will only help verify the truth that Blacks - though they are only 17 % of the American population, they commit over 50% of the all crime in our nation.

Imagine that?

Have you ever wondered if during Black History Month, those who take the time out there to sing the praises of Blacks in history -- ever acknowledge the truth of what theat race has contributed to America in the last 50 years or more?

Does anyone think that there is just one teacher working in any level of the educational system, especially the college and university levels, who points out their culpability in making crime in America as high as it is?

They deserve their blameworthiness!


Tom Correa




Monday, February 24, 2014

The Paiute Indians - The Pyramid Lake Wars

Paiute High Chief Numaga
Dear Readers,

The West, including what the settlers called the "Far West" of California and Nevada, had many Indian wars. Most are unknown to many.

As for the Paiutes, it is said that early Euro-American settlers often referred to both the Northern Paiutes and the Southern Paiutes as "Diggers" because of their practice of digging for roots for food. As for Paiute Indians, they consider the term "Diggers" as derogatory and they discouraged its use.

The Southern Paiute traditionally lived in the Colorado River basin and Mojave Desert in northern Arizona and southeastern California including Owens Valley, Southern Nevada and southern Utah. The Northern Paiute have traditionally lived in the Great Basin in eastern California, western Nevada, and southeast Oregon.

Before the White man, the Northern Paiute's lifestyle was well adapted to the harsh desert environment in which they lived. Each tribe or band occupied a specific territory, generally centered on a lake or wetland that supplied fish and water-fowl. Communal drives, which often involved neighboring bands, would take rabbits and pronghorn from surrounding areas.

Individuals and families appear to have moved freely between bands. Pinyon nuts gathered in the mountains in the fall provided critical winter food. Grass seeds and roots were also important parts of their diet. The name of each band came from a characteristic food source.

For example, the people at Pyramid Lake were known as the Cui Ui Ticutta (meaning "Cui-ui eaters"), the people of the Lovelock area were known as the Koop Ticutta, meaning "ground-squirrel eaters", and the people of the Carson Sink were known as the Toi Ticutta, meaning "tule eaters". The Kucadikadi of Mono County, California are the "brine fly eaters".

Relations among the Northern Paiute bands and the Shoshone nation who were their neighbors were generally peaceful. The reason for the peace is that there is no sharp distinction between the Northern Paiute and Western Shoshone.

It's a shame the same can't be said for their relations with the Washoe people -- who in fact were culturally and linguistically very different. The relations between the Paiute and the Washoe were not so peaceful and wars were common.

Contact between the Southern Paiute and Europeans came in the late 1770's. First contact with the Northern Paiutes may have occurred in the 1820s with the Spanish. Contact with Americans came soon after in the 1840s.

Like other Native American nations, the Paiute had adopted the use of horses from other Great Plains tribes. But other than discovering horses, their culture was otherwise largely unaffected by European influences in the early 1800s.

It was only later as American settlements in the area grew that several violent incidents occurred.

The Pyramid Lake War

The Paiute War, also known as the Pyramid Lake War, Washoe Indian War and the Pah Ute War, was an armed conflict between Northern Paiutes allied with the Shoshone and the Bannock against the United States.

It took place in 1860 in the vicinity of Pyramid Lake in the Utah Territory, now within present day Nevada. The war was the result of a series of increasingly violent incidents, culminating in two pitched battles in which approximately 80 Americans were killed.

The number of Paiutes killed in action is unrecorded. Smaller raids and skirmishes continued until a cease-fire was agreed to in August 1860, there was no treaty.

Early settlement of what is now northwestern Nevada had a tremendous disruptive effect on the Northern Paiute people. The settlers in the Great Basin was a disruption to the Paiute food supply, including the felling of Single-leaf Pinyon groves which was a major food source for the Paiute. And yes, mining, an attempt to monopolize water sources, and settlers competing with the Paiutes for grazing lands all added to the tensions.
Several murders of settlers, including famed mountainman Peter Lassen, were widely attributed to Paiutes. But then again, crimes such as murder and even kidnappings of Paiute Indians by American settlers also took place.

The lack of Law and an effective territory government in the area meant that there was no formal judicial response to these incidents, leading to private retribution and a general atmosphere of fear and distrust.

The winter of 1859 and 1860 was particularly cold and snowy in the Great Basin, and was a great hardship to the Paiute. Chief Winnemucca died in the winter of 1859. He had been influential among the Paiute, and widely liked by the settlers. He served as a sort of ambassador and keeper of the peace - as uneasy a peace as it was.

Paiute bands from across the Great Basin gathered at Pyramid Lake for the spring fish run due to dwindling local food supplies.

The Williams Station Massacre

Williams Station was a combination saloon, general store, and stagecoach station was located along the Carson River at the modern-day Lahontan Reservoir.  On May 6th, 1860, Williams Station was raided by Paiutes. And yes, it was ugly.

Three Americans there were killed, mutilated, and the station was burned. Later on people found evidence that those killed were burned alive.

According to Paiute Sarah Winnemucca, the raid was in retaliation for the kidnapping and rape of two young Paiute girls by the proprietors of the station. It's true, this series of conflicts was actually caused, not for no reason by marauding Paiute braves, but instead in retaliation of the kidnapping of two young Paiute girls by three white men who were subsequently killed by a band of Paiute who were there to rescue the girls.
A survivor of the retaliation raid managed to escape and make it to Virginia City. It was his story that caused a general panic in the region among settlers.

No, it isn't believed that anyone stopped to ask why the Paiute attacked -- it didn't matter if the Paiute were doing the exact same thing that the settlers would have done in their shoes.

Out of this a militia was quickly formed from volunteers from Virginia City, Silver City, Carson City and Genoa, Nevada, with the supposed purpose of "apprehending the perpetrators." Others say it was an eye for an eye, and this force consisted of about 105 men under the overall command of Major William Ormsby.

The First Battle of Pyramid Lake

Major Ormsby's command assembled at the ruins of the Williams Station, and then proceeded north to the Truckee River, and then along that river towards Pyramid Lake.

On May 12th, it was ambushed and routed by Paiute forces under the command of Numaga approximately five miles south of the lake.

Seventy-six of the 105 militiamen were killed, including Major Ormsby. Many of the others were wounded. The number of Paiute killed is not recorded, but thought to be only a few in comparison. And yes, accounts indicate that the volunteer militia of 105 were poorly armed, badly mounted, and were almost completely unorganized.

Their fate started after they met at Williams Station and finding no natives, the militia headed towards Pyramid Lake -- a known settlement of the previously friendly Paiute Indians whose chief had recently died.

Along the way they encountered a small party of Paiutes occupying a strong position on a rocky hill. The whites didn't waste any time at all, especially not stopping to think, they simply attacked head long toward the Paiutes who fled after returning a few shots.

The Paiute braves would turn now and again to continue firing -- all fairly sporadically as they fled into a rocky ravine with the 105 militia pursing them.

Once in the ravine, it is believed that up to 500 Paiute warriors appeared seemingly out of no where and began raining fire upon the militia. Shooting from high ground, the militia found itself in a trap.

Yes, the Paiute sprung a trap on the foolish whites who ran headlong into it. And then, after the Paiute sprung the trap, they closed off the route of escape and fired on the militia from all sides.

With shots coming down on them from seemingly everywhere, the civilian militia headed for a patch of woods as their only escape. Some of the survivors of the battle were pursued twenty miles by the Paiute Indians. Many never made it back.

Of the up to 500 Paiutes who are thought to have participated in the battle, only a few were lost. The militia didn't fair as well, seventysix were killed and left behind.

The Washoe Regiment & U.S. Regulars

So the first major confrontation on May 12th, 1860 was undertaken by a poorly organized and badly armed group of Nevada Volunteers which consisted of 105 American miners, farmers. ranchers, and other settlers led by Major William Ormsby.

They were ambushed by Paiutes under Chief Numaga at Big Bend in the Truckee River Valley in Nevada - and the ambush resulted in an Indian victory in which 76 white men, including Major Ormsby, were killed.

There was no mail service for a few weeks after Major Ormsby was defeated in the Battle of Pyramid Lake. I'll talk more about the mail, and especially about the Pony Express, at the end of this article.

Now in response to what later became known as "The First Battle of Pyramid Lake," settlers called upon legendary Texas Ranger Colonel John C. Hays.

File:JCHays.jpgColonel John C. Hays responded to the call and traveled to Carson City to organize a regiment of 500 volunteers which he dubbed the “Washoe Regiment”.

Another 165 volunteers came from the nearby California communities of Placerville, Sacramento and Nevada City. Hays then marched his regiment to Virginia City.

The U.S. Army responded to the call as well. Captain Joseph Stewart left Fort Alcatraz, California, with 144 Regulars from the 3rd U.S. Artillery and 6th U.S. Infantry regiments. He arrived in Carson City to await further developments.

In the meantime, Hays had marched out of Virginia City to Williams Station where he skirmished with 150 Paiutes before the warriors pulled back to Pyramid Lake.

The Paiutes returned to their village at Pyramid Lake near the mouth of the Truckee River. They sent their women and children into the Black Rock Desert as a protective measure.

The Washoe Regiment of Volunteer was composed of 13 companies of men from the areas surrounding Carson City and Virginia City, Nevada, as well as from Sacramento and Placerville, California. In addition to the volunteers under Hays, the U.S. Army responded by sending a detachment of U.S. artillery and infantry from Fort Alcatraz, California. This contingent known as the "Carson River Expedition" was led by Captain Joseph Stewart.

Hays' volunteers went into action at the battle of Williams Station and were then joined by Stewart's Regulars.

The Washoe Regiment command was made up of a Colonel John C. Hays, Lt. Colonel Saunders, and Major Daniel E. Hingerford. Its companies were the Carson Rangers, Carson Rifles, Coloma Grays, Highland Rangers “Vaqueros”, Independent City Guards of Sacramento, Nevada Rifles under Captain Van Hagen, San Juan Rifles, Sierra Guards, Silver City Guards, Spy Company under Captain Fleeson, Sutter Rifles, Truckee Rangers under Captain Lance Nightingill, and the Virginia Rifles under Captain Edward Farris Storey.

As stated before, the Carson River Expedition commander from Fort Alcatraz was Captain Joseph Stewart -- and his 144 men came from Company H, 3rd U.S. Artillery, and a Detachment of the 6th U.S. Infantry.

The Second Battle of Pyramid Lake

In June of 1860, Col Hays and Capt Stewart retraced the steps of Ormsby's command and met Numaga's Paiutes at the same location as Ormsby's fight.

In the battle which took place on June 2nd, the Paiute were outnumbered by the now better organized settlers. The battle began when Hays sent out an advance party of two companies while the main force moved 8 miles downriver from their camp much more cautiously than Ormsby had before.

The advance party, moving toward the Paiute village, encountered the remains of Ormsby’s command on the field of the previous battle which remained unburied. But the Paiute then made a rapid advance upon the soldiers in the shape of a wedge, and Hays' advance party made a hasty retreat.

Colonel Hays was forced to make a stand and luckily he was in an ideal location to make such a stand. It was a narrow canyon, about a mile wide, anchored to the west by steep mountains of the Virginia Range - and to the east ran the Truckee River. Both geographical features prevented any flanking maneuver by the Paiute.

A rocky butte lay in the center of the field. To the west of this butte, rain had cut lateral gullies into the sandy ground providing natural breastworks which either side could have used to make successive stands in the case he was forced to retreat.

Numaga was the Paiute High Chief.

The Paiute charge had taken possession of the butte and now extended their own line from the river well into the rocks of the mountains to the West. The Paiutes had advanced so quickly that all geographical features advantageous to the fight were now in their hands.

Hays' soldiers were forced to deploy on level ground to the south. Captain Stewart deployed his Regulars in a skirmish line to the west of the butte along the base of the mountains while the volunteers formed to the east along the river.

Captain Edward Farris Storey and Captain J. B. Van Hagan, commanding two companies of volunteers, one from Nevada and one from California respectively, decided to make a charge against the butte even before Hays got the entire main force in place.

Storey and Van Hagan succeeded in seizing the butte and for a short time were subjected to flanking fire as the Natives began to surround them from the river bank and mountain slopes. This forward position was relieved as Hays advanced the main body forward. Stewart drove the warriors from the mountain slopes while Hays and the volunteers steadily advanced along the river.

Eventually the two sides maintained a continuous line of battle opposing each other roughly a mile long. The battle continued for some time with neither side gaining a clear advantage. After fighting for nearly three hours the Paiutes finally retreated up the canyon toward the lake.

On June 4th, Captain Stewart started his pursuit of the Paiute coming upon the abandoned village at the mouth of the Truckee River. Colonel Hays followed Stewart northward in pursuit.

On June 5th, Hays sent a group of scouts through a canyon northeast of Pyramid Lake. Those scouts were ambushed and Private William Allen was killed. He was to be the last casualty of the Pyramid War. And yes, Fort Churchill was built in the aftermath of the battle. 

Shortly after Allen’s death, Colonel Hays returned with the Washoe Regiment to Carson City where he disbanded the regiment. Major Ormsby’s body was temporarily interred where it lay near Pyramid Lake, but was later moved to a cemetery in Carson City. Captain Storey, who was mortally wounded in the battle, was buried in Virginia City. Both Ormsby and Storey would have Nevada counties named after them later.

Captain Stewart stayed in the Pyramid Lake area for a few more weeks but the Paiutes never returned. His soldiers eventually built several earthen forts around the lake. It's true, after what was considered "the inconclusive Second Battle of Pyramid Lake," the Federal forces built a small fort at the southern end of Pyramid Lake to deny that area's food resources to the Paiutes.

Capt Stewart abandoned these forts in favor of a larger fort along the Carson River. He began construction in 1861 and named the post Fort Churchill.

As far as wars go, the second round went much better for the settlers as they were proven victorious killing almost 160 Indians while suffering a loss of only 4 of their own number. In reality, the papers of the time were correct in deeming the Second Battle of Pyramid Lake "inconclusive" because it didn't really solve a thing.

Small skirmishes and raids continued until August, when finally an informal cease-fire between Chief Numaga and white surveyors working in the area north of Pyramid Lake was achieved. While the number of Paiutes killed in action during the Pyramid Lake War was probably pretty small. But the disruption to food gathering activities, and the fact that they were denied access to fishing in Pyramid Lake, all may have killed more Paiutes from starvation later.

The Pyramid Lake War was followed later by the Owens Valley Indian War 1861-1864, the Snake War 1864-1868, and the Bannock War of 1878. Some might find a great victory in starving out your enemy, personally I don't.

For me, I believe the Paiute Indians had proven themselves to be great warriors and outstanding tacticians.

As for those who tried to starve them into submission? Well, just as with those who were responsible for slaughtering the buffalo to cheat the Plains Indians out of a food source year later, those responsible for trying to starve the Paiute Indians should have been hung!

Actions like that will only make future generations wonder who really was the "civilized" race between the two, the Indians who were the victim of such efforts or those in command of the U.S. Army who were really responsible for such vindictive policies?

So now, what does the Pony Express have to do with this story?

Well, for those interested in the connections between events, the Pyramid Lake War might be of particular interest because of its effect on mail delivery and the Pony Express. As stated before, American settlements in the area grew. As they did, several violent incidents occurred, including the Pyramid Lake War of 1860.

The Paiute uprising at the time lead to attacks that resulted in the loss of many Pony Express riders along with their horses. And yes, along with those riders and their horses, there was complete destruction of every rest station between California and Salt Lake during the Pyramid Lake War. Because of this, the Pony Express mail service experienced its first and only delays in delivery.

A few brave riders distinguished themselves during that time, especially Robert "Pony Bob" Haslam. On May 10th, 1860, Haslam was assigned the run from Friday's Station in Lake Tahoe to Buckland Station near Fort Churchill which was a distance of 75 miles to the East.

"Pony Bob" Haslam is credited with having made the longest round trip ride of the Pony Express. He had received the Eastbound mail from San Francisco at Friday's Station, but at Buckland's Station his relief rider was so badly frightened over the threat from the Paiutes that he actually refused to take the mail.

Pony Bob agreed to take the mail all the way to Smith's Creek for a total distance of 190 miles without a rest. After a rest of nine hours, he retraced his route with the Westbound mail.

At Cold Springs he found that Indians had raided the place, killing the station keeper and running off all of the stock. When he finally reached Buckland's Station, completing a 380-mile round trip, it became the longest on record for the Pony Express.

It is said that Pony Bob accomplished the amazing round trip without stopping purely out of necessity to save his scalp. And frankly, I can understand that sort of motivation!

Tom Correa


Sunday, February 23, 2014

FEMA Disaster Preparation Guide 2014

Dear Readers,

FEMA has put out a pretty basic disaster preparation guide for 2014, the link to the pdf.file for the guide is:
http://www.fema.gov/pdf/areyouready/areyouready_full.pdf

Most of the article below is taken from the 2014 FEMA Preparation Guide, Are You Ready.

I hope you can use some of the information to make your decisions as to how to prepare for your family's needs during a disaster.

There are real benefits to being prepared:

• Being prepared can reduce fear, anxiety, and losses that accompany disasters.

Communities, families, and individuals should know what to do in the event of a fire and where to seek shelter during a tornado.

They should be ready to evacuate their homes and take refuge in public shelters and know how to care for their basic medical needs.

• People also can reduce the impact of disasters (flood proofing, elevating a home or moving a home out of harm’s way, and securing items that could shake loose in an earthquake) and sometimes avoid the danger completely.

The need to prepare is real.

• Disasters disrupt hundreds of thousands of lives every year. Each disaster has lasting effects, both to people and property.

• If a disaster occurs in your community, local government and disaster-relief organizations will try to help you, but you need to be ready as well.

Local responders may not be able to reach you immediately, or they may need to focus their efforts elsewhere.

• You should know how to respond to severe weather or any disaster that could occur in your area—hurricanes, earthquakes, extreme cold, flooding, or terrorism.

• You should also be ready to be self-sufficient for at least three days. This may mean providing for your own shelter, first aid, food, water, and sanitation.

Using this guide makes preparation practical.

• This guide was developed by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), which is the agency responsible for responding to national disasters and for helping state and local governments and individuals prepare for emergencies.

It contains step-by-step advice on how to prepare for, respond to, and recover from disasters.

• Used in conjunction with information and instructions from local emergency management offices and the American Red Cross, Are You Ready? will give you what you need to be prepared.

Are You Ready?

Basic Information

In Section 1, Citizens are advised of Basic Information.

"In this part of the guide, you will learn preparedness strategies that are common to all disasters. You plan only once,and are able to apply your plan to all types of hazards.
When you complete Part 1, you will be able to:

• Get informed about hazards and emergencies that may affect you and your family.

• Develop an emergency plan.

• Collect and assemble disaster supplies kit.

• Learn where to seek shelter from all types of hazards.

• Identify the community warning systems and evacuation routes.

• Include in your plan required information from community and school plans.

• Learn what to do for specific hazards.

• Practice and maintain your plan."  

Natural Hazards  

In Section 2, Citizens are advised about Natural Hazards such as Wild Fires, Floods, and so on.

"Part 2 includes information about many types of natural hazards. Natural hazards are natural events that threaten lives, property, and other assets.   Often, natural hazards can be predicted. They tend to occur repeatedly in the same geographical locations because they are related to weather patterns or physical characteristics of an area.

Natural hazards such as flood, fire, earthquake, tornado, and windstorms affect thousands of people every year. We need to know what our risks are from natural hazards and take sensible precautions to protect ourselves, our families, and our communities.

Use Part 2 to learn about the hazards that pose a risk to you. Include the pertinent information in your family disaster plan.

Specific content on each hazard consists of the characteristics of that hazard, terms associated with the hazard, measures that can be taken beforehand to avoid or lessen the impact of these events, and what individuals need to do during and after the event to protect themselves.

When you complete Part 2, you will be able to:

• Know important terms.

• Take protective measures for natural hazards.

• Identify resources for more information about natural hazards."  

Technological Hazards  

In Section 3, Citizens are educated in what is being termed "Technological hazards" which include hazardous materials incidents and nuclear power plant failures.

"Usually, little or no warning precedes incidents involving technological hazards. In many cases, victims may not know they have been affected until many years later.  

For example, health problems caused by hidden toxic waste sites—like that at Love Canal, near Niagara Falls, New York—surfaced years after initial exposure.

The number of technological incidents is escalating, mainly as a result of the increased number of new substances and the opportunities for human error inherent in the use of these materials.

Use Part 3 to learn what actions to include in your family disaster plan to prepare for and respond to events involving technological hazards.

Learn how to use, store, and dispose of household chemicals in a manner that will reduce the potential for injury to people and the environment.

When you complete Part 3, you will be able to:

• Recognize important terms.

• Take protective measures for technological disasters.

• Know what actions to take if an event occurs.

• Identify resources for more information about technological hazards."

Terrorism  

Part 4 deals with preparations for a Terrorist Attack.  

"Throughout human history, there have been many threats to the security of nations. These threats have brought about large-scale losses of life, the destruction of property, widespread illness and injury, the displacement of large numbers of people, and devastating economic loss.

Recent technological advances and ongoing international political unrest are components of the increased risk to national security.

Use Part 4 to learn what actions to include in your family disaster plan to prepare for and respond to terrorist threats.

When you complete Part 4, you will be able to:

• Recognize important terms.

• Take protective measures for terrorist threats.

• Know what actions to take if an event occurs.

• Identify resources for more information about terrorist threats."  

Recovering from a Disaster

Part 5 has Health and Safety Guidelines

"Recovering from a disaster is usually a gradual process. Safety is a primary issue, as are mental and physical well-being.

If assistance is available, knowing how to access it makes the process faster and less stressful.

This section offers some general advice on steps to take after disaster strikes in order to begin getting your home, your community, and your life back to normal.

Your first concern after a disaster is your family’s health and safety. You need to consider possible safety issues and monitor family health and well-being.

Aiding the Injured

Check for injuries.

Do not attempt to move seriously injured persons unless they are in immediate danger of death or further injury. If you must move an unconscious person, first stabilize the neck and back, then call for help immediately.

• If the victim is not breathing, carefully position the victim for artificial respiration, clear the airway, and commence mouth-to-mouth resuscitation.

• Maintain body temperature with blankets. Be sure the victim does not become overheated.

• Never try to feed liquids to an unconscious person.

Health

• Be aware of exhaustion. Don’t try to do too much at once. Set priorities and pace yourself. Get enough rest.

• Drink plenty of clean water.

• Eat well.

• Wear sturdy work boots and gloves.

• Wash your hands thoroughly with soap and clean water often when working in debris.

Safety Issues

• Be aware of new safety issues created by the disaster. Watch for washed out roads, contaminated buildings, contaminated water, gas leaks, broken glass, damaged electrical wiring, and slippery floors.

• Inform local authorities about health and safety issues, including chemical spills, downed power lines, washed out roads, smoldering insulation, and dead animals.

Returning Home

Returning home can be both physically and mentally challenging. Above all, use caution.

General tips:

• Keep a battery-powered radio with you so you can listen for emergency updates and news reports.

• Use a battery-powered fl ash light to inspect a damaged home.

Note: The flashlight should be turned on outside before entering—the battery may produce a spark that could ignite leaking gas, if present.

• Watch out for animals, especially poisonous snakes. Use a stick to poke through debris.

• Use the phone only to report life-threatening emergencies.

• Stay off the streets. If you must go out, watch for fallen objects; downed electrical wires; and weakened walls, bridges, roads, and sidewalks.

Before You Enter Your Home

Walk carefully around the outside and check for loose power lines, gas leaks, and structural damage. If you have any doubts about safety, have your residence inspected by a qualified building inspector or structural engineer before entering.

Do not enter if:

• You smell gas.

• Flood-waters remain around the building.

• Your home was damaged by fire and the authorities have not declared it safe.

Going Inside Your Home

When you go inside your home, there are certain things you should and should not do.

Enter the home carefully and check for damage.

Be aware of loose boards and slippery floors.

The following items are other things to check inside your home:

• Natural gas. If you smell gas or hear a hissing or blowing sound, open a window and leave immediately.

Turn off the main gas valve from the outside, if you can.

Call the gas company from a neighbor’s residence.

If you shut off the gas supply at the main valve, you will need a professional to turn it back on.

Do not smoke or use oil, gas lanterns, candles, or torches for lighting inside a damaged home until you are sure there is no leaking gas or other flammable materials present.

• Sparks, broken or frayed wires.

Check the electrical system unless you are wet, standing in water, or unsure of your safety.

If possible, turn off the electricity at the main fuse box or circuit breaker.

If the situation is unsafe, leave the building and call for help. Do not turn on the lights until you are sure they’re safe to use.

You may want to have an electrician inspect your wiring.

• Roof, foundation, and chimney cracks. If it looks like the building may collapse, leave immediately.

• Appliances. If appliances are wet, turn off the electricity at the main fuse box or circuit breaker. Then, unplug appliances and let them dry out.

Have appliances checked by a professional before using them again. Also, have the electrical system checked by an electrician before turning the power back on.

• Water and sewage systems. If pipes are damaged, turn off the main water valve.

Check with local authorities before using any water; the water could be contaminated.

Pump out wells and have the water tested by authorities before drinking.

Do not flush toilets until you know that sewage lines are intact.

• Food and other supplies. Throw out all food and other supplies that you suspect may have become contaminated or come in to contact with flood-water.

• Your basement. If your basement has flooded, pump it out gradually (about one third of the water per day) to avoid damage.

The walls may collapse and the floor may buckle if the basement is pumped out while the surrounding ground is still waterlogged.

• Open cabinets. Be alert for objects that may fall.

• Clean up household chemical spills. Disinfect items that may have been contaminated by raw sewage, bacteria, or chemicals. Also clean salvageable items.

• Call your insurance agent. Take pictures of damages. Keep good records of repair and cleaning costs.

Being Wary of Wildlife

Disaster and life threatening situations will exacerbate the unpredictable nature of wild animals. To protect yourself and your family, learn how to deal with wildlife:

• Do not approach or attempt to help an injured or stranded animal. Call your local animal control office or wildlife resource office.

• Do not corner wild animals or try to rescue them. Wild animals will likely feel threatened and may endanger themselves by dashing off into flood-waters, fire, and so forth.

• Do not approach wild animals that have taken refuge in your home. Wild animals such as snakes, opossums, and raccoons often seek refuge from flood-waters on upper levels of homes and have been known to remain after water recedes.

If you encounter animals in this situation, open a window or provide another escape route and the animal will likely leave on its own.

Do not attempt to capture or handle the animal. Should the animal stay, call your local animal control office or wildlife resource office.

• Do not attempt to move a dead animal. Animal carcasses can present serious health risks. Contact your local emergency management office or health department for help and instructions.

• If bitten by an animal, seek immediate medical attention.

Seeking Disaster Assistance

Throughout the recovery period, it is important to monitor local radio or television reports and other media sources for information about where to get emergency housing, food, first aid, clothing, and financial assistance.

The following section provides general information about the kinds of assistance that may be available.

Direct Assistance Direct assistance to individuals and families may come from any number of organizations, including:

• American Red Cross.

• Salvation Army.

• Other volunteer organization.

These organizations provide food, shelter, supplies and assist in clean-up efforts.

The Federal Role

In the most severe disasters, the federal government is also called in to help individuals and families with temporary housing, counseling (for post-disaster trauma), low-interest loans and grants, and other assistance.

The federal government also has programs that help small businesses and farmers.

Most federal assistance becomes available when the President of the United States declares a “Major Disaster” for the affected area at the request of a state governor.

FEMA will provide information through the media and community outreach about federal assistance and how to apply.

Coping with Disaster

The emotional toll that disaster brings can sometimes be even more devastating than the financial strains of damage and loss of home, business, or personal property.

Understand Disaster Events

• Everyone who sees or experiences a disaster is affected by it in some way.

• It is normal to feel anxious about your own safety and that of your family and close friends.

• Profound sadness, grief, and anger are normal reactions to an abnormal event.

• Acknowledging your feelings helps you recover.

• Focusing on your strengths and abilities helps you heal.

• Accepting help from community programs and resources is healthy.

• Everyone has different needs and different ways of coping.

• It is common to want to strike back at people who have caused great pain.

Children and older adults are of special concern in the aftermath of disasters. Even individuals who experience a disaster “second hand” through exposure to extensive media coverage can be affected.

Contact local faith-based organizations, voluntary agencies, or professional counselors for counseling. Additionally, FEMA and state and local governments of the affected area may provide crisis counseling assistance.

Helping Others

The compassion and generosity of the American people is never more evident than after a disaster. People want to help. Here are some general guidelines on helping others after a disaster:

• Volunteer! Check with local organizations or listen to local news reports for information about where volunteers are needed.

Note: Until volunteers are specifically requested, stay away from disaster areas.

• Bring your own food, water, and emergency supplies to a disaster area if you are needed there.

This is especially important in cases where a large area has been affected and emergency items are in short supply.

• Give a check or money order to a recognized disaster relief organization.

These groups are organized to process checks, purchase what is needed, and get it to the people who need it most.

• Do not drop off food, clothing, or any other item to a government agency or disaster relief organization unless a particular item has been requested.

Normally, these organizations do not have the resources to sort through the donated items.

• Donate a quantity of a given item or class of items (such as nonperishable food) rather than a mix of different items.

Determine where your donation is going, how it’s going to get there, who is going to unload it, and how it is going to be distributed. Without sufficient planning, much needed supplies will be left unused.

General Water Conservation Tips

• Never pour water down the drain when there may be another use for it. Use it to water your indoor plants or garden.

• Repair dripping faucets by replacing washers. One drop per second wastes 2,700 gallons of water per year!

• Check all plumbing for leaks. Have leaks repaired by a plumber.

• Retrofit all household faucets by installing aerators with flow-restrictors.

• Install an instant hot water heater on your sink.

• Insulate your water pipes to reduce heat loss and prevent them from breaking.

• Install a water-softening system only when the minerals in the water would damage your pipes. Turn the softener off while on vacation.

• Choose appliances that are more energy and water efficient.

Bathroom

• Consider purchasing a low-volume toilet that uses less than half the water of older models.

Note: In many areas, low-volume units are required by law.

• Install a toilet displacement device to cut down on the amount of water needed to flush.

Place a one-gallon plastic jug of water into the tank to displace toilet flow (do not use a brick, it may dissolve and loose pieces may cause damage to the internal parts).

Be sure installation does not interfere with the operating parts.

• Replace your showerhead with an ultra-low-flow version.

• Place a bucket in the shower to catch excess water for watering plants.

• Avoid flushing the toilet unnecessarily. Dispose of tissues, insects, and other similar waste in the trash rather than the toilet.

• Avoid taking baths—take short showers—turn on water only to get wet and lather and then again to rinse off.

• Avoid letting the water run while brushing your teeth, washing your face, or shaving.

Kitchen

• Operate automatic dishwashers only when they are fully loaded. Use the “light wash” feature, if available, to use less water.

• Hand wash dishes by filling two containers—one with soapy water and the other with rinse water containing a small amount of chlorine bleach.

• Clean vegetables in a pan filled with water rather than running water from the tap.

• Start a compost pile as an alternate method of disposing of food waste or simply dispose of food in the garbage. (Kitchen sink disposals require a lot of water to operate properly).

• Store drinking water in the refrigerator. Do not let the tap run while you are waiting for water to cool.

• Avoid wasting water waiting for it to get hot. Capture it for other uses such as plant watering or heat it on the stove or in a microwave.

• Avoid rinsing dishes before placing them in the dishwasher; just remove large particles of food. (Most dishwashers can clean soiled dishes very well, so dishes do not have to be rinsed before washing)

• Avoid using running water to thaw meat or other frozen foods. Defrost food overnight in the refrigerator or use the defrost setting on your microwave oven.

Laundry

• Operate automatic clothes washers only when they are fully loaded or set the water level for the size of your load.

Outdoor Water

• Check your well pump periodically. If the automatic pump turns on and off while water is not being used, you have a leak.

• Plant native and/or drought-tolerant grasses, ground covers, shrubs, and trees.

Once established, they do not need water as frequently and usually will survive a dry period without watering. Small plants require less water to become established. Group plants together based on similar water needs.

• Install irrigation devices that are the most water efficient for each use. Micro and drip irrigation and soaker hoses are examples of efficient devices.

• Use mulch to retain moisture in the soil. Mulch also helps control weeds that compete with landscape plants for water.

• Avoid purchasing recreational water toys that require a constant stream of water.

• Avoid installing ornamental water features (such as fountains) unless they use recycled water.

Pools

• Install a new water-saving pool filter. A single back flushing with a traditional filter uses 180 to 250 gallons of water.

• Cover pools and spas to reduce evaporation of water.

Editor's Note:

While all of the above is from FEMA, and I have no idea why they feel it necessary to include Car Washing, Lawn Care, or Pools, I do have to admit that a pool would be one way to store water.  

Typical of a government brochure, the FEMA indepth preparation guide is over 200 pages long with all sorts of pictures - and a lot more information.

The link to the pdf.file for the 2014 disaster preparation guide, Are You Ready is:

http://www.fema.gov/pdf/areyouready/areyouready_full.pdf

The guide is very long. But, after reading the entire pdf file, I believe that some of the information is very helpful.

Of course other information such as Car Washing and Lawn Care during a disaster are completely unnecessary.

I mean, let's be honest, the last thing on my list of concerns is whether my car needs to be washed during a disaster - I'm sure I'll have bigger things to worry about.

And while FEMA listed information regarding Being Wary of Wildlife, unless I missed it, I did not see where they covered the issue of personal security during a disaster. 

For that, I'm trying to put something together to address that issue.

Until then, just as with everything else, my advice is to let common sense and your good judgement be your guide at to what you need.

Good luck, and remember preparation is not a bad thing - especially when living in areas prone to natural disasters and such.

Tom Correa

Friday, February 21, 2014

The M4 Rifle Is Getting Our Troops Killed

The story below is truly an FYI, "for your information," piece in the hopes that readers will contact their representative in Congress to do something about this. It regards the M4 rifle which our troops are depending on to save their lives in combat.

The M4 carbine was developed from various outgrowths of the M16 design, including a number of 14.5-inch barreled A1 style carbines. Officially adopted as a replacement weapon for the M16A2 for select special ops troops in 1994, it was used with questionable success in the Balkans and in more recent conflicts has seen many problems in Afghanistan and Iraq.

The M4 carbine has a three-round burst firing mode, while the M4A1 carbine has a fully automatic firing mode. Of course, none of that helps if the rifle fails to function properly. In fact, the problems are reportedly so severe in nature that I'm not jumping to conclusions when I say say that the M4 rifle is getting our troops killed. Reports of this is out there.

After reading the story below from The Washington Times, it dawned on me that not since the days of the early 1960s when the M16 rifle was first issued to American troops in Vietnam have we seen this sort of problems occur. Back then, the M16 demonstrated that it was a piece of crap and simply couldn't hold up to the rigors of combat. And yes, since I was trained with both the M14 and the M16 while in the Marine Corps during Vietnam, I'm entitled to call the M16 a piece of crap!

Back in those days, the M16 jammed regularly even after extensive cleaning. And yes, it also had feeding problems which meant that a grunt as myself would have to use the "forward assist" more than I wanted to so that I can keep firing. And no, no one should be saddled with a rifle that one had to hit a Forward Assist because it has loading problems.

Friends, that was more than 40 years ago. They still make weapons with the M16 design with the "forward assist". You can find them incorporated in the design of the M4. And yes, you would think that after 40 to 50 years of using that design that someone would have fixed that problem to where the "forward assist" is no longer needed. But that's not the case.

The original controversy over the M16 started because the gun suffered from a jamming flaw known as "failure to extract," which meant that a spent cartridge case remained lodged in the chamber after a bullet was fired. According to a Congressional report at the time, the jamming was caused primarily by a change in gunpowder that was done without adequate testing and reflected a decision for which "the safety of soldiers was a secondary consideration."

Yes, that's right, the Congressional report said that the malfunction of the M16 was considered not a problem because someone said that "the safety of our soldiers was a secondary consideration." Imagine that!

Besides the powder issue, there were design issues, and away from what the designer specified, as well as telling troops the rifle was "self cleaning" and at times failing to issue cleaning kits, the rifle was redesign to add a "forward assist" which is really a sore spot with me because of a failure to fully feed a round. Yes, the rounds would not always chamber or seat.

Yes, the designers decided that they would include a handle for troops to "pound" if their rifle did not fire because the rounds would not fully seat. Imagine that for a moment.

Why is it a sore spot with me? While you're having to return fire -- you have to stop for a second, pound on the "forward assist" -- and hope that that got it operating again. Sound reliable to you? Would you like to be in the position? Can you imagine being issued a rifle that you can't fully rely on to operate at maximum efficiency when you need it to save your life or the life of another?

Due to the jamming issue and the need for a "forward assist," troops in Vietnam were being reported wounded directly as a result of the failures of the M16 rifles they were issued. Many Marines, like myself, felt the M16 was unreliable and completely undependable compared to its precursor, the M14, which was an overall better battle-rifle.

No telling how many jammed during combat. So now there is no telling just how many men in Vietnam died because they were issued the inferior M16 as their weapon. There is no telling how many men were senselessly wounded and literally could not fight back because their M16 malfunctioned.

Today, more than 50 years later, the curse of the M16 design is at it again. And yes, though in the form of the M4, which of course is an offshoot of the M16, there is no telling of the problems now taking place in Afghanistan.

The problems with the M4 rifle are something that we are now learning have been taking place for a long time and certainly took place throughout the Iraq War.

As for the M4, it has had its critics as well. Including USMC officials who said, the M4 malfunctioned three times more often than the M16A4 during an assessment conducted in late summer 2002 for Marine Corps Systems Command at Quantico, Virginia. Malfunctions were broken down into several categories, including magazine failures, failure to chamber, failure to fire, failure to extract and worn or broken parts.

During the comparison tests between the M4 and the M16A4, the M4 failed 186 times across those categories compared to the M16A4 which failed 61 times during the testing over the course of 69,000 rounds fired. Sounds reliable to you? Not me. And this should not be what we give to our troops!

In 2013, it was reported that the M4 finished dead last in a sandstorm reliability test, against 3 competitors that include a convertible M4 variant. But even worse is that the M4 had over 3.5 times more jams than the weapon that finished in 3rd place. It is something that our military should not allow to take place, yet they are!

Friends, knowing how many BILLIONS of dollars we Americans pour into our military each year, I believe there is absolutely NO EXCUSE that the Department of Defense can come up with which would be even close to justifying any of this.

After reading this, I really believe you may want to contact your Congressman or woman and tell them that this cannot stand - that this has to change, that our troops need rifles that we keep them alive.

Printed below is the entire The Washington Times report:

Troops left to fend for themselves after Army was warned of flaws in rifle

February 19th, 2014
The Washington Times

U.S. Army Senior Warrant Officer Russton B. Kramer, a 20-year Green Beret, has learned that if you want to improve your chances to survive, it’s best to personally make modifications to the Army’s primary rifle — the M4 carbine.

Warrant Officer Kramer has been dropped into some of the most ferocious battles in the war on terrorism, from hunting Islamists in the mountains of northern Iraq to disrupting Taliban opium dealers in dusty southern Afghanistan.

He was awarded the Silver Star for his bravery in Operation Viking Hammer to crush the terrorist group Ansar al-Islam in Iraq.

The warrant officer said he and fellow Special Forces soldiers have a trick to maintain the M4A1 — the commando version: They break the rules and buy off-the-shelf triggers and other components and overhaul the weapon themselves.

“The reliability is not there,” Warrant Officer Kramer said of the standard-issue model. “I would prefer to use something else. If I could grab something else, I would.”

Documents obtained by The Washington Times show the Pentagon was warned before the Afghanistan and Iraq wars that the iterations of the M4 carbine were flawed and might jam or fail, especially in the harsh desert conditions that both wars inflicted.

U.S. Special Operations Command in 2001 issued a damning private report that said the M4A1 was fundamentally flawed because the gun failed when called on to unleash rapid firing.

In 2002, an internal report from the Army’s Picatinny Arsenal in New Jersey said the M4A1 was prone to overheating and “catastrophic barrel failure,” according to a copy obtained by The Times.

The test findings also carried ramifications for the regular Army. By 2002, soldiers were carrying thousands of the conventional, light-barrel M4, of which the service ultimately would buy nearly 500,000 and send them into long wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

The M4, at times, has been called upon to perform the same kind of rapid fire as the M4A1.

Colt Defense LLC of Hartford, Conn., which lost exclusive M4 design rights in 2009, has steadfastly defended the rifle through years of controversy. The Army contract went to another manufacturer last year.

Colt did not respond to requests for comment. The gun manufacturer’s website states that “throughout the world today, the Colt’s M4 reliability, performance and accuracy provide joint coalition forces with the confidence required to accomplish any mission. Designed specifically for lightweight mobility, speed of target acquisition, and potent firepower capability, the M4 delivers. Proven in military combat operations all over the world, it is in a class by itself as a first rate combat weapon system.”

Colt’s monopoly on the Army’s weapon ended in February 2013, when the service awarded the M4 contract to FN Herstal, a global firearms manufacturer owned by Belgium’s regional Walloon government and the operator of a plant in South Carolina.

Colt had a good run. Since the mid-1990s, the Army has spent $600 million to buy more than a half-million carbines.

Critics say "the SoCom and Army reports should have prompted the Army to pursue a better design in the early 2000s."

The Army periodically improved the rifle, but did not conduct a comprehensive upgrade until a senator pressured the top brass years later. In 2011, a decade after the Sept. 11 attacks, the Army announced that it was converting M4s to the commando version with a heavier barrel and automatic trigger firing.

Some of the problems uncovered in 2001 and 2002, such as stoppages or jamming, became evident in the conventional firearm, most infamously in the 2008 Battle of Wanat in Afghanistan in which nine U.S. troops lost their lives.

“Realistically speaking, there’s been loss of life that is unneeded because there was a dumbing-down of the weapon system,” said Scott Traudt, who advised the Army on how to improve the M4 a decade ago.

Today, he is a special adviser at Green Mountain Defense Industries of Strafford, Vt., a Colt competitor that is manufacturing a new rifle that it hopes to sell to special operations.

Replaced by SCAR -- but was that a solution?

In an independent overall survey of soldiers back from Iraq and Afghanistan, 20 percent reported that the M4 jammed during battle, and one-fifth of those said the stoppages made a “large impact.”

Faced with inaction by the Pentagon, soldiers such as Warrant Officer Kramer have taken matters into their own hands, even at the risk of discipline.

“There are enhancements you can do to your weapon to bring that reliability level up. While we’re not authorized to change our weapon or modify them in any manner, obviously there are some guys out there, including myself, we’ll add some things to our guns to bring that reliability level up,” he told The Times. “I’d rather face six of my peers in a court martial versus being 6 feet down.”

The M4 has brought consistent complaints about at least three shortfalls:
  • At a 250-yard effective-kill distance, it lacks range;
  • its 5.56 mm round lacks killing power;
  • and the gun requires constant maintenance — cleaning and lubricating — in sandy conditions or is prone to jamming.
  • Soldiers also complain that the magazine dents easily and the springs break.
The short-barreled weapon was suited for house-to-house fighting in Iraq. But in Afghanistan, its lack of range meant that the Taliban could operate at a safe distance.

Mr. Traudt said there are M4 failures in battle that do not get publicized. The fact that M4s broke down at Wanat was not known publicly until Army historians chronicled the battle and released their narrative in 2010. Even the general in charge of buying the gun said he had not heard of the problems until the press reported on the Army history.

There does not appear to be a comprehensive assessment of the M4 by any oversight agency — even though the weapon is the ground warrior’s most critical asset.

The Government Accountability Office, Congress‘ auditor, has not assessed the M4 since it entered service in the mid-1990s. Likewise, the Pentagon’s top operational tester has not conducted live-fire tests of the M4 or the commando M4A1.

Alarmed after the 2001 test, SoCom developed its own gun, the Special Operations Forces Assault Rifle (SCAR), and handed it out to Army Rangers, Green Berets and Navy SEALs. Delta Force, the Army’s elite counter terrorism unit, bought a German-designed rifle. Sources say SoCom is not entirely happy with either gun and still relies on the M4A1.

“The 5.56 [caliber] SCAR was a failure from the viewpoint of the men,” said Ryan Zinke, a former member of SEAL Team 6, the elite terrorist-hunting unit.

A Questionable Standard

The M4 carbine’s Iraq-Afghanistan history is replete with spotty tests and performance, but also with praise from a devoted cadre who took it to war.

The M4, a lighter, shorter-range version of the M16 rifle, is generally popular among the majority of combat-savvy soldiers who completed questionnaires, Army surveys show.

The Washington Times interviewed two active-duty special operations troops who noted flaws but expressed love for the Colt-developed gun.

“The reality for all armies is that governments cannot afford to purchase a perfect assault rifle. It is simply cost-prohibitive,” said an Army Green Beret who is not authorized to speak on the record.

“For its cost, I consider the M4 to be an amazing assault rifle. Between the M16 and M4, I’ve carried weapons from that family for nearly 30 years and would not trade them for any other fielded families of assault rifles.”

A Marine commando who served in Afghanistan praised the firearm but noted that it requires constant cleaning or becomes vulnerable to jamming.

“The first thing you do back at camp is clean the gun,” he said.

Mr. Zinke, the former SEAL, said the M4A1 improved as its flaws were worked out.

“The M4 has become the standard special forces weapon system,” said Mr. Zinke.

“The rail system has greatly improved over time and can easily accommodate advances in optics, illumination and targeting. The 5.56 mm M4 provides an appropriate trade-off between range and firepower. Improvements and diversity in ammunition types has also improved its versatility.”

Mr. Traudt, of Green Mountain Defense, said the military paid his company a decade ago for ideas for fixing the M4.

He produced his company’s product, a 2001 technical report titled “Carbine extended life barrel and selected reliability improvement components identification.”

“The M4s were substandard,” he said. “The Army paid us to find a way to improve them, improve them cheaply with a little bit of extra engineering and metallurgical changes to make a gun that was markedly more reliable than the Colt weapon. The Army took our advice and did nothing with it.”

‘It’s virtually useless’

Retired Army Maj. Gen. Robert Scales, an artillery officer who earned the Silver Star in Vietnam, is a prominent M4 critic. He said its 5.56-caliber bullet is too small and the gas-piston firing system is prone to stoppage. He said better weapons — the German Heckler-Koch G36 and Russian AK-74 (a version of the venerable AK-47) — use superior firing systems.

“Frankly, this whole thing is scandalous,” Gen. Scales said. “We send soldiers into close combat with lousy weapons and we’ve done it since World War II and nobody complains. It’s a national outrage.”

“It has no penetrating power,” he said of the M4. “It’s ineffective against vehicles, against bunkers. It’s ineffective against virtually anything except a man in the open. Put a flak jacket on the enemy and it’s virtually useless.”

The Army believes it is answering critics such as Gen. Scales with a 5.56 mm round — the “green” lead-free M885A1 introduced in 2010. The ammunition, the Army contends, has more penetration power and longer effective range to kill the enemy.

Gen. Scales also asks why the Army issues only one model of conventional carbine. “More soldiers are killed because of small-arms engagement than air-sea battle, air-to-air combat,” he said.

“There is a difference between breaking down doors in Baghdad and fighting in the open, flat terrain of Afghanistan. One deserves a heavy bullet with longer range. One deserves to be light and nimble and maneuverable inside of buildings.”

In 2009, eight years into the war, an Army officer wrote a study making that point.

“Open source reports from Afghanistan since 2001 reveal that soldiers are engaging the enemy at ranges from contact distance to beyond the maximum effective range of the M4 carbine,” wrote Maj. Thomas P. Ehrhart, who at that time was attending the School of Advanced Military Studies at Fort Leavenworth, Kansas. “Many comments focus on the ability of the soldier to hit his intended target or a failure of the bullet to achieve the desired effect.”

He summed up his findings by concluding that the M4 is not the best weapon for America’s longest war:

“Operations in Afghanistan frequently require United States ground forces to engage and destroy the enemy at ranges beyond 300 meters. While the infantryman is ideally suited for combat in Afghanistan, his current weapons, doctrine, and marksmanship training do not provide a precise, lethal fire capability to 500 meters and are therefore inappropriate.”

Troublesome test reports

The first second-guessing on the M4 occurred inside the military in 2000, when U.S. Special Operations Command, in conjunction with gun specialists at Naval Sea Systems Command, conducted an exhaustive evaluation of its version — the heavier-barrel M4A1. At the time, SoCom had no idea it was testing a critical weapon on the eve of two major land wars that would thrust commandos into constant combat.

With SEALs and Green Berets in mind, testers subjected the carbine to the kind of constant barrel-burning fire in harsh conditions that would erupt in Iraq and Afghanistan. SoCom’s private study called the M4A1 carbine “fundamentally flawed.”

Upon firing, the bolt opened and attempted to extract a cartridge case that was stuck to the chamber because of pressure from the fired round. The gun can be kept at “reasonable levels of reliability” if subjected to “intense maintenance,” the report said.

The study also mentioned “alarming failures of the M4A1 in operations under harsh conditions and heavy firing.”

It blamed six factors, including spare parts shortages and a “decline in quality control along with mass production.” The report said that at a conference of joint special operations forces — SEALs, Rangers and Delta Force — the warriors “identified multiple operational deficiencies inherent to the M4A1” including reliability, safety and accuracy.”

Barrels can become loose and “become inaccurate.”

Still, the SoCom report said, the M4A1 “essentially meets the needs of conventional Army users.”

Months later, the Army’s Armament Technology Facility, part of the Picatinny Arsenal in New Jersey, conducted its own study of the M4A1.

The 2002 report sent by the facility’s chief to Special Operations Command told of “reliability problems related to the failure to extract and eject casings, broken bolts, failure to function in arctic and over-the-beach (surf zone, surface and subsurface swimmer) environments,” according to a copy obtained by The Times.

“The M4A1 has also experienced cook-off [premature ammunition explosion] after a relatively few numbers of rounds have been fired at a high rate of fire,” it said. “Catastrophic barrel failure has also been experienced after a relatively low number of rounds have been fired.”

Preventing jamming - while trying to stay alive!

The Washington Times asked Special Operations Command why it continued to distribute the M4A1?

“The M4A1 and M4 Carbines have served our forces well during more than a decade of sustained combat,” said Navy Capt. Kevin Aandahl. “The Army has improved the M4A1/M4 significantly over the past 12 years. The Army developed a heavy barrel and placed it in production in 2002. In addition, the M4 and M4A1 have received improvements to the trigger assembly, extractor spring, recoil buffer, barrel chamber, magazine and bolt. These upgrades addressed the issues raised in the 2002 report.”

Capt. Aandahl said the command on its own has fielded new gun parts to “improve the M4A1 capability to meet USSOCOM requirements for close-in, urban operations and room-clearing types of engagements that require this type of weapon.”

The same year Picatinny weighed in, the Marine Corps conducted its own testing of the conventional M4. The Corps infantryman’s main rifle was then, and is today, the longer-range, heavier-barrel M16.

The Army Times, an independent Gannett newspaper, later reported that the -

“M4 malfunctioned three times more often than the M16A4.”

To Mr. Traudt and other M4 critics, the testing should have prompted the Army to rethink the design as thousands of the carbines were about to be shipped overseas.

Mr. Traudt said he thinks the jamming problems encountered by a significant segment of troops over the past decade could have been avoided if special operations continued developing Green Mountain’s Reliability Product Improvement Kit.

The kit was tested at the Naval Surface Warfare Center in Crane, Ind., in 2001 and at Picatinny in 2002. It included replacing the extractor spring, ejector spring, gas tube and gas plug with more heat-resistant ones, and moving to a one-piece, four-coil system that was engineered from more thermally durable materials to make the gun function better.

“An M4A1, when equipped with those parts, will fire continuously on full-automatic magazine after magazine until its barrel disintegrates,” Mr. Traudt said. “In our tests, M4A1 barrel failure occurred at 1,375 rounds. A normal Army M4A1 is out of action at 840 shots fired when equipped with its standard, metallurgically and technologically antiquated parts — and this isn’t even barrel failure. It’s gas system or bolt failure.”

At the time of the tests, internal reports by SoCom and Picatinny said the M4A1 was terribly flawed and not suited for commando missions.

One person on Capitol Hill eventually took notice. By 2007, enough anecdotal evidence had poured in from the wars to prompt Sen. Tom Coburn, Oklahoma Republican, to launch a campaign for the Army to find a new rifle.

“Considering the longstanding reliability and lethality problems with the M16 design, of which the M4 is based, I am afraid that our troops in combat might not have the best weapon,” Senator Tom Coburn wrote to the Army in April 2007. “A number of manufacturers have researched, tested and fielded weapons which, by all accounts, appear to provide significantly improved reliability.”
The senator fought a lonely battle the next five years.

-- end of The Washington Times news article.

While the report from The Washington Times says, no other lawmaker joined Sen. Coburn's campaign for a better basic rifle, in the end he forced the Army to change. But it is questionable if the Army or the other branches are doing just that.

The M4 is still in the hands of our troops, and they are experiencing problems which our military could remedy very quickly by recalling these weapons and issuing a better alternative. Even if the new issue, the alternative, is a "foreign made" rifle, I believe that the lives and safety of our troops justifies getting them the absolutely best rifle we can!

It is criminal to allow our troops to use an inferior rifle just because some sort of stupid pride or government contract says we have to leave them essentially unarmed. Yes, unarmed! That's what they are when going into combat with weapon that they cannot rely on!

That's how I see it.

Tom Correa