hradzka: (plane)
I'm going to talk about the Newtown, Connecticut murders at Sandy Hook Elementary School in two posts. This is the first one. In this one, I'll talk about the murders themselves, from a tactical viewpoint. Another time, I'll talk about the things people are proposing we do about them. For now, though, the important thing is to talk about tactics. I write about mass shootings from a tactical standpoint, because that's a crucial operational level for those who, God forbid, find themselves at the scene of a murderous attack.

In the murders at Sandy Hook Elementary, there are two sets of tactics to consider: the attacker's, and the defenders'. I'm going to spend much more time on the latter than on the former. )
hradzka: (solace)
At the midnight premiere of THE DARK KNIGHT RISES in Aurora, Colorado, a theater patron exited the theater through the emergency door and went to his car, where he equipped himself in tactical gear that included a gas mask, helmet, and reportedly body armor. (I have not seen detailed citations on the body armor, though, and would really appreciate a link to manufacturer and level if anyone has one, as well as a transcript of the original source for this particular report. I have seen the receipt for the perp's tac-vest, which cost a hundred and six bucks, wasn't bulletproof, and is of the sort used for carrying mags. I've also seen a picture of what could be a ballistic vest lying on the ground in an AP photograph; if anything, it's probably a IIA, which is the lowest form of body armor, so that might explain why the perp surrendered when cops showed up with rifles -- even a pistol with sufficient velocity would defeat IIA body armor, and the blunt force trauma from being shot by something that couldn't penetrate would be pretty painful. Again, though, I've seen no print confirmation of this anywhere, and it's also possible the perp surrendered just out of curiosity, or in a lucid moment.) The perpetrator launched two gas bombs and then opened fire with a Colt AR-15 that had a 100-round drum mag attached. When the rifle (or, more likely, the drum mag) jammed, he went to other weapons: a .40 Glock and a shotgun. The perpetrator murdered twelve people and wounded fifty-eight.

Read more... )
hradzka: (plane)
Anders Breivik, the Norwegian terrorist who killed 77 people in 2011, has gone on trial. The information that'll come out as the case is presented will be interesting, but at the moment I'm mildly horrified at the ineptitude of the press covering the event. Breivik is a lot of things, but opaque is not one of them; he believes in the virtues of clear communication, particularly as he's seeking to win people to his cause, and he plans his actions very carefully in order to help communicate his messages. Breivik is not a guy who wants to create mysteries and have them figured out. He is, as he described his occupation at the start of trial, a writer, and he follows a writer's maxim: tell 'em what you're going to tell 'em, tell 'em, tell 'em what you told 'em.

For reporters covering him, this is useful. Or it would be, if they bothered to use it.

Read more... )
hradzka: (plane)
I tend to be very cautious in following the news stories of major shootings, because you have to watch out for 1) information changing and 2) narratives getting locked. The shooting of 17-year-old Trayvon Martin by neighborhood watchman George Zimmerman is heading into the narrative lock stage. It's not just our conjectures that crystallize, but the *stories* we believe the event is telling. And Martin's death involves dueling narratives, not just about the meaning of his death, but about the legal circumstances. But the meaning and the circumstances have very little to do with each other at this point, because Trayvon Martin isn't just Trayvon Martin anymore. People aren't just pissed off about his death, they're pissed off over a *lot* of deaths, and about stuff that doesn't just involve death, but being hassled due to walking while black. For the folks who have these stories it's a major point of identification.

The legal issues at hand are 1) the actual shooting and 2) the performance of the police department. This is where the narrative can get thorny. Both legal issues have the same political narrative: Zimmermann is racist. The police department is racist. This conflates the two problems into one, which is compelling, but mechanically and from the POV of our institutions -- and for me, as a civilian with a carry permit -- these are two distinct problems. The Sanford PD has handled the case appallingly, but at the moment the state of Florida and the city of Sanford seem to be responding to the political pressure in appropriate ways, with the appointment of a special prosecutor and a vote of no confidence in the police chief. It is important that the politicos recognize the seriousness of this situation; at the same time, just because the public *thinks* Zimmerman guilty does not automatically mean that he *is,* and not only due to Florida's "stand your ground" law. There was a hell of a compelling narrative in the Duke lacrosse case, after all, and that didn't exactly turn out as everybody thought.

That said, looking at the evidence available, my most charitable assessment of Zimmerman (which is difficult to make) is that he is almost certainly criminally liable. (I will explain the "almost certainly" shortly.) It's surprising he wasn't arrested that night, though the initial police report makes it clear he was cuffed and the case was investigated as potential manslaughter. It's also worth noting that the most damning facts (Martin had left home on a brief errand to get some snacks) didn't come out till later, though they bloody well should have come out that night, because *Martin had his cell phone on him* and the cops still took three inexcusable days to notify his family. To me, that is item number one on the police malfeasance list.

Read more... )
hradzka: (plane)
As I read his manifesto, I realized Anders Breivik was reminding me of Malcolm X.

Not on any moral or tactical level, of course; black Muslim violence, Malcolm's assassination included, was largely internal or schismatic (though according to multiple sources, Malcolm had to be talked out of putting together a hit squad to kill Los Angeles police officers in response to their raid of an Nation of Islam mosque in which the cops shot seven people, one of whom was paralyzed and one of whom was killed). No, what Breivik was reminding me of was Malcolm X during his transition away from the NOI and into his own organization Muslim Mosque Incorporated, away from Elijah Muhammed and into Sunni Islam, away from separatism and into the civil rights movement he'd often belittled. It's a transition marvelously covered (as is all of Malcolm's life) in the late Manning Marable's magnum opus MALCOLM X: A LIFE OF REINVENTION. Terrific book, BTW, really fascinating. That time in Malcolm's life sees him adrift, issuing contradictory statements from one day to the next, and my inclination was to see it as Malcolm not knowing what the hell he was doing. Marable, who admired Malcolm more than I do (and obviously knew him a hell of a lot better), had a different take: Malcolm, he argued, was evolving. Evolving a lot. Evolving wildly, desperately, he didn't know what he was changing into, but he was changing into *something,* and as a result of feeling this out he necessarily came off as politically incoherent.

I don't know if I buy that with regard to Malcolm, but the idea stuck, and reading Breivik's manifesto, I felt almost a sense of deja vu. Here's my take on Anders Breivik. )

On Norway

Jul. 25th, 2011 01:11 am
hradzka: (plane)
The news investigation of the mass murders in Norway, is, as you'd expect, being handled by Norwegian media, which means they're getting the good info and all I can find is the stuff the English-language media deigns to pass on and what I can pry out of Google Translate. So I can't provide a detailed timeline here. I also haven't seen any information on the exact weaponry used. (The author of what's plausibly alleged to be Breivik's manifesto states he legally owned a pump-action shotgun, a bolt-action rifle in .308 Winchester, and a semi-auto Ruger Mini-14.) I'm not familiar with Norwegian gun laws, and I really don't know anything about right-wing politics in Norway. Until there's more information I can't reliably tell how far out the places Breivik was posting, and the people he was hanging out with, actually were. All I can go by is what are purported to be his own writings. More about that in a bit.

Read more... )
hradzka: (plane)
The reaction to the exposure of Tom McMaster as being "Amina," the putative "Gay Girl in Damascus," is interesting.

I was suckered by him, and I shouldn't have been. I remember my reaction to Amina's post "My father, the hero," in which Amina's dad turned back Syrian thugs by making a brave speech; folks were forwarding that link around, and I was thinking, "Yeah, folks, this only works in movies. Here's what happens in real fucking life: THEY JUST COME BACK TOMORROW." And in subsequent posts, Amina wrote about her and her dad having to lay low and dodge the thugs. And I thought, "Yep, there you go." That was the moment I bought it. Which is interesting. I wasn't suckered by her politics, or by her claiming identity; I was suckered when "Amina" hit my comfort zone, which is to be cynical based on things my experience has trained me to expect.

Belief works that way. Politics works that way. And anger works that way, too. People are comfortable with, or angriest about, things that fit into pre-planned mental channels. And so I shouldn't be surprised, but right now, I am finding it amazing and disappointing that I am seeing far more angry commentary about Tom McMaster pretending to be a gay Syrian woman than I have seen angry commentary about the Syrian government *actually shooting Syrians.*

Read more... )
hradzka: (plane)
The WASHINGTON POST is reporting that Amina Abdallah may not exist.

All photos purported to be of her are of a woman from London named Jelena Lecic. The State Department is trying to figure out what the hell is going on. Syrian activists, who have talked extensively with her online, are boggled. If this is a fake, it isn't just a case of her fooling folks like me and reporters. She fooled actual Syrian activists, some of whom corresponded extensively with her. The woman purporting to be Amina's cousin, who reported her alleged kidnapping to the blog, has quit corresponding with reporters. Wowzers.

I just want to say, if this is fake, and the cousin -- reportedly a housewife in Georgia -- has faked all of this stuff, her penetration of Syrian activist circles is *truly* remarkable and some intelligence agency ought to hire her. Aminah's disappearance would certainly be in keeping with the MO of online pretenders, who have their personas get sick/get hurt/die when they feel the need for love or things get too overwhelming.

ETA: It's official. Fake. Tom McMaster, a white guy from Georgia, has confessed to pretending to be both Amina and her cousin. He's used the Amina persona for five years, during which he's actually been to Syria.

It's funny. Looking back, the story of her dad talking down the security guys should have been obvious bullshit, because it was too perfect and fantasy-world. Except then Amina and her dad were reported as going to the mattresses, in a more realistic coda.

Free Amina

Jun. 7th, 2011 09:50 pm
hradzka: (plane)
Yesterday, Amina Arraf, who blogs as "Amina Abdallah," was grabbed by thugs in Syria.

If you don't know who she is, she writes a blog about, among other things, being an out lesbian in Syria. She is on the other side of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict from me, which isn't surprising. (She has written some stuff on that line that IMHO goes from deeply felt politics to skating a nasty line, but frankly I expect that from most people in the region, Syrian or not. I once had a good friend tell me how cosmopolitan his neighborhood was by saying, "I could even have JEWS at my house!" He didn't know I was Jewish. Still doesn't; I'm saving it for an occasion when I want to blow his mind.) Abdallah writes about her hopes for democracy in Syria (good luck), her accounts of what it's like to be out and gay in Syria (that post is a MUST-READ), and (another must-read) what it's like to get rousted by secret police.

In that encounter, her father chased off the thugs who showed up on their doorstep with a ballsy speech. Last night, she wasn't so lucky. She was seen to be grabbed off the street by three armed men while en route to a political meeting. It's presumed the guys are Baath Party thugs or one of the security services, but there are several of them and they're not exactly forthcoming about who's got which prisoners. Her family and friends are looking for her, with no luck as yet. They suspect she's just being held for a while, but she may be forcibly deported (she holds dual citizenship). With the Syrian government, both of these are best-case scenarios.


It is worth noting -- particularly, I add, by the Syrian government -- that Amina Arraf was born in Virginia, and her dual citizenship is with the United States of America.

ETA: The WASHINGTON POST is reporting that Amina Abdallah may not exist. All photos purported to be of her are of a woman from London named Jelena Lecic. The State Department is trying to figure out what the hell is going on. Syrian activists, who have talked extensively with her online, are boggled. If this is a fake, it isn't just a case of her fooling folks like me and reporters. She fooled actual Syrian activists, some of whom corresponded extensively with her. The woman purporting to be Amina's cousin, who reported her alleged kidnapping to the blog, has quit corresponding with reporters. Wowzers.

ETA: It's official. Gay Girl in Damascus is White Guy from Georgia.
hradzka: Cassidy, from Garth Ennis's PREACHER. (Default)
I had two thoughts on hearing of Osama bin Laden's death. The first was: "FUCK YEAH!" My other thought was, "A Navy SEAL killed Osama bin Laden? OMG John Ringo can PREDICT THE FUTURE."

The road to this point was a long one. Reportedly, the US found this place by tracking a courier, whose nickname first came to light in detainee interrogations years ago, and about whom more data slowly amassed until we had his whole name, area of operations, and finally residence, which turned out to be Osama Central. Congrats to President Obama, the operators, and the intelligence folks on a job very well done. I thought the President's speech afterwards could have been better, but it must have been a very strange moment for him; he gave the order for a specific human being to be killed, and a couple of days later, it was done. It was Osama bin Laden, but my impression of Obama is that he's the kind of guy who still would be a little bit freaked out by that. His presentation was always as a transformative figure; he's a natural inspirer, rather than a natural leader, and has never seemed comfortable with wrangling people, unlike Bill Clinton and LBJ, two presidents who *looooved* it. And the one time since his election that Obama says "Do this!" and it happens pretty much perfectly and it's something big that matters and that people will remember him forever for, it's killing a guy. That's got to be a little odd. The way he emphasized himself in his speech was a little odd, too: he insisted on it being a priority, he was briefed, he made the decision. That speech was his "MISSION ACCOMPLISHED" banner; as we all know, the question is what comes after that.

Among all the news and commentary (my favorite being the guy from Lahore who went to Abottabad to get away from it all, who unknowingly became the first person to cover the story when he bitched about helicopters on his Twitter), I've been surprised to see a few commentators making discontented sounds about Americans being publicly happy that Osama bin Laden is dead. Some folks even thought it resembled people celebrating over 9/11 itself. I was reminded of those 9/11 celebrations, too, but purely for contrast: Americans got together to celebrate the death of one guy who deliberately murdered over 3,000 people in a single morning and was sorry it wasn't more. The people who danced in the streets on 9/11 were celebrating the murder of over 3,000 people, and wishing it had been more. There is not so much a moral difference between the two as a moral *gulf.* I haven't forgotten that people danced in the streets over 9/11, and I'm never going to.

The big implications over the next few days are for our relationship with Pakistan. President Obama made lip service to Pakistan's cooperation, but the administration didn't tell Pakistan about the intel or the raid, and that says volumes. What says more: Abbotabad is a bit of a tourist town. It looks like an interesting place to visit; here are some pics from Flickr, if you want to get an idea of what it's like. ABC News originally reported it was 40 miles from Islamabad, but it's actually closer to eighty, so it's about as far from Pakistan's capital as Front Royal, Virginia, is from DC -- a two or three hour drive. It's also a big military town; Pakistan's War College is there. Osama wasn't in the sticks; he was right in the center of everything. As somebody looking at real estate, I'm honestly jealous of his location. There was a bus stop on the corner. There were hospitals and a college nearby. He was in the middle of everything, in a huge house with a giant wall, valued at a million bucks. I don't know if the US will make a stink about this or not (I'm guessing not, though WE DAMN WELL SHOULD), but it's extremely clear that several very big somebodies inside Pakistan knew *exactly* where Osama bin Laden was, and were sitting on that knowledge.

(Incidentally, as long as President Obama is killing people in Pakistan, may I recommend Abdul Qadeer Khan? "House arrest," my ass.)

And on a completely unrelated note: I just watched a promo vid for HAWAII FIVE-O. How the hell do you folks tell McGarrett and Danno apart? Their faces are so similar that the only way I can distinguish them is if it's a long shot, because McGarrett is quite a bit taller.
hradzka: (plane)
I am, as I've mentioned a few times, a righty, and while my business travel keeps me from going to the range anywhere near as often as I'd like to, I'm also a gun nut. I also study mass shootings, because I think it's important to be tactically aware of them. All of which means that I'm paying a lot of attention to the Arizona mass shooting committed by 22-year-old Jared Loughner. I should say "allegedly" as he's not dead and hasn't been found guilty yet, but he was apprehended at the scene with the gun in his hand, so fuck that.

Read more... )
hradzka: (jason)
I met him briefly about ten years ago. I was in Los Angeles on another matter, and at the time David Gerrold was working on a project called Galaxy Online. This was an ambitious start-up trying its hand at science fiction entertainment on the web. Lots of SF writers were involved in some capacity, including Gerrold, Spider Robinson, and Ben Bova, and B5's Claudia Christian and STAR TREK: VOYAGER's Tim Russ represented the acting side. I had a few days in LA, and arranged to interview Gerrold about the new endeavor in the hope that I could sell the resulting piece to CINEFANTASTIQUE, for which I wrote occasionally (alas, I couldn't). While Gerrold wrapped up some business, I chatted with other people in the office to get an idea of what they did, and what kinds of things they were into. One of those people was Andrew Koenig. Gerrold had mentioned to me earlier that he was Walter Koenig's son, so I knew about that connection; I'd seen Andrew on GROWING PAINS, but didn't recall his name from the show and didn't recognize his face from it, so I didn't mention that at all. At that stage of removal from the series, I don't know if he found that lack of recognition pleasant or potentially unfortunate as a career implication.

Andrew Koenig and I chatted for ten or fifteen minutes. He was working on a sketch comedy web series called WARPED, occasionally collaborating with his father. He showed me a couple. You have to remember, this is *waaaaaay* before YouTube, and long before video standardization, and in a day of much slower networks and computers. You downloaded Galaxy Online's videos in freakin' Windows ASF format. Most folks didn't have home broadband back then, and it took forever. I know, because when I got home from L.A., I tried. It was a noble effort, but the at that time the technology simply wasn't there. Honesty requires that I report the videos weren't very funny, either. But Koenig was a really nice fellow, and seemed like the kind of guy it would be fun to chat with over a beer. Anyway, Gerrold finished up his business, and Koenig and I shook hands, and that was it.

And a decade or so passed, and I heard he was missing, and then that he was dead. He'd been fighting depression, and had been deeply despondent recently, and had given stuff away and sent out some alarming email; then he killed himself in Stanley Park, Vancouver, a place he loved and felt at home. His father and ten of his friends, who formed a search party to help out the police, found his body. I've seen brief footage of his parents speaking about him, before they knew of his death; his mother didn't speak, and his father, who did, was clearly shattered.

I don't know what I expected to say when I started this. I didn't know the guy at all; I met him for ten minutes ten years ago, but I remember the occasion and I remember liking him. He seemed like a really decent guy, and I'm sorry for his pain, and for his friends' and family's loss.
hradzka: (plane)
The Associated Press interviewed associate biology professor Joseph Ng, and ABC News interviewed professor Debra Moriarity, both eyewitnesses (and, in Moriarity's case, the Big Damn Hero) to their colleague Amy Bishop's mass shooting at a University of Alabama Huntsville faculty meeting. Being a woman, Bishop is an atypical mass shooter, but her job worries and track record of instability aren't uncommon in such cases. The fact that she shot and killed her own brother in 1986, in what's looking increasingly like a deliberate crime that was covered up by her mother (in local politics) and the then chief of police (who personally interrupted her booking), is pretty alarming; I remember reading an article (which of course I can't find now) by one guy who had considered committing a workplace shooting in the distant past, decided against it, and went on to lead a productive life, but Bishop apparently started an ineffectual mass shooting, got an absolutely incredible second chance, and went on to commit multiple murders years later.

Ng describes an unusual scenario. A lot of mass shooters start out psyching themselves up -- they start outside their kill zone and come into it, and then start killing. Bishop did something less common; she went to the meeting as normal, but half an hour or so into it she produced a 9 mm pistol (make and model unknown) and began shooting. There were reportedly eleven (NEW YORK POST) or twelve (ABC NEWS) people, besides Bishop, in the room. She shot six of them at very close range, and went for headshots. Three died. Two were, at last report, in critical condition. One has been released from the hospital.

The other five people who were in the room dove to the floor, using the table as concealment. (Remember the difference between cover and concealment? Cover stops a bullet. Concealment doesn't.) Professor Debra Moriarity, reportedly Bishop's closest friend on campus, tried to crawl out of the room but was stopped by Bishop, who pointed the gun at Moriarity and pulled the trigger. The gun didn't fire. Moriarity recalls that Bishop pulled the trigger again, with the same result, which suggests a double-action or DA/SA semi-auto (a single-action, like a 1911, or striker-fired semi-auto, like a Glock, would have gone click once and required cocking or racking of the slide before the trigger could be pulled again). According to Ng, at this point Moriarity led the faculty in a rush that pushed the still-armed Bishop out the door. They then barricaded the door so Bishop couldn't get back in, and called for help. The barricade had been employed with varying degrees of success at VA Tech, and may have been especially effective here because Bishop's targets were people she knew -- with them out of reach, she had little desire to shoot anyone else, so dropped the gun in a bathroom and called her husband for a ride home.

Note what happened here: classic OODA Loop stuff. The faculty was not prepared for an armed assault, so had difficulty orienting themselves and deciding what to do -- but Bishop wasn't prepared for her gun to run dry, and apparently hadn't practiced clearing a malfunction, so she was thrown out of her own OODA Loop, which gave Moriarity and the faculty and opportunity to move against her.
hradzka: Cassidy, from Garth Ennis's PREACHER. (Default)
-- My 3D program is not working on the new Mac. I don't know why. The folks who made it and I are trying to figure it out.

-- This is my next ski mask.

-- Who is your ultimate nerd drinking buddy?

-- Protesters heckle Israeli official. This is not remarkable. However, when said official is speaking at the Oxford Union and one of the numerous hecklers is an Oxford student who actually is yelling "Kill the Jews!" I think it's safe to say there is a serious problem. Britain is a bad place for Jews these days.
hradzka: Cassidy, from Garth Ennis's PREACHER. (Default)
First tweet: Italian aristocrat romantically linked to duchess of York killed during boar hunt http://bit.ly/azyCCp

Second tweet: Correction: Italian aristocrat killed at boar hunt was uncle of man romantically linked to duchess of York

All sympathies to his family, but what a wonderful headline. I like aristocrats who do aristocratic pursuits; there should be more attention paid them than the clubhoppers. (A friend mistook him for the boar. Rule Four, folks: know your target and what is beyond it. Never shoot at anything you have not positively identified.)
hradzka: (plane)
This just in: Rich Johnston is a coward.

What's more, he's a weaselly and despicable one.

If you don't know who he is, Johnston runs Bleeding Cool, which is the successor website (and current host for) his long-running comics news and gossip column, "Lying in the Gutters." One of his recent posts mentioned the attempted murder of Danish cartoonist Kurt Westergaard, who was one of several Danish cartoonists to draw Mohammed in contravention to Muslim religious law. As you may recall, this innocuous gag (very few of the images were in any way critical; most were very mild jokes or weren't jokes at all, just drawings of a bearded dude) resulted in death threats and riots, during which major news outlets that have cheerfully run everything from pictures of crucifixes dunked in urine to gruesome war photography to photographs of Amy Winehouse tied themselves in knots to cover the stories while avoiding running the cartoons.

On New Year's Day, an axe-wielding fanatic -- who had, in a feat of staggering chutzpah, claimed asylum on the grounds that he would be persecuted in his home country -- broke into Kurt Westergaard's house. Westergaard locked himself in the bathroom, which had been fortified to serve as a panic room. Police arrived and shot the attempted murderer, who survived. This is where Johnston comes in. He posted about the attempted murder. Quoth Johnston, at the conclusion of his post: "The cartoon in question featured Mohammed with a bomb-shaped turban. No i’m not reproducing it here. I like my door axe-free, thank you very much."

Seven posts earlier, Johnston had provided his thoughts regarding the comic-related Visual of the Year. Among his candidates... )
hradzka: (plane)
The Iranian regime is getting brutal again. They're opening fire on, and driving trucks into and over, peaceful demonstrators. The linked page containes video in which people are grievously injured or murdered by agents of their state. As I mentioned some time back, when men with guns fight those without, the men with guns will win. The only hope the demonstrators have is that they can steal or liberate firearms, or that a sufficient number of people with access to them, decide to switch sides. Otherwise, this will just be general repression at best, massacre at worst.
hradzka: (plane)
I've been going over the Fort Hood shooting news, as I usually do on stories like this. As in most cases, it won't be perfectly clear for a while exactly what happened from a tactical standpoint, but the heroes of the hour are Sgt. Kimberley Munley, 34, and Sgt. Mark Todd, 42, both of Fort Hood's Department of Emergency Services; Todd, who retired from the Army to become a cop, apparently does a lot of K-9 stuff. It's been reported several times that they're partners, but I don't know if that's right or if they just teamed up in the firefight. Munley is laid up with gunshot wounds, and she hasn't given her full account publicly yet; what we know of her experience comes second-hand, through her supervisor. Todd has spoken briefly about the gunfight, which by his reckoning lasted maybe 30 to 45 seconds (given the time dilation effect often experienced in gunfights, my guess is it was a hell of a lot less than that).

I don't know if they arrived separately or together. )
hradzka: (plane)
The story of Nidal Hasan is really weird. The facts have been rewritten multiple times, to the point that the guy's first and middle names were initially swapped and other stuff has changed constantly (for example: were there other shooters? we initially heard three; it's still fuzzy). There are, at the moment, multiple possible motives. Hasan's a psychiatrist, so he's highly educated; he's also very religious (he prosyletized to the point that people at work told him to knock it off), which are a couple of red flashing lights because, contra reports that poverty and desperation breed terrorists, intelligent and middle-class-and-up folks are the sort that terrorist organizations love, because they are steady and reliable.

Except here's the other thing: religious fanatic terrorists who go undercover often practice disinformation -- they don't talk about religion, they drink alcohol, they shave their beards, etc. -- so people don't know an attack is coming. Hasan could barely contain himself. He posted in favor of suicide bombers online, apparently; he told lots of people he was frantic to avoid deployment to Afghanistan or Iraq. And to cap it all off, he had trouble with women. According to the Washington Post, he'd participated in a Muslim matchmaking service at his mosque, but came up a blank because he had "too many conditions." He refused to be photographed with women, which was awkward when the workplace did group photos.

Current news is that it was when Hasan was taken down, it was a woman who shot him. Four times.

I cannot talk about the incident tactically, because reports are *still* all over the place. My best guess at this point is that Hasan is ideologically motivated and went over the tipping point due to emotional imbalance. Local news reporters are saying he was giving furniture and possessions to neighbors, which is a *classic* suicide thing to do, but you don't see it often in guys who are taking orders from higher-ups. So despite similarities to some busted-up terrorist plans, it's looking for now more like Hasan was a terrorist on his own nickel.

Still wondering about the reported other guy/guys, though.
hradzka: (peej reads news)
Is it me, or have the political scandals been pretty entertaining recently? The Van Jones thing had some entertaining facets, but I have to say this week's have been glorious. First, the California state guy, a married Republican rep from oh-so-conservative Orange County, blabbing about his kinky adulterous sex with lobbyists *into an open mike.* I don't know if the best part is the horrifyingly graphic detail, or the fact that one of his lobbyist girlfriends didn't know about the other and got to find out through the news. That's just magnificent. And now there's the ACORN thing: the Census Bureau cut all ties to them after an undercover sting by a couple of right-leaning activists who pretended to be trying to get advice on how to handle tax fraud involving a brothel they were going to open. The best part is when the activists are left alone for a minute, because the "prostitute" tells her partner that she's vamped her way through all her material, and she can't figure out how to make things any more over the top; I can only imagine the partner panicked or went insane, because when the ACORN folks come back in he runs an *outrageous* line of bullshit about how they're going to be trafficking *thirteen underaged girls in from Ecuador to serve as prostitutes,* and can they claim the kids as dependents for tax reasons? AND THE ACORN FOLKS DON'T BAT A FREAKIN' EYE.

(Congressman Charlie Rangel giving campaign contributions to people on the House Ethics Committee that's, um, *investigating him for tax fraud* has the potential to turn into something pretty hilarious, too, if that ever gains traction. So far, one of them has realized this might look bad, and so he gave back Rangel's 20,000 dollars. CONGRESS, I LOVE YOU SO.)

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hradzka: Cassidy, from Garth Ennis's PREACHER. (Default)
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