Self-Defense and the Second Amendment

Progressives are challenging the Second Amendment’s purpose as a guarantor of the right to self-defense.

Source: Self-Defense and the Second Amendment

Of all the ill-considered tropes that are trotted out in anger during our ongoing debate over gun control, perhaps the most irritating is the claim that the Constitution may indeed protect firearms, but it says “nothing at all about bullets.” On its face, this is flatly incorrect. Quite deliberately, the Bill of Rights is worded so as to shield categories and not specifics, which is why the First Amendment protects the “press” and not “ink”; why the Fourth covers “papers” and “effects” instead of listing every item that might be worn about one’s person; and why the Fifth insists broadly that one may not be deprived of “life, liberty, or property” and leaves the language there. The “right of the people” that is mentioned in the Second Amendment is not “to keep and bear guns” or “to keep and bear ammunition” but “to keep and bear arms,” which, per Black’s Law Dictionary, was understood in the 18th century to include the “musket and bayonet”; “sabre, holster pistols, and carbine”; an array of “side arms”; and any accoutrements necessary for their operation. To propose that a government could restrict access to ammunition without gutting the Second Amendment is akin to proposing that a government could ban churches without hollowing out the First. If a free people are to enjoy their liberties without encumbrance, the prerequisite tools must be let well alone.

How sad that a Briton has a far better grasp of the intellectual roots of our 2nd Amendment than so many of our own citizens. Read the whole thing.

It Was a Muslim That Burned Mosque in Houston


Something that was rather hushed in the mainstream media.  Breitbart has the story.

Using surveillance video from other area businesses to identify the arsonist, Gary Nathaniel Moore, 37, was arrested and charged with starting the Christmas Day fire that devastated a Houston, Texas mosque. Moore is a devout Muslim who attended this same mosque for years, praying up to five times a day every day of the week.

The mainstream leftist media becomes positively apoplectic in their spittle-flying harangues about the “Muslim backlash”, which never, ever materializes.  Yet, they abjectly refuse to acknowledge the islamist terrorism on US soil, such as has occurred at Fort Hood, Chattanooga, UC Merced, Umpqua Community College, San Bernadino, etc, and almost occurred at Austin, TX, Fort Dix, and other places.  Because they reflect and are beholden to the pro-Islamist stances of Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton.

That a devout muhammedan is guilty of arson for burning his own mosque will somehow end up on the cutting room floor.   So the law-abiding, especially gun owners, will continue to be blamed not only for things they didn’t do, but for things that didn’t actually happen at all.  While muslim terrorists among the refugees will continue to stream unabated into our cities and towns.

Will a counterfeit passport made by ISIS count as voter ID?



Marines Will Comply With Hawaii Law Raising Smoking Age to 21 |

Starting Jan. 1, Hawaii-based Marines will have to be 21 to smoke — or they could face state and Marine Corps penalties

.In an administrative message released today, Marine Corps Deputy Commandant for Manpower and Reserve Affairs Lt. Gen. Mark Brilakis announced the Corps would cooperate with a new Hawaii law that raises the minimum age to use or purchase tobacco products from 18 to 21. The law, signed in June, is intended to stop people from becoming habitual smokers.

Hawaii officials have told media outlets that 99 percent of people who smoke start the habit before age 21.Brilakis said he was directing all stores aboard Marine Corps installations in Hawaii to stop selling tobacco products, including smokeless tobacco and electronic smoking devices, to anyone under 21. Marine Corps and Navy personnel and dependents, as well as other family members, guests and base residents, will be expected to comply with the new law, Brilakis said.

Source: Marines Will Comply With Hawaii Law Raising Smoking Age to 21 |

This is the kind of petty asshattery that drives so many service members away.

Young troops and Marines can endure hazards and privations, separation from their loved ones, and the risks of combat.

But here we have the Marines simply making their lives more difficult.

Understand, on board Marine Corps installations, the Hawaiian state law has no force. It’s federal property. Had the senior leadership had a lick of common sense, they would have simply left the age to purchase or use tobacco products at 18.

Indeed, back in the 1990s, when Fort Bliss, Texas saw an uptick of soldiers having alcohol related incidents because troops under 21 were simply going a couple miles south into Mexico, the base commander didn’t put Mexico off limits. He simply lowered the on base drinking age to 18.

The B-1 bomber: The underappreciated workhorse of America’s air wars – The Washington Post

And during a Senate hearing last year, Sen. John McCain pushed back hard on Secretary of the Air Force Deborah Lee James’s description of the B-1 as an effective airplane for “close air support,” or the delivery of precision-guided bombs in support of embattled ground troops. “That’s a remarkable statement,” McCain scoffed. “That doesn’t comport with any experience I’ve ever had, nor anyone I know has ever had.”

What McCain didn’t seem to be aware of, and what the Times report failed to note, is the long third act of the B-1’s life. Converted in the 1990s from a Soviet-airspace-penetrating nuclear strike plane to a conventional bomber meant to pound the infrastructure and massed formations of an enemy army, the “Bone” converted again in the aftermath of September 11, 2001, into exactly what the Arizona senator found so hard to believe: not just a close air support plane, but, by all accounts, a hugely successful one.

Source: The B-1 bomber: The underappreciated workhorse of America’s air wars – The Washington Post

A nice write-up in the WaPo about the Bone.

The excerpt above simply shows how out of touch John McCain is, and why he’s long overdue for retirement. The days of rolling an A-4 into a 30 degree dive to drop a pair of Snakeyes for Close Air Support are long gone.

The B-1 is not just a good Close Air Support platform, it’s often the preferred platform. First, its three huge bomb bays can carry a massive load of bombs. And a recent upgrade of the system allows it to carry a wide “mix and match” variety of different bombs, for different types of targets.

It also has incredible endurance. For instance, F-18s cycling over Afghanistan or Iraq will typically have to cycle off station to a tanker every hour. A B-1 can stay on station for four or more hours.

It took a long time (and a lot of money) to make the B-1 a modern, capable combat aircraft. But today it is performing far and away better than it ever has before.

It’s Tuesday, So CDR Salamander must be knocking on the LCS.

Yep, though he has some faint praise.

We need to be upfront with each other about what this represents:
– First, this is an admission that we have a surface warship that cannot fight a surface battle. As we have discussed for roughly a decade here, LCS will be asked to do missions the transformationalists wished would go away, but those with a respect for historical reality knew would not. Even if the short range NLOS was made flesh, the LCS would still …
– Even with this bolt-on weapon, LCS is at best a “shoot and scoot” platform in a surface battle. Once its missiles are gone, it has nothing else to effectively fight anything from a light corvette up. That is OK, if you don’t mind having a ship the size of a WWII destroyer with with a smaller gun, fewer ASCM and less speed than a 1970s Pegasus Class hydrofoil.
– Low observability is gone. You can do a lot with an arc welder, bags of cash, and electrical cable duct-tapped to the deck, but when you do that, your RCS dramatically increases. You are also screaming beacons throughout the electromagnetic spectrum as you coordinate your non-integrated weapon in to a coordinated attack or at least getting a targeting solution locally or through your RC/manned helo.
– Irony is that Harpoon and NSM are not “littoral” weapons. They are designed for open ocean fighting for reasons your JAG can explain to you in detail. So, just CS not LCS.
– LCS was an exquisitely designed platform without much “white space” to make up for its many conceptual flaws. As such, no VLS, just bolt on and hope. This is something that will work, and in that note, we should be satisfied with.

One of the most annoying aspects of the entire LCS program is that the United States has considerable experience building highly capable light warships optimized for the littorals. Just not for us.

How about a lightly manned corvette of about 1300 t0ns, with a 33 knot top speed, and a range of 3500 nautical miles? A CIWS, and a considerable ant-ship missile battery, as well as a very respectable point defense missile system? Toss in a helo as well for good measure? Air search radar, surface search radar and a hull mounted sonar, and a towed array sonar? Torpedo tubes as well?

The Israeli Sa’ar V class corvettes have been in service for over 20 years, and have been regarded as quite successful. And while they’re an Israeli design, they were built in Pascagoula, MS.

File:INS Lahav.jpg

Of course, a US variant would probably need considerable changes. For instance, the Barak 1 or Barak 8 missile would be changed out for the RIM-162 ESSM. 

But the fact is, the US knows how to build worthy small fighting ships. We just embarked on an intellectually flawed program to build an LCS that failed to see the world as it is, and through the momentum of the procurement system, can’t really be killed.

Iraqi Forces retake Ramadi

The Iraqi city of Ramadi, the capitol of Al Anbar province, was taken by ISIS fighters in May of this year. This past week, Iraqi Security Forces (ISF) finally managed to retake the city.

The city lies along the Euphrates river, and astride the principal route to the western reaches of Iraq and the Syrian border.

Heavily supported by US and coalition airpower, ISF encircled Ramadi last month, and finally launched their assault into the city center in the last few days.

Of course, airstrikes mean there were Joint Terminal Attack Controllers on hand, and not of the Iraqi sort. reports that among other troops, Australian and New Zealand operators embedded with Iraq forces to provide JTAC services, as well as training ISF troops.

As the Iraqi security forces claimed a crucial victory in their fight for redemption after shameful losses in the war against ISIS, they have finally managed to retake the city of Ramadi. They have seized latest stronghold in the city, a central government compound. The fight for the city is far from over because the fleeing militants have set many booby-traps around the city. And it would last for days to clear and sweep all the town.

Obviously, Iraqi Security Forces, have certain issues and their efforts to make redemption for the ones who abandoned the city to ISIS and fled, couldn’t be so successful without the help of foreign forces. The involvement of Australian military and its special forces led to the crucial victory for Iraqi security forces and their country.

This is the first significant victory of ISF troops over ISIS. And success tends to build momentum. Interestingly, the Iraqi government has been quite adamant that while they need US airpower, they don’t really want additional US ground troops.  One suspects that is a realpolitic stance that Iraq realizes that sooner or later, they have to win the fight themselves in order to ever have a chance of legitimately governing the region.

Dan Lamothe at the Washington Post has a series of pictures from the fighting in Ramadi.

Sea Sparrow

In the late 1950s, the US began to realize the threat Soviet long range anti-ship missiles such as the SS-N-2 Styx and AS-1 Komet presented to the fleet. The primary counter to such missiles was to intercept the launch platforms at long range, either by attack aircraft sinking ships equipped with the Styx, or fighters shooting down bombers carrying Komet.

The backup was the long range  Talos, Terrier and Tartar guided missile equipped cruisers and destroyers.

But the cost and weight of the missile ships meant there were barely enough to support the fast carrier task forces. The huge numbers of other warships, amphibious warfare ships,  and auxiliaries were left with only the virtually useless twin 3”/50 gun for air defense.

And so, the Navy embarked on a program to field a low cost, lightweight missile system for the self defense of ships such as the Knox class ocean escorts.

For several years, the Navy cooperated with the US Army developing the RIM-46 Mauler. It was eventually cancelled for technical reasons. The Army instead opted to field a ground launched version of the AIM-9 Sidewinder at the MIM-72 Chapparal. The Navy considered adopting it as well, as it was very light, and very cheap. The problem was, the missile seeker, based on the AIM-9D, had no front quarter engagement capability. And almost by definition, any self defense missile system means any target you’re shooting at is pointing right at you, that is, you only see its front quarter. That meant a radar guidance system was needed. And what radar guided missile did the US Navy have handy? The AIM-7E Sparrow III, used on the F-4 Phantom!

With very minimal modifications, the AIM-7E became the RIM-7E* Sea Sparrow. The Mk112 ASROC pepperbox launcher was modified to become the 8 round box launcher for the Sea Sparrow. Guidance was by the Mk115 director. The Mk115 was a crude system, in which an operator optically tracked the target, manually traversing and elevating the director. The director also had two continuous wave illuminator radars.


Mk115 manned director for Basic Point Defense Missile System (Sea Sparrow).

The director operator would be cued to incoming threats by voice commands from the ship’s Combat Information Center and associated search radars.

The Sea Sparrow had Semi-Active Radar Homing. That is, it guided on the reflected radar energy that bounced off the target being illuminated by the Mk115. Because the Mk115 had a fairly wide illumination beam, that allowed for some degree of minor tracking errors on the part of the operator. Not much, but some.

The missile, launcher, and director were collectively known as the Basic Point Defense Missile System, and BPDMS would be installed on many Knox class frigates, amphibious warfare ships, and fleet auxiliaries.

But BPDMS had an obvious shortcoming. The director operator had to be able to see the target. At night, or in inclement weather, the chances of a successful intercept plummeted to just about 0%.


Our NATO allies also faced a similar missile threat. And so, working with several European allies, the Navy began work on an improve Sea Sparrow system, on that came to be known variously as either Improved Point Defense Missile System (IPDMS) or more commonly, NATO Sea Sparrow Missile System (NSSM).

NSSM saw improvements to all three components of the system. The missile used an improved motor, and utilized folding wings so it could fit in a smaller launcher box. The new launcher was lighter, and of course, used smaller launcher boxes. The biggest improvement was in the director system. The manual tracking of the Mk115 was abandoned. Instead, the Mk95 radar director automatically tracked the target via radar, as well as providing illumination for missile guidance.

NSSM formed the basic air defense weapon of the 31 ships of the DD-963 Spruance class destroyers, as well as arming most aircraft carriers, quite a few amphibious ships, and many auxiliaries. On board the Spruance class, the NSSM was controlled by the Mk91 Fire Control System. The ship’s primary air search radar, the SPS-40, wasn’t really that great at detecting missile threats. The Mk 91 consisted primarily of the NSSM with its missile, Mk29 launcher, Mk95 directors, and the addition of the Mk23 TAS. Mk23 TAS, or Target Acquisition System, was a relatively short ranged 2D radar with a rapid rotation rate optimized for detecting low flying anti-ship missiles. After detecting a target, the Mk23 cues the Mk95, which in turn cues the Mk29 in azimuth and elevation, and then illuminates the target at launch.

Our Canadian friends operate a vertical launch version of the Sea Sparrow in the Mk48 VLS system, but otherwise, it works similarly to ours.

The final version of the Sea Sparrow is so radically different, it’s actually a new missile, the RIM-162 Evolved Sea Sparrow Missile. Using the latest guidance section and warhead of the Sparrow family, the ESSM has an entirely new, much larger motor, and instead of using mid-body mounted wings for steering, uses after fins for steering and mid-body strakes for stability. It can be fired either from the Mk29 launcher, from the Canadian Mk48 VLS, or can be “quad packed” with four missile in once cell of a Mk41 VLS, such as those aboard the DDG-51 Burke class guided missile destroyers. When fired from existing Mk29s, it’s guided by the Mk91 Fire Control System.  When fired from the Mk41, it is guided by the ships Aegis system and its Mk99 illuminators.

Similar guidance systems are used by allied navies, such as the Dutch.


*Under the tri-service missile designation system, AIM stands for “Air Launched Intercept Missile, while RIM is Ship Launched Intercept Missile.