Things That Go Bump Stock in the Night


Paddock1Stephen Paddock bump fired the National Rifle Association into showing their true gun control agenda. Wayne LaPierre will gladly assist the gun-grabbers of the world, who happen to occupy both sides of the political aisle, if it means he can keep his position as King of Gun Rights and the donations flowing in from poor suckers he has bamboozled into believing he is on their side. The days of Neal Knox are long gone, and any hope of the NRA protecting the true reason for the Second Amendment died with him.

You soft-hearted types, who have trouble wrapping your heads around dispassionate after-action analyses of facts, may want to skip the next section or two. Go sit with the women and fret a while.

Listening to the audio of the Las Vegas shooting, two thing struck me. Naturally, the first was the high rate of fire. Under stress, even a moderately trained person can shoot himself dry surprising fast, but the booger hook working the bang switch tires quickly. Fatigue overtakes adrenaline with the first magazine swap, and most people come down from peak twitch pretty fast. The continued high rate of fire clued me in to a few things.

Pay attention to the pattern of fire. There were distinct pauses, but the spacing of each report sounded off. It didn’t jive with the reports of “automatic gunfire.” However, I couldn’t put my finger on the reason.

Stephen Paddock strikes me as the sort who enjoyed having his guns more than using them. Based on the crime scene photos, his firearms were pristine. Anyone who carries a gun or uses them on a regular basis knows they wear and have a tendency to get beat up. Finishes dull. They wear in a predictable pattern. Guns that are actually used also tend to carry big, ugly scratches and gouges taken out of them from being dropped occasionally. It happens. Working guns look they were dragged behind a truck and run over by a tractor. You can trust a man with a beat-to-Hell gun because it’s just a tool to him.

Stephen Paddock was a Mall Ninja, who bought his way unto being able to lay down a base of fire.

By comparison, Omar Mateen, the Pulse nightclub shooter in Orlando, killed forty-nine people versus Stephen Paddock’s fifty-eight. The vast majority of carnage in both instances occurred in the initial ten to fifteen minutes. The big differences were in the number wounded and the number of rounds expended.

In Orlando, the active shooter portion was ten to fifteen minutes, before he barricaded himself in a bathroom with hostages and didn’t fire a shot during negotiations. He initially exchanged fire with an off-duty police officer doing security duty, but things didn’t really start to turn against Omar Mateen until several more good guys showed up with guns. Funny how that works.

Pistols are for emergency use until you can get your mitts on a long-gun and get to work.

Stephen Paddock picked a great shooting position, but it was a lousy escape position. His options were through a door into a hotel hallway, down thirty-two floors, and out one of a limited number of exits on the ground floor or out a window about four hundred feet above the pavement. He definitely would not have survived option number two, but it would have been fun to watch.

Omar Mateen had a better chance of getting out of the Pulse nightclub alive. Several hours of negation was a three hour window, during which time he could have surrendered. His chances still weren’t good, but a negotiated surrender increases the odds of survival over the chaos of an assault. However, once the SWAT team initiated the rescue by blowing a hole in the bathroom wall, there weren’t many ways for the operation to end that included Mateen seeing the sun rise.

SWAT guys are the sorts who enjoy winning. They expect to come out on top in an operation, and woe be unto any who get between them and the goal. Botching the wall breach by not blowing a big enough hole to fit through is as infuriating as it is embarrassing.

Nobody may ever know how many rounds Stephen Paddock expended, but so far, the number two thousand is being thrown about. That may be a number put out by politicians to gin up public appetite to ban bump stocks, but let’s accept it, for the sake of argument.

That is some piss poor shooting. He was hosing that crowd down and relying on 22,000 people being crammed together butts-to-nuts. Stephen Paddock could have achieved a much higher death tally with a conventional firing method, or at least, some trigger control on his bump stock. He was a rank amateur.

Has anyone besides me noticed the conspicuous lack of disciplined, well-trained, mentally healthy, non-drug addled perpetrators of mass shootings?

Full-auto fire is conducted with controlled, aimed three to five round bursts. What is heard on the recordings is a man who does not have a firm grasp on how to run his weapon system. There was no skill, discipline, or commitment to craft. It seems like a last hurrah in a come-to-life game of Call of Duty by a rage-filled man bent on suicide, but who lacked the guts to do it himself absent the pressure of the police closing in on him.

By definition, the insane don’t act rationally. That can be an advantage once the shooting starts because of the gaps left to exploit by the responders. Then again, shooting up a crowd of strangers at a concert is highly irrational, in the first place. Just crazy enough to initiate the shooting is actually worse, in this case, than being nuts to the point of not being able to effectively plan and carry it out.

These shooters occupy a sweet spot on the spectrum of crazy where they are rational enough to concoct a plan and put it into action, but, luckily for everyone, not rational enough to understand the fix when their skills suck. So, just like a lot lazy, but perfectly sane and law abiding, shooters, the Stephen Paddocks of the world attempt to purchase their skill set.

You don’t improve your shooting by hanging crap off the gun. You get better by running rounds through it until parts break.

Fast is great. Accurate is greater. But living to testify in front of the Grand Jury is greatest, so I’m not too picky about how I get there. For my money, the best gunfight would more accurately be described as a “shooting” because the other guy wouldn’t get any rounds off in my direction. Hell, if I had my druthers, the other asshole wouldn’t even know the fight had begun.

Mrs. Cunha has a strict policy that I return from my adventures alive, and preferably, without any additional scars.

Based on the number of weapons in the room with him, Stephen Paddock did seem cognizant of the tendency for heat and gunk to render a weapon inoperable. I suspect the plan was to use a variant what old timers called a New York Reload; drop the gun that doesn’t go “bang” anymore and pick up one that does.

Fair fights are overrated. The objective is to win.

Some reports indicate Stephen Paddock had recently been prescribed diazepam, typically used for anxiety, muscle spasms, and seizures. This doesn’t mean he was taking the drug, so toxicology tests will be interesting. There is evidence to suggest that benzodiazepines, such as diazepam, can lead to aggressive behavior.

It’s also coming to light that he was a drunk and a fan of cocaine. The guy definitely liked to party and weekend-long video poker benders don’t sustain themselves. With all three of these things possibly going on inside his body at once during the shooting, it’s no wonder he sucked at his task.

Then again, bat-shit crazy is a thing, and that may be the only reason discovered. Life is full of unanswered questions.

What is not an unanswered question is what to blame in the wake of the Las Vegas shooting.

A single, solitary man named Stephen Paddock is to blame.

Bump stocks, assault rifles, and silencers are no more to blame for the loss of life in Las Vegas than tall buildings, country music concerts, or hammers. To believe otherwise is to abandon any pretense of personal accountability and turn society over to voodoo practitioners. An item’s existence neither influences its wielder nor creates an impure heart. A hammer that builds a house can just as easily be to put to use crushing a skull. It’s the workman who chooses to put the tool to use; whether that purpose be good and creative or twisted and evil.

With a moderate degree of skill and a milling machine (or a high degree of skill and access to a file and drill press), an ambitious home machinist can turn out a fully functioning and aesthetically pleasing boom stick, which is completely legal, as long as it meets AFT length requirements, is semi-auto only, does not fire from an open bolt, etc. Throw in plans downloaded from the internet, and the production process speeds up a whole bunch.

What mental defect afflicts gun grabbers?

If our ambitious machinist of moderate skill loads plans downloaded from the internet into his CNC milling machine, turns out a functioning BAR, and tests it out by shooting up the nearest grammar school, exactly what would gun grabbers want to ban?

Manufacturing a full-auto firearm is already illegal.

One option is to put firearms blueprints on par with child pornography by criminalizing its possession, dissemination, and creation. That is a moral equivalency I’m sure hoplophobes would be glad to defend and, I’m sad to say, most Americans would let pass without comment.

There are simply too few Americans hogging out their own AR receivers or having AK Bending Parties. The fact that most people reading this article have no idea what I’m talking about in the previous sentence, much less have ever participated in either activity, lends weight to the statement.

Perhaps, just like bump stocks, gun grabbers would prefer to go after the tool, instead of the man who employs it? The government could create a registry for CNC machines and license their operators. That way, they could keep tabs on every machinist in the United States and have a database from which to begin investigations on the off chance one whacked out loser out of 330 million people decided to go rogue with his weekend workshop project.

A type of bump stock called a bump board can be made with a length of board and a nail. Running a loop of 550-cord through the trigger guard and around your shoulder gets the same rate of fire as a bump stock. There is an old technique using a shooter’s thumb through the trigger guard and a belt loop that yields the same result.

Knowing how to do something is lightyears away from putting it to an evil purpose. Twisted minds and wicked hearts cannot be controlled by regulating objects.

Honestly, what surprises me is that we have so few Las Vegas type shootings.

Lawmakers, on the left in particular, but ever increasingly on the right, are more than willing to slowly suffocate every right we possess. It’s not just gun rights, but rights in general. However, firearms and any piece of gear that puts the average citizen on par with the average government actor strikes fear in politicians’ hearts because deep down in their souls, politicians know they possess the capacity to become tyrants.

As part of the Washington political establishment, organizations such as the National Rifle Association are loath to admit the Second Amendment was instituted to give the citizenry the ability change the government in the event it became tyrannical.

We are far from any such situation, and it’s a horrifying thought. However, much like mutually assured destruction through nuclear weapons during the Cold War, it kept both sides sober and honest. The prospect of having to put the threat into action encouraged everyone to keep talking to work out their differences.

The NRA long ago abdicated its mission statement of protecting firearms rights in favor of being the public relations firm for friendly, well-dressed sport shooing enthusiasts, who are too upper-middle class to entertain the notion that our descendants might possibly, one day in the distant future, run out of political options and be forced, with heavy hearts, to dismantle what our ancestors so painstakingly created.

But, hey, as long as the dues money keeps rolling, so the NRA Board of Directors don’t have to get day jobs and Wayne LaPierre continues to be invited on television and to all the Washington parties, the National Rifle Association is totally willing to play political patty-cake with our God-given rights.

To preserve their rock star lifestyles and social clout, the NRA has come out in favor of regulating bump stocks.

A small, ferocious mutt makes a better attack dog than a friendly, dopey behemoth.

As such, I would advise anyone serious about protection of the Second Amendment support more aggressive and ideologically pure champions. They are smaller organizations and may not carry the same clout in Washington, but they also aren’t buddy-buddy with those who would strip us of our rights.

Here are my favorites:

Gun Owners of America

National Association for Gun Rights

Jews for the Preservation of Gun Ownership

I’m not saying to quit the NRA in protest for them being pansies. They won’t care what you have to say. What I am saying is to let your membership expire and put that money where it will be used to protect your rights, instead of political deal making with people who have no qualms about marginalizing you and dictating what freedoms you may maintain.

And before some Liberal asks, the answer is a resounding “yes.”

Every one of those fifty-eight lives is worth sacrificing for the right to have a bump stock. So is mine. So is yours. So is everyone’s. That’s the nature of rights. They transcend the individual.

The more important question is why aren’t you willing to protect those rights?

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