Dear Grumpy Advice on Teaching in Today's Classroom Hard Nosed Folks Both Good & Bad

One guy that I am sure glad that he is dead! Nathaniel Reed (outlaw)


A photograph of Reed which appeared on the title page of his 1936 autobiography The Life of Texas Jack.

Nathaniel “Texas Jack” Reed (March 23, 1862 – January 7, 1950)[1] was a 19th-century American outlaw responsible for many stagecoach, bank, and train robberies throughout the American Southwest during the 1880s and ’90s. He acted on his own and also led a bandit gang, operating particularly in the Rocky Mountains and Indian Territory.
Reed is claimed to have been the last survivor of the “47 most notorious outlaws” of Indian Territory.[2] He became an evangelist in his later years, and could often be seen on the streets of Tulsa preaching against the dangers of following a “life of crime”.[2][1] His memoirs were published in the 1930s, and are considered valuable collectors’ items (one copy was reportedly sold on the internet for $1,500 in 2007).[3] He claimed to have ridden with the Dalton gangBill DoolinHenry Starr and other outlaws and bandits of the old west. He may have also helped Cherokee Bill, a fellow outlaw from the Indian Territory, in his escape from Fort Smith during the 1880s.[3]
As with many others of the era, Reed’s colorful stories of his almost 10-year career as an outlaw were probably exaggerated by later writers.[3] He claimed to have ridden briefly with the Daltons, and participated in their dual bank robberies in Coffeyville in 1892, as well as in the infamous 1893 gunfight at Ingalls. However, there is no corroborating evidence that he was involved in either of those events.[3]


Early life[edit]

Reed was born in Madison County, Arkansas. His father, Mason Henry Reed, was killed in action fighting for the Union Army during the American Civil War, probably at the Battle of Campbell’s Station on November 16, 1863.[2] His mother was Sarah Elizabeth Prater. Reed lived with a number of relatives, including his maternal grandparents, until 1883 when, at the age of 21, he moved to the American frontier.[4] He worked at various jobs in IdahoWyomingColoradoTexas until he reached Oklahoma, where he became a ranch hand for the Tarry outfit.[4]
During the summer of 1885, his foreman recruited him to rob a train at La Junta, Colorado.[2] In the course of the robbery, Reed entered the passenger car firing his pistol to keep the passengers under control.[4] He later received $6,000 for his part in the hold up.[2][4] Encouraged by this success, Reed gave up working as a cowboy and became an outlaw. During the next nine years he and his gang robbed trains, stagecoaches, banks and, on one occasion, captured a large shipment of bullion in California.[5]

Robbery at Blackstone Switch[edit]

During the early 1890s, when he was living near Muskogee, Oklahoma,[4] Reed learned that a gold shipment was leaving Dallas, Texas on November 13, 1894. He recruited Buz LuckeyWilliam “Will” Smith and Tom Root, and selected Blackstone Switch at Wybark as the site for the robbery. The plan was for Reed to throw the switch as the train approached then, as it entered onto a sidetrack, the gang would use dynamite to enter the express car. Root, a full-blooded Cherokee known for his size and strength, would enter the express car, break open the strong boxes, and bring out the gold. Smith would hold a gun on the engineer and fireman while Luckey stayed with the horses.[4]
Despite their practice staged-robbery the previous day,[4] as the Katy No. 2 approached, Reed threw the switch too early. Engineer Joseph Hotchkiss stopped the train when he saw the signal light change,[4] far short of the siding. Reed and the others were forced to run towards the train yelling and shooting. Hotchkiss and the fireman alerted the messengers using the bell cord connected to the car and jumped off the train to hide in a small ravine nearby.[4]
The railroad company had anticipated the possibility of a robbery, and had moved the gold to another train, putting in its place several armed messengers to guard the express car including Bud LedbetterPaden TolbertSid JohnsonFrank Jones.[4] When Reed and the others approached the express car, he called for the messengers to leave the car. When they refused, Reed and Root took cover behind some trees and began shooting into the car. The messengers returned fire, resulting in a gunfight that lasted for nearly an hour. Eventually one of Reed’s men was killed; Reed jumped onto the train and went through the passenger cars forcing passengers to put their valuables into a sack before he and his gang fled.[4]
As they rode away, Reed was shot by Bud Ledbetter; the pain from his wound grew so severe that his partners were forced to leave him behind for the night. He gave them some of his loot, and kept the rest of it in a sack to use as a pillow.[4] He lay on a blanket hiding under a rock ledge until he was found by an Indian woman, who nursed him back to health.[4][5]
The American Express Company offered a reward of $250 for the arrest and conviction of each member of the gang.[4] An extensive manhunt was conducted by U.S. Marshals George Crump and S. Morton Rutherford, and large groups of deputies were sent into the Indian Territory and Creek Nation. While burning the canebrakes in the Verdigris bottoms, one deputy found the burnt remains of Reed’s saddle and threatened to destroy the crops of local residents if they did not turn over Reed and his men.[4] This was considered a legal act, authorized by “The Hanging Judge” Isaac Parker himself, but no one came forward with information.[4] Reed was warned of the search and decided to leave the territory as soon as he was able. He arrived in Seneca, Missouri on December 9, where Bill Lawrence took care of him.[4]
Once fully recovered from his wounds Reed returned to Arkansas in February 1895, where he stayed with his brother in Madison County.[4] Having decided to retire from a life of crime, he wrote to Judge Isaac Parker, agreeing to testify against the man who planned the robbery in exchange for probation, although he did not participate in the proceedings.[5] Smith managed to disappear, but U.S. Marshal Newton LaForce was successful in tracking down Luckey and Root to the latter’s home in Broken Arrow, 15 miles south of Tulsa, Oklahoma. The two fugitives were subsequently killed in a gunfight with LaForce and his men on December 4, 1894.[4]

Later years[edit]

Despite Parker’s promise of immunity, Reed was convicted and sentenced to serve five years in prison.[5] However, he served less than one, as shortly before his own death Parker granted Reed his parole, in November 1896.[5] Reed subsequently carried his signed parole from Judge Parker around with him, along with a letter signed by Ledbetter acknowledging that Ledbetter had shot him.[5]
After his release Reed became an evangelist, preaching the rewards of living a respectable, law-abiding life.[2] He also toured the country with a series of Wild West shows.[5] His memoirs, The Life of Texas Jack, were published in 1936, and 35,000 copies of several published pamphlets and dime novels describing his life as an outlaw were sold before his death at home in Tulsa, Oklahoma, at the age of 87.[citation needed] He was buried in St. Paul, Arkansas.[3]


  1. Jump up to:a b “Texas Jack, 87, Once Southwest Outlaw”, The New York Times, January 9, 1950. “The penitent badman then became an evangelist and toured the country with a wagon and team of horses”
  2. Jump up to:a b c d e f Haile, Bartee. “This Week in Texas: Old West relic dies in his sleep”Diboll Free Press, January 2, 2008. Accessed June 3, 2008. Archived July 10, 2011, at the Wayback Machine “Texas Jack started the new century by turning over a new leaf. Trading his sixguns for a Bible, he preached the gospel as an itinerant evangelist.”
  3. Jump up to:a b c d e Curtis, Gene (June 1, 2007). “Only in Oklahoma: Outlaw left life of crime for lecture circuit”Tulsa World. Archived from the original on March 6, 2012.
  4. Jump up to:a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s Wilson, R. Michael. Great Train Robberies of the Old West. Guilford, Connecticut: Globe Pequot, 2007. (pp. 94–101) ISBN 0-7627-4150-3
  5. Jump up to:a b c d e f g Drago, Harry Sinclair. The Organized Bands of Bank and Train Robbers Who Terrorized the Prairie Towns of Missouri, Kansas, Indian Territory and Oklahoma for Half a Century. Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press, 1998. (pg. 195–199) ISBN 0-8032-6612-X

Further reading[edit]


  • Croy, Homer. He Hanged Them High: An Authentic Account of the Fanatical Judge who Hanged Eighty-Eight Men. New York: Duel, Sloan & Pierce, 1952.
  • Drago, Harry Sinclair. The Organized Bands of Bank and Train Robbers Who Terrorized the Middle West for Half a Century. New York: Bramhall House, 1964.

Magazine articles[edit]

  • Cain, Lianne. “‘Texas Jack’ and the Blackstone Train Robbery”. True West. (January 1996): 14.
  • Reed, Nathaniel. “Train Holdup at Blackstone Switch”. The West. (May 1964): 16.
  • Shirley, Glenn. “The Bungled Job at Blackstone Switch”. True West. (June 1966): 40.
Dear Grumpy Advice on Teaching in Today's Classroom Good News for a change! Hard Nosed Folks Both Good & Bad Leadership of the highest kind War Well I thought it was neat!


By Colonel James E. Moschgat, Commander of the 12th Operations Group, 12th Flying Training Wing, Randolph Air Force Base, Texas

William “Bill” Crawford certainly was an unimpressive figure, one you could easily overlook  during a hectic day at the U.S. Air Force Academy.  Mr. Crawford, as most of us referred to him back in the late 1970s, was our squadron janitor.
While we cadets busied ourselves preparing for academic exams, athletic events, Saturday morning parades and room inspections, or never-ending leadership classes, Bill quietly moved about the squadron mopping and buffing floors, emptying trash cans, cleaning toilets, or just tidying up the mess 100 college-age kids can leave in a dormitory.  Sadly, and for many years, few of us gave him much notice, rendering little more than a passing nod or throwing a curt, “G’morning!” in his direction as we hurried off to our daily duties.
Why?  Perhaps it was because of the way he did his job-he always kept the squadron area spotlessly clean, even the toilets and showers gleamed.  Frankly, he did his job so well, none of us had to notice or get involved.  After all, cleaning toilets was his job, not ours.  Maybe it was is physical appearance that made him disappear into the background.  Bill didn’t move very quickly and, in fact, you could say he even shuffled a bit, as if he suffered from some sort of injury.  His gray hair and wrinkled face made him appear ancient to a group of young cadets.  And his crooked smile, well, it looked a little funny.  Face it, Bill was an old man working in a young person’s world.  What did he have to offer us on a personal level?
Finally, maybe it was Mr. Crawford’s personality that rendered him almost invisible to the young people around him.  Bill was shy, almost painfully so.  He seldom spoke to a cadet unless they addressed him first, and that didn’t happen very often.  Our janitor always buried himself in his work, moving about with stooped shoulders, a quiet gait, and an averted gaze.  If he noticed the hustle and bustle of cadet life around him, it was hard to tell.  So, for whatever reason, Bill blended into the woodwork and became just another fixture around the squadron.  The Academy, one of our nation’s premier leadership laboratories, kept us busy from dawn till dusk.  And Mr. Crawford…well, he was just a janitor.
That changed one fall Saturday afternoon in 1976.  I was reading a book about World War II and the tough Allied ground campaign in Italy, when I stumbled across an incredible story.  On September 13, 1943, a Private William Crawford from Colorado, assigned to the 36th Infantry Division, had been involved in some bloody fighting on Hill 424 near Altavilla, Italy. The words on the page leapt out at me: “in the face of intense and overwhelming hostile fire … with no regard for personal safety …  on his own initiative, Private Crawford single-handedly attacked fortified enemy positions.” It continued, “for conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity at risk of life above and beyond the call of duty, the President of the United States …”
“Holy cow,” I said to my roommate, “you’re not going to believe this, but I think our janitor is a Medal of Honor winner.” We all knew Mr. Crawford was a WWII Army vet, but that didn’t keep my friend from looking at me as if I was some sort of alien being.  Nonetheless, we couldn’t wait to ask Bill about the story on Monday.  We met Mr. Crawford bright and early Monday and showed him the page in question from the book, anticipation and doubt in our faces.  He starred at it for a few silent moments and then quietly uttered something like, “Yep, that’s me.”
Mouths agape, my roommate and I looked at one another, then at the book, and quickly back at our janitor.  Almost at once we both stuttered, “Why didn’t you ever tell us about it?”  He slowly replied after some thought,   “That was one day in my life and it happened a long time ago.”
I guess we were all at a loss for words after that.  We had to hurry off to class and Bill, well, he had chores to attend to.  However, after that brief exchange, things were never again the same around our squadron.  Word spread like wildfire among the cadets that we had a hero in our midst-Mr. Crawford, our janitor, had won the Medal!  Cadets who had once passed by Bill with hardly a glance, now greeted him with a smile and a respectful, “Good morning, Mr. Crawford.”
Those who had before left a mess for the “janitor” to clean up started taking it upon themselves to put things in order.  Most cadets routinely stopped to talk to Bill throughout the day and we even began inviting him to our formal squadron functions.  He’d show up dressed in a conservative dark suit and quietly talk to those who approached him, the only sign of his heroics being a simple blue, star-spangled lapel pin.
Almost overnight, Bill went from being a simple fixture in our squadron to one of our teammates.  Mr. Crawford changed too, but you had to look closely to notice the difference.  After that fall day in 1976, he seemed to move with more purpose, his shoulders didn’t seem to be as stooped, he met our greetings with a direct gaze and a stronger “good morning” in return, and he flashed his crooked smile more often.  The squadron gleamed as always, but everyone now seemed to notice it more.  Bill even got to know most of us by our first names, something that didn’t happen often at the Academy.  While no one ever formally acknowledged the change, I think we became Bill’s cadets and his squadron.
As often happens in life, events sweep us away from those in our past. The last time I saw Bill was on graduation day in June 1977.  As I walked out of the squadron for the last time, he shook my hand and simply said, “Good luck, young man.”  With that, I embarked on a career that has been truly lucky and blessed.  Mr. Crawford continued to work at the Academy and eventually retired in his native Colorado where he resides today, one of four Medal of Honor winners living in a small town.
A wise person once said, “It’s not life that’s important, but those you meet along the way that make the difference.” Bill was one who made a difference for me.  While I haven’t seen Mr.  Crawford in over twenty years, he’d probably be surprised to know I think of him often.  Bill Crawford, our janitor, taught me many valuable, unforgettable leadership lessons.  Here are ten I’d like to share with you.

  1. Be Cautious of Labels.  Labels you place on people may define your relationship to them and bound their potential.  Sadly, and for a long time, we labeled Bill as just a janitor, but he was so much more.  Therefore, be cautious of a leader who callously says, “Hey, he’s just an Airman.”  Likewise, don’t tolerate the O-1, who says, “I can’t do that, I’m just a lieutenant.”
  2. Everyone Deserves Respect.  Because we hung the “janitor” label on Mr. Crawford, we often wrongly treated him with less respect than others around us. He deserved much more, and not just because he was a Medal of Honor winner. Bill deserved respect because he was a janitor, walked among us, and was a part of our team.
  3. Courtesy Makes a Difference.  Be courteous to all around you, regardless of rank or  position.  Military customs, as well as common courtesies, help bond a team.  When our daily words to Mr. Crawford turned from perfunctory “hellos” to heartfelt greetings, his demeanor and personality outwardly changed.  It made a difference for all of us.
  4. Take Time to Know Your People.  Life in the military is hectic, but that’s no excuse for not knowing the people you work for and with.  For years a hero walked among us at the Academy and we never knew it.  Who are the heroes that walk in your midst?
  5. Anyone Can Be a Hero.  Mr. Crawford certainly didn’t fit anyone’s standard definition of a hero.  Moreover, he was just a private on the day he won his Medal.  Don’t sell your people short, for any one of them may be the hero who rises to the occasion when duty calls.  On the other hand, it’s easy to turn to your proven performers when the chips are down, but don’t ignore the rest of the team.  Today’s rookie could and should be tomorrow’s superstar.
  6. Leaders Should Be Humble.  Most modern day heroes and some leaders are anything but humble, especially if you calibrate your “hero meter” on today’s athletic fields.  End zone celebrations and self-aggrandizement are what we’ve come to expect from sports greats.  Not Mr. Crawford-he was too busy working to celebrate his past heroics. Leaders would be well-served to do the same.
  7. Life Won’t Always Hand You What You Think You Deserve.  We in the military work hard and, dang it, we deserve recognition, right?  However, sometimes you just have to persevere, even when accolades don’t come your way. Perhaps you weren’t nominated for junior officer or airman of the quarter as you thought you should – don’t let that stop you.
  8. Don’t pursue glory; pursue excellence.  Private Bill Crawford didn’t pursue glory; he did his duty and then swept floors for a living. No job is beneath a Leader.  If Bill Crawford, a Medal of Honor winner, could clean latrines and smile, is there a job beneath your dignity?  Think about it.
  9. Pursue Excellence.  No matter what task life hands you, do it well. Dr. Martin Luther King  said, “If life makes you a street sweeper, be the best street sweeper you can be.” Mr. Crawford modeled that philosophy and helped make our dormitory area a home.
  10. Life is a Leadership Laboratory. All too often we look to some school or PME class to teach us about leadership when, in fact, life is a leadership laboratory.  Those you meet everyday will teach you enduring lessons if you just take time to stop, look and listen.  I spent four years at the Air Force Academy, took dozens of classes, read hundreds of books, and met thousands of great people.  I gleaned leadership skills from all of them, but one of the people I remember most is Mr. Bill Crawford and the lessons he unknowingly taught.  Don’t miss your opportunity to learn.

Bill Crawford was a janitor.  However, he was also a teacher, friend, role model and one great American hero.  Thanks, Mr. Crawford, for some valuable leadership lessons.
Dale Pyeatt, Executive Director of the National Guard Association of Texas, comments:  And now, for the “rest of the story”:  Pvt William John Crawford was a platoon scout for 3rd Platoon of Company L 1 42nd Regiment 36th Division (Texas National Guard) and won the Medal Of Honor for his actions on Hill 424, just 4 days after the invasion at Salerno.
On Hill 424, Pvt Crawford took out 3 enemy machine guns before darkness fell, halting the platoon’s advance.  Pvt Crawford could not be found and was assumed dead.  The request for his MOH was quickly approved.  Major General Terry Allen presented the posthumous MOH to Bill Crawford’s father, George, on 11 May 1944 in Camp (now Fort) Carson, near Pueblo.  Nearly two months after that, it was learned that Pvt Crawford was alive in a POW camp in Germany.  During his captivity, a German guard clubbed him with his rifle.  Bill overpowered him, took the rifle away, and beat the guard unconscious.  A German doctor’s testimony saved him from severe punishment, perhaps death.  To stay ahead of the advancing Russian army, the prisoners were marched 500 miles in 52 days in the middle of the German winter, subsisting on one potato a day.  An allied tank column liberated the camp in the spring of 1945, and Pvt Crawford took his first hot shower in 18 months on VE Day. Pvt Crawford stayed in the army before retiring as a MSG and becoming a janitor.  In 1984, President Ronald Reagan officially presented the MOH to Bill Crawford.
William Crawford passed away in 2000.  He is the only U.S. Army veteran and sole Medal of Honor winner to be buried in the cemetery of the U.S. Air Force Academy.

All About Guns Dear Grumpy Advice on Teaching in Today's Classroom Fieldcraft Gun Info for Rookies Hard Nosed Folks Both Good & Bad

“Karamojo” Bell on Rifles: In His Own Words

Elephant - Painting Art by John Seerey-Lester
Every time the question of a bigger rifle or smaller rifle (for any game) springs up, someone’s bound to say it: Karamojo Bell killed a thousand elephants with an .256. No, wait, with a .275. No, wait, he killed 1011 elephants, but only a few with the .256. No, but he was sniping out undisturbed elephants from long distance.
Exploits of W.D.M. Bell, Esq., nicknamed “Karamojo” because of being the first European to penetrate the territory of the Karamojo people, became legendary and controversial. Any scientific argument must begin with a study of the sources, so let’s turn to the book that made W. D. M. Bell famous:  “The Wanderings of an Elephant Hunter”, published in 1923. Our comments will follow.


In hunting elephant, as in other things, what will suit one man may not suit another. Every hunter has different methods and uses different rifles. Some believe in the big bores, holding that the bigger the bore therefore the greater the shock.
Others hold that the difference between the shock from a bullet of, say, 250 grs. and that from a bullet of, say, 500 grs. is so slight that, when exercised upon an animal of such bulk as an elephant, it amounts to nothing at all. And there is no end to the arguments and contentions brought forward by either side ; therefore it should be borne in mind when reading the following instructions that they are merely the result of one individual’s personal experience and not the hard and fast rules of an exact science.
As regards rifles, I will simply state that I have tried the following: .416, .450/.400, .360, .350, .318, .275 and .256. At the time I possessed the double .400 I also had a .275. Sometimes I used one and sometimes the other, and it began to dawn on me that when an elephant was hit in the right place with the .275 it died just as quickly as when hit with the .400, and, vice versa, when the bullet from either rifle was wrongly placed death did not ensue.
In pursuance of this train of thought I wired both triggers of the double .450/.400 together, so that when I pulled the rear one both barrels went off simultaneously. By doing this I obtained the equivalent of 800 grs. of lead propelled by 120 grs. of cordite.
The net result was still the same. If wrongly placed, the 800 grs. from the .400 had no more effect than the 200 grs. from the 275. For years after that I continued to use the .275 and the .256 in all kinds of country and for all kinds of game. Each hunter should use the weapon he has most confidence in.
Again, the smallest bore rifles with cartridges of a modern military description, such as the .256, .275, .303 or .318, are quite sufficiently powerful for the brain shot. The advantages of these I need hardly enumerate, such as their cheap ness, reliability, handiness, lightness, freedom from recoil, etc.
For the brain shot only bullets with an unbroken metal envelope (i.e., solids) should be employed; and those showing good weight, moderate velocity, with a blunt or round-nosed point, are much better than the more modern high velocity sharp-pointed variety. They keep a truer course, and are not so liable to turn over as the latter.

The brain shot was Karamojo Bell’s favorite. The way of shooting a going-away elephant pictured here is still known as “the Bell’s shot”



The question of which rifles to use for big-game hunting is for each individual to settle for himself. If the novice starts off with, say, three rifles : one heavy, say a double -577 ; one medium, say a .318 or a .350 ; and one light, say a .256 or a .240 or a .276, then he cannot fail to develop a preference for one or other of them.
\For the style of killing which appeals to me most the light calibres are undoubtedly superior to the heavy. In this style you keep perfectly cool and are never in a hurry. You never fire unless you can clearly see your way to place the bullet in a vital spot.
That done the calibre of the bullet makes no difference. But to some men of different temperament this style is not suited. They cannot or will not control the desire to shoot almost on sight if close to the game. For these the largest bores are none too big. If I belonged to this school I would have had built a much more powerful weapon than the .600 bores.
Speaking personally, my greatest successes have been obtained with the 7 mm. Rigby-Mauser or .276, with the old round-nosed solid, weighing, I believe, 200 grs. It seemed to show a remarkable aptitude for finding the brain of an elephant. This holding of a true course I think is due to the moderate velocity, 2,300 ft., and to the fact that the proportion of diameter to length of bullet seems to be the ideal combination. For when you come below .276 to .256 or 6-5 mm., I found a bending of the bullet took place when fired into heavy bones.
Then, again, the ballistics of the 275 cartridge, as loaded in Germany at any rate, are such as to make for the very greatest reliability. In spite of the pressures being high, the cartridge construction is so excellent that trouble from blowbacks and split cases and loose caps in the mechanism are entirely obviated. Why the caps should be so reliable in this particular cartridge I have never understood. But the fact remains that, although I have used almost every kind of rifle, the only one which never let me down was a .276 with German (D.W.M.) ammunition. I never had one single hangfire even. Nor a stuck case, nor a split one, nor a blowback, nor a miss-fire. All of these I had with other rifles.
I often had the opportunity of testing this extraordinary little weapon on other animals than elephant. Once, to relate one of the less bloody of its killings, I met at close range, in high grass, three bull buffalo. Having at the moment a large native following more or less on the verge of starvation, as the country was rather game less, I had no hesitation about getting all three. One stood with head up about 10 yds. away and facing me, while the others appeared as rustles in the grass behind him.
Instantly ready as I always was, carrying my own rifle, I placed a .276 solid in his chest. He fell away in a forward lurch, disclosing another immediately behind him and in a similar posture. He also received a .276, falling on his nose and knees. The third now became visible through the commotion, affording a chance at his neck as he barged across my front. A bullet between neck and shoulder laid him flat. All three died without further trouble, and the whole affair lasted perhaps four or five seconds.

African Buffalo. Drawing by W.D.M. Bell.

Another point in favour of the .276 is the shortness of the motions required to reload. This is most important in thick stuff. If one develops the habit by constant practice of pushing the rifle forward with the left hand while the right hand pulls back the bolt and then vice versa draws the rifle towards one while closing it, the rapidity of fire becomes quite extraordinary. With a long cartridge, necessitating long bolt movements, there is a danger that on occasions requiring great speed the bolt may not be drawn back quite sufficiently far to reject the fired case, and it may become re-entered into the chamber.
This once happened to me with a .350 Mauser at very close quarters with a rhino. I did not want any rhino, but the villagers had complained about this particular one upsetting their women while gathering firewood. We tracked him back into high grass. I had foolishly allowed a number of the villagers to come with me.
When it was obvious that we were close to our game these villagers began their African whispering, about as loud, in the still bush, as a full-throated bass voice in a gramophone song. Almost immediately the vicious old beast could be heard tearing through the grass straight towards us. I meant to fire my first shot into the movement as soon as it became visible, and to kill with my second as he swerved.
At a very few paces’ distance the grass showed where he was and I fired into it, reloading almost instantaneously. At the shot he swerved across, almost within kicking range, showing a wonderful chance at his neck. I fired, but there was only a click. I opened the bolt and there was my empty case.
I once lost a magnificent bull elephant through a .256 Mannlicher going wrong. I got up to him and pulled trigger on him, but click ! a miss-fire. He paid no attention and I softly opened the bolt. Out came the case, spilling the flake powder into the mechanism and leaving the bullet securely fast in the barrel lead. I tried to ram another cartridge in, but could not do so. Here was a fix. How to get that bullet out.
Caliber .256 is very small when you come to try poking sticks down it. Finally I got the bullet out, but then the barrel was full of short lengths of sticks which could not be cleared out, as no stick could be found sufficiently long, yet small enough.
So I decided to chance it and fire the whole lot into the old elephant, who, meanwhile, was feeding steadily along. I did so from sufficiently close range, but what happened I cannot say. Certainly that elephant got nothing of the charge except perhaps a few bits of stick. That something had touched him up was evident from his anxiety to get far away, for he never stopped during the hours I followed him.
At one time I used a double .450/.400. It was a beautiful weapon, but heavy. Its drawbacks I found were : it was slow for the third and succeeding shots ; it was noisy ; the cartridges weighed too much ; the strikers broke if a shade too hard or flattened and cut the cap if a shade too soft ; the caps of the cartridges were quite unreliable ; and finally, if any sand, grit or vegetation happened to fall on to the breech faces as you tore along you were done ; you could not close it. Grit especially was liable to do this when following an elephant which had had a mud bath, leaving the vegetation covered with it as he passed along. This would soon dry and tumble off at the least touch.
I have never heard any explanation of the undoubted fact that our British ammunition manufacturers cannot even yet produce a reliable rifle cartridge head, anvil and cap, other than that of the service .303. On my last shoot in Africa two years ago, when W and I went up the Bahr Aouck, the very first time he fired at an elephant he had a miss-fire and I had identically the same thing. We were using .318’s with English made cartridges.
Then on the same shoot I nearly had my head blown off and my thumb severely bruised by an English loaded .256. There was no miss-fire there. The cartridge appeared to me almost to detonate. More vapour came from the breech end than from the other. I have since been told by a great authority that it was probably due to a burst case, due to weak head.
On my return I complained about this and was supplied with a new batch, said to be all right. But whenever I fire four or five rounds I have a jam, and on investigating invariably find a cap blown out and lodging in the slots cut for the lugs of the bolt head. Luckily these cartridges are wanting in force; at one time they used fairly to blast me with gas from the wrong end. The fact that these faults are not conspicuously apparent in this country may be traced to the small number of rounds fired from sporting rifles, or, more probably, to the pressures increasing in a tropical temperature.

native elephant hunters
By XX century firearms were widespread in Africa, and many native hunters used them to harvest ivory in areas where Karamojo Bell hunted.

I have never been able to appreciate “shock” as applied to killing big game. It seems to me that you cannot hope to kill an elephant weighing six tons by ” shock ” unless you hit him with a field gun. And yet nearly all writers advocate the use of large bores as they “shock” the animal so much more than the small bores.
They undoubtedly “shock” the firer more, but I fail to see the difference they are going to make to the recipient of the bullet. If you expect to produce upon him by the use of big bores the effect a handful of shot had upon the Jumping Frog of Calaveras County, you will be disappointed. Wounded non-vitally he will go just as far and be just as savage with 500 grains of lead as with 200. And 100 grains in the right place are as good as ten million.
The thing that did most for my rifle shooting was, I believe, the fact that I always carried my own rifle. It weighed about 7 lb., and I constantly aligned it at anything and everything. I was always playing with it. Constant handling, constant aiming, constant Swedish drill with it, and then when it was required there it was ready and pointing true.


A lot of controversy about Karamojo Bell comes from Mr. Bell himself. “The Wonderings of an Elephant Hunter” was written when the trails were still hot, memories fresh, and from the “here’s what worked for me, under my specific circumstances” position. Later in life, however, his views became more radical.
In an article titled “Big Bores vs. Small Bores”, for example, published posthumously by “The American Rifleman” in 1954, he urged everyone to dump the big bores and hunt all animals with rifles of the .308 Win. class (he praised the cartridge, even though he had no personal experience with it).
All dependent on bullet placement, he wrote, “a .600 caliber 900-grain bullet in the right place will kill as dead as a 100-grain bullet”. A few paragraphs later, he called the .318 Westley Richards “the deadliest” of his foursome of favorites, that also included the 6.5 mm. Mannlicher, the 7 mm. Mauser, and the .303 British. So, he could see the difference in killing power between .318 and 7 mm, but not between .22 Swift and .600 NE. Er… seriously?
Was it rhetorical vigor, or was W.D.M. Bell simply pulling the readers’ collective leg? These British “old chaps” loved a good prank – oh, pardon me, practical joke! What most people tend to learn over their lifetimes is that a radical view on anything is usually wrong. That includes Karamojo Bell and his small-bore rifles. 
On the one hand, Bell certainly didn’t kill over a thousand elephants with a 6.5 mm rifle. .As we already know, he used rifles for at least eight different rounds. For the trip into the Karamojo country, he had a battery of three rifles, two already mentioned and a.303 British. For three of his trips – to Liberia, up the River Bahr Aouk, and into the Buba Gida Potentiate and the Lakka country, he carried only one big-game rifle: a .318 Westley Richards.
This is a medium bore (.330, or 8.4 mm) round that came loaded with a 250-grain (16 gram) bullet at 2,400 ft/s (730 m/s), or a 180-grain (12 gram) at  2,700 ft/s (820 m/s). He is credited with killing over 1011 elephants in his career, but the .256 accounted for the minority of kills, due to various ammunition problems. 

bell tall grass
Karamojo Bell hunted elephants in all sorts of conditions. You wouldn’t want a rifle with heavy recoil here.

On the other hand, critics tend to downplay Bell’s experience, saying he was mostly shooting undisturbed elephants at long distance in an open country. In fact, Bell killed all kinds of elephants in all kinds of terrain. That included the 12-foot grass in the Lado Enclave, where he had to shoot from an improvised elevation.  
If Bell couldn’t see the difference between bigger and smaller cartridges, why would he use the .318 WR on so many trips, and why did he order one .416 Rigby after another (as Rigby’s record books testify)? On the other hand, when African national parks carried out large-scale elephant culls – the nearest thing to Bell’s ivory hunting in modern world – the weapon of choice, to our knowledge, were semi-automatic military rifles and the 7.62 mm NATO (the military version of the .308 Win.). Karamojo would’ve approved. The bottom line is, precisely as Karamojo himself claimed in his earliest prose, the 7 mm Mauser was what worked for a specific person under specific circumstances. It’s not a magic bullet for everyone everywhere.   
In any case, Bell’s books make a wonderful read, whether you agree with his views or not. He was one of the people who had a unique experience, intelligent enough to know their experience were unique, and talented enough to preserve it for later generations in high-quality prose and imagery. And, as long as you don’t take Bell’s tips literally, his advice on knowing your weapon, the killing spots of your quarry, and being able to put every bullet where it belongs, still makes a lot of sense.

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Commentary: Daunte Wright’s Death Is a Tragedy for Us All

Daunte Wright
by Scott McKay


We will never hear the last of these names. Eric Garner. Alton Sterling. Michael Brown. George Floyd. Rashad Brooks.

And now Daunte Wright.

We will never hear the last of them because there will always be more. And because certain people are invested in forcing us to hear about them.

But what they demand we hear isn’t the truth.

Is it a tragedy that Daunte Wright is dead? Of course it is. Should he have been shot dead on Sunday by a Brooklyn Center, Minnesota, police officer? Why, no – he shouldn’t have been.

We can get this out of the way very easily. The Brooklyn Center police department employed, it appears, a female cop who after 26 years on the force can’t tell the difference in a stressful situation between a taser and a Glock pistol. To call this a failure of hiring and training would be a rather generous statement.

There was something of a hue and cry over the firing of the city manager in that Minneapolis suburb because he called for the officer to be given due process, but the fact of the matter is that the most likely result of due process in the Daunte Wright case is firings up the chain of command anyway. The officer in question, Kim Potter, who was a former police union local president,  has already resigned. The police chief, Tim Gannon, has also resigned. Mike Elliott, the African American Democrat mayor of Brooklyn Center, seems pretty intent on throwing under the bus as many underlings as possible in order to save himself, but he probably ought to go, too.

Particularly after what the mob did to Brooklyn Center in response to the Daunte Wright shooting.

We could have an argument about “diversity hiring” here. We could also have an argument, as was insistent on raising Monday, about the deadly stupidity of laws like the one Minnesota has criminalizing the hanging of air fresheners or other items from the rearview mirror of a car. Reason‘s Billy Binion pronounced Daunte Wright dead as a result of that idiotic statute.

He’s wrong. That law, disgracefully ridiculous though it might be, did not kill Daunte Wright.

Daunte Wright, or at least the life he led, killed Daunte Wright.

He wasn’t pulled over because he had air fresheners hanging from his rearview mirror. He was pulled over because he had expired tags on his license plate. Then it was noticed that he had air fresheners hanging from his rear view.

Then it was noticed he had an outstanding warrant.

Then it was noticed he resisted arrest.

Then it was noticed he got back in his car and drove away from the police. Which he had done before, as it turned out; Wright had fled from officers in June. The circumstances from which that police encounter arose make for scintillating reading. He was reported to the police for waving a gun around, and when the cops showed up it turned out Wright didn’t have a permit for the gun.

He ran away. And he was cited and ordered to appear in court. He didn’t, which occasioned the warrant for his arrest.

That’s not all that appears on Wright’s record. There was the February arrest for aggravated robbery. There was a disorderly conduct charge arising from a 2019 incident. There was the guilty plea in late 2019 to possession and sale of marijuana. And there was an arrest warrant for armed robbery; Wright was accused of choke-holding a woman and threatening her at gunpoint, demanding $820 intended to pay her rent.

Daunte Wright dropped out of high school, then fathered a child out of wedlock he couldn’t support with minimum-wage jobs and petty drug dealing. He had borrowed $50 from his parents to take his car to a car wash and had his girlfriend in the car with him, with expired license tags. He was stopped by the police, resisted arrest, and then attempted to drive away — which raised the likelihood that he would expose his girlfriend to bodily harm. She was apparently injured when, as he bled out following being shot by Officer Potter, he crashed the car attempting a getaway.

In other words, this is someone who chose to be a penny-ante John Dillinger. He ended up with the full ante.

His parents are justifiably upset at his death. The loss of a child is one of the most heartbreaking events anyone could bear. Certainly our sympathies go out to them.

But Daunte Wright’s father called him “a great kid.” He said he was “a normal kid. He was never in serious trouble. He enjoyed spending time with his 2-year-old son. He loved his son.”

Great kids don’t fight with and then flee the cops. Great kids don’t bring the police around because they’re waving guns. Great kids aren’t arrested for aggravated robbery or for dealing drugs.

Or, in the community Daunte Wright came from, maybe they do. Maybe that’s great.

If so, that’s a lot bigger problem than the incompetence of the politicians and police in Brooklyn Center, Minnesota.

But that isn’t something you’ll hear much about, is it?

You aren’t even allowed to talk about the fact that this 20-year-old kid had already messed up his life and may have been well on his way to becoming a career criminal. Daunte Wright had perpetuated the cycle of out-of-wedlock childbirth, academic failure, the inability to learn and deploy a marketable skill, and escalating criminal behavior that so horrifically afflicts the black community in this country.

If Daunte Wright’s life was “great” and not substandard, then we will never be rid of these tragedies. And they’re all fundamentally the same — career criminal on the fringe of society, a failure in life, involved in drugs (if not high at the time; we’ll know later what the toxicology report shows), likely faced with prolonged jail time upon arrest and resisting arrest.

How do you prevent deaths like Daunte Wright’s? You try to prevent young men from living lives like Daunte Wright’s.

But you aren’t allowed to say that. Neither Joe Biden nor Kamala Harris, both of whom had the opportunity to lead but instead chose to pander to the mob, would say it. Nor would Minnesota’s Gov. Tim Walz, another pandering Democrat responsible for more of his state’s destruction than perhaps all of his predecessors combined.

Wright’s family hired — of course! — the race-hustling attorney Ben Crump, who has made his entire livelihood trying cases like this in the media as the cities where they happen burn. Crump’s street-criminal clients, or more specifically their families, often pull nice settlements out of local governments despite weak evidence of actual malfeasance.

This case, owing to the Barney Fife nature of the gunplay involved, might be Ben Crump’s best yet. Which isn’t saying much.

So he was on the scene in Brooklyn Center almost before the body was cold.

“Daunte Wright’s life matters,” Crump said.

Well, of course it matters. It matters to Ben Crump. Daunte Wright will be a nice paycheck for him. And so will the next Daunte Wright, and the one after that. Before too long, Ben Crump will be able to buy a million-dollar house in Topanga Canyon near Black Lives Matter founder Patrisse Cullors’ fresh crib.

It isn’t a coincidence that nobody is interested in preventing lives like Daunte Wright’s but rather celebrating them. Daunte Wright’s funeral will be a lot bigger deal than David Dorn’s. There will be murals painted and stores burned and looted in his honor.

And then there will be a fat settlement. Daunte Wright will end up worth a whole lot more dead than he ever was alive.

So long as this tragic cycle can’t be called out for the horrific farce that it is, it will continue. But it can’t. And the next Daunte Wright will only keep the wheel turning around and around.

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How Experience in WWI brought the U.S. Army to Victory in WWII BY ANGRY STAFF OFFICER

We’re in the early months of the centennial of U.S. participation in World War I, the so-called, “War to end all wars.” With the vantage of 20/20 hindsight, we now know that rather than “making the world safe for democracy,” as Woodrow Wilson hoped, World War I instead set the stage for the next round of global conflict.
The United States entered the war in 1917 as a relatively unknown quantity. The U.S. Army was tiny in 1917, and many wondered whether it would be able to mobilize enough men to really make a difference. In the end, the U.S. was able to put over a million military personnel in Europe – enough to sway the balance of power in Europe against the Central Powers.
November of 1918 saw the Armistice signed and a tenuous peace return to the world. And suddenly, America felt and saw the power of her military might. This came at the cost of hundreds of thousands of killed, wounded, and missing servicemen.
After the initial euphoria of victory wore off, Americans began to ask what had been gained from the war. As the Great Depression swept the world and Germany slid towards totalitarianism, this question became all the more pertinent. When war flared again in 1939, one can hardly blame those who advocated for U.S. isolationism given that U.S. participation in the Great War seemingly did little to prevent another conflagration. But what these people didn’t realize was that America would win World War II because of their experience in World War I.
When the U.S. entered World War I in 1917, the Army more closely resembled that of the Civil War than that of World War II. The horse was still the prime mover for the majority of the Army. The National Guard was still organized in state entities with no division alignments, ill-suited for modern warfare. The Army had few effective machine guns and virtually no modern artillery. There were no tanks or aircraft. Thus it was that machine guns, automatic rifles, gas masks, grenades, artillery, tanks, and aircraft all had to be supplied by the French and British in the first year of U.S. participation in the war.
While the equipment and organization of the Army lagged behind the rest of the world in 1917, there were greater and more serious gaps at the strategic level. Very few leaders had commanded or maneuvered anything larger than a brigade. Now the Army was designing divisions of 28,000 men – a massive and unwieldy organization.
The Army would struggle to keep command and control across these huge units throughout the entirety of the war. There was very little concept of command and staff operations in the U.S. Army at the strategic level at the outset of the war.
And the man chosen to lead the new American Expeditionary Force had some strong ideas about warfare that did not mesh with the realities on the battlefields of Europe. General John J. Pershing stated that, “the ultimate success of the army depends upon their proper use in open warfare…Aggressive offensive based on self-reliant infantry.” In other words, Pershing said that movement and maneuver in the open would be the foundation of U.S. tactics rather than the trench warfare of literally everyone else.
There was a problem with this, of course. The French and British had been trying this for years – with calamitous results. In fact, just as the U.S. was entering the war, the French were annihilating a large part of their army in the Nivelle Offensive. The enormous losses they incurred from this operation caused whole divisions to mutiny.
This led to massive reforms within the French Army. The Germans were already moving toward infiltration tactics. All sides were experimenting with combined arms with tanks, airplanes, artillery, and infantry working together. And here came the Americans, scoffing at the battle-hardened British and French, saying that trench warfare had made them immobile and scared to attack.
As one American brigade commander told his men in 1917, “The war will be won in the open; the Boche is in the trenches now and has been for four years. We have got to be able to drive him out and that is why this French instruction is valuable; but remember we are going to get him out into the open and then all the old and fixed principles of our school of warfare will come into play.” In the first American offensives of 1918 at Cantigny and Chateau-Thierry, thousands of Americans died in droves in front of German machine guns and under bursting artillery shells. Divisions were cleaned out in weeks and had to be revitalized with barely-trained replacements. It was an unsustainable form of warfare.
Throughout 1918, the Americans struggled to adapt their tactics to their adversaries. They fielded tanks at St. Mihiel, built up a formidable Air Service, and slowly learned how to fight war in the 20th century. Pershing and his staff began to learn that prosecuting war on the battlefield was not the only fight; as important was negotiating with allies. Unfortunately, Pershing was not a man cut out for diplomacy.
While he certainly looked the part, he lacked the temperament for dealing with his British and chaumont_1919French counterparts – with whom he clashed constantly. To his credit, he had been placed in an incredibly difficult situation: raise, arm, train, and field the largest American army ever created while staving off British and French attempts to take all his troops for their own offensives.
But he didn’t make it easier on himself by blowing up at his allied counterparts and creating what could have been international incidents, had the Allies not needed American assistance so badly. Fortunately, he had some good subordinates, such as George C. Marshall. It was Marshall who not only organized and planned the Meuse-Argonne Offensive – the war-ending battle – but who smoothed over Pershing’s relations with everyone from foreign generals to Pershing’s own irate division commanders who objected to his micromanagement.
It was junior officers – men like Marshall, George Patton, Douglas MacArthur, Dwight Eisenhower (although he was never afforded the opportunity to fight in Europe), Mark Clarke, Lesley McNair, and Walter Kruger, amongst so many – who looked at the lessons from World War I and realized that the U.S. Army needed to change if it wanted to be competitive on the battlefield in another war. They knew that the Army could not sustain the disastrous casualty rates that “open warfare” had caused.
So they began to change the Army after the World War. Change was slow because they were still fighting the general officers who had grown up in the pre-World War I Army. Patton and Eisenhower were threatened with court martial if they didn’t stop publishing articles about such heretical things as the tank being the basis for offensives rather than dismounted infantry.
Efforts of the World War I generation were not helped by popular distrust in the military as the Army battled small budgets, low manpower authorizations, and increasing responsibilities around the world. Marshall moved his way through the Army staff system, overseeing sweeping changes to doctrine and staff procedures.
By 1939, he was the Army Chief of Staff; the WWI officer corps was finally in a position to effect the changes that they had envisioned and written about for twenty years. It wasn’t a moment too soon: the same day Marshall was sworn in, Germany invaded Poland.
In 1940, Marshall – remembering the poor performance of commanders in World War I – began the GHQ Maneuvers in the southern U.S. He called up National Guard divisions and paired them with Regular Army divisions to create full-scale army maneuvers: hundreds of thousands of men moving around Texas, Louisiana, and the Carolinas.
Here he and other military leaders were able to evaluate new technologies, test new doctrine, and get a feel for whether commanders were effective or not. Many were not, and were relieved of command, probably saving many lives in the coming conflict. The entire maneuvers provided Marshall and other key leaders the informational snapshot that they needed in order to start building the Army to war footing. Just as the maneuvers were winding down in the winter of 1941, the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor and the U.S. was at war again.
One of the first things that the War Department did in 1942 was to operationalize the National Guard. One of the key lessons from World War I was that the Guard was needed on the front lines, but that they needed a time to train up. The other move was to get rid of the 28,000-man monstrosity of a division. The Army’s divisions were cut down in size, made more agile and adaptive, and given greater lethality through the addition of more enablers.
The Army got rid of the brigade and replaced it with the regimental combat team, composed of an infantry regiment, a field artillery battalion, and an engineer company. Infantry regiments gained antitank capabilities as well as their own organic artillery companies. These smaller and faster forces proved far more effective than their lumbering predecessors of World War I.
The Army adopted a tank corps as well and began training for combined arms warfare. Although the Army was still behind the 8-ball when it entered combat in 1942, the results would have been far more disastrous had it not been for the efforts of the generation of officers who had lived through the Great War.
Another key take-away from World War I was building relationships with Allies. Marshall and Eisenhower were far more patient men than Pershing had been, and were able to navigate the diplomatic pitfalls of being an allied commander far better than someone like Patton or MacArthur would have.
But Marshall did have his breaking points. For example, during a 1944 planning conference with the British, Prime Minister Winston Churchill was demanding an Allied invasion of the island of Rhodes, at which Marshall finally exploded, allegedly stating, “No American is going to land on that goddam island!” These outbursts were minimal, however, and the American and British coalition managed to stay together to defeat the Nazis and the Japanese.
There was one more way that World War I taught the U.S. people a lesson, and that was in the realm of veterans’ affairs. Between 1919-1920, the U.S. military sent millions of servicemembers back into civilian life. Many were wounded – both physically and mentally – and there was no real plan to take care of these “ex servicemen” as they were called at the time. Congress had passed a bill in 1924 granting a bonus to those who had honorably served during the war, but during the Great Depression the payouts had been

Police clash with Bonus Marchers (Wikimedia Commons)

cut back. In 1932, thousands of veterans descended on Washington D.C. in the infamous Bonus March. They were eventually evicted at gunpoint and with tear gas by Army units in one of the most shameful treatment of veterans in our nation’s history.
MacArthur, Patton, and Eisenhower all took part in this execrable affair. With that living in recent memory, veterans services organizations and WWI veterans in Congress resolved that nothing like it should ever happen again. The Servicemen’s Readjustment Act of 1944 provided a whole range of benefits to veterans returning to society, the chief of which was access to a college education. This act is commonly known as the GI Bill.
From the battlefield to the staff room to the college campus, World War I veterans made their presence felt. While World War I would lead to World War II, it was American experience in the first that brought victory to the second.

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About the Author: Angry Staff Officer is an Army engineer officer who is adrift in a sea of doctrine and staff operations and uses writing as a means to retain his sanity. He also collaborates on a podcast with Adin Dobkin entitled War Stories, which examines key moments in the history of warfare.

All About Guns Gun Info for Rookies Hard Nosed Folks Both Good & Bad

The .35 Whelen Story by Layne Simpson

The .35 Whelen Story

The origin of the .35 Whelen has long been debated despite the fact that in two of his books, Colonel Whelen named James V. Howe as its developer.

Remington forever legitimized the .35 Whelen when it began loading it in 1988. Eventually, Big Green would offer it in the Model 700 as well as its slide-action and semiautomatic rifles.
Prior to that, however, the .35 was one of our most popular wildcats. For about as long as it has been around, its origin has been debated. Some are convinced it was James V. Howe who created it, and others argue with equal fervor that it was Col. Townsend Whelen.
The argument rages on despite the fact that Whelen long ago settled it in two of his books. In the .35 Whelen section of “Why Not Load Your Own?” (1957), he writes, “This cartridge was developed by James V. Howe in 1922 and named for the writer.”
Page 271 of “The Hunting Rifle,” which was published during the early 1940s, reads in part, “In 1922, Mr. James V. Howe and the writer developed the .400 Whelen cartridge. This cartridge was constructed by taking the .30-’06 case before it had been necked at all and necking it down to .40 caliber.
About the time we completed development of this cartridge, I went on a long hunting trip in the Northwest, and when I returned, Mr. Howe showed me another cartridge that he had developed. The .30-’06 case was necked to .35 caliber to use existing .35-caliber bullets. Mr. Howe asked my permission to call this cartridge the .35 Whelen, but he alone deserves credit for its development
The .35 Whelen Story
After leaving Frankford in 1923, he got together with Seymour Griffin and formed Griffin & Howe, a shop that became widely known for building fine custom rifles. The partnership did not work out, and after about six months, Howe moved on to Hoffman Arms Company in Cleveland, Ohio, where he stayed for a long time.
Even though Col. Whelen staked no claim to the .35 Whelen, we still owe him partial credit for its existence. During the 1920s, American Leslie Simpson was considered to be an authority on hunting the African continent. Among other things, he, along with novelist Steward Edward White and a couple of others, was said to have taken more than 50 lions during a control shoot lasting three weeks.

For the past 25 years, this custom rifle on a Whitworth Model 98 Mauser square-bridge action has been the author’s favorite in .35 Whelen. Its 22-inch Apex barrel was made by the late Sam May, and its 1:12-inch twist handles bullets as long as the 310-grain Woodleigh. Butch Searcy did the barreled action, and it was stocked by E.C. Bishop & Son of Warsaw, Missouri.

Simpson and Whelen became friends, and during one of their conversations, Simpson mentioned using the .35 Winchester and finding it lacking. What was needed for taking thin-skinned African game, including lions, was a cartridge of the same caliber but capable of pushing along a 250-grain bullet at 2,500 to 2,600 feet-per-second. Whelen passed the idea on to James Howe, who came up with two cartridges, one of which was the .35 Whelen while he was at Frankford Arsenal.
After moving on to Griffin & Howe, Howe followed up with the .350 G&H Magnum, and it was loaded by Western Cartridge Company.
Whelen had several favorites, but reading his books, I find very little evidence of the .35-caliber cartridge bearing his name being one of them. In fact, I’m not sure he ever actually hunted with it.
The book “Mister Rifleman,” published by Petersen Publishing Company after Whelen’s death in 1961, has a chapter titled “A Rifleman’s Battery.” It’s filled with two-page-spread photos of about 30 rifles owned by Whelen along with comments on each written by him. The only rifle in the group in .35 Whelen was built on a 1903 Springfield action by James Howe in 1922 and originally had a Niedner barrel in .400 Whelen.

Of the various factory- loaded cartridges of .35 caliber introduced through the years, the .35 Whelen and .35 Remington went on to become the most popular. Left to right: .35 Whelen, .35 Remington, .358 Winchester, .350 Rem. Mag., .35 Winchester, .35 Newton, .350 G&H Mag., .358 Norma Mag.

Due to very little shoulder on its case for headspacing, the .400 was a troublesome cartridge to reload and shoot, yet Whelen did not get around to having the rifle rebarreled to .35 Whelen until around 1950, long after he did most of his hunting. His reloading manual came out seven years later, and he may have needed a rifle in .35 Whelen for developing the loads published in it.
Col. Whelen was a practical man, and my guess is that he had very little use for the .35 simply because the game he successfully hunted was easily taken with cartridges of smaller calibers and less recoil. His 40-year Army career began not long after the .30-40 Krag was adopted, and both became favorites in the hunting fields.
He later became equally fond of the .30-’06, 7x57mm Mauser and .257 Roberts, but the .270 Winchester that accounted for his best moose seemed to be his favorite. There were others in his life, both factory and wildcats, with the .243 Winchester and .308 Winchester among the last he wrote up while on the technical staff of Guns & Ammo.
Someone who did hunt a great deal with the .35 Whelen was Elmer Keith. Before using it, he used a custom Springfield in .400 Whelen given to him by James Howe in 1925. Like Whelen, he eventually had his rifle rebarreled to .35 Whelen and used it to take what he described as a record-book brown bear during his first hunt in Alaska in 1937.

Col. Whelen, dean of American riflemen, shooting his 7mm rifle on assignment for accuracy and trajectory.

Keith took the bruin with a 275-grain bullet made by Western Tool & Copper Co., his favorite for all-around use. He loaded 57 grains of IMR 4064, but that powder in his day was a bit slower in burn rate than today’s version, since 52 grains is now considered maximum with a bullet of that weight. Elmer speculated that the 300-grain roundnose made by Fred Barnes might be a better choice when hunting elk in heavy timber, but I don’t believe he actually got around to trying it.
In notes written about his .35-caliber Griffin & Howe Springfield, Whelen recommended two loads for it with IMR 4350. One was 61 grains behind a 275-grain roundnose bullet made at the time by Joyce Hornady. Velocity was 2,375 fps. The other was 60 grains with the Barnes 300-grain bullet for 2,350 fps.
He must have been using special brass because I am unable to get that much IMR 4350 into factory .35 Whelen cases or those formed from various brands of .30-’06 brass and still have enough space left to seat bullets at the overall cartridge lengths required by the magazines of various bolt-action rifles. The heaviest charges I can squeeze behind 275- and 300-grain bullets are 59 and 53 grains, respectively, for velocities of 2,219 and 2,059 fps.
Reloder 15 has become the powder for .35 Whelen handloads, not only for me but for several other hunters I know who use the cartridge. Clean-burning, it delivers top velocities with all bullet weights, accuracy is usually very good, and it meters through powder measures with minimum charge-to-charge variation.

Col. Whelen at Winchester’s Nilo Farms. This photo, taken February 1961, is thought to be his last. He passed away 10 months later, on December 23, 1961, at age 84.

Maximum charges with all bullets weighing from 180 to 210 grains are either 100 percent density or close enough to it. If I were to pick a second favorite, it would be Vihtavuori N-140. Others with similar burn rates include Accurate 2520, Varget, W748 and IMR 4064. Various reloading manuals have data for all of them.
Today’s bullets are much better than in Elmer Keith’s time, and lighter weights than those used by him are capable of taking any game most would want to hunt with the .35 Whelen.
For those who wish to turn back the calendar to the good old days, a few heavyweights are available. Loading the heavier bullets also puts the .35 Whelen on a more equal footing with the 9.3x62mm Mauser. Woodleigh offers a 275-grain Weldcore, and from Swift we have a 280-grain A-Frame. Both are a bit long for the 1:16-inch twist of Remington rifles and usually require 1:14 or quicker.
The Woodleigh 310-grain roundnose is available in both expanding and solid styles; both require a 1:12 twist. I have not tried the 275-grain Lion Load bullet from A-Square, but since it is of roundnose form, it should work in a 1:16 twist. I believe Savage rifles have a 1:12 twist, but I’m not sure about Brownings, Rugers, Winchesters and others.
Unprimed cases are available from Nosler, Hornady, Remington and Norma USA, but necking up .30-’06 cases as in the old days remains an option. A tapered expander button in most .35 Whelen full-length resizing dies makes doing so easy. Applying a light coat of wax-type resizing lube (available from Hornady and Redding) to the mouth of each case makes the job go smoothly. Case loss should be zero if new brass is used.

Remington Express Core-Lokt .35 Whelen, 200 gr.

Remington continues to offer two .35 Whelen loads: 200-grain Core-Lokt and 250-grain softnose, the latter a Hornady bullet. Federal Premium loaded with the 225-grain Trophy Bonded Bear Claw is a good choice when sticking with one load for everything from mice to moose. Nosler ammunition loaded with 225- and 250-grain Partition bullets has a following, and Winchester loads the cartridge as well.
Hornady Superformance with a 200-grain softpoint is the fastest factory load available. I wondered whether the 2,920-fps velocity printed on its box was a misprint, but skepticism turned to amazement when my Oehler Model 33 indicated an average of 2,962 fps from the 22-inch barrel of my Mauser. That’s more than 100 fps faster than maximum handloads with 180-grain bullets in that rifle. It should be devastating on deer. A second load with the 225-grain GMX at 2,800 fps or so would be equally effective on elk and other large game.
I have also owned a couple of Model 700s in this caliber, but my favorite is a custom rifle built about 25 years ago by Butch Searcy, who is now better known for building fine double rifles. He began the project by installing one of Sam May’s Apex barrels on a Whitworth ’98 Mauser square-bridge action.
The barrel is 22 inches long, and since the Barnes 275- and 300-grain bullets were available back then, I specified a rifling twist rate of 1:12 inches. Butch also machined a quarter rib for the barrel, installed a banded ramp sight up front and modified the bolt shroud for a Model 70-style safety.

The barreled action was stocked by E.C. Bishop & Son custom shop in Warsaw, Missouri. The only scope it has ever worn is a Redfield 1-4X variable from the 1960s. It is held in place by quick-detach rings available at the time from Kimber of Oregon. Weight with scope is 8½ pounds. It is the most consistently accurate rifle in .35 Whelen I have ever owned and quite comfortable to shoot.
Down through the decades, a number of .35-caliber cartridges have been introduced, but not a single one has managed to win the hearts of America’s hunters. They range from oldies such as the .35 Remington, .35 Winchester, .35 Whelen, .35 Newton and .350 Griffin & Howe Magnum to newer numbers such as the .358 Winchester, .356 Winchester, .350 Remington Magnum and .358 Norma Magnum.
The .35 Remington was once quite popular among hunters in the east. It is the chambering I chose for my very first store-bought deer rifle and was used to take my first black bear. Sad to say, very few Marlin 336s in that caliber are sold these days.
The .35 Whelen has yet to win a popularity contest among hunters and probably never will, but the fact that it has been in use for more than 90 years is proof of its ability to shrug off the challenges of more modern cartridges. It may eventually be the only cartridge of its caliber we have left.

All About Guns Good News for a change! Hard Nosed Folks Both Good & Bad

Teddy Roosevelt’s Shotgun Goes to Texas A rare piece of sporting and presidential history finds a new home By ABIGAIL TIERNEY May 28, 2019


President Theodore Roosevelt’s A.H. Fox double, which was given to him by company founder Ansley Fox in 1908.

At a James D. Julia firearms auction in 2010, what is widely agreed to be the most historic American shotgun in existence went on the block. The gun belonged to President Theodore Roosevelt, and the buyer was one Jason Roselius, a Texas-born attorney and lifelong history buff, whose winning $862,500 bid made it the most expensive gun ever sold at auction—by a long shot.


The 12-gauge double was custom-made for Roosevelt, complete with an inscription on the right barrel, by the A.H. Fox Gun Company in 1908. In a letter to founder Ansley Fox shortly after receiving the gift, Roosevelt wrote, “I really think it is the most beautiful gun I have ever seen.” The President looked after the Fox with meticulous care, cleaning it with a pair of his old pajamas (these too were included in the sale). Perhaps most significant are the gun’s travels, including Roosevelt’s famous 1909 African safari, a number of birds from which are on display at the Smithsonian. And now, the gun itself has a new home at the Panhandle-Plains Historical Museum (PPHM) in Canyon, Texas.


An inscription on the right barrel reads, “Made Expressly for Hon. Theodore Roosevelt.”

“Among hunters, Roosevelt has always been greatly beloved,” says Carol Lovelady, the museum’s executive director. “He himself was a hunter and had a deep appreciation for things like ranching, roping, and riding. At the same time, he was a conservationist through and through, and very much responsible for our national park system.”

Jason Roselius.

An alum of West Texas A&M University, Roselius had always wanted the gun to find a home at the university-affiliated PPHM, which holds the largest public firearms collection in the state (more than six hundred are currently on exhibit). But the loaning process took time, and until it could be moved, the gun remained at the Buffalo Bill Center of the West in Cody, Wyoming. Then in January 2018, tragedy struck. Roselius, just forty-eight years old, died while trying to rescue his dogs from an icy pond, having never laid a hand on the prized artifact. “It just goes to show the tremendous respect he had for it,” says Lovelady, who worked with the Roselius family to fulfill the buyer’s wishes and secure a place for the Roosevelt gun in the museum.


The Fox in its case along with a pair of Roosevelt’s pajamas, which he used to clean the gun.

On May 28, Roselius’s vision will finally come to fruition as the gun makes its long-awaited debut in the museum’s Pioneer Hall, an addition already generating buzz among scholars, collectors, and Roosevelt fans alike. “Jason Roselius bought it as a gift, which it truly is,” Lovelady says. “It’s a gift to people who love history, to the students at West Texas A&M, and most of all, to the people of the Texas panhandle.”


Anti Civil Rights ideas & "Friends" Grumpy's hall of Shame Hard Nosed Folks Both Good & Bad

The Thirty Tyrants

The Thirty Tyrants

The deal that the American elite chose to make with China has a precedent in the history of Athens and Sparta


FEBRUARY 03, 2021
Original photo: Wikipedia

In Chapter 5 of The Prince, Niccolo Machiavelli describes three options for how a conquering power might best treat those it has defeated in war. The first is to ruin them; the second is to rule directly; the third is to create “therein a state of the few which might keep it friendly to you.”

The example Machiavelli gives of the last is the friendly government Sparta established in Athens upon defeating it after 27 years of war in 404 BCE. For the upper caste of an Athenian elite already contemptuous of democracy, the city’s defeat in the Peloponnesian War confirmed that Sparta’s system was preferable. It was a high-spirited military aristocracy ruling over a permanent servant class, the helots, who were periodically slaughtered to condition them to accept their subhuman status. Athenian democracy by contrast gave too much power to the low-born. The pro-Sparta oligarchy used their patrons’ victory to undo the rights of citizens, and settle scores with their domestic rivals, exiling and executing them and confiscating their wealth.

The Athenian government disloyal to Athens’ laws and contemptuous of its traditions was known as the Thirty Tyrants, and understanding its role and function helps explain what is happening in America today.

For my last column I spoke with The New York Times’ Thomas Friedman about an article he wrote more than a decade ago, during the first year of Barack Obama’s presidency. His important piece documents the exact moment when the American elite decided that democracy wasn’t working for them. Blaming the Republican Party for preventing them from running roughshod over the American public, they migrated to the Democratic Party in the hopes of strengthening the relationships that were making them rich.

A trade consultant told Friedman: “The need to compete in a globalized world has forced the meritocracy, the multinational corporate manager, the Eastern financier and the technology entrepreneur to reconsider what the Republican Party has to offer. In principle, they have left the party, leaving behind not a pragmatic coalition but a group of ideological naysayers.”

In the more than 10 years since Friedman’s column was published, the disenchanted elite that the Times columnist identified has further impoverished American workers while enriching themselves. The one-word motto they came to live by was globalism—that is, the freedom to structure commercial relationships and social enterprises without reference to the well-being of the particular society in which they happened to make their livings and raise their children.

Undergirding the globalist enterprise was China’s accession to the World Trade Organization in 2001. For decades, American policymakers and the corporate class said they saw China as a rival, but the elite that Friedman described saw enlightened Chinese autocracy as a friend and even as a model—which was not surprising, given that the Chinese Communist Party became their source of power, wealth, and prestige. Why did they trade with an authoritarian regime and send millions of American manufacturing jobs off to China thereby impoverish working Americans? Because it made them rich. They salved their consciences by telling themselves they had no choice but to deal with China: It was big, productive, and efficient and its rise was inevitable. And besides, the American workers hurt by the deal deserved to be punished—who could defend a class of reactionary and racist ideological naysayers standing in the way of what was best for progress?

Returning those jobs to America, along with ending foreign wars and illegal immigration, was the core policy promise of Donald Trump’s presidency, and the source of his surprise victory in 2016. Trump was hardly the first to make the case that the corporate and political establishment’s trade relationship with China had sold out ordinary Americans. Former Democratic congressman and 1988 presidential candidate Richard Gephardt was the leading voice in an important but finally not very influential group of elected Democratic Party officials and policy experts who warned that trading with a state that employed slave labor would cost American jobs and sacrifice American honor. The only people who took Trump seriously were the more than 60 million American voters who believed him when he said he’d fight the elites to get those jobs back.

What he called “The Swamp” appeared at first just to be a random assortment of industries, institutions, and personalities that seemed to have nothing in common, outside of the fact they were excoriated by the newly elected president. But Trump’s incessant attacks on that elite gave them collective self-awareness as well as a powerful motive for solidarity. Together, they saw that they represented a nexus of public and private sector interests that shared not only the same prejudices and hatreds, cultural tastes and consumer habits but also the same center of gravity—the U.S.-China relationship. And so, the China Class was born.

Connections that might have once seemed tenuous or nonexistent now became lucid under the light of Trump’s scorn, and the reciprocal scorn of the elite that loathed him.

A decade ago, no one would’ve put NBA superstar LeBron James and Apple CEO Tim Cook in the same family album, but here they are now, linked by their fantastic wealth owing to cheap Chinese manufacturing (Nike sneakers, iPhones, etc.) and a growing Chinese consumer market. The NBA’s $1.5 billion contract with digital service provider Tencent made the Chinese firm the league’s biggest partner outside America. In gratitude, these two-way ambassadors shared the wisdom of the Chinese Communist Party with their ignorant countrymen. After an an NBA executive tweeted in defense of Hong Kong dissidents, social justice activist King LeBron told Americans to watch their tongues. “Even though yes, we do have freedom of speech,” said James, “it can be a lot of negative that comes with it.”

Because of Trump’s pressure on the Americans who benefited extravagantly from the U.S.-China relationship, these strange bedfellows acquired what Marxists call class consciousness—and joined together to fight back, further cementing their relationships with their Chinese patrons. United now, these disparate American institutions lost any sense of circumspection or shame about cashing checks from the Chinese Communist Party, no matter what horrors the CCP visited on the prisoners of its slave labor camps and no matter what threat China’s spy services and the People’s Liberation Army might pose to national security. Think tanks and research institutions like the Atlantic Council, the Center for American Progress, the EastWest Institute, the Carter Center, the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies, and others gorged themselves on Chinese money. The world-famous Brookings Institution had no scruples about publishing a report funded by Chinese telecom company Huawei that praised Huawei technology.

The billions that China gave to major American research universities, like $58 million to Stanford, alarmed U.S. law enforcement, which warned of Chinese counterintelligence efforts to steal sensitive research. But the schools and their name faculty were in fact in the business of selling that research, much of it paid for directly by the U.S. government—which is why Harvard and Yale among other big-name schools appear to have systematically underreported the large amounts that China had gifted them.

Indeed, many of academia’s pay-for-play deals with the CCP were not particularly subtle. In June 2020, a Harvard professor who received a research grant of $15 million in taxpayer money was indicted for lying about his $50,000 per month work on behalf of a CCP institution to “recruit, and cultivate high-level scientific talent in furtherance of China’s scientific development, economic prosperity and national security.”

But if Donald Trump saw decoupling the United States from China as a way to dismantle the oligarchy that hated him and sent American jobs abroad, he couldn’t follow through on the vision. After correctly identifying the sources of corruption in our elite, the reasons for the impoverishment of the middle classes, and the threats foreign and domestic to our peace, he failed to staff and prepare to win the war he asked Americans to elect him to fight.

And because it was true that China was the source of the China Class’ power, the novel coronavirus coming out of Wuhan became the platform for its coup de grace. So Americans became prey to an anti-democratic elite that used the coronavirus to demoralize them; lay waste to small businesses; leave them vulnerable to rioters who are free to steal, burn, and kill; keep their children from school and the dying from the last embrace of their loved ones; and desecrate American history, culture, and society; and defame the country as systemically racist in order to furnish the predicate for why ordinary Americans in fact deserved the hell that the elite’s private and public sector proxies had already prepared for them.

For nearly a year, American officials have purposefully laid waste to our economy and society for the sole purpose of arrogating more power to themselves while the Chinese economy has gained on America’s. China’s lockdowns had nothing to do with the difference in outcomes. Lockdowns are not public health measures to reduce the spread of a virus. They are political instruments, which is why Democratic Party officials who put their constituents under repeated lengthy lockdowns, like New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo and Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot, are signaling publicly that it is imperative they be allowed to reopen immediately now that Trump is safely gone.

That Democratic officials intentionally destroyed lives and ended thousands of them by sending the ill to infect the elderly in nursing homes is irrelevant to America’s version of the Thirty Tyrants. The job was to boost coronavirus casualties in order to defeat Trump and they succeeded. As with Athens’ anti-democratic faction, America’s best and brightest long ago lost its way. At the head of the Thirty Tyrants was Critias, one of Socrates’ best students, a poet and dramatist. He may have helped save Socrates from the regime’s wrath, and yet the philosopher appears to have regretted that his method, to question everything, fed Critias’ sweeping disdain for tradition. Once in power, Critias turned his nihilism on Athens and destroyed the city.

Riding the media tsunami of Trump hatred, the China Class cemented its power within state institutions and security bureaucracies that have long been Democratic preserves.

The poisoned embrace between American elites and China began nearly 50 years ago when Henry Kissinger saw that opening relations between the two then-enemies would expose the growing rift between China and the more threatening Soviet Union. At the heart of the fallout between the two communist giants was the Soviet leadership’s rejection of Stalin, which the Chinese would see as the beginning of the end of the Soviet communist system—and thus it was a mistake they wouldn’t make.

Meanwhile, Kissinger’s geopolitical maneuver became the cornerstone of his historical legacy. It also made him a wealthy man selling access to Chinese officials. In turn, Kissinger pioneered the way for other former high-ranking policymakers to engage in their own foreign influence-peddling operations, like William Cohen, defense secretary in the administration of Bill Clinton, who greased the way for China to gain permanent most favored nation trade status in 2000 and become a cornerstone of the World Trade Organization. The Cohen Group has two of its four overseas offices in China, and includes a number of former top officials, including Trump’s former Defense Secretary James Mattis, who recently failed to disclose his work for the Cohen Group when he criticized the Trump administration’s “with us or against us” approach to China in an editorial. “The economic prosperity of U.S. allies and partners hinges on strong trade and investment relationships with Beijing,” wrote Mattis, who was literally being paid by China for taking exactly that position.

Yet it’s unlikely that Kissinger foresaw China as a cash cow for former American officials when he and President Richard M. Nixon traveled to the Chinese capital that Westerners then called Peking in 1972. “The Chinese felt that Mao had to die before they could open up,” says a former Trump administration official. “Mao was still alive when Nixon and Kissinger were there, so it’s unlikely they could’ve envisioned the sorts of reforms that began in 1979 under Deng Xiaoping’s leadership. But even in the 1980s China wasn’t competitive with the United States. It was only in the 1990s with the debates every year about granting China most favored nation status in trade that China became a commercial rival”—and a lucrative partner.

The chief publicist of the post-Cold War order was Francis Fukuyama, who in his 1992 book The End of History argued that with the fall of the Berlin Wall Western liberal democracy represented the final form of government. What Fukuyama got wrong after the fall of the Berlin Wall wasn’t his assessment of the strength of political forms; rather it was the depth of his philosophical model. He believed that with the end of the nearly half-century-long superpower standoff, the historical dialectic pitting conflicting political models against each other had been resolved. In fact, the dialectic just took another turn.

Just after defeating communism in the Soviet Union, America breathed new life into the communist party that survived. And instead of Western democratic principles transforming the CCP, the American establishment acquired a taste for Eastern techno-autocracy. Tech became the anchor of the U.S.-China relationship, with CCP funding driving Silicon Valley startups, thanks largely to the efforts of Dianne Feinstein, who, after Kissinger, became the second-most influential official driving the U.S.-CCP relationship for the next 20 years.

In 1978, as the newly elected mayor of San Francisco, Feinstein befriended Jiang Zemin, then the mayor of Shanghai and eventually president of China. As mayor of America’s tech epicenter, her ties to China helped the growing sector attract Chinese investment and made the state the world’s third-largest economy. Her alliance with Jiang also helped make her investor husband, Richard Blum, a wealthy man. As senator, she pushed for permanent MFN trade status for China by rationalizing China’s human rights violations, while her friend Jiang consolidated his power and became the Communist Party’s general secretary by sending tanks into Tiananmen Square. Feinstein defended him. “China had no local police,” Feinstein said that Jiang had told her. “Hence the tanks,” the senator from California reassuringly explained. “But that’s the past. One learns from the past. You don’t repeat it. I think China has learned a lesson.”

Yet the past actually should have told Feinstein’s audience in Washington a different story. The United States didn’t trade with Moscow or allow Russians to make large campaign donations or enter into business partnerships with their spouses. Cold War American leadership understood that such practices would have opened the door to Moscow and allowed it to directly influence American politics and society in dangerous ways. Manufacturing our goods in their factories or allowing them to buy ours and ship them overseas would’ve made technology and intellectual property vulnerable.

But it wasn’t just about jeopardizing national security; it was also about exposing America to a system contradictory to American values. Throughout the period, America defined itself in opposition to how we conceived of the Soviets. Ronald Reagan was thought crass for referring to the Soviet Union as the “Evil Empire,” but trade and foreign policy from the end of WWII to 1990 reflected that this was a consensus position—Cold War American leadership didn’t want the country coupled to a one-party authoritarian state.

The industrialist Armand Hammer was famous because he was the American doing business with Moscow. His perspective was useful not because of his unique insights into Soviet society, politics, and business culture that he often shared with the American media, but because it was understood that he was presenting the views that the politburo wanted disseminated to an American audience. Today, America has thousands of Armand Hammers, all making the case for the source of their wealth, prestige, and power.

It started with Bill Clinton’s 1994 decision to decouple human rights from trade status. He’d entered the White House promising to focus on human rights, in contrast to the George H.W. Bush administration, and after two years in office made an about face. “We need to place our relationship into a larger and more productive framework,” Clinton said. American human rights groups and labor unions were appalled. Clinton’s decision sent a clear message, said then AFL-CIO President Lane Kirkland, “no matter what America says about democracy and human rights, in the final analysis profits, not people, matter most.” Some Democrats, like then Senate Majority Leader George Mitchell, were opposed, while Republicans like John McCain supported Clinton’s move. The head of Clinton’s National Economic Council, Robert E. Rubin, predicted that China “will become an ever larger and more important trading partner.”

More than two decades later, the number of American industries and companies that lobbied against Trump administration measures attempting to decouple Chinese technology from its American counterparts is a staggering measure of how closely two rival systems that claim to stand for opposing sets of values and practices have been integrated. Companies like Ford, FedEx, and Honeywell, as well as Qualcomm and other semiconductor manufacturers that fought to continue selling chips to Huawei, all exist with one leg in America and the other leg planted firmly in America’s chief geopolitical rival. To protect both halves of their business, they soft-sell the issue by calling China a competitor in order to obscure their role in boosting a dangerous rival.

Nearly every major American industry has a stake in China. From Wall Street—CitigroupGoldman Sachs, and Morgan Stanley— to hospitality. A Marriott Hotel employee was fired when Chinese officials objected to his liking a tweet about Tibet. They all learned to play by CCP rules.

“It’s so pervasive, it’s better to ask who’s not tied into China,” says former Trump administration official Gen. (Ret.) Robert Spalding.

Unsurprisingly, the once-reliably Republican U.S. Chamber of Commerce was in the forefront of opposition to Trump’s China policies—against not only proposed tariffs but also his call for American companies to start moving critical supply chains elsewhere, even in the wake of a pandemic. The National Defense Industrial Association recently complained of a law forbidding defense contractors from using certain Chinese technologies. “Just about all contractors doing work with the federal government,” said a spokesman for the trade group, “would have to stop.”

Even the Trump administration was split between hawks and accommodationists, caustically referred to by the former as “Panda Huggers.” The majority of Trump officials were in the latter camp, most notably Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, a former Hollywood producer. While the film industry was the first and loudest to complain that China was stealing its intellectual property, it eventually came to partner with, and appease, Beijing. Studios are not able to tap into China’s enormous market without observing CCP redlines. For example, in the upcoming sequel to Top Gun, Paramount offered to blur the Taiwan and Japan patches on Tom Cruise’s “Maverick” jacket for the Chinese release of the film, but CCP censors insisted the patches not be shown in any version anywhere in the world.

In the Trump administration, says former Trump adviser Spalding, “there was a very large push to continue unquestioned cooperation with China. On the other side was a smaller number of those who wanted to push back.”

Apple, Nike, and Coca Cola even lobbied against the Uyghur Forced Labor Prevention Act. On Trump’s penultimate day in office, his Secretary of State Mike Pompeo announced that the United States has “determined that the People’s Republic of China is committing genocide and crimes against humanity in Xinjiang, China, targeting Uyghur Muslims and members of other ethnic and religious minority groups.” That makes a number of major American brands that use forced Uyghur labor—including, according to a 2020 Australian study, Nike, Adidas, Gap, Tommy Hilfiger, Apple, Google, Microsoft, and General Motors—complicit in genocide.

The idea that countries that scorn basic human and democratic rights should not be directly funded by American industry and given privileged access to the fruits of U.S. government-funded research and technology that properly belongs to the American people is hardly a partisan idea—and has, or should have, little to do with Donald Trump. But the historical record will show that the melding of the American and Chinese elites reached its apogee during Trump’s administration, as the president made himself a focal point for the China Class, which had adopted the Democratic Party as its main political vehicle. That’s not to say establishment Republicans are cut out of the pro-China oligarchy—Senate GOP leader Mitch McConnell’s shipbuilder billionaire father-in-law James Chao has benefited greatly from his relationship with the CCP, including college classmate Jiang Zemin. Gifts from the Chao family have catapulted McConnell to only a few slots below Feinstein in the list of wealthiest senators.

Riding the media tsunami of Trump hatred, the China Class cemented its power within state institutions and security bureaucracies that have long been Democratic preserves—and whose salary-class inhabitants were eager not to be labeled as “collaborators” with the president they ostensibly served. Accommodation with even the worst and most threatening aspects of the Chinese communist regime, ongoing since the late 1990s, was put on fast-forward. Talk about how Nike made its sneakers in Chinese slave labor camps was no longer fashionable. News that China was stealing American scientific and military secrets, running large spy rings in Silicon Valley and compromising congressmen like Eric Swalwell, paying large retainers to top Ivy League professors in a well-organized program of intellectual theft, or in any way posed a danger to its own people or to its neighbors, let alone to the American way of life, were muted and dismissed as pro-Trump propaganda.

The Central Intelligence Agency openly protected Chinese efforts to undermine American institutions. CIA management bullied intelligence analysts to alter their assessment of Chinese influence and interference in our political process so it wouldn’t be used to support policies they disagreed with—Trump’s policies. It’s no wonder that protecting America is not CIA management’s most urgent equity—the technology that stores the agency’s information is run by Amazon Web Services, owned by China’s No. 1 American distributor, Jeff Bezos.

For those who actually understood what the Chinese were doing, partisanship was a distinctly secondary concern. Chinese behavior was authentically alarming—as was the seeming inability of core American security institutions to take it seriously. “Through the 1980s, people who advanced the interests of foreign powers whose ideas were inimical to republican form of government were ostracized,” says a former Obama administration intelligence official. “But with the advent of globalism, they made excuses for China, even bending the intelligence to fit their preferences. During the Bush and Obama years, the standard assessment was that the Chinese have no desire to build a blue-water navy. It was inconvenient to their view. China now has a third aircraft carrier in production.”

Loathing Trump provided their political excuse, but the American security and defense establishment had their own interest in turning a blind eye to China. Twenty years of squandering men, money, and prestige on military engagements that began in George W. Bush’s “War on Terror” have proved to be of little strategic value to the United States. However, deploying Americans to provide security in Middle East killing fields has vastly benefited Beijing. Last month Chinese energy giant Zen Hua took advantage of a weak Iraqi economy when it paid $2 billion for a five-year oil supply of 130,000 barrels a day. Should prices go up, the deal permits China to resell the oil.

In Afghanistan, the large copper, metal, and minerals mines whose security American troops still ostensibly ensure are owned by Chinese companies. And because Afghanistan borders Xinjiang, Xi Jinping is worried that “after the United States pulls troops out of Afghanistan, terrorist organizations positioned on the frontiers of Afghanistan and Pakistan may quickly infiltrate into Central Asia.” In other words, American troops are deployed abroad in places like Afghanistan less to protect American interests than to provide security for China’s Belt and Road Initiative.

“There’s a belief that we are not in the same type of conflict with them as we were with the USSR,” says the former Obama official. “But we are.” The problem is that virtually all of the American establishment—which is centered in the Democratic Party—is firmly on the other side.

As late as the summer of 2019, Trump looked like he was headed for a second term in the White House. Not only was the economy soaring and unemployment at record lows, he was rallying on the very field on which he’d chosen to confront his opponents. Trump’s trade war with Beijing showed he was serious about forcing American companies to move their supply chains. In July, top American tech firms like Dell and HP announced they were going to shift a large portion of their production outside of China. Amazon, Microsoft, and Alphabet said they were also planning to move some of their manufacturing elsewhere.

It was at exactly this same moment, in late June and early July of 2019 that the residents of Wuhan began to fill the streets, angry that officials responsible for the health and prosperity of the city’s 11 million people had betrayed them. They were sick, and feared getting sicker. The elderly gasped for breath. Marchers held up banners saying, “we don’t want to be poisoned, we just need a breath of fresh air.” Parents worried for their children’s lives. There was fear that the ill had suffered permanent damage to their immune and nervous systems.

Authorities censored social media accounts, photos and videos of the protests, and undercover policemen watched for troublemakers and detained the most vocal. With businesses forced shut, there was nowhere for protesters to hide. Some were carted off in vans. They’d been warned by the authorities: “Public security organizations will resolutely crack down on illegal criminal acts such as malicious incitement and provocation.”

What sent the residents of Wuhan to the streets at the time wasn’t COVID-19—which wouldn’t begin its spread until the winter. In the early summer of 2019, what threatened public health in Wuhan was the plague of air pollution. This is a hitherto untold part of the story of America’s ghastly last year.

To deal with the mounds of garbage poisoning the atmosphere, authorities planned to build a waste incineration plant—a plan that rightly alarmed the people who lived there. (In 2013, five incineration plants in Wuhan were found to emit dangerous pollutants.) Other cities had similarly taken to the streets to protest against air pollution—Xiamen in 2007, Shanghai in 2015, Chengdu in 2016, Qingyuan in 2017—each time sending waves of panic through CCP leadership, which was fearful of the slightest echo of the 1989 pro-democracy protests in Tiananmen Square and of the prospect of unruly democracy protests in Hong Kong making their way to the mainland and igniting a popular brushfire. What if unrest spread from one city to the next, with the entire country, 1.4 billion people, eventually spinning out of control?

The way to keep unrest from going viral, the CCP had learned, was to quarantine it. The party has shown itself especially adept at neutralizing the country’s minority populations, first the Tibetans, and most recently the Turkic ethnic Muslim minority Uyghurs, through mass quarantines and incarcerations, managed through networks of electronic surveillance that paved the way to prisons and slave labor camps. By 2019, the grim fate of China’s Uyghurs had become a matter of concern—whether heartfelt or simply public relations-oriented—even among many who profited hugely from their forced labor.

The country’s 13.5 million Uyghurs are concentrated in Xinjiang, or East Turkestan, a region in northwestern China roughly the size of Iran, rich in coal, oil, and natural gas. Bordering Pakistan, Xinjiang is a terminus point for critical supply routes of the Belt and Road Initiative, Xi’s $1 trillion project to create a global Chinese sphere of interest. Any potential disruptions of the BRI constitute a threat to vital Chinese interests. Xi saw an April 2014 attack in which Uyghur fighters stabbed more than 150 people at a train station as an opportunity to crack down.

Prepare for a “smashing, obliterating offensive,” Xi told police officers and troops. His deputies issued sweeping orders: “Round up everyone who should be rounded up.” Officials who showed mercy were themselves detained, humiliated and held up as an example for disobeying “the party central leadership’s strategy for Xinjiang.”

According to a November 2019, New York Times report, Chinese authorities were most worried about Uyghur students returning home from school outside the province. The students had “widespread social ties across the entire country” and used social media whose “impact,” officials feared, was “widespread and difficult to eradicate.” The task was to quarantine news of what was really happening inside the detention camps. When the students asked where their loved ones were and what happened to them, officials were advised to tell “students that their relatives had been ‘infected’ by the ‘virus’ of Islamic radicalism and must be quarantined and cured.”

But it wasn’t just those most likely to carry out terrorist attacks—young men—who were subject to China’s lockdown policy. According to the documents, officials were told that “even grandparents and family members who seemed too old to carry out violence could not be spared.”

When a real virus hit in the fall of 2019, Chinese authorities followed the same protocol, quarantining not just prospective troublemakers but everyone in Wuhan in the hope of avoiding an even larger public outcry than the one they’d quelled in the same city just months before.

There is a good reason why lockdowns—quarantining those who are not sick—had never been previously employed as a public health measure. The leading members of a city, state, or nation do not imprison its own unless they mean to signal that they are imposing collective punishment on the population at large. It had never been used before as a public health measure because it is a widely recognized instrument of political repression.

At the end of December 2019, Chinese authorities began locking down social media accounts mentioning the new virus, doctors who warned of it or spoke about it with their colleagues were reprimanded and another, allegedly infected by COVID-19, died. All domestic travel in and out of Wuhan was stopped. If the purpose of the lockdowns was really to prevent spread of the contagion, it’s worth noting that international flights continued. Rather, it appears that the domestic travel ban, like the social media censorship, was to keep news of the government’s blunder from spreading throughout China and leading to massive, perhaps uncontrollable, unrest.

If Wuhan’s streets had filled in June and July to protest the authorities’ deadly incompetence when they concealed plans for an incinerator that would sicken the population of one city, how would the Chinese public respond upon discovering that the source for a respiratory illness destined to plague all of the country wasn’t a freak accident of nature that occurred in a wet market, as officials claimed, but the CCP’s own Wuhan Institute of Virology?

In January, the Trump administration’s former Deputy National Security Adviser Matt Pottinger told British officials that the latest American intelligence shows that the likeliest source of COVID-19 is the Wuhan Institute of Virology. Pottinger, according to The Daily Mail—a British publication was one of the few Western press outlets that reported Pottinger’s statements—claimed the pathogen may have escaped through a leak or an accident.

According to a State Department fact sheet published in January, the United States “has reason to believe that several researchers inside the Wuhan lab became sick in autumn 2019, before the first identified case of the outbreak.” The fact sheet further explains that the Chinese government lab has conducted research on a bat coronavirus most similar to COVID-19 since 2016. Since at least 2017, the WIV has conducted classified research on behalf of the Chinese military. “For many years the United States has publicly raised concerns about China’s past biological weapons work, which Beijing has neither documented nor demonstrably eliminated, despite its clear obligations under the Biological Weapons Convention.”

Evidence the pandemic didn’t start in a Wuhan wet market was published as early as January 2020, days after Beijing implemented the lockdown on Jan. 23. According to the British medical journal The Lancet, 13 of the first 41 cases, including the first one, had no links to the market. In May the head of China’s center for disease control and prevention confirmed that there was nothing to link COVID-19 and the wet market. “The novel coronavirus had existed long before” it was found at the market, said the Chinese official.

After the Lancet report, Republican officials close to the Trump administration disputed Beijing’s official account. “We don’t know where it originated, and we have to get to the bottom of that,” Sen. Tom Cotton said in February. “We also know that just a few miles away from that food market is China’s only biosafety level 4 super laboratory that researches human infectious diseases.” Cotton said the Chinese had been duplicitous and dishonest. “We need to at least ask the question to see what the evidence says,” Cotton said. “And China right now is not giving any evidence on that question at all.”

The corporate American press disparaged Cotton’s search for answers. Jeff Bezos’ Washington Post claimed that Cotton was “fanning the embers of a conspiracy theory that has been repeatedly debunked by experts.” Trump was derided for contradicting American spy services when the president said he had a high degree of confidence that the coronavirus originated in a Wuhan lab. Sen. Ted Cruz said that in dismissing obvious questions about the origins of the pandemic the press was “abandoning all pretenses of journalism to produce CCP propaganda.”

The January publication of a New York Magazine article by Nicholson Baker arguing the same case that Trump and GOP officials had been making since last winter raises useful questions. Why did journalists automatically seek to discredit the Trump administration’s skepticism regarding Beijing’s origin story of the coronavirus? Why wait until after the election to allow the publication of evidence that the CCP’s story was spurious? Sure, the media preferred Biden and wanted Trump gone at any cost—but how would it affect the Democrat’s electoral chances to tell Americans the truth about China and COVID-19?

China had cultivated many friends in the American press, which is why the media relays Chinese government statistics with a straight face—for instance that China, four times the size of the United States, has suffered 1/100th the number of COVID-19 fatalities. But the key fact is this: In legitimizing CCP narratives, the media covers not primarily for China but for the American class that draws its power, wealth, and prestige from China. No, Beijing isn’t the bad guy here—it’s a responsible international stakeholder. In fact, we should follow China’s lead. And by March, with Trump’s initial acquiescence, American officials imposed the same repressive measures on Americans used by dictatorial powers throughout history to silence their own people.

Eventually, the pro-China oligarchy would come to see the full range of benefits the lockdowns afforded. Lockdowns made leading oligarchs richer—$85 billion richer in the case of Bezos alone—while impoverishing Trump’s small-business base. In imposing unconstitutional regulations by fiat, city and state authorities normalized autocracy. And not least, lockdowns gave the American establishment a plausible reason to give its chosen candidate the nomination after barely one-third of the delegates had chosen, and then keep him stashed away in his basement for the duration of the Presidential campaign. And yet in a sense, Joe Biden really did represent a return to normalcy in the decadeslong course of U.S.-China relations.

The new American oligarchy believes that democracy’s failures are proof of their own exclusive right to power.

After Biden’s election, China’s foreign minister called for a reset of U.S.-China relations but Chinese activists says Biden policy toward China is already set. “I’m very skeptical of a Biden administration because I am worried he will allow China to go back to normal, which is a 21st-century genocide of the Uyghurs,” one human rights activist told The New York Times after the election. With Biden as president, said another “it’s like having Xi Jinping sitting in the White House.”

In November a video circulated on social media purporting to document a public speech given by the head of a Chinese think tank close to the Beijing government. “Trump waged a trade war against us,” he told a Chinese audience. “Why couldn’t we handle him? Why is that between 1992 and 2016, we always resolved issues with the U.S.? Because we had people up there. In America’s core circle of power, we have some old friends.” The appreciative crowd laughed along with him. “During the last three to four decades,” he continued, “we took advantage of America’s core circle. As I said, Wall Street has a very profound influence … We used to rely heavily on them. Problem is they have been declining since 2008. Most importantly after 2016 Wall Street couldn’t control Trump … In the U.S.-China trade war they tried to help. My friends in the U.S. told me that they tried to help, but they couldn’t. Now with Biden winning the election, the traditional elites, political elites, the establishment, they have a very close relationship with Wall Street.”

Is it true? The small fortune that Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen has earned for simply speaking in front of Wall Street audiences is matter of public record. But she had hard words for Beijing at her confirmation hearing last month, even criticizing the CCP for “horrendous human rights abuses” against the Uyghurs. But the resumes of Biden’s picks for top national security posts tell a different story. Incoming Director of National Intelligence Avril Haines and Secretary of State Antony Blinken worked at a Beltway firm called WestExec, which scrubbed its work on behalf of the CCP from its website shortly before the election.

Longtime Biden security aide Colin Kahl, tapped for the No. 3 spot at the Pentagon, worked at an institute at Stanford University that is twinned with Peking University, a school run by a former CCP spy chief and long seen as a security risk by Western intelligence services.

As head of the Center for American Progress think tank, Biden’s pick for director of the Office of Management and Budget, Neera Tanden, teamed up with a U.S.-China exchange organization created as a front “to co-opt and neutralize sources of potential opposition to the policies and authority” of the CCP and “influence overseas Chinese communities, foreign governments, and other actors to take actions or adopt positions supportive of Beijing.”

Biden’s special assistant for presidential personnel, Thomas Zimmerman, was a fellow at the Shanghai Academy of Social Sciences, flagged by Western intelligence agencies for its ties to China’s Ministry of State Security.

U.N. Ambassador Linda Thomas-Greenfield gave a 2019 speech at a Chinese-government-funded Confucius Institute in Savannah, Georgia, where she praised China’s role in promoting good governance, gender equity, and the rule of law in Africa. “I see no reason why China cannot share in those values,” she said. “In fact, China is in a unique position to spread these ideals given its strong footprint on the continent.”

The family of the incoming commander-in-chief was reportedly given an interest-free loan of $5 million by businessmen with ties to the Chinese military, while Biden’s son Hunter called his Chinese business partner the “spy chief of China.” The reason that the press and social media censored preelection reports of Hunter Biden’s alleged ties to the CCP was not to protect him—$5 million is less than what Bezos has made every hour during the course of the pandemic. No, for the pro-China oligarchy, the point of getting Joe Biden elected was to protect themselves.

Reports claiming that the Biden administration will continue the Trump administration’s aggressive efforts to roll back China’s technology industry are misdirection. The new administration is loaded with lobbyists for the American tech industry, who are determined to get the U.S.-China relationship back on track. Biden’s Chief of Staff Ron Klain was formerly on the executive council of TechNet, the trade group that lobbies on behalf of Silicon Valley in Washington. Biden’s White House counsel is Steve Ricchetti whose brother Jeff was hired to lobby for Amazon shortly after the election.

Yellen says that “China is clearly our most important strategic competitor.” But the pro-China oligarchy is not competing with the country from which it draws its wealth, power, and prestige. Chinese autocracy is their model. Consider the deployment of more than 20,000 U.S. armed forces members throughout Washington, D.C., to provide security for an inauguration of a president who is rarely seen in public in the wake of a sporadically violent protest march that was cast as an insurrection and a coup; the removal of opposition voices from social media, along with the removal of competing social media platforms themselves; the nascent effort to keep the Trump-supporting half of America from access to health care, credit, legal representation, education, and employment, with the ultimate goal of redefining protest against the policies of the current administration as “domestic terrorism.”

What seems clear is that Biden’s inauguration marks the hegemony of an American oligarchy that sees its relationship with China as a shield and sword against their own countrymen. Like Athens’ Thirty Tyrants, they are not simply contemptuous of a political system that recognizes the natural rights of all its citizens that are endowed by our creator; they despise in particular the notion that those they rule have the same rights they do. Witness their newfound respect for the idea that speech should only be free for the enlightened few who know how to use it properly. Like Critias and the pro-Sparta faction, the new American oligarchy believes that democracy’s failures are proof of their own exclusive right to power—and they are happy to rule in partnership with a foreign power that will help them destroy their own countrymen.

What does history teach us about this moment? The bad news is that the Thirty Tyrants exiled notable Athenian democrats and confiscated their property while murdering an estimated 5% of the Athenian population. The good news is that their rule lasted less than a year.