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Born again Cynic! California Cops

The Los Angeles Times Won’t Let the Facts Get in the Way of a Good Story BY JACK DUNPHY

AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill
Any government whose law enforcement apparatus is immune from scrutiny by a free press is all but guaranteed to become oppressive, and it goes without saying that we, as free Americans, would bridle at any such arrangement. But there is a danger in the other direction as well, one in which police leaders are so concerned with how they are portrayed in the media that they lose sight of their mission to reduce crime. Such is the current state of the Los Angeles Police Department, whose chief Michel Moore lives in fear of what might be written about him in the Los Angeles Times.

On May 3, in downtown Los Angeles, 54-year-old Leron James allegedly brandished a handgun at firefighters, who then notified the LAPD. Patrol officers responded but could not coax James from his 5th-floor apartment, prompting a response from the LAPD’s SWAT team. When James opened fire from his apartment window, two SWAT officers returned fire and killed him. So here we have a straightforward set of facts and a use of deadly force by the police about which there should be little controversy.

Alas . . .

According to a May 20 story in the L.A. Times, as SWAT officers were preparing to deploy on the incident, one of them was captured on another’s body-worn camera saying, “Happy hunting.” Neither the officer who made the comment nor the one he said it to were involved in shooting James, and as hot-microphone indiscretions go, this one strikes me as pretty mild. That didn’t prevent someone from bringing it to the attention of the L.A. Times, whose writers and editors exult in any opportunity to present the police, especially the LAPD, in an unfavorable light.

Responding to the Times’s story like an obedient servant was LAPD chief Michel Moore, who said the offending officer had been removed from field duty pending the outcome of an investigation. “It’s a disturbing remark,” Moore said. “Gallows humor or otherwise, it doesn’t have a place.”

Oh, please. Having worked some time ago at the same division and same rank as Moore, I can attest that he regularly made comments far, far more “disturbing” than this one. He can be grateful (as can I) he did his time on the streets in the days before body-worn cameras, when mildly inappropriate remarks like this one resulted in nothing more than a talking-to from a sergeant out by the gas pumps. Those days are long over, and yes, this and every officer should be circumspect in what he allows to be recorded for posterity, but the reaction to this has been beyond absurd.

Moore promises an “investigation” into the matter. Of what, exactly? The remark was caught on video, so the only questions to be asked are what policy was violated, if any, and if there was a violation, what to do about it. No matter how quickly and easily these questions can be answered, the unfortunate officer will probably spend up to a year on administrative duties as Moore and his top brass twiddle their thumbs in their typical fashion and the internal affairs process drags on. In the meantime, the officer’s life will be upended, and the LAPD and the citizens of Los Angeles will be needlessly denied the benefits of his skills and expertise.

Not content with giving the shaft to a single officer, Moore has ordered a review of SWAT operations over the last ten years in an effort to uncover “any potential problems or patterns” that might have gone unnoticed in what is already the most scrutinized entity in the LAPD. I expect the L.A. Times to soon report on an officer being reprimanded for parking the SWAT truck in a handicap zone during a barricaded-suspect operation.

What will not be investigated, unfortunately, is the question of who brought the “happy hunting” matter to the attention of the L.A. Times. Who is it within the organization who stands to benefit from the upheaval that will follow? The Times was quick to link this incident to its 2020 reporting on a pending lawsuit filed by a former SWAT supervisor who alleged the existence of a “SWAT mafia” whose members encourage the use of deadly force. In August 2020 I commented on that lawsuit here on PJ Media, offering statistics that would seem to belie the plaintiff’s allegations. The L.A. Times clearly has a source close to the matter, yet these relevant statistics are never included in any of the paper’s coverage on this issue.

Related: More Dishonesty in the LA Times About the LAPD

So, since the L.A. Times can’t be bothered to ask for these numbers, or else has them but won’t print them for the corrosive effect they may have on the paper’s long-propagated narrative, I present them here. The LAPD began capturing detailed statistics on SWAT deployments in 2013, since which time the team has responded to more than 1,200 incidents. And bear in mind they respond only to incidents in which suspects are armed or believed to be, to include call-outs for barricaded suspects and warrant service for high-risk circumstances. In all of these deployments, force of any type, ranging from deadly force to tear gas to even the least aggressive forms of physical restraint, was used in just 8 percent of them. Deadly force was used in a mere 1.4 percent of the deployments.

If there is a “SWAT mafia,” they don’t seem to have much influence on these outcomes, a fact you won’t find in the pages of the Los Angeles Times.

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Anti Civil Rights ideas & "Friends"

How to understand the Media Message

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All About Guns Anti Civil Rights ideas & "Friends"

Some Red Hot Gospel there!

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All About Guns

A CUSTOM Beretta 92FS from LTT

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All About Guns Allies Some Red Hot Gospel there!

Fears of a Chinese invasion have Taiwanese civilians taking up target practice by STEPHANIE YANG

People shoot at targets with air pistols during a shooting training session at Taiwan CBQ Club in New Taipei City, Taiwan, on May 21, 2022. (Annabelle Chih / Los Angeles Times)
People shoot at targets with air pistols during a training session at Taiwan CQB Club in New Taipei City, Taiwan, on May 21, 2022. (Annabelle Chih / For The Times)

In a leaky warehouse on the outskirts of the city, Su Jun readied his weapon at the commanding shout. Down the line, more armed men clad in camouflage vests, utility belts and kneepads did the same. Another order came and they opened fire.

Shots popped and echoed beneath the cavernous ceiling. The would-be defenders kept shooting, switching between rifles and pistols leveled at cardboard targets. On a final command, the clamor subsided, leaving plastic pellets scattered across the floor. Su let his BB gun drop.

Su, 39, is not a soldier but a tattoo artist. The only time he held a rifle that fired real bullets was more than a decade ago, during the two years of military service then required of men in Taiwan. But while the guns in his hands were fake — and the drill more paintball target practice than military maneuver — the threat in Su’s mind was viscerally real.

People hold rifles.
Tattoo artist Su Jun, 39, attends a shooting training session at Taiwan CQB Club in New Taipei City, Taiwan, on May 21, 2022. (Annabelle Chih / For The Times)

For decades, Taiwan has lived under the specter of military aggression from mainland China, which considers the self-ruled island as part of its territory. But it wasn’t until Russia invaded Ukraine in February that many Taiwanese started wondering what role they might play if a war broke out at home and Chinese soldiers were suddenly on the beaches.

Worried that he might need to take up arms, Su quickly signed up for a beginner’s airsoft gun class and two more after that.

“It just feels like anything is possible,” Su said.

In Ukraine, civilians joined the fight against Moscow with assault rifles and Molotov cocktails. Finnish citizens, also sharing a border with Russia, have rushed to wartime defense courses to learn hand-to-hand combat and how to use weapons. In Taiwan, though, a similar instinct has run up against strict gun control laws and a complicated history between its people and military, dating back to the days of martial law under the Nationalist Party, or Kuomintang.

“Guns were an evil thing. You didn’t want to come into contact with them,” said Max Chiang, chief executive of Polar Light Training, which hosts airsoft training classes including those that Su attended. This year, interest in classes has tripled, he said, with at least half of new participants motivated by the war in Ukraine.

People carry air rifles.
A shooting training session at Taiwan CQB Club. (Annabelle Chih / For The Times)

Cross-strait tensions have intensified as Chinese President Xi Jinping’s calls for unification have become more assertive in the face of increasing opposition from Taiwan. Even among the concerned, few Taiwanese believe an invasion is imminent. But watching Russia attack Ukraine has highlighted the worst-case scenario in confronting a hostile, territorial and vastly bigger neighbor.

Those fears have reinvigorated debate over Taiwan’s national defense strategy, and whether it can withstand a similar assault from China. Chinese war planes have buzzed the island in recent years, and Beijing’s naval exercises in the South China Sea have unnerved the region. Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen has stepped up defense spending to record levels, while U.S. officials have weighed in on how Taiwan can best deter China’s expanding military.

President Biden said this week at a Tokyo news conference that the U.S. would get involved militarily to defend Taiwan. The comments appeared to have marked a departure from Washington’s longtime “strategic ambiguity,” a policy that left open the question of whether the U.S. would send forces to Taiwan in a war with China. The White House later said the administration’s stance had not changed, but the statements tapped into a sense of growing unease among Taiwanese and the international community.

A man aims a weapon.
Tech journalist Alan Chen at Taiwan CQB Club. (Annabelle Chih / For The Times)

With the U.S. committing weapons but not soldiers to help Ukraine, many wonder whether the same may happen in Taiwan. According to an October poll by the Taiwanese Public Opinion Foundation, 65% of respondents believed the U.S. would dispatch troops to Taiwan. That number had fallen to 36% in April.

Polls in recent months have also shown that a growing majority of the Taiwanese population are willing to fight to defend the island of 23 million from a Chinese invasion. Taiwan has lived with this dilemma since 1949, when Chinese Nationalists fled to Taipei after a civil war with Communist Party forces.

That history became resonant in February when Caren Huang watched on TV as 5,000 miles away Ukrainian civilians took up arms to battle for their home. It was then that she decided she should learn how to shoot a gun.

On a rainy Saturday morning in May, she trekked to Linkou, a district northwest of Taipei whose name means “mouth of the forest.” At the end of a winding mountain road, she was surprised to discover that she wouldn’t be using real firearms. Still, as she held the air pistol in her hand, lighter than she had imagined, it felt sleek, cool and somewhat stress-relieving. In the quiet between shooting rounds, crickets chirped from the thickets of bamboo outside.

A row of people watch a man shoots a weapon.
An instructor demonstrates shooting techniques at Taiwan CQB Club. (Annabelle Chih / For The Times)

For most of her life, the 44-year-old former financial analyst assumed that Taiwan would eventually unite with mainland China. Growing up under martial law, Huang remembers learning about her Chinese identity and the greatness of the Chinese nation in school. At 17, she and her family emigrated to New Zealand, where she gradually realized the cultural and political differences between Taiwan and mainland China.

When she returned to Taiwan after college in 2000, China was on an economic upswing. The country was opening up to the outside world and seemed rife with business opportunities. Huang thought that by working more closely together, both sides of the Taiwan Strait could benefit.

Many of her friends felt the same way. But as China’s meteoric growth tapered and the government tightened its grip on civil society, including its crackdown in Hong Kong, her doubts deepened.

“As long as it’s an authoritarian country, they can regress at any time,” Huang said. “Then whatever rights you have, the government can take it all back. I feel like this is the scariest thing. If their political system doesn’t change, then I think it will be very hard for Taiwan to join with China.”

Even as she began to favor independence, Huang had thought it highly unlikely that China would attack Taiwan. She didn’t rule out minor skirmishes, but the economic and political ramifications of an all-out invasion seemed too high to justify. Seeing Russian President Vladimir Putin launch a war on Ukraine made her feel that nothing was certain.

“If they really need me to pick up a gun and defend the country, or if they need any kind of first aid, or if they want us to do anything else to help, then I’ll do it,” Huang said.

People handle weapons.
A shooting training session at Taiwan CQB Club. (Annabelle Chih / For The Times)

That kind ofresolve is crucial to Taiwan’s ability to repel an invasion, experts said, especially given China’s advantage in numbers. The Chinese People’s Liberation Army totals about 975,000 active-duty personnel, according to U.S. estimates, compared with Taiwan’s 169,000. However, the collective will to fight is difficult to gauge in a society where military service and training are not highly valued and often derided.

“Military men have no social status in Taiwan,” said retired Adm. Lee Hsi-ming, who served as the chief of the general staff of Taiwan’s Armed Forces. “This is the military’s problem, and the whole nation’s problem.”

To engage more citizens, Lee has proposed training civilians in combat to form a volunteer defense force, similar to Ukraine’s Territorial Defense Forces. Two years ago, the idea of sending civilians out to die was met with widespread backlash. There was notably less criticism when Lee raised the prospect again this year. Such an initiative would need government backing to succeed, he said.

People aim weapons.
Personal trainer Chris Chen, 26, shoots at a target. (Annabelle Chih / For The Times)

The more concerning problem, though, said Lee, is a young generation that is reluctant to enlist in the military even as it becomes increasingly vocal against Beijing.

“If you are very provocative and you don’t have the capability to defend yourself, that kind of provocation will be dangerous,” Lee said. “It’s better for Taiwan if we have a robust, resilient defense capability, but we don’t do any provocative things.”

In preparation for potential conflict, some Taiwanese have sought out disaster response seminars and first-aid classes in recent months. Yet those who envision themselves engaging in war have found BB gun training to be their best bet.

Alan Chen, a journalist who writes about military technology, had essentially considered airsoft guns toys. But the invasion of Ukraine, along with several tactical shooting YouTube videos, persuaded him to try them out in case he was called back to serve.

A person holds a rifle.
Tattoo artist Su Jun at Taiwan CQB Club. (Annabelle Chih / For The Times)

“If things really go down, I don’t want to be the one that hinders someone else,” the 38-year-old said. After his first few classes, his concerns shifted. “Now, I’m kind of worried that my teammate might shoot me accidentally, because I know that they haven’t gotten that training.”

Taiwan started to transition to an all-volunteer military several years ago, but has had trouble attracting new recruits. Currently, young men are required to complete four months of military service and return periodically for training as reservists.

Chris Chen, a 26-year-old personal trainer in New Taipei City, could envision a life in the military, given the proper training. But he said his four months of conscription had confirmed the rumors: Serving in Taiwan’s army was largely a waste of time.

A man holds a weapon.
A man showcases air gun models at Taiwan CQB Club. (Annabelle Chih / For The Times)

“I trained like my father did, which is you only shoot in one position, and six shots every time,” Chen said in between drills at Polar Light’s two-day advanced tactical shooting course. “I need to come to these kinds of lessons to actually learn something.”

Chen’s criticisms are common among men who have completed Taiwan’s mandatory military service. Recruits have described the exercises as boring and aimless, largely consisting of chores and paperwork, while practice in firearms is limited.

Still, Chen acknowledges that some might find training with air guns equally futile.

“People are like, ‘Why are you so serious? You’re shooting BB guns,’” he said. His response to them? “You should always be prepared.”

Aware of such critiques, the government has announced intentions for military reform. Lawmakers have extended the training period for some military reservists from several days to two weeks, and are contemplating extending conscription from four months to one year.

“When legislators try to increase the duration to serve in the military, it was a kind of political suicide in the past,” said Democratic Progressive Party legislator Wang Ting-yu, who sits on Taiwan’s Foreign Affairs and National Defense Committee.

Equally important, skeptics said, is whether the additional time would be used effectively. The Ministry of National Defense this year launched a bureau to oversee and improve reservists’ training. Wang said in the scenario of an attack, 200,000 professional military members, along with a first tier of 300,000 reservists, would be organized for duty in the first 24 hours. The remaining 2 million or so reservists would serve as supporting personnel.

Wang added that Ukraine demonstrated the need to rally civilians to mount an effective resistance. But he pointed to potential dangers in arming all of them: “Do we need to make these kinds of civilians capable to defend our country? We are debating about that,” he said.

Su Tzu-yun, an associate research fellow at Institute for National Defense and Security Research, a government-funded think tank, said the recent inspiration to fight among Taiwanese citizens should be utilized.

“I think this is the most important factor in all wars in history: the determination to defend your country,” he said. “Those who want to practice shooting, target practice, right now Taiwan’s system doesn’t allow that. That needs to change, to let those who want to learn how to fight.”

As an island, Taiwan has a less imminent need for foot soldiers than if it shared a land border with China. Taiwan has pursued an “asymmetrical” approach to warfare, prioritizing weapons and materiel purchases to ward off attacks from the air and sea, with ground forces acting as a last line of defense.

People shoot at targets.
Air pistol training session at Taiwan CQB Club. (Annabelle Chih / For The Times)

If a battle ever reaches that point, many Taiwanese are unsure what will come next.

“Right now Taiwan’s leaders, they need to communicate with society. This will be critical to whether — no matter if it’s territorial defense or volunteer reserves — it works,” Su said.

A civil defense handbook published in April by the Ministry of National Defense was widely panned for its lack of useful information. The book included basic instructions on what residents should do in a war, including QR codes and hotlines to call for help. The ministry is revising it and plans a reissue this year.

Stanley Shen, a 33-year-old engineer, said he found the survival books he purchased himself vastly more helpful than the government-issued one. Until recently, he hadn’t considered how he might respond in the midst of war. But when he saw a YouTuber post about Polar Light on Facebook, he and his girlfriend signed up for the beginner course.

After his first class, Shen said, he planned to buy his own airsoft gun to sharpen his skills.

“No one wants war. But if it really happens, I hope that I can learn enough in this class to improve my ability to keep those I care about and need to protect safe,” Shen said.

This story originally appeared in Los Angeles Times.

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Nothing like the threat of getting mugged to change ones mind! Grumpy

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A Victory!

Now that is a Rifle Stock to be proud of!

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Grumpy's hall of Shame Hard Nosed Folks Both Good & Bad

Now that is what I call a Girl Friend!

Ballsy Maxine

Maxine Feldstein & Nicholas Lowe: 5 Fast Facts | Heavy.comMeet Maxine Feldstein and Nicholas Lowe. Maxine always wanted to play cops and robbers, and recently she was able to try both sides of the coin.

Maxine Feldstein’s boyfriend, Nicholas Lowe, was at the Washington County Detention Center on July 27 with a hold for criminal impersonation out of Ventura, California.
Feldstein, who had bonded out that day, called Washington County jail staff and identified herself as deputy “L. Kershaw” with the Ventura County Sheriff’s Office. She also provided a forged VCSO document releasing the agency’s hold on Lowe.
Jail staff learned of the forgery and accidental release two days later, when a VCSO deputy called to say he was on his way to pick up Lowe.

Wow, Maxine is both ingenious and ballsy. And yes, I would probably hit it like the side of a tree on the forest moon of Endor.

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Born again Cynic!

B.F.K. = Big F*cking Knife

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All About Guns Well I thought it was neat!

The MG3 on full auto

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N.S.F.W.

A little Morning start up help for my Great Readers! NSFW