The Other Side of the Periscope

Hi. I come from an alien place, and I bring you greetings…

So, I was going to write about a completely different topic, today – and I’m sorry this is so late. I’m trying very hard not to get con crud. I was allergic to SOMEHING in TN and I’ve been resting and taking allergy meds (which make me sleepy, anyway) to avoid getting the con crud, because I have books to write, move to organize, etc, etc.

Anyway, a discussion in the comments of yesterday’s post about where terrorists would hit/might be planning to hit (they ARE planning to hit, rest assured. I mean, we’re in retreat mode, at least through their eyes, and all they know of history tell them to hit now. Whether against us or one of our holdings abroad, I don’t know. However, if they want to make an impact and be on American TV (and of course they do, it’s cred) they want to hit on our soil. Nothing else gets any coverage.) made me do this post, because my peculiar history gives me insight into what is what.

First, let’s rank possible threats: We might get hit by terrorists from abroad; homegrown terrorists (not saying they won’t be muslim, just that they will be either immigrants or first or second generation Americans); and by foreign countries.

The possibility of our being hit by a foreign country is, as of yet, low. I mean, we still have armed forces and we have a nuclear arsenal. Our president might view the world through the underpants he wears on his head, but foreign countries know if they hit us we might suddenly have a new president. Um… make that a probably. Almost certainly. Even diplomatic services from the other side seem to have some odd and funny ideas about America and how we work. You see, they believe our fiction. (And more on that later.) Hence the cartoon Russian critter (not really a cartoon, but he sounded like one) who made a map about how the US would break up. Could the US break up? Sure. It’s doubtful because our divisions aren’t geographic, though. But he was taking our fiction and our humor, and projecting his own experience in the USSR, a “country” made up of a bunch of pieces, and then thinking we were just like that. Also, the divisions he came up with were roll on the floor funny for anyone who lives here, but not for people who only know us through books and movies. In terms of foreign countries “getting” us, I’d rank Russia and China very low. No matter how much you study something, you’re going to have to filter it through your very earliest impressions. And the very earliest impressions of Russians and Chinese my age and older – aka, those in control – are of anti-capitalist propaganda. They are as much in touch with reality as our own elites who by and large studied the same propaganda, slightly spun. I’ll now sit back and look at your horrified faces. So, foreign attack isn’t exactly out of the question. The chances are just low.

If they attack us, though, they’ll take out “big targets” that will cripple either our economy or our military. Remember the nations most likely to attack us are “ex” communist countries. Communism in its tertiary state is a form of bureaucratic feudalism and profoundly conservative and hidebound. What I’m trying to tell you is that there’s no telling how up to date their versions of our important economic and military targets are. It could very well be I’ll be radioactive dust because they either didn’t hear of the closing of Cheyenne Mountain or DON’T BELIEVE IT.

Most likely targets of course, other than various military installations (and I’d think HUGE because they too think power flows from the top) will be DC (almost for sure) NYC, Los Angeles. (I tell you it will be heck to attach the thank you note to the end of the missile that repays them for taking out DC.)

The possibility of our being hit by homegrown terrorists allied with foreign powers – whether our geopolitical enemies or the religion that has declared us the Great Satan – is high, of course. Not too high. There is a certain seduction effect in our culture, and only the very fanatic or very crazy will buck the desire to become one of us, to blow us up instead.

However, as we’ve seen it happens, and our immigration and naturalization services can be counted on to let through the very fanatic and the very crazy, of course.

Frankly that possibility has just gone up exponentially with the invasion going on on our southern border, mostly by non Mexican nationals.

Just because you’re under eighteen it doesn’t mean you’re not crazy or a fanatic. On the contrary. Bradbury wasn’t totally wrong when he said in Fahrenheit 451 “I’m seventeen and I’m crazy. My uncle says the two often happen together.” (I think that’s exact, but I’m quoting from the memory of a Portuguese translation, because the one you first read is forever the “real” one.)

Because of lack of experience and – older son who studies these things would say – an almost but not quite adult brain (the adult comes in between 21 and 23 usually. Can be as late as 35) in which some parts might be out of kilter with others (over or under developed) teenagers are all, by definition, a little nuts. Which makes it easier to engage in fanatical or violent acts. There is a reason that the crime rate goes up and down in concert with the percentage of teens in the general population. (Which means letting a bunch of them in wholesale is a really bad idea. No, seriously. The upside is that under 18 they’re more likely to acculturate and become of us. The downside is that under the tutelage of the social services network, what they’ll acculturate to is not the best of cultures, nor the one designed to make you successful in America. You wanted a larger underclass, right?)

With immigrants the question is “How far did they acculturate?” Look, as someone who came in wanting to be American, I’d acquired the speech patterns, and could pass long before I was American in my head. This was without any conflicting loyalties (I’d given up on Portugal LONG before) and with a wish to belong. The mind sets of everywhere else and the US are just too different, and the process takes time.

If the terrorist is a first generation immigrant who hasn’t fully integrated, he’s for all intents and purposes like the foreign terrorists, for which see below. If he’s halfway integrated, you might get a crazy hodgepodge. He might very well, as Pam Uphoff suggested, strike Disney World. Btw, that’s the only occasion I see that happening, unless one of the second or third generation “Americans” do it and one of the Disney installations are local to them. For why, see below.

If they’re second or third generation Americans, the hit will be local. They think, yes, this will impress foreigners. Does it? Meh. The world trade center? Known all over the world, shown in the opening of shows like “Friends”. The Boston Marathon? Not only not known abroad, but its size will be underestimated to some local-to-them event. Only kids who grew up in America would think this would make them heroes to the Islamic world.

So, local terrorists, local “big” targets. For instance, I can see a local to me Islamic (or, frankly, Chinese or other except they’re less with the terror) terrorists bombing the Pikes Peak train. To which the rest of the world would say “uh?”

I’ve been EXPECTING attacks like that. That we’ve only had one is rather astonishing.

They might also go after airports, simply because that stops traffic. The fact they haven’t done so (except for the guy who lit his own d*ck on fire. And that was the UK, right?) en masse means we’re not dealing with strategists but with show-offs, different thing, and it also applies to our last group

Foreign terrorists, even those who’ve been living here for a couple of years, but who came here on purpose to attack us. The Al Quaeda attacks on 9/11 fall under this heading.

Some of you were coming up with scary scenarios for widespread terror in the comments. I’m not going to tell you to stop it, because it doesn’t matter. Yes, sure, bombing every mall in medium size cities would do it.

But guys, it doesn’t fit the prime impulse that causes them to attack.

These aren’t strategists. They’re show offs. They don’t want to take us down (for one, like the dog with the car, what would they do after?) or at least not really, (though they’d love us to be subjugated to them which in the case of Islam, their religion promises them.) Most of them don’t want to go back to living in the middle ages and they know the future comes from America. What they want is to be big man on the terrorist campus. They want to get followers. If you think of them as the dingy tele-evangelists who are less interested in serving G-d or saving people than in padding their bank accounts, you’ll see what I mean. Being a big man on campus for Islamic terrorists particularly (though some Russian fanatics, etc. might come close) means getting money to wage war on the US.

Since Beslan happened I’ve had nightmares of 20 US Beslans simultaneously.   (And if that happens, they will never know what hits them. The US views its children as sacred, even as we neglect them.) Then I started wondering why they hadn’t happened.

Frankly, anyone of us can come up with a dozen national soft spots off the top of our heads, targets that would sow REAL terror amid the masses.

But that’s not what they want. Terror sure. If America surrenders, great. But what they want is visibility.

So what’s visible to the rest of the world about America?

New York City, Los Angeles. MAYBE Chicago. After that? Whatever has been in the news lately. Since we had the show set in the White House and making it seem much more powerful than it should be, probably DC. (And then we have to deliver individual thank yous personally, engraved on the bullets.)

Others? I don’t know what has been syndicated lately that makes the town it’s set in seem big and important. I’d guess all of the CSIs, but since I don’t watch TV you probably know better than I.

Look, I say America is aspergers and believes its own documents. For the rest of the world this is worse. THEY BELIEVE OUR ENTERTAINMENT.

Things I believed when I came here as an exchange student: the US was somewhere between a totalitarian regime and Europe. Had to be, because otherwise how could it stand up to the USSR in the cold war? So, communications must all be controlled. The spying must be even more intensive than what the NSA is doing right now. And there must be a lot of control going on behind the scenes.

Things my family believes and thinks I’m crazy when I tell them they aren’t true: Anything with American in it is owned in part by the government. If it’s called National, something is then national, because if it weren’t, why would they be allowed to be called that. Everything that says “First” was the first, otherwise why would they be allowed to call themselves that?

Other things my family believes: pretty much every trope of our entertainment. Like, for instance, corporations have assassins, and there are bizarre convoluted conspiracies at every corner.

Also, the US is still mired in racism/sexism circa FICTIONAL 1950s. Because that’s what they read. This is why they congratulate themselves on being oh, so much better than us on those fronts. They’re not. But they’re better than fictional US in the 1950s.

Also, working people in the US are near starvation; crime is so rampant that bombing, say, a local school wouldn’t make a difference, since that’s our way of saying “how do you do?” and we live in a sort of cross between mad max and the wild wild west.

All rich and powerful people are Republican and conspire to keep the little people down.

They KNOW this – we’ve talked about entertainment creating false memories – because they LIVED it in some show. You can’t talk them out of it.

I’ve talked to friends who visit the US not once but many times – like once a summer when they can afford it – and they can tell you how the scales fell from their eyes by increments and how they can’t tell anyone back home because no one believes them. And how the REAL US has nothing to do with the fictional one.

Which brings us back to the terrorists: Depending on what has been licensed on their TVs – New York, Los Angeles, Chicago (maybe), Dallas (maybe) DC (probably.) And the targets hit would be things like the Statue of Liberty or the Hollywood SIGN.

Not STRATEGISTS. Show offs. Think that way and you’ll anticipate all foreign terrorist attacks.

If they wanted to cripple us or kill us, there would already have been a million hits. We’re not that well defended. Fortunately for us, they just want to count coup.

Unfortunately for us, few Americans understand that, and probably none in our planning departments.

So, now you know. I’ll be glad to answer questions in comments.


331 thoughts on “The Other Side of the Periscope

  1. “I’d guess all of the CSIs, but since I don’t watch TV you probably know better than I.”

    I suddenly had an image of some one trying to blow up part of Las Vegas.

  2. Actually, I think that the next major attack is going to be by home grown terrorists. Right wing terrorists will go after symbols of ZOG (or what ever) such as the Murrah building was for McVeigh. The real problem is the ultra Left environmental factions who would kill millions to stop Global Warming, Save the Whales, enforce Veganism and so forth. Right wing nutters, Islamic Fanatics and so on attack symbols but to the ultra left the problem is you and me.

    1. Despite a great deal of media hoopla, I am unconvinced that Right Wing Terrorists exist as a category. Timothy Mcveigh was less Right Wing than he was Receiving Radio Venus On HIs Bridgework; he’d attended a couple of “Militia” meetings and been thrown out as an obvious nut (or, possible, government plant). There are pathetic movements like the American Nazi Party, or the Aryan Brotherhood, but if they have actually pulled off anything impressive, the media (which would LOVE such a story) hasn’t found out.

      Leftwing terrorists, on the other hand, do exist. Some of them have tenure.

      1. There are pathetic movements like the American Nazi Party, or the Aryan Brotherhood, but if they have actually pulled off anything impressive, the media (which would LOVE such a story) hasn’t found out.

        They’re also not right wing– both of those movements did have historic support, but it sure wasn’t by the party of Lincoln; “National Socialism” and eugenics just don’t work so well with the right. (I don’t care how Europe would classify our politics, they can jump in the lake.)

        I figure you already know, but it’s good to clarify that anyways.

          1. “Guys…. all the terrorists who aren’t really obviously batshit are on your side. The guys you keep saying are ours don’t make as many terrorists as your ecology groups. What does that say about you?”

            Is a good point.

      2. Leftwing terrorists, on the other hand, do exist. Some of them have tenure.

        Ironically, their activity is part of why our power, water and transit systems are watched so well. (and they still take down radio towers from time to time)

    2. Well, they sure *want* the next attack to be carried out by the “right wing;” that’s why the Democrats and their media tools always rush to blame every newsworthy crime or atrocity on Republicans as soon as it happens.

      That’s the other scary thing about the Democrats’ encouragement of mass, uncontrolled human trafficking for political profit: not only are the agencies tasked with protecting the American homeland prohibited from dealing with that threat vector; they’re too busy surveilling ordinary Americans as potential targets, because they disagree with Democrats.

      Remember: According to various reports from the Obama DHS, you’re a potential threat to America if you’re pro-gun, anti-abortion, think your taxes are too high, ever considered voting for Ron Paul or his son, and ever served in the military.

      So when that American Beslan or Second 9/11 happens – and it’s worth noting that the perpetrators of the original 9/11 were mostly in the country illegally – you’ll know whom to blame.

      1. A nitpick of sorts – We’ve already had a literal second terrorist attack on 9/11: Benghazi.

      2. “According to various reports from the Obama DHS, you’re a potential threat to America if you’re pro-gun, anti-abortion, think your taxes are too high, ever considered voting for Ron Paul or his son, and ever served in the military.”

        Given the choice of picking a fight with Islamic, Kalashnikov carrying, camel pesterers, and gun-owning former U.S. military, I’d pick the Islamics. For one thing, they subscribe to the “spray and pray” theory of automatic weapon control.

            1. Yep. In’Sh’allah was a big problem when we were training security forces in Iraq.

              1. I’m pretty sure my DI back in basic said “Hope” isn’t an effective skill when trying to hit the target. I can only imagine how painful that was for you.

                1. by ‘we’ I meant the US. didn’t encounter it personally, tho know several folks who did.

                2. Oh my gosh! The light just went on in my head – Obama’s ” Hope n Change” is actually a version of Inshallah.

              2. it remains a problem in Portugal, even though the origin is forgotten. The word is “Oxala” and it’s used instead of planning, learning, or preparing.

                  1. Yeah… that sort of translates out to English as “God now”, or “it’s in God’s hands”, if you’re doing literal translation.

                    But I always explain it as “I hereby renounce any responsibility or obligation in regards to the object under current discussion.” Just, more casual.

                    1. I’m pretty sure that if I ever did the “it’s in God’s hands, not worth trying” thing, He’d come down and Gibb smack me for being so rude.

        1. I enjoyed the efficacy of the average insurgent in Iraq.

          While sitting around Mortaritaville it became clear that most indirect attempts were aimed at the airfield. I suspect they were hoping to hit one of those big-tubbies sitting on the apron and get themselves some Hollywood explosions. That they weren’t firing incendiaries probably never entered their minds. I know that the relative density of airfield/apron and occupied camp never entered their minds. Because they kept lobbing mortars at dirt.

          Yes, I much prefer insurgent mortar teams. If a trained up U.S. mortar team decides to take you out, especially if they get eyes on, I place even odds on whether the round knocks you out before it blows you up. (Do I exaggerate? Hm.)

          Their accuracy went down considerably when SF built themselves a compound on camp, with their own gate. Tube plotted, sneaky snake slips outside in the middle of the night, sets up a hide and waits. Lazy insurgents come back to their gun, sneaky snake drops ’em — and leaves ’em. Lazy insurgents come to see what the hold up is, sneaky snake drops ’em. Repeat until somebody at lazy insurgent HQ decides to leave that gun to rust.

          Between that and counterfire, they started freezing their mortar rounds in buckets of water. Then they could hang ’em in the mouth of the gun and walk away, let the sun decide when it’d drop. ‘Course, X ounces of ice clinging to the round when it took flight made accuracy — not.

          Sitting around BIAP, they figured out that they needed to put their tubes in the back of a truck. Then they could pull up to a likely spot, lob a round or two and take off. If they lingered too long, QRF would likely show up for a chat (no counterfire in the city, bad for the locals). They never really wanted to chat with the QRF.

          Problem being, they can’t take a hip-shot worth a damn. They have the luxury of scouting their spot, running the numbers well in advance and… nope.

          I’ve heard blather here and there about the insurgency and the Taliban fighting U.S. troops to a standstill, or ‘beating’ them or whatever. Don’t believe it. ROE handed the insurgents what successes they had. When ROE was relaxed (it was never set to all out war) the insurgents had their still smoking asses handed to them in job lots.

          These guys do not want to go toe to toe with the U.S. military. Unfortunately a bunch of twits in places like the ME, Europe and right here at home don’t understand enough about the subject to realize this.

          Hm. Who stuck this lectern up here?

          Anyroad, to your point, no, I wouldn’t want to be the guy that decides to round up the “domestic terrorists” listed on the DHS memos. Because the Taliban? Iraqi insurgents? ISIS? Any of the lot? Kids playing in the park.

          1. In fairness to insugent mortar teams, Bill Clinton tried the same thing with effin’ cruise missiles (at a far higher $ per shot ratio.)

            1. Billy-boy believed in a magic bullet.

              What makes an effective aerial bombardment? It lasts long enough to get the artillery in place.
              What makes an effective artillery engagement? It lasts long enough to get the mortars in close.
              What makes an effective mortar engagement? It covers the approach of the mean guys with guns.

              Because it takes mean guys with guns, boots on the ground, to effectively engage bad guys holding territory.

              You can do massive damage with aerial and indirect, but you can’t control territory without boots on the ground.

              1. ROE should never (IMHO) be set to anything less than find them/kill them. Anything less produces unacceptable friendly casualties.

                1. There are military reasons to scale the ROE in various ways, which I generally understand. There are political reasons, as well, and I can grok those. When it gets problematic are when PR reasons come in to play. I don’t give much of a damn about PR when calculating the ROE, personally.

              2. The US Navy learned the hard way about the shortcomings of bombardment during the Pacific campaign in World War 2. Days of bombardment by aircraft and warships, and they *still* had to dig the Japanese troops out in vicious fighting.

          2. Exaggeration? Only slightly.
            I was 0341 in an 81’s Plt. Our effective casualty radius was 40m (per round, per gun). Most of the time, with a good FO, we’d get within 15m. If it was a target we’d registered, within 5m. That’s with a range of roughly 3 miles. The real bugger was the flight time. For a call for fire on a registered target, we’d have rounds in the air in under 10 seconds. And then wait to find out what happened.

            1. Yeah, I humped around one range and another with some tube toters.

              Those FDC guys get dialed in on their skills and things can rapidly get unpleasant for the opfor.

              My favorite’s still the hip shot starting in the truck: driving down the road, call for fire – out, guns up, “shot, over” and back in the truck ready to roll before “splash, over.”

              All that and still knockin’ on the right door…

    3. McVeigh was not right-wing, other than in the imaginations of the left. Read what he wrote, and what his mentors wrote. The ideology he espoused was straight-up left-wing racist socialism, pure and simple.

      The whole deal where they managed to conflate McVeigh with the conservative movement and some factions of the militias was an incredibly adroit PR ju-jitsu move that deserves to be studied and analyzed.

      One thing is clear, however: They had to lie about what he said, what he believed, and who he ran with. The folks at Elohim City are not, by any stretch of the imagination, either right-wing or conservative. Fascist? Yes. Socialist? Yes. Racist? Absolutely. Conservative? Oh, hell no.

      1. “The whole deal where they managed to conflate McVeigh with the conservative movement and some factions of the militias was an incredibly adroit PR ju-jitsu move that deserves to be studied and analyzed.”
        It’s easy when virtually the entire news media cooperates in the lie.

      2. Yep, the “right-wing terrorist” has been written about fairly extensively. Because the lone individualist (usually ex-SF or some such) getting ticked at the government and taking out key infrastructure in order to produce chaos and take out critical elements of the government makes for good reading. Off the top of my head though I can’t think of a single real world example of a right-wing terrorist; whether successful or not.

        1. There is an author — can’t recall the name, too lazy/indifferent to look it up — who argues that the American Left went off the rails precisely because Lee Harvey Oswald was NOT a right-winger. Steeped in the “night-rider” mythos of the American South, Leftists “knew” that terrorists were conservative (conservative = not liberal = infidel in their minds) and the cognitive dissonance created by the Oswald links was more than they could reconcile.

          Because Progs are essentially adolescents*, use of “terror” (e.g., Operation Wall Street) for their goals does not frighten them and therefore is not terror, while any oppositional force (e.g., the T.E.A. Party**) is terrorist because it frightens and frustrates them. What matters to them is not the facts of the issue but how the issue makes them feel.

          * Witness absurd over-reactions to the Hobby Lobby decision, a decision based on a law passed overwhelmingly in a Congress they controlled and signed by their president at the height of his hubris power. Point out their role in this and their anguished response is but that’s not what we meant!

          ** Hence their insistence the T.E.A. Party is racist and their efforts to “expose” that racism. The anti-Civil Rights forces were racist (true) and conservative (false) therefore any conservative force must be racist. They lack capacity to think outside their boxes, even when they know better, like an antisemite who can admire Jews retail while hating Jews wholesale.

            1. And populist, progressive democrats in particular, if you want a role model, just look at Woodrow WIlson, who was openly racist and admired the KKK.

  3. I’d be quite happy if someone went after the Hollywood sign. It’s not that I’d like to see it damaged or destroyed. But since average citizens can’t go right up to it (it’s fenced off), there would be no loss of life involved. It would merely be very expensive vandalism that would probably get the perpetrators caught.

  4. After 9-11, I was convinced I knew where the next major attack would be, because I was thinking strategically. It would have to make us think all our safety measures were a failure, and we were helpless. It would have to be big and flashy. It would have to target a large number. It would have to have nothing to do with transportation, since we were guarding that. It would have to be near a large Middle Eastern populace, so the attackers could blend in. And it would have to be in the Midwest or the Heartland, so people didn’t think they were safe just because they weren’t in coastal cities.

    This would be a follow up, an attempt to break us through fear. It was the smart thing to do if they expected to win.

    Instead they did… nothing.

    Be grateful for stupid, short-sighted terrorists. A smarter bunch could’ve killed even more people and perhaps broken our spirit. Instead they did one horrific attack, and then nothing.

    1. iirc, comments from bin Ladin at the time of the 9/11 attacks indicated that even he didn’t think that the towers would collapse as spectacularly as they did. And he was apparently more confident about the attacks than most of his followers.

      I suspect that their real failing was that they never figured the attacks would be the great success (from their point of view) that they were.

    2. I was younger, and naive. I made the mistake of thinking that anyone who could pull it off would also see the need for follow up, and that there would be follow up.

    3. One of the reasons there was no follow-up was the FBI took down the guy gathering funds for those attacks. He was living in Peoria, attending grad school and committing credit card fraud on an industrial scale.

    4. I was worried, immediately post 9-11 about shopping malls. I skulled out some scenarios in my own head – which much, much later, seemed to have happened real-world, in the Westgate Mall attack in Nairobi.
      But Nairobi isn’t Texas. Anyone doing a mall attack here would likely not last very long. I am convinced that residents of my own little suburban patch of middle-class neighborhood have enough small arms and long arms among them to outfit a small European country.

      Yep, we haven’t played Cowboys and Muslims yet.

    5. There was a follow up, just not in the US. Remember the attack was all about counting coup and status. 9/11’s success was that it was pulled off at all. Which proved to Muslims that Ben Laden and Alqeada had Allah on their side. That made them legitimate standard bearers for the Jihad, which is what they wanted. As the standard bearers they would get resources and aid from governments, as well as other Muslims joining the jihad and committing atrocities to show THEIR status.

    6. That might be because we were in the proccess of trscking them down and killing them.

  5. Since Beslan happened I’ve had nightmares of 20 US Beslans simultaneously. (And if that happens, they will never know what hits them. The US views its children as sacred, even as we neglect them.) Then I started wondering why they hadn’t happened.

    I don’t give them credit for realizing this, but… an awful lot of attempted mass shootings, especially at schools, get squashed before they have a bodycount. There’s a reason the successful ones either kill those in their houses or live alone– we DO act to stop stuff, even if it’s not often enough.

    Good heavens, you can’t get a BAKE SALE into a school without meeting even just Nosy Nancy resistance– you have an unusual number of folks that don’t fit the look of the area? You won’t even have time to get everyone inside.

    1. And you have teachers in many schools who have been thinking “OK, we have an active shooter. We’re supposed to hide in the dark. But what if he gets in some how?” And you start seeing wasp spray, sports equipment, lab chemicals, fire extinguishers and other things left in easy-to-reach locations, and quiet discussions about kneecapping vs. concussions. And (depending on grade school vs. high school) ranch kids and jocks thinking about “how would I tackle an SOB if I needed to?”

        1. Let’s not talk about what the nerds and ROTC kids are pondering. Let’s let it be a surprise.

          I have no idea where the wicked laugh is coming from. It ain’t me.

          1. >>Let’s let it be a surprise.

            The only downside I can see to this is if the ROTC dinks fail to coordinate with the nerds, jocks, and rednecks.

            [I tried more more jokes, but the situation really doesn’t lend itself to a lot of joking. The only thing that would be worse than a successful reprisal of an active shooter by jr high kids would be a failure to defeat such a shooter.]

            Here, have some other levity:


            1. I wouldn’t be so sure about that. ROTC, Jocks and Nerds did a fine job of coordinating when it was seniors last week. With something as serious as a school shooting hits the fan, that can get the smarter portions of each group looking past immediate prejudice to get the job done. Never underestimate the power of the “floater” class, who can pass information from the classiest cheerleader to the cross-eyed nerd. But maybe my school was different.

          2. Letting this percolate a bit, I realize this might appear flippant.

            Not intended to be. I’m just tired of the “cower in fear” advice and pleased to see signs that people are making plans. I think a wanna-be shooter choking on his own teeth with a shocked look would make for good news copy.

            1. I think that this is where one makes note of cultural forefathers and their comments about fighting in the shade, and so takes heart that a certain degree of black humor is always funny, even if the situation is very much not so.

              1. True. Generally. But, there’s some who don’t quite understand black humor. Or, don’t understand it at all.

                1. They don’t have to understand it, just be comforted by the fact tat the person who just made the bizarrely inappropriate joke in the middle of heavy shit, is the one most likely to have their shit together and survive.

                  Coping mechanisms are awesome. 😀

                  1. No argument. But I got to handle the part of the “dudes going home briefing” that covered “things you don’t say at Thanksgiving with grandma.” So, I try to remember not to disturb the civs.

                    1. I thought that just covered, “could you f@$#ing pass the f&%$ing salt?”

                    2. Yeah, except I used “gravy.”

                      We also went over several of the “No shit, there I was…” stories wherein the punchline was hilarious — in the context of somebody who’d been in it. Simply horrifying for those who hadn’t.

                      And some “I would’ve taken that shot” stories that require a great deal more understanding of circumstances than typically exhibited by the average civ.

                    3. Military humor tends to be very, very dark, bleak and profane. Those on the outside of it – especially the usual sort of Euro-luvvies who infest the Guardian’s readership tend to have brontosaurus-sized cows on the rare occasions when they encounter it, full-blast and unfiltered.
                      But if you have ever been military, or around military on a fairly regular basis – you get it. Part of the family, as it were.

                      It’s always amused me, how … at-home that my daughter and I are, among blue-collar, working-class Texas guys whom we encounter on a regular basis. I mean, there was that time when my daughter’s Montero busted the belt that powers the AC, on a road-trip to Goliad. A total stranger ( a neighbor of a woman who saw us in the parking lot of the only grocery store in town with the hood up, and steered us to the local auto-parts store to buy a replacement belt, lauded his good character, when he offered to install it so that’s how we knew he was OK. ) He told us to follow him down a side road about a block, and he would have a go at installing the replacement belt. So there we were, he and a half-dozen friends, some of whom were gently baked already, although it was only noon or so – wrestling with hand tools to install the AC belt. Most of them were veterans, so are my daughter and I both … it took almost an hour. So we were exchanging stories of time in service. It must be like being a Mason, or something; just anywhere you go, you’re cool, you’re family, and about to hear strange tales of interesting adventures in foreign lands.
                      Usually, in Texas, the male vets keep the profanity dialed down – I think they are relieved that you won’t faint if you hear a dirty word, but their mama’s raised them right, and not to go all-out with the cusswords in front of a lady.

                    4. I’d love to be in a position to hear some of those. I’m not the greatest shakes on things military, but if it’s after action and you’re willing to talk about it? I’m good.

                    5. Q: What’s the difference between a fairy tale and a war story?
                      A: A fairy tale starts out “Once upon a time…” a war story starts out “This is no sh!t…”

                    6. To me it will always be salt, because I recall being at a friends house when his cousin (who was a green beret) stopped by for dinner while on leave. The only time I have ever heard my friends mother curse was when she politely informed her nephew that salt in her house, did not f@%$.

          1. For some reason I get the impression that Red Dawn was not widely circulated outside the US.

      1. Re: farm kids, I’m imagining what a teenager who’s been wrangling hogs, hay, and horses his whole life could do to a goblin with, say, a folding chair. No idea why I’m grinning like a Cheshire Cat. Nope. None at all.

        1. The smart money says, the higher the proportion of pressed Wranglers and scuffed boots the harder the target.

          If there’s a decent number of shiny ovals ’round about the belt line… time to walk away.

      2. Whiteboard cleaner is good, too– cheapest stuff is made with rubbing alcohol, by the smell.

        Figuring out how good various tables would be at stopping bullets, too.

        1. Just go to the local rockpit, and compare the bullet holes in the old tables there. 🙂

          1. *laughs* Nah, I mean those horrible nasty particle wood things laminated with “wood pattern” that schools seem to have– I’d think the ones that are basically wood dust and glue would work best, but I’ve never seen someone dumb enough to line them up and shoot at them. Seen a few torn up old wood tables, but never see those in schools anymore…..

            1. Actually those particle board ones are the ones I commonly see shot up. Not sure where they get them all, but everybody around here who acquires one must immediately take it out to a rockpit and tape targets to it.

      3. A couple of years ago, my kid (then in 5th grade) told me that if a bad guy went in their classroom she was ready to clonk him on the head with her Math book. (Hard bound and really heavy)

        1. My son when in ninth grade, not only had plans, but had plans coordinated with other kids. AND he took it upon himself to explore and police the unguarded tunnels (with entrances from other buildings) under the school.
          My son, you see, is an American. And it’s not an accident of birth.

          1. His school has underground tunnels? Cooooool!

            It’s personality a bit though too – my younger girl is much fiercer than my older ( although the older is ver protective of the younger one).

  6. I just remembered Instapundit’s been mentioning that there was a very unusual event not all that long ago that might have been an attack on our power grid. Fortunately, it wasn’t wide-ranging enough to overcome the redundancies in the system. But it apparently came close enough to be cause for concern.

  7. >>”Unfortunately for us, few Americans understand that, and probably none in our planning departments.”

    Eh. I think…more than you might like to think are trained (or inclined by nature) to understand true lynch points and soft spots in a nation’s infrastructure.

    As you say – that the targets chosen thus far were for visibility, and not for crippling, is a sign of the lack of seriousness of intent. Of course, to say that at the time – “hitting a big huge office building and killing the 3K people in is not really significant in a country that loses 42K a year just in traffic accidents” – that was taken as trivializing both the deaths and the intent of the murderers.

    Having said that, I recommend against a list of the targets which should indicate a true attack of pre-mediated intent to cripple us. Not because those intent on doing so don’t already have such a list, but on the off chance that wannabes and/or copycats would take it into their noggins to do so, and in the process obscure our vision.

    1. Have to disagree with you. The specific 3k people that they killed and the documents that they destroyed with it caused a mini-recession. That is a pretty good payoff for one, low-cost, attack.

      1. I agree that they had an impact – but it was a one-off impact. Like, say, the one good shot you get in because your opponent isn’t expecting it. Had that one good shot hit elsewhere [snips suggestions just on principle] it might well have trashed the economy entirely. Instead, they both chose their target poorly *and* failed to follow up.

        *waves hands* Other worlds, other paths. Please god, we’ll never know what could-have-been, and will now weather better our particular yet-to-come.

        1. Re impact, it might not have trashed the economy, but it trashed the Constitution and they’re still working on the Bill of Rights.

          1. Own goal. Strictly own goal. (And bipartisan at that.)

            (WORST system on the f(&*ing planet. Except all the others.)

    2. G. Gordon Liddy about 20 years ago actually published such a list, and I hope it has been forgotten.

      1. Yes. For those interested now, there are generally opportunities to train as volunteers for red cross or other disaster relief organizations. Among other advantages, it gives you the opportunity to get to know the local community equivalent of EOD disposal techs. (You know, the ones who if you see them running, you should try to keep up…)

        1. The Oyster Wife and I trained with the local CERT team, though I didn’t register to be called up. We paid about $30 for the class materials (textbook and some hands on training) and that was it. Good introductory training, though I freaked out the class during the terrorism chapter. Apparently most people don’t wargame/red-team terrorist attacks for fun. *shrug* It’s funded and run mostly by FEMA, but I figure I’m already on at least a half-dozen federal lists, what’s one more? At least that one flags me as helpful…

      2. Gee, thanks for helping to provide a search term for those seeking such a list.

        1. Actually, he didn’t seem to think that magazine publication of the list was enough, it’s in a best selling book he did on terrorism. Checked myself.

          1. The thing on the list that worried me the most at thetime was to shoot at a major transformer with a rifle, and it has been done. Cat’s thoroughly outof the bag.

            1. I wish it had been forgotten would have been a more accurate way of putting it.

        2. G. Gordon has a lot of respect from professionals, skilled hobbyists and enthusiastic folks of various flavors– a 20 year old list will have been gone over, the reasoning worked out, the weaknesses corrected for, similar weaknesses collected and listed in less public arenas and has a good chance of being used as a deliberate trap for terrorists.

          He also put out a book a decade back that explains how not to be a good target. (A more elaborate version of the force protection training military folks get every year or two– the “don’t be predictable” type stuff, etc.)

      3. And Tom Clancy wrote a novel about using an airliner as a weapon, about 5-6 years before 9/11 … maybe Osama got the idea from him …

      4. He missed a few tricks–he was mostly focused on simple, low cost attacks that weren’t huge dramatic operations, not like putting a on a and blowing it up in bay, then .

        1. Grr. Stupid word press.

          Where you notice missing words in that, put in [censored].

  8. If terrorists really wanted to cripple the United States they would hit Houston. It is the energy capital of the US. Better still Deer Park or Pasadena (Texas) near the Houston Ship Channel, or Texas City. (Those would be a more focused version of hitting Houston.)

    Fortunately, they are more focused on Washington D. C. It is a sexier target. But, in many ways DC is the nation’s gluteus maximus. It might hurt to have it hit, but it would be far from fatal. (Actually, by eliminating a good part of the political class, it might improve the country. They are neither productive nor decorative.) Ditto NYC and LA. It would be an attack on the nation’s political class more than an attack on the nation’s productive class. (New York isn’t even much of a port anymore, and LA declining in importance.)

    1. What’s the likelihood of Dallas being hit? I hear reruns are still playing in parts of the world.

      1. So is “Walker: Texas Ranger.” You wanna mess with the city of Chuck Norris? You wanna p-ss off all those SMU alums if something happens to the mustang statues? 😉 In all seriousness, I’d say high enough to warrant decent caution, but lower than Houston, DC, NYC. And Ft. Worth would just consider it much-needed urban renewal.

        1. There’s a long quote from an Iraqi officer after the war, where he’s talking about how he’s seen our movies and Chuck Norris is great– protects women, fights evil, etc.

          1. The quotes are better when they’re for reals, but I always liked the bit in The Kingdom where Col Faris talked about wanting to be like ‘the green beast’ when he was a kid. (And now WP tells me Ashraf Barhom is going to be in an FX series! Woot!)

    2. My biggest regret about the possibility of a successful attack on DC would be the damage it might do to the Smithsonian, and the effects on military coordination if the Pentagon was damaged.

      As noted, except in their fantasies removing a big chunk of the political class wouldn’t really handicap our response. Might, in fact, make us more effective in the medium-to-longer time scale.

      1. “the effects on military coordination if the Pentagon was damaged.”

        Goodness, what would our war fighters do without their diversity training?

        1. You did notice I didn’t make any such comment about other governmental functions?

          It might well be that removing some of the other well-meaning (it says on the label) components of the bureaucracy and political leadership would more than compensate for any loss of combat coordination. Especially since, almost by definition, most of the capable combat leadership is *not* in the Pentagon.

  9. Now THAT’S service!

    From “you guys want a post?”
    To “I’d like a post.”
    To “here’s a post.”
    In less time than it took me to type this comment on my phone…

  10. The unusual event was some shots at parts of the transfer station in California. they shot some of the transformers causing leaks which allowed all the oil to drain out and then the transformers popped.

    There are four major junctions of the power grid and one scenario has them being taken out. The down side to that is we would still have working vehicles and other things that could get local grids hot again.

    I think that right now the terrorists are most interested in the mid east, Syria and Iraq. I would expect them to take out Saudi Arabia next, or at least head that way since they have seen the US military at work and the US Military seems to be on the sidelines right now. Putin, who would like to step in, still has a military that has a hard time projecting force. Beyond some token logistics I don’t see him doing much.

    If I were in Israel I would be looking to leave as they could well be the next focus, if not Saudi Arabia will be Israel. With the US on the sidelines, now would be the time.

    Course if my crystal ball worked at all I would divine the next set of Hot Lotto number and buy a boat and cruise the Carribean.

    1. The problem is that it happened a lot of times, within a year, in a lot of places in California.

      The only good news is that the FBI thinks it was probably somebody who was a good shot but too lone-crank for the ELF, and nobody else seems to have followed up on it; and the power companies have been trying to harden the potential targets based on this experience.

    2. The transformer attack (not *that* kind of transformer) at the Coyote substation was just a few minutes north of our place, and directly across Hwy. 101 from the county shotgun and rifle range.

      Not much noticeable effect locally, but the clean up and repair was pretty expensive.

      IIRC, there was a similar attack, with similar effectiveness down in the Sand Diego area.

        1. Um. Excuse me. Somebody has postulated that he who controls the power is in the place to control the community. Somewhere. In some book. If I recall it was a pretty good read. Relevant to today … specifically today and the times in general. Wonder if there is going to be a sequel?

          1. Cacs, I think that is an interesting paraphrase of ‘he who controls the spice controls the universe’ but anyway 😀

                1. If you would have kept your fingers still, I would have believed that was intentional.

                  1. Actually, as one who loves to cook, I would postulate that the best cook is not only in control of his use of spice, but also needs to be in control of the space he works in.

  11. Of course the terrorists will choose poorly.

    Of course people who aren’t terrorists, because they choose not to be, are capable of doing a better job.

    Terrorists are political nuts unwilling to compromise on politics enough to build a coalition to take what they want by force.

    Someone who thinks they rest of humanity is so weak that a little symbolic violence will get them handed everything is thinking so poorly that it is unsurprising that they have other errors in judgment.

      1. Is there a difference?

        To be perfectly serious, the left is largely to blame for some of the theoretical work that makes terrorism seem more effective than it really is, hence more attractive to terrorists. They made narratives about the viability and inevitability of their revolutionaries. The communist habit of being state sponsors of terrorism ensured that these narratives would permeate the modern international terrorist communities.

        That said, that is just the ‘academic’ case for the emotional convictions that anyone of any ideology must have to engage in terrorism for political ends.

        That portion of the activist left which is not violent and does not intend violence does have some of the same fallacies, that their goals are inevitable, and that their means must be successful.

        The value of Kipling’s Danegeld, beyond the purely literary, lies in speaking the truth about a set of falsehoods that are sadly common.

  12. Los Angeles is also a large concentration of hipsters and leftists loony just a pinkie’s width from socialist.

    It would only take a small attack here in LA, to do some serious damage, because of the nanny state measures that would ensue and within minutes of the attacks. You thought all that BS was bad in Boston with them telling folks they were confined to their houses?

    1. What is the difference between San Francisco and Sodom? Sodom didn’t have rent control.

    2. The really scary scenario is a nasty attack somewhere (dud nuke in Long Beach?) that misses the “leadership” but gives them the excuse for extreme measures like rounding up all the real patriots, disarming the population and setting up the 1000 year democratic Reich, led by our very own Manchurian candidate.

      1. Yep, that’s my chief worry. Something that gives the PTB a lawn’order excuse and pretense to round up a lot of critics of the current administration.

        1. There aren’t enough people loyal to this regime to make that happen. The vast majority of their loyal apparatchiks are eloi like Lois Learner and Chris Matthews.

          Most of the Morlocks who work for them might not be on our side exactly, but they know what happens when every door kicking turns into a 2 way range.

        2. That might have worked at one point, but now the resistance would be so terrible the death toll would be in the millions, mostly progs. I don’t even think the military would go along with him. Some people are their own worst enemies.

    3. As someone who was at MIT during the Boston Bombing and the aftermath, I know you’ve made some errors here.

      Police and city authorities didn’t tell people they were confined in their houses. They made it a request — a sort of “okay, we think we have a good idea of where they went to ground, and we don’t want them to blend into the crowd and escape, so please stay indoors.”

      There were no penalties for leaving. There were no threats made. (There were a few cops who took food orders, e.g. parents who’d run out of formula or milk for young children would talk to the cops and the cops would do a food run and come back with some baby food and milk, so they were very serious about keeping people off the streets.)

      Boston is NOT a place where orders like that would do any good at all. But phrased as a reasonable request, a lot of people–literally millions–elected to stay home. The police were’t the ones who spotted the Tsarnaev brothers, in the end–they were found by a homeowner after the “stay indoors” request was called off–which is another issue, but you’re making it sound like martial law was imposed, and this is completely false.

  13. When you’re right, you’re right.
    Although I’d argue that there’s enough pop culture showing DC as the center of power to move it to the top of the list. But they’d need a large area of effect to hit most of the potential targets, and they know it.
    NY City next. It’s portrayed as the center of commerce, and it’s where most of the media is located. Density makes it attractive. Ready access to ports, and if Manhattan is attacked, the major escape routes can be easily cut off relatively easily. There’s the Statue of Liberty, but it would have a minimum of collateral damage. I’d say NYC is more likely to be hit than D.C. simply because it’s an easier target.
    After that… Sure, they’d like to attack Hollywood, but all that’s identifiable about it is the sign. CNN is in Atlanta. Maybe the Mall of America or Disney. But we’re stretching at this point.

    As to a serious assault? It’s no mystery. The electrical grid, pipelines (petroleum and gasoline, in the winter add natural gas), railroads, roadways, and water supplies are all linear features that are next to impossible to defend. (Not to mention many less-obvious point targets.)

    1. I agree that NYC is the most likely target. In fact, we’ve already seen a handful of attempts that have been foiled. While LA is almost as large, and gets some visibility, the East Coast is typically the center of attention for most entertainment media. Based on what Hollywood produces, you’d think that New York was the center of the world. While Los Angeles and the rest of the West Coast do get attention, it’s not nearly as much. And a lot of that attention is merely so that the West Coast can be the focus of yet another epic disaster (case in point – the recent Godzilla movie).

      1. And NYC is a much more concentrated target, with most of the high-value real estate relatively accessible to water-borne threats. I remember that during the period immediately following the 9/11 attacks there was a huge step-up on inspections of cargo ships arriving in US harbors. I don’t believe that has continued – we are, I think, close to pre 9/11 levels of oversight.

        The LA area is just that – the LA *area*, very widely spread out, and much harder to severely damage with a single attack. If they’re going for a grand gesture, it would take a *lot* more time, effort, and money attacking LA to achieve that level of apparent success.

        Even though it’s a much less important target overall, I wonder if a SF area attack on something visible and well-known like the Golden Gate Bridge wouldn’t be more likely. This may just be my Bay Area local prejudices kicking in, though.

        1. I could see the Golden Gate Bridge being targeted. I can’t see anything else up there that might attract the same kind of world attention, though.

          1. Agreed – and I don’t think the Golden Gate Bridge makes as much economic sense as other possible targets in the area (Silicon Valley).

            But the South Bay area has the same problems for attackers as greater LA – too spread out, and hard to paralyze with a single strike.

            Symbolically, I think both DC and NYC would attract them more. As would LA. Maybe even Chicago (big city, transit hub, and the President’s claimed home town).

            I’d hope no attacks occur anywhere, much less locally. But if they DO decide to attack the SF Bay Area, I’d guess the GGB is the best known landmark. Or “Silicon Valley” if they’re really trying to affect the economy.
            But, selfishly, if attacks do occur I rather hope they’re far from me and mine.

          1. Depending on the method of attack, that may be a distinction without a difference.

            The freight terminal in Newark, NJ is closer to Manhattan Island (much close to lower Manhattan) than the Port of LA is to downtown LA or Hollywood

            1. yup and there’s a natural ridge between the port of los angeles and downtown.

  14. OK, for sh!ts and giggles I did my best to skew my mind around to the perspective of an Islamic terrorist. I see a hot shower with lye soap in my near future. That and a bunch a ton of brain floss.
    Before I recoiled in disgust it did occur to me that such a one would be terribly conflicted. Say they finally achieved their long held goal and put hands on a working mid range nuke. Where oh where to designate target number one? Yes, many sites in America are most tempting, but I kept coming back to the real most likely answer. Israel, specifically Tel Aviv. Not Jerusalem, has way too many historical ties to Islam, they’d get too much grief from their own folks. But strike a blow against the evil Jews, hard to pass up.
    Of course Mossad will find out those responsible and will exact retribution tenfold. Still and all, it’s such a tempting target I just can’t see them taking a pass.
    Of course I reside in Huntsville Alabama home of the Army Missile Command, so have always plunked my rear down on a high value target.

    1. Any ‘mid-range’ missile launched at Israel is going to end up a rapidly expanding cloud of debris. Unlike us, they actually have a missile defense system. (namely, theirs is deployed and actually has coverage, ours is parked in the motor pool or ‘in storage’ in Tuscon.)

      1. I perhaps misspoke. I was using the term mid range in regards to the yield of the nuclear explosion rather than a reference to the delivery system. What I had in mind was a device roughly the size of a small compact car smuggled into an Israeli city by land. Properly placed you wouldn’t even need to enter the secured areas, just set one off in close proximity.

          1. They do however have a Border Patrol that is allowed to do their job. Which is considerably more difficult than ours would be, if we would just allow them to do it.

    2. For a terrorist nuke – especially if the nuker really wants a lot of publicity, and to strike a blow against a target of global economic importance while you were at it – then NYC and LA would still be the top two targets, I’d think.

      There’s a Rand Corporation study floating around online, detailing the results of a hypothetical 10-kt terrorist nuke in a shipping container going off in the Port of Los Angeles. Pretty scary reading, if you care to Google it.

      1. They may well want to avoid a decapitation strike at DC, as current leadership is unlikely to strike back at the culprits but rather consolidate their own power.

    3. Equating foreign terrorists to the starlet “so dumb she slept with a screenwriter” I could imagine a foreign terrorist (in a story the late great Donald F. Westlake could write) so dumb he tries to blow-up Dollywood.

  15. I have been places (other countries) when they found out I was from the West, asked if we still wore six shooters on our hips and shot Indians. Yea– very clueless. 😉

    1. Exchange student from Czechoslovakia (…may have just been Czech by that point, can’t remember) was shocked when he got here as an exchange student, because we didn’t ride horses to school.

        1. Need to find one of those types before they get here and make sure their first exposure is either a Civil War Reenactment, or a BIG SCA Event, like Pennsic.

          1. RenFair, in Larkspur, Colorado. Eleven months of the year, it’s a sleepy little bedroom community. For the four or five weeks of RenFair, it’s Medieval Europe.

      1. What, you mean those oh-so-much-more knowledgeable and sophisticated Euros don’t actually know as much as they think they do? 🙂

        1. Eh, most of the Czechs I’ve met aren’t really “Euros.” They’re pretty disdainful of such, actually.

          Though they’ll happily take their tourist money.

          And they still wanted to know where my hat was.


          1. *laughs!* Very recently, I saw an older fella wearing an akubra whose band was decorated by croc teeth. It was a very worn hat, the sort of lived-in look that only comes from extensive wear and tear, from being sat on and stepped on, blown off a head and gone bouncing down a few dusty paths.

            The first thing I thought was “That looks awesome. Where can I get that?!”

            Hats are fairly common here, including the iconic Akubra, for rather practical purposes. But that was the first one I’d ever seen with croc teeth.

            And for the record, I think cowboy hats look neat. (Why yes, I like hats, especially with wide brims… now if only I didn’t look like an ambulatory mushroom wearing them…)

            1. I have a black leather “Swagman” hat from Australia (you can see it in my LJ Icon). I’ve had it for a dozen years or so, and the only thing I don’t like about it is that it STILL transfers black dye to my head if I sweat while wearing it.

              1. Chinese coolie hat? I found one in Chinatown in Philadelphia. Around five feet wide, I wore it back to where we were staying because it was the easiest way to carry it.

                  1. If I remember correctly that hat is wider than she is tall…

                    Which could really work.


              2. Heh, now that you reminded me of it, I did have one, as a kid and as a teenager. I actually would wear it too, because it wouldn’t have me sweat while wearing it while having a portable shade. Alas, I don’t have one now. I should try to get some. They’d be quite good in this weather, because the Aussie sun stings when it’s dry heat….

      1. “Do you own an oil well? Do you know J.R. Ewing? How many horses do you own? Do you have a ranch? Why not? Have you shot anyone? Where’s your hat? Where’s your hat? How many pair of cowboy boots do you own? Do you have a pet armadillo?” (Um, no, they carry leprosy.) “Do you have a long horn for a pet? How many cows do you have?” The farther east you go in Europe, the sillier the questions get. (Silly to me, not to the person asking.)

        1. I really liked “Barbarossa,” western made in the Eighties. And Willie Nelson and Gary Busey stand a strong chance of getting Hanson’s Disease, as they call it now.

      2. I would imagine that Dubya, with his “ranch” in Crawford, didn’t help matters. 😛

        Though similar things also sometimes apply even to fellow Americans. As a resident of California, I’ve sometimes had others mention a friend of their’s who lives in California, and do I happen to know him or her?


        1. “Oh, you’re from California?”
          —How’s the surfing?
          —How many times have you been to Disneyland?
          —Do you know any movie stars?
          —The beach must be nice.
          —Do you decorate the palm trees for Christmas?

          (I’m from NORTHERN California. BTW, anyone calling it “Cali” is obviously a telemarketer from out of state.) (And on that third question… no “stars” but I do have several friends making a living on screens big and small. Most of them are not from California.)

          1. I spent years of my life as a member of the military from California dispelling certain crude assumptions – like we were all flaky, fashion-driven air-heads, a la Shirley MacLaine.
            Really, it was a relief to tell people (at a certain point in my military career) that I was from Utah. And now – from Texas.
            Honestly, I loved living in and growing up in So-Cal, back in the day. It was a wonderful place – my mother used to tell people that we stayed at home during the popular vacation season, because we were already living in the most perfect place imaginable.

            Not so much now. I have become accumulated to Texas. My late business partner was convinced that I should have been born here, and it was only some cosmic mix-up on the part of the stork that I was born in California at all. (There must be some woman of about my age and ethnic background who was supposed to be delivered to California and wound up in Texas instead .. Sorry – not my fault!)

            Anyway – if there is a last best hope for American constitutional democracy – I believe that it is here, in Texas.

          2. BTW, anyone calling it “Cali” is obviously a telemarketer from out of state.

            Bah. I was born in Modoc, and my husband was born in Coronado*, and we both lived in our places for over a decade– we call it Cali.

            I think it’s more a generational thing; my life-long California aunts only say it in the phrase “Southern Cali.” (Which starts at Shasta; the rest is “up here” or “at the coast.”)

            * It’s a really pretty island right next to San Diego– I find the way we span the entire state to be amusing.

            1. I’ve met several people from southern California who call it Cali, but most of those from Northern California specify, “I’m from Northern California,” or they specify the county, “I’m from Humboldt county.”

        2. I recall when in eastern Tennessee, on finding out that I was from Philadelphia, I was asked by someone if I might know their relative in Pittsburgh. I replied that no, how many people from Memphis did they know?

          Few people, even from the US have a grasp on how large this nation is.

    2. Actually heard at the Tulsa Airport (a long while back).

      Clueless guy in a business suit in a loud, distressed voice: Where are all the Teepees?!

    3. Yes, and if you say you’re a Mormon, be prepared for polygamy jokes.

      1. Oddly enough, I’ve never had to deal with those. Though since I live in SoCal, polygamy would probably be considered oddly quaint by most of those who might otherwise be inclined toward those kind of jokes…

        1. Are you trying to kill me? I just snorted strawberries and cream up my nose; bad enough I am blowing chunks of strawberry out in tissues.

            1. With a number of the commenters here it would be simpler to post “non-spew” warnings. New site motto:
              According to Hoyt: Must Use Sneeze Guard Beyond This Point.
              Management not responsible for damaged keyboards or/and monitors.”

              1. I am comfortable that I, at least, am staid and straitlaced and no such warning need ever be applied to anything I say.

                You other rowdies, however, for you I can’t speak.

                  1. I’ve got a spare one around here somewhere, but it’s tan and there’s this dangly wire thing hanging off of it with a funny round end. Oh, and the keys are really tall.

                    And diet coke is always nasty.

                    With that outta the way: what’cha trying ta say?

                1. If that were, indeed, true, your comments in relation to some other people’s might be even more spew/snort inducing than otherwise. That’s why some comedians work with a “straight man” *.

                  * No, you pun-nicious punsters, by “straight” I don’t necessarily mean, “not gay”.

                    1. “Crooked” seems a trifle strong. Perhaps he only meant to imply Eamon is warped or, at worst, bent.

                    2. Clarification, please. Is it that somebody “once told you to get bent” or somebody told you to “get bent one time”?

                    3. From the tone, I’m pretty sure it wasn’t restricted to one time.

                      Hope that clears everything up.

                    4. OK, where’s the straight edge so we can check out these “gentlemen”. [Evil Grin]

                    5. Straight edge? That’s sooooo 19th Century. Lets use the laser cutter — that guarantees straight edges.

                    6. “Somebody told me to get bent once, might that explain it?”

                      Only once? Slacker.

          1. Jerry – Jack-Mormon is short code for someone who has left the church so I don’t live without caffeine. There are others here who could answer that question much better.

            1. Sorry, Hollywood left me thinking Jack Mormon meant some one who had a falling out with the bishops but was still basically Mormon.

              1. Nope – wrong– or the meaning has changed since I left in the late 80s. In my day, a Jack Mormon usually had “Word of Wisdom” issues i.e. drank alcohol, coffee, and smoked. There was a time in my childhood that certain beverages were on the do not drink list because of caffeine. Hollywood lite btw. 😉

                1. My only exposure to Mormons was when the hay crew I was on in high school hauled for a Mormon family, so ignorant doesn’t even begin to cover it.

                  1. No problem– I was thinking about your definition… most Jack-Mormons I knew still had contact with their family members (some where bishops). lol

                2. And even that isn’t the original definition. The original definition was someone who wasn’t a Mormon, but was considered a friend of the LDS Church.

                  1. Huh, hadn’t heard that one, I always heard it and used it, by Cyn’s meaning.

                  1. Oh yea– I had a Baptist roommate in the barracks when I was in the military. She was always on a guilt trip– that she put on herself. 😉

          2. Jerry, since you build up a tolerance to caffeine over time… If you never start using caffeine heavily, then you never become reliant on it.

            Neat, huh? 😛

                1. Reading NY Times OpEds works pretty well for keeping up my BP. For really bad days there are Slate, Salon, Mother Jones, The Nation …

              1. I dunno. I miss small, competent federal government. I miss Liberty (admittedly, I have had some, albeit tepid, weak, adulterated and heavily diluted.)

            1. Well, I suppose if your chemistry is normal, that works nicely. I have that weird glitch where caffeine calms me. Without it, any room I’m in isn’t fun for anyone. On really bad days, it takes nicotine to back it up.

                1. Approximately 48 ounces of coffee is the tipping point for me, between making me sleep and waking me up. So my third 24oz coffee starts to keep me awake.

                  1. After working my way through college — twice — on the night shift I find I have built up such an immunity to coffee that it is only through hydraulic pressure that it keeps me awake.

                    Liquor, on the other hand, knocks me right out so I have regretfully given up strong drink.

                    1. Yep, the only way coffee keeps me awake on long trips, is having to stop all the time to get rid of it.* I generally drink coffee from when I get up in the morning, until I am ready to go to bed, it has no effect on me, except for causing me to have a headache if I don’t have any.

                      *This even more effective in subzero weather.

              1. Daughtorial Unit has found coffee addresses her ADD issues far better more effectively than Ritalin or Adderall and self-medicates accordingly.

                  1. Wonder if it is often a common characteristic of those who aspire to become medical students?

            1. One of my Mormon friends lived on Mountain Dew. Others inhale diet coke. So…
              I still find it funny that our very closest friend, who is Mormon, should try to convert me for the first and last time the week after 9/11 when I was crawling into the bourbon bottle to sleep and waking up with megadoses of coffee to be able to function. (Dan made it home after that week.)

            2. Yup right after the LDS Church Gain controling interest in Coca Cola.


            3. Larry Correia mentioned that one day. Said that the rule against caffeine was actually a rule imposed by Brigham Young University, and not the Mormon faith itself.

              1. Oh sure — BYU probably thinks students should actually learn the course material instead of staying up all night cramming before the exam. What kind of world would this be if everybody did crazy stuff like that?

    4. Hey now, some of us do where sixshooters on our hips, although I generally take it off at home. And I must be slackin’, cause I ain’t never shot meself’s an Injun.

  16. I’ve come up with many, many bad things someone evil could do to hurt us, really hurt us as well. In fact, for a paper in school, I was told to game out what a nuclear terrorist attack might look like. At first, I thought about good targets: places like the Naval facilities around San Diego. Hoover Dam. Stuff like that. Then I realized that symbolism was much more important, and getting us riled would be as well. What would hurt us and demoralize us and make us freak out?

    Manhattan. Symbolism is rife, it’s the face the world sees. And tactically, if you ever run across someone who’s wiling to look at that angle, it’s useful. Destroying the NYSE in such an attack would be devastating. Regardless, it’s terribly demoralizing and the country would not react well to it at all. So, that’s where I’m pointing the finger of doom.

    1. The issue is that the US doesn’t get demoralized. It gets angry. And heavens help the people who anger the US. The Empire of Japan attacked a couple of minor, outlying possessions of the US Empire, Hawaii and the Philippines. We responded by demolishing the Empire of Japan, and we were willing to fight to the last Japanese if necessary.

      I really really hope that the lessons of 9/11 about target selections are not lost on our Islamic opponents. If they are, I think the next time it won’t be nation building but a punitive raid.

      1. I wish I could believe this, but can you really imagine DC doing something serious? Only happen if it precipitates a military coup and that’s unlikely after Obama’s culling of the ranks. We don’t get angry anymore, we feel their pain instead.

            1. You should read the book, but basically he gets elected on a revenge platform, and proceed to use nukes to kill about a hundred Muslims for each American killed. He also gets rid of domestic enemies.

              It’s a worse case scenario in many ways. Tom Kratman’s books are very good, but nightmare fuel.

              1. Tom has said that Buckman’s America is not a place we would like. Oh, he was said that he does not want to write the story of Buckman’s rise to power as the “good guys” lost.

            2. Creates the American Empire. He purges the US of all Muslims, launches a crackdown on the American Left, institutes restrictions on everybody’s civil rights, declares war against all majority Muslim nations (and smacks them hard), steals all of the Saudi’s oil, after he catches terrorists enter the US from Canada, he conquers Canada, basically conquers the remaining nations of the Americas, etc.

              The “nastiest” thing he does is after Murder for Political reasons is made a Federal Crime is to pardon people who have murdered his political enemies (as long as there *was* a political reason, one person was murdered for non-political reasons and went unpardoned.

              Much of what he did was very very popular as the terrorists had gotten the American People very angry.

              Oh, all of the above is “background” information of _Caliphate_. While very likely insane, he peacefully dies in his bed after several terms as President. Obviously the Constitution had been amended to allow him more than two terms. Tom Kratman said that his later elections were won via voter fraud.

            3. The US is enraged after a nuclear follow-up to 9/11 (iirc, two cities get wiped out, and another half a dozen or so survived because something went wrong with the plots in those individual cities), and Buckman gets voted into office by a landslide. Buckman uses the power of the Presidential Pardon on a guy (a thinly veiled expy of a certain liberal blogger, who in the story lost his wife in the nuclear attacks) who murdered an anti-Western professor (iirc a thinly veiled expy of someone who shares the same last name as a great 20th Century male British Prime Minister), which basically okays vigilante attacks against Muslims (because Buckman will pardon you). Buckman then follows up by heavily curtailing civil liberties, and initiating a genocidal war against Islam around the world. When the story starts, long after Buckman is gone, the curtailment of civil liberties is still only partially rolled back. The US characters generally agree that what happened under Buckman was horrible. But by then it’s a bit too late to undo what was done. The US and the Caliphate – based out of Europe – are locked in a terrible life or death struggle (still only via proxies, though), while China and a few other unaligned nations watch from the sidelines.

              Also, Buckman may have nuked the Middle East – as in the entirety of it. I remember something bad happened there (that’s why the center of Islamic governance is now in Europe), and I *think* it’s his fault. But I don’t remember for certain. The book lets you know early on that something bad happened there, but doesn’t indicate what exactly occurred until much later on, and even then only briefly.

            4. Thanks for all the explanatory replies. Multiple friends have recommended the book (while never saying anything specific about the plot) so eventually I’ll read it, but it sounds like it’s not a book for when you want something cheerful and hopeful.

      2. We got so made we invented a whole new way of blowing up cities, and did it. TWICE, because they didn’t surrender fast enough.

  17. I was just reading some stupid piece in the Seattle times where the writer was talking to Indian exchange students about their fear of gun violence.

    The eye-rolling was audible, but they hear stuff about campus shootings and think they have bulls-eyes on them.

    1. Someone (I think it was Larry Correia, though I’m not sure) wrote an article a while back that, among other things, pointed to some interesting tid-bits of information regarding the hotel massacre in India. My recollection of the takeaway was that a lack of gun culture in India contributed to make the police response to the terrorist attack much worse than it should have been, largely because the police didn’t really know what they were doing.

      1. Contrast that to the attack on a mall in Kenya. One of the first-responders was not just armed, but wearing a badge from a tactical competitive pistol shooting organization…

        1. It was several of the local IDPA shooters–one of their own was inside the mall and called them.

          They hooked up with the Red Cross who were on the scene before the police/military and they started extracting people from the mall.

  18. Malls. Somewhere in the Heartland. On Black Friday.
    The Super Bowl.
    The Academy Awards. Nah, they’d kill too many of their allies. .
    Any major public event, really. 4th of July on the Mall in DC.

    If they’re of the Jihadi Martyr mindset. . . they’ll find plenty of opportunities. . .

    1. Yes, but think of how many “harlots” (their word, not mine) the Islamists would kill if they successfully bombed the Oscars.

      An attack on the mall in the Heartland would probably be a mistake. Too many people carrying guns there. There have been attacks on malls over the last decade or so (always by lone individuals or small groups), and almost every single one of them has been foiled by a private citizen inside before more than a handful of people could be shot.

        1. armed “victims” quickly stopping mass shootings is the reason the Palestinians went with suicide bombers. They had several planned mass shootings turn into dead shooters with nearly full magazines.

        2. They give an advantage to the nosy and/or more alert than goblins expect.

          I’ve found a lot of the “obliviousness” folks comment on is this archaic thing known as manners— it’s not that folks didn’t notice you doing something, it’s that it’s rude to go “Hey, dude, what the hell are you doing?!?”

          The Boston Marathon was probably the one shot they had to try that among a group with relatively low military mindsets and high “not my job” levels; I pay really close attention to every news story I can catch about abandoned packages, and I’m that annoying biddy who tells mall security if there’s a backpack left behind this or that, and I notice it seems to break down into “places where people pay attention” (malls, most stores) and “places where they close the barn door after one horse is out.” Like the Boston Marathon, places folks don’t want to be publicly associated with– I think there’s been two or three bomb scares in the Seattle area, all at abortuaries, for what was probably someone’s bag that just fell out of the car. One of them they took half a day of breathless coverage while the cops used their robot to take it apart. Oh well, it’s great practice.

          I’ve also noticed folks trying to politely watch me with my inability to pack small, because the lunch carrier I have is big enough to hold a decent sized bomb. If I tried to drop that thing off? Good heavens, I’d be videoed and posted to the FBI before I got to the gate. And that’s with three small children, so the most obviously effective cover of physically non-imposing Irish/Scottish/English housewife with small kids doesn’t work.

      1. They’re a pain in the neck to find a list of, too, because the ones where the guy is either shot or kills himself before he hits “Mass Shooting” numbers don’t get recorded well.

        The Portland Mall one only hit because it was right after…. I think it was the grade school shooting? They expected it to be a huge body count, and that guy with his you-will-be-asked-to-leave-the-premises CC scared the murderer into killing himself. (Pregnant cousin-in-law and her mom had been going there, but got distracted on the way.)

        They learned, because the Mexican Restaurant/Moviehouse shooting (where an off duty cop with a CC shot the guy; lady ushers got guns!) only got mentioned to pad the numbers, never with any details.

    2. Has anyone considered the WWE? Preplanned schedule, they will go overseas on occasion. Very Visible Supporters of the US military. Large Crowds.And they are so busy moving from show to show I’m concerned security there may not be as tight as we hope.

      Also major international sporting events get a flag in my book.. namely super bowl and NASCAR races. Both have a decent outside the us following, and are growing in fan base. I’d say baseball, but as far as i can tell, when it comes to hitting a ball with sticks abroad, cricket seems to be way more popular.

      OTOH, with regards to the WWE, given the heavy, continual, and long standing support they have shown to our soldiers here and abroad, I kind of think that any response to an attack against that franchise will be later dubbed by future historians as a “Ridiculous large overreaction on the part of the US military”

      1. Has anyone considered the WWE? Preplanned schedule, they will go overseas on occasion. Very Visible Supporters of the US military. Large Crowds.And they are so busy moving from show to show I’m concerned security there may not be as tight as we hope.

        They attract a bad crowd if you want victims.

        Even those adorable girls as big as a pinkie that are holding signs twice their size in the crowd probably have gamed out what they’ll hit a terrorist in the head with, and what they’ll stomp next– and probably have a nice, steel-barrel mechanical pencil in those skinny pants.

        Fancy smancy type concerts are out for a similar reason– too high a chance (it only takes one) that either folks are trying to be respectable and already take their duty to protect seriously, or they can hire someone to be protective for them.

        Not sure about movie theaters, but after the Batman psycho, I wouldn’t risk that either– if the folks watching haven’t gamed it out, at least one of the ushers has.

        I even notice that the guys who are doing delivery sure seem to be on a first-name basis with folks more often. (I got curious about the movie style “hit the delivery guy on the head and steal his uniform” trick.)

    1. A few months ago I was surprised to learn my employer has an organized crime division. They investigate, sting, and press charges against organized crime, not partake in it. Two of their biggest cases have led to taking apart organizations funneling money to Yemen…

  19. Vegas baby. The islamists realize the big threat is more cultural than economic. And if you believe you’re allah’s angel of wrath against the infidel, you’ll think taking out “Sin City” will be a mission from allah. Besides, the tangos will enjoy the hookers prior to doing the deed.

    1. The Saudi’s would cut off their funding, and probably a few other bits, as well.

    2. There are THREE very large military bases near Las Vegas. Two are Air Force, one “other”. There’s a LOT of back-door training going on. Those guys go into town to relax. NOT a good place to try to do something foolish. It’s also one of the few places that a tac nuke would only make the military very unhappy with someone. The bases are far enough out of town they wouldn’t be affected by the blast, and the people would have enough time to protect themselves from most of the radiation. It would also be a place where the reaction would very probably be very large glowing areas in the Muddled East.

      1. Good point, I’d forgotten that everyone from the world’s largest bombing range (now taking international visitors!) goes to Vegas for fun.

  20. _Probably_ not a nuclear target, but you’ve got to know that sinking one of the carriers is high on the list of Things That Would Give *Anyone* Street Cred. Government or terrorist org.

  21. Trying to game out what the targets would be is a bit of fool’s game, because it’s quite like Schrodinger’s Cat–Observations and discussions about the issue cause the targeting to change. About all you can say for sure is that the target will appear to the terrorists as a high value one, and that they will try to maximize the damage. The targets we come up with, as insiders, are not the ones they will pick–We know what we think is valuable, but those criteria are not the ones they’ll use.

    One thing that sort of threw a lot of analysts was that the attack on the WTC was somewhat ruled out–They’d tried before, and failed. To us, that means that the target was too difficult, and another one should be selected. To them, it was a promise unkept, and they went to great lengths to hit it, having already lost face by not managing to do it. So, instead of thinking that lighting won’t strike the same place twice, you have to factor in where there have been unsuccessful attempts in the past.

    Or, not. The whole thing will be blindingly apparent in hindsight, and you’ll be able to say “We should have known…”. But, you can’t. The terrorist only has to be successful once, while the counter-terrorist has to be successful every time.

    Back around 1998 or so, there was a little blurb in one of the back pages of the New York Times, discussing some released intelligence that showed the Iraqi Mukhabarat had moved a derelict airliner fuselage from Baghdad International Airport out to the PLO terrorist training camp at Salman Pak. The blurb went on to discuss how they were using the fuselage to practice taking over aircraft with things they could sneak through security. Now, the reason nobody thought much about that was that everyone just figured “OK, they get an aircraft with X-Acto knives… Then what? Where will they take it?”. We were still thinking in classical hijacker mode, and I don’t think an analyst in the country ever considered the possibility they might use the aircraft as giant suicide bombs. But, they should have: The French had to deal with a hijacking where the hijackers demanded that their aircraft be refueled, and were talking about flying it into the Eiffel Tower. Unfortunately, they were overheard by an Arabic-speaking crewmember, and word was gotten out to the French security forces, who promptly refused to refuel the aircraft and then stormed it, killing all the hijackers.

    We had the pieces, but they only fit together when we looked at them in retrospect, after the fact. That’s the nature of the beast, I fear–All people like us can do is to stay alert, stay prepared, and be ready to die as a lion, when the need arises.

    1. The whole thing will be blindingly apparent in hindsight, and you’ll be able to say “We should have known…”. But, you can’t.

      Part of the criteria for one of Taleb’s Black Swans, right there. We tell ourselves stories afterward, imposing order where there was none, and we convince ourselves that someone could have had control. But it simply isn’t so.

    2. . The whole thing will be blindingly apparent in hindsight, and you’ll be able to say “We should have known…”.

      It’s really hard to find a needle in a haystack.

      However when you sit in the haystack and get a needle in the fundament, it’s really easy to locate.

      1. Needle in a haystack? Piece of cake.

        Burn haystack, sift ashes.

        Insert powerful electromagnet in haystack, use wind machine to blow hay away.

        Both methods are destructive of haystacks and less effective with non-ferrous needles. Technological advances hold out the possibility of development of nanobots able to search the haystack and retrieve any needles as an better solution.

  22. Big shopping mall? Mall of America, for the name. Sinful, decadent America? The Oscars, or San Francisco Gay Pride Parade. (A bomb inside one of those 1907 brick buildings would create lots of shrapnel. Ditto the glass-clad high rises.)

    1. Regardless of the location, two devices offset be ten minutes. The first to create chaos and civilian casualties, the second to cause casualties among the first responders.

      1. I forget: Did the IRA invent the tactic of using a second delayed bomb to murder emergency medical personnel?

        By the way, re “kill” vs. “murder”: On CBS news radio this morning I heard a news reader refer to the “killing” of those three Israel teens and the “murder” of an arab youth whose body was just found. Which only reminds me that CBS personnel are not for “peace” they are on the other side…and should be treated as such.

          1. I vaguely remember it being used in hunting– take down one, wait for group to come back to see why that one fell down, take out another.

            Since they actually had to make rules about “don’t shoot the medics” for war, I guess it’s pretty dang common– the jump would be from shooting to bombing…..

        1. Finnish press used a headline which just talked about ‘death’. ‘The deaths of the three youths’. As if they had keeled over because of heart attacks or something similar, maybe a mysterious virus.

            1. I find it… ironic i guess.. that the three ‘major networks’, are on the side that is supposed to ‘celebrate individuality’..

              as opposed to those ‘evil conservatives who all enforce conformity and march in lockstep… (no, they REALLY REALLY believe this…)

              march in lockstep.

      2. When I heard about the Boston Marathon, I thought they’d actually done this– it’s pretty standard ME terrorist tactics on our guys, and I thought almost everybody knew it.

  23. Those who’s job it is to actually look at potential attack sites are well aware of and have response plans laid in. When one comes, it won’t be against hard/protected targets, it will be against unarmed civilians. Not going any further than that.

    1. yay hi Old NFO 😀

      If it was malls, it would NOT be Mall of America. People actually carry there. It would, likely, be a crowded mall in an area where the common folk are kept disarmed. I would name specific cities, and indeed could name specific malls in this part of the country (SoCal) but if some jihadi needs ME to write his target list for him he’s too lazy to be allowed into paradise.

      1. A shooting attack at Mall of America, or other place where people carry, would be foolish, perhaps even too foolish for the Jihadis. But carrying won’t save you from a bomb attack.

        An attack on Bank of America HQ might have a similar psychological impact, just because of the name. (Until people realized that it *benefited* the economy.)

        1. “An attack on Bank of America HQ might have a similar psychological impact,”

          Rather it would have that psychological impact on foreigners, as Sarah pointed out, because of the name. On US citizens, not so much, most of us probably wouldn’t even get why it was targeted, until it was pointed out. Then our first thoughts would be about how stupid the terrorists were.

      2. You’d be surprised at how many people in California carry concealed even though it’s not legal.

        BTDT, admitted it under polygraph.

  24. I am late to the game, having spent the time I would have spent on my computer time yesterday sitting on the front stoop with a old friend who returned from Afghanistan just over a week ago. (Sorry, I like you guys, but one has to set priorities.) I apologize if someone else has already gone here.

    Look, I say America is aspergers and believes its own documents. For the rest of the world this is worse. THEY BELIEVE OUR ENTERTAINMENT.

  25. Although it has been generally brushed over in the news, ELF, recognized as eco-terrorists, is still active. While their attacks are destructive of property they have yet to kill anyone in the states.

    I would not guess who will ‘hit’ next. Nor do I believe much in the news. I know their coverage can be decidedly off. I was living in Greensboro, NC on the November 3, 1979 when some members of the White Patriot Party attacked a Communist Workers Party rally in a housing project. My father, a generally rational man, called, very concerned. As it was being reported in the north east he was thinking that there was wide spread trouble, and that the NAZI and Ku Klux Klan was running rampant.

    Which leads to another observation. The phenomenon Sarah reports is not just across national borders. There are many in this country who get their idea about other areas of the country from TV. And of the courts, medicine and forensics. (Maybe I shouldn’t get the geeks started on the magic science as displayed on TV.)

    1. Speaking of bad reporting, I was in the Bay Area for the 1989 earthquake. A fire at a towing shop next door to the City of Berkeley Public Library (which is a rather large library) was being reported as “the” University Library burning down. A fire that consumed an entire block of San Francisco sounded like the whole city was on fire by the time the national media got hold of it. A section of the Bay Bridge falling down (and someone getting killed because he drove off the intact portion onto the collapsed section) was “the Bay Bridge collapsed” to people back East.

    2. Yep, I was in Oakridge*, while the ranger station was still smoking. And personally know guys who have ruined chains on their spiked trees. Also know one faller who was stopped by his boss when he went to put an undercut in a tree that an ELF was living in, in order to stop a timber sale from being logged. Biggest mistake he made was telling anybody about the guy in a tree house. He was wearing ear plugs after all, he should have just dumped the tree and claimed ignorance.

      *Their first well known attack.

      1. Oh, if only….

        And I’d like to see a log truck driver “accidentally” drive off with the protestors still chained to his bumper….

  26. I spent 26 years in the Air Force, looking at reconnaissance imagery. Some of that time was spent picking “interdiction points” — places where the minimum ordinance would do the maximum damage to logistics and troop movements. I could hit six places in Colorado Springs and bring this city to its knees. It’s not something I would have known without the specific training I’ve had.

    This highlights something else that I want to say. The PRESIDENT has identified “former military” as “potential terrorists”. Only if you have ideas of suppressing the rights we all hold and enjoy, but if you do that, “potential” is a VERY mild word to use. Today’s military is far better trained to put a stop to a government takeover than anyone in the last 50 years. Unfortunately, the president (and most of his political party) have very little if any military experience, and don’t realize this. I can see that leading to a vast over-extension of the belief in “high places” that all military are “scum-sucking knuckle-draggers”. The average IQ of my class in intel school was 137. The wake-up call to the political class would be horrendous.

    Something that no one here has mentioned is that the 20 terrorists on 9/11 were the cream of the Islamic world. IIRC, they were all college graduates (earned in US universities, I believe), and were considered very intelligent. The average Muslim terrorist isn’t quite that bright, which is why they fail more often than they succeed.

    1. Today’s military is far better trained to put a stop to a government takeover than anyone in the last 50 years.

      *musing* Y’know, just the change in how the Reserves works is a pretty major deal– remember after 9/11 when a sizable group were quitting because they didn’t want to be in the military, they just wanted money for college/to do sports/etc.

      Now everybody in my husband’s reserve unit has had really serious hands-on training, if they haven’t actually deployed.

  27. Sarah wrote:

    “It could very well be I’ll be radioactive dust because they either didn’t hear of the closing of Cheyenne Mountain or DON’T BELIEVE IT.”

    Or they could be trying to capture it, because That’s Where The Stargate Is.

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