Monday News Links

Greetings and Happy Monday. I wish I could say we were going to have a week without any more snow, but there’s some strong possibilities in the forecast. We have to change our expectations to hope we will have a week with just an inch or so, and wouldn’t that be nice? I’m pleased March is coming, but we’ve been known to have major March snowstorms around these parts, and it just seems like such a thing would be the icing on the cake for this winter.

But now for the news:

Weaponization of government: all the non-profits audited by the IRS were conservative. Maybe getting rid of the IRS isn’t looking like such a crazy libertarian pipe dream these days?

Who are the enemy? We are. (h/t Instapundit)

How the DEA launders classified information.

Mass shootings, it turns out, aren’t very good pretexts for gun control.

A disabled man is suing over Connecticut’s new gun control laws. His disability means that only pistol grips are comfortable for him.

Home made bump fire stock.

Uncle has more thoughts on the 9mm takeover we talked about a few weeks ago.

Some animals are more equal than others.

Going postal.

When MAIG membership becomes a liability. It has to be toxic for political ambitions for higher office. It must be why they had lost 15% of members before they decided to stop keeping track.

The case challenging the new Connecticut gun laws, which lost in district court, will be appealed.

We must close the gun theft loophole! I agree. It should be illegal to steal guns!

The latest hand wringing out of Chicago: Anti-gun folks don’t like the “no guns” signs, so they want businesses to have to post that guns are allowed. They want this because they are having no luck getting them to post “no guns” signs.

Former New Orleans mayor Ray Nagin goes down. Unfortunately, neither stealing guns nor violating the civil rights of residents by stealing their guns was not among the charges he was convicted on. Nagin was a case where prosecutors could have used 18 U.S.C. 242. Anyone surprised they didn’t?

Tam on opening pocket knives.

A Massachusetts panel recommends more gun control, because they don’t have enough or something. They are proud of their low gun ownership rate, whereas to me it’s something they should have to explain in court to a judge deciding whether or not to strike their laws from the books. h/t Jeff Soyer

Danger to the grid. It would take a large coordinated attack to cause real widespread and long-lasting disruption, but it’s scary how vulnerable it is. How much damage could even a small team do? What if they just keep moving on from substation to substation? How long before authorities catch them?

7 thoughts on “Monday News Links”

  1. RE: Danger to the Grid

    It’s not a big danger. True, the substations are individually vulnerable to a determined attack, but the resulting outages are typically short and easy to route around (think: bad thunderstorm). I hear people talking about “coordinated” attacks in a widespread fashion. But it cannot happen with small arms (rifles, etc.). Seriously, what sized team would it take to perform a coordinated attack on the dozens – or even hundreds – of substations that would be required to affect even a modest sized area? And if [Evil Empire X] had that many armed soldiers in our nation, wouldn’t they do something a bit more spectacular than shutting down some grid? Do we have to get creative and list the damage that a few dozen/hundred guys with rifles and a date with the victorious afterlife could perform in urban or suburban America, without shooting repairable, inanimate objects?

    Also, unlike other forms of terrorism or organized crime, you know where the attack is going to be. That makes defense easier, for sure. Not even the Keystone Kops would miss a mass-attack pattern. They bad guys would have to hit a lot of places at one time, and the CA incident required almost an hour to do enough damage to cause a shutdown. Substations are fixed points, and attacking more than a few in scattershot fashion is not going to happen. There is a reason our DoD bombs them with missiles from afar – it’s too hard to take them one by one, in person.

    I am more curious why all of a sudden there is all this talk of the horror of a form of attack that does nothing (in the grand scheme of things) and is hard to perform in a meaningful way?

    There has to be money involved, somewhere. It’s almost like someone cooked up an idea for more infrastructure funds using a year-old set of holes in some transformers.

    1. The vulnerability of the electric grid is in the high voltage transport lines. They’re distribution choke points for wide areas, including densly populated metro areas, that run through sparsly populated areas with “security” that in most cases amounts to a cattle gate with a lock and chain.

      When the tornados hit here in AL a couple years ago, the high voltage towers and lines from the nuclear plant went down. It took nearly a week to get minimal power back up, and to do so they had to scrounge line and towers from all across the country. Imagine if you knocked out supply lines to even 3 major cities at once. What do you think NY or Chicago would look like after a month without electricity?

  2. We saw the “guns allowed” sign thing here in Tennessee a couple of years ago when restaurant carry was legalized. I think it’s part of the Brady Campaign’s “Spaghetti Checklist.”

    You know, throw everything at the wall and see what sticks.

  3. Just looking at the MA Gun Control Report. They have the lowest gun-death rate…yet their murder (all-types) rate in 2012 (1.8 per 100,000) is exactly the same as Utah’s! (I didn’t check suicide statistics, though, so it’s possible that more “gun deaths” are hiding there…)

    At what point are we going to accept that humans are rational (or rationizable, ie, they’ll commit to courses of action, and then rationalize their ways to them) beings, and as such, are going to conclude that murder and suicide are options to be pursued? And that it’s not the State’s place to prevent them, but rather, to seek justice after the fact?

    This is a huge reason why, as much as I like Massachusetts as a State, I wouldn’t want to live there.

  4. True, the substations are individually vulnerable to a determined attack, but the resulting outages are typically short and easy to route around (think: bad thunderstorm). I hear people talking about “coordinated” attacks in a widespread fashion. But it cannot happen with small arms (rifles, etc.).

    I don’t know of (and can’t be aware of) all of the precautions involved, but from my understanding transformers built since the 1970s use a flammable oil with a flash point under 600 Celcius. The California attack was actually interesting because they /didn’t/ target these components, which is why the substation could be repaired in a month rather taking most of a year.

    1. All transformers are new as of 1996 (I think), because of requirements to get PCBs out of the environment. Today’s devices use a derivative of mineral oil, which is technically flammable under the right conditions. These ain’t them, obviously.

      Basically you drain them and they overheat and shut down. That’s about it. I’ve seen some smaller ones go boom when something crosses the ground at the wrong time (bird goes poof and it was awesome).

      But basically you need to drain them and wait for thermodynamics to take over. Nothing spectacular or even riveting. But because of the time it takes to make all those little holes, it’s not the kind of hit-and-run attack that I’d be worried about. I’m more concerned about a shopping mall or a farmer’s market than I am a substation feeding either.

  5. Am I the only one that had to read that ‘gun-friendly zone’ article twice?? I know I shouldn’t be amazed anymore, but these folks truly have a dizzying intellect.. That’s a polite way of saying they’re completely disconnected from rational thinking. Take this gem:
    “[a local representative of Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America] said she sees signs indicating gun-free zones are currently posted at her child’s pre-school, and finds them to be a frightening reminder of the tragic mass-shooting….”

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