Eye Witness

From Reader Mark D, an account of 9/11:

September 11, 2001 was a beautiful fall day.  The sky was blue, the day was mild. I’d gotten up a little late that morning.  My wife suggested that I should take the later train (about 40 minutes later), but I really wanted to stop in Borders Bookstore in the World Trade Center that morning.  I did that once every couple of weeks, just to browse thru the books.  So I pushed myself out the door, drove to the train station, and caught my usual train which took me to Hoboken, NJ.  From there I took the Path train to the World Trade Center, but completely forgot that I wanted to stop at Borders, and entered the Courtlandt St subway station.  After I paid my subway fare I remembered that I’d intended to stop at Borders, but decided that I’d either stop tonight on the way home or tomorrow morning.  The time was about 8:10. I got my usual R train and headed into Brooklyn, just as I had every work day for the last several years.  I arrived, as usual, at my desk at about 8:30.

About 9:00 a co-worker came in and told us that a plane had apparently hit the World Trade Center, that he saw the smoke on his way in.  We turned on a radio and heard that a small plane had hit the North Tower.  It seemed like an accident.  As the news rolled in, we learned that it was a passenger jet, not a small plane, that hit the tower.  Then the South Tower was hit.  Then there were reports of a plane hitting the Pentagon.  I called my wife to tell her I was OK, she said they were watching the news on a TV.  I thought it was a little odd that she didn’t seem concerned about me since my commute took me thru the World Trade Center, but I decided not to press the issue.

A few of us decided to walk down to the East River to see what was happening, when we got there my first impression was that there was a lot of paper in the air, apparently sucked from the towers.  There was a huge hole in the North Tower, full of flames.  The South Tower was partially hidden from view by the North, but it was obvious that it was burning too.  We were too far away to see the people falling, we didn’t hear about that until later.

At this point I was thinking that the fire department would evacuate the buildings, put out the fires, and then something would need to be done to repair the towers.  It never occured to me that the towers might be too badly damaged to repair.  Then the South Tower (or what I could see of it behind the North Tower) sort of tipped at the top, then collapsed in a rain of dust and debris.

I didn’t have another coherent thought for the rest of the day.  I couldn’t stay there anymore, we left, headed back to our office building, where we found that the building (a New York City municipal building) was evacuated and locked down, we weren’t allowed back in.  We met up with our manager, and we all went to her apartment a few blocks away.  On the way I stopped in a store for a bottle of soda and learned that the North Tower had collapsed, but I was numb at that point.  I remember repeatedly thinking “This day needs to be over.”
Since New York City was pretty much locked down I couldn’t get home, so I and some others spent the night at our managers apartment.  The next morning we decided not to open, and by then the transportation system was functioning, so I headed for home via the Path train in Mid-town Manhattan.  Everyone I saw on the way home had a thousand-yard stare, like they were in shock.  From the train I could see the smoke rising from where the towers had been, that column of smoke would be part of the landscape for a long time.
I arrived home in the early afternoon.  My wife arrived home from work at her usual hour.  As we talked about the events of the previous day I mentioned that I’d been in the basement of the World Trade center a half-hour before the first plane hit.  She sat bolt upright and said “You were WHAT?” She’d completely forgotten that my daily commute took me thru the World Trade Center, which was just as well or she’d have been beside herself with worry.

Do not forget what happened that day.  Do not forget what you were doing, where you were.  Do not forget that three thousand people who did nothing more sinister than show up for work or ride a plane died that day.  Do not forget that those people were murdered, they did not die in a natural disaster.  Do not forget who murdered them.

Can’t (and won’t) add a single thing.  Thank you, Mark.


Yesterday’s post about Britishland’s .gov SHTF preparations triggered a response in Comments about a post from the old blog.  Here it is:

No Helping Hand

January 6, 2007
5:00 AM CDT

I thought I’d share with you an email exchange I had recently with Reader Jim K. from the Seattle area:

Years ago, I was a FFL firearms dealer.  I was Clintoned out of my license (that’s another story), but I still have leftover inventory including an unopened crate of semi-auto AK-47s.
Recently, four young families moved up here to Washington state after making small fortunes in the California real estate boom.  These people are all friends of a friend so I run into them frequently.  They are all liberal, but not of the raving moonbat type.  None of them are anti-gun, but neither are they much interested in fireams.
Last summer I mentioned to several of these Silicon Valley escapees that I had a crate of AKs (I love doing this – the reactions are usually interesting).  One guy responded with something like “when things get bad, we’re coming to your house.”  He said this as a joke so I did not think much of it.
Partially due to recent events (Katrina, the Indian ocean tidal wave) and following your and Instapundit’s suggestions, I have created an emergency “abandon house” kit and also stored several months worth of unperishable food.  I have also urged my friends and family to do the same.  Most have, to some degree.
Recently I was at a party with these four families present.  I was encouraging them to make their own emergency kits and store food.  Also, I described my efforts in this area.  Once again someone made the “when things get bad we’re coming to your house” statement.  This time it was not a joke.
They seemed to believe that I would feed and protect them in dangerous times; almost as if it was my responsibility to do so.
This pissed me off.  I did not slap down the idiot because I really was trying to get these people to become riflemen and prepare for emergencies. I said nothing.  Yelling at them would not help, but I don’t know how I should have responded.  What would you recommend?

Well, you all can guess my response:

Tell ‘em straight:  “You come to my house, you’re going to get chased off. It’s not MY responsibility to look after you;  it’s YOUR responsibility to look after yourselves.”
Then offer to show them how to shoot, on the condition that they buy their own guns—NOT your AKs, but other guns—and offer to help them buy their guns.
If they refuse all that, tell them that they’d better pray that disaster doesn’t strike, because you’re NOT going to help them—you have enough on your plate just to look after your own family.

And about a week later, I got this back from him:

On Christmas Eve I went to a party where the four liberal families I previously discussed were present, and followed your advice.  After bringing up the emergency kit issue again, lots of people complained and teased me (in a good-natured way) but as expected, the “we’ll just come to your house” meme reared its ugly head.  I stated, as you suggested, that I would *NOT* help them in an emergency unless they first took measures to help themselves.  This did not go over well. Much argument followed. The net result:

1) I am no longer welcome at any of the four homes (no great loss).

2) I am now morally equivalent to Hitler and George Bush.

3) One woman called me a potential child molester (I’m not sure of the logic, but it had something to do with not helping her starving kiddies when the world goes whacky).

4) Republicans are evil, therefore, I am evil (being a Libertarian, this seemed a bit unfair, but the finer points of political philosophy were lost in the debate).

5) Another woman (a hardcore feminist) screamed:  “I’ll call the police!! Hoarding in an emergency is just wrong.  You won’t get away with it.”

6) The case of home brew ale I brought to the party was consumed (even some liberals have good taste in beer).

7) It was the females who did most of the ranting about my vile character and lack of moral fiber.  They also had the worst potty mouths.

8) As I was leaving (actually, “kicked out” ) one of the guys said, with complete sincerity:  “If things get bad, I really hope you’ll help us out.”  I said nothing, just shook my head and left.

On the plus side, one guy asked me for help concerning firearms.  We will be heading to the local range in a few weeks.  Even more spiffy (spiffier? of greater spiffyness?), a city politician at the party told me that the city was also making plans for a disaster situation which included stored food, medicine and fuel, neighborhood leadership organizations, a volunteer emergency police force made up of armed citizens, a “sudden lack of resources to investigate shot looter issues” and a “flying sanitation training squad”, among other things.

For the first time, I feel semi-good about my city government.  They are still tax-swilling scum, but at least they have the foresight to prepare for bad times.  Furthermore, I am now officially part of the emergency police force.  In an emergency I suspect a shovel will be more useful than a revolver, but I plan on carrying both.

Thank you for the advice.  Using it was educational and entertaining.

My only comment, after re-reading this prior to posting it, is that I would have suggested, in the friendliest manner possible, that “Anyone attempting to storm my house to get at the supplies will be shot—present company included.”

What a bunch of dicks: but of course, considering the heritage of this bunch, not entirely unexpected. I am also not surprised that the women took the greatest umbrage at our Reader’s position—but I’ll bet that their husbands, if they are men at all, will be making quiet plans to set up a SHTF box or two in the not-too-distant future. Good grief: they’re Californians; one would think, given the earthquake situation in California, that this would be a group quite familiar with the concept of preparing for disaster.

But hey… if they don’t wake up and make preparations, then it’s just a Darwin situation.  That would be doubleplus spiffy, considering they’re California liberals.

Incidentally, I had a brief RCOB at the suggestion that SHTF preparedness could be characterized as “hoarding” by the Unprepared.  Reader Jim should count himself well rid of them.  Socialist pricks.

And one more observation:  I just wish I’d been at that party when the fur and feathers flew.

RFI: Low-Cost AR-15


  • Is the Ruger AR556 a good deal (at just under $500)
  • Is it a rugged gun
  • Is it a decent product (trigger, ammo feeding etc.) and
  • Does it require moar $$$$ / massive effort to set it up with a tac-light and red-dot scope?  (ignoring the cost of the doodads, of course)

…or is this one of those things needs a bucketload of cash to make it a decent gun?

Asking for a friend.  (Seriously;  it’s not for me.  And I should point out that the guy just wants an off-the-shelf, grab ‘n go gun and isn’t interested in building one from parts.  He is  my friend, after all, and we share many traits and characteristics.)

From my admittedly-inexperienced perspective, the AR556 seems like the bees’ knees for a one-stop shop, plus the Ruger brand gives some degree of comfort.  Am I wrong?

Update from A Concerned Reader:

#1 I am not a fan of Ruger and their quality control with AR-15s is suspect. So for something “off the shelf”, I would not look to them.

#2 S&W is abut the same as Ruger. I’ve heard and seen some corners cut to bring the price point down. This MIGHT be ok. The again I was at FEDEX and the guy next to me in line was sending his S&W MP AR-15 back. Apparently nothing S&W customer support could tell him to do could get it to work reliably. We didn’t go into details, but he was completely dissatisfied with the S&W AR.

#3 PSA (Palmetto State Armory), seems “OK”. PSA is cheap but they seem to work. I have not bought a complete AR from them. I bought an AR upper with a free float handguard, but the aluminum was so thin it would flex and touch the barrel. But PSA AR’s do work. I would say if you want a cheap AR, that would be the way to go. Most of the internet commentators, focus on the cheapness, but don”t complain about them not working.

#4 DPMS used to be considered a bottom tier AR maker. IMHO, their quality has improved and other manufacturers have found more corners to cut in order to reach lower prices. I would put them in the same tier as Anderson Manufacturing.

#5 I’ve heard good things about Spike’s Tactical. In my dealings with them, I’ve found them to be excellent (I ordered a charging handle from them and they offered a free return and refund while it was en route to me, since it had been advertised as made in USA and apparently their supplier was getting the part from overseas-China).

#6 I’ve also been happy with all things Aero Precision. Right now I’m building an AR in 458 SOCOM (as a 45-70 fan you have to appreciate that) and I am mainly using Aero Precision parts.

At a minimum, your friend is going to need to add a decent 2 point sling… I call a one point sling a noose and I just don’t need a complicated 3 point sling. Finding a good sling these days is difficult. I don’t think people carry long guns enough anymore to appreciate the need fora good sling.

So in summary, NO to Ruger and S&W. Shop around for a PSA or spend a little more for a DPMS or Anderson. Maybe go for a Spike’s Tactical or Aero Precision.

Judicial Insanity

Just when you thought Teh Law couldn’t get any more stupid, you get rulings like this:

A man who died from a heart attack after having sex with a woman he met on a business trip is a ‘victim of a professional accident’, a French court has ruled.
This ruling means that the employer of the man, known as Xavier X, will have to pay hefty compensation to his dependents.

No wonder the Brits want out of the EU — although their own courts are not exactly paragons of justice, either:

A teenage thug who killed a stranger with a single punch during an unprovoked attack outside a McDonald’s has been jailed for four years.

Fucking hell, if the penalty Over Here for killing someone with a single punch was only four years in jail (as opposed to 25-to-life or the chair), I’d have clocked Chuck Schumer twenty years ago.

Disaster Prep, UK Style

I see that the Brit authorities are suggesting that people carry backpacks with emergency supplies, Just In Case:

Police Scotland and Cambridgeshire Fire & Rescue both unwittingly drew scorn from Twitter users after posting images of the bags, similar to survival packs suggested by US Homeland Security around times of flooding or earthquakes.

Needless to say, the Brits are asking (with some justification):  in case of what?

But it was met with bemusement as some said the suggestion was more suitable for a country facing martial law or a nuclear apocalypse.

Alert Readers will note two glaring omissions:  knife, and ammo — oh wait, silly me, we’re talking about Britishland, where catastrophe will be met with pen and notepad.

Needless to say, it didn’t take long before alternatives were being offered:

Trying to find fault with this one… nope, sorry.  Read the article for the full flavor.