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08 January 2016


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I believe he was sitting next to or near the soldier cleaning the gun. My poor manner of expressing it.


Master Slacker, thanks for that. That was always my suspicion, since my mother's family were masters of euphemism and avoiding reference to unpleasant family events.



According to a CNN op-ed which advocates confiscations, Obama could enact a State of National Emergency without any Congressional approval. The author Fineman who lost his son to a shooting, advocates the use of Martial Law powers by the President to water down the Second Amendment.


Also here's one from California:


Hmmm....any American who dare question Government actions, Americans with alternative views not swallowing the Government propaganda lines could be labeled crazy and have their guns confiscated by the Government. The use of the DSM5 by Psychiatrists Psychologists can deny Americans the right to redress who question the actions of Government and such Government actions legitimacy.

Didn't Communist Soviet Union label as mentally ill anyone who thought that Communism was wrong and dared to question the Soviet Propaganda lines?



picture this for fun - I grew up in a small town (10k pop) in the early 60s and when it came time to take firearms safety training my classmates and I walked to the VFW down on Main Street carrying our guns, mostly 22s, some cased some not, all of us 13 or 14 yrs old... there would be 7 or 8 of us from south end, half a dozen each from east and west end (there was no north end as that was occupied by the Mississippi)... we all walked down the main streets and through the downtown business district about 6:00pm and then back home around 7:30 or 8:00pm. Nobody batted an eye. All of us kept our guns in our cars when we started driving so we could go hunting before and after school and a couple guys who didn't drive would keep their guns in their lockers, pending catching a ride to the potholes n sloughs just outside town... imagine the conniption fit today... the point here is that everybody knew guns were tools and understood deeply what constituted acceptable behavior, the taboo was so firmly embedded in us that we could trust each other. We learned this from our fathers, grandfathers, and uncles because they used guns as tools and guns were always around - even my grandmother, when she traveled to Montana, California, or just Minneapolis, carried a revolver in her purse. But no one today, for the most part, will ever have such teachers. More's the pity.

Old Microbiologist

It is a slippery slope. All of this is assuming that the mental health professionals are good at their jobs and that there is some kind of scientific accuracy to a diagnosis. It also assumes that a person's condition is static which it never is. I can say categorically that mental health professionals are rarely in agreement about anything and that the vast majority of their scientific basis is actually based on poorly conducted non-replicable research. So, I think it is a huge hole for the lawyers to attack once someone is judged to be mentally incompetent based on poor diagnostic criteria. But, that will happen long after the fact.

Prior to me retirement I was involved in an Army research program looking at the phenomena of PTSD, suicide and the hero effect. My role was to develop animal models of PTSD so we could analyze the mRNA spectrum to identify genes which regulate mental outcomes. Of course this has several implications one of which would be to screen out soldiers with a predilection for failing to engage the enemy in direct fire or to suffer mental trauma. The other phase would be to develop small interference RNA (siRNA) which blocks the mRNA message thus avoiding the problem post fact. The last would be to develop a permanent change in the DNA to prevent undesired outcomes and to promote the hero effect thus developing a super-soldier. Sounds like science fiction but this project is well along the way. My point is that there is a great deal of work going on to directly affect the outcomes and perhaps may cause larger problems later.



A friend who is a retired Christian Brother tells me that when a boy in NY City he and his pals used to carry their .22 target rifles in the subway uncased when going cross-borough to target practice for their high school shooting team. pl


Haralambos, Master Slacker.

Troops who actually accidentally shoot each other while cleaning weapons remain incomprehensible to me. As I said the basic procedure, which you know, is to clear the weapon before anything else. IMO MS must be right. A report of an accident is a good way to "cover" a suicide to protect survivor benefits. pl

no one

Old Microbiologist,

"develop a permanent change in the DNA to prevent undesired outcomes and to promote the hero effect thus developing a super-soldier" And they call people scared of vaccines crazy conspiracy theorists?



When I worked for an electric company in West Florida in the '90's every hunting season there would be a couple dozen pickups in the parking lot with a rifle or shotgun visible in the back window. That has changed to meet the demands of the big city politicians in other states.


interesting comment, TTG

"governmental mommyism"

I had forgotten one of my favorite directors in theater for a long time, at the time I was reminded of her, when some idiot whom she had selected to film her productions, still living close by, said something really stupid about her. In any case, I wondered how she is doing, beyond the little I knew anyway.

As it is today, or then, this triggered an internet search and among other things one of her articles surfaced. Apparently she was somewhat irritated by the admonishments on US bridges trying to bring the suicidal back on the right path. ;)

Concerning guns, a police officer with apparently quite a bit of experience, once told me, if he felt he had to do it, he would not use the head but the mouth. I suppose his message has arrived by now via media.

I am a bit enamored, by a specific medical solution, in case I will ever need it--I do not believe in never, although with 18 the task of explaining it to family and personal friends cured me-- I will take a closer look. No poison, mind you. But yes, I have a bit of a problem with forcing my suicide on anonymous others, e.g. the ones that have to clean up my remains if I jump off a bridge. This may in fact rule out the use of a gun too, no matter if towards the head or via the mouth, if I think about it.

"Preventing veteran suicide ..."

That's a bigger story, I guess. Left alone? In spite of all the organizations?

Old Microbiologist

Actually, my PhD is in Immunology but the majority of my work was genetically engineered auxotrophic vaccines for bacterial BW agents. My job evolved into aerosol (inhalation) evaluation of threat agents in non-human primates which ran the gamut of. Threat analysis of new and/or uncharacterized threat agents, testing and developing new diagnostics, and developing testing antimicrobials and vaccines against high threat agents. All of that leads into molecular analysis of proteomics and RNA or DNA expression analysis.

So, it isn't a comspiracy if it is true. Do a quick search on siRNA and PTSD and you will find a plethora of information none of which is classified. They are quite proud to be developing counter measures to PTSD and any additional benefits are of course the main reason for the funding in the first place. No one in the government actually gives a damn about veterans and post-war problems until it affects the general public. I had my first taste of this in CGSC when I was given the role of the Corps Medical Officer and I was asking for JP-4 to run our turbine generators at the Field and CSH hospital and was refused. I was told in no uncertain terms that wounded are considered as dead to the commander and not worthy of taking valuable resources needed for offensive efforts. That is doctrine and hasn't changed over the years. This disconnect from perceived expectations of the civilian and even perhaps the military soldiers themselves is a big problem and not generally discussed. But the reality is that soldiers are an expendable commodity and of little concern in the larger view. Later, of course, it may develop into a big problem as we saw after Viet Nam but our elected representatives, other than to give lip service, really don't give a tinkers damn about veterans.

But, imagine being able to administer a vaccine which creates a soldier without fear or empathy. It is very interesting when I got into doing the literature searches for developing the models, the phenomena of how many soldiers actually shoot at the enemy and how many just shoot into the air. Then how many will risk their lives for others. It turns out to be only 5 % of soldiers are in the latter category. Only 20% of soldiers shoot at the enemy at all. Of the 5% of heroes half are actually heroes and the other half are insane. If you can improve this then perhaps this is a good thing or perhaps horrible. Nonetheless it is going to happen and the long term repurcussions are going to be fascinating. Look at deployments now. I have a few friends on their 15th combat deployments. Imagine 15 years in a combat zone. It boggles the imagination.

Remember this is also the inception date of Roy Batty from Blade Runner. Life is apparently going to replicate art, albeit slower than expected. :)

Old Microbiologist

Well, there are procedures and then there is that ever present danger of familiarity breeds contempt. I was commander of our installation marksmanship unit and we spent 4 days a week on the range. My Sergeant Major and I both failed to clear all weapons prior to racking them and driving back to the arms room. One dish raged because of a chambered round and punched a hole in the roof of our van so, despite being what I thought was diligent we still missed it. I rodded every weapon after that personally.


The Communist Soviet Union sent people who questioned propaganda lines to gulags.

If you think the Americans who have been adjudicated unfit to run their own financial affairs are being tyrannized, perhaps you should be protesting that. Adding "unable to purchase a gun" to the things this relatively small class of people, most of whom have a much broader disability, are restricted from may be a decent but extremely minor step, or it may be going slightly too far, by pulling in some people whose particular incompetence isn't that relevant to gun ownership.

Many people here probably think much of Europe is too restrictive of gun ownership. But I think most of us recognize that Britain, France, Germany and Italy are not Stalinist tyrannies

So to extend the thought, it's a little silly to look at a proposal that would be considered trivial to the extreme in western Europe, and start mumbling about the Soviets.

There seems to be a Godwin's law of gun control debate, where if the debate goes on long enough, the probability of someone using the most paltry of gun control ideas to raise the spectre of Stalin approaches 1.


old microbiologist

You are giving a wrong impression. The military goes to great lengths to evacuate the wounded, treat them, etc. What you are correct about is that priority of resources would not be given to the wounded in a situation in which mission accomplishment was in doubt. This is interestingly described in James Jones' novel "The Thin Red Line," in which the Army infantry division assigned the job to finish clearing Guadalcanal after the marines were withdrawn simply ignores the plight of its wounded and sick until the issue is decided and then suddenly medical officers who during the main fight routinely sent casualties back to fight are willing and eager to get everyone possible off the island. That sounds right to me. The stats you cite sound like SLA Marshall's research from WW2. They don't sound like my experience in combats in SEA or other places. A lot more people fought in my experience. As for your main point concerning the biological basis of high combat performance, I would support the idea that this is true. IME a minority of soldiers seem to have a different innate reaction to combat, one in which there is a lack of paralyzing fear. These people provide the leadership that keeps units functioning. The higher % of such people in a unit the more aggressive and effective the unit is. Airborne, Rangers, SF and similar units have IMO much higher % of the leader/warrior types. Civilians and the terrified typically describe such people as "crazy." As a result the inherently brave generally do not challenge the usual statements that "everyone is afraid." pl


old microbiologist

Well, you screwed up, but you were not actually cleaning a weapon. Would you not have cleared the weapon as a first step if you had been doing so? pl

SAC Brat

On a recent visit with my folks living in Pennsylvania, my mother mentioned this:

"In most parts of the country today, the Monday after Thanksgiving marks the end of the holiday weekend. Parents and children head back to work and school. It’s just another day. For those of you who live in or grew up in Pennsylvania you know this day to be an unofficial holiday–the first day of deer hunting season! Newcomers to our state are shocked that many schools and even some businesses close down for one or more days this week."

Seeing as I take a Gomez Adams approach to letting others have their own customs, it sounded like a good idea.

Where I live in Georgia now many high schools have rifle teams.

no one


I do not think psychopaths make good soldiers. Not that a psychopath is what *you* are describing, but it may be the desired result - or at least the inevitable end product - of what OM says the military is working towards.

The ability to be combat effective despite fear and empathy - the ability to surpass these basic normal human characteristics - is quite different from not possessing them at all; which is the condition of a psychopath.

Apologies if I have strayed too far off topic (gun control) and into an area where I have extremely minimal experience (combat). In another lifetime, I did extensively research - with practical applications - the topic of psychopathy.


no one

I said nothing of "suppressed fear and empathy." If you wish to believe that people who feel fear less than the general population are psychopaths, that would be a common attitude, probably a normal fear reaction when dealing with such people. I have seen such men drag fear paralyzed soldiers forward into the line of battle by the scruff of the neck while making jokes about the situation. I said nothing about empathy. IME the two characteristics are not linked. I, of course, think everyone is afraid. pl


While they were sent to Soviet Gulags, they were also declared mentally ill in the process by the Soviets.

Frankly most Americans don't give a hang what the Euros consider trivial or not, it's a matter of their Constitutional Rights not being infringed or impeded by the Government.

SAC Brat

An observation from being involved in medical, fire, vehicular and violence incidents is that the people with good training react and keep moving while others who have never drilled freeze up.

Some people come from passive backgrounds, never having to make a decision and be responsible for that decision.


SAC Brat

People with good training have improved performance but what we are talking about is more than that. some can be combat soldiers and others not no matter how good the training was. pl

Old Microbiologist

It is very hard to determine how soldiers will perform. I have seen it myself in different scenarios. A lot depends on training, leadership, and what they are fighting for. In general, soldiers on a fixed deployment are fighting to protect each other and focus on self preservation and protection of their comrades which become a surrogate family. This occurs fairly quickly and can be nurtured. Small units also develop the same type of bonding which is especially true for SOF. However, rapidly rotating members of small or loosely organized, or poorly led groups are generally ineffective. The other problems can be a loss of idealism when you realize all the propaganda is just that and this is often the source of the conflict in moral compass. Deliberately killing civilians is another which is why the suicide rate is so high for drone pilots and special forces. The last real problem I see now is a lack of respect for leadership who so often now only lead from the rear and rarely accept responsibility for problems. This makes most soldiers cagey when supporting poor leadership. I was an SFC before becoming commissioned as a 2lt so I know both sides of that one.

It is very hard to estimate real combat effectiveness with so much long range automatic fire. But, you are correct the statistics are based on WWII and Vietnam. As far as I know, no one is even trying to get a handle on what happens now. But, clearly we have serious problems and I do believe that there will be effective treatments forthcoming. Recent progress has also been made through DARPA funding for targeted memory erasure and or revision, which is also a bit scary. None of this stuff is classified and is out there for perusal.

Regarding weapons cleaning. No, I always look in the chamber first then the barrel second without fail. I do agree, death by weapons cleaning must be suspicious. I don't think there is a soldier alive who doesn't check the weapon first before cleaning. Even the MPs dry fire into a sand barrel before going off duty and entering the station.

no one

Sir, I do not believe that about people who have less fear than the general populace. I was more responding to microbiologist's talk of removing fear AND empathy. The combination brings us closer to what is normally considered the defining characteristics of psychopathy.

However, my personal view is that the bottom line in psychopathy that differentiates them from others with diminished fear response (and diminished empathy?) is that beneath the mask of sanity that they may present to dupe and manipulate, all behaviors and attitudes of the psychopath are based on a narcissistic and evil desire for vengeance against humanity.


no one and old microbiologist

Thanks for clearing this up for me. Those combat soldiers who are not paralyzed by fear are psychotic and are herding the poor victimized sheep who are pathetically motivated by small group loyalty toward their doom. Got it!
This reminds me of a couple of recently retired infantry colonels who told me that having accepted the Army's urging to everyone to seek counseling they found that the shrinks were afraid of them and stopped going to talk to them. pl

SAC Brat

Thanks for explaining. After several experiences of being handed the telephone, the radio or having to organize people when something is happening I've come to think it was from being around the Curt LeMay Club and being conditioned to always be ready to react. It was part of the environment.

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