Icing ISIS

It’s hard to understand how a group of barbarians like ISIS is allowed to exist. Americans are united on this one: ISIS needs to be crushed. So why are these thugs still extant?

It’s time to go over to Syria and Iraq and do what Americans do. Kick ass.

But we’re a war-weary people, so sending the military might not be the way to go. I think I have a better way.

But first, some strategic thinking. How big a force do we need to wipe out ISIS? Well, how many fighters does ISIS have? The estimates range from 20,000 to 200,000. The CIA thinks the number is 40,000. Russia says 70,000. The Kurds, who are engaging ISIS in their front yard, say 200,000. A prominent think tank placed ISIS numbers at between 100,000 and 200,000.

So we need an expeditionary force of at least half a million.

I call for volunteers to go annihilate ISIS, and I think I know who’s ready and willing.

640px-Sofia_MilitiaThere are 100,000 militia members in the U.S. They are trained,  ready and their trigger fingers are itching for a real fight. Most of their paranoia so far has been directed at the federal government, but it would be easy to redirect their fury at ISIS. They’re already armed, so all they need is transport to within shooting distance of ISIS.

Of course the National Rifle Association boasts 5 million members. If only 10 percent of them joined the fight to ap_nra_president_charlton_heston_ll_131025_16x9t_384eliminate ISIS, we’d have our army of half a million from the NRA alone. Lord knows they have the guns and ammo. .

Every army needs a mobile force, a cavalry. There are 40,000 members of biker gangs in the U.S. They’re rough, tough and ready to rumble. They’re armed and dangerous. Send them and their bikes over and give them some meth and turn them loose.

hells-angels-bikes-for-kids-27712_1How about some urban guerrillas? Recruit from the 1.4 million young  hooligans in America’s inner city gangs. Even if you only got 10 percent of these hardened, street-wise, tough guys, that’s 140,000 foot soldiers with attitude.gang20members

Where else can you find some violent bad asses who are willing to kill people? America’s prisons, or course. We have more than 2 million criminals in jail, more than any other country, even China, which has four times our population. But that’s another issue for another blog. Back to wiping out ISIS. Send homicidal convicts.  You don’t even need to offer reduced sentences or

Inmates stand in a gymnasium where they are housed due to overcrowding at the California Institution for Men state prison in Chino, California, June 3, 2011. The Supreme Court has ordered California to release more than 30,000 inmates over the next two years or take other steps to ease overcrowding in its prisons to prevent "needless suffering and death." California's 33 adult prisons were designed to hold about 80,000 inmates and now have about 145,000. The U.S. has more than 2 million people in state and local prisons. It has long had the highest incarceration rate in the world. REUTERS/Lucy Nicholson (UNITED STATES - Tags: CRIME LAW POLITICS SOCIETY IMAGES OF THE DAY)

any inducement, other than a field trip to the Middle East and a chance to kill, kill, kill.

In all, the militias, NRA, motorcycle gangs, street gangs, and jail inmates total 8,544,000. If our goal is 10 percent recruitment, that would be over 850,000. Goodbye ISIS.

Of course, there are some that argue that you can’t get rid of ISIS, because it’s not a physical force, it’s an idea. And it’s true that even if you eliminated ISIS, the same kind of fundamentalist assholes would probably pop up under a new name.

But wouldn’t it feel good? Sure some of our fighters will die, and some would get injured and it would end up costing a few billion. But nobody else is stepping up to take on ISIS. It’s time to ice ISIS. We have way more crazies that they do.

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Guns Of The Founding Fathers

The other night I had just gone to bed a little after midnight and was lying there about to drop off when I heard an automatic weapon firing just down the hill from my house. There was no mistaking it. The shooter fired off a burst of about 20 shots in two or three seconds. It’s impossible to pull the trigger on a semi-automatic rifle in that brief period.

It didn’t surprise me. I know gun enthusiasts where I live have automatic rifles, though they’re supposedly illegal. It doesn’t take a lot of expertise to convert a perfectly legal semi-automatic rifle like an M16 or a Bushmaster into an automatic weapon, because they were designed to be used as automatic weapons in military situations. Rifles like the Bushmaster have a modular design which makes it fairly easy to adapt them to automatic operation.

Just a few nights after first hearing the automatic fire, I happened to be awake in the wee hours, about two in the morning. Again, I heard someone not far away firing an automatic weapon. This can mean only one thing, one of my neighbors has an illegal automatic rifle and is going out in the middle of the night spraying the countryside with bullets.

founding-fathers

This is a painting of the founding fathers at the Constitutional Convention. They wrote the Second Amendment:

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Note that the Second Amendment tied the right to bear arms to the right to organize a miltia. The Second Amendment never mentions the right to bear arms for hunting,  personal protection or collecting. But the courts have expanded the rights of gun owners to include these uses.

But there’s no question that gun ownership was important to the founding fathers because private gun ownership had been pivotal in the Revolutionary War. The British not only had to contend with the rebel army, they were horrified to find that many farmers were armed and willing to take potshots at the Redcoats. The British were accustomed to fighting rival armies, but they were discouraged to find they were also under attack by an armed populace sniping at them. They had never before encountered that kind of guerilla warfare and it was demoralizing.

Every farmer owned a firearm, but not because they anticipated a war with English soldiers. Farmers had armed themselves to protect themselves from Indians during the colonial era. However, this profusion of arms turned out to be a huge advantage for the revolutionary forces, and it set the stage and tradition for Americans to routinely own guns.

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When the founding fathers penned the Second Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, guaranteeing citizens the right to bear arms, the primary weapon in use by the military was the flintlock musket. After being fired, a soldier was expected to be able to reload the musket in 15 seconds, so a trained solider could get off four rounds per minute. After about four minutes, the musket would become so fouled with black powder, it was no longer safe to fire.

Muskets also had no rifling, and the musket balls used were slightly smaller than the bore of the barrel. The result was that the ball usually came out spinning, and traveled in a curve, much like a golfer hitting a slice. Hitting a target at any distance with a musket was difficult. Muskets were so inaccurate, they didn’t even have any sights on them.

WWcoltpeacemaker

During the 1800s, advances in gun manufacturing produced weapons that could fire more rounds more quickly and were more accurate. For example, this is the Colt .45 Peacemaker, called the gun that won the west. It was first manufactured in 1873. When it first came out, it was a single-action revolver, meaning that you had to cock the revolver before firing each shot. It held six bullets, after which you had to pull out the spent brass and reload. So a gunman could fire six rounds in the same 15 seconds it took a Revolutionary War soldier to fire one shot. It had a rifled barrel and sights and would shoot straight. Still, after six shots, it would take you probably about 15 seconds at least to reload.

bushmaster_ar15_carbine

This is the AR15 Bushmaster semi-automatic rifle, the weapon used in the killing of 20 school children and 6 school staff members at Sandy Hook Elementary School. Originally designed for military use, it’s a deadly, accurate rifle, capable of hitting targets at up to 600 meters. The automatic version, supposedly unavailable to civilians, is capable of firing 800 rounds per minute. The semi-automatic version is supplied with a clip that holds either 20 or 30 rounds, but clips are available that hold up to 100 rounds. The firing rate of the semi-automatic depends only on how fast you can pull the trigger, but experienced shooters can empty a 30-round clip in the same 15 seconds it took a Revoutionary War solider to reload one round, and still have time left to insert a new clip, meaning the semi-automatic rifle can fire more than 100 rounds per minute if extra clips are available.

Time and again I hear gun proponents citing the Second Amendment and the fact that the founding fathers put the right to private gun ownership in the Constitution. But the founding fathers were thinking of muskets when they included the amendment. And it’s also clear that they were thinking that local militias would provide a check on the power of the federal government. Both of those issues have shifted radically. Militia groups are no longer viewed favorably by the government or the public. Not long ago, the leader of my local militia was sent to jail for buying a machine gun.

The main point is this, it’s impossible to know what the founding fathers would think about private citizens owning the kind of deadly weapons available to them today. The firearms technology of their time was light years from where it has evolved today. So when the NRA cites the founding fathers, they’re claiming the endorsement of a group which only approved of the ownership of single-shot muskets.

And if the founding fathers had been able to magically envision the future and see that crazed killers would be going into shopping malls, movie theaters, and schools to kill innocent men, women and children, it’s hard to believe they would support the profusion of military-style weapons like the one I heard being fired recently in my neighborhood in the middle of the night.