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In the wake of the June 12 massacre at a gay nightclub in Orlando that killed 49 people and left dozens more wounded, New York Daily News, a newspaper that has historically taken a strong stance in favor of assault rifle bans, dispatched one of its journalists and an intern to a gun range in Philadelphia to “better understand the firepower of military-style assault weapons.”
Fair enough. After a tragic event like Orlando, people often turn to journalists for answers. Here was an opportunity to give readers of the Daily News an objective assessment of what it’s like to fire the same rifle thought to be used in that shooting. If that was the goal, the journalist, Gersh Kuntzman, who, according to the Daily News’ website, is the paper’s deputy features editor, utterly failed to do his job.
After sharpshooting the shop owner with questions about gun control — “Why is this such a popular gun?” — Kuntzman decided to try his hand at shooting an AR-15, the weapon that initial reports claimed was used by the gunman in Orlando. That has since been disproven. According to The Washington Post, Omar Mir Seddique Mateen was armed with a Sig Sauer MCX. But Kuntzman isn’t a stickler for the facts. As proof, I present to you the opening sentence of his article — titled “What is it like to fire an AR-15? It’s horrifying, dangerous and very very loud” — which offers up this curious assessment of what it’s like to fire a weapon that became the U.S. military’s standard-issue rifle largely because it’s light and easy to shoot:
“It feels like a bazooka — and sounds like a cannon.”
Yes. That was written by a full-grown man about a rifle I once saw a 2-year-old child shoot with ease on a private gun range in Colorado. This leads me to immediately assume three things: First, Kuntzman has never fired a bazooka. Second, Kuntzman has never heard a cannon. And third, Kuntzman’s ability to use his five senses to assess the physical world is impaired to the point of uselessness, or at least for a guy whose job is to report on and write about that world.
However, Kuntzman’s overblown assessment doesn’t stop there. Not only does he claim the rifle’s recoil bruised his shoulder — which, unless you have the skin of a newborn baby is nearly impossible — he claims the “explosions” of the rifle’s report gave him a temporary case of PTSD.
Let that soak in for a minute. This adult man. This journalist who was dispatched by a credible newspaper to report on the experience of shooting an AR-15 claims that doing so traumatized him so profoundly that he now suffers from a disorder suffered by many of those who’ve used the AR-15’s military-grade cousins — the M4 and M16 — to kill actual human beings in combat, and which many of the men and women who were present in Pulse the night Mateem stormed through the doors with a Sig Sauer MCX will likely suffer for years to come.
“Even in semi-automatic mode, it is very simple to squeeze off two rounds before you even know what has happened,” Kuntzman continues. “In fully automatic mode, it doesn’t take any imagination to see dozens of bodies falling front of your barrel.”
Yes, it does. It takes a lot of imagination. Just like it takes a lot of imagination to compare shooting an AR-15 to shooting a bazooka. That’s like comparing a July 4th fireworks display to Hiroshima, or eating a Wendy’s jalapeño bacon cheeseburger to drinking napalm. It’s not simply inaccurate. It’s pure fantasy. In all likelihood, Kuntzman probably took a few shots at a paper target with the AR-15 and thought, “Oh, well, that was pretty anti-climactic,” and then decided to toss the facts out the window and replace them with the exciting stuff: Bazookas! Canons! PTSD! Bodies!
If gun reform is what you’re after, Kuntzman, and I know it is, you’ll have to do a much better job than that.
13 Marines at Camp Pendleton charged with crimes related to smuggling of undocumented immigrants from Mexico
Thirteen Marines have been formally charged for their alleged roles in a human smuggling ring, according to a press release from 1st Marine Division released on Friday.
The Marines face military court proceedings on various charges, from "alleged transporting and/or conspiring to transport undocumented immigrants" to larceny, perjury, distribution of drugs, and failure to obey an order. "They remain innocent until proven guilty," said spokeswoman Maj. Kendra Motz.
The recruiting commercials for the Army Reserve proclaim "one weekend each month," but the real-life Army Reserve might as well say "hold my beer."
That's because the weekend "recruiting hook" — as it's called in a leaked document compiled by Army personnel for the new chief of staff — reveal that it's, well, kinda bullshit.
When they're not activated or deployed, most reservists and guardsmen spend one weekend a month on duty and two weeks a year training, according to the Army recruiting website. But that claim doesn't seem to square with reality.
"The Army Reserve is cashing in on uncompensated sacrifices of its Soldiers on a scale that must be in the tens of millions of dollars, and that is a violation of trust, stewardship, and the Army Values," one Army Reserve lieutenant colonel, who also complained that his battalion commander "demanded" that he be available at all times, told members of an Army Transition Team earlier this year.
According to an internal Army document, soldiers feel that the service's overwhelming focus on readiness is wearing down the force, and leading some unit leaders to fudge the truth on their unit's readiness.
"Soldiers in all three Army Components assess themselves and their unit as less ready to perform their wartime mission, despite an increased focus on readiness," reads the document, which was put together by the Army Transition Team for new Chief of Staff Gen. James McConville and obtained by Task & Purpose. "The drive to attain the highest levels of readiness has led some unit leaders to inaccurately report readiness."
Lt. Gen. Eric J. Wesley, who served as the director of the transition team, said in the document's opening that though the surveys conducted are not scientific, the feedback "is honest and emblematic of the force as a whole taken from seven installations and over 400 respondents."
Those surveyed were asked to weigh in on four questions — one of which being what the Army isn't doing right. One of the themes that emerged from the answers is that "[r]eadiness demands are breaking the force."
The Army thinks China will surpass Russia by 2028. Here is how the service is planning to take them on.
If you've paid even the slightest bit of attention in the last few years, you know that the Pentagon has been zeroing in on the threat that China and Russia pose, and the future battles it anticipates.
The Army has followed suit, pushing to modernize its force to be ready for whatever comes its way. As part of its modernization, the Army adopted the Multi-Domain Operations (MDO) concept, which serves as the Army's main war-fighting doctrine and lays the groundwork for how the force will fight near-peer threats like Russia and China across land, air, sea, cyber, and space.
But in an internal document obtained by Task & Purpose, the Army Transition Team for the new Chief of Staff, Gen. James McConville, argues that China poses a more immediate threat than Russia, so the Army needs make the Asia-Pacific region its priority while deploying "minimal current conventional forces" in Europe to deter Russia.
In leaked documents, Army family reports waiting weeks to have gas line and roof leaks fixed in on-base housing
As the saying goes, you recruit the soldier, but you retain the family.
And according to internal documents obtained by Task & Purpose, the Army still has substantial work to do in addressing families' concerns.