Dumb Things I Have Done Lately

Saturday, April 12, 2008

The Washington Post Gets Into the 2 Girls 1 Cup Business, Sort of

This weekend's Washington Post Sunday Magazine has a feature article ("Commando Performance") on the Humans vs. Zombies game at Goucher College.

Ostensibly as part of the education issue, it takes a look at the game, complete with some overwrought hand-wringing about quasi-militarism and Nerf guns on college campuses (*wailing* "ZOMG, gunz!" *teeth-gnashing*), especially as the anniversary of the Virginia Tech killings approaches.

Anyway, accompanying the article is a slideshow gallery with audio (Flash, with an unskippable ad at the beginning) -- I was going through it when I was amused to see that 2 Girls 1 Cup [wikipedia link] makes an appearance -- it's photo 38, about 2 minutes in (hit "Play Slideshow" to get the audio):


A couple of the humans are messing with the Original Zombie -- it's just a reaction photo, so you don't actually see anything (and I imagine the photo editors either got lucky or took particular care to obscure the screen), but you can clearly hear, "2 Girls 1 Cup... you like that?"

The photo is pretty harmless, but it's amusing to me since, in Pulitzer Prize-winner Gene Weingarten's column about 2 Girls 1 Cup last year, he couldn't even reference it by name, or describe it in any meaningful way (also see the related chat).

Also, not to pick on sheltered pointy-headed academics, but we've got a couple of real winners in the article, including:
"Jenifer Jennings-Shaud, a member of the graduate education faculty, spoke of arriving on campus one evening and seeing a man with a gun run over the hill. 'I was terrified,' she said. 'Guns scare me. Nerf guns, regular guns. All guns.' Then she began to cry."
I'm not trying to be heartless, but that speaks to a much deeper pathology. She might want to get some help with that.

Also, there's a quote from the Goucher associate dean of students:
"Perl continues to wonder whether she and the other administrators are doing right by allowing the game to continue. 'My worst fear is that an outsider will walk onto the campus and pull a real gun, not knowing the kids are using fake guns,' she said."
Um, come again?

Apparently, Goucher College has a rampant problem of outsiders coming on campus armed -- shockingly, in defiance of the college's strict gun prohibition (as outlined in their College Handbook).

Or, another way of putting it, Associate Dean Perl is concerned that Goucher students are outgunned.

Bet you won't hear that on the tour.

Labels: , , ,

Sunday, February 24, 2008

Ode to the Toy Tec-9, and a Humiliating Defeat at the Assassination Game

In my crazy gangbanger poseur entry, I used a toy gun that I've had for at least 20 years: It was made by Larami sometime in the mid-to-late 80s, and was very clearly modeled after the infamous gangsta favorite Tec-9 (Kurt Russell also sports one in the poster for Big Trouble in Little China):


You can tell it's an artifact from another era, because it doesn't have a "Don't Shoot Me" blaze orange muzzle.

In fact, other than adding a Larami logo, you can tell that they just looked at the real Tec-9 design and toy-ified it, all the way down to the barrel shroud, magazine release, and cocking lever.

Here's proof: The toy shoots little yellow rubber "bullets" -- which just happen to be same size as a real 9mm cartridge (shown next to a spent shell casing for comparison):

DSCF4097 DSCF4093
Confusing the two would be bad.

The gun is a bolt-action; you have to cock the handle with every shot. (Though you have to be careful -- the handle is pretty fragile. I gave one of these to a friend as a birthday gift, and he broke it off the first time he tried it. That sucked.)

The "bullets" were hollow rubber and the gun was air-powered, so they'd just sting a little if you were close. Also, you could use them as suction cups and stick them to your face. Though they'd leave a little hickey mark after you pulled them off. So you probably wouldn't want to do that, say, the night before you had to give a speech in front of the whole junior class because you were running for student council Vice President. (Don't ask me how I know this.)

Closeup of the ammo.

Yes, in the 80s, we still played with cheap, realistic-looking toy guns, and relatively few of us got shot by police officers. In fact, I'm pretty sure I bought this in middle school or high school to use in The Assassination Game (Wikipedia calls it a LARP game -- ugh), though I don't think I ever brought it to school -- it was a little too unwieldy for that, and the fad died out for us shortly after.

The Beretta Dart Gun and The Assassination Game

No, while we were locked in the throes of The Assassination Game/Killer fad, I preferred carrying something a bit more pocketable. Like this dart gun version of a Beretta .380:

It's pretty small, even for my hands.

Of course, the concealability came at the expense of increased reload time. Which ended up costing me in a not-insignificant way.

I had two of these, and I had them on me at what could have been my greatest assassination game triumph, but what ended up being my most humiliating defeat.

My targets were twin brothers, Mark & Chris, so I rode my bike over to their house. As luck would have it, they were outside in the driveway, cleaning the trunk of their family's car (a classic diesel Mercedes Benz sedan).

In fact, as I walked up to them, they were both bent over deep into the trunk. I was maybe four feet behind them, and they had absolutely no idea I was there.

I calmly pulled out my two guns, one in each hand, John Woo-style (this was years before I had any inkling who John Woo was), aimed, and fired.

And missed completely.

This is one of the problems with the two-handed John Woo gun-fu -- it's hard to aim, especially if you're kind of mixed dominant like I am. I ended up criss-crossing the darts.

In retrospect, I should have gone for the contact shot: pressed the guns into their backs and fired. I still kick myself when I think about it.

I'm not sure exactly what happened next. I probably tried to reload and fight, instead of doing the tactically sound thing and fleeing (they may have blocked me from my bike). The twins were able to get to their guns, and they got me. I had the perfect opportunity, and I blew it.

I still live with the shame.

Anyway, you can see the rest of the set here: Toy Guns: Larami Tec-9 and a Beretta Dart Gun.

(Incidentally, the rubber suction cups come off pretty easily, revealing the hard plastic tips beneath. I almost shot my dad in the eye this way. It would have been bad.)

Labels: , , ,

Saturday, February 23, 2008

I Told U Reston Was Hardcore (as I Am a Crazy Gangbanger)

DSCF4070In case you were wondering, Reston's a pretty rough town unincorporated part of Fairfax County. Reston-related gun crime made the news again -- from Saturday's Washington Post: Armed Woman Arrested at D.C. Police Headquarters:
"A Reston woman armed with a pistol walked into D.C. police headquarters Thursday afternoon and attempted to take a guard's gun before she was wrestled to the ground, authorities said."
Now, there are several odd elements to this story. For starters, isn't it usually suburbanites who worry about crime being exported from the cities? But then we find out:

* The woman's name is Cynthia Nixon. Presumably, it isn't the Sex and the City actress. Although they're about the same age. I couldn't tell you anything about her -- the only relevant Web result for the Reston Nixon was a 5k race result from 1999.

* " The charging papers quoted Nixon as telling police that her plan was to 'rob a police officer of his weapon.'" This alone suggests all kinds of crazy, because:
  1. Robbing a cop of his gun. Yeah. Somehow, I don't think you thought your cunning plan all the way through. You could probably get some bullets this way, though.
  2. It's a long way to go to get a gun -- especially if you live in Virginia, where it should be a lot easier to get a handgun than in the District (legally, that is).
  3. Oh, and did you miss the part where she already had her own gun (real, loaded, and presumably functional -- though she pulled the trigger when she tried to shoot the guard and it didn't go off)
* In addition to the gun and 36 rounds, she had two joints and two baggies of pot. Judging by her previous statement, this was probably for Phase II: Steal drugs from a narc.

However this particular episode turns out, it only adds to the growing body of evidence that Reston is hardcore. (Check out the Brandon Vedas story if you don't get the reference.)

To that end, I will show you what a vato loco I am, by mean mugging for all you civilians:

We gangbangers have poor trigger discipline.

Normally, for your typical MySpace gangbanger self-portrait, you have to be able to see the camera in the bathroom mirror. Also, my wifebeater is gray and not the usual white. But that's just how we roll in South Reston.

Here, I am double-strapped in the 20191-3512:

My Imperial Rifle Blaster does my talking.

Since we don't sacrifice accuracy for style, here you can see my slightly-modified gangsta grip (canted, not fully horizontal):

Note the extra-gangster orange safety tip.

The "Tec-9" is a toy, of course -- it was made by Larami about 20 years ago, in the late 80s, when life was cheap, and so were toy guns that were realistic enough to get you shot by cops (as opposed to the much pricier airsoft guns these days). The rest of the photo set is here: Mean Mugging With a Toy Tec-9.

Since I was raiding the toy closet anyway, I took a few more photos of the Tec-9 and its accessories, which I will post in a followup entry.

Why yes, I am feeling a lot better now: Yesterday was pretty bad in terms of overall sickness. I've over the hump now, but still wasn't well enough to go out. So here we are.

Labels: , , , ,

Monday, December 31, 2007

Maryland Has the Bomb: Photos from the Army Ordnance Museum

I drove back from NJ on Friday. I've done the post-Christmas/pre-New Year drive from NJ-to-DC a bunch of times, and I always say I try to stop by the US Army Ordnance Museum at Aberdeen Proving Ground, or the National Cryptologic Museum at Fort Meade.

I think I've only managed it once, in the pre-digital camera era. But I did hit both museums in the same day. Not this time, though -- I got to Aberdeen a little later than I'd hoped because of traffic. And, you can't take the closest entrance -- you have to go around a bit to a visitor's entrance, show ID, sign in and get a visitor pass.

Because it was late afternoon, the light started fading pretty quickly. So I was pretty rushed and only had a chance to do a quick run through.

Here's the full set: US Army Ordnance Museum, 12/27/07. Some highlights:

M1 Abrams main battle tank

Watch out: Maryland has nukes:

"Handle With Care."

That's the tactical nuclear recoilless rifle, the M-388 Davy Crockett, often purported to have a kill radius bigger than its delivery range.

Closeup of the warhead:

"Hi there!"

Smoking kills:

Booby-trapped cigarette, lighter and cigarette pack.

Collection of Lee-Enfield rifles:


A non-ordnance-related sign:

"The Other Door is the Men's Room. This is just a closet."

Now, one good thing about it being so late in the day, the setting sun added an orange tinge -- on the desert tan-painted stuff (mostly German), it gave things a neat, reddish-pink highlight:

Panther? I don't know my panzers.

Either a Tiger or a Mark IV.

Someone had put a wreath at the base of this tank:

Wreath laid at the base of a tank.

This tank has seen better days:

The colors were still kind of neat.

A five-tube rocket artillery piece:


The T-12, a 43,000+ pound bomb:

MOAB on this.

Since Aberdeen is about 30 miles north of Baltimore, it's just far enough away to be a haul, but it's worth the visit. Check out the full set for more.

Tags: ,

Labels: , ,

Monday, December 10, 2007

Girls With Guns in Churches

The tactical ninjas and pro-gunners* are going to be all over this (as will the anti-gunners), and details are still emerging, but here's what USA Today is reporting about the Colorado Springs church shooting (Sunday's second Colorado shooting):
"...pastor Brady Boyd of the New Life Church said the security guard who shot the gunman was purposely stationed in the lobby of the church after hearing about the earlier shooting.

When the shots were fired "she rushed toward the attacker and took him down in the hallway," he said.

The attacker never got more than 50 feet inside the building.

"She probably saved over 100 lives," Boyd said.

He described her as a highly trained volunteer member of the church with a law enforcement background whose role was to provide security. He said she was not wearing a uniform and is licensed to carry a gun."
CNN's report adds more details, saying that the shooter is known, did both incidents, and had a prior relationship with the first church (which is no doubt be a disappointment to all the red-blooded, footstomping, Bible-banging tactical ninjas and keyboard commandos who saw "churches" and "skullcap" and were praying for this to be Islamic terrorism, instead of yet another maladjusted loner with a rifle.)

It's instructive to look at this shooting because:

* The guards (only one was armed) were posted by the second church specifically and deliberately in response to the earlier church shooting incident. They recognized they were a target (even a likely target), and developed a proactive response (with an evacuation plan and an armed guard), exercised self-defense, and stopped the threat. So kudos to them, even if it is the conservative evangelical megachurch that spawned the meth-sniffing, rentboy-using Ted Haggard.

* Even when the police are caring, competent, and close, they're still a reactive force. In nearly all of the recent mass shooting events, the police response didn't get there until well after the shooter had stopped. (In the Salt Lake City mall shooting, an off-duty cop returned fire until other police arrived.)

* Unless you want to live in a police state where there's a cop in every building and a metal detector on every door, you're either going to have to live with "acceptable losses" until the cops arrive, or do something to address your own safety. It doesn't necessarily have to involve a gun, but like it or not, the only person ultimately responsible for ensuring your personal safety is you, which is always something to keep in mind.

* Whether you feel armed guards in malls, schools, churches, etc. are appropriate or not (despite the blood-soaked coverage, these events are still rare -- I hate to talk like an economist, but there has to be a cold-blooded cost-benefit analysis somewhere), there just aren't many ways to stop an armed shooter. If you don't feel like waiting until he runs out of ammo or commits suicide, there's has to be another guy with a gun somewhere to stop him.

* Strike that -- the security guard who stopped the shooter was a woman -- not a guy with a gun, but a girl with a gun. The USA today article says she has a law enforcement background, though the CNN article says she's not an officer. Presumably she's a CCW -- a regular person licensed to carry a concealed weapon. She evidently used her handgun to take down a guy with a rifle; normally, you would expect the person with the long gun to have the advantage, so good job.

Evidently, she shot him, told him to drop his weapon, and shot him again when he appeared to reach for another weapon. Although she wasn't able to prevent the first people from getting shot, once the threat emerged, it's pretty much the best-case scenario for armed intervention, instead of the bloodlust-infused, redneck Rambo rampage picture with innocent bystanders falling in the crossfire that many anti-gunners always conjure up as the inevitable outcome.

* Pro-gun folks always think the answer is more guns; anti-gun folks always think the answer is fewer guns. I'm somewhere in the mushy middle -- I don't think having more CCW-holders will lead to a utopian polite society, though I also don't think the streets will run red with blood if more non-nutcase, non-felons are licensed to carry concealed handguns.

* I guess there is at least one example now where not banning handguns from church property turned out to be a good idea (with the general idea being, the crazed shooter wouldn't heed a gun proscription, anyway, so you're just disarming honest folk).

Like I said, I don't think the knee jerk reaction should be that more guns are better or fewer guns are better. I do tend toward the idea that since guns are here and in such large numbers, and since I don't want to live in more of a police state than we already do, and since guns are a great equalizer for the small, weak, or traditionally disempowered, that it's better to have more of them in reliable hands than to have them in none.

Like it or not, though there is a social cost to having guns in society, there's also a social benefit. I can't say to what end the scale tips, and every person is going to have his or her own personal calculus for it. But just as pro-gunners incur some social costs (assuming, say, states that don't enforce one-gun per month limits contribute to more straw purchases that lead to more illegal shootings), so do anti-gunners reap some social benefits (because some homes have guns in them, a burglar should be less likely to break into an occupied home since he wouldn't know if the homeowner was armed or not -- though there are plenty of heavy-handed "Gun-Free Home: This Home Is Unarmed" stickers if your conscience tells you not to avail yourself of that benefit.)

*I'm not nearly enough of a high-speed, low-drag wannabe to be a tactical ninja, and I'm just moderately pro-gun, which would makes me a useful idiot/appeaser to the hardcore gun nuts, and a gun-crazed lunatic to the anti-gunners. Who says being in the middle is easy?

Labels: , ,

Wednesday, December 05, 2007

Who Wants a Rocket-Propelled Grenade for Christmas? (I Do! I Do!)

You've seen them in action in Vietnam, Somalia, Afghanistan, Iraq, and many other Third World Cold War and post-Cold War battlegrounds: Just in time for the holidays -- RPGs (Rocket-Propelled Grenades) for sale!

Launcher not included.

Okay, fine: They're inert warheads for display purposes only. But still.

Tags: ,

Labels: ,

Thursday, August 23, 2007

Looking at the Zombie Revival: The Perfect Enemy for Our Time

[This is the first of a few entries about the modern zombie.]

Zombie Survival Guide and World War Z, by Max Brooks. And a skull
Max Brooks' Zombie Survival Guide and World War Z. The skull x-ray was salvaged from a book publisher's basement storage room during a work-study job a lifetime ago.
In case you can't tell from the picture, Max Brooks' Zombie Survival Guide and World War Z are two of my favorite books right now. I keep re-reading them. I've got zombies on the brain. (Braaaaains.)

And I'm not the only one.

We seem to be in the middle of a zombie revival (er, make that "zombie renaissance"), with fast zombies, reimagined zombies, zombie thrillers, zombie comedies, zombie walks, zombie colleges, zombie shoppers, zombie video games, zombie flash games, more zombie flash games, zombie underwear, and more.

Part of the reason why I think there's a resurgence in zombie interest is that zombies are the perfect enemy. They're not human (they just used to be human), so it's okay to hate them. They're already dead. They feel no pain. And once they turn, they're really obvious. There's no political correctness; no one's going to accuse anyone of zombie profiling.

(Zombies really stand out in a crowd. Unless it's a crowd of other zombies.)

And zombies want to destroy us -- there's no question about it. They can't be bargained with or negotiated with or even surrendered to. They are merciless and remorseless (and deserving of none in return). They're the enemy of all living things, they're relentless, and they won't stop until they're destroyed.

The solution to the zombie problem is drop dead simple:

You shoot them in the head, or you get eaten.

We are living. They are dead (well, undead). If they get you, you become one of them. "You're either with us or you're against us" doesn't get any clearer than that.

In other words, they're an unambiguous, black-and-white, us-or-them, guilt-free enemy.

And the kicker that makes them the perfect enemy? They stand up, moan, and come straight at you -- walking slowly. They don't take cover, they don't hide behind civilians, they don't plant IEDs, they don't learn from their mistakes (or ours), and they don't melt away into the shadows.

(Well, they're a little like suicide bombers in one respect -- they come at you with no regard for their own safety. But the classic zombies move slowly. They also don't explode.)

They never change tactics. They just come out, line up, and wait for you to shoot them.

It's a refreshing change. The perfect enemy for our time.

BOOM (Guilt-Free) Headshot!

What's more, I also see a lot of survival and gun-types have embraced the zombie preparedness theme pretty enthusiastically. Sure, preparing for the zombie apocalypse is a fun game that prepares you for other disasters, both natural and man-made: Do I have the provisions and equipment to bunker down and shelter in place? If I had to leave quickly, would I have a bug-out bag or go kit ready with the right supplies? Where would I go? How would I get there? Do I know how to read a map, treat injuries, start fires, purify water?

But as a bonus, in the zombie scenarios, you get to discuss -- even fantasize about -- the best ways to shoot lots of other people in the head.

What's the optimal range for zombie engagements? Do you use a scope or open sights? For quiet kills, a suppressed .22 or a crossbow? What's the better zombie-slaying assault rifle, the AR-15 or AK-47? Would buckshot fired from a 12 gauge shotgun be overkill (considering your reduced ammo load)? How much ammo should you carry for each of your weapons? How do you increase the probability of a headshot under extreme stress? What's better for close-in work, an axe, crowbar, or machete?

Because they're not really people, zombies are the perfect stand-in for your boogeymen of choice: Communists, terrorists, LA Riot/post-Katrina rampaging mobs, illegal immigrants, or jack-booted government thugs.

Even the most-hardened, callous keyboard warrior might be a little reluctant to endorse wholesale slaughter of a group of people (at least, in an open forum). But zombies? They ain't human -- fire at will.

[Next: Overanalyzing zombie science.]

Labels: , , , ,

Tuesday, June 05, 2007

The NRA Responds to Allegations That They Bugged Me

So just before Memorial Day weekend, I found an e-mail from Philip Schreier, Senior Curator at the National Firearms Museum. He was responding to my cranky blog entry about some of the shortcomings of the display space, " The NRA's National Firearms Museum Bugs Me."

I wasn't particularly surprised that someone from the NRA found my entry, any moreso than, say, someone from Wrigley's hitting my entry warning about Eclipse mints or employees of the "World Reserve Monetary Exchange" seeing my entry on the folly of buying uncut currency sheets from them. It kind of comes with the territory, and what's simply vanity searching for any given person is part of reputation management and due diligence for an organization.

I was a little surprised by the length and thoroughness of the response, which addresses my complaints by explaining the problems of trying to fit a lot of guns into a relatively small space (and really, who among us hasn't faced that problem at one time or another?). So I will include Mr. Schreier's entire response below, without commentary:
Date: Thu, 24 May 2007 17:12:16 -0400
From: "Schreier, Philip"
To: joe@joelogon.com
Subject: National Firearms Museum

Dear Joe:

Thanks for visiting the NFM here in Fairfax. I read your blog about your
visit and thought I would try and provide you with some background on our
design process.

First off, you have some very valid points.

The building we are housed in was meant to be an office building. Our
museum was placed in an area formerly the home to our IT people. In an
ideal situation we would have had 15' ceilings and another 20,000 square
feet of display space. In other words we had to make do with what we had.
The result is somewhat cramped and the lighting isn't ideal.

We did hire a lighting designer from the Pratt Institute of NYC to do the
lighting. He did a remarkable job. Here is the deal. The guns and the
objects are quite visible and clear. Yes there are a few areas where
light does reflect from other areas and causes some viewing problems,
however, for the most part it is clear. Now that is not to say it is a
photographer's dream either. There is a HUGE difference from you looking
at an exhibit and you trying to take a picture of one. Glass is glass and
it is miserable to shoot around under ANY circumstances.

You mentioned the USMC Museum in Quantico. GREAT PLACE. Lots of room,
high ceilings, dark walls = -0- reflective surfaces. They had that luxury
that we only wish we had.

The "display bunker" at the beginning of the museum is a facade of a
medieval castle, with what were called "archers loops" or protected areas
where the archers could fire at the enemy. We did "hide" the guns here
for a reason. 90% of the visitors aged 16 - 40 want to see modern black
rifles and plastic guns. The old stuff, comes off as antique and stuffy.
We put it behind tight windows because people like to look into windows
and it is a huge draw to the artifacts. It is a great study in human
nature. People literally crowd around to "peek" inside. The whole gun is
visible and unobstructed in each instance, however, again it is not
conducive to an ideal photograph. From that point of view I can
understand your frustration, but please remember, our first objective is
to inform the public, providing "sets" for photographers is secondary.

As for the information design aspect. I agree. I hate it as well. Any
ideas? Happy to hear them. In the first part of the museum we have lots
of space and few guns. Easier to place text. Later we have huge amounts
of guns and no space to display text. If we had a text card next to each
gun it would be a huge eyesore. Some happy medium has to be struck, we
just haven't found it yet.

Thanks for the tip on the numbers lock button, I will have to see if it
can be disabled or not.

Any other problems, concerns or otherwise, please feel free to ask. On
your next visit I would be happy to take you on a personal tour and show
you what went into the design elements.

Until then,

I remain Sincerely,

Philip Schreier
Senior Curator
National Firearms Museum
National Rifle Association
I don't really have anything further to add, although his e-mail did remind me that I never posted the pics from my trip to the Marine Corps Museum in Quantico a few months ago. (And I never finished annotating my Hirshhorn pics from before that...)

Labels: , , ,

Sunday, April 15, 2007

The NRA's National Firearms Museum Bugs Me

So as I mentioned yesterday, after I got done filing my taxes, I stopped by the National Firearms Museum, which is at NRA HQ in Fairfax (right down the road from my CPA):

NRA HQ in Fairfax

I've been there before, though not in the digital camera era. You can see my full set of 50 photos here.

The exhibits started to bug me after a while. And not for any political or ideological baggage -- it's a museum full of guns at NRA headquarters, so it comes with the territory. It's for other reasons [Update: A few weeks later, Philip Schreier of the NRA museum e-mailed me -- I posted his response, which addresses the issues I raised]:

* Aesthetics: The presentation for a bunch of the displays just... lacks. You've got a lot of glass display cases, relatively close together, and the lighting leads to a lot of reflections, and you've got layers of pistols in front of rifles and the like. All of which makes it really hard to get a picture where you can clearly see what's inside the case:

Japanese guns of WWII
You can sort of see the WWII-era Japanese firearms here.

Since it's a relatively small space, I don't know what they can do, but a lighting consultant couldn't hurt. The reflection problem, for example, didn't seem quite as bad in the Marine Corps Museum (I still need to get my pics up from March).

Similarly, some of the older, rarer, and presumably more valuable items in the Old Guns in a New World gallery are in a kind of display bunker, which makes it really hard to get a good view:


Okay, so asset protection is important. I get that. Then what about the diorama-ish window treatments in the Revolutionary War House display and Civil War Federal arms factory, that pretty much only serve to obstruct the view?

DSCF1064 DSCF1066
Left: Revolutionary War muskets. Right: Civil War carbines (note the revolver action on the middle one)

* Information Design: In some of the cases, the numbered labels skip around, so you have to hunt around to see what item is which. That's a minor annoyance, though, compared to the info kiosks that have the information on the bulk of the firearms. In order to find out what's what, you have to:

1. Get the number off the display case (which is pretty easily overlooked, since it's on a frosted sticker on the bottom of each case) and the tag number off the item, then...

2. ...go to the kiosk, which typically serves a bunch of display cases and is invariably a few steps away and out of view from the one you want:

Modern assault and sniper rifles.

So you have to keep going back and forth from case to kiosk.

3. Not to mention having to key it in on a number pad that looks like it was pulled off a TRS-80, that throws a modal window if you try to enter a case number after the Num Lock key gets accidentally turned off (which shouldn't even be allowed):


...and that throws the same warning dialog every time the Num Lock key gets pressed (even if you're turning it back on).

Oh, and it runs on Windows -- I saw at least one kiosk that had crashed out to the desktop. (I didn't do it, but I didn't get a picture.)

Anyway, that's the whining portion of the program. A couple more of the more notable items:

"For obvious reasons the return of this rifle after Germany is defeated would be deeply appreciated."

The story behind this rifle is here.

A strange billy club mounted on a revolver (the gun can be fired with it on), and some snub-nosed revolvers.

A closeup of assault and sniper rifes:

French FAMAS, Czech VZ.52 (not SKS, like I thought) rifle, M-16 Colt Commando (I think), M-24 sniper rifle (I think), Dragunov sniper rifle, a Valmet assault rifle, and of course, an underfolder AK-47 with bayonet.

Gyrojet carbine and rifle, which fires a mini-rocket projectile and was also mentioned in the James Bond movie You Only Live Twice.

Some sort of prototype:


And of course, a competition target rifle wrapped in duct tape:

Apparently the shooter needed to jerry-rig some counterweights with lead wire and duct tape and decided to keep it like that.

So that's it. See the rest of the photos here.

Labels: , , , , ,