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1 Dark_Falcon  Fri, Feb 7, 2014 6:36:42am

The article has a major problem with it:

Calling the rifles in question “assault rifles” assumes facts not provided. Snipers typically use scoped rifles designed for precision fire, often bolt-action. Said rifles are often in the same same caliber as a number of semi-auto rifles. The lesser accuracy of non-scoped assault rifles would have made them more likely to hit the wrong place on the transformers and cause an explosion.

I bring this up because 2-3 bolt-action Lee-Enfield SMLE rifles could have carried out this attack, and I feel the LA Times is laying the blame on semi-auto rifles without evidence. The issue in this case is the shooters, not the rifles, and the ignorant attempt by the LA Times to blame “EBBIL GUNNZ!!1” is both tedious and foolish. It’s telling that the Wall Street Journal’s account of the attack provides a timeline of the attack but does not add unsupported claims about what sort of rifles were used.

Reports like that of the LA Times are much the reason why so many gun owners hate the mainstream media.

2 Political Atheist  Fri, Feb 7, 2014 7:50:28am

re: #1 Dark_Falcon

It certainly could have been lesser rifles, pending evidence not available to us. In any case I think the broader, more vague public perception of the term is at hand. It’s a sniper attack in style, precise equipment to be (hopefully speaking) determined at about he time of arrest. What is also a little vague is how many shooters were in on the shoot. How sure are they it was several? Not one guy that went from hide to hide?

3 Dark_Falcon  Fri, Feb 7, 2014 7:55:45am

re: #2 Political Atheist

It certainly could have been lesser rifles, pending evidence not available to us. In any case I think the broader, more vague public perception of the term is at hand. It’s a sniper attack in style, precise equipment to be (hopefully speaking) determined at about he time of arrest. What is also a little vague is how many shooters were in on the shoot. How sure are they it was several? Not one guy that went from hide to hide?

The thing is that for the LA Times to say the rifles were semi-auto without evidence gives anti-gun politicians grist for their mills and more importantly it gives the public a potentially inaccurate detail about the crime. If a newspaper is going to publish details about an unsolved crime, it should endeavor to get the facts right so that the public can be on the lookout for the criminals. False information may allow criminals to elude detection.

4 Political Atheist  Fri, Feb 7, 2014 8:34:29am

re: #3 Dark_Falcon

I agree I hate to see that kind of reporting but I’ve grown calloused, a touch cynical about it. I expect that from the MSM anymore.

The larger concern I have is the motive. Eco? Some sharpshooter who is pissed at his electric bill? I’m skeptical of the test attack scenario, Only a fool would deliberately telegraph the attack like that. If I had to guess i might call it a toss up between toy soldier militia guys or eco vandalism like those guys that burned a car dealership or a housing construction site.

5 Skip Intro  Fri, Feb 7, 2014 8:44:47am

Shorter title: “Idiots with guns nearly cause a blackout.”

6 Dark_Falcon  Fri, Feb 7, 2014 9:24:41am

re: #4 Political Atheist

I agree I hate to see that kind of reporting but I’ve grown calloused, a touch cynical about it. I expect that from the MSM anymore.

The larger concern I have is the motive. Eco? Some sharpshooter who is pissed at his electric bill? I’m skeptical of the test attack scenario, Only a fool would deliberately telegraph the attack like that. If I had to guess i might call it a toss up between toy soldier militia guys or eco vandalism like those guys that burned a car dealership or a housing construction site.

No, it could be a test attack to see if the tactic really worked. The substation in question is unmanned as are most substations. Guarding against this sort of tactic would be very difficult and expensive.

7 Dark_Falcon  Fri, Feb 7, 2014 9:25:36am

re: #5 Skip Intro

Shorter title: “Idiots with guns nearly cause a blackout.”

Don’t call them “idiots”. They knew what they were doing, and did it according to a pre-set plan.

8 Skip Intro  Fri, Feb 7, 2014 9:55:23am

re: #7 Dark_Falcon

Don’t call them “idiots”. They knew what they were doing, and did it according to a pre-set plan.

I see someone is assuming that, but I don’t see his evidence for that assumption.

9 ausador  Fri, Feb 7, 2014 11:26:07am

re: #8 Skip Intro

I see someone is assuming that, but I don’t see his evidence for that assumption.

As an electrician with some basic knowledge of the subject I would have to agree that the ex-chairman of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, Jon Wellinghoff’s statement is completely unfounded and not supported by the evidence. Unless facts to the contrary come to light I have to believe that this was nothing more than a vandal (or two) shooting more or less at random at the sub-station and hoping for some major “sparks” or an outage in reward for their efforts.

If I wanted to take out a sub-station, pretty much any sub-station, no matter how large, I would simply have to put a couple of shots into the [withheld by author so as not to inform vandals]. I find it extremely hard (impossible actually) to believe that multiple “well trained individuals” carried this out as a failed terrorist attack. Mainly for the very simple reason that if they were well trained and versed on the critical points of the sub-station then they would have succeeded in taking it offline.

Besides, hitting silicon valley wouldn’t net you anything, all those high tech processor production facilities have “uninterruptible” battery systems along with back-up generators. If you were going to hit something that was completely power critical you would go after the [again withheld by the author so as not to inform vandals] in the Tennessee valley area and cause tens if not hundreds of millions of dollars in damage that could take months to repair fully.

Personally I believe the utility describing it as a random act of vandalism a lot more than I believe Jon Wellinghoff’s description of it as a failed terrorist attack. At least not until I see something besides his own supposition as evidence to the contrary.

10 Aunty Entity Dragon  Fri, Feb 7, 2014 11:44:16am

re: #1 Dark_Falcon

The article has a major problem with it:

Calling the rifles in question “assault rifles” assumes facts not provided. Snipers typically use scoped rifles designed for precision fire, often bolt-action. Said rifles are often in the same same caliber as a number of semi-auto rifles. The lesser accuracy of non-scoped assault rifles would have made them more likely to hit the wrong place on the transformers and cause an explosion.

I bring this up because 2-3 bolt-action Lee-Enfield SMLE rifles could have carried out this attack, and I feel the LA Times is laying the blame on semi-auto rifles without evidence. The issue in this case is the shooters, not the rifles, and the ignorant attempt by the LA Times to blame “EBBIL GUNNZ!!1” is both tedious and foolish. It’s telling that the Wall Street Journal’s account of the attack provides a timeline of the attack but does not add unsupported claims about what sort of rifles were used.

Reports like that of the LA Times are much the reason why so many gun owners hate the mainstream media.

Brass was recovered from the scene, so they know the calibre of the rifles and the likely make and model.

11 ausador  Fri, Feb 7, 2014 12:23:42pm

re: #10 Aunty Entity Dragon

Brass was recovered from the scene, so they know the calibre of the rifles and the likely make and model.

That is not necessarily true, examination in the lab of spent brass casings can sometimes be used to determine the type of rifle they were fired from, but not always. With a used rifle casing your primary clues would be firing pin and shell extractor markings but those are not very definitive since many models use the same basic action or ones modeled on each other. The more common casing sizes could have possibly been fired from any one of a hundred widely sold rifles and a dozen or more rare varieties.

As said above, sometimes detailed lab analysis can point to a specific rifle, but just as often it can’t. A detailed analysis of the fired casing down to the ten-thousandth of an inch can sometimes be used to determine the exact action model chamber it was fired from because the brass expands and conforms to the chamber when fired.

Really they don’t even actually know the caliber of the rounds for sure based solely from the brass casings. Hand loaded rounds are sometimes “necked” in a press to accept a different caliber than they were designed for. In addition both paper and plastic sabot style rounds can now be purchased or hand loaded where a smaller caliber bullet is fired from a larger casing.

In the police dramas the detective can simply pick up a piece of brass from the ground and after examining it by eye pronounce that it came from a .308 Winchester with a 4x scope and was fired by a man of Brazilian descent who has a slight lisp. These things generally tend to end up quite a bit more inconclusively in real life however. :p

12 KingKenrod  Fri, Feb 7, 2014 1:05:05pm

re: #9 ausador

Mainly for the very simple reason that if they were well trained and versed on the critical points of the sub-station then they would have succeeded in taking it offline.

They did succeed in taking it offline. It was down for 27 days and cost over $15 million to repair.

13 Political Atheist  Fri, Feb 7, 2014 1:28:12pm

re: #8 Skip Intro

I see someone is assuming that, but I don’t see his evidence for that assumption.

The nature of the attack, accuracy and apparent knowledge about the target is a little beyond what we would usually associate with an idiot shooting at signs.

Idiot by way of vandalism=idiocy, sure. Agreed.

14 Three Chord Monty  Fri, Feb 7, 2014 3:28:42pm
The bullet holes were carefully targeted so as not to hit the parts of the equipment that would cause an explosion and attract the attention of drivers on nearby U.S. 101. Of some 120 shots fired from at least 40 yards outside the fence, 110 of them hit transformers, Wellinghoff said.

“A dress rehearsal” is how Mark Johnson, a retired vice president at PG&E, described the event to a Philadelphia gathering of electricity industry officials in November. Johnson said the attackers opened two 75-pound manhole covers and used a ladder to cut fiber-optic lines, a possible attempt to disconnect security cameras. They fired for seven minutes, targeting radiators on the banks of transformers.

“This wasn’t an incident where Billy-Bob and Joe decided after a bunch of brewskis they were going to shoot up a substation,” he said.


latimes.com

I’m not an electrician but this sounds less like vandalism than other possible terms one could use to me.

15 Dark_Falcon  Fri, Feb 7, 2014 4:40:52pm

re: #10 Aunty Entity Dragon

Brass was recovered from the scene, so they know the calibre of the rifles and the likely make and model.

Caliber yes, make and model often no. Such data is problematic much of the time as ausador noted. Note also that none of the officials quoted by either the LAT or WSJ soeak about what kind of rifles were used, and the only the Times says anything in that vein (the Journal is silent on the type of rifles used). I also need to note that on this particular matter I do not give the LA Times the benefit of the doubt. That newspaper has put out articles about firearms that are both ignorant and hostile too many times for me to interpret its words charitably. I maintain that the LA Times used the terms “assault rifles” and “semi-auto” without evidence and out of hostility towards firearms.

16 PeterWolf  Fri, Feb 7, 2014 5:32:10pm

Most snipers, well, real snipers, would use some form of sniper rifle, not an assault rifle.

Secondly, the major problem in this case is that there’s apparently a rather huge single point of failure. And that, is a major problem in any system. Sounds like the real problem here is a poorly designed power grid.

Or, people are full of bullshit and just trying to scare the readers.

Oh, and every other year since 911, it’s been hackers going to take down the grid.

17 BishopX  Fri, Feb 7, 2014 8:01:40pm

So detail from the NPR interview this morning:

1) shooters cut comm lines before they begen shooting

2) shooters were firing “ak-47 type” rifles. presumably this mean they found 7.56 casings.

3)shooters fired 120 shots from 40-60 away from the transformers, at night, and managed to hit the transformers with 110 of them.

4)shooters had enough communications to be able to coordinate opening fire with the phone lines being cut, and to cease fire and disperse 70 seconds ahead of the police response.


They may not have know the details of the transformer, but they sure as hell seemed to understand how to run an operation.

18 Dark_Falcon  Fri, Feb 7, 2014 8:46:57pm

re: #17 BishopX

So detail from the NPR interview this morning:

1) shooters cut comm lines before they begen shooting

2) shooters were firing “ak-47 type” rifles. presumably this mean they found 7.56 casings.

3)shooters fired 120 shots from 40-60 away from the transformers, at night, and managed to hit the transformers with 110 of them.

4)shooters had enough communications to be able to coordinate opening fire with the phone lines being cut, and to cease fire and disperse 70 seconds ahead of the police response.

They may not have know the details of the transformer, but they sure as hell seemed to understand how to run an operation.

AK-type rifles can be found in a variety of calibers, though the most popular are 7.62x39mm, 5.45x29mm, and 5.56x45mm. So finding AK type rifles wouldn’t say what caliber said rifle were.


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