- Posted March 11, 2013 by
District of Columbia
Forbes' 1.6 Billion Rounds of Ammo is the height of Intellectual Dishonesty
Firstly, Mr. Benko talks about the 1.6 bn acquisition. Let's talk about those numbers. It's not 1.6 billion for 2013--according to the denverpost (the one he linked to:http://www.denverpost.com/nationworld/ci_22594279/homeland-security-aims-buy-1-6-billion-rounds) its 1.6 billion for the next four/five years. The article isn't clear on which it is, but 400m/year is a lot more reasonable than 1.6bn. That article also brings up the important point of purchasing as the US Gov't--you buy in bulk specifically to get steep discounts. DHS buys a whole bunch upfront and then uses that over the next several years.
The number that SHOULD be compared against the 400m is year-to-year consumption by things like the Army, rather than completely uncited (and very likely bull) numbers like "6m rounds used a month in Iraq". So I did some digging, and I can't be 100% sure this is accurate, but I think this website produces a lot of explanations for at least the Army's consumption. (http://www.almc.army.mil/alog/issues/SepOct10/spectrum_smallarms_ammo.html). Per that website, 99% of the ammo for the Army (according to wiki [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/United_States_Armed_Forces],Army is largest individual facet of the Dept of Defense and 1/3 of all active duty service members) is made by the Lake City Ammunition plant, and we have the data for Lake City there. On the website, it says that in years like 2005-2007 (arguably the worst years of Iraq), the US Army alone was requisitioning ~1.2bn small-arms rounds a year. It's intellectually dishonest to take figures that are likely wrong about consumption in Iraq and attempt to tie that to the DHS acquisition, because troops in garrison also use a LOT of rounds practicing--exactly like how the US gov't (in the Denver Post article) explains the consumption by DHS agents. Turns out you need to practice shooting all the time.
Alright, now we get to talk about hollow-point ammunition. Because I'm lazy, I'm going to link wikipedia (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hollow-point_bullet) and point out that 1.) NATO doesn't use these rounds because of the 1899 Hague convention, which was a bit removed from the current conceptualization of hollow point, but that's neither here nor there 2.) The reason why police officers regularly (that's right: John Q AnyFreakingCopInTheUSA) use the hollow point is the exact reason why the military doesn't: the odds of a round going through/ricocheting are much, much smaller. To understand why, we need to sit everyone in America down and give them a firearms class. You see, hollow point rounds are designed to deform the instant they hit something-- this means that more of the kinetic force of that bullet will transfer to the target as opposed to just popping a hole in and out. In this way, the bullet makes a huge, expanding hole in the person it is hitting, typically causing the bullet to remain in the body. This also prevents the round from traveling through materials that a military steel-tipped round would blow right by. So, seriously now, we need to stop panicking every time we hear about domestic police forces getting their hands on hollow-point ammunition.
Now we get to talk about MRAPs! My favorite point, because Mr. Benko actually describes the EXACT reason why they're moving state-side, and then pretends that you the reader didn't just see it. So right now, we're drawing down in Afghanistan and are completely out of Iraq. What is the US Army/Marines/anyone going to do with all the MAXXPros we've got lying around in Kuwait? These are single-purpose vehicles explicitly built in astronomically large numbers to defeat IED systems (and even that is a mixed bag). They have no conventional use on a battlefield. They have a horrible load/weight ratio (that is, they're really terrible at moving equipment on a tank of fuel), all the supercool armor is underneath and they tip over fairly easily. The US Gov't spent billions on these things and has no conceivable use for them, nor are there any foreign countries clamoring for a taste of this complete waste of money. Why NOT take some MRAPs and hand them to domestic swat teams? If it means we don't have to buy another SWAT vehicle, great! The money has already been blown on the MRAPs and we've got a 100k of them just kicking rocks in Kuwait right now, so seriously: how are you complaining about the cost? Oh--and because Mr Benko is too busy stirring the pot to get the facts in his op/ed--how many MRAPs is the DHS actually taking? Pay yourself on the back if you said 17. (www.businessinsider.com/homeland-security-serving-warrants-mrap-2013-3). Seems like a pretty terrible ratio of amount of fear-mongering to actual facts. Cheers to the paramil blogger for reluctantly updating their post from Sept to reflect that only 17 MRAPs are in service.
Nice to wrap it all up in quotes about Obama not wanting guns. It's from a book written by an avowed conservative and Grover norquist--obviously attempting to score political points--and the subtitle is "Obama's War on Jobs and Growth and What We Can Do Now to Regain Our Future". You'll forgive me if I think Mr Lott/Norquist may be taking a quote from Obama with no context on time, either. If we assume it's near when Mr Lott joined the University of Chicago Law School, we can assume that to be 1994. [I didn't cite this, but you can find it on his wikipedia page]You'll forgive me if I think that someone's opinion may change in an intervening 18 years.
Reading and debunking stuff like this hurts, if only because I feel like I just put more work into debunking this piece of junk than Mr Benko (SOMEONE WHO'S ENTIRE JOB CONSISTS OF DOING THIS) did in writing it.