The Philippines’ conundrum over China – and the USA’s, too

Bullying tactics often work if the one being bullied doesn’t have the muscle, strength or willpower to stand up to the bully.  That pretty much sums up what seems to be happening between China and the Philippines right now. Strategy Page reports: President Duterte is trying to be realistic in his policy towards China but that seems to be making the situation worse. Duterte points out that China is already occupying the disputed territory in the South China Sea and no one is willing or able to push them out. China has hired several hundred Chinese fishing boats and their crews as

Continue reading

Ebola: OK, it’s crunch time

This morning’s headlines about the latest Ebola outbreak in the Congo make grim reading. Butembo, with more than 1 million residents, is now reporting cases of the deadly hemorrhagic fever. That complicates Ebola containment work already challenged by rebel attacks elsewhere that have made tracking the virus almost impossible in some isolated villages. “We are very concerned by the epidemiological situation in the Butembo area,” said John Johnson, project coordinator with Medecins Sans Frontieres in the city. New cases are increasing quickly in the eastern suburbs and outlying, isolated districts, the medical charity said. . . . This is by far

Continue reading

Active shooter incidents and police response

Greg Ellifritz has noted a change in active shooter tactics, including setting up ambushes to catch responding officers.  Most of us aren’t police, but we can learn useful lessons from the history of active shooter incidents and how they’re likely to play out.  We can adapt our response accordingly, and hopefully keep ourselves and our loved ones from harm in the process. I was reviewing some of the recent articles about the Borderland Bar shooting in California.  During that shooting, the killer purposely stopped firing on the victims to set up an ambush to attack the police officers he knew were coming.  That’s

Continue reading

Ebola’s still getting worse, and I’m getting worried

The most recent Ebola outbreak, about which we’ve written before in these pages, is steadily getting worse. The Ebola outbreak in eastern Congo is now the second biggest in history, with 426 confirmed and probable cases, the health ministry said late on Thursday. The epidemic in a volatile part of Democratic Republic of Congo is now only surpassed by the 2013-2016 outbreak in West Africa, where more than 28,000 cases where confirmed, and is bigger than an outbreak in 2000 in Uganda involving 425 cases. Ebola is believed to have killed 245 people in North Kivu and Ituri provinces where attacks by armed groups and

Continue reading

A new potential war trigger in the Middle East?

I haven’t seen this reported anywhere else, but Strategy Page claims: Syria is apparently granting citizenship (and Syrian passports) to thousands of Iranian mercenaries like Hezbollah from Lebanon, some Iranians and Shia from other countries Iran recruited to fight in Syria. These newly created Syrians will be wearing Syrian Army uniforms as they take up position near the Israeli border. Israel suspected that Iran was planning this and now has to respond before these Iranian forces can carry out any attacks (as Iran has vowed to do) on Israel itself. Iran is desperate for a win because their recent efforts to

Continue reading

Venezuela’s starting to look a lot like tribal Africa

The internal collapse of Venezuela continues apace.  This description of life there at the moment is depressingly reminiscent of conditions I encountered in tribal Africa over many years. It is quite interesting to hear what they have to say about the role of the law “enforcement” corps. They kidnapped people, asking for ransoms in foreign currency. The situation in the imprisonment facilities was . . . apocalyptical. Once they have collected enough money from the ransoms and what not, almost the technical stuff LEOs all of that city flee the country for good, and they are now in some place in Latin

Continue reading

Sailing on the ragged edge of disaster

I received this video clip last night via an e-mail list to which I belong.  I must admit, having sailed aboard yachts now and then during my younger days, I watched it with my mouth hanging open in amazement.  I “raced” according to the standards of 1970’s ocean yachts – not the pro’s, but weekend sailors out for some fun.  The high technology of these modern boats, and the speeds at which they move . . . it’s breathtaking!  I can’t imagine how the helmsmen keep them under control.  In fact, I wonder whether computer-assisted steering (possibly by adjusting the

Continue reading

Ebola: the latest outbreak is dangerously close to out-of-control

The Ebola outbreak in the Democratic Republic of the Congo is getting worse – and health care authorities, organizations and workers are losing control. Health workers have been forced to open up a new and particularly perilous front after 28 people died of Ebola in and around Butembo, a city of approximately 1.2 million people that is located in the heart of the country’s most volatile regions … a lawless area that is infested with rebel groups, freelance militias and armed criminal gangs. . . . The disease is also spreading into rural areas around the city that aid workers cannot access because they

Continue reading

Kids on the road: a scary situation

A UPS driver recently had a scary experience with a small child hiding in leaves piled up on the edge of a road. Driver Jordan Weaver was in Elkhart, a town about 150 miles north of Indianapolis, on Nov. 5 when he spotted the barely visible boy hiding in a leaf pile inches from the road … He first walked across the street to give a parcel to a woman who turned out to be the boy’s mother. “I couldn’t believe it at first — my heart completely stopped,” Weaver said when he saw the boy on the ground. “Luckily, I parked

Continue reading

Practical measurements of defensive ammo effectiveness

A police officer’s recommendation for self-defense against an attacker hopped-up on the latest generation of synthetic marijuana generated some discussion.  I was struck by how many of the comments ignored the point of the police officer’s advice, which was: … typical deep-concealment (i.e. small, lightweight) pocket revolvers and pistols are simply not adequate to deal with people under the influence of this stuff.  His personal opinion was that .32 ACP, .380 ACP, .38 Special, and even 9mm. Luger or .357 Magnum rounds,if fired from smaller weapons whose barrels aren’t sufficiently long to give high velocity and promote bullet expansion, are not going to get

Continue reading