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Anyone who’s come through an airport in the last decade is familiar with the sight of a bored looking TSA officer standing (well, let’s be honest, usually sitting on a stool) at the opening where the secure terminal area dumps out into the unsecure area for arriving flights. It’s the furthest into the airport you can go when you’re waiting for a friend or a loved one to arrive. That TSA officer’s sole job is to tell ignorant people who try to go the wrong way that they can’t do that. Apparently that isn’t secure enough for Syracuse Hancock International Airport in Syracuse, NY, as . . .

they’ve become the first airport in the country to install new automated exit portals as part of a $60 million dollar renovation. The justification for installing the pods is that they replace police or security guards who would normally stand at the exit, therefore saving money. “We need to be vigilant and maintain high security protocol at all times. These portals were designed and approved by TSA which is important,” said Syracuse Airport Commissioner Christina Callahan.
Cpl. Nico Sierens of Belgian DOVO courtesy advance of the thousands of tourists that are expected to flock to the former battlefields of Europe next year in commemoration of the outbreak of World War I, the Belgian DOVO army squad is working at a furious pace to recover as much unexploded ordnance from the area around Ypres as possible. Of the approximately one billion projectiles hurled into the battle by the English and Germans in the area of the salient, an estimated 300 million were duds, and the vast majority of them have not been recovered. Many are explosive, and a some still contain active chemical agents such as mustard and phosgene gas. (The Second Battle of Ypres was the first widespread use of poison gas in Europe.) Last year nearly 160 tons of ordnance — everything from bullets to grenades to 15 inch artillery shells — was unearthed and recovered from the area around Ypres, and more is still found every day, often by farmers who till them up in their fields. The Daily Mail article has many more photos and details.

Army Master Sgt. C.J. Grisham, whose first trial back in October ended in a hung jury and a mistrial, was found guilty today of interference with the duties of an officer, a Class-B misdemeanor. The penalty phase of the trial, which could bring fines of up to $2000 and jail time of not more than 180 days, begins at 9 a.m. tomorrow. [h/t: PhoenixNFA]

A celebrity firearm maker (who knew?) has set up shop in Texas, citing the state’s pro-2nd Amendment values. Jesse James, maker of high-end motorcycles under the West Coast Choppers moniker, is apparently also in the gun business, and held a launch party Saturday night in Austin for the eponymous Jesse James Firearms Unlimited (the website is definitely a WIP). apparently got the invite that was meant for TTAG, and has a first-look rundown on the product line. At least in the near term the guns won’t be made in-house, but will be rebranded items at a significant markup. The 1911 is an STI product, and for double-stack/polymer fans there’s a tatted-up FNX .45. The MSR may be an in-house make (the handguard definitely is), but the parts are from Geissele, Magpul, Bravo Company and Wilson Combat. The suppressor is definitely unique to JJFU, with a clamshell design and a semi-gloss powder coated finish. Naturally there are lots of “lifestyle items” (tshirts, fleeces, gloves, hats, beanies) with the JJFU logo prominently displayed. Anybody got some deep pockets?

Obamacare may be hated by most everyone reading this, and is undeniably a colossal Charlie-Foxtrot, but you can thank the debacle, at least in part, for the defeat of some anti-gun bills. It seems that in addition to insurers seeking to avoid claims tied to policyholders’ crimes, the failure of several mandated firearms liability insurance bills to pass has been blamed partially on Obamacare, both the quagmire that the website has been as well as the skittishness of legislators to impose yet another “required” cost on consumers. Alan Gottlieb said, “I don’t think legislators want to get near any kind of mandatory insurance.” So there’s that.

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    • I came upon these during a trip to Rome last year – in a bank. They’re designed to capture would-be robbers. Funny enough, you actually had to look into a camera and have them take your photo prior to being allowed entry into the bank.

      I for one welcome our new European Exit Overlords.

    • Wait to see this sad item n the news:

      Fire at Syracuse Hancock International Airport

      Several people were injured today when a fire broke out at the Syracuse Hancock International Airport. Power was lost to the escape pods, making it impossible for people to leave or firefighters and police to enter the area. A class action suit by the injured is expected, following an investigation by the Syracuse Fire Department.

  1. Jesse James is a gun maker like the guys from Duck Dynasty are Vignerons….

    I find this vapid opportunistic cross-branding repugnant.

    • Vignerons…I had to look that up. Great word. I guess it’s a term you’re likely to know, considering your TTAG moniker.

      So Jesse James is a firearms manufacturer now. Let the douche parade begin. Who’s next, Fred Durst?

      • Hell – I TOTALLY called this. Got a friend who works with him on some metal projects. My friend was telling me he is loving Texas – his reason was that he “can shoot suppressed smg’s all day and no one gives a sh!t”. It seemed to be a natural progression for him.

  2. Designed and approved by TSA! Well its certain they weren’t designed and approved by a fire marshall – they have created a death trap.

      • Typical TSA, xray you to get naked pics, feel you up, now they can lock you in a jar. Also, this device is no mere mechanical contraption of levers and switches, there is a programmable logic controller in there, at minimum. At worse this thing is hooked up to a computer network so they can generate the shiny graphs and pie charts to keep the manager type happy.

        There is a old saying in the computer industry: To err is human, to really fvck up you need a computer.

    • These Star Tre-like “transporter chambers” were first used by the British to protect the entrance to key buildings like MoD from IRA bombers during the 1980s. They were installed in the Pentagon during the latest round of renovations. Whether appropriate or not these entryways are not a TSA innovation.

  3. I’m glad to see another firearms business, but seriously bend your hat bill. I hate seeing “bro” culture guys wearing their hat bills like that.

    • Wearing a cap like that is incredibly douchey, but it would still probably be the least douchebaggy thing about Jesse James…

  4. trying to insure intentional acts like murder means that organized crime, already into insurance fraud, now can knock off rivals and get paid. Unlimited liability. The only lobby more powerful than the NRA is the insurance lobby. hopefully they ll wake up in 2014 and realize the dems want to kill the health insurance industry in favor of single payer. yes, first theyll mandate gun owners have insurance, then they’ll mandate the insurance companies cover it. Then theyll have to take it over.

  5. And how do EXIT portals help airline security? Why not just try profiling? It works in other countries and with certain airlines.

    • Exits? Safety? Ha!

      You have to remember this is the organization that thought it necessary to search the bags of passengers getting *off* of a train at its destination. (Savannah Ga, 2011) And they thought it a good idea to search passengers using public busses too. (Houston, 2012)

    • It keeps people from swimming upstream through the exits without paying someone to sit there and stop them. That’s it.

      As far as profiling, the GAO just released a study that said that the $100 million the TSA has spent on their profiling program over the last few years was completely wasted, as their “hit rate” for finding the bad guys did not exceed that of random chance.

    • It was a hundred years ago, and they were being assembled in absolutely colossal numbers by a thoroughly uneducated workforce.

    • The generals and pols had no idea what a modern idustrial war was going to be. There was not enough artillery for the new realities of trench warfare and they shot off all their prewar stocks of ammo in just a couple of months. They also shot most of their prewar soldiers in useless charges against machine guns.

      What followed was a brief pause while they tried desperately to replace the soldiers with new untrained troops. All to often the new troops where the experienced factory workers that had been drafted to replace losses. They were replaced by untrained and inexperienced youths and women in the factories. Accidents sky rocketed, quality dropped and production fell off.

      Duds and faulty ammo became a fact of life. As usual, the idiots responible for the mess got medals and the poor soldiers got graves.

        • I’ve only ever had one bad round TOTAL….

          Frankly, I was laughing more at the “Ohcrap we should probably clean that up” nature of the story rather than the 30% duds…..

      • you really do have rotten luck, only reason I dont buy em is cause you cant find em! 30% dud rate, either you beat astronomical odds(like really big numbers high) and got a rotten batch, or your storage area or gun are suspect.

        • Exaggeration for humorous purposes is lost on you guys. Sheesh!

          I have had bad luck with Golden Bullets, though. I’ve had some where the crimps were loose enough you could pull the bullet out of the case with your fingers. In my experience, they’re not great ammo. But right now, I’d probably still buy ’em if I found ’em somewhere. *sigh*

      • Yeah, what he said. All US systems have at least two things that must happen to arm a piece of ordnance. It results in a slightly better then 10 dude rate. We over engineer because casualties dude to us furring our own devices is unacceptable. Foriengn systems do not follow the same rules because casualties, even in training are acceptable to them. Their stuff is blessedly simple in a lot of ways because of that. As for back then, as they said, we where not up on our A Game. All of that leads to why I have a job that I love.

        • The 30% dud rate probably didn’t apply to Americans in that war except by proxy. The US got into the war late, 1917, and mostly used French and British artillery and ammo because the American army was still a borderline frontier outfit. No American pilot flew an American aircraft in combat that war. All the combat worth aircraft were French and British.

          What Americans really brought to the table for that war was fresh troops, which were desperately needed. Trench warfare had consumed a generation of European men and started the decline in Europe that continues to this day.

  6. Regarding Ypres:

    1 Billion (with a B) projectiles?! Holy crap! WWI isn’t overlooked the way Korea is, but it definitely plays second fiddle to WWII and Vietnam in the US history books. I think I’ve managed to learn more about it than a lot of Americans over time. Still, I’m dumbfounded at the sheer amount of “fuck you” thrown around in that one battle. It’s such a strange juxtaposition, all these hundreds of tons of munitions being dug up in Belgium during one of the most peaceful (if incredibly tense) periods in Europe since the Romans slaughtered anyone who dared disrupt the peace. “Peaceful, evolved, blah blah blah” Europe sitting with mountains of unexploded, human-made and -directed pain, relics of a nasty history.

    Kind of brings the history books to an all too nasty life.

    Great, I’m trying to wax poetic. That rarely ends well…

    • You cannot begin to understand WWII without first studying WWI. It would be far more accurate to label them WW pt.1 and WW pt.2. It’s all one chapter in history. They just had to take a break to breed more soldiers.

    • Look up Ypres (pronounced Iper) some time, there is a major monument to foreign soldiers there (tons of British) It is a gorgeous city near the French border that has a huge influx of British tourists each year. The entire city was demolished during WWI, the trench warfare just went back and forth over that area. estimated over 500 million soldiers died in the span of a few months over a mile or two of ground. I highly recommend you go to that town if you can.

      Joyeux Noel is a great movie about the christmas truce that happened all over that area of Belgium and France.

  7. The ar with the silencer looks like a giant chrome dildo(ribbed for her pleasure and dirk knows who her is). That’s just more ammo for the anti gunners to say we are over compensating for mid region short comings.

  8. Speaking of lost ordinance in Europe. On the border of Albania and Kosova there is a whole crap load of it. Very dangerous stuff. Especially right after the war, people would lose limbs by accidentally stumbling on mines.

  9. These exit portals are similar to self checkouts at grocery stores. They’ll need to pay someone to watch the portals function just like someone has to watch the self checkouts. Seems like it would take a while to recoup 60 million bucks. Any bets that within a year or two the portals will be non functioning and locked open with no money for repairs?

    • $60 million was the pricetag of the whole airport renovation. I looked around for a price on the individual portals, but couldn’t find one I was sure enough of to reproduce here.

      • Oops. I guess I need a rebate from my Evelyn Woods speed reading course. Should’ve known 60 million seemed steep–even for A TSA approved project.

    • Grocery stores come out way ahead on self checkouts. That’s one employee for eight or so checkouts, compared to one or two per checkout. That’s at least a 87.5% savings, probably more.

      • Yes, but a single TSA guarding an exit corridor can handle a lot more than a single person at a time, too. The exit portals are actually closer to the pre-self checkouts in grocery stores, as every single passenger (customer) needs to pass through (be rung up by) an individual pod (teller).

        I think this is actually a step backwards.

        • Technically they say up to 6 people can fit, but I’m thinking that’s standing rock-concert close together. In reality, with a piece of rolling luggage, you’d probably be lucky to get two at a time.

      • TSA will replace the person sitting on a stool watching for people going the wrong way with a person sitting on a stool watching the security of the doors.
        At my local Lowes, when someone uses the self checkout (there’s only two), a cashier usually has to be called away from something else to watch them. There’s never a continuous line–just a straggler every minute or so.
        When I lived in Vegas I knew shoppers who reaped big savings at the self checkouts that had 1 person watching six or eight lines. Leakage.

  10. I feel bad for Grisham. He did nothing wrong. The arresting officer had zero probable cause to disarm him. Grisham had a bad attitude – but attitudes aren’t against the law – if they were – police everywhere would be incarcerated.

    • Which is why I preach not to confront or get into an argument with the cop on the street. Don’t quote the constitution to him. Be polite and respectful no matter how it galls you. Arguing with the cop on the street will just add to your trouble.

      Lawyers can do your arguing. That’s why we have them.

      • I’m always polite and deferential to people who are stronger than I am and who carry guns and clubs and tasers and pepper spray and Gaw knows what other kind of nasty weaponry.

        It’s just the dept of stupidity to pick a fight with someone who has the power to kill me.

  11. “The justification for installing the pods is that they replace police or security guards who would normally stand at the exit…”

    Yeah, right… keep dreaming.

  12. Things were real nasty for a long time around Ypres. The gas attacks weren’t half as nasty as the mining IMO. In the Battle of Messines the British dug 21 mines under the German positions, filled them with a million pounds of explosives and set 19 of them off killing 10,000 German soldiers instantly. Men died from the concussion without losing a drop of blood. The sound could be heard in Dublin. It’s considered the deadliest man made explosion prior to the atom bomb. The locations of the two remaining mines were lost, but one of them was discovered when it went off in a thunderstorm in 1955. The other one is still there, waiting.

    • Wow.
      Yet another reason why contributors here are named ‘armed intellegensia’.
      I had not heard of this. Thanks Gov.

      • There’s an awful lot of history from WWI you just don’t hear much about. I’ve always been somewhat fascinated by it myself because of that.

        • Can you recommend any good books on lesser-known WW1 history, or on WW1 in general? Also, any links to any online resources?

        • B. H. Liddell Hart’s “The Real War”
          John Keegan’s “The First World War” and the chapter on the Battle of the Somme in “The Face of Battle”
          From the US perspective Genaral of the Armies John J. Pershing’s “My Experiences in First World War”

        • The best reading IMO is the stuff that was written at around the time of WWI. There was a site I had read several archived books on, but it doesn’t seem to be around anymore, so I searched around there seems to be a lot of stuff here – Go to texts and browse around.

          Most of the WWI history books get too bogged down in the minutia of the battle. They seem very much centered on the generals. I’m more interested in the foot soldier’s and the politician’s experiences. The foot soldier’s so I can understand what it would have been like to be there and the politicians so I can understand why it happened. There was an excellent book by Henry Morganthau called Ambassador Morganthau’s Story. He was the US ambassador to the Ottoman Empire during the war and during the Armenian Genocide and had frequent contact with the men who perpetrated the crime. There were a couple of great books by Roland G Usher called Pan-Germanism (1913) and Pan-Americanism (1915). The first chapter of Pan-Americanism is worth reading twice. Anyway I notice the site has several other of his books, so I think I’ll take up some more reading.

      • @ Nick and tdiinva: Thank you! Bookmarking/saving your link (Nick) and looking up the books on Amazon/Google Books (tdiinva).

        No “reply” option by your names; maybe we can’t reply more than one level deep in a comment?

      • Many of tactics employed in WWI had their start in the Civil War. Unfortunately the generals in Europe didn’t learn any lessons and were still using Napoleonic tactics in the face of machine guns.

  13. Didn’t they used to do that with one-way turnstiles, back during the nearly-forgotten Age of Sanity? Or maybe back then people had sense enough to find their way to wherever they needed to go.

  14. They got the idea for those door from prisons and jails. They’re called sallyports. Strip searches can’t be far off.

      • Obviously you couldn’t call them that in a correctional setting, because it’d much too tempting to break off into innuendo with a term like “Man Trap”. Insert double entendre here…or insert double entendre IN YOUR MAN TRAP!!!

        You see that, it’s just irresistible.

  15. “I don’t think legislators want to get near any kind of mandatory insurance.”

    So, I’ve heard this mandatory insurance idea before, and my question is always whom does it pay the benefits to?

    If someone justifiably defends themselves with a gun does it pay the aggressor who was shot? Or pay for their medical costs? Or their family?

    -So, as a society we are going to pay people if they’re hurt doing bad things?

    If someone accidentally or negligently shoots a family member, or themselves does it pay the person? Or the family?

    -So, if you “accidentally” shoot your spouse you get an insurance pay out? Hey honey, put one in my calf and let’s pay off the house.

    The only way this could work is if you shoot a bystander accidentally, which they could already sue you with the laws in place.

    I can’t wrap my mind around this concept, except the insurance companies getting paid, but never paying and/or to make gun ownership very expensive- neither motive would surprise me.

  16. “The voice when the doors open is futuristic”

    No it’s not. It’s a generic voice synthesized from the computer that everyone with Windows has.

    Can someone tell me why they couldn’t just install the turning metal bars that amusement parks have? Save oh, 99% of the cost…


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