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A 3 post collection

The Staying Power of the B-52

 •  Filed under Military, Aircraft

Makes you wonder why on Earth the US military has needed billions for more advanced bombers when this still works.

The B-52 is an Air Force plane that refuses to die. Originally slated for retirement generations ago, it continues to be deployed in conflict after conflict. It dropped the first hydrogen bomb in the Bikini Islands in 1956, and laser-guided bombs in Afghanistan in 2006. It has outlived its replacement. And its replacement’s replacement. And its replacement’s replacement’s replacement.

After 60 Years, B-52s Still Dominate U.S. Fleet by The New York Times

Why Are Flashbangs Still in the Hands of US Police?

 •  Filed under USA, Military, Law Enforcement

In the past year I've read a number of different accounts of police using these harmful devices for raids. It boggles the mind that something so dangerous is availble to US police forces as well as being frequently mis-used.

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the 7th Circuit wrote in 2000 that “police cannot automatically throw bombs into drug dealers’ houses, even if the bomb goes by the euphemism ‘flash-bang device.’” In practice, however, there are few checks on officers who want to use them. Once a police department registers its inventory with the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, it is accountable only to itself for how it uses the stockpile. ProPublica’s review of flashbang injuries found no criminal convictions against police officers who injured citizens with the devices.

Perhaps the most horrifying case of harm by these explosive devices though was the case of Bou Bou Phonesavanh.

Bou Bou was sleeping in a portable playpen at the foot of his parents’ bed when the Habersham County Special Response Team broke down the door to the room and threw a flashbang. The grenade landed on a pillow next to Bou Bou’s face. The blast blew a hole in his chest, severed his nose, and tore apart his lips and mouth.

Hotter Than Lava by ProPublica

Perhaps the biggest problem though is the attitude that a militarized police force is necessary and keeps people safe. I don't see a problem with police officers carrying firearms in the US, they have done for years, but there is a problem with how much equipment is at their disposal and the lack of constraints in which they are allowed to use it.

Weapons like this belong in the hands of specialist armed forces only, not law enforcers.

The Real Life Thor

 •  Filed under Military, Aircraft

An amazing account of a USMC pilot who ejected from his F-8 Crusader over a thunderstorm.

As the parachute opened, he felt the familiar tug upwards. Except instead of a slow descent, he experienced a rapid ascent. The powerful updraft filled his parachute like a sail and rocketed him vertically thousands of feet at a velocity of nearly 100 mph. During his ascent, he could see hail stones forming around him. The lightning was described by him as “blue blades several feet thick” and incredibly close. The thunder was so loud, he could feel it resonating in his chest cavity and remembered this more so than how loud it was.

Lt. Col William Rankin - Ejects Into a Thunderstorm by WeatherImagery