Wednesday, August 03, 2011


There's a very old joke about statisticians, from back when planes were getting hijacked to Cuba at what seemed like a rate of one a week, decades before TSA was inflicted on air travelers. It seems there was a big statistician convention and all the attendees took the train or drove; even though airplanes were slightly safer per passenger-mile, they were a lot more likely to be hijacked.

--Well, all the statisticians but one avoided air travel. When his horrified colleagues asked him how he could possibly take the risk of a hijacker on his flight he smiled very calmly, patted his suit jacket in the shoulder-holster region and asked them, "So, none of you bothered to calculate the probability of there being two people with a gun aboard the airplane?"

...And it is in the spirit of that story that I share this photo. It's a screencap of a PDF of an anonymous image found in the trash. I did track down the person most likely to have taken it, who agreed to my posting it provided that I not specify time or venue. Feel free to assume it's 'shopped or an Airsoft or whatever.I'm assured that the man behind the gun was right there, somewhat averse to being photographed and is on the payroll of a "well-respected government department." That's all I know and I only know that by hearsay.

Well, that and the fact there there was an infinitesimal, indeed nearly non-existent chance of there being two men with guns in that location. I just wonder if that was his department's logic, too?


Carteach said...

Comment redacted.

Interesting view up there.

Phil R. said...

Pardon me while I snag the low-hanging fruit:

I didn't know a contradiction in terms could have a payroll...

Roberta X said...

There is that -- still, they continue to have a lower body-count than Islamic nutjobs and Lone Gunmen combined. Credit where credit is due and all that.

Bubblehead Les. said...

Well, I'm so glad that our Tax Payer dollars were well spent. But I have a picture of the Judge waving a Caution Flag, someone speeds up under it, then a mysterious hole appears in the Engine Block....

Don M said...

We Bayesians hold that once you know there is one MWAG on the premise, that your prior expectation of the probability of a MWAG should be adjusted up.

Frank W. James said...

With 400,000 spectators, I believe the chance of collateral damage would be intriguing. If needed I sure hope the operator was beyond GOOD...

All The Best,
Frank W. James

Angus McThag said...

Damn cheating Hendricks team.

"Debris" took out the tire my ass!

Old NFO said...

He's one of at 'least' four... Just sayin...

Stretch said...

If that's a NASCAR track the government agents are heavily out gunned.

Anonymous said...

Is that Daytona or Indy?

WV: asighthi - really - no kidding!

As in "my spotter was asighthi."

Aaron said...

This is what happens when Law Enforcement reads a copy of Stephen Hunter's Night of Thunder, and figures a smart criminal might read a copy and take it for a how-to manual.

TomcatTCH said...

"Frank W. James said...

With 400,000 spectators, I believe the chance of collateral damage would be intriguing."

Dude, stop it.

No, really. STOP IT.

Unless you believe the collateral damage caused by an attempt to stop whatever behavior would warrant a rifle shot instead be allowed to happen that is.

"Collateral Damage" is a term properly used in relation to non-precise weapons. Like bombs, Arty, MG fire or flame throwers (or tear gas for the ATF).

Linking aimed fire with collateral damage really and truly is a harmful mentality.

If the pro behind the scoped rifle shouldn't be there due to concerns over collateral damage, then there sure as shit shouldn't be someone with a much more imprecise handgun down in the crowd.

Jim said...

Y'all just pray that none of those "professionals" was named Horiuchi?

Otherwise, it doesn't seem to be a bad precaution.

Sunk New Dawn
Galveston, TX

Anonymous said...

Silly me - of course it's Indy.

NotClauswitz said...

There was a view like that from a parking structure when the most recent former President came to visit Stanford towards the end of his term, and the odds were definitely not infinitesimal or non-existent of there being two men with guns in that location - more like four or five - one was in a similar position and several were on the ground. That dirty old v-8 Chevy hippie van rockin' around was not the hippies they thought they were.

Robert said...

"Linking aimed fire with collateral damage really and truly is a harmful mentality. "

Because at the first sound of a rifle shot, the crowd would not flee in panic, likely trampleing a few dozen or more as they did?

If they could hear it above the sounds of the cars that is. I didn't see a can on that rifle.

Roberta X said...

DirtCrashr: Okay, okay -- make it, "two armed individuals from opposing groups," then. Are you happy now? ;)

TomcatTCH: Um, do you know who you are taking to task?

And All: srsly, I can neither confirm nor deny the location. I wasn't there. I didn't take the photograph.

Frank W. James said...

Yes, it is Most Definitely the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, specifically; looking north from the Pagoda. You can see the short chute between turns 3 and 4. The "Press Room" is immediately below this terrace and just to the north.

Considering the cars in 'Press' lot but with the empty stands I would probably guess this was during one of the practice days or at the least a weekday prior to the 500.

It could also have been a 'test' day for NASCAR as well, but they aren't at the track as long as the open wheeled boys.

As for the complaint about 'collateral damage', like someone commented, then explain Ruby Ridge? No matter how good the shooter is, the area just below this location on race day is a constant 'sea' of humanity and a rifle shot, even a well aimed rifle shot, would be a risky undertaking, even for a world champion...

All The Best,
Frank W. James

Frank W. James said...

In re-examining the photo, it was taken early in the morning, the shadows, because the sun rises immediately to the right and it could very well have been taken on 'Race' day. I didn't notice the cars parked in the turn 3 lot until just now. That means it had to be race day for either the 500 or the Brickyard; considering the empty stands at the north I'll guess and say the Brickyard.

Oh, and because of special legislation for the Speedway, all Indiana Personal Protection Permits are null and void on IMS property, so there is no legitimate reason for anyone but uniformed or authorized law enforcement personnel for possessing a firearm of any kind at the Speedway...

All The Best,
Frank W. James

TomcatTCH said...

Yes I do Roberta, I'm taking someone who should know better to task. He seems to be assuming that Mr Sniper's rifle shot into a crowd will the be biggest threat, that it will be the spark to set off the event.

I'm not at all cool with letting the hypothetical bad guy/gun man do his thing while others fight through the crowd to get to him. Not if this would be an effective response to the bag guy/gun man.

Does anyone really believe Mr Sniper's rifle shot would be the FIRST thing to spark a panic? Based on what?

I'm of the belief that Mr Sniper in this perch would only engage a target that needed shooting. I doubt that it would be a mugger, or some jack ass with a knife or club.

Frank, do you really think Mr Sniper would engage a point target just strolling through the crowd? Why on earth would he do such a thing? Yes, it COULD happen, but an LEO in the crowd could do the same thing. Doesn't seem like much added risk.

Seriously. For what reason would Mr Sniper be likely to break the shot?

I'm not pro-government by any stretch. Hell, I default to opposing it's views and goals on the vast majority of topics. But the idea of over watch at what seems to me to be a likely target doesn't bug me at all.

Yes, the .gov has killed innocents, LOTS of innocents. My fellow citizens who didn't do a damn thing to deserve to die. But they've killed more innocents with handguns at close range than with precision rifle fire.

"They might hit someone besides the target". We hear that from the anti-gunners after every damn mass shooting in regards to armed private citizens being able to stop the killings.

It's BS from the anti-gunners, and it's BS from our side.

Frank W. James said...

Tomcat: Keep drinking the kool-aid...

All The Best,
Frank W. James

Kristophr said...


No legal reason. Not "No legitimate reason".

I CCWed for years before my state got a must issue law.

TomcatTCH said...

What kool-aide?

Come on, let's play hypothetical here.

What conditions/reasons would Mr Sniper take a shot?

How would the after math of those conditions be worse than his not taking the shot?

How would Mr Sniper acting badly be worse than Mr LEO in the crowd acting badly?

TomcatTCH said...

And Ruby Ridge wasn't collateral damage any more than Waco was. Deliberate malice is not collateral.

NotClauswitz said...

I'm just sayin' where the Prez goes there too goes mucho armmamento.

Frank W. James said...

Tomcat: First of all, I'm not going to belabor this thing but for a LE shooting to withstand review, especially one involving a sniper rifle, the shooter has to demonstrate he was qualified to make the shot taken, so for the legal review, both criminal and civil, that would surely follow such a 'hypothetical', consider the following for this photo:

1. The shooting platform is at least 120 feet, if not higher, above the surrounding terrain, does his log book show he's duplicated that 'shot' in training in terms of height, angles and wind velocities?

2. It's hard to tell from the photo, but the rifle looks to be a bolt action with a medium length receiver, meaning it's probably chambered for .308 Win., but it could be a long receiver in .300 Win. Mag., in either case, from this location and in this situation his closest shot will be no nearer than 200 yards and could be out to 600 yards or far further, does his log book show his scores and wind experiences at these extended distances as does his training jacket?

3. If the shooter is using the standard police duty 168 gr. Gold Medal match or 173 gr. Gold Metal Match, there is high probability of complete penetration of the target (?) media, even at these distances, what happens to the people BEHIND the target?

4. Granted I don't know a whole lot about law enforcement precision marksmanship, but I've been around enough to know when certain groups are 'posturing' and having 'fun' with the situation.

Because to require even a world champion rifleman to make a shot at these distances and under these conditions with 130,000 to 400,000 innocent bystanders in the immediate area is seen only in films and television. It's NOT the kind of stuff an LE administrator uses to build a career. Just ask the guy who was at Waco...

All The Best,
Frank W. James

Roberta X said...

Tomcat, Frank -- I'm guessing here, but I kind of see the public-safety calculus playing out in such a way that Mr. Sniper(s) is screamin' unlikely to take a shot -- and knows it.

And though I played it as a joke, the main reason to grab the high spots and stick a guy with a gun up there is precisely to preclude ill-intentioned others from doing the same thing.

Whatever agency it was, I suspect the fellow peering through that scope knows who Lon Tomohisa Horiuchi is and in what regard he is held; he may or may not agree with it but if he can count on his fingers, he knows he's gonna need one hell of a good reason to press the trigger.

Anonymous said...

As noted, this is Indy, from the Pagoda, looking north.

That rifle looks about 20-22" and medium weight at best. The scope also appears to be middle of the road, maybe 6-20x at best, with target turrets.

Good enough to engage a target in the grandstands, but I seriously doubt that is what is being protected, or that a shot would ever be fired into a crowded grandstand. Any round common to that rig is going to pass through -minimum- a few feet of human before it stops.

More likely this is part of point defense for someone in or near the Pagoda, or maybe part of security for the parking areas and other restricted access points to the granstands.

Because if you once you have allowed the threat to get into the grandstands there isn't much a single rifleman could do.

The things I don't see that truly bother me are any sort of setup for a spotter's position, and a big detailed grid map of the area taped down by the rifle.