The New Hampshire State Veterans Cemetery is in Boscawen, NH, a small town just north of Concord, our state capital. Kevin had always wanted to be laid to rest in a veterans cemetery, and we’re lucky to have the NHSVC so close.
We had Kevin’s remains cremated and placed in a columbarium at the cemetery, and I’d invite you to pay a visit if you’re ever up in the Granite State. You’ll find his marker in section A7L, Row E, Site 3. (This location will make sense when you are there, and they have resources to help you find a particular marker.)
Kevin’s marker is among many others, and I can imagine him having endless, rolling conversations with his neighbors. They probably would have liked each other. There’s Louis M. Chartrand, who served in the US Air Force In Korea and lived to be 84. The inscription reads “God has you in his arms. We have you in our hearts.” And Gerald S. Sturdee, who served in Vietnam. He was a loving family man and friend. They had a good run.
Here’s Jacqueline D. Crawford, about whom I would love to learn more. She was an ensign in the Navy in World War II and a “Beloved Wife, Dear Mom, Hero, Gramma, Meme, Nurse and Friend,” and lived to be 96.
And here’s Paul J. Wojcik, US Navy, 1939-2017, whose inscription reads “Gone fishing, so long.” Did he write that himself? Would that surprise you?
Kevin never told us what he wanted for an inscription, so we had to write it ourselves. And so he is: Beloved son, brother, uncle, teammate and friend. And I think he’s probably happy with that.
It won’t shock you to know that Kevin had a lot of firearms, firearm accessories, knives, bayonets, swords and other military memorabilia.
As we have been cleaning out his house to get it ready for sale this fall, we are selling most of his collection on consignment through Original Bobs Shooting Range & Gun Shops in Seabrook, NH and Salisbury, MA (http://originalbobsshootingrange.com).
There are also two Class 3 firearms that will be made available for sale by MAC Tactical (http://www.mactactical.com/).
This means you have a chance to get something to remember him by. All of these items are for sale NOW or in the near future. Some of them may be gone already. Please contact Original Bob’s or MAC Tactical directly if you are interested. Remember, MAC only has the Class 3’s – everything else is at Original Bob’s.
At the bottom of this post will be a list of his firearms. Original Bob’s has a lot of other items and knows what comes from “The Collection of Kevin O’Brien.”
Now before you ask, yes, I am keeping some of his stuff. But there was never a possibility that I would keep any weapons. I’m not a “weapons man” myself and I would prefer to see his weapons and related items in the hands of people who would enjoy them.
Some of the other most personal items have been distributed to his closest friends. Just the other day the helicopter chair (remember that?) left Kevin’s house for its new home in the Lakes Region of NH. It now belongs to a good friend who served with Kev. Other stuff that honestly holds no sentimental value is going to be sold at an “estate sale” on Saturday, September 9th. Most of his books are going to team members and friends.
I’m keeping all the airplane parts, all the tools, all the “active” computers, a few oddities (did you know Kevin had a recumbent bike?) and a few practical items. I am keeping his diplomas and other military records, his dress uniform, beret and dog tags.
But that leaves a lot for Weaponsman readers, if you want. And somebody else will buy and enjoy whatever is left!
Class 3 – Kahr Auto Ordnance M1A1 Thompson SBR SN KC6544
Hi guys. Sorry I haven’t written in a while, but I do want to let you know that your last chance to RSVP for Kevin’s Celebration of Life is this Sunday, June 4th. We have to provide a final count to Abenaqui the following day. The Celebration itself is Sunday, June 11.
RSVP by sending an email, subject line “RSVP”, with the number in your party, to firstname.lastname@example.org.
There will be future blog posts concerning a) the future of the blog, b) a scholarship that has been established in Kevin’s name, c) his unpublished material (there’s a lot of it!), d) his final resting place and e) anything else that comes up. I have ideas for all these things except e), which is an unknown unknown, as Donald Rumsfeld might say. I will be interested in your input!
Blogging was a full-time profession for Kevin, but I have an entirely different full-time job that requires a lot of attention, that’s why you haven’t heard a lot from me lately.
As always, thanks and love to the Weaponsman community.
Hi all. Sorry for the delay in updating. We have been moving forward on a bunch of things.
First of all, if you are planning to attend Kevin’s celebration of life on Sunday, June 11, in Rye, NH, and you haven’t RSVPed, please do so by sending an email (subject line: RSVP) to email@example.com. I have a feeling there are many people who are planning to attend but haven’t RSVPed. (And just a reminder, everyone in the Weaponsman community is invited.)
Second, if you know somebody (maybe another teammate) who has mentioned that he is coming, but is not a Weaponsman reader, tell that person to RSVP.
I don’t think Kevin mentioned it much in the blog, but in the last few years, he had become interested in cooking. This is the guy who thought “oven” was always preceded by “microwave” up until about 2012. He really liked cooking for other people and did some interesting experiments. They didn’t all work, but he made up for the occasional error by always making a lot of food. Sunday dinner at our house might be burgers and tater tots. Dinner at his house was a seven-course extravaganza.
My point is that he would really feel bad if people came to his party and there was nothing to eat. So RSVP!
Now for some bullet points.
We got to visit Zac (Small Dog) yesterday at his new home. He’s doing great! My sister-in-law and her husband, who are wonderful people, have a lot of experience with dogs and they’ve made him very comfortable and happy. How much does he remember about his life with Kevin? Hard to say. But I hope he’ll always remember, at least a little.
We really need to get in touch with a friend of Kevin’s named Joseph Cunningham. If any of you folks know Joseph, would you please ask him to reach out to me through the firstname.lastname@example.org email address?
Does anybody have a simple way of getting a copy of a DD-214? We can’t find Kevin’s.
It may take a while, but we expect Kevin’s final resting place to be at the New Hampshire State Veterans Cemetery, which is in Boscawen, NH.
I’m now updating the blog with my own account, which is awesome.
Keep the pictures and stories coming, and if you’re coming June 11, don’t forget to RSVP!
Update on Kevin’s Celebration, future of the blog, and more
Hi all friends of Kevin, I have some updated information you will want to read.
First, I’m gratified by the number of people who have written some variation of “Don’t take down the blog!” It’s great that you believe his work should be preserved online. So we will find a way. Rest assured that absolutely nothing will happen to the current blog for at least a month. It seems to me the obvious choices are a) keeping it alive at weaponsman.com and b) handing the content over to one of the many tech-savvy folks who have commented.
I’m doing this because it’s the right thing to do, not because I’ve been intimidated by hundreds of people with military training and serious firepower. Heh.
We will need a firm headcount to provide Abenaqui. So when you know you can make it, please email email@example.com with “RSVP” in the subject line. Let us know how many people will be in your party.
This is also a great opportunity to meet new friends with shared interests or reunite with old friends. My wife and I will be hosting an informal get-together at our house the day before and you are all invited to that.
I would not be at all surprised to see some of you guys plan other informal meets. Will you let me know about them (where and when)? I’ll try to stop by.
The New Hampshire seacoast is absolutely beautiful and is a popular tourist destination in the summer. This is my way of telling you to book your hotel early. We may also be able to provide “sleeping bag” accommodations at Kevin’s house. We can provide advice about things to do, where to eat, etc., for anyone who asks.
Finally, I missed some opportunities to thank people. Obviously I’m grateful to all of you for your support and love of Kevin. The doctors and medical staff at Portsmouth Regional Hospital did their very best to stabilize Kevin when he was first brought in last Friday afternoon. The doctors and medical staff at the Shapiro Cardiovascular Center at Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston did their very best to save Kevin’s life, and when we all realized that would not be possible, they were supportive and kind with us until the end.
Weaponsman commenter Mike_C is actually “Dr” Mike_C, a trained cardiologist and internist who does medical research in Boston. He gave up his Easter Sunday to join my dad and me at the Shapiro Center and explained everything.
That’s all for now. Hope you can join us for June 11!
I’m sorry to have to tell you all that my brother Kevin O’Brien, host of this blog, passed away peacefully this morning at Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston.
Let me start with some housekeeping. First, the email address firstname.lastname@example.org remains active and you may get more and better updates there. I say this because frankly I’m having trouble posting here. I don’t know Kevin’s WordPress password and I’m afraid that if I restart his computer, I will not be able to post any more because the password will not autofill. Therefore I can’t guarantee I will be able to make more updates on the blog.
We are planning a celebration of Kevin’s life for all of his friends some time in early to mid-June, here in Seacoast NH. I will have details in a couple of days. All those who knew and loved Kevin, including all Weaponsman readers, are welcome, but we will need an RSVP. Again, I will make details available to those who write to email@example.com. This is not restricted to personal friends of Kevin, but space will be limited, and we will not be able to fit everyone. It will be a great opportunity to share memories of Kevin.
We will be looking for stories and pictures of Kevin! Please send to the email address.
Finally, you should know that Small Dog, whose real name is Zac, has found a home with other relatives of ours. Of course the poor guy has no idea what has happened to his beloved friend but his life will go on.
Now I’d like to tell you more about Kevin and how he lived and died. He was born in 1958 to Robert and Barbara O’Brien. We grew up in Westborough, Mass. Kevin graduated from high school in 1975 and joined the Army in (I believe) 1979. He learned Czech at DLI and became a Ranger and a member of Special Forces.
Kevin’s happiest times were in the Army. He loved the service and was deeply committed to it. We were so proud when he earned the Green Beret. He was active duty for eight years and then stayed in the Reserves and National Guard for many years, including a deployment to Afghanistan in 2003. He told me after that that Afghan tour was when he felt he had made his strongest contribution to the world.
Kevin worked for a number of companies after leaving active duty. He had always loved weapons, history, the military, and writing, and saw a chance to combine all of his interests by creating Weaponsman.com. I think the quality of the writing was what always brought people back. Honestly, for what it’s worth, I have no interest in firearms. Don’t love them, don’t hate them, just not interested. But Kevin’s knowledge and writing skill made them fascinating for me.
Kevin and I really became close friends after our childhood. We saw each other just about every day after he moved to a house just two miles away from mine. In the winter of 2015, we began building our airplane together. You could not ask for a better building partner.
Last Thursday night was our last “normal” night working on the airplane. I could not join him Friday night, but on Saturday morning I got a call from the Portsmouth Regional Hospital. He had called 911 on Friday afternoon and was taken to the ER with what turned out to be a massive heart attack. Evidently he was conscious when he was brought in, but his heart stopped and he was revived after 60 minutes of CPR. He never reawakened.
On Saturday, he was transported to Brigham and Women’s where the medical staff made absolutely heroic efforts to save his life. Our dad came up on Sunday and we visited him Sunday, Monday, and today. Each day his condition became worse.
As of last night, it was obvious to everyone that he had almost no chance of survival; and that if he did by some chance survive, he would have no quality of life. Kevin’s heart was damaged beyond repair, his kidneys were not functioning, he had not regained consciousness, and he had internal bleeding that could not be stopped. We made the decision this morning to terminate life support.
I’m not crying tonight. I got that out on Saturday. What I feel is a permanent alteration and a loss that I know can never be healed. I loved Kevin so much. He was brilliant, funny, helpful, kind, caring, and remarkably talented.
At dinner tonight, we agreed that there are probably many people who never “got” Kevin, but there could not be anyone who disliked him. Rest in Peace.
Please feel free to express your thoughts in the comments and to the firstname.lastname@example.org email address.
Hi, this is Brendan, Hognose’s brother. I wanted to let you know that Hognose is dealing with a serious medical situation and has had to step away from the blog. He cannot answer email or texts or take calls at this time.
I am not planning to post or moderate comments during this time and I will not be providing details here.
Hognose loves you guys, but I feel certain he would not want all the details of his situation shared with everyone. However, I do want to reach out to his many friends who know him beyond his status as a blogger, especially anyone who comes here and served with him in the Army or knows him from one of his many other activities over the years.
For that reason, I have set up an email account at email@example.com. Please email to that account if you are a personal friend of Hognose’s. You can prove this by including his first and last name and a detail about how you know each other. I will write back with more detail.
Please respect his and my wishes and:
Do email firstname.lastname@example.org if you are a personal friend of Hognose.
Do keep him in your prayers. His situation is really quite serious.
If you know other friends of Hognose who may not be WeaponsMan readers, please let them know they can contact me through the email address shown above.
Brendan (aka KevsBlogBrother)
The Problem of Theft from FFLs
We’ve been troubled by the apparent increase in the number of brazen FFL robberies and burglaries lately, and started tracking them to see if we were just seeing more reporting, or just seeing more spectacular thefts that got more media coverage — or whether these crimes are really up.
Well, ATF answered our question with a new report on thefts and losses from FFLs in the United States, and the answer is: hell, yes, thefts are up. In the last five years, the number of actual crimes is up 48% for burglaries and 175% (!) for robberies. Robberies are still much rarer than burglaries, because most criminals are not brazen and stupid enough to rob a place where armed people may expect them, but there were still 33 FFL robberies last year. And more guns are being taken in these thefts, too. Here’s a graphic depiction (source):
Along with the robberies and burglaries, larcenies are up. What’s a larceny? A theft that’s neither a robbery or burglary. In FFLs, these are often employee thefts — “inside jobs”. FFLs are plagued by shoplifters, but relatively few of these larcenies are that kind of theft. The shoplifters mostly steal small and highly portable items that are displayed openly, like ammunition or accessories.
There are many reasons for an upturn in FFL victimization. Crime is increasingly driven by organized gang activity, and gangs are well suited for some of the dynamic smash-and-grab burglaries we’ve seen in the last couple of years. Most gun shop burglars go uncaught, despite the common practice of rewards (usually, ATF will put up a reward and NSSF will double the money), so the probability of being caught is not much of a deterrent.
Judges and prosecutors tend to treat robberies and burglaries as beginner crimes, and “discount” them deeply, so the consequences of being caught is not a deterrent. The very large delta between burglaries and robberies may exist in part because the fear of being shot by a store owner, worker or customer, is a deterrent.
ATF is certainly more concerned this year than last. Last year’s infographic was focused on alerting FFLs to their reporting duties (source):
Reporting a lost or stolen inventory item, of course, is a lead-pipe guarantee that you will be assisted in doing 100% inventory by your friendly neighborhood Industry Operations Inspector.
The ATF is taking FFL thefts extremely seriously
Part of the ATF core mission is to protect the public from violent crime involving the use of firearms, including firearms stolen from FFLs and used by violent offenders in the commission of crimes, posing a substantial threat to the public and law enforcement.
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Losses (some if not most of which are certainly thefts, but can’t be ssr软件下载to be thefts) are up much less than thefts. Here’s the the 2015 version of those 2016 stats in the previous paragraph:
A total of 14,800 firearms were reported lost or stolen nationwide last year from FFLs. 8,637 were reported as lost. 6,163 were reported as stolen.
Tentative conclusion: thieves have found thieving effective, and will continue thieving.
There are about 140,000 FFLs, and normally IOIs only get to about 9,000 of them in any given year. Their major focus is on documentation, regulatory compliance and inventory control.
One interesting table in the report breaks down firearms lost, burgled, robbed or larcenized by type. It’s interesting to see that (as you might expect) thieves really prefer pistols. It was a surprise to us that machine guns were stolen by burglary, but an even bigger surprise that over two dozen machine guns were lost by FFLs. As the table makes clear, pistols are more likely to be stolen than lost, but more uncommon firearms are much more likely to be lost than stolen.
At least some of those gang members were bagged soon after the crime.
The tactic remains popular, as does the simple smash-and-grab, like this burglary in Montgomery County, Maryland last month:
You can find literally dozens of these videos on YouTube, and it is plausible that criminal organizations have learned and been inspired by the criminal equivalent of tactics, techniques and procedures as displayed in these shows. Note for instance that they’re gloved and masked, suggesting at least a minimal awareness of investigative techniques. They also proceed with minimal conversation.
Without knowing how many weapons the FFLs are holding, it’s not possible to develop usable rate information. That is a pity, as the ATF provides by-state breakdowns of losses and thefts that would be fascinating to compare to FFL numbers and inventory totals… but we can’t.
There are presently about 136,000 FFLs of all types nationwide. That makes these lines from the ATF report all the more interesting:
ATF data provides that the 10 FFLs with the most firearms reported in Theft/Loss Reports are associated with 2,582 firearms reported lost or stolen. This data is limited to Type 01 (Dealer in firearms other than destructive devices) and Type 02 (Pawnbroker in firearms other than destructive devices) FFLs.
ATF data provides that the 100* FFLs with the most firearms reported in Theft/Loss Reports are associated with 7,664 firearms reported lost or stolen. This data is limited to Type 01 (Dealer in firearms other than destructive devices) and Type 02 (Pawnbroker in firearms other than destructive devices) FFLs.
* There were 8 FFLs tied in the final ranking of the 100 Type 01 and Type 02 FFLs resulting in 107 total FFLs.
Using the 18,394 total loss and stolen number, then, 10 FFLs (0.0074% of the total, seventy-four ten-thousandths of a percent) were the source of 2,582 firearms, 14% of the total lost or stolen.
100 FFLs (0.0735%, seventy-three point five thousandths of a percent) were the source of 7,664 firearms, 41.67% of the total lost or stolen.
But those percentages might be meaningless… perhaps those 100 FFLs stock over 42% of the total firearms inventory? (It seems unlikely, but it’s possible).
Note that this report only counts firearms that disappear from FFL inventories. Firearms lost by or stolen from the Feds (hundreds annually), State and local Law Enforcement (thousands) and private citizens (untold tens of thousands) also swell criminal armories.
In any event, as long as hitting FFLs is rewarding for criminals, we can expect to see more of it.
The ATF .pdf report is here; their press release on it is here; ATF’s public infographics here.
How to separate the pistol’s potential from the pistolero’s: the Ransom Rest and a grip insert that fits the firearm.
There are several ways to test fire a handgun, whether for function, for accuracy, or for any kind of instrumented testing, like chronograph load development or strain-gage pressure measurement. In ascending order, these are: by hand, from an improvised rest such as a sandbag, or from a machine rest.
The best commercially available machine rest is the Ransom Rest and it has been for a long time. It is, as you might expect, premium priced, and it also takes quite a bit of installing and setting up.
Steve Sieberts has an excellent article on setting up a Ransom Rest, one we wish we’d had the first time we monkeyed with one back in 1980 or so, in the American Handgunner online.
The Ransom Rest has been around since 1969, and really is the gold standard for gun/ammo testing.
I was building a new Caspian 1911 .45 ACP last month and needed to test it, and obtained a new Ransom Rest and insert for the 1911 from the fine folks at Brownell’s. Getting the most from a Ransom Rest means building a mounting board for it, that way it can be secured to the shooting bench at your local range. Most ranges have shooting pedestals made from cinder block with a concrete top. This is a very sturdy basis for attaching the mounting board with the Ransom Rest attached.
Siebert’s setup with a target 1911. Even the trigger contact is mechanical on a Ransom.
(And no, this is not just sniveling because they don’t make an insert for the CZ-75 — they do. Like all the non-1911 non-Smith inserts, it’s a month or two special order, so you need to plan your Ransom Resting well in advance).
As for the price of the unit itself, well, that’s why they call it Ransom. The Ransom Rest, Windage Base and one set of inserts will hit you about $750 at Brownells, today. (You can save about $100 off that at Champions Choice, but we’ve ever dealt with them. They also seem to offer a different selection of inserts than Brownells). But it takes the major source of inconsistency — us humans, or as Small Dog Mk II thinks of us, Trained Feeder Monkeys — out of test firing.
The sine qua non of good results with the Rest is the setup. It has always come with good instructions, which now have a visual supplement in Siebert’s article.
Remember, you’re trying to remove as much movement as possible, in order to make sure the pistol returns to the exact same spot for each shot. If the bench you’re attaching the mounting board is wobbly, you’re just wasting your time.
via Building And Using A Ransom RestAmerican Handgunner | American Handgunner.
We don’t know how old Sieberts’s article is; for all we know, it’s as old as the Ransom itself, but really, it’s timeless.
The biggest beef we have with the Ransom is that we’re not sure where ours is. Would be a drag to replace it (although that would guarantee finding the old one). The next biggest? That there isn’t a rifle version. We haven’t found anything nearly as good for long guns.
When Guns are Outlawed, Only Outlaws will have Antifreeze
A Delaware woman proved once again that you don’t need a gun to whack somebody. All she needed was her husband’s own drug habit — injecting anabolic steroids — and common antifreeze.
(Some assembly required).
Jamie L. Baker was sentenced Thursday morning in front of nearly 50 of her husband’s family members and friends in Kent County Superior Court, according to Deputy Attorney General Jason Cohee.
What’d she do?
A 47-year-old Smyrna woman will spend 40 years behind bars for killing her husband by spiking his steroid bottles with antifreeze.
Our doctor always said steroids were bad for you, but I don’t think that this was what he had in mind.
Baker’s 42-year-old husband, James D. Baker II, was found dead Sept. 16, 2013, on the bedroom floor of their home by his wife, police said.
An autopsy found that his kidneys contained ethylene glycol, a chemical found in antifreeze that can crystallize in the kidneys and eventually kill a person if taken in small dosages.
Not only that, but once it crystallizes, it completely loses all its anti-freeze properties!
The medical examiner ruled his death a homicide by poisoning after bottles of steroids found at the scene were tested at a laboratory and found to also contain ethylene glycol.
Police later learned that James Baker, who was a competitive weightlifter, had ordered steroids in June with a friend over the internet and had them shipped to the friend’s house.
The friend told detectives that the steroid bottles were not tampered with when they arrived and that James Baker kept the steroids in a locked toolbox in a closet of his home, police said.
Famous physical security shibboleth: “locks keep honest people out.”
Almost a year after his death, Jamie Baker admitted to police in an interview that she had used a hypodermic syringe to extract antifreeze from a container stored in the garage and injected several bottles of steroids with the antifreeze, police said.
The lengthy investigation ended in March of 2014 with Baker being charged with first-degree murder and possession of a deadly weapon during a felony.
See, it’s official — antifreeze is a deadly weapon. Now the ATF has reason to shoot ssr软件下载dog. (Well, maybe not Angelenos. Do any of them have antifreeze in the garage? Doubt it.
In February, she pleaded guilty to the lesser offense of second-degree murder.
via Wife gets 40-year prison term for antifreeze killing.
Figures, an environmental type shooting himself up (and scoring a zero in spouse selection, which is a lot more common).
WeaponsMan is a blog about weapons. Primarily ground combat weapons, primarily small arms and man-portable crew-served weapons. The site owner is a former Special Forces weapons man (MOS 18B, before the 18 series, 11B with Skill Qualification Indicator of S), and you can expect any guest columnists to be similarly qualified.
Our focus is on weapons: their history, effects and employment. This is not your go-to place for gun laws or gun politics; other people have that covered.
A lot of nonsense is written about weapons, especially on the Net. Rather than rail at the nonsense, we thought we'd talk sense instead, and see how that catches on.
The Best of WeaponsMan Gun Tech
Kevin’s Final Resting Place
Something to Remember Him By
Last Chance to RSVP!
Latest Update: Please RSVP if attending Kevin’s celebration
Update on Kevin’s Celebration, future of the blog, and more
Update on Hognose
The Problem of Theft from FFLs
Setting Up and Using a Ransom Rest
When Guns are Outlawed, Only Outlaws will have Antifreeze