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Massad Ayoob on Guns

Want to Comment on a blog post? Look for and click on the blue No Comments or # Comments at the end of each post.

Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

Massad Ayoob


Thursday, August 10th, 2017

Having recently entered the last year of my seventh decade, I am feeling my age.  The good news: every day, there are more younger women.

Mas and Friends in WA

I love my job.


The bad news: there ain’t much opportunity for men my age to take advantage of that. Unless the  younger women are, oh, 67 or 68.


Here is how guys my age like to think younger women look at us…

Ida Mae Astute/ABC via Getty Images


Or like this


But here is how I think younger women actually perceive a relationship with someone my age.

Massad Ayoob


Monday, July 17th, 2017

…you walk into the bathroom and realize she has opened a portal to hell in the toilet.

It turns out that it’s a device called a IllumiBowl available from  Yes, the colors are optional and changeable.

And people say, “She was so nice when I met her. Why do you call her the Evil Princess?”

Well, now you know.

I had to remind her that frightening old men is a hate crime.

(Or at least, should be…)


Photo of the Illumibowl unit.

The Illumibowl

Massad Ayoob


Thursday, May 25th, 2017

Tonight at 9PM Eastern on Investigation Discovery, the focus of the case will be the Spencer Newcomer shooting and murder trial in Pennsylvania.

It will be interesting to see how the show treats this.  Marty Hayes, no stranger to readers here, was expert witness for the defense and did a superb job.  I am more than passingly familiar with this case, and I believe the jury’s acquittal, rendered in five hours of deliberation after a week of trial, was absolutely the correct verdict.

Lots of lessons in this one.  You can listen to Spencer describing the whole ordeal in detail at one of my annual MAG-40 classes in Harrisburg, PA on the ProArms Podcast.


Massad Ayoob


Thursday, May 11th, 2017

For months now since I got my early review copy, I’ve been keeping my promised silence, but now at last Stephen Hunter’s latest book “G-Man” is going to officially go on sale May 16.  I can only say – read it!

Regular readers here know I’m a huge fan of Hunter’s work.  He gets the gun stuff right.  He gets the characters right, too.  

In “G-Man,” Hunter creates a character who is a fictional composite of the great manhunters of the early ‘30s who hunts down folks from the Dillinger gang and, in the alternate universe of fiction, ends up facing Baby Face Nelson.

If you’re an NRA member, you’ve seen the current issue of American Rifleman magazine that has Hunter’s superb article on the shootout in Barrington, Illinois in which two federal agents and Nelson killed each other.  Having accessed hitherto unpublished investigative reports on that shooting, Hunter believes Nelson used a Colt Monitor – the civilian version of the BAR, the Browning Automatic Rifle – in that gun battle.  In the novel, however, Nelson is armed for that encounter with the Thompson submachine gun that most historians believed he used in that fight.  My own research, without benefit of the material Stephen accessed, had pointed more toward a .351 Winchester customized by “gunsmith to the outlaws” Hyman Lebman.

Fiction demands the proverbial willing suspension of disbelief.  Bring some of that to the book, and you’ll love it.  Based on the considerable amount that is known of the gunmen involved, Hunter brings them compellingly to life in “G-Man.”

From the reviewer’s side, I was born in 1948. Both my parents, like all of America during the Depression years, had watched the wild ride of all those early ‘30s “celebrity criminals” like Dillinger and Nelson.  I remembered reading about them in my mom’s detective magazines, which were popular in the ‘50s.  Dillinger, Bonnie & Clyde, and Nelson met their ends from police gunfire in 1934.  Those shootings were about 20 years in the past when I first learned of them as a little boy. For perspective, the FBI shootout in Dade County, Florida in 1986 is now more than 30 years in the past, yet today are still widely cited in discussions of ballistics and tactics. So, you can see I was interested before I opened Stephen Hunter’s latest book.

I can only repeat, Read it!  It’s one of the best from one of my favorite authors, and I expect you’ll enjoy it, too.

Massad Ayoob


Saturday, April 15th, 2017

Unless you’ve been hiding from North Korean nukes incommunicado for the last few days, you’ve seen the viral video of Dr. David Dao being dragged stunned and bleeding off a United Airlines flight out of Chicago.  It seems that the plane was full and United needed to ferry four crew members to another upcoming flight out of Dr. Dao’s destination airport.  When the airline didn’t offer enough incentive for four volunteers to disembark and fly later, they arbitrarily picked four people to kick off the aircraft so they could take their seats. Three departed obediently. The physician did not, and physical violence ensues that will be an example of bad customer relations for all time.

In Chinese philosophy, “tao” has been defined as “a way, or code of behavior, that is in harmony with the natural order.”  Bloodying and physically removing a customer from a seat he has paid for is certainly not the natural order of things, even with us frequent fliers who have tales of airport frustration to tell.

Much dialogue (and many amusing memes) have ensued.  However, the most cogent commentary comes from one of the sharpest minds I’ve ever encountered in a lifetime spent in the criminal justice system, that of appellate lawyer Karl Erich Martell.  He recently wrote:

 My very first thought when I heard this story was about the economics of it, but also the psychology. I immediately remembered the book Freakonomics and thought, “If only the gate agents had presented their offer in terms of the number of people who would be inconvenienced should the flight crew not be able to be relocated.” Seriously, I think an appeal along these lines would have worked:

“Ladies and gentlemen: I need your help. I know that it’s very important that all of you get to your destinations on time, but I’d like for you to listen to our quandary and see if you’d consider helping. We have a flight crew that needs to get to Louisville right away or else their plane cannot go out. None of the people on their plane will get to their destination. I know your trip is important, but I’d like to ask you to please consider the possibility that there might be someone on the Louisville plane that has a trip that may be even more important. Maybe someone is traveling to see her dying mother and this is her last chance to see her alive. I can’t say. But I can tell you that we would be so, so grateful if you’d consider giving up your seat for one of these crew members so they will be able to fly that entire plane of passengers to their destination. And I wouldn’t ask you to do it for nothing: we will fly you to your destination tomorrow. We will pay for your hotel overnight and meals. And because we’d be so grateful, we’d like to give you $800 cash to thank you for your kindness in helping us, and helping that whole planeload of passengers.”
I’m telling you, a little applied psychology, and they would have had ten volunteers. Alas, I wasn’t the gate agent.

Here’s an economist’s blog posting on the subject – and his take on why it wouldn’t have made sense to offer more.

Me, I don’t think it would have hurt to do that before sending in the (police), but I think they could have easily gotten all the volunteers they wanted for $800 if they’d just asked the right way. People are empathetic and want to help.

To what Erich just said there, I can only say, “Amen.”  Ya think that might have been more in line with “a code of behavior that is in keeping with the natural order”?

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