My interest is generally piqued when I see such headlines as "EMS workers find arsenal" (particularly in light of Virginia Governor Tim Kaine's recent remarks about wanting to "monitor" what he refers to as "caches" of ammunition). Often, these so-called "arsenals" consist of as few as ten firearms and a couple thousand rounds of ammunition. This "arsenal" in Connecticut sounded a bit more interesting (at least at first).
NEW BRITAIN - A 55-year-old city man is in police custody after officers allegedly found 36 weapons, including machine guns, grenades and bomb-making materials, in his Concord Street home.You don't want me to get started again about so-called "assault weapons," so I'll just try to overlook that one. Machine guns, of course, scare the living daylights out of much of our increasingly easily frightened society of sheeple, so it's no wonder that the presence of a few of those would go a long way to bestowing "arsenal" status on a gun collection--especially in a news story. The grenades and bomb-making materials did kind of get my attention. Here I was imagining blocks of C-4, detonators, maybe some detonating cord, etc. Reading on brought me to a rather different reality.
In the basement of the house, police found metal piping that could be used for making pipe bombs, police said.Yep--that's the extent of his "bomb-making materials"--some lengths of pipe. In other words, if your home has indoor plumbing, you're a potential bomb-maker. Oh, and the "grenades"--well, don't get too excited.
Officers also found at least 10,000 rounds of ammunition, empty grenade shells and body armor, police said.His "grenades" were inert, hollow metal vessels--probably not something you would want dropped on your head from above, but no more likely to explode than a pipe wrench (which, I suppose, could be viewed as a "bomb-making tool").
Our arsenal owner is in trouble--he is a convicted felon, and as such, is barred from possessing any firearms (another thing you don't want to get me started on is the "logic" of judging a man to be too dangerous to be allowed to own firearms, but to allow him to live free in society--where he can easily accumulate hundreds of yards of metal piping). The machine guns were presumably not licensed as per the NFA of 1934; likewise the suppressors ("silencers" in popular parlance--which, as far as I can tell, are tightly regulated for the sole purpose of making firing ranges noisy enough that neighbors have something to complain about).
Interestingly, one of the charges he faces is "possession of body armor." Being not particularly familiar with Connecticut law, I did a bit of research to try to determine how it could be illegal to own something that has exactly zero utility for offense. From what I could determine, it turns out that body armor is legal in all fifty states (although Connecticut does impose the rather puzzling requirement that it only be sold in face-to-face transactions, rather than by mail--presumably, someone thinks that serves some purpose). The problem is that federal law prohibits felons from possessing it.
That's right--we have a federal law on the books for which the only purpose is to make people easier to kill. We're telling (supposedly rehabilitated) felons that they have a legal obligation to be penetrated by any bullet that hits them. Hell--why stop there? If we want to shorten felons' lives, there must be more effective ways to do it. We could bar them from wearing seatbelts. We could require them to smoke a pack a day (no filters allowed). Why not mandate a diet high in trans-fats for them?
When protective clothing is considered part of an "arsenal," and the possession of it is controlled by law, something about our society is severely off-kilter.