I ate my wafer...


Human Rights Watch: The good and the stupid. Part I

First, the stupid:

They buy into a rather silly proliferation of small arms and landmines argument that totally ignores the fact that both items are low tech devices that can be constructed anywhere. If the supply of weapons could, hypothetically be stopped, the demand would simply lead to local production. Fun factoid: 20% of firearms seized by the Washington D.C. police are homemade! In fact, just to see how fast it takes The Patriot Act to kick in, I?ve included some fun links for preschool children or Al Qaeda to try at home!

Land Mines:
At the crudest level, you need a sensitive, primary explosive for a detonator, typically Fulminate of Mercury or Lead styphnate and a secondary high explosive ( though I wouldn?t want to step on one with 10 pounds of black powder in it either).

So, if you bother to read the links included, you might think, but Bob, the bad evil people can?t just dial up Fischer Scientific and buy a big pile of Nitric and Sulfuric acid, etc, etc. Well, they don?t need to, it is pretty trivial to synthesize Nitric acid from ammonia, and Sulfuric acid from cupric sulfate. Or, the lazy can buy a couple of car batteries for the acid and use the lead plates to make Lead styphnate.

Small Arms Ammunition
Not all that complicated, merely a different application of the simple chemistry above. Nitrocellulose gun powder is cake to synthesize! Primers require a VERY small amount of lead styphnate.

Want to make a Rocket Propelled Grenade?
Well, your average third world chemist can cook up some TNT or picric acid for the primary explosive, nitrocellulose or black gunpowder for the rocket propellant....

I?ve rather exhaustively covered making actual firearms before, but I have a fun and new factoid for those who will be traveling via air in the near future! It would be the relative easy to build crude non-metallic firearms. (Attention Ashcroft and Friends, this is not a new idea, in fact, I think that it is mentioned in a mid-1980?s Gun Digest) I basically assume that the people that hate me have at least as much engineering backround as I do, so this wouldn?t take much work: buy high strength ceramic tubing or Polyimide off the shelf, buy matching, but much softer ceramic solid rod that fits it. Machine the ceramic rod into rocket ball style projectiles. Since the tubing is going to be highly stressed, possibly wrap it with epoxy and glass fibers. Consider a multiple barrel weapon with electric ignition for reliability/ fatigue concerns. Keep electric ignition parts separate...say, inside a walkman. Voila, a non-metallic gun with only off the shelf parts.

So, Human Rights Watch and their friends have the proliferation of arms issue totally wrong...Part II will cover what l like about HRW.