I fancy that I’m a cautious sort of fellow, that is to say I am wary for, and take pains to preserve my personal safety. I can say this now, after a ten-year departing bout from the military of being anything but timid and, well… pusillanimous. Thank you ring game ‘Minister’s Cat’ for gifting me with that choice word to replace the word ‘sissy’.
The subject arises in light of the recent and mysterious account of Sophia Wilansky, who was gravely wounded by what her supporters are describing as a police riot-control concussion grenade, one that quite alledgedly blew a substantial length of humerus from her left arm. The style of concussion grenade with even a remotely similar potential, well it never really existed at all; pure hogwash and poppycock, if I may indulge in a few words of color, as they prefer to be called these days.
Let’s harness some essential facts to support or dispel that story, with a little insight from Ice-G (yours truly).
FACT: Ice-G has a STUPID amount of experience with concussion grenades of all makes and models, so much so that he (Ice-G) should probably not even be with us today. Suffice it to say that this cat squandered away eight of his lives on bangers. Flash-Bangs that is, swimmin’ pools, movie stars…
The backstory to the concussion-type device, one in whose genre we can include the venerable flash-bang, is to the effect: they were used by police and the like, as well as select Special Operations Forces charged with Close Quarters Battle. (CQB).
At the very kernel of the operating system that governs the use of flash-bangs, is the notion that you can throw a flash-bang into a room ahead of you to stun/confuse/blind the enemy, to give you a leg up on an assailant that may well just be sitting in the room with his weapon trained on the door, waiting for you to stumble in.
Flash-bangs are recognized by SOF sure, because they are less-than-lethal devices, which means an Operator can go into the room WITH the flash-bang, not after it. Are you tracking? I will throw my flash-bang into a room, and follow it in there, slinging Pb as I go.
FACT: old-school SWAT-T (MK-141) flash-bangs can blow your hand completely off of your body, should you of sound and cop-esthetic mind choose not to throw it away immediately upon pulling the pin and letting the spoon fly.
In even the older school days, prior to modification, the head of the ‘banger’ was made of metal, therefore posed a primary projectile hazard. We simple subscribed to the notion of reasonable expectation of absorbing the projectile into our bodies for a percent of events. We embraced (begrudgingly) the theory of ‘big sky; little bullet.’ In my day I enjoyed the modification to the SWAT-T banger, that popped the metal head off and away from the body just a fraction of a second prior to the main blast.
Case Study: When big sky is not quite big enough. My brother Kenan F. took to construction of an explosive breaching charge to blast through a brick wall, fording access into an adjacent structure. A wall breaching charge for brick is a spirited charge, indeed! Kenan emplaced the charge, identified a shallow standing cover several feet away from the charge, fired the charge and dashed to his refuge.
There, the brave Kenan flattened himself to the wall like an octopus, pulling as much of his body behind the steel wall beam he sought for cover. As bad luck would have it, approximately two inches of commando Kenan’s Behindus Maximus was indeed protruding exposed from behind the steel beam. As worse luck would have it, a one-inch by one and half-inch shard of steel launched itself from the blast and headed straight for Kenan’s Buttoxus Assanine, at approximately 26,000 feet per second, where it lodged itself broadside several inches in his Rectosaurus Rex.
“Ow” the good Kenan F. did boisterously exclaim. He went into surgery to have the fragment removed. The fragment of steel was clear and silver on one side, on the other, the side that impacted him, had woodland BDU camouflage pattern burned into it that it took with it as it passed through Kenan’s combat trousers.
“Did you have anything else in your ass, Kenan?” I joked with him as he showed it to me. He shook his head no. “Ah, just the chunk of steel then.” I teased as he limped away. Henceforth that wall breaching charge became known as the ‘Kenan F. Ass Charge.’ He did us proud.
Beyond the many maims I have witnessed from the SWAT-Ts of yore, I have two stories I will tell you, depicting the destructive power of the Crash-Bang, as my West Coast SEAL bros call them.
The Science Experiment:
It was in an old deactivated high school campus in downtown New Orleans. The campus was condemned, and marked for demolition, so it was ours to do with as we pleased. We ran cycle after cycle (after cycle) of CQB through the complex. At one point my team and I were held up in what had obviously been a science classroom. There at the head of the classroom was a huge oak desk and counter with built-in sink, plumbed to a tap, and many drawers and cabinets. It was a science teachers palatial estate of endeavor!
“Sam, know what would be cool?”
“Geo, every time you start a conversation with that phrase, something bad happens.”
“Hear me out, Oh ye of little faith; I’m going to pop a banger into the top drawer of this desk, then dive into the next room. Sam took refuge as I rehearsed several times the motion I would take to fire the banger and run. “Here goes!” I announced to Sam as I pulled the pin.
With a near continuous motion I stuffed the banger into the top drawer, shoved it closed, and dove into the next room with a harem of hardwood oak splinters around me. Sam and I traded a regretful glance as I picked myself off the floor. Inside the science room there was nothing remaining of the desk’s base structure. The heavy granite counter top was laying upside down on pupil desks. There was no recognizable piece of oak left of the desk and all drawers were shattered to pieces. The sink lay close by, water squirting from the fractured plumbing.
“Well Sam, that’s why we need to conduct these experiments, so we truly understand the potential of our equipment, ya know?”
“Yes, well you certainly proved that, Geo.” Boys will be boys, I often say; and they will continue to do so well into manhood.
The Thrust Experiment:
This even took place on a demolition range, practicing explosive breaching against various composite doors, and entering on top of a banger. That is: build charge, emplace charge, stack team on door, blow open door, enter room.
That’s when I happened…
I couldn’t help but notice an empty 55-gallon drum nearby. The gears in my brain strained against their prolonged inactivity, releasing chalkboard scratching shrieks as they broke free of their rusty constraints, and began to turn.
“Say guys, know what would be cool?” I started, as Sam began to nervously back up towards our team van.
“George, that phrase makes me nervous, especially coming from you,” Guy Cutino lamented.
“Ok, well here’s the deal: If I place a banger under this 55-gallon drum… who says that the drum will not move, who says it will actually lift the drum off of the ground, and who says that it will knock the drum over completely?” I challenged.
Each brother owned their choice of the three outcomes I proposed, as I fixed a banger securely to a chunk of scrap metal grate, with a lanyard attached to the pin. This allowed me a few feet of standoff from the detonation, so I could comfortably jog off.
“Ready? Five… four… three… two… one…” I pulled and jogged toward the lads.
KAH-BOOOM!!! and the drum shot up into the air. It just kept going and going (and going).
Then the unspeakable happened.
The drum rose higher into the sky, and then we lost it in the sun. With panicking feet we tried vainly to shield the sun from our eyes to divine just where the hell the drum would impact. Every man darted a different direction. When the drum came down we just blinked at each other, thoroughly mystified.
“I’m grabbing the camcorder!” I announced “We have to record this and show the rest of the squadrons.” We all chipped in and recreated the Thrust Experiment next to a five-story CQB building nearby, to give the drum’s flight some gage of altitude. With the rig set to fire a second time, Sam rolled the camera and called out to me: “…and action!” with the camcorder against his shooting eye.
KAH-BOOM!!! the Eagle left its launch pad and again sailed up, and over the height of the five-story, before it came to a crash to Earth. This second shot had not gone up as high. The reason, we saw was clear that the blast had this time blown the seam out of the bottom of the drum, allowing some of the thrust to escape.
In fact Sam had not been back far enough, and the drum sailed out of the picture frame. All the squadrons showed our video at first opportunity to gather together in the formal forum of a classroom environment. “What even made you think to try that, Geo?” my Troop Leader asked. “Boys will be boys, sir,” was all I offered in return.
Bangers are no more, what they once were. They were just so cotton-picking dangerous. Today bangs from my perspective… well, I would almost classify them as ‘attention getters’ rather than a deterrent. Think about this: if one person ever got a serious injury from a law enforcement-employed device to the extent that beatnik-ass Wilansky claims she got, well… that could happen exactly one time, and one time only.
The more burning questions in my mind is: why is the little hipster not under arrest right now, and in a prison hospital for felony attempt to harm a peace officer. Bros and sis’s… the device the misguided little cretin was messing with was aimed at the police, and as she soundly demonstrated—and thank you BTW, Ms. Wendy—was a lethal device; oh fudge if it back-fired on her.
Her story is pretty quiet, don’t you think? What, do you get a pass for attempted murder if you (BKSE)fucked(BKSE) yourself up in the process of trying? Is there a pass for you if you’re a young white female who always gets As in science and home-ec? Or is it that girls, well… they just wanna have fu-un? What’s going on here, sports fans? Houston… we have a problem.
Featured image courtesy of Reuters