Last month, I wrote a post about how Better Half and I gave up on Top Shot, but continue to watch Sons of Guns for a variety of reasons mostly centering around drama, entertainment value, and genuineness.
This month, I have to admit they are starting to lose me, but not for the reasons you think.
In one episode, Will and his crew take a Mk19 40mm grenade launcher, slap a suppressor on it, and give it the ability to shoot semi-auto in addition to fully-auto. Why? Because the police apparently might need to launch a tear gas grenade into a house from hundreds of yards away, and do not want to give away their position.
Excuse me? To begin with, so far as I know, no tear gas / CS rounds are produced for the Mk19 grenade launcher, and Global Security seems to back me up – non-lethal rounds are the sole realm of the M203 and M79 40mm Grenade Launchers, which can share ammunition with each other, but not with the Mk19 (the formers’ rounds are 40x46mm, while the latter’s is 40x53mm).
So let me ask this very plainly – why does a police department need a 1,500-yard-effective-range grenade launcher that only throws out HE or HEDP rounds, no matter how "controllable" or "quiet" the device might be? So far as I know, there is no way for a non-law-enforcement-officer civilian to own such a system legally, so there is no market there, and the military is quite happy with its fully-automatic model, thankyouverymuch (and the still-in-testing replacement model is, you guessed it, fully-automatic too, and un-"suppressed" to boot), so what the hell?
Can anyone say "militarization of police"? I knew you could…
But wait. It gets better. Apparently some company wants to put machine guns on their helicopters for "clients". That article names them as "Paradigm", and another article calls them "Paragon Security", but they really seem to be Paradigm SRP, a branch of a a helicopter tour and photography company out of Houston. Yeah, that gives me some warm fuzzies… In any case, their webpage seems to just about peg the "high speed low drag" meter, but is awkwardly short on any specific information… not like I am expecting them to name their clients, or possibly even their instructors, but the webpage reads like a buzzword dictionary barfed up some HTML.
In any case, I will admit that I am not entirely up-to-date on the related laws, but I am pretty sure that the federal government generally frowns upon private organizations of almost any type weaponizing aircraft for use in America, which probably means these guys’ "clients" are operating in the Sandbox. Great, and I wish them godspeed with that.
But, from the perspective of an average viewer at home here in America, who cares? While we could potentially purchase the helicopter, and while we could potentially purchase the MAG58/M240 (assuming any were added to the civilian ownership records before 1986), we could never put them together in this kind of fashion, and even if we could, why would we not use a pre-existing solution that the military already employs in numerous aircraft, instead of some kitbashed thing that looks like a shop student’s rejected first project?
Oh, and the actual efficacy of the whole gyro-stabilized machine gun mount? Yeah, dubious, at best. It might have been arguably more accurate than a normal machine gun mount, but calling it "accurate" is a rather unnecessary abuse of the dictionary, given how much "walking the rounds onto the target" there was.
One of the primary draws of Sons of Guns, at least for me, has always been the, "Oooh, shiny!" factor, but one of the prerequisites for that reaction in me is the ability – no matter how remote – of actually owning what we are talking about. Take that ability away from me, and I might find what you are talking about academically interesting, but hardly engaging enough for me to invest an hour into.
And when you start talking about highly destructive toys I cannot own and how you are equipping local police forces with them, I start getting very concerned with your motivations, and whether or not you are aware of the larger picture, much less even looking at it.
Then there are anonymous online comments like this one, for whatever they are worth:
I’m a Police Officer in East Baton Rouge and I’ve been on the “set” (range) while they shot footage for a few shows. First of all everything is staged, nothing is “reality”. All the “customers” are set ups and not in any way shape or form a real customer their to buy any of the ridiculous triple machine guns or grab ass rocket launchers….its all preset up and the “pressure” of the time line crap is bogus as shit. Hell, their “store” isn’t even open to the public without an appointment, what kinda gun store operates that way?!?!?!
… And this really not-helpful news report:
An FBI official says a rented moving truck parked at a curb at the Dallas-Fort Worth airport caused a brief scare on the 10th anniversary of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks.
FBI official Kevin Gentry says the truck was driven by a crew member of the Discovery Channel show "Sons of Guns." Investigators were suspicious because the driver said, "I got a couple of guns," but Gentry says he was just waiting for a co-worker.
I do not know Texas’ laws regarding having firearms on airport property, but even if it is legal, might the crewperson have thought that bringing fully-automatic hardware onto an airport on the 10th anniversary of 9/11 might not be such a good idea? Guess not.
If helping the police become more like our military (which is a horrible idea if there ever is one, especially given the increasing prevalence of excessive use of SWAT raids) and fabricating things I could never hope to own are going to be come more-common themes on Sons of Guns, I will probably end up finding other things to fill up my DVR with… Time will tell.