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Machine Gun Fire From Military Helicopters Flying Over Downtown Miami 1130

Posted by timothy
from the ok-ok-the-state-is-your-friend dept.
Okian Warrior writes with word that, as of Monday evening, multiple police agencies and the military were "conducting training exercises over Miami and elsewhere in the county. The exercise includes military helicopters firing machine-gun blanks while flying over highways and buildings. This YouTube video shows helicopters strafing highways with blank rounds near the Adrian Arts center. There are reports of similar actions in Houston From the Houston article: 'if you see the helicopters or hear gunfire, it's only a drill.'" Note: this time, it's not in The Onion.
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Machine Gun Fire From Military Helicopters Flying Over Downtown Miami

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  • Provoking (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Budgreen (561093) <josh...haviland@@@gmail...com> on Tuesday January 29, 2013 @09:50AM (#42725085) Homepage
    Trying to provoke the gun nuts into attacking?
  • by lemur3 (997863) on Tuesday January 29, 2013 @10:00AM (#42725179)

    This reminds me of the 2004 incident where the bullets were live.

    somehow the pilot was miles off course when he started shooting...

    http://www.nytimes.com/2004/11/05/nyregion/05strafe.html [nytimes.com]

    The Air National Guard warplane, flying a night training mission out of Andrews Air Force Base near Washington, fired a burst of 27 rounds from its 20-millimeter cannon shortly before 10:15 p.m. as it streaked over Little Egg Harbor Township, 20 miles north of Atlantic City, New Jersey military officials said last night

  • Re:This is why (Score:5, Interesting)

    by DeDmeTe (678464) on Tuesday January 29, 2013 @10:07AM (#42725247)
    What if someone on the ground started shooting back?
  • Re:What the fuck... (Score:5, Interesting)

    by vlm (69642) on Tuesday January 29, 2013 @10:10AM (#42725297)

    This is exactly what I was thinking. Just what is it they're training for?

    Iran most likely. I recently finished "A year amongst the Persians" by edward granville brown (a (free) librivox recording) and if I were trying to pick a piece of american geography like Iran they could do worse than Houston. The miami connection is probably more to do with size/road architecture than climate. Although Miami is a 3rd world city, at least in parts, which might help with training.

  • Re:Provoking (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Joce640k (829181) on Tuesday January 29, 2013 @10:24AM (#42725483) Homepage

    With "exercises" of this nature, are you sure the gun nuts are so nuts after all?

    What possible excuse is there for doing this over civilians? I can't think of one.

    Even if this is only "training", is there no way they could have painted some roads on the ground out in the desert or something?

  • Re:Provoking (Score:5, Interesting)

    by bmo (77928) on Tuesday January 29, 2013 @10:24AM (#42725489)

    In a time before 9/11, I had this prof...

    Here in RI, we have the Scituate Reservoir, the water source for northern Rhode Island. The land surrounding it is state property. Couple this with the fact that if you grow weed on your land you lose your land (thanks Ronnie!) people either grow indoors or on state/city/town property.

    The National Guard does training flights/drug interdiction over the Reservoir property, at low level, in their ageing Hueys and Cobras. This gets neigbors irate. So much so they call up and complain.

    This is met, more often than not, with flat out denial that there are any helicopters in the area at all. "No sir, we don't have any scheduled flights there today."

    Which was responded to by my prof, who lived in the area, "So if i discharge my gun accidentally, it *won't* hit one of your aircraft? Good to know."

    Flights over his property ceased.

    This could have been just a story, but it was entertaining anyway.

    --
    BMO

  • Re:Provoking (Score:5, Interesting)

    by vlm (69642) on Tuesday January 29, 2013 @10:35AM (#42725629)

    Well, here's someone never in .mil nor looked at a map. Even wargamers know tanks are dead meat in cities under any circumstances other than a peaceful show of force, and more generally without infantry support they don't last long even in the "open" countryside. Generally speaking tanks vs infantry turns out pretty well for the infantry as a group given identical intelligence / experience / skill. Stupidity or desperation can force infantry into being slaughtered by armor, but it usually doesn't turn out that way. Basically tanks can't see very well, can only shoot in one direction (and slowly) and are remarkably fragile other than frontal armor hits where they are, admittedly, pretty much invincible. Tanks are really good at helping infantry take out a hard position like a machine gun bunker, plus or minus the bunker having some anti-tank rounds or more hilariously anti-tank minefield in the "obvious" firing positions.

    Combined arms only works if... its combined... not just merely exists or deployed separately in complete isolation

    Now what infantry really doesn't like is trained experienced snipers operating defensive at time and place of their choosing on their own very well known turf aka gun nuts.

    Also if you think the supply line for a bunch of, basically, overgrown hunters, is insecure and easy to cut, you surely have never seen an armor supply line. The best way to fight armor (and air!), if you're in no great hurry, is to hide from / avoid / ignore it and go after the fuel / food / water / supply convoys. Hmm sound like a scenario where the US has recently lost the war? A broken tank is basically useless tactically and the MTBF isn't as good as you'd like to think under combat conditions.

  • Re:This is why (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Sentrion (964745) on Tuesday January 29, 2013 @10:35AM (#42725635)

    Good point. Any time I hear how magnificent, holy, Christian, or righteous our nation is or was, I just invoke the names of many of the native American tribes who were driven into desolate reservations in deserts and badlands that white immigrants couldn't grow corn on. I love how wealthy white people complain when they lose their homes to squatters that laws such as "adverse possession" are immoral, antiquated, and should be repealed. But adverse possession is a cornerstone of our democracy. Without such laws we would have to give it all back to the people we took it from.

    It was old white men who put the 2nd amendment into the Constitution, but defending your limited rights against a powerful government is something I'll support any day. It doesn't mean that the armed citizen will always win, but arms and the potential use of force allows people a stronger negotiating position. The US Cavalry couldn't "tame" the West until the introduction of the Gattling gun, which had a higher rate of fire and ammo capacity than any over-the-counter assault rifle you can buy today.

    But if native peoples with rifles on horsebackwere no threat to US interests then I guarantee we would not have so many treaties that are still in effect today. Many people don't realize that on native lands state law does not apply. Reservations function as independent nations except that only Federal laws are enforced, and even such Federal enforcement is very rare.

  • Re:What the fuck... (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Rockoon (1252108) on Tuesday January 29, 2013 @10:58AM (#42725887)

    Generally the "don't spend my money"ers are actually "don't spend my money except on things that cause violent death"ers.

    Generally the people that try to downplay how much money we are spending, by attacking other people, don't actually know the enormity of the spending and thusly don't give a shit that their partisan antics are a dangerous public menace.

    Total government spending in the United States has grown to $6.2 trillion (2012), and with ~115 million households thats ~$54000 per household.

    The median income for those 115 million households was $53000.

    I used the word 'enormity', but really it does not encompass the problem here. The government spends more per household than the median income of households.

    While you sit there being a partisan dickhead, the most important problem that we face today goes completely unnoticed by you. If there were an official definition of 'ignorant douche' you would be it.

  • Re:Provoking (Score:2, Interesting)

    by interkin3tic (1469267) on Tuesday January 29, 2013 @11:01AM (#42725923)
    They're also armed with an irrational belief that God is on their side, and a death wish. Small arms and IEDs in the hands of an insurgent force who ISN'T fighting out of insanity? Not going to last that long. Iraq's army crumbled quickly.

    Maybe I'm being wildly optimistic, but I'd hope most gun owners would realize that the voting box and soapbox are their main two lines of defense against tyranny. The ammo box was a viable option at some point in our history. I don't know when it stopped being so, but it definitely isn't now.
  • Re:This is why (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday January 29, 2013 @11:25AM (#42726281)

    On top of that, I couldn't find any NOTAMs (notice to airmen) for pilots about the operation. You would think that notification would be required in Class B airspace, especially if gunfire was involved. Lack of communication makes this operation suspect as a "training op".

  • by 3seas (184403) on Tuesday January 29, 2013 @11:26AM (#42726297) Journal

    What is the military really preparing for? The resistance to a transition to socialism
    First there was a Republic established by the founders, then FDR finalized its transition to a Democracy and Now Obama is efforting to turn this country into Socialism.
    What good is history if you want to repeat it?
    Clearly some people know what is comming... i.e. http://www.georgia-arms.com/ [georgia-arms.com]

    Need to hear it from the horses mouth? Sign the petition and spread the word of it, like the death star petion.... just to get a response from the Obama Administartion

    No where in the Declaration of Independence, The US Constitution or Bill of Rights will you find the word "Democracy." The Founders knew better!

    "A democracy is nothing more than mob rule, where 51% of the people may take away the rights of the other 49%." — Thomas Jefferson

    "A democracy is a volcano which conceals the fiery materials of its own destruction. These will produce an eruption and carry desolation in their way. The known propensity of a democracy is to licentiousness [disregarding accepted rules or conventions] which the ambitious call, and ignorant believe to be liberty."
    — Fisher Ames

    "Democracy is the road to socialism."
    — Karl Marx (father of communism)

    "The democracy will cease to exist when you take away from those who are willing to work and give to those who would not."
    — Thomas Jefferson

    Thomas Jefferson, in a letter to Joseph Milligan in 1816, stated: "To take from one, because it is thought his own industry and that of his fathers has acquired too much, in order to spare to others, who, or whose fathers, have not exercised equal industry and skill, is to violate arbitrarily the first principle of association, the guarantee of everyone the free exercise of his industry and the fruits acquired by it."

    "It is well known that there have always been those amongst us who wish to ENLARGE the powers of the General Government, and experience would seem to indicate that there is a tendency on the part of this Government to overstep the boundaries marked out for it by the Constitution. Its legitimate authority is abundantly sufficient for all the purposes for which it was created, and its powers being expressly enumerated, there can be no justification for claiming anything beyond them. Every attempt to exercise power beyond these limits should be promptly and firmly opposed, for one evil example will lead to other measures still more mischievous; and if the principle of constructive powers or supposed advantages or temporary circumstances (9/11) shall ever be permitted to justify the assumption of a power not given by the Constitution, the General Government will before long absorb all the powers of legislation, and you will have in effect but one consolidated government." — Andrew Jackson

    And as a note for Slashdot interest see Levy's definition of Hackers ethic - http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hacker_ethic [wikipedia.org]

  • Re:Provoking (Score:5, Interesting)

    by PortHaven (242123) on Tuesday January 29, 2013 @11:29AM (#42726349) Homepage

    I had a friend who worked in a factory that built many of our combat helicopters. She said movies always frustrated her, because everyone shot at the cockpit trying to kill the pilot. She said that glass is pretty well armored against small arms fire. And that they should shoot the rotors. Rotors are fragile. If they get damaged, they become unbalanced and will tear themselves apart.

  • Re:Provoking (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday January 29, 2013 @11:35AM (#42726425)

    ask stalin how he pacified the USSR which was the heaviest armed society in the world at the time.

  • Re:Provoking (Score:4, Interesting)

    by X0563511 (793323) on Tuesday January 29, 2013 @11:45AM (#42726583) Homepage Journal

    We (civilians) already have basic drone capability - at least via RC enthusiasts. For example, my local hacker-space put together a UAV. I could easily see that being used to drop a wad of C4 (which I'm sure they could manufacture) somewhere to cause some damage.

    If the shackles were removed (law enforcement and FAA) I'm sure progress in this area would speed immensely. Especially given suitable need.

  • Re:Provoking (Score:4, Interesting)

    by demonlapin (527802) on Tuesday January 29, 2013 @01:54PM (#42728625) Homepage Journal
    What was he supposed to do? Stop reading to the kids, stand up, and say "Children, I must save the United States! Begone!"? Or, "Aircraft have hit the World Trade Center, we don't know anything else, we don't know why"? The only important order that day was the one that grounded all flights immediately, given by the head of the FAA.

    Look, just because you can't figure out that there might have been a real geopolitical reason to invade Iraq doesn't mean there wasn't one. See, we were already in Afghanistan at the time. And Iraq was totally a target of opportunity - we had a very good excuse to invade them, and they just happened to be the country on the other side of Iran, which was the one we wanted to operate against anyway (because it's definitely operating against us) but didn't have an excuse to invade. The original Afghan campaign was a brilliant piece of work, and if we hadn't let the fucking nannies get involved (oh no! don't let them grow drugs on their land! make them grow something that earns a third as much, that will work!) it would have continued to work. The point of Afghanistan wasn't to take the country - you can't - it was to deny it to the Taliban, which is a small and sensible goal that actually could be accomplished. Iraq turned out badly, but it wasn't without its successes - it certainly brought Libya to heel. And yes, we did it to help protect the Saudis, who are disgusting human beings who nonetheless control a vital component of the world economy. Well, they did. With fracking and oil sands, it is increasingly looking like North America is the energy capital of the world, so we can ignore those thugs and let them go on ahead with what amounts to the Wars of the Ottoman Succession.
  • Re:Provoking (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Applekid (993327) on Tuesday January 29, 2013 @02:04PM (#42728787)

    Breaking my rule responding but how many in the military do you think will carry out orders to attack and kill American citizens?
    I know the oath they and I took says to defend the constitution not trample all over it.

    If it came down to that I think a lot would develop a backbone and "just say no" as it is their families and friends in the kill zones also.

    100%.

    All that has to be done is declare those American citizens terrorists. Or drug dealers. Or pedophiles. If all your squad mates go along with it, or at least you think they will, you will too or else YOU will be appropriately labelled. That's the power of mob mentality, and the secret motivation behind "we're just following orders." Because if you stand alone you get a bullet in your back. It's a brotherhood, right? You gotta trust your team?

  • Re:Provoking (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Areyoukiddingme (1289470) on Wednesday January 30, 2013 @12:44AM (#42734809)

    If it comes to the point of a civil war, the people involved with the most guns are people precisely like you: people with both training and actual combat experience. There are more ex-military than there are military, so even without a single active military defection (probability zero), there will still be more of you than there are of them. It will be people like you who are doing the fighting, because you have decided the people giving orders have well and truly gone completely batshit insane and thrown out the Constitution.

    At which point, there will be very few operational tanks left, in short order. YOU have training for how to deal with tanks, supported by infantry or not. Yes, the modern Abrams is a tour de force of technology. Its armor is so ridiculously effective that the story of an Abrams attempting to destroy another, disabled Abrams and FAILING has been heard even on Slashdot. But they are still vulnerable. The machine guns have only so many rounds, and they will run out of rounds long before the opposition runs out of bedsheets (or whatever gimmick you thought up).

    Or perhaps you don't have training for how to deal with tanks. I find that odd. Because there wasn't anything goofy about his "the real fun begins" statement. Sure, it's damn hard to break through tank armor with kinetic rounds. So duh, don't attack them kinetically. Attack them chemically.

    Thermite is trivial to make in large quantities in any machine shop, and no armor in the world will stop it if you have enough of it. But you don't even have to get that exotic. Napalm or something that acts just like it is even more trivial to manufacture, and in truly vast quantities. Disable the front and rear tanks in a column in tight quarters and they're sitting ducks to be coated in as much napalm as you can loft at them. Will it kill them immediately? No. Will they break down buildings and escape from the column? Some of them will. Some of them who try will get stuck in basements, nose in a hole. (Yes the tank commanders are supposed to know better, but mistakes will be made.) And all of them will be radically reduced in capability. No, you're not going to burn through the hull with napalm, but you're going to completely disable the thermal imaging sensors instantly, and utterly destroy them shortly thereafter. Likewise the robotic aiming system for the machine guns is going to go out fairly quickly too. Hell, the weapon itself is likely to be disabled when the heat starts to distort the shell casings of its own ammunition, jamming it. And eventually, you will kill the tank, simply by cooking its occupants.

    No, the tanks are not an issue. The tanks can be taken out with materials available at your local gas station and warehouse, delivered with nothing more sophisticated than muscle power. Add a delivery system even a tiny bit more sophisticated than muscle power (like say a pump and a hose, activated remotely) and you dramatically improve the survivability of the attackers, too.

    No, the problem would be all the shit that flies. A handgun isn't going to hit much of anything in the air and the number of people capable of hitting even a low-flying drone with a rifle is pretty damn small too. Anti-aircraft guns aren't all that effective even when professionally made, and they have serious problems with ceilings. And missiles are anything but easy to build. No, I wouldn't worry about tanks. UAVs, on the other hand...

    But again, you're stupid if you're trying to attack them kinetically. So there's a UAV after you. Jam the fuck out of its control systems. Any ham radio operator worth his callsign could deafen a drone long enough to crash it. A really good one can probably confuse it enough to induce a crash. And now you have missiles of your own, to use on the tanks. Ok, so you don't have the codes to arm and fire it conventionally, but you might be able to jerry-rig something if you spend enough time with the wirecutters. Failing that, you still have the warhead. Extra

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