Gun Battles - Mark Essex

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Gun Battles - Mark Essex

Post by Stercutus » Wed May 18, 2016 10:28 am

In this thread I want to discuss a large US domestic gun battle that involved the police, criminals, victims, uninvolved third parties, and others including federal agencies and the military. In short: the worst case scenario for violence.

These larger events are very rare but when they happen they tend to involve lots of people, in several cases an entire city.

This is the Mark Essex Rampage. He is sometimes called "The Howard Johnson Sniper". Howard Johnsons was a hotel chain that was at the time the largest in the US. This is a large event that took place in New Orleans December 31, 1972 through January 7th 1973. Essex killed nine people and wounded 13 others.

To put the Essex rampage in perspective we need to remember that in the early 70's police departments (especially in the South) were much less resourced than they are today. Weapons, communications, tactics, training were all much more primitive. At the time NOLA PD did not have a SWAT team and most officers were armed with .38 caliber five shot revolvers and some pump action 12 GA shotguns. There was no body armor, no air assets and most were not equipped or trained to combat any kind of terrorism.

Antagonist:
Mark Essex had some minimal military training having served in the Navy as a dental tech. He got in series of fights with his fellow sailors and then went AWOL. He was discharged for behavioral and personality disorders. His motivation for beginning his campaign of violence were likely related to what he stated was incessant racism in the military and throughout life.

Essex was a Black Panther and involved with other radical black identity movements that were common during that time period. His stated goals were to kill white people, particularly the police. Other than the mental problems he likely suffered he was in otherwise good health.

Weapons:
- Colt .38-caliber revolver
- .44 Ruger Magnum Model 44 Carbine (iron sights)

Other gear- a gas mask, a couple of strings of firecrackers, a roll of electrical wire, two cans of lighter fluid, a flashlight, a pair of cloth work gloves. He wore regular street clothes.

He likely picked the Ruger based upon the recommendation from Black Panther publications. Terror organizations have always made recommendations about weapons and tactics and continue to do so to this day.

Attacks:
Essex began his campaign of violence with an attack on the NOLA Central Booking Police Station in the middle of 2300 shift change on New Years Eve. There were a number of police in the parking lot coming and going getting ready for duty or departing.

Taking a position in a vacant lot across from the station about 100 feet away he fired four rounds with his rifle wounding the shift commander and killing his first victim, ironically a black police cadet. He then retreated in a series of bounds stopping every 100-200 feet to take more shots (all missing) at the parking lot area. On the way he dropped gear including his revolver, gas mask and some .44 magnum ammo. He set off some of the fireworks while retreating possibly to cover his retreat. He then retreated in to Gert Town, a slum of NOLA. He next broke into a warehouse triggering a silent alarm, summoning police. He cut his hand when breaking into the warehouse.

A 2 man K9 unit responded to the alarm call and Essex ambushed them when they arrived. They had no idea that the shooting and the alarm were linked. He shot the handler in the back who eventually died from his wounds. His human partner pulled him in to the vehicle and requested back up. He and Essex exchanged fire, the officer from his vehicle with his revolver and Essex from the building with his rifle.

Essex fled again. He left behind some of his .38 ammo, his gas mask filter and some more .44 magnum ammo. NOLA Police believe that Essex left a trail of .44 ammo in the direction of his retreat to lure them in to more ambushes.

The area Essex had fled to was strongly anti-police. The police began searching the area by kicking doors in to houses where they thought he might be located and making warrant-less searches. As this went on people began calling the police station and political leaders and complaining. The Chief of Police subsequently ordered the search terminated.

Essex was then confirmed sighted holing up at two different churches over the next week. He also went to a grocery and bought some medical supplies. When the police arrived each time he had fled.

On January 7th Essex returned to the grocery and shot the grocer for talking to the police. The grocer lived. Essex fled and then car-jacked another man several blocks away.

He drove to the Howard Johnson's on Loyola Ave, directly across from Loyola and climbed up the fire stairwell. The doors on the stairs only opened out. He tried to convince several maids along his climb to allow him entry from the stairwells but all refused. On the 18th floor he found a maid had wedged a door open to allow them to reenter without using a key.

He ran down to the 8th floor and found a husband and wife who were guests of the hotel. The husband tried to stop him and in the struggle over the rifle was shot in the chest and killed. When the wife went to the floor to check on her husband he shot her in the back of the head and killed her. He then entered into their room and set it on fire using one of the cans of lighter fluid.

The hotel assistant manager got calls from guests about a man running through the halls with a gun. He went upstairs to check and found Essex on the 11th floor. Essex killed him with a single head shot. The General Manager also went to check and found Essex on the 10th floor. Essex shot him in the chest and he died later from his wounds.

By this time the hotel was well on fire and the 8th and 9th floors were full of smoke. Someone eventually got a call through the switch board to the fire department and police and fire departments responded. The call was a man with a gun running through the hotel shooting people and starting fires.

The first two responding officers took the elevator to the 18th floor. The power went out and the elevator stopped mid floor. The phone in the elevator did not work and the car started to fill with smoke. The fire department arrived and began putting large ladders on the building and bringing hoses to put out the fire.

Meanwhile Essex moved to the 8th floor pool and patio area where he shot a guest in the stomach who then fell into the pool. The guest lived. Essex looked over the balcony and saw a fireman and two police officers scaling the fire ladder towards the roof. Essex shot the fireman's arm off. One of the officers returned fire with his pump action shotgun (yes while on the ladder) while the other helped the fireman down.

Police began flooding the area. Mostly armed with revolvers. As they arrived in a disorganized fashion Essex would ambush them from the 8th floor as they stepped from their vehicles. He shot five police, killing four of them.

Many police had taken it upon themselves to arm themselves better with various personal rifles. A number began taking up positions in surrounding buildings. A huge crowd of people and responders began to gather on Loyola Avenue. Occasionally Essex would fire a shot (often to the cheers of the crowd) and police would return fire. This eventually forced him to retreat to the 16th floor, setting fires on the way.

On the 16th floor he continued firing into the crowd striking a fireman, another policeman and an ambulance driver.

The police chief arrived and then made the horrible tactical decision to set up his command post in the lobby of the Howard Johnsons. Other than the building being on fire and not having in power, getting into the CP meant going through sniper fire.

Shortly after that a deputy chief arrived and found out about the police trapped in the elevator. He threw together a pick up team of five officers and made for the 18th floor to rescue them. Essex probably heard them coming up the stairs and waited on the 16th floor landing for them. He opened fire when they were coming up the stairs hitting the DC in the back killing him. The police returned fire with shotguns but Essex had already retreated back to the roof. The team evacuated the DC leaving behind his shotgun. At this point the police believed that there were multiple gun men.

A second pick up team of four men entered the stairwell and climbed. They found the shotgun, grabbed it and made for the roof. They rushed through the door on to the roof and Essex was there waiting in ambush. He shot the lead officer who dropped the shotgun wedging the door open. They returned fire (hitting nothing) and retreated.

Meanwhile other police cleared the other lower floors of the hotel. The police realized that the shooter(s) were holed up on the roof and began to evacuate the hotel guests to the lobby.

One of the responding agencies was the Coast Guard. The Coast Guard was supposed to conduct roof top evacuations with helicopters in the event of high rise fires. The US Marines had an agreement to support evacuations as well in the event of large emergencies. The Coast Guard stated the weather was too bad to fly. The Marine OIC disagreed and flew into the city in a Sea Knight Helicopter hovering a few feet above the ground most of the way. Due to all the gunfire in the area he brought with him two Marine sergeants armed with M14 rifles in addition to his regular crew. By now it was dark, rainy and cloudy with thick NOLA foggy low hanging clouds.

He landed the Sea Knight next to City Hall and then walked over into the HoJo CP where he met with the CoP. The chief asked him to slingload and fly an armored car on to the roof of the building, which was not feasible due to the weight of the car. The Chief then decided to conduct a recon of the rooftop with the helicopter. The police loaded the helicopter up with several officers, some armed with personal M16s and one with his own personal load of 1000 rounds of ammo. They then flew over the roof.

The reconnaissance turned into a recon by fire. Not spotting the gunman they opened up on likely areas that he might be hiding and expended all ammo. They then set down to reload.

On the second trip Essex returned fire and hit the helicopter several times. The police expended all ammo again hitting nothing and not spotting him. The officer who had brought the 1000 rounds had shot them all. The police landed, reloaded and repeated. The third time they found Essex's hiding spot. He was hiding behind a pipe. The police destroyed the pipe with gunfire flooding the stairwell where police crouched keeping Essex bottled in. This also forced him in to the open.

When Essex moved into the open the helo spotlight turned on to him and the police let loose a historic barrage of gunfire. His rifle was shot to pieces and he was hit over 200 times.

The police believed (some still believe) that there was a second gunman. They flew multiple sorties over the roof all night and stormed the roof top in the morning finding only Essex. The police kept all the hotel guests in the lobby until the battle was over.

Aftermath:

The Essex Rampage highlighted some woeful police shortfalls. That one man armed with a five shot semi-automatic rifle and little training could cause so much chaos and destruction in such a minimal time was unbelievable to the police and general public. This helped fuel the shift with police in tactics, equipment, weaponry and quite a bit else.

The hotel contributed somewhat to the carnage by not involving the police on the first report of a man with a gun. The managers likely would have survived if they had involved from the get go and not tried to figure out what was going on themselves.

Howard Johnson's went into a steep decline after that and never really recovered, eventually getting bought out by Wyndham. A portion of that decline was undoubtedly linked to all the negative press.

Of the three others uninvolved shot (the couple at the hotel, the grocer) two were shot because they chose to get involved. None were armed or prepared in any way for a confrontation with a crazed armed gunman.

Interested in any commentary.
Last edited by Stercutus on Wed May 18, 2016 7:44 pm, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: Gun Battles - Mark Essex

Post by Dabster » Wed May 18, 2016 3:25 pm

Horrifying.

I am having trouble imagining them using 1,000 shots of reconnaissance-by-fire to find someone.
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Re: Gun Battles - Mark Essex

Post by raptor » Wed May 18, 2016 3:44 pm

I was a youth in NOLA when this happened. I remember it distinctly. The whole thing was a very disturbing incident and everyone was on edge for a long time over the incident. The city was riled for the rest of the year over this.

Fast forward a decade and I was working for the family that owned the DTHJ and ran across two large filing cabinets of documents in the dead file storage area. It had documents, PI reports and newspaper clippings dealing with the incident. I spent (w/o permission) some time reading through them and almost got fired for doing that since they were considered off limits.

I will not comment on the contents other than to say there was some real "weird shit" in the PI reports and no one really knew why figured out why he picked the DTHJ to make his stand. The best theory was that that hotel was the tallest building overlooking City Hall that was open and easily accessible.

After that, there was always at least 2 armed off duty officers on the property 24/7. That and the owners as a gesture of goodwill kept the two murdered employees on the payroll and their families were paid for some 20+ years after the incident even though there was no legal requirement. The owners were/are standup people who genuinely care about the people who work for them.

The DTHOJO was never bought out by the Wyndam. It is sporting a Holiday Inn logo but it still owned by members of the same family. https://www.tripadvisor.com/Hotel_Revie ... siana.html


It is interesting to note that a US Marine Corps helicopter was used and he had standing permission to use military hardware for rescues from high rise buildings in the area. The AC was almost court martialed for using the military aircraft in this role.

The helicopter
Image

The hotel today
Image

NWS photos here showing the corpse of Essex on the roof.
http://www.highwayhost.org/Louisiana/Ne ... town3.html


Some links to NOLA.com on the story:
http://www.nola.com/175years/index.ssf/ ... d_joh.html

http://www.nola.com/crime/index.ssf/201 ... is_st.html
So Pitman did do something. He flew a Marine helicopter to the hotel on Loyola Avenue and helped police officers, some of them on board the chopper, kill 23-year-old Mark Essex, who investigators determined was the sole sniper. In doing so, however, Pitman placed his career with the Marines in jeopardy.

Four decades later, many New Orleanians are still thankful for Pitman's actions on the day Essex terrorized the city. "Without that helicopter and without his piloting, it would've been a lot worse," Moon Landrieu, New Orleans' mayor at the time, said recently. "The city owes him a debt of gratitude."

Antoine Saacks, a former police officer who boarded Pitman's copter that Sunday, said, "I always say the true heroes were Chuck and his crew, undoubtedly. I have a tremendous amount of respect for the man that's unwaveri
Pitman soon learned that his actions could lead to a court-martial. But he said the issue was dropped after his commander sought out longtime U.S. Rep. F. Edward Hebert, a New Orleans Democrat and at the time the powerful chairman of the House Armed Services Committee. It also worked in Pitman's favor that he didn't cause more casualties by, for example, being shot down or crashing the Sea Knight into a building.

Saacks -- who later became the NOPD's deputy chief but was fired in 1994 because of allegations involving a private security enterprise he ran on the side -- said he will always admire Pitman for what he did to help the NOPD foil Essex. "Chuck put everything on the line -- not only his life, but his career," Saacks said.

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Re: Gun Battles - Mark Essex

Post by Close_enough » Wed May 18, 2016 4:25 pm

When I read the first sentence of this thread, I thought you were referring to the 1966 University of Texas at Austin sniper, where a combination of police, campus employees (logistical support), and civilians (suppressing fire) worked in concert to stop Whitman.

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Re: Gun Battles - Mark Essex

Post by Stercutus » Wed May 18, 2016 4:32 pm

As noted in the article Pitman went on to have a long career in the Marines eventually retiring at the rank of LT General and chief of the aviation branch.
He flew some 1,200 missions in the Vietnam War. His helicopters were shot down seven times, and he suffered a .50-caliber bullet wound to one of his legs.
Gotta say he has some legendary fortitude.


In an odd turn Essex was later a suspect in setting the Rault Center Fire months before that resulted in the agreement between the CG, the military and the local responders. People had jumped off the roof to escape the flames. There was no evidence to support Essex as the arsonist but police believed after the shootout that he was a likely suspect. Whoever did set the fire at Rault was never caught.

The Marines had no permission whatsoever to conduct any kind of security operations whatsoever.

The DTHOJO was never bought out by the Wyndam.
The chain itself was bought out. Individual franchises had their own fates. HoJos went through a few other high profile security lapses in the same time frame that I am sure played a role in their demise.
Last edited by Stercutus on Wed May 18, 2016 4:36 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Gun Battles - Mark Essex

Post by ManInBlack316 » Wed May 18, 2016 4:33 pm

Stercutus wrote: On January 7th Essex returned to the grocery and shot the grocer for talking to the police. The grocer lived. Essex fled and then car-jacked another man several blocks away.


He ran down to the 8th floor and found a husband and wife who were guests of the hotel. The husband tried to stop him and in the struggle over the rifle was shot in the chest and killed. When the wife went to the floor to check on her husband he shot her in the back of the head and killed her. He then entered into their room and set it on fire using one of the cans of lighter fluid.
.

I would say that it's not entirely correct to say these two got shot for getting involved.
The grocer was shot for talking to the police, many would feel that he had a responsibility to give any information to the police.
The husband surely felt like he was protecting his wife, regardless of the outcome, I don't think it's as simple as saying he was shot because he got involved.

I also think it's kind of amazing that this didn't turn into a riot due to the racially charged area and times.

Scary and interesting stuff, and they say that all the kinds of craziness that we have nowadays didn't happen "back then".

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Re: Gun Battles - Mark Essex

Post by Stercutus » Wed May 18, 2016 4:47 pm

Scary and interesting stuff, and they say that all the kinds of craziness that we have nowadays didn't happen "back then".
Yeah, the bad kind of stuff has always happened. Even way back then in the good ole days.


I would say that it's not entirely correct to say these two got shot for getting involved.
The grocer was shot for talking to the police, many would feel that he had a responsibility to give any information to the police.
The husband surely felt like he was protecting his wife, regardless of the outcome, I don't think it's as simple as saying he was shot because he got involved.
From the perspective of running a business in an anti police area, talking to the police and giving them information is getting involved and taking risk. While most people would feel that they have a duty to help the police catch a killer on the loose others might not the feel the same. Essex was undoubtedly seen other places over the course of the week but nobody seemed to have mentioned it to the police. Yet, somehow Essex knew that the grocer had talked to the police and had come back to kill him in revenge.
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Re: Gun Battles - Mark Essex

Post by ManInBlack316 » Wed May 18, 2016 5:09 pm

Point taken.

Who the hell sets up command post in a building on fire?! :oh:

Situations like this can be an argument for the use of some kind of magnification on rifle optics, 1000 plus rounds is a lot to waste to find one guy.
Or maybe have at least one guy standing by with a bright light and binoculars :crazy:

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Re: Gun Battles - Mark Essex

Post by raptor » Wed May 18, 2016 5:37 pm

Dabster wrote:Horrifying.

I am having trouble imagining them using 1,000 shots of reconnaissance-by-fire to find someone.
The building in the background is the Rault Center still damaged by the fire a few months earlier.

The building the in foreground is the elevator "penthouse" which is a cinder block structure that houses the elevator equipment and other equipment. You can see the bullet holes and the demolished wall of the structure.

Image

This is an image from the Rault Center showing the same structure.
Image


FWIW I understand that this incident is a textbook study (literally ) for what NOT to do. The leadership was dismal, the mistakes where so numerous that they defer a though inventory...in short a clear example of how not to deal with a similar incident.

I would hope that any ZS'er would do a far better job than the folks running the circus that day. Let's just say that is not a high hurdle to exceed.

BTW city hall was right across the street. There was ample space to set up a CP complete with offices and land lines (remember no cell phones then) there.

The access to and from the hotel were easy to restrict. That and it was a Sunday so few people were in area.

Essex could simply have been surrounded and the floors systematically searched to ensure no one else was involved.

That said it is unlikely that Essex would have surrendered, but who knows.

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Re: Gun Battles - Mark Essex

Post by Stercutus » Thu May 19, 2016 2:52 am

I think Essex would never have surrendered. This was his swan song and it was playing loud.

One of the best take aways from this was the practice of how "first" responders approach a scene. I believe a significant portion of ZS members are or were first responders. These days practically no one will approach a scene of any kind of violence without the police clearing it first. A terrorist will certainly target a fireman putting out a fire he sets.

In a lot of neighborhoods throughout the country an ambulance or fire truck won't enter without a police presence. A significant portion of responders also have chosen to arm themselves, often at odds with workplace policy, to protect themselves.

Firefighters are about as prepared to deal with a violent actor as the police are to fight a fire.

I would say that if you live in an area that is anti-police and high crime your response times for all emergency services are going to be significantly delayed.
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Re: Gun Battles - Mark Essex

Post by Tinman31 » Thu May 19, 2016 3:16 pm

My thought, one I've had before, is to reflect on how much chaos one determined individual can create in a vulnerable environment like a modern American city. I always think of the guy who started the Cedar Fire, in Southern California in 2003. (Rough numbers for those not familiar- 280,000acres, 15fatalities, $27million, 113injuries, 40days of smoke and chaos, 2,820 buildings, 2,232 of them homes...)

And that guy WASN'T EVEN TRYING. He was just an idiot. No gun, no pressure cooker bombs, just a zippo and a room-temp I.Q.

Enough to give one a case of the creeping horrors.

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Re: Gun Battles - Mark Essex

Post by raptor » Thu May 19, 2016 3:26 pm

I was amazed at the fear and chaos caused by the Beltway Sniper.

A suicide attacker can cause chaos well out of proportion to the actual damage.

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Re: Gun Battles - Mark Essex

Post by Stercutus » Thu May 19, 2016 5:44 pm

raptor wrote:I was amazed at the fear and chaos caused by the Beltway Sniper.
You are probably aware that the beltway sniper was a youth living in New Orleans during the Essex attack. I imagine your perspectives on it were quite different.
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Re: Gun Battles - Mark Essex

Post by Close_enough » Thu May 19, 2016 6:39 pm

raptor wrote:I was amazed at the fear and chaos caused by the Beltway Sniper.

A suicide attacker can cause chaos well out of proportion to the actual damage.
Fear distorts perception and makes what is unlikely seem inevitable. The beltway sniper killed 13 people over the course of a month in over an area with one of the highest murder rates in the country. And, look how people reacted. Schools were closed, senate pages were given police escorts, etc. They didn't react that way to triple the number of murders the months before and after September/October 2002.

I hate to quote cheesy action films, but the Joker did have a point about when things don't go "according to plan".
Look what I did to this city with a few drums of gas and a couple of bullets. Hmmm? You know... You know what I've noticed? Nobody panics when things go "according to plan." Even if the plan is horrifying! If, tomorrow, I tell the press that, like, a gang banger will get shot, or a truckload of soldiers will be blown up, nobody panics, because it's all "part of the plan". But when I say that one little old mayor will die, well then everyone loses their minds!
EDIT: I just realized that I posted this in a Zombie Apocalypse forum. Hmmmm......

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Re: Gun Battles - Mark Essex

Post by raptor » Fri May 20, 2016 5:18 pm

Stercutus wrote:
raptor wrote:I was amazed at the fear and chaos caused by the Beltway Sniper.
You are probably aware that the beltway sniper was a youth living in New Orleans during the Essex attack. I imagine your perspectives on it were quite different.

NOLA does tend to distort reality in many ways. The NOLA concept of what is normal is shall we say unusual.

The beltway sniper killed 17 and wounded 10... that sounds like the casualty count for a month here in NOLA.
http://www.nola.com/crime/index.ssf/pag ... rders.html


BTW the murder rate is down by ~33% in 2016.
http://wgno.com/2016/05/16/recent-repor ... w-orleans/

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Re: Gun Battles - Mark Essex

Post by roscoe » Wed May 25, 2016 3:15 am

For folks who weren't around, it is hard to communicate how crazy and wide open everything was in the 1970s. There were groups like the Weather Underground actively attempting to overthrow the government and blowing up government buildings. There was some kind of madness in the air, especially in urban centers. I never felt like the police had a handle on anything - it was everybody for themselves. It was anarchic, and yet I always felt a sense of freedom that I never feel today - people pushing all kinds of boundaries. And it seemed like every week something important was happening.

But, as Lou Reed said, you needed a "black .38 and a gravity knife" to walk the downtown streets, and it was true.

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Re: Gun Battles - Mark Essex

Post by Asymetryczna » Wed May 25, 2016 10:39 am

LtGen Pitman is legendary, old school hard. I had the opportunity to hear him tell the story after a formal event turned later into a last man standing kind of experience. I tried my best and nearly made it to the end; but, I suspect he was a gentleman and waited politely until everyone was asleep for 30 minutes before heading home. He even looked like Puller.

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If you are from there, you might also know about the development of NO SHIT as a result of an incident such as this.
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Re: Gun Battles - Mark Essex

Post by Stercutus » Wed May 25, 2016 4:47 pm

roscoe wrote:For folks who weren't around, it is hard to communicate how crazy and wide open everything was in the 1970s. There were groups like the Weather Underground actively attempting to overthrow the government and blowing up government buildings. There was some kind of madness in the air, especially in urban centers. I never felt like the police had a handle on anything - it was everybody for themselves. It was anarchic, and yet I always felt a sense of freedom that I never feel today - people pushing all kinds of boundaries. And it seemed like every week something important was happening.

But, as Lou Reed said, you needed a "black .38 and a gravity knife" to walk the downtown streets, and it was true.

The police in the US never really have a handle on things. They rely on compliance and the overwhelming majority of people wanting to live in a civilized society. This mostly works so long as the process is participative. When people want to change society, feel disenfranchised or slip out of power then is the time to watch out. People will turn to violence.
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Re: Gun Battles - Mark Essex

Post by Asymetryczna » Thu May 26, 2016 8:47 am

Had some guys in a class once that gave me this hat. NO SHIT.
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Re: Gun Battles - Mark Essex

Post by raptor » Thu May 26, 2016 11:28 am

I believe that was a US Customs group that went after square groupers that were a popular catch for a while in the GOM.

http://military-and-le-patches.myshopif ... aka-noshit


https://books.google.com/books?id=OVQ4w ... am&f=false

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Re: Gun Battles - Mark Essex

Post by Asymetryczna » Thu May 26, 2016 11:34 am

Yep. They were from NOLA but were definitely Federal.
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Re: Gun Battles - Mark Essex

Post by LowKey » Fri May 27, 2016 1:47 am

raptor wrote:I believe that was a US Customs group that went after square groupers that were a popular catch for a while in the GOM.
:lol: :lol: :lol: :lol:
When I lived on a small barrier island on the west coast of Florida we referred to that particular ctatch as "square mullet" as it was frequently caught at dawn, washed up on the beach or stranded in tidal pools, and just like the other mullet it needed to be dried and smoked. :rofl:

I wasn't a fan of it myself, but even as a young man I found it greatly amusing to watch the enthusiasts scour the beach for the ones that had been lost overboard from shrimp boats and other fishing vessels.
“Political tags – such as royalist, communist, democrat, populist, fascist, liberal, conservative, and so forth – are never basic criteria. The human race divides politically into those who want people to be controlled and those who have no such desire.” Robert A. Heinlein

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bigred362
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Re: Gun Battles - Mark Essex

Post by bigred362 » Fri May 27, 2016 7:50 am

The failures of NOPD are a simple product of lack of training. They had no organized tactics, their armaments were not appropriate, and their communications were probably limited to non-existent. Today we have used lessons learned vigorously to train and equip first responders for these types of ordeals. A small SRT team now days would be able to handle a single gunman. It is sad however that human behaviors require this type of asset. The time and resources committed to these programs could be better spent on make the trouble neighborhoods safer.

I am going to take this opportunity to pass along my commentary on the behaviors of the human race. I was a young private in a unit at Ft. Bragg. We took the long flight to Mogadishu in September of 1993. We took over for a unit out of Germany. I won't go into detail on the types of operations we undertook but suffice it to say we were all over the country. Our base camp was located outside of the MOG but we had several missions in the rural interior of the country. The difference between the population of the city and the rural areas was night and day. To this day I have never had a grapefruit so tasty as I didn't in Somalia. In the city they would have stolen the wheels right off the truck if you turned your back for 60 seconds, in the countryside they were the most generous hospitable people one could find. The rural areas had not electricity, running water, and barely had roads, yet they were generous with what they had. Most of the men didn't have a shirt on their back but they would share what they were able to produce.

Fast forward to Bosnia 1995. Same thing. The cities were full of hustlers and thieves. You had to be on your toes every second or you could loose a wheel from a truck. Then we did a mission near a farm village. Again warm hospitable and generous with anything they could offer.

My hypothesis is this. People were never meant to live in crowded dense conditions and this causes stress and friction to humans, like when you compress air, air by itself is benign, but when you compress it it gets hot and must be treated with caution. Air left in it's natural state is perfectly safe and not at all harmful. I have found general human behaviors to be very similar world wide and I figure there are other servicemen on here that have had similar experiences and if they think back might come to the same conclusion.

I'm not sure my dissertation is completely applicable to this scenario but I was inspired by the setting of NO and the stories of looting, violence, and the overall breakdown during Katrina.

Thanks for indulging my need to share my insights and would welcome feedback, insults, or if someone tells me to STFU.
"A smart ass is always better than a dumb ass"

"Nobody is totally useless you can always be a good bad example"

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