Tuesday, June 2, 2020

Encore: Tomorrow

re-posted from original by suggestion. "Plus ça change..."

The earpiece crackled in Jake's ear from one of the handheld radios they were each tuned to. They'd picked up a couple of dozen surplused Motorola LE-only encrypted radios on eBay, and after a lot of work, Gene had programmed them all to use a normally unused simplex channel reserved for the authorities for tonight. All anyone else would hear was a brief bit of static with the factory encryption, but they still stuck to brevity codes.
Jake calmed himself. He knew the signs of buck fever, and he took a few moments to stretch his whole body, starting with his toes, and ending with his fingers. It wouldn't be long now, and he didn't want to be fighting adrenaline when the moment came.
The van he was in was non-descript. It was the twin of one belonging to a local business the next city over, and the plates on it would be back in the morning, with any luck at all. Inside was dark and quiet, but he could already hear the noise of the protesters as they moved down the main street, closing at the speed of a 6000-footed caterpillar, fueled by youthful exuberance, and a healthy amount of stupidity. Well, they were about to get a lot more education than what they'd gotten at U Cal, and he was happy to be a teaching assistant tonight.
He focused on the intersection, and checked over his gear one last time inside the darkened vehicle, as the sounds of yet another leftist temper tantrum grew louder by the moment.

Jim, hunkered down behind a load of cardboard boxes in a van much like Jake's, sat at right angles to the intersection.
His weapon too was identical to Jake's: the ubiquitous Ruger 10/22, modified for tonight.
It had a frame optimized for grown-ups, with one of those evil pistol grips that gave the state legislature hissy fits, going back to the late 1980s. Also a high-cap magazine, which torqued them out even worse. In this case, picked up out of state on a visit to relatives, and driven back across state lines into what Jim referred generally to as "Occupied Territory". He had several more loaded and waiting next to the stock. Also present was a heavy barrel, making the thing a tack-driver out to the limits of the relatively weak cartridge. And under the heading of "in for a penny, in for a pound", both rifles had custom home-made suppressors screwed on at the business end. They wouldn't be truly silent, but inside a can, inside a van, a couple of hundred yards away from a herd of screaming protesters, would be as near as. Just to be on the safe side, Jim screwed an earplug into the other ear, the one without the earbud.
Jim hadn't been in the military, and he wasn't the shooter Jake, who'd been a designated marksman when he served, was. But a lot of patient practice and range time had made him plenty good enough. And using the little pop-guns tonight wouldn't tax anyone's abilities at all. He checked the bipod legs to make sure they were securely locked. If they had failed, he had a beanbag rest for backup.
And when they returned, the barrels used tonight would come off, replaced by factory barrels again, and the heavys would go on a fishing trip, after being reamed out with a hardened bit. No evidence, no traces.

Gene spoke in a monotone voice familiar to anyone with long hours in a ham shack. He was the geek in the bunch. He'd found and programmed their radios, made sure everyone understood how to use them, and how to communicate.
There wasn't a leader as such, but he was older than the others by a decade or so, and after raising three teenagers to adulthood, there wasn't much that fazed him or ruffled his feathers, so he made, if not a Daddy to the group, a good Friar Tuck: a bit more mature, thoughtful, and worldly-wise, when it was needed.
He focused on his screen, and his fingers moved the controls to guide the drone slowly and deliberately. It was unregistered (of course), blacked out, and over the din of the demonstration, almost as silent as Jim and Jake would be, on the moment.
He followed the mob's progress as they moved towards the intersection where all their flyers and internet blather had helpfully pinpointed they would end their rally.
The police scanners indicated that, exactly as before, the town cops would be studiously ignoring the protest except for a token presence, and the campus cops were half a mile behind, doing about the same thing.
No roadblocks, so he and the others, in separate vehicles, would take separate, easy, and rehearsed routes out of Moscow-Near-The-Bay, and back to the quiet semi-rural small community they lived in an hour or so back up California's lush Central Valley.
Not so lush now, with dumping the agricultural water formerly set aside to feeding the world now going to a Sacto Delta baitfish to appease the whims of the idiots Gene was watching, and their elected Foole, long known as Governor Moonbeam.
Gene focused his attention on the drone's power supply. He had four of them, and had alternated them in series, swapping  hot batteries for the depleted ones, so he wouldn't lose visual on the herd. Other than a minute or two between coverage, it had worked flawlessly, until one of his drones had a hiccup, and had to be retired from the relay. The others picked up the slack, but he was glad he was able to recover it without losing one of his numerous toys. The mob was now crossing the fourth street from the target intersection.

Pete could barely hear his earpiece, turned up all the way, but he had the most dangerous job. He'd infiltrated one of the local bunches of miscreants some weeks prior, after the first riot. He wasn't one of their anarchists per se, just one of the multitudinous black-clad folks giving them cover.
He had several jobs.
First, on his way to the rally, he'd carefully dumped a couple of hundred pieces of wiped .22LR brass around the intersection; some in each direction, where later investigators would find it, for all the good it would do them. It had been collected off the ground and floor at half a dozen shooting ranges, separated by brand, and location. The consensus was it would look like between 4 and 8 close-in shooters, rather than just the two.
Second, he was the one with an interest in historical sabotage. Careful research on real manuals (not the tripe in The Anarchist's Cookbook, which he was sure had been written by BATFE to get amateur bomb makers to blow themselves up) and practice with real materials had taught him several time-honored ways of getting something to go up in flames or explosion, reliably timed, and without him being there to get the full effect in the face. Most, but not all of the materials would be consumed, making things that much harder for anyone looking into it afterwards, as he was sure they would. That's why after tonight, he wouldn't use that particular set-up again for some time, so as not to create a signature. And just for fun, the night before, he'd left enough parts and exemplars inside the garage of the witch organizing this event to see her off to a long odyssey through the federal courts and prison system, after one anonymous phone call. Life's a bitch, especially when you are one, he chuckled to himself as he salted the items among her possessions the night before.
Third, as the mob moved along, he would place his devices underneath several likely cars about a block behind the festivities, on both sides of the street. That mainly entailed tying his shoes a lot at the bumpers, and surreptitiously sliding his items under their gas tanks. Time and physics would do the rest, in about three minutes, once he set them in place.
Lastly, once he'd done that job, he was artillery.
He had a water balloon cannon ready to attach to poles on the sides of his pickup truck. Practice had taught him that he could hurl small-bottle Molotov cocktails a couple of city blocks with minimal effort, and hit minute of mob, in about thirty seconds. Three shots in 10 seconds, break it down, and then be gone in half a minute.
He was wearing the mob uniform black, head-to-toe: black combat boots, black baggy military-style cargo trousers, black long-sleeved t-shirt and black hoodie, with a black balaclava over his face, and black leather gloves with hard knuckles. On his back, a generic but sturdy nylon black backpack.
Underneath, hard soccer shin guards, knee pads, a cup, hard elbow pads, soft body armor, and lightweight HDPE Level III plates in a plate carrier. A homemade hard helmet shell under the balaclava. He would not be playing victim in the knockout game if he got confronted.
He also had OC spray, a stun gun, a cheap but sturdy full-tang knife, and a Glock 19 with several extra mags, as well as the CCW permit (from a more enlightened sheriff in the nearby county where he lived, but good statewide), to make him almost 100% legal. Well, except for the incendiaries in the backpack.
Like the others, he also had a generic camelback, a small IFAK, and a personal E&E kit, including colorful regular shirt and pants, maps and routes on a removable cell phone thumb drive that led to an alternate and contingency rendezvous, a burner cell phone with the battery removed, paper cash and change, energy bar, and a good plausible and backstopped cover story.
He was young enough to pass for a grad student, and a bit of an adrenaline junkie, hence his choice of assignment, but he was nobody's fool, and they all planned to get home quietly and safely, and had taken every precaution to make it so.

Gene noted everything on the scanners normal, mob moving into position.

Jake and Jim chambered the first rounds in their rifles, and stayed on their scopes.

Now it got hairiest for Pete, and as he entered the last block, he started dropping off his packages, pushing them well under gas tanks, and making sure to trip the chemical chain to start the ball.
The first two were easy, then he had to work his way quickly through the mob as it congealed, to get to the other side of the packed street, and his alley exit. The front end was in the target zone already.
"Target 1. Target 1."
"Target 2. Target 2."
"Confirm Target 1. Confirm target 2."
Jake and Jim both had eyes on the front of the herd in their crosshairs.
Pete pulled out his last timer, and shoved his package delicately along the asphalt under an SUV.
As he hit the alley and made his way along it, he gave the all clear.
"Thunder. Thunder."
"Confirm Thunder."
"Waiting for ignition."
As Pete jogged towards his truck, the chemical chain ignited his first package. A fire blossomed underneath a sedan on the far side of the intersection.
The drone confirmed it as the orange blossom grew.
"Weapons close. Weapons close."
Two safeties were snapped off, and two pairs of eyes searched for targets.
A second package ignited, as flames from the first began to engulf the first car.
Pete got to his truck, jumped into the bed, and limbered the poles into place.
"Drone's off. Drone's off."
Gene guided his drone back towards his vehicle. When it was well away from the zone of interest, he dropped it to 100 feet, set it on homing, and turned on his burner phone.
He punched in a number, and a previously selected landline rang.
It was connected to a timer, and the timer to an Israeli-made cell phone jammer sitting in a phony generic utility box as camouflage, on the roof of a building on the near side of the intersection.
For the next 10 minutes, no one would be connecting any calls within 100 yards of the site. All streaming video from the riot stopped. Texts bounced to nowhere. No 911 calls would be going out.

The crowd pushed into the intersection, some of them cheering the fires they thought their own thugs had started.
"Shot out. Shot out."
Pete called the first of three launches of lit Molotovs now arcing towards their target, labeled "to whom it may concern."
The first bottle bloomed into fire amidst the mob. There were screams; they weren't expecting this.
"Splash. Splash."
"Splash. Splash."
Both shooters confirmed the impacts.

Gene was recovering his drone; he closed the sliding side door as he made the call.
"Weapons free. Weapons free."
Inside the two vans, the shooters began plinking through their 25-round magazines. The rounds might kill, maim, or just leave a painful but survivable wound, but in less than half a minute, they were all on their way. Inside the vans, the rounds tick-tick-ticked off, and the brass went into catch-pouches.

The mob was careening around the intersection now. Panic set in with a vengeance as people started to go down. The herd started to stampede back the way they'd come when the first vehicle's gas tank went up with a "Whoompph!", and sent them in new directions. The third package ignited across the street, just as the last of three molotovs landed in the confusion and screaming terror, amplifying it.

"Rounds complete. Rounds complete."
Both shooters changed magazines, and began to send the second batch of 25 shots into the fleeing mob. They both aimed low; a lot of knees and legs were hit.
"Three, Tally Ho."
Gene was already on the road and outbound.
"Four, Tally ho."
Pete had dropped his poles, and was on his way out too.

"Winchester 1."
"Winchester 2."
Jake and Jim had gone through their second magazine apiece. They each dropped the hinged windows back into place and secured them there. The rifles were dropped into hide boxes, then covered with a couple of heavy crates.
"Two, Tally Ho."
Everyone waited breathlessly for Jake to announce he was rolling as well.
"One, Tally Ho."
Three other hearts started to slow down to normal.

NOW the idiots would know what a "WAR" was. None of the men driving away thought they'd like it very much in reality. And the authorities were still trying to figure out WTF had already happened. They wouldn't learn anything useful, though the anonymous call the next day that snitched out the organizer of the violence for cooking her own people "for the greater good" would come as a great PR boost, rather than their usual "we're investigating all leads" B.S.

The cards on their steering wheels led them to separate freeway entrances. After that, the routes were in their heads. Cruise control kept them driving at the speed limit. Radios were switched off. Each drove silently into the night. Behind, the screaming continued, and the nightmare for the protesters, and TPTB, was just beginning.

One hour later, the radios came back on.
They each checked in by number, and verified from different directions their primary rendezvous site was clear and uncompromised.
There, the rifle barrels would come off, the brass would be policed, and they'd switch to the cold license plates. 
The rifles were put back to original configuration. Jake took the weapons. Jim took the silencers, and the custom stocks.
Gene got the hot barrels. Pete got the brass.
Everyone changed clothes. Gene took these to an all-night laundromat.
The other three, in sweat clothes, hit the 24-hour gym next door, and took long showers, scrubbing every trace of residue from their bodies. Then they changed into their normal attire.
Pete took the hot plates back to the lot where the delivery vans they'd borrowed them from were parked, and put them back on without incident.

They drove home individually, at intervals, and by separate routes. Gene drilled out the barrels; next deep sea trip, they'd fall off the boat at night on the ride out. Jim cleaned and stashed the other parts, and Jake cleaned the weapons thoroughly. Pete took the brass home, where he pounded it into lumps of scrap with a sledgehammer, then shot off a bridge into the tule marshes with a slingshot.

And they all slept like babies.

This is entirely a piece of fiction. And a cautionary tale. Hopefully it stays that way, but I wouldn't put chips on that square. If it gets your panties all twisted, too fucking bad. Get over it.
It took about twenty minutes to type out, and I haven't even been thinking about this much.
If I can come up with this off the cuff, so can five hundred thousand other people. Some already have.
Bet your ass on that.
And if you're one of the erstwhile protesters, many of them wouldn't be as merciful towards you and yours as I was in this little tale. You ARE betting your ass on that, every time you show up for another piece of street theatre. And when it actually happens, 100:1 they'll see that YOU get the blame for it. Win-win.

So, contrary to all experience thus far, you all could grow the fuck up, knock your silly shit off, and just suck it.
Or keep pushing your luck.
Call the toss in the air, kids.


Great Scott said...

You have a devious mind MF.

Mike M. said...

This tome was the first thing I read from you. It is still a favorite of mine and will occasionally go back to review it.
After 37 years I retired from the fire dept and left So. Cal last November. After going through the Rodney King Fiasco, unknown amounts of structure and veggie fires and playing in quite a few knife and gun clubs, I’m content to sit out this one, although I’m (as hopefully everybody that’s worth their shit is) locked, loaded and waiting in my new little town.
Peace brother.

T said...

A good read, Aesop.
Anyone with good military training, imagination, a cool head, and a bit of ruthlessness could do this.

As I posted previously: have a private security group snatch a couple of the real Antifa guys(who have un-assed the scene days ago, after accomplishing their goal of turning protest marches into rioting, looting, and arson), and interrogate them.
Then back-trace the command chain.


T-Rav said...

Fun fact; I found the blog after seeing this post linked over at American Digest back in '17.

Thanks for reposting. Very apropos.

Pete said...

U Cal? Entertaining read otherwise. (yeah, I went to Cal)

TCK said...

I call shenanigans. A proper re-release would have updated relevant cultural references, yet this piece still refers to Gov. Moonbeam, and not Gov. Gabbin' Nuisance. For shame, Aesop.

Seriously though, this remains amazing (while reminding us about why we should try to avoid its necessity).

Michael said...

Aesop I am going to say something unpopular. No disrespect intended. Looking at this rioting like removing poison oak, the protesters described are but leaves. Easily replaced useful idiot leaves. Burning them just singes the plant and generates via a VERY Willing Liberal Media reports of "White Supremacists" attacking "Peaceful Protestors" all day (and night) long.

No need for "Proof" no need for "Evidence" THEY Will CREATE it and the Poison Oak thrives even more with the "Blood" of martyrs all over it.

And of course the Media Message is that TRUMP DID IT. Defeat the evil Orange Man and all will become peaceful. Mail in ballots and they get to VOTE IN Socialism. There is much statistical evidence that IF the Socialists can get their Millennials to vote en-block (THEY DID NOT for Hillary due to Sanders getting the shaft by the DNC)then they could vote in even Doddering Puppets into the Office of President.

Any Trump Supporting Senators will be tarred by the same brush. I was almost vomiting when I saw *Republican* Lindsey Graham of NC spewing anti-Trump weasel words on CNN yesterday. The RATS know when the ship is in danger.

We are under FULL ON Attack by the Socialist-Democrats to TAKE the Whole Thing Both Houses, and the Presidency as they see this as the last chance before trials and prison occurs.

The Deep State and their support team the Socialist-Democrats-Media are pretty skilled in this.

Look to the false flag of Cesar Sayoc sending inert bombs to some 16 high profile anti-trump people WITH OUT Postage on the packages all delivered without postage on the same day across the east coast, who incidentally had years old trump election stickers all over his windows IN PERFECT Shape despite the harsh Miami Sunshine on a perfectly re-painted older van in an area where such a van would be Vandalized by liberals. He has been "sentenced" to 20 years November 2019.

Yeah Right. And Epstein killed himself, unobserved in a high security jail cell with an ODDLY Inoperative Security Camera AND Sleeping Guards, AFTER he LEFT willingly an no-extradition paradise.

The Roots of this Poison Oak runs deep into Washington DC (Cough, Deep State, cough)where it is a clear attempt to "Show" President Trump that THEY can destroy our Country IF He attempts to put the Russia Gate actors into prison. They know that General Flynn WHO is STILL under a legal Gag Order despite being cleared of charges starts speaking A LOT of Bad think will be out there.

Your story shows your aware of the problem that Law Enforcement will track down and punish Patriots that act as described. That shows that the liberal's and their mouth pieces the Media are also complit in this act of overt rebellion.

Recent stories of Police ARRESTING Business owners defending their shops shows that armed resistance will generate jail time and likely loss of all 2nd Amendment rights. I am hopeful that local Judges will support self defense of the family but so far Businesses are NOT "Granted" such protections.

It SUCKS I agree, but plans NEED to be based on Reality not what I want it to be.

The "Roots" are deep (state)and WELL Protected. I am praying that President Trump slams Soros and Company into a prison and puts the fear into the Liberal Media fanning these flames and supporting the Socialists. Otherwise our Republic is doomed.

I will defend my family but the real action is above my pay grade and in Trumps hands.

Wickless Morb said...

Quite the long read ! ... But well worth the time !!! ... You CLEARLY made your point !!! ...

Dad said...

Love that tale. Thanks for the repost.

T said...

Michael said..."Recent stories of Police ARRESTING Business owners defending their shops shows that armed resistance will generate jail time and likely loss of all 2nd Amendment rights. I am hopeful that local Judges will support self defense of the family but so far Businesses are NOT "Granted" such protections."

That depends on where it happens. No DA that wants to get re-elected is going to file charges against a business owner who uses reasonable force to defend his business, in a lot of "red" states. Here in central Louisiana, several years ago we had a store owner that was having problems with break-ins at his store. He spent the night in the store. Two goblins broke in; the store owner confronted them and told them to lay down. One charged him, he shot the goblin with a 12 gauge and killed him. The other goblin ran THRU a glass door on his way out.
The DA refused to press charges.

Again, it depends on the location.

Cederq said...

Again a good short story Aesop, and an informative instruction summary.

Anonymous said...

I'm lovin' it!

Matt Bracken said...

Nice fiction, but why 22LR? Why not 5.56? Remember Mohammed and Malvo, misidentified as "a white man in a white van" for weeks? Not even suppressed. Ballistic crack and urban echoes kept everybody looking in wrong directions, and that was with a single shoot vehicle, in broad daylight, inside of 200 yards.

Lone Rifle said...

In my not so humble opinion: combine Molon Labe with this fun tale, change targets to the libturds in the press.
Just sayin’.

Michael said...

Matt, maybe Aesop would answer but maybe because 22 LR is the most common weapon in the American home? Maybe because like the Israeli Army found that long term crippling by 22 LR in the shins steals the "Glory" of being a Revolutionary? Maybe inside that vehicle it's easier to quiet the 22 LR instead of 5.56mm?

Never underestimate the effectiveness of a ruthless squirrel hunter defending his family. Even a cheap 36 grain HP bulk 22 LR has enough punch to shatter shins and penetrate some 8-12 inches into a pork shoulder at 100 yards. Just know your bullet drop and range to target.

Tucanae Services said...


For that matter for this kind of mission why not use a high end air rifle? Hook them up to a couple of scuba tanks for supply. There is no flash, no brass to collect, little sound emitted and it is technically not a firearm per BATFE definitions.

Tucanae Services said...

I would add this to Michael's observation from a historical perspective -- a .22 was good enough to kill RFK.

Brian E. said...

Yep, that kinda behavior (in the part of the business owner) will get him a life sentence - here in the People’s Republik of Maryland, and in fact - it has. Seems that lying in wait shows premeditation, not reasonable use of force - hence the murder charge. :-/

B Woodman said...

Why go after the herd and not the leaders?
Can you say 4GW (4th Generation Warfare)?
Don't go after the leader(s).
Go after enough of the followers and those close to the leaders (security guard, "lieutenants" and "captains"), after awhile, no on will follow the leader. He will be rendered impotent, his orders will not be obeyed.

Toxic Deplorable Racist SAH B Woodman

Michael said...

B Woodsman please reread my poison oak message again.

If the police wanted to arrest any of the rioter leadership they would. They have all the data at hand. They choose NOT TO BECAUSE THEY are of the Socialist-Democrat-MEDIA Politically Protected Class.

However they DO Choose to arrest and put into financial Purgatory anybody that defends themselves or attack those (Per the MEDIA)"Peaceful Protestors" even filming live with a burning Target behind him.

Burning the leaves will set you up for the next Socialist-Democrat ambush where they set up a riot for your action and await with a team of paid professionals to entrap you in your tricked out van.

As Sun Tzu might say "Never underestimate your enemy, that will lead to defeat".

Michael said...

B Woodman the internet your cell phone, your land line and simply yelling across the grocery store to your buddy have something in common, OTHER People are listening.

Folks that ignore that are either working for the enemy directly or the weak link that the enemy uses like those useful idiots aka Rioters. Not intended to offend but just the facts.

James Bond style stories like the article we are posting on are fun to read or watch on TV. Everybody has a plan until reality punches them in the mouth. Even elite SEAL Team 6 screwed up a James Bond style extraction of Bin Laden leaving a very special helicopter wreckage for the Pakistani Army to sell to the highest bidder. I hear China won the auction for that stealth technology.

Some store front security cam footage or a random person with an I-phone would have reported that shooters van and the next time a paid professional team would set up a riot as bait for them. Likely they would be LOOKING for drone signature or cell phone jamming to zero in on your crew. A mini-gun armed helo might ruin that van?

We the People are under 4th Generation Full Spectrum Warfare where Media Propaganda and Political Permissive environments like Cities controlled by Socialist-Democrats keep the police under control. An example was Portland OR breeding-training ground of Antifa. Police allowed them training time but when they decided to set up camp and create an "Autonomous Zone" like Seattle CHAZ in the Mayors neighborhood the Mayor had his praetorians RUN THEM OFF.

The Police and 3 letter agencies KNOW all about the chain of command and pay-logistics support of the professional agitators. They are permitting them to operate to disrupt American life until Joe 6 pack and his family will VOTE for ANYBODY that Will MAKE IT STOP. Even a Senile Sock Puppet and his hand selected by the deep state VP (the REAL President).

Mail in voting from the all too convenient COVID19 (Aesop you KNOW nothing is accidental or not a useful emergency right?) will almost guarantee that the Socialist-Democrats will own both the House and the Senate as well as the Presidency.

Not a popular thought but we can only pray that the DNC steps on it's self like last election when they drove away both the Black Voters and Millennials by shafting Bernie for the witch Hillary. The LAST Time Alternative News showed Hillary's evil nature enough that folks didn't Vote FOR Trump BUT Against Hillary.

THIS time they learned that lesson and are shutting down-defunding Alternative News AND keeping the VP-REAL President select under wraps AS WELL as senile hands on hair sniffing "Uncle Joe" out of the public eye until it's a VOTE AGAINST Trump scenario.

Smoking some poison oak leaves (useful idiots) just feeds the Media propaganda that White Terrorists are the real problem and voting against Trump will save Joe 6 pack.

Don't throw gasoline on a burning house friend. Think before acting.

Antibubba said...

Thing is, it isn't just liberals and Antifa that are a seething mess. Look at some of those "militias" who show up to protest at events. ARs with lots of doodads but no wear, webbing with lots of pouches filled with sodas and snacks, and Chairborne Rangers who were afraid to shower after gym classes in high school who are ready to show the world that THEY AREN'T PUSSIES, even if they never finished college and still live it home. Sure, there are plenty of vets there, but they're outnumbered by the obese WoW experts in their ranks. Imagine the chaos when a couple of them drop from suppressed shots made at a distance, while fireworks are set off behind them. If just half of them have managed to insert their magazines correctly it will be field of slaughter as they point and shoot at anything that moves. If they're anywhere near law enforcement when it goes down, even an NYPD rookie is a better shot than these guys. After that it's one easy step to ban rifles at any demonstrations.

Be more wary of your so-called allies than your chosen enemies.

Aesop said...

Anybody showing up to "protest" has already failed the First Rule of Fight Club.
Fucktards are not my "allies", nominally nor actually. Fucktards are fucktards, whenever and wherever found. Virtue signaling with weapons is still just virtue signaling, albeit with less common sense than God gave a jackass.