The pipes are clogged ahead of the State of the Union address, and other news brews, too, which is a way of saying the newspaper is full, and many stories must wait their turn. A good thing, in its way, because it provides a chance to review notes and archives and to plan future articles and posts.
So today, while the journal of the “red shirts” on the U.S.S. John C. Stennis remained in the pickle jar and as I finished up interviewing and fact-checking for a follow to the Somali pirates, there was time to sketch out the work ahead for a Somali Pirate Gun Locker post for the NYT’s At War blog.
What do I mean? Well, while aboard the pirate mother ship earlier this month, I inventoried the pirates’ captured weapons. The weapons sample at hand was not large — five firearms, one of them a semi-automatic pistol. But there was a curiosity in the mix. Although the initial radio calls from the U.S. Navy boarding team on the Al Mulahi said the pirates had four AK-47s on board, in this case, the acronym “AK-47” was used as it often is: to mean “assault rifle,” and not much more.
Three of the rifles were in fact AKM derivatives. But look at the photo, above, of a round removed from one of the fourth rifle’s magazines. That’s right — you are looking at NATO-standard 5.56. One of the rifles was something else altogether. Any guesses on what kind of rifle the pirates carried that fired 5.56?
I’ll work up the post later this week with the answer. Meanwhile, send your guesses to my email address, email@example.com.
This is not, by the way, arms identification for the sake of arms identification, or for buffs. The rifle in question carried a reminder worth hearing, and suggested a lesson on how, in a broken Somalia, some of these pirates obtained their arms.