It’s always interesting to see what’s in the Gadling Flickr pool when we look for a Photo of the Day to feature. We see a lot of regular travelers posting pictures each week, some professional photographers, some lucky shots (I’ll insert a gentle reminder in here to make sure your photos are available for download if you would like them featured, thanks!). Today’s was pretty easy to choose as it really jumps out at you. Who doesn’t like pictures of baby goats, especially with cute children? Wait a second, is she pointing a GUN at the goat?! Oh, well, it’s just a toy gun apparently. I guess that makes it okay, but still a bit different than your average sunset or street scene. An interesting slice of life from Nepal by Flickr user Dan Fellini, hope the goat obeyed the little girl’s orders!
Well, isn’t this good to know – all it takes to become an international gun smuggler is a charming smile and a good excuse.
At least, that is the feeling you get when you read about alleged arms dealer Mr. Steven Greenoe. Mr. Greenoe regularly visited gun shows in North Carolina, loaded disassembled semiautomatic weapons in his luggage and flew them to the United Kingdom, where they sold with a handsome profit.
According to U.K. police, the guns were sold to criminal gangs, and one was reportedly used in a recent drive-by shooting. His 9mm Glocks were purchased at gun shows, and sold for as much as $8000, and as many as 60 guns may have been smuggled on commercial flights, with the help of the TSA.
The whole thing is pretty scary – but it gets worse – When Mr. Greenoe was stopped by TSA agents at Raleigh-Durham airport, he simply told them that he was a legitimate arms dealer, and that the guns were “engineering samples”. That is all it takes to get past the people put in charge of our airport security, because he was allowed to board an Atlanta bound plane, and then on to the U.K.
The only upside is that the arms were never carried in his carry-on luggage, but it still makes a mockery of the U.S. security, as U.K. officials now need to ask their U.S. counterparts just how stupid they actually are.
CBS News located his LinkedIn profile – which lists Mr. Greenoe as the CEO of the Jolie Rouge Group, a private security provider.
In what can only be described as a monumental screwup, a pilot for jetBlue managed to lose sight of his federally issued gun, and spent the next 40 minutes trying to locate it.
The pilot in question, Michael Connery Jr. was boarding his plane when he set his backpack down to chat with a fellow crew member. In the boarding process, a passenger on a different flight picked up her own bags, and accidentally grabbed Connery’s backpack as well.
Packed inside that backpack was a 40 caliber handgun – issued as part of the Federal Flight Deck Officer program, operated by the TSA.
Once the passenger realized the bag was not hers, she set it down on an empty seat on her plane. Another passenger pointed the unaccompanied backpack out to a crew member, who alerted the authorities. Meanwhile, Connery had already delayed his own flight while he tried to locate the backpack – taking 40 minutes to contact the airline to the incident.
Once he got his bag back, TSA officials confiscated his gun while they conducted their investigation.
While the armed flight officer program may be a good idea on paper, simple mistakes like this show how easy it is to completely defeat all security measures at the airport. Had the plane with the backpack departed on time, a gun could have been on its way to Florida in the hands of a random stranger.
A kid who would otherwise be branded a royal pain found a loaded gun magazine … that should have been in the hands of a law enforcement official … on a Southwest Airlines flight. To make matters worse, the media was actually on the plane!
Here’s how it happened:
1. A kid was sitting on his mother’s lap during a flight from Burbank, California to Phoenix, Arizona
2. The plane landed, and the kid crawled across the seats in his row
3. His foot knocked an item to the floor – it was a loaded gun magazine
4. A flight attendant picked it up, but not before someone from a CNN crew, photographer Gregg Canes, saw it
5. The CNN passenger asked to take pictures of it, but the flight attendant would not let him
6. The gun magazine was turned over to the authorities
It’s that simple, folks … but it does get a lot more interesting.According to a statement by Southwest, “The item was immediately turned over to the crew working the flight who called in the local authorities to handle the investigation,” continuing, “The passengers who were remaining on that flight were rescreened and the plane was thoroughly inspected before returning to service.” They were ten allowed to get off the plane.
Southwest spokeswoman Brandy King told CNN that the officer who left the gun mag behind did follow the proper procedures to bring his gun on the plane. CNN adds:
“The full magazine was found in a back seat pocket,” a TSA official told CNN. “We believe it was left by a law enforcement officer on a flight that originated in San Jose and landed in Burbank. The officer was not an air marshal and we are trying to establish contact with the agent.”
Canes put it best: “It was actually almost funny, given the amount of scrutiny that we’ve been paying to the [Transportation Security Administration] and personal security. It seemed almost funny to see a magazine with bullets in it just sort of lying on the floor of a commercial jetliner.”
Need a bit of irony to round this out? Canes must have been in a gun state of mind; he was headed to Phoenix to cover a Sarah Palin book signing.
[photo by gcfairch via Flickr]
Sure, it made a poor showing in World War Two, but it was Italian Communist partisans who finally bagged Mussolini. Plus the Italians fought in one of the toughest fronts of the First World War, high in the Alps against the Germans and Austro-Hungarians. They endured freezing conditions on top of glaciers for months on end. One of the favorite tactics was to cause avalanches to bury the opposing side. A few years ago the mummies of three Austro-Hungarian soldiers were found frozen in the ice, and another World War One soldier was found last month at an Italian ski resort.
The Italians are also pulling their weight in Afghanistan with 3,800 troops, and joined in the invasion of Iraq and served there for three years. Sadly they have suffered more than 50 deaths in these wars.
And then there was Operation Alba. Operation Alba? Yeah, that’s been pretty much forgotten. In 1997 the government of Albania collapsed, plunging the country into chaos and leading to fighting that killed some 2,000 people. Italy commanded an international coalition that restored order in a textbook case on how to properly run a peacekeeping operation. The rule of law was established and the troops were gone in five months. Military successes tend to be forgotten in favor of military disasters.
Rome has several military museums dedicated to its fallen heroes. Usually overlooked in favor of the giant archaeology and art museums, they offer an interesting glimpse into forgotten history and weapons you’re unlikely to see anywhere else. Take this little tank I’m standing next to, for instance. This is an L3/35 with twin machine guns (now removed). They were introduced in the 1930s and are a stage in development between the lumbering behemoths of WWI and the more practical tanks of WWII. They proved useful during the Italian invasion of Ethiopia in 1935 and 1936. Despite their thin armor, the Ethiopians didn’t have anything to destroy them, although some brave warriors managed to immobilize them by sticking pieces of railroad track or even sabers into their treads! The L3/35 also saw service in North Africa in WWII where they proved easy prey for the more advanced British tanks.
%Gallery-102423%Here are some of the military museums in Rome:
Ufficio Storico Stato Maggiore Esercito: The Italian army archives has an interesting collection of tanks and weapons, mostly from the two World Wars. Several display cases show artifacts dug up from the Alpine front of World War One. It’s in a military building, so bring some ID and expect to have your bag searched. Via Etruria 33.
Museo Storico della Fanteria: The Infantry Museum houses the best and largest military collection in the city with artifacts dating from Roman times up to the present day. The garden is decorated with tanks and cannon set beneath an ancient Roman arch, and the three floors inside are filled with racks of guns, full uniforms, paintings, and dioramas. Piazza San Croce in Gerusalemme 9.
Museo Storico dei Granatieri di Sardegna: Two doors down from the Infantry Museum is one dedicated to the grenadiers of Sardinia. It traces their history from 1659 when they were armed with primitive grenades to their present-day duties as part of the Mechanized Infantry. Piazza San Croce in Gerusalemme 7.
Museo Storico dei Bersaglieri: The Bersaglieri are an elite force in the Italian army famous for running everywhere, even when they’re in their barracks. This makes them very fit and they’re considered some of the toughest troops in the army. Founded even before the unification of Italy, they’ve fought with distinction in all its wars. Porta Pia i Via XX Settembre.
Museo Storico della Motorizzazione Militare: This museum dedicated to military vehicles displays more than 300 tanks, trucks, helicopters, mobile rocket launchers, motorcycles, and more. It’s located in a large military base. Bring ID and expect to be searched. Viale dell’Esercito 170. If you like tanks, you might want to check out our list of other great tank museums.
There are several more military museums worth seeing, so check out the list the Italian army has here. It’s in Italian, but the basic information is easy enough to puzzle out.
Don’t forget to check out the rest of my Vacation with the Dead: Exploring Rome’s Sinister Side.
Coming up Next: The Catacombs of Rome!