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Monday, January 28, 2013

How Did Someone in Seattle Come to Own a Stinger Surface-to-Air Missile Launcher?

Posted by on Mon, Jan 28, 2013 at 6:00 AM

As Goldy noted, one of the most amazing things about Saturday's first-time-in-decades gun buyback event was the Stinger missile launcher that turned up.

The promise was that weapons could be handed over to Seattle police "no questions asked" in exchange for $100 gift cards. But it sounds like some questions will be asked about this particular gun buyback find:

Detective Mark Jamieson said a man standing outside the buyback event bought the military weapon for $100 from another person at the event. The item, a single-use device that had already been used, is a launch-tube assembly for a Stinger portable surface-to-air missile. He said detectives will notify Army Criminal Investigation on Monday.

Here's my question: Only $100 for a Stinger launcher??? Not too long ago, the CIA was paying $70,000 a Stinger to buy them back from Afghan fighters.

 

Comments (35) RSS

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Theodore Gorath 1
Likely some guy who was in the military had it laying around his house. Sometimes the military allows soldiers to keep certain things they used a lot in duty, if the military no longer has any use for it. This was likely used to train other soldiers, and now the military does not use that model, so they either let a guy keep it, or they auctioned it off.

I know it is fun/self-fulfilling to imagine a gun nut buying these from a gun show and storing thme in his attic, but this kind of stuff happens a lot.
Posted by Theodore Gorath on January 28, 2013 at 6:32 AM · Report this
TheMisanthrope 2
It's single use. Maybe there's a recycle program that needs to happen?
Posted by TheMisanthrope on January 28, 2013 at 6:44 AM · Report this
Sir Vic 3
And thus ends the popularity of the gun buy-back program.

What part of "No Questions Asked" does the SPD not understand? Is there any kind of trust they can't betray?
Should we assume that they are photographing everyone in line and matching up with some bio-metric database?
A story like this just confirms the suspicions of the mentally unstable gun owner that the buy-back is just another cop trap.

Way to fuck up everything you touch, SPD. No one does it better.
Posted by Sir Vic on January 28, 2013 at 7:00 AM · Report this
Cracker Jack 5
Wow, new troll in town?
Posted by Cracker Jack on January 28, 2013 at 7:14 AM · Report this
Amnt 6
@1 Yeah, but isn't it more fun to be scared of an empty tube and lay down on our fainting couch?
Posted by Amnt on January 28, 2013 at 7:15 AM · Report this
Tacoma Traveler 7
More than that, why did this person feel that s/he needed a SAM launcher?

Its the psychology of this that interests me. Why would someone want such a thing? Answer that question, and we can craft meaningful legislation that addresses the root causes of the problem. You will not be effective until you do.
Posted by Tacoma Traveler on January 28, 2013 at 7:22 AM · Report this
Catherwood 8
You could make an ashtray out of it, I guess.
Posted by Catherwood on January 28, 2013 at 7:30 AM · Report this
9
It's a tube. It's as dangerous as a Pringles can. The only questionable action is if they paid the man $100 for his Pringles can.
Posted by Dakn on January 28, 2013 at 7:35 AM · Report this
Matt from Denver 10
@ 3, unbunch your panties. A Stinger launcher is not a gun.

@ 7, that will only be an interesting question if the launcher was operational. If it had been used, then it was just a relic, and the answer to "Why would anyone want a used and non-functioning Stinger launcher?" wouldn't be any more interesting than the answer to "Why would anyone want [insert name of any junk people like to keep]?"
Posted by Matt from Denver on January 28, 2013 at 7:37 AM · Report this
Pithy Name 11
@3, A Stinger missile is not a gun. It is a MISSILE. I sure DO want them to find out where this dude got a MISSILE.
Posted by Pithy Name on January 28, 2013 at 7:39 AM · Report this
12
@3: Read the actual articles. The guy bringing it in was very forthcoming, was not arrested, and only even ended up giving his name because he wanted to keep it if it was legal to do so.

Sure, maybe some delusional paranoid gun nut will see the fact that this item made the news as proof that the cops made copies of everyone's brain and are sifting them them now looking for past crimes. But anyone who freaks out over the actual specifics of this story is so far gone they weren't about to enter the 2km-wide mind control field around the buyback anyway.
Posted by also on January 28, 2013 at 7:41 AM · Report this
13
@3's got it. I think the buyback should stick to its implication of confidentiality- do you want the next guy with a missile launcher to just hold on to it?
Posted by Orsh on January 28, 2013 at 7:48 AM · Report this
Lew Siffer 14
Hanging an expended stinger launcher in your garage or room is no different than hanging up a moose head or some other kitschy BS.
Posted by Lew Siffer on January 28, 2013 at 8:10 AM · Report this
15
An empty missile launcher is not a missile. You cannot buy refills for your stinger missile launcher any easier than you can buy a loaded one in the first place. Walmart does not sell "ammo" for your stinger missile launcher. There are no loose stinger missiles for sale. They each come with their very own launcher.

In fact, if by some chance you owned a stinger missile without a launcher, or made your own, you could probably fire it out of any old piece of pipe. Wouldn't look as cool in your white plastic drainpipe, but it would go as far and make the same "bang." (By the way, if you do try to make your own, please blow yourself up in the process.)

This incident strikes me as some misplaced concern, aided and abetted by a sensationalist press.
Posted by Brooklyn Reader on January 28, 2013 at 8:15 AM · Report this
16
@13 nailed it. Either this feelgood buy-back bullshit is "no questions asked" or it's "men with guns and the authority to use them are likely to interrogate you if you bring something of interest to them."
Posted by Phil M http://twitter.com/pmocek on January 28, 2013 at 8:24 AM · Report this
Sir Vic 17
It's not the fact that it was a missile tube that is the problem. That's pretty harmless and not particularly extraordinary. They've been around for a long time and used extensively. Even though they are controlled ordnance, with JBLM nearby, it shouldn't cause panic.
From the previous SLOG entry on the buy-back program:
...the most striking visual of the day came when police confiscated a shoulder-fired surface-to-air missile launcher from a man who had just bought it off the street for $100. These are reportedly single-use weapons, so the empty launcher presents no real danger in itself, but the police say they are obligated to confiscate military equipment and contact the military to see if they want it returned.

Yet the Times article linked in this posting says that SPD is contacting Army Criminal Investigations.
My beef is that this went from "No Questions Asked" to a DoD investigation for something that isn't even lethal.
How many exemptions are there for "No Questions Asked"? The SPD doesn't exactly get the benefit of the doubt when it comes to following procedure (or the law, for that matter).
Posted by Sir Vic on January 28, 2013 at 8:25 AM · Report this
18
So the SPD not only wasted money buying something that couldn't be used as a weapon (and thereby failing to buy an actual gun that somebody wanted to turn in), they're no violating their no-questions-asked policy?
Posted by GermanSausage on January 28, 2013 at 8:28 AM · Report this
19
Single use or not the launcher is still considered a part that should be under the control of the US Military. To have it out there in the civilian population indicates some sort of breakdown in the military's inventory control. It doesn't really matter if it's operational or not.

I think they just want to make sure this is an isolated breakdown of the system for the accountability of weapons and not a indicator of a larger pipeline.
Posted by kmq1 on January 28, 2013 at 8:32 AM · Report this
20
Everyone who thinks this is any sort of an issue is an idiot. It's non-functional, contains no explosives, and cannot be made functional. This is a non-story.
Posted by doceb on January 28, 2013 at 8:33 AM · Report this
Josh Bis 21
I feel like the main point of these already-used launchers is to show up at buybacks to provide photo ops.
Posted by Josh Bis http://www.thestranger.com/seattle/Author.html?oid=3815563 on January 28, 2013 at 8:54 AM · Report this
Phoebe in Wallingford 22
That Surface-to-Air launcher sure would come in handy when the blue angels are in town!
Posted by Phoebe in Wallingford on January 28, 2013 at 9:12 AM · Report this
Ph'nglui mglw'nafh Cthulhu R'lyeh wgah'nagl fhtagn 23
@18

Yes! It's a trap. Tell all your creepy gun buddies to stay in the basement.
Posted by Ph'nglui mglw'nafh Cthulhu R'lyeh wgah'nagl fhtagn http://youtu.be/zu-akdyxpUc on January 28, 2013 at 9:20 AM · Report this
Geraldo Riviera 24
@16 hit the bullseye. No questions asked should also include 'we will not investigate your shit and come after you later.'
Posted by Geraldo Riviera on January 28, 2013 at 9:36 AM · Report this
25
@23 "I don't want gun buyback programs to be successful."

Yeah, neither do the crazy gun nuts.
Posted by GermanSausage on January 28, 2013 at 9:44 AM · Report this
26
Here's my question: Only $100 for a Stinger launcher??? Not too long ago, the CIA was paying $70,000 a Stinger to buy them back from Afghan fighters.

Geez, Sanders, were you that guy in math class, after everyone else finally got the solution, raised his hand to ask the teach to repeat the problem?????

The CIA never paid anyone $70,000 for a Stinger, doofus, they claimed payment, pocketed the $69,000 for themselves, and paid ONLY $1,000 per item.

Are you by any chance related to William Proxmire? I remember when we explained to that doofus how the Pentagon wasn't really paying thousands of dollars for a single hammer, they were embezzling money by recording the payments as such.

Do you EVER read the frigging news, Sanders?????

Just asking......

(They might want to see if it's possible to deduce when it was last fired . . . oh, about the same time Flight 800 went down on the East Coast?)
Posted by sgt_doom on January 28, 2013 at 10:48 AM · Report this
Matt Hickey 27
When I was a child a friend of mine's dad -- whom was a Vietnam vet -- had something similar. He had a used single-use bazooka. They can't be reloaded, are safe, and we used to play G.I. Joe with it. From what his dad said, after you use one in combat they let you keep it as a souvenir, which is likely what's going on here.
Posted by Matt Hickey http://www.matthickey.com on January 28, 2013 at 10:48 AM · Report this
Jaymz 28
I was more interested in those three semi-automatic pistol grip "street sweeper" shotguns: Those'll bag a bunch of pheasants, for sure!
Posted by Jaymz on January 28, 2013 at 11:36 AM · Report this
Cascadian Bacon 29
The "rocket launcher" was a training dummy, completely harmless and perfectly legal to be owned. Also it was not turned in to the buyback, it was purchased on the street and then illegally confiscated by the police.
Posted by Cascadian Bacon on January 28, 2013 at 11:52 AM · Report this
delirian 30
He said detectives will notify Army Criminal Investigation on Monday.


Idiots. Idiots. Idiots.

Congratulations SPD, you've just destroyed your gun buyback program. Nobody who has an illegal weapon will ever even consider turning it in now. Idiots. This detective needs to be fired for complete and utter abject stupidity (and I'm being nice with my phrasing).
Posted by delirian on January 28, 2013 at 12:12 PM · Report this
delirian 31
Oh, and SPD, nobody will be able to prosecute anything because even if it was illegal, the act of prosecuting someone at a gun buyback program could easily be countered with an entrapment argument. Dumbasses.
Posted by delirian on January 28, 2013 at 12:22 PM · Report this
32
If someone at SPD is not smart enough to know that this was a used, totally harmless (unless you used it to bludgeon someone) item, I fear them carrying a weapon on their person.

Posted by DevNull on January 28, 2013 at 2:09 PM · Report this
33
If someone at SPD is not smart enough to know that this was a used, totally harmless (unless you used it to bludgeon someone) item, I fear them carrying a weapon on their person.

Posted by DevNull on January 28, 2013 at 2:18 PM · Report this
34
@32/33:

If someone at SPD is not smart enough to know that this was a used, totally harmless (unless you used it to bludgeon someone) item, I fear them carrying a weapon on their person.

Back a year or so after the WTO convention, or convocation, in Seattle in 1999, an SPD deputy chief wrote in to the Seattle Weekly, complementing and gushing on about the wonderfulness of the WTO --- need anything more be said about the morons and halfwits they have there?

Posted by sgt_doom on January 29, 2013 at 10:14 AM · Report this
35
If people would just educate themselves more, there wouldn't be all this uptightness and sensationalism. The missile tube is a disposable item and is no more dangerous than a pvc tube at home depot. It's annoying to read all the panicky comments on this site exacerbated by the writer of this article who should really be more responsible and make an effort to do some fact finding before mouthing off a stream of untruths. So, what happened to the missile tube? See here..

http://blog.thenewstribune.com/military/…

Posted by incoherent13 on March 1, 2013 at 5:22 AM · Report this
36
If people would just educate themselves more, there wouldn't be all this uptightness and sensationalism. The missile tube is a disposable item and is no more dangerous than a pvc tube at home depot. It's annoying to read all the panicky comments on this site exacerbated by the writer of this article who should really be more responsible and make an effort to do some fact finding before mouthing off a stream of untruths. So, what happened to the missile tube? See here..

http://blog.thenewstribune.com/military/…

Posted by incoherent13 on March 1, 2013 at 5:36 AM · Report this

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