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Thursday, August 10, 2006

Who's afraid of silly old ball bearings?

One of the dangers of the 24 hour media cycle is that we tend to fancy ourselves well-informed about the most granular aspects of world events.  This is dangerous because once we think we know something, it becomes difficult to disabuse ourselves of that notion.

For instance, nearly every network has provided detailed explanations of how the Hezbollah rockets do their damage.  We have heard scholarly discussions of these non-guided weapons packed with explosives and ball bearings, and how they are designed to spray the area where they hit with thousands of these small round projectiles.

The problem is that while bullets are firmly inscribed in our minds as unquestionably lethal... we inevitably associate ball bearings (no matter how they are used), with bicycles, roller skates and other 'safe' pastimes. 

In short, we don't really 'get' what all the fuss over ball bearings could possibly be.

Please watch the linked Power Point presentation showing a small sample of the carnage in Haifa.  It was put together by a talented photographer named 'Lenny M'. and will forever change the way you think about these innocuous silver-colored balls.

Click HERE to start downloading the slide show

For those unfamiliar with PowerPoint... you will have to either click to advance each slide or use the scroll wheel of you mouse (if you have one).

[It might take a few minutes to download but it is required viewing for anyone who thinks they understand what the Israelis in the north are contending with.]

Hat Tip to Smooth Stone for sending me this.

Posted by David Bogner on August 10, 2006 | Permalink


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» MidEast War: 95 from Pajamas Media
August 10 2006 01:30 PDT War News (Blogs Opinion below) Hezbollah gunners renewed their attacks on Northern Israel on Thursday morning, scoring a direct hit on a house in Carmiel. Four rockets also hit Nahariya and two more slammed... [Read More]

Tracked on Aug 10, 2006 12:04:14 PM

» Targetting civilians from Al Ha veDa על הא ודא
Heres a picture of a road sign in Haifa after a Katyusha missile landed nearby. Photo credit: Lenny Maschkowski The text on the sign says Go Slow Children Crossing. To see more pictures from Haifa by Lenny Maschkowski... [Read More]

Tracked on Aug 10, 2006 3:15:40 PM


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I think Americans have less of a problem grasping the lethality of ball bearings traveling at 1000 ft. per second. We learned about musket shot used in the American Revolution, Davey Crocket, Hawkeye et al. Well ... we used to learn about such things.

Posted by: Scott | Aug 10, 2006 10:19:09 AM

Scott... Unlike you, not everyone had the benefit of having served with Davy Crockett at the Alamo. ;->

Posted by: treppenwitz | Aug 10, 2006 10:33:09 AM

Before watching: I thought being near one of these was like Russian Roulette; one might get lucky

After watching: it looks like luck won't help; a bystander will have something in common with swiss cheese.

And that these are targeted at innocents and in civilian areas; words can't begin to describe ...

Posted by: Seattle | Aug 10, 2006 11:04:39 AM

I would like to see slide 14 on the CNN and BBC news, but I doubt if I will.

Posted by: Simon | Aug 10, 2006 11:20:01 AM

Ummmm.... if you can't find me when you get home today, chances are excellent that I am still in the bathroom PUKING from the reality check of what our brothers in the North have been suffering the past few weeks.


Kol Hakavod to LennyM for putting this out there! It is a necessary and powerful (but thankfully non-gory) tool to "defend" Israel's current military position against these "lowtech" and "inferior" weapons that the world would like us to ignore....

Posted by: zahava | Aug 10, 2006 1:59:51 PM

Even if anti-Katushya missiles are made, seems like the brothers and sisters up-North might still get showers of ball bearings (G-d forbid).

Just to back the presentation here’s a medical point of view about the blast.

Nobody said it would be easy

Posted by: pk | Aug 10, 2006 2:27:32 PM

Thank you very much for hosting this on your site. The more people who see this, the better. It's a stunning realistic model of what our enemy is capable of.

Posted by: Smooth | Aug 10, 2006 2:46:54 PM

Before I download and view this, can I get a movie rating, like "PG" for violence and "PG-13/15/18" for graphic scenes? Thanks.

Also, since not the entire world uses MS Powerpoint, if someone needs it you can download a Powerpoint Viewer gratis at Microsoft and which, unfortunately (or, of course), will only run on a Windohs box.

Posted by: jennifer | Aug 10, 2006 3:19:28 PM

This is a terrific primer on the random horror of these weapons. Thanks!

Posted by: Yaron | Aug 10, 2006 3:55:14 PM

jennifer -
It's a G. There are no human injuries depicted in the slideshow. Just severe, after-the-fact property damage.

Thanks for the file, David.

Posted by: Reuven | Aug 10, 2006 5:08:07 PM

That was a fantastic PP presentation, although, it is horrifying in what it portrays. Obviously if holes can be embedded in sheet metal and cement, human flesh provides much less resistance.

Thank you for hosting this presentation. I will show it to my family.

Posted by: Tracey | Aug 10, 2006 10:07:16 PM

Wow. You can truly see how the weapons are meant to inflict maximum civilian casualties. Terrorist weapons at their finest.

Thanks to Smooth Stone and you for putting this out there! I'll show it to as many people as I can, and put up a link.

Posted by: N.B. Goldstein | Aug 10, 2006 10:17:39 PM

This is absolutely terrible. Somehow, although I hear about the rockets all the time, the ball bearings part escaped my mind completely. When I first saw the slideshow, I had trouble grasping that it was for real and in Israel. As in, right now. *shaking head*

Posted by: Irina | Aug 10, 2006 10:24:29 PM

Of course. Shotguns, after all, fire shot, which are just ball bearings.

Posted by: Doctor Bean | Aug 10, 2006 10:40:44 PM

Seattle... Yup, that's exactly the point I want people to take away from this presentation.

Simon... Yeah, the sign saying 'Watch for Children' that is riddled with holes is sobering.

Zahava... Sorry honey. As much as we wish it wasn't true...

pk... Better to have the ball bearings raining down on them than have them propelled at high velocity at point blank range.

Smooth... Thank you for sending it to me.

Jennifer... As Reuven already pointed out, it is certainly not G... but it only shows damaged property, not damaged people.

Yaron... I figured if it opened my eyes there were probably a lot of other eyes out there in need of opening.

Reuven...Thanks for responding to Jennifer. I was out til late.

Tracey... Yes, the holes in street signs, lamp posts and guard rails really brings the point home of what these would do to flesh and blood.

N. B. Goldstein... All weapons are meant to main and kill. But the world doesn't seem to mind that these horrible weapons are being sent by the thousands into Israeli civilian population centers.

Irina... That was my point... most people sort of filter out the part about the ball bearings because our mind doesn't get how they could possibly be significant.

Doctor Bean... Most people don't think that way.

Posted by: treppenwitz | Aug 10, 2006 10:44:41 PM

"Most people don't think that way."

It's a curse.

Posted by: Doctor Bean | Aug 11, 2006 12:51:19 AM


Terror Plot Suspects Planned 'Dry-Run' of Attacks in Next 2 Days, Sources Say

Posted by: HTRHW | Aug 11, 2006 1:31:23 AM

Those are sobering pictures - thanks for sharing them. I'd like to see them on the evening news.

Posted by: Steve Bogner | Aug 11, 2006 2:32:27 AM

A modern version of Grapeshot. Deadly. Scott is right, though, "...we used to learn about such things."

Posted by: benning | Aug 11, 2006 3:15:17 AM

HTRHW: I recommend we secure our borders, give our gov't the wire-tapping power they need to keep us safe, and prevent widespread use of the Caps Lock key.

Posted by: Doctor Bean | Aug 11, 2006 3:40:10 AM

Thanks to everyone for the additional ratings input. I did eventually download and view it, but like Tracey, my overactive imagination filled in the missing "blanks" and that was sufficent to make it PG-18 for me (especially in light of where some of those pictures were taken).

Posted by: jennifer | Aug 11, 2006 2:34:17 PM

"Doping" these warheads with ball bearings significantky upgrades the lethality for those in the open. The militaries does not always do this for many reasons ( ease of manufacture, desire for a pure blast weapon to do damage to dug in troops etc.) Unmodified 122s ( the version that I had several experiences with in the late unplesantness in SE Asia included relatively remarkable escapes by several sailors to nearby hits that, had the warheads been "Doped" with ball bearings would have resulted in much greater casualties. These are purely anti-personell weapons, with the weight changes from the ball bearings also affecting range and accuracy and further reducing them to area terror weapons.

Posted by: Old Fat Sailor | Aug 12, 2006 3:46:13 PM

The equivalent of 'canister shot' or the previously mentioned 'grape shot'. The effectiveness from a shotgun hit with distributed shot is not the force of an individual shot penetration, but the body trauma of having a number of shots penetrating a limited area. The wounds are ugly and require treatment if the individual survives, and much more healing than from any single shot wound.

Putting such on rocket or missile warheads is only for trying to inflict the greatest number of wounds on the greatest number of individuals. Absolutely indiscriminant. Which is why suicide bombers pack oddments into their explosives... to cause injury and horror.

Thank you for reminding the world of the true inhumanity of those that launch such things at cities.

Posted by: ajacksonian | Aug 12, 2006 8:15:12 PM

Just Damn! That is some serious Bad Bad Juju.

You know how I feel about it.

Stay Safe and Cool Runnings!

Posted by: Yabu | Aug 14, 2006 4:36:45 PM

Homicide bombers add rat poison into their explosives (along with their ball bearings, bent nails, etc.) because it acts as an anti-coagulent and greatly reduces the possibility of recovery. Did the missiles have rat poison as well?

Posted by: Talya | Aug 16, 2006 7:30:49 AM

God forbid if Hezbollah should ever get a hold of cluster bombs! Instead of 20 pounds of ball bearings each bomb will kill everyone within a huge area.

Cluster bombs are designed for one purpose. To kill, destroy and maim human life. God forbid any monsters get ahold of them and use them against innocent human beings.

May God have no mercy on the animals that use cluster bombs against civilians.

Posted by: Tom | Aug 26, 2006 8:22:49 AM

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