I Don’t Believe in Coincidences

Scranton Army Ammunition Plant
Courtesy WNEP

I joke that I’m not superstitious. When someone asked why that was, my response is simple: “because it’s bad luck.”

Believing in luck creates luck. Believing in bad luck…well, you know. But coincidence, that’s a different matter.

Last week, FBI Director Christopher Wray delivered pointed remarks with a simple message: the threat of Chinese Communist attacks against the United States are “the defining threat of our generation.”

Last Thursday, while Director Wray was delivering those remarks, 911 services in Nebraska, Texas, Nevada and South Dakota were out of order. They were restored, and the cause of the outage — in four non-contiguous states — was blamed on the cutting of a single cable. Not a cable like the transatlantic cable, a cable like “we’re replacing the pole outside and cut a cable.”

That is decidedly not reassuring. If I believed in coincidence, it would have been a very interesting coincidence. Unfortunately, I don’t much believe in coincidences. My disbelief makes two seemingly unrelated news items on different continents…questionable.

The first, a “small fire” at the Scranton Army Ammunition Plant at Scranton, Pennsylvania, might not have gotten much attention were it not for an eagle-eyed defense industry reporter.

The fire, according to Scranton’s WNEP-TV, was quickly knocked down by fire crews. No injuries were reported. But the facility, operated by General Dynamics, is the manufacturer of bodies (aka casings) for 155mm howitzer shells. The Scranton Army Ammunition Plant (SCAAP) is an Army Joint Munitions Command facility that manufacturers “large-caliber metal projectiles and mortar projectiles.

It’s where General Dynamics – Ordnance and Tactical Systems (GD-OTS) produces 155mm and 105mm artillery projections, and other munitions, including M933 and M934 high explosives, M929 white phosphorus smoke, as well as 5-inch naval gun projectiles.

There are only seven production arsenals that produce military munitions for the U.S. military, scattered across 17 JMC facilities domestically.

The fire was in the heat-treating facility where the steel tubes for the artillery shells are treated. These “bodies” are shipped to Iowa where the loading process is completed.

Meanwhile, across the pond in Glascoed, Wales, the BBC reported a Wednesday explosion at the BAE Systems Monmouthshire facility. The facility produces 155mm shells like the M933/934s. Like the shells the Ukrainian military says are already in short supply.

Totally a coincidence, right?


I’ve decided I’m going to start referring to myself as a resident of Atlanta, Georgia. I don’t live in Atlanta, nor Georgia, but I’m saying “Atlanta” by using International Olympic Committee measurement standards. The IOC says the 2024 Olympic shooting competitions are being held in Paris, France. Except they’re decidedly not in Paris. The shooting venue is three hours outside Paris.

That means shooting athletes won’t be staying in the Olympic village. Consequently, the housing, feeding, security and transporting of said athletes, being outside the considerable housing and security accommodations of the Olympic village, will be the responsibilities of the respective competing teams.

That, FYI, is for both the Olympic and Paralympic teams.

For our USA Shooting team, that’s a considerable financial burden. Unlike other nation’s national teams, U.S.A. Shooting receives no funding from the government. In fact, the sport that has collected the most medals in the past few Olympic Games gets no government support.

This Krieghoff K-32 – in a four-barrel set – will be the first item to go under the hammer in RIAC’s May Premier Auction. All proceeds will go to help USA Shooting cover the costs of the 2024 “Paris” Olympic competitions. (Image RIAC)

Next month, Rock Island Auction Company is doing its part to help during their May Premier Auction. The very first item to be auctioned will be an engraved and gold inlaid Krieghoff K-32 over/under shotgun in a four-barrel set. The proceeds will go – 100% – to support USA Shooting at the 2024 Paris Olympics/Paralympics.

“We hope the proceeds of this fantastic Krieghoff help those athletes overcome their logistical challenge,” says Rock Island’s Kevin Hogan, “and focus on what they do best – representing the United States and finding their way to the podium.”

It only takes something on the order of three hours to get from Paris to the shooting venues in Chateauroux Shooting Centre. Hardly “in the heart of it all” for Olympic shooting athletes.

The Chateauroux Shooting Centre is located in the City of Chateauroux and is two hours and 15 minutes by train from Paris. An early morning (5:18am) train from Paris Austerlitz will deliver people to the train station where shuttle buses will then take them to the Shooting Centre, “allowing you to enjoy the shooting sessions with peace of mind.”

After the 2024 Games, we’re told, the Chateauroux Shooting Centre will become the official international shooting venue for France. If you’re planning on attending the shooting events, you might save quite a bundle by flying directly to Chateauroux. From there, you can day trip into Paris for some sightseeing.

We’re planning on attending and, as always, we’ll keep you posted.

6 Responses

  1. “Meanwhile, across the pond in Glascoed, Wales, the BBC reported a Wednesday explosion at the BAE Systems Monmouthshire facility. The facility produces 155mm shells like the M933/934s. Like the shells the Ukrainian military says are already in short supply.

    Totally a coincidence, right?”

    Eh, I’m not so sure on that.

    The word has gone out, do whatever you can to up 155mm shell production, *worldwide*.

    “Speed it up, boys, we need those shells.” I find it plausible they are responding by making some shortcuts, maybe even in the area of safety, to meet these production goals…

      1. That guy is simply wrong. SCOTUS just granted cert two days ago. Briefing schedule hasn’t even been announced, but I suspect briefing won’t be finished until this summer. There is simply no way (short of the Court treating it as an emergency case, which they haven’t done and won’t do) this case will even be argued, much less decided, before the summer recess. It will be argued in the Fall term.

        And a lot of the briefing will necessarily focus on whatever SCOTUS does with the Chevron deference cases that were argued this term, and that will be decided by the summer recess. Key to watch is what Roberts and ACB do in those cases — we already have four justices (Thomas, Alito, Gorsuch, Kavanaugh) who voted not to grant a stay pending appeal in VanderStok, so we probably only need one more vote to affirm.

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