Ukraine: Russia says Pro-Russian local militias are taking over key facilities in Eastern Ukranian. It's kind of understood that this is bullshit. But journalists have been missing a lot of simple strong physical evidence to back that view up from the beginning of this mess. Most recently, these so-called militias.
Whether they are locally-recruited Ukranian Nationals or Russian infiltrators, these guys are clearly NOT grass roots spontaneous guerrilla fighters. They're carrying standard Russian infantry rifles, in a highly uniform configuration, wearing ballistic vests and helmets, acting in highly coordinated ways that simply require excellent command, control, communications and intelligence, and in general behaving like the well prepared and well regulated force that they clearly are. Perhaps just as interesting is what they generally are NOT carrying with them. There is no hodge-podge of weapons, as true irregular forces almost universally begin conflicts with. There are also no weapons that seem well suited to be turned to great effect against the regular Russian armed forces. No anti-armor or anti-aircraft weapons. Little to no explosives. No grenade launchers. No medium or heavy machine guns. No sniper rifles. These guys have been very well equipped TO A CERTAIN AND SPECIFIC LEVEL of combat readiness. I believe this level of combat readiness has been carefully calculated to be more than adequate to handle the government offices and police stations they've been taking over, but totally inadequate to effectively resist regular armed forces.
And while we're on this subject, I've seen at least one story in the media about the protestors in Maidan Square, Kiev, in which a pellet rifle was mis-identified as a sniper rifle. This is the firearms equivalent of mistaking a moped for a tractor trailer at an accident scene, and the difference in the story it tells is significant.
As a whole, western journalists (and I lived with one for years, by the way) have a deep-seated bias against private gun ownership. This is very often accompanied by an irrational fear of fireams and a kind of professional pride in ignorance regarding, and total inexperience with, firearms of any description. When you know one of these folks personally, and they speak to you honestly, they'll tell you this themselves. But ignorance comes at a high price, and when you're reporting on war zones, cartel turf, dictatorships and disaster areas an ignorance regarding weapons is a genuine handicap. Journalists often refuse to see this about themselves, but gun owners in the US generally see it in them, and it makes the average journalist look like a fool in their eyes. The traction journalists lose with this large segment of US society just from botching this one facet of their supposed objectivity and savvy is impossible to gauge, but I guarantee it is highly significant to US national dialogues on the full spectrum of contentious issues in US politics. Jounalists really need to check their heads on this one.