Evidently there are some corners of the Internet I haven't discovered, because if I had, I'd know all about the guys behind the FPS Russia YouTube channel, which is one of the top-viewed channels on the Internet these days.
The guy in front of the camera in that video lives on. But the guy who handled the business side of the videos, Keith Ratliff, was killed with a single gunshot sometime last week. Via Atlanta Journal-Constitution:
One of the operators of a popular YouTube channel promoting high-powered guns and explosives was found shot to death last week in northeast Georgia.
Keith Ratliff, 32, was found dead at 5:45 p.m. Thursday at his business on Hayes Road in Carnesville, said Franklin County Sheriff Steve Thomas in a press release.
Ratliff, of Frankfort, Ky., had been shot once in the head, and his death is a homicide. He had been dead for some time when the body was discovered, Thomas said. He was last seen alive Wednesday around 7 p.m.
The GBI has been called in to assist in the investigation, and Ratliff’s body was taken to the GBI Crime Lab in Atlanta for an autopsy.
According to his LinkedIn profile, Ratliff was either working for or a partner in FPS Industries Global, LLC. In April, 2012, Ratliff appeared before the local planning commission to request a zoning change for the company's property in order to allow for a work area to develop prototypes for accessories for firearms. That request was granted with some restrictions on the land use, such as a ban on live firing outdoors.
This story is made for conspiracy theorists to run wild with it, and they are already picking up that ball and running with it, speculating that he was tied to a chair and shot once through the head as a "leftist plot", among others. Evidently another high-profile gun gear guy, John Noveske, died in a vehicle accident on January 4th. This has sparked speculation that the left is somehow picking off people who are at best peripheral to the gun industry in their efforts to
take away their guns pass reasonable gun control laws.
Testing this story against the theory that if he had been armed, the outcome might have been different yields a predictable result:
Ratliff’s body was sent to the GBI Crime Lab in Atlanta for autopsy. Thomas said Ratliff was found inside his FPS Industries business and there were multiple firearms inside. He would not say if the weapon relating to the homicide was recovered.
My condolences to his wife and 2-year old son. It's a terrible loss, and one I wish they hadn't had to suffer.