Category Archives: Violence and Guns

Terrorism has a color and the color is red

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President Biden, like his Democratic predecessor President Obama, killed the number one foreign terrorist leader in the world (not personally, of course).

Meanwhile, MAGA President formed and expanded the largest terrorist organization to operate in and attack the US ever, which most recently produced a stochastic attack on the FBI.

One of the MAGA_GOP candidates went so far as to publicly call out the FBI so he could kill some of them:

Meanwhile, the gun-nut lobby, a largely MAGA Republican production, and it’s fundraising branch known as the NRA, kill tens of thousands of Americans a year.

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Correlation and Causation: Single Mothers and Violent Crime

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The phrase “Correlation does not imply causation” has developed in to a Falsehood, as I discuss here. This is in part because people often use the phrase to argue that a particular correlation has no meaning, which is a false argument. It is, of course, true that a correlation does not in and of itself prove a causal link between two things. And, as pointed out in a few places, but I’ll refer you to this Mother Jones piece for background, the relationship between single mothers and homicide and other crime is … well … interesting. Continue reading Correlation and Causation: Single Mothers and Violent Crime

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Hollywood uses many fake things, why not fake guns?

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Apropos this:

Baldwin was on set filming for the upcoming Western movie “Rust” at the Bonanza Creek Ranch in New Mexico Thursday when the prop gun he was handling misfired, killing cinematographer Halyna Hutchins and injuring director Joel Souza. Souza remains in the hospital.

It’s unclear whether the gun contained blanks or what was discharged.

This is tragic, though not the world’s most important problem. But it happens now and then. I’d worry about the use of guns with blanks in any situation, and I think accidents like this have happened outside the context of filming a Hollywood movie.

Here’s the solution: Invent a series of firearms that look like the various models one would use in films or on stage, but that don’t have the capacity of shooting bullets of any kind, including blanks, but that look like they are shooting bullets. This is not beyond the capacity of our modern day technology. Sure, it would be expensive, but so is every other single thing used in making movies.

Then, disallow actual firearms of any kind on any stage or set.

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Hut Hut Hut and Police Unions

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I’ve identified the next retail item shortage. I’ll let you know what it is when I’m done hording. Any guesses?

Governor Walz was great in his press conference today the vis-a-vis police union. (Well, he seemed to be channeling me, so of course I agreed with him.)

Two things the national guardsman turned history teacher turned congressperson turned governor said: 1) if the police union was doing its job, it would have had provisions in place that would have protected Mr. Floyd; and 2) nobody is more upset about a bad teacher than the good teacher down the hall. (Walz is making the comparison at two points between a good teachers union, which protects students and quality education, and a cop union.)

Another thing that was discussed is the “sanctity of life” rule that most Americans, frankly, can’t imagine but that is followed in other countries.

Actual example given by our public safety head in the news conference: A man (in Camden, NJ) runs into a restaurant and slashes three people. In normal US police procedure, the first cop on the scene would blow him away with a firearm. Everybody would go, “Uh he deserved it uh.”

In “sanctity of life” procedure, in force in Camden, which “defunded” already, the cops surrounded him and when safe zapped him with ray guns or something and took him alive.

As per previous conversations here about the TV show Cops: We Americans do learn how to think about many things by watching fiction on TV. Go watch a few episodes of Flashpoint. It is a fictional TV series about a super trained elite urban (but sometimes suburban or even rural) S.W.A.T. team.

But since they are in Canada, instead of running around going “hut hut hut” and shooting at everything, they do it totally differently. The pilot is about a SWAT sniper who kills a person (because he has to) but then spends the rest of his career feeling really bad about it.

It is on Hulu, I think.

Now it is time to make fun of the cops. Hut hut hut, you’all.

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Should people be charged if their gun is used in a crime?

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Yes, just as if their car is used in a crime.

Obviously if someone breaks into your house, breaks open your gun safe, takes your gun, goes down the street and robs a bank with it, that is not your fault.

But if you leave a loaded gun laying around unsecured, and a four year old grabs it and shoots a five year old dead, you, the gun owner, have just committed homicide.

Almost everything else is in between, and yes, there is a line there, or more than one, that has to be found. But we are a civil society and we can deal with the difficulties of drawing that line. And, anyone who is uncomfortable with there being such a law can easily address their anxiety. Just live in a gun free home.

I bring this up because the Washington Post has a new piece by John Cox and Steven Rich addressing this issue. Here.

And, right, if your car is locked up and in your garage and the key is with you in the house, and someone breaks into your garage, hot wires your car, drives down the street and uses the car in the commission of a crime, that is not on you. If, on the other hand, you leave your car unlocked and running on the street and somebody jumps in it and takes off and commits a crime with the car, that is at least partly on you. And somewhere in between lies this line, see?

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Air Marshals and their Secret Ways

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We are now being told by investigative reporters that US Air Marshals have been following people around and watching them very closely. The Marshals pick a select number of US air travel passengers, who are put on the so-called “Quiet Skies” list. Then, they pick up the trail at or near the airport, and follow them. They watch what they do, and make notes. They may even end up sitting next to them on the plane.

Eventually, in a few months or sooner, the person ceases to be of interest to the Air Marshals and they move on to other targets. I believe the person is then taken off the list.

This has been reported in the Boston Globe and is discussed here in the Washington Post.

According to the TSA, the program uses travel records and other information to identify passengers who will be subject to additional checks at airports and observed in flight by air marshals who report on their activities to the agency.

… the program did not single out passengers based on race or religion and should not be considered surveillance because the agency does not, for example, listen to passengers’ calls or follow flagged individuals around outside airports.

But during in-flight observation of people who are tagged as Quiet Skies passengers, marshals use an agency checklist to record passenger behavior: Did he or she sleep during the flight? Did he or she use a cellphone? Look around erratically?

“The program analyzes information on a passenger’s travel patterns while taking the whole picture into account,” Gregory said, adding “an additional line of defense to aviation security.”

“If that person does all that stuff, and the airplane lands safely and they move on, the behavior will be noted, but they will not be approached or apprehended,” Gregory said.

For obvious reasons, people are upset about this.

I would like to note that had this program been in place prior to 9/11, 9/11 would likely have gone very differently.

I suspect this is a potentially important program that could also be abused. Under certain conditions I would trust the government to carry this sort of program out effectively and fairly, protecting civil liberties and enhancing safety.

Under other conditions I would not.

Stay tuned.

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You killed me.

Our gun culture kills children

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Years ago, my parents were still alive and living in Albany, New York. I had arranged a lunch with some colleagues at their house. I do not recall why exactly, but that is what I did.

In the house lived my parents Joe and Betty, Grandma (dad’s mother) and Great Aunt Tillie (mom’s stepfather’s sister). Grandma and Tillie were very old so they took lots of medicine. Also, they were very old and therefore had a special dispensation from the pharmacy, allowing them to get the medicine in non-child proof bottles.

So the colleagues came over, and that included a woman with her young son, older than toddler age but not much. During our lunch, he was off in the kitchen or someplace amusing himself with a coloring book or something.

But then the child walked into the room and we could see that his face, mainly around his mouth, was covered with azure blue substance, as were his hands. Just as realization of what this blue substance was dawned on his mother, I, the others, Great Aunt Tillie, who had just walked into her bedroom (she had been in Grandma’s bedroom watching soaps), exclaimed, “My medicine!!!!” Continue reading Our gun culture kills children

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Presidential Proclamation: National Sexual Assault Awareness Month

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Every day, women, men, and children across America suffer the pain and trauma of sexual assault. From verbal harassment and intimidation to molestation and rape, this crime occurs far too frequently, goes unreported far too often, and leaves long-lasting physical and emotional scars. During National Sexual Assault Awareness Month, we recommit ourselves not only to lifting the veil of secrecy and shame surrounding sexual violence, but also to raising awareness, expanding support for victims, and strengthening our response. Continue reading Presidential Proclamation: National Sexual Assault Awareness Month

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Candidate Rebecca Otto Lauded By Moms Demand Action

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On the day of yet another school shooting (in Maryland), we have some serious issues to think about.

Every four years in Minnesota, we elected a new gubernor. We’re doing that right now.

This is an especially important race, for four reasons. Continue reading Candidate Rebecca Otto Lauded By Moms Demand Action

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Walk out not up #walkoutnotup #walkoutandwalkup

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There is nothing wrong with “walk out and walk up” because it expands consideration and activism in a good direction.

It says, “while you are busy protesting the fact that dozens of children and teachers are murdered in their schools per year — and good for you for doing this — note that in your suburban school system of 5,000 students, about one will die per year of their own hand, using Uncle Bob’s Glock that he keeps on his night stand just in case.”

There is a great deal wrong with “walk out NOT walk up” because it is bone headed self aggrandizing yammering about how wrong people are in their ability to perceive things, and their tone, which in and of itself is wrong.

I’ll give you the short version of why #walkoutnotup is #wrongandstupid here, and point you to a longer post I wrote a few weeks ago, seeing this tone trolling coming, because it does, always, come. Continue reading Walk out not up #walkoutnotup #walkoutandwalkup

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I for one welcome Donald Trump’s policy to arm half the teachers …

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… because of this: Some of my best friends are teachers, including my wife. Overall, teachers are the best people. When I imagine a trained armed force larger than the United States Marine Corps, made up of 100% teachers, teachers ready to put things right, I get all giddy.

But seriously… Continue reading I for one welcome Donald Trump’s policy to arm half the teachers …

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