Monday, November 13, 2017

A World Where Ordinary People Believe They Are Constantly In Deadly Danger

Below is one of the best bits of common sense I've seen in a long time.
It is entitled:  "How to Talk to Your Kids About Guns" and was written by Katherine Mangu-Ward the editor in chief of Reason magazine.

After you read this one, check out this article as well:  The Fragile Generation

Perhaps these pieces seem to be common sense only because I've been tooting the same horn for a long time.

Here are two true statements:

1. The number of privately held firearms in America has nearly doubled in the last two decades while the number of gun murders per capita was cut in half.

2. The number of kids abducted by strangers in 2011 was 105, out of approximately 73 million children in the United States. That's down slightly from 115 two decades ago.

After Stephen Paddock killed 58 people and injured hundreds more by firing into a crowd from the 32nd floor of his Las Vegas hotel in October, America dove headfirst into our now-traditional national shoutfest about gun laws.

One side sees its argument as self-evident: The moment when dozens of people lie dying in the street of gunshot wounds is the right time to pass laws restricting private gun ownership. The other side, by and large, frames its argument in the language of rights and freedoms: You may not like what some people do with some guns, but the Second Amendment exists for a reason.

Too often absent from both sides of the debate are well-parsed statistics. Restrictionists will cite the approximately 33,000 annual gun deaths in America, but that number reveals almost nothing about the question the public really wants answered after Vegas or the Orlando nightclub shooting before it: How likely am I to die in an incident of random violence?

Two-thirds of gun deaths are suicides, as statistician Leah Libresco explained in The Washington Post shortly after the Vegas shooting, and "almost no proposed restriction would make it meaningfully harder for people with guns on hand to use them." Next are "young men aged 15 to 34, killed in homicides" that are often gang-related, and after that "the 1,700 women murdered per year, usually as the result of domestic violence."

The number of people killed in mass shootings is far smaller—there were fewer than 90 incidents that fit the FBI's formal definition of "mass killing" with a gun in the last three decades, most of them with just four victims—yet the center of gravity in the gun control debate isn't suicide hotlines, drug legalization, or domestic violence shelters. Instead, politicians and pundits perseverate on reducing firing speeds, excluding mentally ill people from the right to buy a gun, and building lists of people with ties to terrorist groups: interventions aimed at minimizing the odds of already-rare deaths from mass shootings.

A frenzy of attempts at preventive policy making follows each high-profile incident but actually creates the conditions for future failure. Gun prohibition produces the same problems as drug or alcohol prohibition; attempts to restrict harmless sale and possession in order to catch a minority of misusers yield all kinds of unintended consequences.

Black markets make the purchase of prohibited items riskier and more expensive, and make the transactions untraceable. Bans are likely to be disproportionately enforced among black and Muslim gun owners, increasing racial disparities. Narrowly tailored restrictions will push product development teams at big firearms manufacturers and garage tinkerers alike to find workarounds that circumvent the letter of the law. And any mass confiscation of illegal weapons or accessories will lead to more violence, as die-hard gun rights believers inevitably fight back against law enforcement.

Take a misunderstanding of the scope and nature of a problem, combine it with a desire to "do something" in the face of national anguish, and you get a recipe for both bad law and cultural conflict.

A nearly identical problem plagues another heated national conversation: Are our children in danger? How likely is my kid to be grabbed by a kidnapper? Underlying much of the invective about helicopter parents, millennial snowflakes, and trophies for everyone is the question of what risks American kids realistically face.

In a country where violent crime has been largely declining for decades, and where crimes against children have declined even faster, there is nonetheless an overwhelming conviction among parents and the press that the world is more dangerous than it was for previous generations. But the FBI says reports of missing children are down 40 percent in the last two decades, and the Bureau of Justice Statistics reports that teen homicide rates have fallen by more than 40 percent; homicides of kids under 14 are at a near-record low; and overall child mortality rates have declined almost by half.

As Lenore Skenazy and Jonathan Haidt explain in "The Fragile Generation" (page 18), the result is a cultural and legal landscape where attempts to protect kids from imagined or exaggerated risks generate new—and very real—threats to their well-being. Oversupervision and reflexive appeals to authority for conflict resolution push ordinary kid squabbles and teen misbehavior into the principal's office or even prison, instead of giving kids the chance to resolve disagreements on their own. As parents opt to keep children indoors, opportunities to practice independent decision making and to make mistakes in low-stakes situations with friendly strangers disappear. Obesity is on the rise, and physical fitness—an aid to self-determination and independence, according to J.D. Tuccille (page 14)—is suffering.

Parental paranoia also conspires with legal paternalism to keep teens out of the grown-up world. On page 54, check out a map of all the ways the law is delaying adult milestones and sending mixed messages about when adolescents can be trusted to make decisions about marriage, work, driving, smoking, and more. In her interview with Reason's Robby Soave on page 56, advice columnist turned Atlantic essayist Emily Yoffe describes a campus culture where women in particular are neither trusted nor expected to know their own minds when making decisions about sex and alcohol, and where young men are subjected to flawed adjudications where adult authorities determine their fate, sometimes without ever getting a chance to defend themselves.

Raising kids to believe in personal responsibility and autonomy is tough in a world where the politicians and bureaucrats respect neither. In the 21st century, when a child is taken from his parents by people he barely knows, it's likely to be the result not of a snatching by a stranger but of busybody neighbors calling Child Protective Services because they disagree with someone's parenting choices.

Mass shootings, kidnapping, and child abuse all happen, of course, and they are horrible. But demagoguing those small-but-real threats to push through intrusive laws is dangerous in its own way.

Unfortunately, citing statistics rarely changes hearts and minds. Each mass shooting seems to ratchet up the panic over private gun ownership. Each kidnapping calls for wall-to-wall coverage while parents enroll their children in yet another supervised extracurricular.

One reason Americans are more inclined to panic over shootings or kidnappings these days is, perversely, that these incidents are so rare. They are the last isolated cases in what was once an epidemic of commonplace violence. Because kids do not go missing as a matter of course, we freak out more on the rare occasions when they do. As even schoolyard fistfights become unusual, we treat each one like a national security incident instead of a learning experience. Our culture has changed, mostly for the good, with wealth, a robust rule of law, and an ever-expanding circle of empathy driving the drop in violence.

Legislation is a blunt instrument, and carving ever-changing mores into the legal code means pushing well-meaning adults to behave in nonsensical ways. Police, social workers, and a large number of teachers, doctors, and other trusted figures are increasingly required by law to behave as if the sidewalk in front of the school, the Publix parking lot, and the Las Vegas strip are risky environments, when in fact they're safer than they have ever been. The law is nearly always a lagging indicator of changing social practices and expectations, not a leading one.

Would-be restrictionists of all kinds thrive in a world where ordinary people believe they are constantly in deadly danger—even when that danger is grossly exaggerated. 

I found this article here:

Thursday, October 12, 2017

Thursday, October 5, 2017

Mass Murders in Context

Here is another thing to think about.

There have been more murders each and every month for the past several years in Chicago than in the Las Vegas mass murder on October 1.

Where is the media outrage?

And get this: the murder rate in Chicago is not even close to the highest in the USA.  The murder rate in St. Louis is over twice that of Chicago.  Chi-Town’s homicide rate is a distant 8th behind St. Louis, Baltimore, Detroit, New Orleans, Cleveland, Newark, and Memphis.

Where is the media outrage?

Take a look at the chart below.  Washington DC and Oakland California homicide rates are astronomical.  These cites are essentially the Belly of the Beast when it comes to restrictive gun control laws in the USA.

Go figure.

Sunday, October 1, 2017

It's Always Something . . . Never Mind

Its always something.
What's all the fuss about this nut taking a pee?

If he needs to take a pee, he ought to be standing up.

Oh -

Never mind.

Saturday, September 30, 2017

Cow Farts and Global Warming. That Cheeseburger is Gonna Gas You, Dude!

Good grief!  Now those pearl-clutching snowflakes have got more to worry their sensitive little brains into an even softer form of mush.

According to what seems to be myriad stories about flatulent livestock, we are all gonna die in a fiery furnace unless we give up our cheeseburgers and take up alfalfa sprouts, kale, and soybean tofu.

Well, listen up buttercup, I've got some bad news for you.

All that bovine generated methane happens when big beefy heifers eat copious amounts of  cow chow.  As you may know, cows are vegan.  They love kale and alfalfa and soybeans.  Guess what happens if each and every one of the billions of humans on earth stopped eating meat, butter and eggs and subsisted entirely on green leafy stuff.

They would all fart - A LOT.

Noxious vile clouds of vegan-generated greenhouse gasses would choke the planet and melt all the snowflakes.  Let's not even think about how very very smelly this would be.

Don't worry too much or too long, because it would be virtually impossible to grow enough kale and sprouts to feed everyone.  There are not enough acres of farmland on earth to grow all that ghastly green grub and simultaneously crank up the production of toilet paper and air freshener - just sayin'.

Friday, September 29, 2017

Heads Up Chicken Little, the Sky is About to Fall!

Oh the Humanity!  

A humongus volume of greenhouse gasses are about to be released upon us.  The volume is astronomical.  Mush-for-brains environmentalists will be clutching their pearls as a gazillion tons of particulate, fly ash, carbon dioxide, and toxic fumes, come blasting from the caldera of the Bali Volcano.

Mother Nature is set to belch an amount of global warming effluent that far exceed the relative mosquito farts from a century of human activity.

How come there are not throngs of tie-dyed protestors chanting in the streets? 

When Will Nancy Pelosi and Chuckie Schumer save us from this evil capitalist plot?

I can hear them now:  Hey Hey - Ho Ho.  Pass a law so the Volcano Won't Blow

DEEP inside the giant volcano that has Indonesian authorities, residents and tourists on edge, magma is rising.

Molten rock, which has been accumulating for the last 50 years or more, is heating up and slowly dissolving the rock above, while the pressure is pushing through the volcanic crevice and finding weak points to penetrate.

Increased temperature in the groundwater is creating steam filled with gases like sulphur dioxide; it’s been steaming away quite strongly over the last week. Volcanic gases, which smell really bad and are quite dangerous, fill the air.

A plume hovers above off the top of the volcano about 500 metres above the crater’s rim.

It’s getting thicker, pulsating a little bit.

As it’s doing that, the mountain is shaking, there’s deep volcanic earthquakes. 10-15 kilometres below the surface the rocks are melting, interacting with water and ocean sediment, melting, trying to bubble their way up to their source.

Once they do, that’s when Mount Agung will erupt.

Wednesday, September 27, 2017

Pete Rose, Football, and the Star Spangled Banner.

Remember Pete Rose?

He was a 100%, balls out, give it your all, Baseball Player.  He would ALWAYS run full speed for first base after a hit - even when the ball had been caught for an easy out.  He ALWAYS put forth 100% passionate effort into each and every play.

Pete Rose ALWAYS stood for the National Anthem and ALWAYS held his cap over his heart.

Not only that - he was really tough.  His head-first dives into home plate were epic.  A well known quote of his sums it up:  "I'd walk through hell in a gasoline suit to play baseball."

Pete Rose is Rough and Tough and 100% American.

Pete Rose NEVER took a knee

In football, taking a knee once referred to a ploy by which a quarterback could run out the clock and deny their opponents a sporting chance at gaining ground.  It ended the play without really playing

I've always considered taking a knee as lame and unsportsmanlike.

NFL football players once had a reputation as being rough and tough - just like Pete Rose. No longer is this the case.  Now a large number of them are cowardly wimps that show wanton disrespect for the Star Spangled Banner.  These chumps get paid untold millions of dollars and then spit upon the very soul of the America that gave them the gift of a thousand lifetimes. 

Taking a knee to insult the USA, and everything it stands for and every opportunity it has made available to each and every American and NFL player, is even more lame and unsportsmanlike.