Thursday, December 31, 2015

2015 in review

Here is the obligatory year in review post. I don't mention a lot o personal stuff on here, but this post will be an exception.

This has been a pretty good year.

Professionally:
I began the year working as a part time science teacher. While doing my taxes, I was able to get an exemption from the Obamacare penalty, but it was obvious that I would not be able to do so forever. The penalty is going to be quite a bit more expensive for 2015, and buying insurance is also too expensive. I needed to get a job that offers health care benefits.For reasons that I am not yet at liberty to discuss, I could not return to my old career as a paramedic, so my only other option was to go full time as a teacher. So I now teach Biology and Chemistry at the High School level.

Personal:
In November, I became engaged to my girlfriend of the past two years. We are getting married next fall.

Financially:
There is a post to follow in this, but the bank finally managed to foreclose on the house from my bankruptcy six years ago. I am glad to finally be rid of that albatross.

This was a good year for travel.

This year, I took road trip to New Orleans in March, and one to Canada, Maine, and many places in between in July. In June, we  flew to Puerto Rico and took a seven day cruise to Aruba, St Martin, St Kitts, and St Thomas.
In November, we took two cruises: the first being a two day trip to the Bahamas, and the second was a seven day cruise to St Thomas, St Martin, and the Bahamas. We were on the French Side of St Martin when the Paris attacks occurred.
For Christmas, we decided to take a trip to Hawaii. We left on December 18th right after work. We arrived in Oahu the next day. We flew home on the 29th, and arrived home on the 30th. There are a few posts on that coming up.

All in all, this was a pretty good year. I look forward to what 2016 brings.


Thursday, December 17, 2015

Armed at Disney, redux

Just after I did my post on being armed at Disney, the company came out and announced that they would be placing metal detectors at their parks. This was apparently done in response to the man who was arrested while carrying a 5 shot Smith and Wesson revolver into the park, without a concealed weapons permit.

One article made this claim:
Before you are allowed inside the park, you can see an increased security presence at the front gates. Large metal detectors are set up at the entrances of Disney World's four theme parks. Security thoroughly goes through each guest's bag, pulling out items and opening wallets.

I went to Disney's Hollywood studios in the Orlando area to test the claim that they would be looking for firearms by opening wallets and running guests through metal detectors. To test the claim, I decided to carry my J frame Smith and Wesson in a pocket holster in the front right pocket of my jeans.

There is an area just in front of the entrance where park security checked the bags of guests who were bringing bags, but this was haphazard at best. There is a "bypass" that allows guests without bags to enter the park without passing through the bag check area. Since I did not have a bag, that is the way that I went. There were security guards there, including an off duty deputy, and a security guard with a dog. I passed through without them giving me a second look, despite the fact that I was armed.

I watched them for a bit. They stopped one man to look in his fanny pack, but allowed at least three guests through who were either pushing strollers or wearing backpacks without giving them a second look. I did not, in the five minutes I watched, select a single person for a magnetometer, nor did I see a single magnetometer in use. It is possible that the magnetometers were discretely hidden, but I watched hundreds of people enter the park, and none were given more than a quick look, and most passed through without question. 

Just as I have done dozens of times, I entered the park with my weapon, walked around for about an hour, and then left. I was armed the entire time, yet I did not break a single law, nor did I do anything to hurt anyone. 

I also recently visited Universal Studios. The security there is just as much of a joke, and it is full of holes. Let me give you some examples:
If you are a guest who drives to the park at Universal, you must pass through a security checkpoint where they do the same sort of cursory inspection that is done at Disney. If you are staying at one of the hotels on Universal property and decide to walk to the park, you must also pass through a second security checkpoint. However, if you take the complimentary water taxi from the hotel to the park, the boat drops you off BEHIND the checkpoint into the "secure" area without so much as a glance.

Another security lapse at Universal is the mini golf course. It is surrounded by a 3 foot tall wrought iron fence. The golf course is in the nominally secure area, but is separated from the general public by this fence, and nothing more. 

In short, this is not security, it is theater that is designed to make people who don't know any better FEEL as if they are safe. It is all smoke and mirrors.

Saturday, December 12, 2015

Armed at Disney

There is a Facebook argument raging over this news article from WFTV with a misleading headline saying "Man arrested for having gun at Disney" the headline should read "Man arrested for illegally carrying weapon without permit." (The headline has since been changed). The man was arrested because he was carrying a concealed weapon without a valid permit.

The argument centers around a few points, every one of them showing ignorance of the issue. Here they are. The first few are legal arguments, the next few are moral.:

1 It is illegal under (Federal law/Florida law) to carry a gun into (a theme park/Disney).
No it isn't. There is not a single law that prohibits concealed carry into a Florida theme park.

2 Disney prohibits carry of guns. If you carry, you are guilty of armed trespassing.
This is not true either. Armed trespassing in Florida requires that the armed person be specifically told to leave, and refused to do so. A generic "no guns" policy or sign does not meet the notification requirement. The Disney spokesman seems to think that corporate policy has the effect of law, but he is mistaken:

"We immediately engaged law enforcement and the matter was resolved quickly and without incident,” a Walt Disney World representative said. “Our policies are clear, and we have zero tolerance for any violation of them."

3 Why do you need to carry a gun at Disney? Here is my only answer to that.

4 Disney has crack security. They will protect me.
Actually, Disney security, at least here in Orlando, is unarmed. They hire off duty Orange County deputies to serve as armed security. They do have bomb dogs, though. The handlers for these dogs are apparently unarmed. The only people who claim that Disney has a secret SWAT team and a crack team of secret security, the person doing the discussing has struck me as a bit of a mall ninja.

5 Why do you need to carry a gun around so many kids?
For the same reason I carry elsewhere. Criminals don't magically cease to commit crimes in the vicinity of children. Here is one such post:
All this debate about how you can take a gun anywhere with such and such licence. LISTEN TO YOURSELVES! you're trying to justify bringing a GUN into a park full of KIDS! I am not comfortable with anyone carrying guns near my kids or encouraging such violent behaviour this is why kids are killing eachother get a grip u bunch of fools!!!!!

6 The guy was obviously compensating for his small penis.
That is a good way to have a rational gun discussion: make dick jokes.

7 All people with a gun fetish should be psychologically evaluated, as they obviously have mental problems.
Perhaps they should do the same for people who want to comment on the Internet.

8 Concealed carriers don't stop mass shootings.
I pointed out the New Life Church. Here is the response I got:
I question the intelligence of someone who would fire a gun at a car in a public parking lot. She had no way of knowing whether there was a child in the car or not. She was not saving someone who was being murdered, raped or kidnapped. She wanted to be a hero, and didn't care that she might have been putting innocent people in danger. The icing on the cake is when she immaturely and petuantly declared she was "never helping another person" for the rest of her life. Is this the kind of person we want to be firing a gun in public?
9 People who carry guns because of the small chance of a crime are paranoid.
One poster pointed out that people who own fire extinguishers are not considered paranoid. The reply was pure gold that displayed the moonbattery for all to see:

Who has fire extinguishers in their home? I find a fire alarm is adequate. I guess you have a fall out shelter incase of nuclear attack too? Leave firefighting and law enforcement to the professionals.


These people are completely unhinged and will not listen to facts or reason. The good news is that many people are realizing just how stupid and pedantic the anti gun position is. 100 million firearms sold in seven years.

Thursday, December 10, 2015

Australia Homicide Reporting

In my recent post on the "Australia doesn't have mass killing" talking point, a visitor, libertarianm, asked for the primary source for my claim:

Six years, six spree killers, 35 homicides.Australia, like many countries, doesn't list a death as being a homicide until someone is convicted of the killing. 
Australia's National Homicide Monitoring Program, administered by the Australian Institute of Criminology, tacks homicides in Australia. The Australian Institute of Criminology is Australia's national research and knowledge center on crime and justice. 

The National Homicide Monitoring Program has this to say about the definition of 'homicide':

Homicide is defined by the criminal law of each Australian state and territory. As a result, varying definitions exist between states and territories in terms of its degree, culpability and intent.
Since there is no national definition of exactly what constitutes a 'homicide', the NHMP uses the following definition(my comments in blue follow each point):

* all cases resulting in a person or persons being charged with murder or manslaughter.

In order for a killing to be classed as a homicide under this criteria, a person must be charged with the crime. No suspect in custody or no charges filed, no homicide.

* all murder–suicides classed as murder by police

Remember that each state and territory is left to define murder and homicide. If the police in a particular jurisdiction don't declare it to be a murder, it is not a homicide. Likewise, for the police to declare it to be a murder, there must be a dead suspect for it to be a murder/suicide. If there is suspect dead from suicide, there is no homicide.
This is an important distinction. The shooter in the Sydney Hostage incident of 2014 was not listed as a homicide incident, despite the fact that the shooter killed two people.  Why? Because he was killed by the police. The killings were listed as terrorism, despite evidence that the shooter was a serial rapist, and was out on bail after being charged with the murder of his wife. 

all other deaths classed by police as homicides 

Again, the laws vary between each territory and state. What one police department classifies as a murder, another may not. This makes it nearly impossible to determine the number of homicides.

The real problem with using ANY data from other countries as a yardstick to measure the effectiveness of restriction on firearms ownership is that different countries use different methods and definitions, making a direct comparison of data useless for statistical and comparison purposes.




Monday, December 7, 2015

What?

How do you reconcile this statement, made just three days ago:

Attorneys for the family of Syed Farook, one of the suspects in the San Bernardino shootings, says the family is shocked by the accusations that Farook may have been radicalized by terrorist organizations.


With this statement, made yesterday:

The father of San Bernardino suspect Syed Rizwan Farook told an Italian newspaper that his son expressed support for the Islamic State group and was obsessed with Israel.

You can't. Obviously, they are lying. This is why you cannot trust Muslims when they say that they are a peaceful religion that doesn't support terrorism. Where are the Muslims who are turning in their fellow Muslims?

At this point, the attorney for the family needs to be investigated as well.

Australia

The next claim I want to take on is the one I keep seeing all over the internet:

Australia same geographical size , Prime Minister Howard =1 put in gun control and since , the 1990' NONE , NOT ONE MASS SHOOTING Tell me it doesn't work . GUNS DO NOT KILL PEOPLE
PEOPLE WITH ACCESS TO GUNS ......... KILL PEOPLE. Due to the nation’s controversial and oppressive gun restrictions, no one has died as a result of a mass-shooting on Australian soil today, for the 7158th day in a row.

Fact check coming at ya:

Since 2009, Australia has had at least 6 spree killings.
1 Lin Family murders a man murdered a family of 5 in their home after having dinner with them.

2 Hunt family murders a man murdered his entire family with a shotgun in Lockhart, NSW, Australia. 5 killed

3 Hectorville hostage standoff  mass shooting in Australia in 2011 in Hectorville, where a man took hostages and held police at bay for nearly eight hours. He shot 6 people, killing three and wounding three. Two of the wounded were police officers.

4 Quakers Hill murders a man killed 11 elderly residents of a nursing home by setting the home on fire as they slept, to hide the fact that he had been stealing drugs from the sick.

5 Cairns child killings  Eight children stabbed to death by their mother

6 Sydney hostage incident: a man robbed a bank at gunpoint. 3 killed and 4 wounded.


Six years, six spree killers, 35 homicides.Australia, like many countries, doesn't list a death as being a homicide until someone is convicted of the killing. That skews the numbers, because the killers in the Hunt murders and the Sydney incident died before they could be tried. The Hectorville murderer was found not guilty by reason of insanity. Is it any wonder why Australia reports a homicide rate of 1.1?

The US homicide rate is 3.8 per 100,000.

Sunday, December 6, 2015

Changing the meaning of words to suit an agenda

There is a meme that is being pushed by the left, where they claim that there have been 300 mass shootings in 2015 alone. The supposed source for this little talking point is a website called shootingtracker. Lets take a look at where shootingtracker got their data from, shall we?

The data came from news sites all over the country, which hardly makes the data accurate or scientific. There are a number of issues with the data, including the following:

1 To be counted, the story had to claim that four or more people (including the shooter) had to be injured or killed. Note that this doesn't mean that anyone had to have been actually shot. If a guy fired a gun into the air inside of a crowded shopping mall and four people were injured trying to flee, this would count as a mass shooting, even though no one was actually shot.

2 They included ANY shooting where 4 or more people were injured, including murder suicide. So if a mother went nuts and shot herself after bludgeoning her children to death inside of her own home, this would count as a mass shooting.

3 The FBI is much more selective, probably because they have less of an agenda than the gun grabbers. The FBI defines a mass shooting as:
"the killing of four or more individuals occurring during the same incident, with no distinctive time period between the murders." (emphasis added)
Using this definition, there are far fewer mass shootings. Mother Jones, hardly a bastion of far right thought, used this definition to determine that there have only been 73 mass shootings since 1982. That is 2.2 mass shootings per year. Granted, this year has seen 4 shootings, which is more than the average, but this is not unprecedented. There have been more than 4 mass shooting a year several times during that period: 2013, 2002, and 1999. Even the Huffington post admits that violent crime is at a 50 year low.

To make the problem look worse, President Obama signed a law in 2012 that reduced this definition to three killed.

4 The agreed-upon definition of an active shooter used by U.S. government agencies for decades—including the White House, U.S. Department of Justice/FBI, U.S. Department of Education, and
U.S. Department of Homeland Security/Federal Emergency Management Agency—was

an individual actively engaged in killing or attempting to kill people in a confined and
populated area. Implicit in this definition is that the subject’s criminal actions involve the use of firearms.
 The gun grabbers that run shootingtracker are claiming that the FBI is wrong, that the definition of a mass shooting should include any incident where 4 or more people are shot, because whether or not they die is not relevant, only the fact that they were shot should count. Even using this metric, they are grossly inflating their numbers, as most of the news articles that this 'study' is based upon do not state the mechanism of injury for the injured parties. This means that a person who was not shot, but twisted his ankle in an attempt to flee the shooter is counted towards the statistic.

In order to see the manipulation a bit more clearly, let's look at the data for my state of residence, Florida. The site claims that there were 27 mass shootings in 2015. The problem is that nearly all of these shootings were gang ind drug related. For example:

One of the shootings from January was an incident where 2 men in Lakeland tried to rob a drug dealer,  a fight ensued, and 4 people wound up getting shot. Both the robbers and their drug dealing victims were convicted felons with lengthy criminal histories that were illegally in possession of drugs and firearms. In fact, the police identified gang or drug activity as being the cause of 13 of the 27 shootings.

One of them didn't happen in Florida. It was a shooting that took place in California.

One was a murder suicide, where a husband shot his wife and the man she was having an affair with, before shooting himself. One bystander was hit as well. In fact, three of the 27 shootings were murder suicides, where the victims (with the exception of the lone bystander already mentioned) were all related to the shooter, including one case where a 60 year old woman killed her daughter, also shooting her 4 grandkids, killing three of them.

In eight shooting incidents, the shooting was the result of a fight or argument that started in a bar or a party, where the aggrieved person produced a gun and began firing.

In one case, police didn't even know if anyone was shot. They could not determine the cause of the victims' injuries.

There was only one shooting where the shooter randomly shot at people in what the FBI would classify as a mass shooter, and that shooting resulted in one death and three injuries.

Another interesting statistic is this:
20 of the 26 shootings involved drugs or alcohol.
In 3 of the shootings the shooter's race was unknown, and in the 18 of the remaining 23 shootings, the shooter was black.
In the 7 shootings where a suspect was arrested, the shooter was a convicted felon in possession of a firearm in 4 of them, meaning it was already illegal for him to possess a firearm.

We have a gang problem. We have a drug problem. We do not have a problem with mass shootings. The "facts" in this meme that is being circulated are misleading and, in some cases, false.

It must be deliberate.

Friday, December 4, 2015

Arrows versus helicopters?

There was a movie made in the late 80s about the Third Infantry regiment during the Vietnam War. It was called "Gardens of Stone." There is an exchange in that movie that has always resonated with me, and goes like this:


Private: We beat England when we were the guerrillas, and we beat Hitler. We beat everybody in between. We're not gonna lose to a bunch of little Asian farmers.

Sgt:  Yeah? You take a look at that farmer. He can march 100 miles on no food, through a jungle, slaughter his own people, even babies. That's a soldier.

Private: Firepower. He can't soak up our firepower. I saw a photo, one of our choppers coming back with arrows in it! How do you beat a helicopter with bows and arrows?

Sergeant: How you gonna beat an enemy brave enough to fight helicopters with arrows?


Apply that to now:

We are facing an enemy that will do ANYTHING to win. They will even strap a bomb to their children and send them into a crowded area, in the hopes that his child will kill just a few of you. Any culture that believes in their cause so strongly that not only are they willing to die, but they are willing to kill their own children to get at you, is willing to do anything to win.

You can't reason with that kind of faith. You can't negotiate. Even the normal rules of war do not apply. Normally, a war is one when one side grows weary of fighting, when one side decides that the cost they are paying is too high. That isn't going to happen here. They will not stop, because they believe that their god has ordered them to kill you.

No, the only way this modern version of the crusades ends, is for one side to eliminate the other. Not beat the other, bur eliminate them.

We have no choice. They have brought the fight to us. Fort Hood, Boston, Chattanooga, San Bernardino, and more. Now it is either kill, or be killed.

Media Spin

Here comes the media, claiming that the brother of the terrorist from San Barnardino is a Navy veteran, decorated for his role in the war on terror. They make it seem as though he was out killing terrorists with his bare hands, but the NY Daily News lists his awards:

Good conduct medal
Serve four years without getting in trouble, and you get this one.

National Defense Service Medal: 
Everyone in the military since 9/11 gets this one.

Global War on Terrorism Expeditionary Medal:
This one is given to the members of any unit that was within the theater of operations.

Global War on Terror Service Medal
All military who deploy to the Middle East get this one.

Sea Service Deployment Ribbon
This one means his ship was away from its home port for 90 days or more. Pretty much everyone in the Navy who is assigned to a ship gets this one.

He served from 2003 to 2007. His awards were the equivalent of a participation trophy. The first two are give to pretty much everyone, and the last three were because the ship he was assigned to (the USS Enterprise) went to the Persian Gulf in 2004. He got those medals along with the other 10,000 people on the ships in that battle group. This is not some set of awards for heroic actions. He was never within a thousand miles of a terrorist, with the exception of his brother.

This is spin by the media to distract us from what his brother did, and to make us all believe that this was not the act of terrorist Muslims.

Thursday, December 3, 2015

A big thanks to the press

The press and the President are actually helping pro gun forces this week. You see, they all have been busy trying to spin the terror incident in California as "workplace violence" instead of the terrorist act that everyone knows it to be.  Even the people who are trying to sell this as a workplace shooting don't believe what they are peddling.

Last month, in the week after the Paris shootings, the sales of guns set a new record. For the sixth month in a row. Each month sees a new all time high in gun sales. Americans are arming themselves like never before. In fact, Americans have bought nearly 20 million firearms so far this year, and I am predicting that December will see even more sales than the previous six record setting months. My prediction is that the year will end with over 22 million NICS checks.

Why? Because EVERYONE senses the problems that are coming, and this ISIS terrorist attack is going to accelerate the trend.

So how does this add up to the press doing us a favor? Because even people who are uninformed on the issue are beginning to see the light. Gun free zones are a lie. Gun laws don't protect you. They are scared, and they aren't buying into the anti gun rhetoric any more.

The emperor has no clothes, and everyone is beginning to see.

Monday, November 30, 2015

QOTD

Orangepizza:

#GreedosLifeMatters
Followed by Purpleraindrop:

Hans up, don't shoot!

Seen as a comment to this.

Pictures don't lie

Next time someone tells you that British police do not carry firearms, you can show them these pictures as evidence that at least some of them do...




Sunday, November 29, 2015

"Free" healthcare= slavery

More than a few times, I have discussed so-called "free" health care on this blog. The fact that giving someone a product or service at no cost to them means that someone else must provide that product or service for reduced wages or free. In this case of health care, that means that doctors become what are essentially slave workers who earn less than cab drivers.

We constantly hear about how Great Britain has such a great system, and how much better the NHS is that the system we have in the US. The doctors in the UK disagree. Junior doctors, who represent 50% of the physicians in the UK, are going on strike. Why? Doctors there make only US$34,000 per year to start, and top out at US$45,000 per year. Doctors in the UK work 90 to  100 hours a week. There are laws in the EU to prevent doctors from working more than 48 hours a week, but they are encouraged to waive that right and work more. Assuming an 80 hour workweek, a junior doctor in the UK makes between $8.17 and $10.62 an hour.

How does that compare to other professions? There are cab drivers in London who make US$100,000 per year. Accountants make US$45,000 per year to start, and attorneys make US$60,000 to start. Doctors, being upset about this state of affairs, are threatening to strike. The government is going to press charges against any doctor whose refusal to work long hours for low pay results in risking patient's health.

That is called slavery.

Even with all of that, there are waitlists of more than a year for medical treatment for some, and the average wait for a surgical procedure is 18 weeks.

Tell me again how we want to emulate that system.

Saturday, November 28, 2015

Giving back, not fighting for more

I spent Thanksgiving day as a volunteer: I was helping prepare and serve meals to 170 elderly people who have no family or friends to spend the Holiday with. The meal consisted of ham, turkey, stuffing, mashed potatoes, sweet potato casserole, green bean casserole, corn, rolls, and pumpkin pie. The meal, which cost $12 per person, was prepared and served entirely by Veterans of the US military, who volunteered to serve yet again. It gave those people a place to go on Thanksgiving.

I learned over more than 2 decades of service as a paramedic and firefighter that most people who frequent charity soup kitchens are poor because of their own poor choices, so I didn't want to serve in a soup kitchen where some ungrateful welfare kings and queens would feel I owed them something.

I then spent Black Friday at home. Watching TV and reading a book. What I didn't do was emulate those idiots who were at Wal Mart, engaging in fist fights to get a cheap TV set or vegetable steamer.

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Organized crime

From 1989 to 2010, police seized $12.6 billion worth of property and cash through asset forfeiture. The amount seized has been growing exponentially. In 2014 alone, Federal law enforcement agencies alone managed to seize $4.5 billion worth of property and currency. State and local police are taking in another half billion or so each year, making the total seized in a given year somewhere in the neighborhood of $5 billion.

The police write about $6.2 billion in speeding tickets every year in the US. One in five US drivers will receive a ticket every year, for a total of 41 million tickets written. Each police officer writes $300,000 in traffic tickets each year. The police have admitted that traffic tickets are used as a fundraising tool.

There are 12,000 local police departments in the United States, and the combined budgets of them and Federal law enforcement come to just over $126 billion each year.

According to the FBI, there were 8.9 million property crimes for 2012 in the US, meaning that there were 4 times more traffic stops than there were thefts. Burglars managed to steal $3.9 billion in property. Larceny, the most common property crime, cost the public $4.7 billion in 2012.

In fact, the total cost of all property crime for 2012 was about $12.6 billion. That includes Auto theft, robbery, burglary, shoplifting, all of it. Everything stolen by criminals.

Let's run the totals (all figures in billions of US dollars):
Police cost is:
Budgeted costs: 126
Asset forfeiture: 5
Traffic tickets: 6.2

Total cost of US policing: $137.2 billion per year

Property crime: $12.6 billion per year.

The conclusion here is obvious: The financial cost of police is simply too high. We are wasting our money. In fact, if police were eliminated and all crime was 10 times worse than it is now, we would still be saving money.

Does this mean that I am advocating that we eliminate police? Of course not. What it means is that we must look at how we are spending our law enforcement dollar, and realize that our police are far too focused on fundraising activities instead of preventing crime and actually catching criminals.

Sunday, November 22, 2015

Why we win

This is how you win over a mildly anti-gun person: with calm, rational discussion and a personal example of being reasonable and level headed. Let them see that you are not sitting there dreaming of shooting people.

I  have been in a relationship for nearly two years, and she is from New York. Her attitude towards gun ownership was initially a difficult one to swallow. I got her to agree to come shooting with me. I started her on a .22 pistol- my Sig Mosquito. She got the chance to see how a firearm is a tool, nothing more. A firearm is no more dangerous than a hammer, and frankly, it is much easier to learn to shoot a firearm than it is to drive a car.

We graduated to firing a suppressed 9mm M&P, then the suppressor came off, then we worked up to shooting a .45. She gradually accepted the fact that I carry a weapon. At first, it was just when we went to Orlando, the dangerous place. As she grew to accept it, I carried more and more.

The shooting in Paris actually was a turning point. We were on vacation in France last week. When we saw the news of the shooting, she turned to me and said, "When we get home, I want to take the concealed weapons safety course, so I can apply for a concealed weapons permit."

That is how you turn a mildly anti-gun girl from New York into a CCW holder:

1 Antis from places like NYC, Maryland, and Massachusetts are taught that gun owners are all a bunch of mouth breathing, uneducated, racist hicks who sit around and dream of killing minorities. Don't be that. Be well spoken, level headed, and non-violent.

2 Calmly approach the subject, and get them to shoot something mild and quiet. Nothing will reinforce the "guns are scary" meme like trying to get a female who is afraid of guns to shoot a .500 Magnum while you yuck it up as the gun recoils into her face.

3 Don't pressure them. They will eventually see things for what they are. Once they begin to see the world as it is, not as their indoctrination said it is, they will come around. Remember: facts and reality are on your side.


Saturday, November 14, 2015

Gun laws do not work.

Yet another international headline that flies in the face of Obama's declaration that mass shootings only happen in the US because of our "lax gun laws." France has gun laws that are MUCH more strict than the US, and there are more than 150 dead in this latest attack.

A Washington Post article from last January estimates that the number of illegal guns in France is now at least twice the number of legal guns

Tell me again that gun laws work to prevent anything.

Wednesday, November 4, 2015

Free time?

I teach 4 classes of Biology, and 2 of Chemistry. I have a total of 122 students. So far this week, they have turned in a total of 372 papers and 118 exams. The final papers are due for their science projects.

We are now 15 weeks into the school year. In the county where I am teaching high school science, each science student is required to do a science project where they perform a scientific inquiry, using sound scientific principles. I break this project into several assignments over a 16 week period, so that the students have a chance to work through the process.

Each student, and their parents, are told that the project accounts for about 30% of their grade for the semester. I have about a dozen students who decided not to do ANY of the science project. As you can imagine, they are not doing much else in class, so 8 of them are receiving an F for the semester, and the other 4 are all earning a D.

I ate dinner tonight and checked my email right after, when I noticed that 5 students emailed me to tell me that they lost their login to the system and cannot turn in their projects, and want an extension. Another student is using a typo on the class website to try and go all bedroll lawyer on me, claiming that my typo means he gets a three day extension. His father just emailed me, demanding that I answer his son't email tonight.

I AM OFF WORK. I am not at the beck and call of parents and students at night while I am home. They will just have to wait until tomorrow.

Vent complete.

Sunday, November 1, 2015

Mass Murderers, updated

Here is the updated list of mass murders:

If you claim that guns are the reason for mass killings, you are ignoring that the largest mass murders do not use a gun. Here are a few of them:

1 On 911, there were 2,996 dead and over 6,000 injured. The weapons used were box cutters.

2  October 31, 1999: Gameel al-Batouti cried out “Allahu Akbar” as he piloted a plane full of passengers into the Atlantic Ocean, killing 217 people.

3 The Oklahoma City Bombing. There were 168 dead and over 680 injured. The weapon used was a bomb made from fertilizer and diesel fuel.

4 The Bath School massacre of 1927: 45 dead, and 58 injured. The weapon used were a pair of bombs.

5 New York Bombing of September 1920: There were 40 killed and several hundred injured. The weapon was a bomb.

The Upstairs Lounge Fire in New Orleans on June 24, 1973 was an arson that was intended to kill the patrons of a gay bar. It worked, killing 32 and injuring dozens.

7 The LA times is attacked with a bomb in 1910, killing 20.



The fact is that guns have nothing to do with spree killings. The first mass murder in US history happened in 1780, and was committed by a man named Barnett Davenport. He killed an entire family (all 5 of them) during a pre-planned burglary. He used blunt instruments to beat the adults and one of the children to death, and then set the house on fire to kill the other children.

This is what they think of you:

Here is what an anti-gunner had to say to me:

We are all human. Exception of gun nuts. Your argument is stupid or an excuse to act like sub human creatures. I am not oriental but still agree with their pro life style in my thinking. So what is wrong with you? Do you really think people cannot exits without murder weapons in a civilized country?


There can be no compromise with such people.

Saturday, October 31, 2015

Wheels coming off

My post the other day showed a student attacking a teacher for confiscating his cell phone. It is getting worse. Now we have students attacking a school principal in California, and 200 high school students mobbing up and attacking police in Allentown, PA.

We are fast approaching the point of mob rule. As disconcerting as that is, what worries me most is how the government will respond when things get out of hand.

Thursday, October 29, 2015

Kids out of control

There has recently been a big deal made out of the South Carolina police officer who was caught on film, throwing a high school student to the ground. The officer was fired within 24 hours of the video being made public, which makes me believe that the firing had m ore to do with politics than the conduct of the officer.
Especially considering that in South Carolina, it is a crime to disrupt school, and against the law for a student to have a cell phone in class.

Law about disrupting class:
SECTION 16-17-420. Disturbing schools; summary court jurisdiction.
(A) It shall be unlawful:
(1) for any person wilfully or unnecessarily (a) to interfere with or to disturb in any way or in any place the students or teachers of any school or college in this State, (b) to loiter about such school or college premises or (c) to act in an obnoxious manner thereon
It isn't just me, the South Carolina Bar has this to say:

Other students have the right to be free from interference in their education. It is against the law for any person to willfully interfere or disturb students or teachers of any school. Disturbing school includes being uncooperative with a teacher or principal, fighting or using foul or offensive language toward a teacher or principal. 

Law about phones:
SECTION 59-63-280. "Paging device" defined; adoption of policies addressing student possession.
(A) For purposes of this section, "paging device" means a telecommunications, to include mobile telephones, device that emits an audible signal, vibrates, displays a message, or otherwise summons or delivers a communication to the possessor.
(B) The board of trustees of each school district shall adopt a policy that addresses student possession of paging devices as defined in subsection (A). This policy must be included in the district's written student conduct standards. If the policy includes confiscation of a paging device, as defined in subsection (A), it should also provide for the return of the device to the owner.
Again, lets see what the Bar has to say:

It is illegal for a student to carry a cellular phone or pager on school grounds or during school events. There is an exception for students needing to carry a cell phone or pager for a legitimate medical reason. There is another exception for students over 18 years old if the student is an active member of a volunteer firefighting organization or a volunteer emergency medical service organization. 
You can disagree with the law all you want, but the law was passed and is in the books, and police are charged with enforcing the law. They are not there to interpret the law, that is the job of the legislature and the courts.

The officer saw a person breaking the law. He told asked the person to comply. She refused.
He then ordered her to comply, and she refused. He tried to take her into custody, and she punched him. All of those things are crimes as well. He didn't do all that much to her, and it appears to me that he did it with the minimum amount of force.

There are those who say that the high school student in question was just a child, and the disagreement was only over a cell phone. Look at the following video to see what happens when one of these "children" doesn't want his cell phone taken away:

video

That is a video of a 16 year old boy taking down a 62 year old teacher for confiscating his cell phone in class. Why isn't the press reporting on this? The answer is simple: the criminal is black, and the victim is white.






Sunday, October 25, 2015

Lesson learned

- How did marijuana get approved for medicinal use in states? The advocates were active, vocal, and visible
- How did that expand to recreational marijuana in  states? They were active, vocal and visible about it.
- How did the civil rights movement gain equal rights for blacks? They remained active, visible, vocal, and did not back down.
- How did the gay rights movement gain rights, including the right to marry? They wee visible, vocal, and active. They never gave in, and didn't remain in the closet.
- How did we get concealed carry in all 50 states? By being visible, vocal, and active
The advocates for marijuana, gay rights, and equal rights for blacks were FAR more likely to be arrested (or worse) by cops than gun owners are at risk of being robbed, yet they remained active and visible. They eventually prevailed. There is a lesson there for gun owners: Remain active, visible, vocal, and do not back down.

Saturday, October 24, 2015

Lead paint?

In 1991, the United States had an incredibly high murder rate. There were 9.8 murders for every 100,000 residents. Just the previous year in New York City, 2,245 people were killed. In 2014, just 328 people were murdered, which is an 85% drop. The rate of violent crime in the entire world has been dropping since 1991. The US murder rate is now lower than any year since 1963.

In 1963, the US murder rate was the same as it is now: 4.6 per 100,000. This is less than half the rate from 1991. That year, there were 8640 murders, with the US having a population of 188.4 million. It is important to note that in 1963, it was possible to order firearms through the mail from places like the Sears catalog. Compared to today, firearms were nearly unregulated.

Puerto Rico is a US territory. Until June of 2015, gun laws in Puerto Rico were very strict. They had all of the gun laws that the Brady campaign asks for: permit to own a firearm, heavy restrictions, etc. The Puerto Rican murder rate is among the highest in the world at  26.5. In June, a Federal judge struck down nearly all of Puerto Rico's gun laws as being a violation of the Second Amendment. it will be interesting to see what happens to the crime rate there.

It isn't just murders. The US violent crime rate is now 367.9 per 100,000, which is the lowest it has been since the FBI began keeping track of that statistic in 1994. The entire world has been seeing a drop in crime since about 1990. What is fueling this?

There are numerous theories as to why crime is falling, but many of them fail under scrutiny when you consider that there are many differences between nations. Not all nations have increased their police forces. or have aging demographics. There are a couple that jump out at me: The widespread use of antipsychotic medications, and the banning of lead in gasoline and paint. Levels of lead found in human blood were reduced more than 80 percent from 1976 to 1999.

The effect of lead on children’s brains has been well documented: Exposure to the chemical causes aggressive behavior and cognitive delays. Economist Jessica Reyes estimates that phasing out lead was responsible for 56 percent of the reduction in violent crime (although she could find no relationship between lead and property crime). Experts still disagree about how plausible it is that lead alone could have been responsible for such a massive portion of the crime drop on a worldwide basis.

I think the lead theory has some validity. What say ye?

Friday, October 23, 2015

Anti gunner quote of the day

OcalaMari • 4 hours ago
Hoping their guns back fire right in their blood thirsty faces.

Common Sense • 2 hours ago
If they get enough of them in one area, they'll prob end up shooting each other. Hopefully they don't shoot campers or anyone else.

OcalaMari   • an hour ago
That is my wish for these bloodlust maniacal sickos.

These comments were in response to this news item. We  gun owners are supposed to be the bloodthirsty ones.

Thursday, October 22, 2015

Bias of the press

According to multiple news sites, there was a black boy who was suspended for staring at a white girl during a 'staring contest,' the implication being that the school didn't want black boys looking at white girls.
Except that most of the story is a fabrication. The girl wasn't white, she was Asian. There was another boy who was suspended for participating in the same incident. That boy was white. It wasn't a staring contest, because the girl had not agreed to be a part of it. If you walk up to someone and begin staring at them, you are not in a contest. A contest implies that the behavior is mutual.

According to at least one version of the story, the girl was backed into a closet by the two boys during the incident. The Archdiocese of Cincinnati issued the following statement:

“The disciplinary action taken by St. Gabriel Consolidated School a year ago against two students has been widely mischaracterized by a parent who unsuccessfully sued the school. Two seventh-grade males, one white and one black, were suspended for one day because of actions that far exceeded ‘staring.’
The student whose mother sued acknowledged in an apology note, and under oath at trial, that his actions intimidated the female student and made her uncomfortable. That student also admitted that he was not friends with the female student, that he never told her they were playing any kind of game, that he approached her without saying anything, and that when she backed away from him, he moved closer to her. Once that student stopped, the other boy continued with the same routine.
The incident was investigated by the school and all three students were interviewed by two seventh-grade teachers and St. Gabriel’s principal. Ultimately, the boys were given a one-day suspension. St. Gabriel’s parent-student handbook, which the male student and his parents signed and agreed to follow, explicitly lists intimidation as conduct that may result in a suspension.
The parents of one of the male students sued the school in the Hamilton County Court of Common Pleas. That student, his mother, and St. Gabriel’s principal all testified. Each of the arguments raised by the student’s mother to have the one-day suspension removed from her son’s attendance record were rejected by Judge Patrick Dinkelacker.
It is highly regrettable that some have sought to introduce a racial element into a situation where none existed. The female student involved has been described in some accounts as white. She is, in fact, Asian, a point which the mother of the student who filed the lawsuit learned in November of last year. The other male student (who also received a one-day suspension) is white.”
The parents sued the school and lost, so now they are out there in the media, trying to get some sort of win that way.There are comments to these articles that say staring isn't intimidation or aggression, and that a suspension is an overreaction. I disagree. Watch a lesson of staring intimidation from Mike Tyson:




Yet you hear the left complain that Fox news, Breitbart, and Drudge are all right wing shills for the Republicans, and that the rest of the MSM would NEVER lie to advance an agenda.



Tuesday, October 20, 2015

Armed guards instead of cops?

The county commission of Orange County, Florida has approved the spending of $150,000 to hire armed guards to patrol neighborhoods. Not police, but armed mercenaries. I have a REAL problem with this.

Only ones

A cop uses his service weapon to win an argument in traffic.

This cop arrested a woman who refused his request for a date, after he approached her in a bar. (Yes, I know this one is two years old) Here is video:




This begs the question: When is it OK to use deadly force to stop an out of control cop?

Saturday, October 17, 2015

Laws and cities

There are about 14,000 homicides per year, or about 38 per day, in the US. If you eliminate just ten cities from that total, it becomes just 30 per day.

Those ten cities are: New York with 333 killings, Chicago 415, Detroit 332, Philadelphia 246, Los Angeles 578, New Orleans 150, Baltimore 234, St Louis 159, Washington DC 104, and Indianapolis 135 means that of the approximately 14,000 murders in the US in 2014, nearly 2700 of them- about 20%- occur in just those ten cities.
These ten cities account for just 8 percent of the US population, but account for 20 percent of the murders.

I have blogged about this before. The problem in this country is not with guns- it is with the culture that prevails in certain densely populated cities. Los Angeles alone is responsible for one out of twenty of the murders in this country. It makes as much sense to say that we could reduce murders in this nation be 5 percent, simply by making it illegal to live in Los Angeles as it does to say that we can reduce murder by making it illegal to own firearms.


Friday, October 16, 2015

Secrecy

Normally, I am not a fan of Federal solutions to state problems. I do, however, think that the public has a right to know when and how its police officers are using deadly force. Government should always be transparent when it uses force against its citizens.
That is why I think that police departments in New York and elsewhere should be required to report whenever a police officer uses lethal force against a citizen. They currently do not do this, and I think that a Federal law would be required to make it happen. Let the public that grants the police their powers decide whether or not that power has been wisely bestowed upon those officers. 

Men are the real victims

There is a 17 year old boy at my school. He was at a party a month ago, and he wound up seeing a 14 year old girl there. They committed a sexual act. with the girl being a willing participant. The girl's mother eventually found out, and is furious. She contacted the police and is pressing charges. The boy is being charged with sexual battery, and is facing a possible 10 year prison sentence and a lifetime label as a sex offender.

Florida law says that minors cannot legally consent to have sex. Since both are minors, they are each guilty of sexual battery. Even though the girl cannot legally give her consent, she was a willing participant. I just don't see how society benefits from ruining this boy's life, when both of them were guilty of performing the same act.


Wednesday, October 14, 2015

FICO lies?

A couple of days ago, I read this post over at Graybeard's place about subprime auto loans. I have blogged in the past about the scam that is credit scoring, and it has been a while since I have revisited the topic, so I figure it's time to do so again.

A prime rate to purchase a new car, according to the car makers, requires a FICO score of around 720 or better. This shouldn't be a problem, since Fair, Isaac, and Company, the company that generates FICO scores, claims that the average score is 695

The problem lies in the fact that FICO keeps their scoring algorithm a secret, and there are more than 19 different formulas that provide different scores to rate a borrower's suitability for different products, ranging from buying car insurance to buying a home. Each scoring model places emphasis on different factors. The system isn't as much a rating of your likelihood of paying back a loan, as much as it is a measure of how likely the company is to make money off of you. Big difference. All of this makes understanding the system nearly impossible. 

For lenders, there are different levels of risk. From least risky to most risky, they are: super prime, prime, nonprime, subprime, and deep subprime. Each one has different amounts of risk, and pay different rates and terms. To qualify for a prime auto loan, your score needs to be a 720 or higher. 

In fact, according to this article, loans break down like this:

Super prime: Score above 740
Prime: Score 680-739
non prime: Score 620-679
sub prime: Score 550-619
Deep subprime: score below 550

If 83% of Chevrolet's loans are to customers with a 619 or less, how likely is it that the average credit score is a 695? My opinion is that the average is much, much less than 700, perhaps as low as 600.  As evidence, I bought a car last December, and I got a loan at 2.9% interest, with a 680 credit score. At the time, it was Nissan's best offer. Why would a credit score that is below the stated average garner a prime rate?


Thursday, October 8, 2015

Once happenstance, twice coincidence...

Of the three men who stopped the terror attack on the train in France back in August, one of them had the college he was attending attacked by a spree shooter. In fact, had he not agreed to do an interview on the Today show, he would have been there that morning. Skarlatos said he was supposed to be present that day in Snyder Hall, the same building where the shooting took place.

I wasn't the only person to make that connection. The American Thinker did as well.

Now comes news that Spencer Stone, the second American hero who thwarted the attack and was stabbed by the terrorist in the process, has been stabbed again by two unknown assailants.

We are supposed to believe that these two attacks are a coincidence. If I were Anthony Sadler, the third American involved in stopping that attack, I would be watching my back right now.

Sunday, October 4, 2015

Agree to disagree? I'd rather not.

With the latest spree shooting, the anti gun forces are out, and gleefully dancing in the blood of the dead, happy for this incident, so they can use it for political advantage, despite the fact that most of what they are pushing for wouldn't have prevented the shooting.

The biggest call I have seen is for background checks. I started by pointing out that there ARE background checks in place, this man owned 13 guns, and according to police, all 13 were legally purchased from a dealer. This means that the man passed 13 background checks, and not one of them caught that he was a potential killer. Oregon already has Universal background checks, which is the exact law that the antis are telling us would have prevented this killing. Background checks just don't work.

He then came back with the statement that, if we had gun registration and purchase limits, the shooter would not have been able to have 13 guns. I responded by asking him how many guns one needs to carry out a massacre, and pointing out that in this case, the shooter only had four guns with him during the rampage. Four is not a large number, so setting the limit that low is rather silly. Such limits would prevent nothing.

He then responded with the old standby of "you have to report to the state when you sell a car, why not a gun?" Here was my response:

 So you say that you want to regulate guns like you do cars, eh?
Registering:
I have to register a car ONLY if I plan on operating that car on public roads. As long as that car stays on private property, I can buy, sell, or trade them without registration or title as often as I please.
Motor vehicles:
I can own as many cars as I want. I can buy them where ever I want. I can buy a Trans Am in Illinois today, and a Corvette in California tomorrow. I can travel to New York and buy a truck.
Even if there IS a title, all the law says that I have to do is sign it over, there is no requirement that I go down to DMV and actually register it, unless I want to operate it on public land or roads.
I can make my own automobile. I can give it the engine I want, the fuel tank I want.
The car I own can be a race car, it can be automatic, it can be manual, it can have 100 seats, or no seats.
That car can have a small fuel tank or a large one.
Licensing:
Licensing is only required to OPERATE a car on public streets, not to OWN a car.
Any 16 year old in the country can get a license to drive a car.
The license that I get in Texas allows me to drive a car on any street in the country, even in New York. It must be accepted by all 50 states.
The license allows me to drive on school grounds, on government installations
I don't even need a license, as long as I only operate the car on private property.
If I get caught driving without a license, I only pay a small fine.
No criminal background check is required for a license- felons, child molesters, all sorts can get a license.
Guns are FAR more regulated than cars.
The reason that I am against so-called universal background checks is that this would outlaw a person selling his or her own guns, loaning them to a friend or family member, or any other means of transferring ownership, no matter how temporary. Meaning that I would then have to pay a dealer to handle the transaction, assuming any of them would.
Currently, if I want to send a gun to someone out of state if I sell a gun on the Internet, that is how it has to be done. The two dealers involved (one in this state, one in the receiving state) each charge $50 on average to handle the paperwork. The person on the receiving end has to fill out the same forms and go through the background check. No loophole there. This would still not prevent gun ownership by criminals, who get their guns on the black market. The only way for such a scheme to work, then, would be nationwide registration. There is only one way that this would then go: confiscation.

He then said, so the only reason you don't want to register guns is personal inconvenience and a little money? That isn't a good reason. He then said that we would have to agree to disagree.

I refuse to "agree to disagree." That is stupid. Suppose I came out and said that men should be able to freely rape women, or we should be able to own slaves. Would he still want to "agree to disagree?" When someone says that to me, it comes across as some smarmy, superior attitude that basically says "I am smarter than you, and I am your better, but since you, with your obviously inferior intellect, cannot see reason and agree with me, I will simply smile at you, and tell you that you have a right to your opinion, you simpleton."

I won't “agree to disagree” in this conversation or in others, because “agree to disagree” is an incredibly lazy tactic. It ranks up there with “everyone is entitled to their own opinion” among the pantheon of dishonest and self-defeating statements made in lieu of actual argument. I cannot heap enough contempt on the idea of “agreeing to disagree.”

The argument could be useful, I suppose, if it meant no more than what it says – mutual recognition of a disagreement. Some arguments are intractable – issues of personal taste or the subjective importance of certain values cannot be resolved empirically. In an argument like that, once both sides have expressed themselves as clearly as possible, if there is still no agreement then there is nothing left to do but acknowledge there is a disagreement, and leave it at that.

That is not, however, the sense in which I most often hear the phrase “agree to disagree” used. What is usually meant is “we’re both equally right, both equally wrong.” It is an arch-liberal dodge, invoking the most ludicrous type of relativistic equivocation. If I am holding a flamethrower and you are holding a lit match, it is true that we can both start fires, but pretending that we can just “agree to disagree” about which is better suited to the task of lighting a candle is nonsense.

Two positions, one demonstrably true and the other based on nothing more than feelings, do not share the same level of validity. If we can agree on some basic definitions like “true” and “evidence”, and if we can agree that it is important to have true beliefs rather than false ones, then we can and should examine different ideas. While it might be nice to pretend that this kind of dispute is simply a difference of opinion, it most certainly is not. I refuse to pretend that a poorly-argued position, based on straw men refutations of legitimate questions, holds sufficient validity to be granted any more respect than belief in aliens or the Loch Ness monster.

When a person claims that they wish to "agree to disagree" is really saying is, “I want you to agree that my position has just as much merit as yours”, and I am certainly not interested in engaging in masquerading a clear true/false dichotomy as a simple difference of perspective. Truth is not established easily, and that’s a good thing. In a universe where an infinite number of explanations for a given phenomenon are conceivable, we must scrutinize and test to see which ideas are worth keeping and which can be discarded safely. “Agreeing to disagree” is simply asking to lump the good ideas in with the fanciful or debunked ones in some misguided sense of fairness.

Some things are simply so repugnant, and so against freedom and decency that I cannot agree to disagree. The point here is that we live in society that claims to value freedom. There are always those who would abuse those freedoms and hurt others. We do not punish the innocent and take away the freedoms of the 99.9995% who didn't break the law last year and shoot someone illegally in order to stop that 1 person in 500,000 who might. So instead we, as a nation, wait for someone to commit a crime and then we punish them. This principle is the rock upon which we build our society. The alternative is to become the sort of totalitarian regime that we have always fought against, and begin punishing people based upon our belief of what they MIGHT do someday.

There are more than 99,988,000 gun owning people every year who do NOT use their firearms to commit murder. We don't punish the innocent in order to catch the 12,000 who are guilty.

It has been demonstrated again and again that gun control doesn't work. Background checks don't work. So why continue to do something that doesn't work and deprives people of liberty, instead of looking for real solutions? In this situation, no amount of background checks would have prevented the shooting. The person in question went through those background checks 13 times, and not once was he denied. Background checks failed, as they usually do.

There is no way to predict when or if a person will snap and go crazy. There is no department of precrime, and we are not in the land of the movie "Minority Report" and I would not wish to be.

It isn't about inconvenience, it is about FREEDOM and LIBERTY and the very ideal upon which our nation is based. We have freedoms and liberties, and anyone who would take those away for an ideal Utopian idea that we can prevent murder, an ideal that can never be reached, is against the very foundation of this nation, and is a person with whom I have no hope of ever having a common ground or rational discourse, for we each view the world though a fundamentally different lens.

I refuse to agree that it is OK for you to demand that I give up my freedoms, so that we can agree to disagree. You see, what you are wanting to do is NOT agree to disagree. If you get your way, a law will be passed that REQUIRES that I do things your way, on penalty of imprisonment or death, if I resist. That is hardly "agreeing to disagree."

Saturday, October 3, 2015

Justifiable homicide?

Watch this video, beginning at the 54 second mark:




Now imagine for a second that you are the one who walked into that convenience store, saw what appeared to be a dead body, and were then confronted with a man wearing a clown costume, covered in blood and carrying a bloody axe, who then chased you through that store into the corner.

You can look at this video:






Now imagine that you are in this convenience store and are faced with a person who is obviously, to you, an armed robber.

Would you draw and fire? I know I would, and you know what? I would be completely justified in doing so. You are presenting me with a situation where I am in reasonable fear of my life, where I reasonably believe that I am facing an imminent forcible felony. After all, you are after the fear reaction from your victims in order to obtain a few laughs.
In fact, since the people making this video have not secured a release from the "victims" of their prank in advance, I submit that they are committing a crime. A felony, in fact. Several of them. The European prankster filmmakers think that putting people in mortal fear for their lives is funny.

This is a warning to you idiots: pull a prank like that in a concealed carry state, and you are likely to be shot, and the shooter will be blameless. The members of the film crew who survive will be charged with murder for the death of their accomplice.

There are people who will claim that shooting them would be morally wrong, because it is a prank and no one was harmed. I say to you: bullshit. People are not put on this earth to be your playthings, you sadistic pieces of trash.

Hypocrisy

Within hours the kid that built a clock that looked like a bomb had an invite to visit the White House.

How long will Chris Mintz Have to wait before the president picks up the phone and declares him a hero?

Seen on Facebook.




Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Heartbreak

Being a teacher sometimes means heartbreak. I am in the middle of my second year as a High School teacher. One of my students, a 17 year old girl who is a senior, was also one of my students last year. She is an A student, and works hard. She has a sweet disposition, and is one of my favorite students. The only family that the girl has is her mother, so she confided a lot of secrets to my girlfriend and me. She came to us for advice all of the time.


This morning, the girl woke up to a knock at the door. It was the police. They were there to tell her that her mother, the only family that she has, was killed the night before in a car accident while on the way home from work. This girl is a ward of the state, has no one, and doesn't know what to do with her life. She and some of her friends just left my house, and I am heartbroken for her. She has nowhere to turn, and no family to help her.

I don't know what else to say. What do you say to a 17 year old girl who just lost all of the family that she has in her life? Her first question for us was, "Will I still be able to stay in this school and graduate in June?"

Her entire life is in turmoil. She missed school today, and when she came over she tried to turn in her homework. Tomorrow, I am going to see about setting up a fund at the school for donations.

Sunday, September 27, 2015

Schrodinger's pornography

According to some, the average American commits 3 felonies a day. In fact, I have blogged about this numerous times in the past. It used to be that felonies were serious crimes that placed the public in danger of the perpetrator. A person who has been convicted of a felony cannot vote or own a firearm. This case is a good example of how we have defined felony down to mean almost anything, including taking a selfie.

Two 16 year old children from North Carolina were facing a total of 14 years in prison for taking nude pictures of themselves and sending them to each other. They were charged with producing child pornography, transmitting child pornography, and possession of child pornography. Each of these crimes is a felony, and would earn the children a lifetime label of "sex offender," meaning that they would not be permitted to be near children, and could only live in communities that are filled with sex offenders. That is how we are protecting children, by convicting them of the crime of looking at themselves while nude, and then forcibly placing them in communities where they will live with actual sexual predators.

The most egregious part of this whole thing is that the law charged them as adults, for taking pornographic pictures of themselves, who are legally considered to be children. This means that they are considered to be both adults and children simultaneously. We will call this Schrodinger's pornography.

The children had to take a plea deal, or they would have had their lives ruined. The Huffington post would have defended them if they were a gay couple, but since the case involved a boy and a girl, they are not interested.

Sunday, September 20, 2015

Two posts in one!

I have spent the four years since I retired largely without health insurance. Since I was paying as I went, I only saw a doctor when I had a problem. I finally got a full time job that offers insurance, and I paid for the best plan they had, which costs me $40 a month by payroll deduction. I went to see a doctor. I had some complaints that I needed addressed, the largest of which was my high blood pressure. Over the past few years, I had been going to Mexico and buying blood pressure medication over the counter there, because it is cheaper to do so than seeing a doctor here.

I had also noticed, over the past six months some odd things with my health, and I thought I knew what the problem was, but needed a doctor to confirm it. It turns out that I was correct: I am now a diabetic. What this means is that I have to watch my diet, and I am going to be taking about 11 pills a day for the rest of my life. Failure to do so will result in my losing finger, toes, vision, kidneys, and finally having a heart attack. I would rather take the pills, thank you.

Diabetes can be managed, and it isn't the death sentence that it once was. However, it reminds you that you are mortal. 50 years old is just around the corner, and I am closer to 60 years old than I am to 35. It seems like just a few weeks ago that I was in my 20s.

Sic transit gloria mundi.

As to the insane cost of health care and medication:

I blame the insurance companies and the government for this. Why? Because every time I went for a checkup, the doctor wanted to do $500 worth of blood work. The fact that most people have insurance contributes to the cost of this blood work because this divorces the person receiving the service (the patient) from the person providing the service (the lab and the doctor) and the person paying for the service (the insurance company or the government, in the case of Medicare).

This distorts the supply/demand curve, as increasing prices do not reduce demand. What you get then, is people demanding for a product, cost be damned. When it isn't your money, it is easy to claim that money is no object. Once that happens, there is no market force to prevent costs from going up, but lots of demand for products and services, which drives prices through the roof. The other force that reduces supply, thus increasing cost, is government licensing of health professionals, but that is a post for another day.

Wanna find a way to reduce costs? The purchaser and the user HAVE to be the same person. In a government run healthcare system, the government is the purchaser AND the payer, and you as the patient get whatever services that the purchaser decides you get. In a private system, the user is the purchaser and payer.

Friday, September 18, 2015

Prosper

Three years ago, I opened an account at Prosper. I opened the account with $50 as a test of the company. I loaned $50 for 60 months at 23.96%. the borrower had requested 25,000, and I supplied $50 of that.

The borrower made timely payments for about three years, and I rolled over the $35 that had been repaid to me into a 36 month loan at 16.90%.

Both borrowers have since defaulted. I wound up getting $20.12 of my original $50 investment back. In other words, I lost 59% of my investment.

Then I ran across this article about how the big banks have taken over peer to peer lending.

I have decided that I do better in the casino than I do investing. I played in the stock market, and lost more than half of my money when the market crashed in 2008.

I tried peer to peer, where I lost 60% of my money.

I tried real estate when I bought a house in 2007, only to see it lose half its value two years later.

I am actually on the plus side from playing Craps in the casino.