Friday, December 28, 2012

Teabilly Cow Tipping: Put Them Out To Pasture

Or Stop Crying Over Unspilt Milk

In terms of our safety net, and what we need to repair and prepare for the coming effects of climate change, the Teabilly response other than the ostrich syndrome has been you don't need social insurance if there's no such thing as "society", and if you can't buy it, or sell it, how do you know it's really there? This needs to change now.

"The monthly SNAP allotment is based on the Thrifty Food Plan (TFP), which USDA defends as “a national standard for a nutritious diet at a minimal cost.”  The TFP has its origins in the 1930s. At the time, USDA developed a Restricted Food Plan for Emergency Use and the Minimum-Cost Food Plan, both of which were used in programs for low-income families during the Depression.  These two plans were replaced by the Low-Cost Food Plan in the 1940s. In 1961, USDA developed the Economy Food Plan for short-term or emergency use at a price lower than the Low-Cost Food Plan. The Economy Food Plan was replaced with the TFP in 1975, and – like earlier food plans – was updated to reflect new consumption behaviors, food price data, and dietary recommendations. However, the updating was constrained by cost: the TFP had to maintain the same minimal cost as the Economy Food Plan. In other words, the assignment was to fit the new square peg into the same size round hole." (Food Research and Action Center,  December 2012 )

With more than half of United State's counties declared disaster areas as of the first of August (Muskal 2012), Congress went home on the sixth of August for an entire month, also leaving millions of people in need of food stamps in the lurch when the present Farm Bill expires (Abrams 2012). The House Teapublicans are obstructing again by inaction, in favor of deep cuts to those that need the help the most in the SNAP progam, as well as leaving be the necessary negotiations to reconcile the House farm aid version with the Senate version of the bill. If they were firefighters, this would be the equivalent of returning to the station and shutting the door to have dinner while the bells are going off.

 We would have much preferred they pass the House bill,’ said Michael Held, the chief executive of the South Dakota Farm Bureau. ‘I think the attitude here is this is typical Washington, D.C., not getting its work done” (Steinhauer 2012).

"The Senate, however, is unlikely to take up the House’s bill because it pays its $383 million price tag by gutting $650 million from two environmental conservation programs. The point is moot, anyway, because the Senate has also closed down for the rest of August. The drought will continue, but Washington can’t be bothered" (Leonard 2012).

(Leonard 2012) "The dysfunction doesn’t end there. Conservative activist groups also opposed the House bill, on the grounds that 'farmers and livestock owners should have known better'{Wasson 2012}"

“The bill was not listed in the most recent summer legislative agenda sent out in May by Eric Cantor, the house majority leader and a Republican of Virginia. The bill cuts projected spending in farm and nutrition programs by $35 billion over the next 10 years. The Senate passed a similar bill last month, cutting spending by $23 billion” (Nixon 2012).

(Nixon 2012) “On more than a few committee votes, Representative Frank D. Lucas, the Oklahoma Republican who is chairman of the committee, sided with Democrats and a few Republicans in defeating amendments to cut food stamps even more deeply, including one by Representative Tim Huelskamp, Republican of Kansas, that would have doubled the cuts in food stamps to $33 billion. Much of the savings in the House farm bill comes from cutting food stamps.”

(Nixon 2012) “The food stamp program would take a $16.5 billion cut over the next 10 years. The bill also makes changes to eligibility requirements, and the Congressional Budget Office said two million to three million people would lose their food stamp benefits. Nearly 300,000 children would also be ineligible for the free lunch program under the new bill, the budget office found. Farm programs are not spared. If Congress does not pass a farm bill by Sept. 30, more than 100 farm programs would expire.”

Meanwhile back at the ranch, which is in danger of being incinerated by wildfires in the west, our Teapublican frogs are as resistant as ever to be willing to understand that changes in climate are one of the most important components of the present drought and wildfire severities. These changes require immediate action to protect our critical infrastructure and fix what is broken. Also essential is the need to find the corresponding political will. So apparently the American people will have to set a fire under these recalcitrants to get moving on these issues now. And the R & R crew needs to stop playing budgeteer with that proposed 25% cut in infrastructure spending, or the heartland is not going to want to save any Teabillies in the next midterms. 

Scenarios for higher heat-trapping gas emissions producing climate changes affecting national ability to produce food, feed, and livestock products have already come to be seen this year. "Increased heat, disease, and weather extremes are likely to reduce livestock productivity...{and} swine, beef, and milk production are all projected to decline in a warmer world". The foraging availability has already been seen to decline because of the effect of increasing carbon dioxide on plant nitrogen and protein content, whereas weeds and pests benefit. "Fruits, vegetables, and grains can suffer even under well-watered conditions if temperatures exceed the maximum level for pollen viability in a particular plant; if temperatures exceed the threshold for that plant, it won't produce seed....and....reproduce." (US Global Change Research Program Impacts 2011)

The US Senate was considering an amendment (H.R.1 Latest Title: Full-Year Continuing Appropriations Act, 2011) "to extend certain supplemental agriculture disaster assistance programs," but quite a bit of monkeying around by Sen. McCain about DOD issues may have contributed to it's demise on 12/19/2012.

  The deficit posturing  needs to stop, since if you don't fix the ability to have any demand, how are you going to pay off any deficit in the future ? Timid insecure capitalists are simply not what made this country great. Both they and consumers need to be more secure in their decisions to be able to spend that hoarded cash to grow resultant from the inevitable need to hire. Plainly the Republicans are just feeding that poor attitude by either inability, inaction, or plain obstruction and hardening their ideological positions.

"We actually have until about Jan. 1 before we run into a lot of administrative problems with this bill reverting to some very high prices," says Mary Kay Thatcher, director of congressional affairs for the American Farm Bureau Federation.".(Rovner 2012)

(Rovner 2012)"That's because while the date on the law matches the federal fiscal year, the 2008 measure covers all of 2012's crops. So even if they haven't been harvested yet, things growing now are covered by the 2008 legislation. The first crop that would be affected by the new price supports 'would be next spring when we harvest winter wheat,' Thatcher says."

  And finally, the Red states must stop degrading the labor force, because those laborers are the real job creators, not the 1% at the top collecting the rent and living off the interest in the new "financialzed" economy.
It's time to get your heads out of the sand boys, before your backside burns.


Muskal 2012,0,2541774.story

Abrams 2012

Steinhauer 2012

Leonard 2012

Wasson 2012

Nixon 2012

US Global Change Research Program Impacts 2011

Rovner 2012

Senate Amendment CR S8143-8144 (SA 3367)


2012 Farm Bill

FRAC Action Council

Policy Basics: Introduction to the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP)

Deep Cuts for SNAP Benefits Already Planned for 2013

Extreme 2012 weather:

Summer 2012 Drought

Monday, December 24, 2012


We all can read the King's English, and we can also read PAST the 2nd amendment while still enlightened enough to understand it. You have no rights under this clause. If it was not to be amended, it would have been an article. You are NOT the state militia in the 18th century. There is no protected class of weapons such as there is one for human life. Due to Scalia's interference along with the other conservative junta the 2008 & 2010 rulings uphold your PRIVILEGE to own some firearms, but even he opined that "unusual" weapons may be regulated as we see fit as a country. And what the SCOTUS may giveth, it may also taketh away, or refine. Legal precedent does not set your privileges in stone. The forefathers had the genius and collective wisdom to create a great document, but it is not a living and breathing thing that will dance to your piper's tune. We reserve the real God given rights to our lives, liberty and our pursuit of happiness with ESPECIALLY our children over your privilege to have a little shooting fun at the range while lunatics decimate our ranks.

"U.S. Constitution- Article 1 - The Legislative Branch
Section 8 - Powers of Congress

To make Rules for the Government and Regulation of the land and naval Forces;

To provide for calling forth the Militia to execute the Laws of the Union, suppress Insurrections and repel Invasions;

To provide for organizing, arming, and disciplining, the Militia, and for governing such Part of them as may be employed in the Service of the United States, reserving to the States respectively, the Appointment of the Officers, and the Authority of training the Militia according to the discipline prescribed by Congress;"

"Under these provisions, the right of the states to maintain a militia, including what is now the National Guard, is always subordinate to the power of Congress.  In 1795 Congress first gave the president authority to call out the militia to suppress insurrections.  Presidents employed this power to enforce federal law during desegregation disputes during the 1950s, and later during the civil disturbances in various cities during the 1960s"

"It took a force of 500 US Marshals and thousands of US army soldiers to quell a riot by an armed mob opposed to the admission of James Meredith, a black student, to the University of Mississippi. By the time the riot had been suppressed, 35 marshals had been shot by the mob and two civilian observers (including a French journalist) had been executed with shots to the head. This is as good an example as any other of what the gun lobby means when it talks about Americans using their Second Amendment rights to defend themselves against 'government tyranny'." ~ Doobie Snack (Huffpo)

"In 2002, Keene’s son David Michael Keene was driving on the George Washington Memorial Parkway when, in a road-rage incident, he fired a handgun at another motorist. He was sentenced to ten years in prison for 'using, brandishing, and discharging a firearm in a crime of violence.' I asked Keene if this private tragedy had left him uncertain about what the N.R.A. had wrought. He said no: 'You break the law, you pay the price.”

And sure mental health always has been, and always will be underfunded and neglected. But it's still a dodge to getting things fixed with the way we let these assault weapons run amok and now we're Massacre, Inc. And the outlaw militias will gladly pick up where the lunatics slack off. Its coming.

Happy Holidays ! And even have a Merry Christmas as your Teabilly members of the House of Misrepresentation may push their own Red states over the cliff into fiscal oblivion. We'll regain control to set this ship straight from it's bourbon soaked reverie and make it fly right again. It may take a little while, but the American people ultimately make the right course corrections. We always do.

Sunday, December 23, 2012


Dr. Strangelove or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb (aka the guns)

Even after what they deemed a politically acceptable "waiting period" concerning the Newtown, CT massacre the NRA again showed themselves to be the shills for the obscenely profitable firearms industry and nothing else. And although it appears that a majority of people polled actually favor opinions regarding gun safety opposite of those of the fanatical NRA "leadership", the "lecture" provided by Mr. LaPierre only proposed the transparently useless idea of providing a solo post for every school. Which of course most small towns can not afford, and we all know that an "Army of One"  armed with one pistol is not going to hold off American psychos armed with modern semi auto rifles. Especially after Columbine. And even Newtown, CT parents are also rejecting this thesis.

"Gabby and I are extremely disappointed by the NRA's defiant and delayed response to the massacre of 20 children and six adults at Sandy Hook Elementary School. The NRA could have chosen to be a voice for the vast majority of its own members who want common sense, reasonable safeguards on deadly firearms, but instead it chose to defend extreme pro-gun positions that aren't even popular among the law abiding gun owners it represents. Today, the NRA chose narrow partisan concerns over the safety of our families and communities. The time for this kind of extreme rhetoric is over. We must have a real conversation about preventing gun violence, because when it comes to protecting our children, families, and neighbors, we can't wait any longer."
- Captain Mark Kelley

Some American gun owners are "up in arms" (they have so many) in what they thought in their best "low information" mode as recently demonstrated by our last election were "threats" to their gunmetal collections. Are the same 47% that voted for the internationally dangerous Myth R-money the same as the 47% of Americans that own guns ? Interesting, but I have no idea. All I know is that the type of thinking being displayed by the vocal opponents of ACTUAL gun safety is morally repugnant in the wake of a gun massacre, but it is also factually inaccurate. The recent surge in semi auto gun sales reflects the simple thinkers who want to get the weapons "grandfathered in" before the sea change in opinion favorable to reviving the assault weapons ban affects the legislative process. As was done in the 1994 assault gun ban. Deja Vu all over again.

“Those crazy things kids say these days, lol: "Students at Dewitt Clinton High School in the Bronx — which has armed security — said adding more guns to schools would only increase the likelihood of kids getting shot.
‘What happens when someone grabs the cop’s gun?’ asked junior Ashley Rogress of the Bronx." And he's right. This is why unfortunately we have to keep weapons from the guards moving around in prison populations. 

The firearms industry really does have the charged "blood on their hands" because their influence as exerted through the NRA has done all sorts of things to railroad over any and all sensible efforts to even keep accurate statistics about our dangerous national shooting hobby. The Center for Disease Control was not allowed to conduct the firearms studies it used to since 1994, and the BATF was also effectively shut down. 

Total firearms murders, 2011:  8,583

% change, 2010-11: -3%

Fire- arms murders as % of all murders: 68%

Of the homicides for which the FBI received weapons data, most (67.5 percent) involved the use of firearms. Handguns comprised 68.5 percent of the firearms used in murders and nonnegligent manslaughters in 2010. (Based on Expanded Homicide Data Table 8.) 

Fire- arms murders rate: 2.75

Fire- arms robberies rate: 2.24

Fire- arms assaults rate: 39.25 





In 2010, in incidents of murder for which the relationships of murder victims and offenders were known, 53.0 percent were killed by someone they knew (acquaintance, neighbor, friend, boyfriend, etc.); 24.8 percent of victims were slain by family members. The relationship of murder victims and offenders was unknown in 44.0 percent of murder and non-negligent manslaughter incidents in 2010. (Based on Expanded Homicide Data Table 10.)

Of the female murder victims for whom the relationships to their offenders were known, 37.5 percent were murdered by their husbands or boyfriends. (Based on Expanded Homicide Data Table 2 and 10.)

Of the murders for which the circumstance surrounding the murder was known, 41.8 percent of victims were murdered during arguments (including romantic triangles) in 2010. Felony circumstances (rape, robbery, burglary, etc.) accounted for 23.1 percent of murders. Circumstances were unknown for 35.8 percent of reported homicides. (Based on Expanded Homicide Data Table 12.)


A 3% decline is now a highly suspect number to my thinking, although by news reports one may surmise that while overall firearm murders are slightly down (but not enough for my taste) nationwide, there has now apparently been an uptick in mass shootings. And I'd attribute the tiny decline more to police work than anything else. It is painful to only think in clinical terms when not necessary for medical data, but most gun owners will nitpit over individual stats until the cows come home. And this is of course a result of the NRA propaganda AND information suppression as financed by the firearms industry.

"Last month, I sentenced Jared Lee Loughner to seven consecutive life terms plus 140 years in federal prison for his shooting rampage in Tucson. That tragedy left six people dead, more than twice that number injured and a community shaken to its core. (...) Bystanders got to Loughner and subdued him only after he emptied one 31-round magazine and was trying to load another. Adam Lanza, the Newtown shooter, chose as his primary weapon a semiautomatic rifle with 30-round magazines. And we don't even bother to call the 100-rounder that James Holmes is accused of emptying in an Aurora, Colo., movie theater a magazine — it is a drum. How is this not an argument for regulating the number of rounds a gun can fire?"(...) Bring back the assault weapons ban, and bring it back with some teeth this time. Ban the manufacture, importation, sale, transfer and possession of both assault weapons and high-capacity magazines. Don't let people who already have them keep them. Don't let ones that have already been manufactured stay on the market. I don't care whether it's called gun control or a gun ban. I'm for it." ~ Larry Alan Burns (a federal district judge in San Diego)

We stood up to the Taliban and Al Queda. Now do we will we be able to stand up to the NRA, the prime mover for the firearms industry ? That's really all they are. Not in the beginning when they were reasonable, but now they are one of those self-fulfilling prophecies that perpetuates gun violence.

Assault rifles were scientifically engineered to be cause high velocity, large cavitation type wounds, in other words people killers. If that's your idea of fun, why don't you take your precious collection to an active war zone then you can justify its use 24/7, and stay there. You're lying if you say you need an AR-15 for home defense, and if you can afford a $1,000 dollar weapon it's guaranteed that you don't live in a high crime area or even an area that has any crime at all. As a retired soldier, police radio dispatcher, and a paramedic, I'm tired of hearing the whiny justifications. Oh, the ammo ? That can still be made at home. Get rid of the damn things altogether.

Judge Scalia did add to the mess helping to give the 2nd Amendment some legitimacy it hasn't had since the 18th century (nor any relevancy), and now I’ve seen the two cases that appear to support the right to bear arms with the latest in 2010. But he still left open the regulation of any unusual firearms, and people killers fall under that category. Weapons do not fall into the same fully protected class as human beings either constitutionally or morally. Nor should they. 

If you're so afraid of Gunga Din invading your farm then so be it, get a shotgun. You're covered. Or if you're simply of such slight build that you can only handle a pistol, then use a cell or portable phone in one hand and the pistol in the other and wait for the sheriff. I know how long it takes the sheriffs to get there since I worked with them, so I understand. I KNOW that they put the pedal to the metal and risk their behinds to get help to you when there’s no State Police available in the area who do the same thing and everyone already having weapons only complicates things. The only thing is that there IS no crime to speak of in those nice areas, which mainly consists of spousal abuse and some of them get shot no doubt, since the statistics support that and that’s mostly what I remember the calls being about upstate. Although I do remember more calls made to enhanced 9-1-1 by people vacuuming than anything other then medical calls. Accidental discharges do occur and are a fact of life anywhere but ready access to weapons also encourages suicide. 

During my visits to Panama for instance, I exited the supermarket in Panama City and wondered if I was supposed to feel more secure or less secure by the roving police patrol standing guard in front with their Uzis. They outfit their police in military garb since they're not allowed to have a standing army anymore, only local and national police. In Italy you see the Carbineri always armed with automatic weapons, as I also discovered once finding a group of German Polizei standing around in a room with their H&Ks I thought was the "water closet". Silly me, lol. But these are anti-terrorist personnel (and/or anti mob protection). Are we to now believe that we have met the enemy and he is actually US ? Hey, if we can't outlaw banana clips, then WE must be the "banana republic". 

"The city’s top cop took on the NRA today, shooting down its call for putting armed guards in every school.
NRA exec Wayne Lapierre said that “the only thing that stops a bad guy with a gun is a good guy with a gun.”
Police Commissioner Ray Kelly seemed taken aback when he learned this today.
“I thought they were going to make meaningful recommendations on gun control,” he said.
Kelly added that he would have to look at the proposal, but said the idea was expensive and didn’t seem fully formed.
Instead, he called for an assault weapon ban, which he described as a “no-brainer,” as well as limits on magazine rounds and prosecution of people who lie on background check forms.
“Hopefully Sandy Hook has been a turning point on what we can seriously do on these issues,” he said.
Kelly also emphasized the Finest’s strong coverage of schools, which are protected by more than 5000 school safety agents and 350 cops.
The NYPD is also cyber-patrolling—monitoring public websites and chat rooms to stop would-be mass murderers.
“I hope we’re ahead of the curve on this,” said Kelly."

"Today's NRA press conference was a shameful evasion of the crisis our country is facing. Their proposed solution to reduce mass shootings like the one in Newtown, CT: put armed guards in every school in America.
The NRA's extreme leadership has completely lost touch with the American people, their members, and reality. Today, they made it even more clear with what they didn't say:
Not a word about background checks. Not a word about assault weapons and high capacity magazines. Not a word about ending gun trafficking.
Not an ounce of common sense." ~ Mayors Against Illegal Guns

"New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg says the National Rifle Association's call for armed guards in schools represents a paranoid vision of America. He said the press conference Friday by the nation's largest gun lobby group was "a shameful evasion of the crisis facing our country."

"I think the public has finally come to the conclusion that, what the Supreme Court said you can do is have reasonable restrictions on the right to bear arms, is something that our society finally has woken up and said, 'We are going to do this whether you like it or not,'" Bloomberg said. The mayor said magazines shouldn't be allowed to contain more than five or six rounds. "If you haven't hit the deer with three shots, you're a pretty lousy shot. The deer deserves to get away," he said.
"[President Obama] signed two pieces of legislation, one which lets you carry guns in national parks where our kids play," Bloomberg said. "And the other one, he signed a bill so that you can carry a gun on Amtrak. I assume that's to stop the rash of train robberies, which I thought stopped in the 1800s."

I tend to agree with Mayor Bloomberg about the hunting public. They have the lowest rates of all gun deaths and injuries of all gun owners and the sanest techniques for dealing with firearms and conservation to boot. But we are seeing the rise of another subculture of shooting enthusiasts and hobbyists which is of great concern. A subculture that has few if any moral signposts and absolutely no remorse or suggestions regarding our new shortened interval of mass shootings. Of people, not paper or iron targets. And filling the classrooms across America with even more guns still will not increase anyone's security, only worsen it. This is a dodge and all the NRA does is support the already obscenely profitable firearms industry, so what do you expect them to say ? The NRA IS AN ANACHRONISM.

“The awful part of what LaPierre just did is until he spoke there was nothing uncontroversial about having security at schools.” ~ John Podhoretz

“NRA response predictable, though breathtaking in its nonsense. Troubling is the silence from GOP leaders, other than @JoeNBC & few others.” ~  John Weaver

The following are reproduced from the Harvard Injury Control Research Center of the Harvard School of Public Health: (with FBI data dispersed directly)

"Guns in the home are used more often to intimidate intimates than to thwart crime. 
Using data from a national random-digit-dial telephone survey conducted under the direction of the Harvard Injury Control Research Center, we investigated how and when guns are used in the home. We found that guns in the home are used more often to frighten intimates than to thwart crime; other weapons are far more commonly used against intruders than are guns.
Publication: Azrael, Deborah R; Hemenway, David. In the safety of your own home: Results from a national survey of gun use at home. Social Science and Medicine. 2000; 50:285-91." 

“Firearms are used far more often to intimidate than in self-defense. 
Using data from a national random-digit-dial telephone survey conducted under the direction of the Harvard Injury Control Center, we examined the extent and nature of offensive gun use.  We found that firearms are used far more often to frighten and intimidate than they are used in self-defense. All reported cases of criminal gun use, as well as many of the so-called self-defense gun uses, appear to be socially undesirable. 
Hemenway, David; Azrael, Deborah. The relative frequency of offensive and defensive gun use: Results of a national survey. Violence and Victims. 2000; 15:257-272.”

“Across states, more guns = more female violent deaths

We analyzed the relationship between firearm availability and unintentional gun death, homicide and suicide for women across the 50 states over a ten year period.  Women in states with many guns have elevated rates of unintentional gun deaths, suicides and homicide, particularly firearm suicides and firearm homicides.
Miller, Matthew; Azrael, Deborah; Hemenway, David. Firearm availability and unintentional firearm deaths, suicide, and homicide among women. Journal of Urban Health. 2002; 79:26-38.”

 “Across high income countries more guns = more female homicide deaths.
We analyzed the relationship between gun availability and homicides of women with data from 25 high income countries. Across developed nations, where gun are more available, there are more homicides of women.  The United States has the most firearms and U.S. women have far more likely to be homicide victims than women in other developed countries.
Hemenway, David; Shinoda-Tagawa, Tomoko; Miller, Matthew. Firearm availability and female homicide victimization rates across 25 populous high-income countries. Journal of the American Medical Women's Association. 2002; 57:100-04.”

“The public does not understand the importance of method availability.
Over 2,700 respondents to a national random-digit-dial telephone survey were asked to estimate how many of the more than 1,000 people who had jumped from the Golden Gate Bridge would have gone on to commit suicide some other way if an effective suicide barrier had been installed.  Over 1/3 of respondents estimated that none of the suicides could have been prevented.  Respondents most likely to believe that no one could have been saved were cigarette smokers and gun owners.
Miller, Matthew; Azrael, Deborah; Hemenway, David. Belief in the inevitability of suicide: Results from a national survey. Suicide and Life Threatening Behavior. 2006; 36:1-11.”

“Veterans have high rates of firearm suicide
There are no differences in suicide risk among middle-aged and older male veterans and non-veterans.  Suicide by firearm is higher, suicide by non-firearm is lower.  It is probable that lower baseline risk of active duty soldiers (healthy worker effect) tend to be counterbalanced by the accessibility of firearms to these veterans. 
Miller, Matthew; Barber, Catherine; Azrael, Deborah, Calle, Eugenia E; Lawler, Elizabeth; Mukamal, Kenneth J. Suicide among US veterans: a prospective study of 500,000 middle-aged and elderly men.  American Journal of Epidemiology. 2009; 170:494-500.”

“Gun availability is a risk factor for suicide (literature reviews).
We performed reviews of the academic literature on the effects of gun availability on suicide rates. The preponderance of current evidence indicates that gun availability is a risk factor for youth suicide in the United States.  The evidence that gun availability increases the suicide rates of adults is credible, but is currently less compelling.  Most of the disaggregate findings of particular studies (e.g. handguns are more of a risk factor than long guns, guns stored unlocked pose a greater risk than guns stored locked) are suggestive but not yet well established.
Miller, Matthew; Hemenway, David. The relationship between firearms and suicide: A review of the literature. Aggression and Violent Behavior: A Review Journal. 1999; 4:59-75.
Miller, Matthew; Hemenway, David. Gun prevalence and the risk of suicide: A review. Harvard Health Policy Review. 2001; 2:29-37.”

“Across U.S. regions, more guns = more suicide (cross sectional analysis)
We analyzed the relationship of gun availability and suicide among differing age groups across the 9 US regions. After controlling for divorce, education, unemployment, poverty and urbanization, the statistically significant relationship holds for 15 to 24 year olds and 45 to 84 year olds, but not for 25 to 44 year olds.
Birckmayer, Johanna; Hemenway, David. Suicide and gun prevalence: Are youth disproportionately affected? Suicide and Life Threatening Behavior. 2001; 31:303-310.”

“Reducing access to lethal means can begin to reduce suicide rates today.
This editorial in an issue of the flagship public health journal devoted entirely to veteran suicide emphasizes the importance of the availability of firearms in determining whether suicide attempts prove fatal.
Miller, Matthew. Preventing suicide by preventing lethal injury: the need to act on what we already know. American Journal of Public Health 2012; 102(S1):e1-3.”


“The American Academy of Child & Adolescent Psychiatry says violent behavior should not be dismissed as "just a phase they're going through."
“In a guidelines for families, the academy lists several risk factors for violence, including:
—Previous violent or aggressive behavior
—Being a victim of physical or sexual abuse
—Guns in the home
—Use of drugs or alcohol
—Brain damage from a head injury”

Debunking a couple of FAQs:

"Guns don't kill people, people kill people.
Maybe, but people with guns kill many, many more people than they would if they didn't have guns, and guns designed to kill as many people as possible. We don't know if the murderer in Newtown was suffering from a suicidal depression, but many mass shooters in the past were. And guess what? People suffer from suicidal depression everywhere in the world. People get angry and upset everywhere in the world. But there aren't mass shootings every few weeks in England or Costa Rica or Japan, and the reason is that people in those places who have these impulses don't have an easy way to access lethal weapons and unlimited ammunition. But if you want to kill large numbers of people and you happen to be an American, you'll find it easy to do."

"Criminals will always find a way to get guns no matter what measures we take, so what's the point?
The question isn't whether we could snap our fingers and make every gun disappear. It's whether we can make it harder for criminals to get guns, and harder for an unbalanced person with murderous intent to kill so many people. The goal is to reduce violence as much as possible. There's no other problem for which we'd say if we can't solve it completely and forever we shouldn't even try."


Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Sky Marshal Schools

Arming Classrooms: A Preliminary Personal Benefit Analysis

Its highly ironic that where I winter in a developing country that they were more advanced about security than we are still: metal detectors at each mall entrance (larger malls) with armed but smiling security. Trust me NYC schools are fine, for more than once in the South Bronx I had to summon an engine because I couldn't gain entry to those big steel doors in an elementary school for asthma calls. Just arm the school security officers, a relatively small investment for NYC that I'm surprised we never implemented.  For rural/suburban areas, I'm not so sure if they can provide effective staffing.

Banning assault weapons is way overdue, and constitutional gun regulations will by needs be "grandfather" them in since de facto confiscation is not allowed to my thin knowledge. But please do scoop up the magazines and so forth, we have to start somewhere and soon. I have been examining the issues and arguing them, and we're sadly way behind other developed democratic countries on this one, comparatively the same or worse as we were on health care until recently. Stopping the "Iron Pipeline" is what we are primarily concerned with here in NYC. Rural areas are more prone to long law enforcement response times (I was an emergency response official in the Hudson Valley) so their prime considerations include not succumbing to suicide by firearm, performing spousal homicide, or otherwise putting themselves and their families at risk of firearms accidents or getting burglarized especially if the domicile is a vacation home.

Using NY state as an example this will not be very effective since the school district taxpayers can not afford much higher expense. Small towns are lucky if they can afford even a police department, and if available the school cop as a solo patrol is vulnerable to attack (on breaks, pulled away for other duties, long back-up response times, etc.).

My father (died of cancer at 54) was a NYC teacher, and they had no such security officers back then and he forgave a lot of violence directed at him and even though he was shaken by it, he was uninjured and got over it. These days the School Safety people (real title) are only mostly at the entrances if they have a post there at all. My older son was mugged on a stairwell when he attended high school, and at the time the DA wouldn't even prosecute the crime as a strong armed robbery, which it was (I'm biased, I have 10 years as a Police Comm Tech senior dispatcher).The friends that I had who were then Asst. District Attorneys in Manhattan were surprised at that but juvenile cases are apparently handled differently. In that case an armed officer would have made no difference, but today we're talking about securing the main entrances from domestic terrorists (for lack of a better word), where in high schools these portals are more difficult to monitor.

Silly suggestions are being heard all over the "red states" proposing that teachers should be armed as if they were pilots, placing undercovers in classrooms as if they were sky marshals, and the like. I put forward that these ideas are not only ridiculous in terms of unrealistic expectations of our already underpaid teaching and administrative school staff, but only creating further hazards as well. I've recently read commenters complaining that in the midst of the Fort Hood shooting, although on a major military base that soldiers were not armed to deal with the situation. Well there's good reason not to walk around most places with everyone's weapon locked and loaded unless you're in an active war zone, and that's because your base firearm accident rate would skyrocket ! Fratricide can spiral out of control.

Has no one seen the video of the 2 bank robbers coming out of the bank wearing full body armor and kevlar helmets with semi automatic assault rifles keeping a couple hundred police officers at bay ? What makes you believe that a teacher who has only taken a basic, say 250 hr "NRA" course and having no bulletproof vest (which may not stop a high velocity rifle round) is going to perform equally well ? Most civilians can't even "pull" well on a perpetrator in a sudden high stress situation. Be serious about serious protection if you're concerned and don't come up with harebrained schemes. Anyone who is even going to think about proposing such foolish "feel good" programs needs to leave this to the professionals.

So all said, getting armed officers to remain on post manning metal detectors at the malls, and substitute installing fancy expensive glass doors with simpler, cheaper and heavier gauge ugly plain steel ones would go a long way towards securing these points of access. The detectors may be an inconvenience but may save your life besides your property, and the steel doors that just aren't allowed to be opened during the school day can go a long way toward protecting those vulnerable in our schools from various threats especially including an impulsive psychotic or sex offender.

Oh, and Ted Nugent eat your heart out. You'll never be this good.



Bank of America shootout


In an attempt to distract from an emerging debate over how much to strengthen gun laws, Newsweek and Daily Beast special correspondent Megan McArdle called for people, even children, to be trained to "gang rush" active shooters. The Department of Homeland Security, however, recommends that people evacuate or hide in response to an active shooter, and to take direct action only as a last resort and when your life is in "imminent" danger.

Virginia Tech victim parent

Virginia considering arming teachers

New Yorker:

"Would even another, much larger school massacre bring about change? If the numbers are on a truly epic scale—an American scale—perhaps enough people will finally say “enough.” If someone murdered a hundred schoolchildren in a single day with guns, would a majority of Americans agree to true restrictions on them? What is our national threshold for shame?"

Virginia mental health budget slashed


Sky Marshals

South Carolina

States allowing carrying guns, other issues at state level affecting gun safety

Right wing media

Monday, December 17, 2012

Clear And Present Danger

Does the right to bear arms trump the right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness?

"In the beginning of a change, the patriot is a scarce man, and brave, and hated and scorned.  When his cause succeeds, the timid join him, for then it costs nothing to be a patriot."
  ~Mark Twain, Notebook, 1935

The latest massacre of the innocents has touched the most vulnerable of all, our youngest schoolchildren. We have let this situation get out of control and not been responsible enough to protect them from now frequent deadly attacks.

When we saw extensive gun buy back activities step up in progressive and minority areas from  Oakland, San Francisco to Baltimore, I was a little encouraged about the change in heart and attitude towards better enforcement and regulation of both street guns and home collections. But the ugly head of fear and hoarding raised it's head again as concurrently gun sales continued to climb as they always have after our more frequent massacres and even the election of our president.

The usual NRA party line talking points were being sprouted by self righteous gun owners online who were vociferously defending their collections and hobbies instead of expressing sympathy and understanding for the problem we have not faced squarely for quite some time.

The hell with gun collectors who selfishly defend their gunmetal over human lives. Why are they now the most vociferous critics of gun control ? Their guilt ? Justifying a little pleasure ? I can not morally place their desires for a fun hobby over the lives of our children. I've been a gun owner, retired military with over 26 years of Federal and State service, worked as an NYPD radio dispatcher, and picked up the bodies of young men for their last ride to the ER multiple times. This must stop now. Take baby steps, but begin to take them. You do NOT have the moral high ground on gun control. I thought it was said that the "meek shall inherit the earth", not the most heavily armed. Welcome to the 21st century and mass murder as a cottage industry freely enjoyed by the mentally ill. You are now reaping what you hath sown.

And here you may witness a military, police and fire service veteran retiree who knows something about the Constitution that you may not. Weapons are not a "protected class" like human beings are. Therefore the 2nd Amendment which was originally only intended for our "citizen soldier" armed forces and hasn't been relevant since the 18th century does not restrict regulation of any aspect that we have the balls to deal with. We may thus regulate our weapons as we do please.  It is worded as and refers to a federal military in the 18th century which was recruited for and drilled at state level. Not the 21st century, where our Reserve forces now keep their weapons in the armory, and we have a core standing "army" resultant from a huge defense budget and constant warring. The "tyranny" that is so often referred to is that of the British Empire at that time, not our own Republic.

 Further, the SCOTUS ruling on the 14th Amendment tended to expand the rights of citizens to own a firearm which I respectfully disagree with, but since I've spent nearly my entire adult life protecting the Constitution (you can see it at the Rotunda in the National Archives) and your right to free speech, there's nothing for you to worry about. Except of course, the fact that you're exposing yourself to more danger statistically than the majority of the civilian population that does not have guns. Protest all you want, but you'd be wrong again. Finally, the issue of regulations for guns also has it's roots in various state constitutions, which makes the reforms we so desperately need held hostage by the Teabillies that took control of many Red states and others. But the struggle over the selfish demands of the gun collectors over the rights of children to live must continue, before you wipe us all out. I consider our offspring to already be in danger because of simple thinking as you display.

A lamb appears a lion, and we fear
Each bush we see's a bear.
Francis Quarles, Emblems, Book I, Emblem XIII, line 19.

So the real question becomes: "does the right to keep and bear arms trump the guarantee to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness?". I put forth that it certainly does NOT, since we are not now made safe by the ownership of guns, but just the opposite, we are all now at threat, and gun owners themselves along with their families are statistically more at risk than we who  are unarmed and unafraid. If we survive in this new environment. Look at the shorter time intervals between that last several mass shootings. We have found the enemy, and the enemy is us.

"In one survey, 10% of families admitted to having unlocked and loaded firearms within easy reach of children (Patterson and Smith, 1987). Another study showed that two-thirds of accidental firearms injuries occured in the home, and one-third involved children under 15. 45% were self-inflicted, and 16% occurred when children were playing with guns. (Morrow and Hudson, 1986) A study from 1991-2000 showed that twice as many people died from unintentional firearm injuries in states in the U.S. where firearm owners were more likely to store their firearms loaded. (Miller, et al, 2005)" (library.

(library. "The issue of "home defense" or protection against intruders or assailants may well be misrepresented. A study of 626 shootings in or around a residence in three U.S. cities revealed that, for every time a gun in the home was used in a self-defense or legally justifiable shooting, there were four unintentional shootings, seven criminal assaults or homicides, and 11 attempted or completed suicides (Kellermann et al, 1998). Over 50% of all households in the U.S. admit to having firearms (Nelson et al, 1987). In another study, regardless of storage practice, type of gun, or number of firearms in the home, having a gun in the home was associated with an increased risk of firearm homicide and suicide in the home (Dahlberg, Ikeda and Kresnow, 2004). Persons who own a gun and who engage in abuse of intimate partners such as a spouse are more likely to use a gun to threaten their intimate partner. (Rothman et al, 2005). Individuals in possession of a gun at the time of an assault are 4.46 times more likely to be shot in the assault than persons not in possession (Branas et al, 2009). It would appear that, rather than being used for defense, most of these weapons inflict injuries on the owners and their families."

Fear is the main source of superstition, and one of the main sources of cruelty. To conquer fear is the beginning of wisdom.
Bertrand Russell, Unpopular Essays, An Outline of Intellectual Rubbish (1950)

Let’s frame the argument over the necessity for regulation, which is reserved to the government by the Second Amendment, to describe the gun as simply a tool usually employed for a specific job. It should follow then that for a task such as attaching two pieces of paper together, you only need a stapler, not a nail gun. This makes the use of a nail gun inversely proportional to the task at hand. This is just one of the arguments against “assault” wepaons. You may not be aware that conversion kits are available that easily change these semi auto assault rifles to full automatic. Why even take the chance of letting that happen ? So you can get your jollies firing on full auto ? Let ranges have a special license for your fetish.

 As Sen. Feinstein (D-Calif) said "Who needs these military-style assault weapons? Who needs an ammunition feeding device capable of holding 100 rounds?" Feinstein wrote on her campaign website. "These weapons are not for hunting deer -- they’re for hunting people."(Jamieson Huffpo 2012) Senator Lieberman (I-CT) stated “Assault weapons were developed for the U.S. military, not commercial gun manufacturers,' Lieberman said before the Newtown vigil Sunday night." (CBS News 2012) Of note that should affect the souls of most gun collectors is the technical aspect of the assault weapons that are not common but for some God forsaken reason sought after by collectors. It is one of the most, if not THE most deadly caliber easily and freely available on the civilian market. The extreme cavitation wounds that the weapons produce are well known to their owners.

They are slaves who fear to speak
For the fallen and the weak.
James Russell Lowell, Stanzas on Freedom, st. 4 (1843)

 Crime presupposes no special skills or abilities, and able to be performed by practically anyone without any particular training, as we have seen with the mentally ill recently. The basic considerations of law enforcement crime prevention still apply and can be guided by the : 1) Opportunity and the specificity of same 2) Means, or ability to commit the crime (the type of weapon), and 3)Motive, or the reason of the actor to commit the crime. Tackling #s 1 and 2 includes weapons regulation.

This may be complex, but it is not rocket science; many of the gun owning public are responding with selfish defensive statements about their cherished collections during a time of mourning which makes it morally repugmant. I find myself arguing with gun owners who put up both simplistic and elaborate justifications, but it all boils down to me, me, me.

Notice that I have never mentioned confiscation as a solution. But an extensive buy back program is easy to construct since they're already in use all over the country. "A study published in the Injury Prevention Journal, based on a 2004 National Firearms Survey, found that 20% of the gun owners with the most firearms possessed about 65% of the nation's guns." (Brenan, CNN, July 31, 2012) They may be harder to execute nationally, but it's not impossible to legally collect those assault weapons. A little loss of private assault weapons in circulation does not phase me in comparison to stopping even one more mass murder using them. Cry me a river.

"Could the leader of a democracy reverse his nation's slide toward the ever more permissive use of firearms and mandate stringent new gun control laws in less than a fortnight? Well, yes. One of America's loyal allies did just that -- and with massive voter support." (Alpers, CNN, Dec 17, 2012)

Unfortunately the gun enthusiasts seem unable to see past their selfishness to extend the protection that their activity and ownership afford them to others in society who may need safety from weapons inappropriately acquired and used. How many more children need to die senselessly at mass shootings,  from accidental discharges, from misplaced rounds into residences, parks, and the like ? HOW MANY MORE ? HOW MANY ?


US buybacks spurred on by Newtown incident

Aussie buybacks

(Brennan, CNN)

(Jamieson, Huffington Post)

(CBS News 2012)

Cavitation Wound effects (basic)

(Alpers, CNN)


FBI Homicide data:

DOJ "How Prevalent is Gun Violence in America?"

Firearms tutorial:

The gun ownership and gun homicides murder map of the world

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Mass Media North Korean Style

Well, low and behold the North Koreans have apparently achieved the technological level that the Soviets did in 1957 in their Sputnik program. I wouldn't lose any sleep over this event although it gives pause to ponder what their real intent is and how it will tout their wares in the arms sales industry. The North Korean space cadets have not yet figured out how to "weaponize" any nuclear warheads on an intercontinental ballistic missile, they do not posess the technology to create a reentry heat shield for any payload sent into space, and their nuclear device design appears to be still at the level of the Manhattan Project in the 1940s.

On tonight's NBC Nightly News, it was reported that the satellite was wobbly. The CBS Evening News said that there was an intelligence failure to detect that the rocket was fully fueled and ready to launch. They also mentioned that the North Koreans are experiencing difficulty in controlling the vehicle. U.S. Secretary of Defense stated that we are still evaluating whether of not the vehicle has simply spun out of control into space or whether it remains in orbit.

"They haven't figured out how to weaponize a nuclear (bomb) that will fit in a missile, nor do they have accurate guidance at long ranges," said Stephen Ganyard, ABC News consultant and former deputy assistant secretary of state. Another crucial technology North Korea is yet to achieve is a proper heat shielding required to protect the warhead while re-entering the earth's atmosphere."

Two days ago U.S. naval assets had already been deployed: "The United States has mobilized four warships in the Asia-Pacific region to monitor and possibly shoot down the launch. The guided missile destroyer the USS John S. McCain and the guided missile cruiser the USS Shiloh join the USS Benfold and USS Fitzgerald, also guided missile destroyers, to 'reassure allies in the region' according to officials." (Rivera & Park, ABC World News Dec 10,2012)

The U.S. Navy already possesses an effective and tested ballistic missile system: "As of 2008, Aegis BMD {Ballistic Missile Defense} was to deliver the following: 
    Fifteen (15) Aegis Destroyers equipped with the Aegis BMD Weapon System to conduct the LRS&T and engagement missions
    Three (3) Aegis Cruisers equipped with the Aegis BMD Weapon System to conduct the LRS&T and engagement missions SM-3" 

Japan is among other Pacific Rim countries which employ ballistic missile defense (BMD)systems, but did not fire at the North Korean missile as it overflew Okinawa. Here is a guide to planned US missile shield (already deployed):

The end of this link illustrates our basic land based BMD assets placed geographically in Appendix B:

It made more sense to monitor the launch to read it's telemetry than to shoot it down at this time: "The missile capabilities of a country as opaque as North Korea are notoriously hard to assess. United States and South Korean officials have said that all of the North’s four multiple-stage rockets previously launched have exploded in midair or failed in their stated goal of thrusting a satellite into orbit."

"China said that it “regrets” the launching, the first time it has used that word in the context of the North’s rocket program. The Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman, Hong Lei, also said that North Korea’s right to a peaceful space program was “subject to limitations by relevant United Nations Security Council resolutions,” somewhat tougher language than China has used on that subject in the past. "

I would be much more concerned about the missiles and associated technology that North Korea has provided Syria including the highly weaponized chemical and biological warheads that appear to being made at the ready in that civil war. And also the cooperation with Iran over not only the Syrian WMD program but also on other projects.

"Well, we have known for a number of years that Iran and North Korea have worked together to some extent on this, beginning with North Korean sales of short-range missiles to Iran that Iran seemed to use to start to build up their own program. And the third stage of this launcher looks very similar to the upper stage of the Iranian launcher. And so that's pretty direct evidence that there has been some level of discussion, collaboration between them, but we really don't have a good sense of how deep that goes."

“Suddenly, the whole country is engulfed with happiness and the people endlessly inspired,” the state-run news agency K.C.N.A. reported{.}" But what in reality may be plodding progress towards implementation of internationally forbidden technology will only make their starving masses forget their hunger pains for 20 minutes until they return to gnaw at them endlessly. It also makes one wonder about the usefulness of US humanitarian aid while North Korea spends over a billion USD launching useless satellites. If their "patriotic leader" continues these follies perhaps it might contribute to making them realize that their lack of sustenance is only exacerbated by the vast waste of resources on fantastical projects such as this. Of course this hope unfortunately underestimates the power of mass political seduction while Mr. Kim  develops his cult of personality. 

More LInks:

These links show references to the Terminal High Altitude Area Defense historical program data.