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Signs and Portents

Politico reports on what is alleged to be a White House proposal (PDF link) for increasing background checks. Only, something is kind of fishy about it. The Politico story quotes a White House spokesman

As far as the document circulating on the Hill, [Hogan Gidley, a White House spokesman] added: “That is not a White House document, and any suggestion to contrary is completely false.”

And when I actually read the (alleged) document, I have my doubts. It’s possible that the White House drafted a proposal that starts with the premise that there are Unlicensed Commercial Sales, and that there are commercial sellers who are not licensed dealers, but that doesn’t seem all that likely to me. Unless they’re expanding the definition of “commercial sales” to include all sales (there’s a reference to “Manchin-Toomey draft legislation” as well, which I haven’t seen the current iteration of).

Anyway, with the White House disavowing the proposal, and the Republican Senate refusing to move without clear guidance from the White House, things are looking a bit less grim? No reason to stop paying attention, though.

Clayton on Mass Murders

Clayton is doing an extensive study of mass murder in the United States, going back to 1657.

You probably can’t name the mass murders that killed 87 people in 1990 ;or 97 people in 1986; or the 1973 New Orleans gay bar with 33 dead.  All were arson, and are nearly unknown because there were no guns.  The 1990 murders were with $1 of gasoline bought a nearby gas station; the 1986 murders with a can of camp stove fuel; the 1973 murders were with a can of cigarette lighter fluid bought down the street.

RTWT.

Uncomfortable Truth for Our People

Tam is also right, and much like NDT, I’m not sure a lot of people will want to hear it:

Most people don’t get carry permits, and even those who do mostly don’t carry their guns. The odds of a mass shooting are already like a lightning bolt or meteor strike. The odds of a mass shooting happening within 25 yards of a truly skilled shooter with a USPSA GM ticket or FAST coin* are “meteor strike in your back yard that goes through the hoop of the basketball goal in your driveway and gets nothing but net” rare.

I’m not a USPSA GM and I don’t have a FAST coin. But I’m better than your average shooter. And to be honest, if I’m near a mass shooting in progress, and I can find an exit from the situation that doesn’t involve return fire, I’m taking it. If I a shot presented itself, I’d take it. But I’m not going to go looking for it. I’ll let the guys with body armor handle that.

If you ask me, politicians don’t have the answer for this phenomena, and anything they try will just do more damage. A mass public shooting is lightning strike in terms of probability. It’s a symptom of an increasingly disconnected society and marginalizes and isolates a lot of young boys. I think the causes are multiple. But ultimately, I think it boils down to a destruction of community, family, and connectedness, and social media is only making the problem worse.

He’s Not Wrong

Party of Science! At least until the science doesn’t fit with your emotionally driven narrative:

Twitter exploded in rage as all the usual pearl clutchers rushed to condemn him. I am not NGT’s biggest fan since he stopped doing what he was good at (being a science educator) and started doing what he ain’t so good at (being a political pundit). But he’s right here. And no amount of hand wringing and condemnation is going to erase this very fact.

The Stupid Suppressor Debate

I don’t get this notion that the suppressor made any difference in the latest lunatic mass shooting incident. Any of you who have been near a gun being fired without any hearing protection know it is loud enough to be disorienting. It could be positively debilitating to someone unused to something that loud. A suppressed firearm is just loud. If you gave me a choice as to whether to face down a mass shooter with or without a suppressed firearm, I’d take “with” any day of the week.

Why would I complain if a mass shooter thought enough to spare my hearing while I prepared to return fire? Awfully considerate of him.

75th Anniversary of D-Day

My grandfather’s first cousin, so also my cousin, was killed during Operation Overlord 75 years ago. I never knew about him because my grandfather did not talk about the war much. My grandfather would not see a battlefield until 24 December, 1944. His cousin Bill was dropped into Normandy on D-Day and was actually killed on the 8th of June, 1944. The headstone is wrong. His Date of Birth is also wrong, being 1921 and not 1930.

He was originally buried in France. There is still a memorial to the men who died with him near the spot where he fell. He was reinterred in the US into what is now a defunct cemetery in Philadelphia, which is being slowly brought back to life by a small number of dedicated volunteers.

Interesting Question: Are We Medicating People into Active Shooters?

Study on whether psychotropic drugs increase the risk of psychosis. I’ve heard it suggested that even if the drugs don’t increase the risk of psychosis in and of themselves, they help people who do develop psychosis stay at a high enough functioning level to be able to plan and execute mass murders.

It’s an interesting question for researchers to explore. I tend to blame the media environment for encouraging mass killers. If you ask me what the independent variable is, I would offer that up. If the 24×7 cable news cycle wasn’t enough, social media might just have made it worse.

The big issue those who want to blame gun access is that gun access in this country has never been more restricted, and school shootings were unheard of in the era when kids took guns to school as a matter of routine, and guns were far more readily accessible to kids.

Commentary on the Shutdown

It’s been fun to watch social media, and all the people on pointing fingers at anyone but themselves. If you really give a shit on the issue to the point of inflexibility, you’re part of the problem. I don’t really think a border wall will accomplish what people expect it to, but can’t you give the dude his wall? What’s it to you? Do you really believe in completely open borders? Because you can have that, if you’re willing to give up the welfare state. But you can’t have both open borders and a welfare state. Five billion dollars is sofa change for the federal government, so lets not pretend this is about money.

Likewise from the other side, a wall isn’t going to keep out visa cheaters, which is most of the illegals these days. So maybe be willing to work a bit with Nancy to end the impasse. Both Pelosi and Trump need a face saving way out. But that’s probably not possible. Both Trump and Pelosi’s base has each of them locked into a no win scenario, with neither side able to give an inch without their base crying “surrender,” “traitor.”

The algorithms have driven everyone mad. It’s like we don’t know how to deal with other human beings anymore. The Terminator movies were wrong. Skynet never had to kill a single human. Just set them against each other.

If You Read One Article Today …

This is absolutely worth your time. I read this early this morning when I couldn’t sleep.

French elites have convinced themselves that their social supremacy rests not on their economic might but on their common decency. Doing so allows them to “present the losers of globalization as embittered people who have problems with diversity,” says Guilluy. It’s not our privilege that the French deplorables resent, the elites claim; it’s the color of some of our employees’ skin. French elites have a thesaurus full of colorful vocabulary for those who resist the open society: repli (“reaction”), crispation identitaire (“ethnic tension”), and populisme (an accusation equivalent to fascism, which somehow does not require an equivalent level of proof). One need not say anything racist or hateful to be denounced as a member of “white, xenophobic France,” or even as a “fascist.” To express mere discontent with the political system is dangerous enough. It is to faire le jeu de (“play the game of”) the National Front.

The only ideas I see coming out of tech elites are “Universal Income” for the deplorables, which presumes the real issue is economic rather than one of dignity and meaning. The solution is not welfare for those left behind. That will end very badly if that’s all they’ve got. But what is the solution? I don’t have one. I wish I did. But I don’t see any of this headed good places.

As the article points out, the fundamental question of our day is over globalization. In the end, we’re all going to end up living in a smaller world. We won’t stop that. It’s just a question of what globalism looks like and who it benefits. The current system being set up by transnational elites is untenable. They won’t admit it, but it is. They will probably put the world through hell figuring that out, and I think this is just the beginning.

I’ve had to do a lot of hard thinking as political coalitions have shifted around. It’s enough to really make you question your values. Do I feel any kind of solidarity with France’s Yellow Jackets? What if I do? What does that make me? I’m sure a lot of you are struggling with the same things. I keep coming back to this:

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.

That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness.

I think I still believe that. I think I’ve always believed it. We’re a country that had a bourgeois rebellion. The French took the same ideas and had la Terreur. The article I pointed out noted that in many ways the French Yellow Jackets have it worse than we do. What are we going to do when it’s our turn?

E-Mail Spam With True Threat

I’m getting spam today saying “My man has carried a bomb ([some random explosive here]) into the building where your company is conducted” and they will set it off if they aren’t paid some bitcoin. That’s meme comical. I haven’t laughed so hard since somebody set up us the bomb.

Look, if you’re going to get all technical, please learn the difference between a primary explosives, secondary explosives, and blasting agents, if you want me to take you seriously. Also, use of proper English grammar and vocabulary would also be helpful. Best comment I’ve seen so far:

The venn diagram of people who know how to pay them in Bitcoin and people who would fall for this is very small.

Apparently there are businesses all across the country evacuating over this. I have a feeling whatever Nigerian basements these guys are sending this stuff from is going to get found and raided relatively quickly by third world cop standards.

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