Saturday, January 26, 2013

No Assault Rifle?

Shocking news:  no AR-15 assault rifle was used at the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting last month  [link].  Of course this is not accurate according to the latest press release from the Connecticut State Police on January 18, 2013.  The guns found were:

Seized inside the school by the suspect's body:
#1. Bushmaster .223 caliber-- model XM15-E2S rifle with high capacity 30 round magazine
#2. Glock 10 mm handgun
#3. Sig-Sauer P226 9mm handgun

Seized from suspect’s car in parking lot:
#4. Izhmash Canta-12   12 gauge Shotgun

Here's an analogy for you:
Imagine that the Sandy Hook shooting never took place, but instead, a drunk driver hit a school bus with the same 20 children and 6 adults on board, killing everyone.  The drunk driver's car is searched and they find a bottle of Jack Daniel's and a  6 pack of beer.  All of the media outlets report on how terrible Jack Daniel's is.  The politicians jump on the bandwagon and decide to ban all alcohol that is 80 proof or higher.  "No one needs to get drunk that easily".  They want to ban all imports and production.  The producers of high proof Alcoholic Beverages are now the villains.  The National Alcohol Beverage Industries Council (NABIC) comes to their defense saying that "Alcohol doesn't kill people, drunk drivers kill people" and "We will not compromise on the right of people to drink high proof alcohol".  The NABIC is made out to be public enemy number one.  Which is to blame for the drunkeness?  The beer or the Jack Daniel's?
This is a valid analogy since drunk drivers kill about as many people as are murdered by guns [CDC] [FBI].  Depending on how you count it (and who is counting) both numbers are over 10,000 people killed each  year.  (Use this calculator http://www.ou.edu/oupd/bac.htm to determine what you can drink without exceeding the legal blood alcohol limit)

Both gun violence and drunk driving are serious problems.  Fortunately, gun deaths continue to decline in the U.S.  It would be nice to know why.  Regarding assault rifles, I know there are people in my neighborhood that own military style assault rifles.  I feel perfectly safe walking at night in my neighborhood.  I actually feel a little bit safer knowing that many of my good neighbors are armed.  I don't feel safe when they are drunk.

I've heard how great Japan is.  Very few guns and therefore very few gun-related deaths (0.07 per 100,000, while U.S. is 10 per 100,000).  Unfortunately, a large percentage of gun deaths in the U.S are suicides: 17,000 or the 30,000 suicides per year are gun-related.  However, without a gun problem, Japan has about twice as many suicides per capita (22 per 100k in Japan compared to 12 per 100k in U.S.).

Of course, our Hollywood celebrities decided to make a commercial called "Demand a Plan", saying we have to do something about it.  Someone cleverly edited it to show their hypocrisy.  Warning: after 3 minutes, the captions are obscene (f-word, etc.)



Tuesday, January 22, 2013

What it will be like when things get bad

There's a tipping point when your credit runs out and all of your rainy day reserves dry up where things get really bad.  It seems that's happening in Greece as many can't afford the price of heating oil and are burning anything they can get their hands on to keep warm.  The unfortunate consequences: depleting forests that finally have recovered from the Nazis, cutting down parts of a 3,000 year old olive tree where Plato taught, and terrible air pollution (not to mention contributing to global warming).

http://capeandislands.org/post/under-cloud-austerity-real-smoke-clouds-greece-well
http://greece.greekreporter.com/2013/01/22/high-oil-prices-drive-greeks-to-burn-wood/
The part about the forests I heard on the radio.