When liars figure

Possibly you’ve seen reports about the new study that showed a sharp increase in firearms-related deaths after the Sandy Hook shooting, attributed to the sharp spike in gun sales. If not, here’s a fine example:

Gun sales spiked after Sandy Hook. So did people being shot and killed.
Gun sales in the United States spiked dramatically after a shooter walked into Connecticut’s Sandy Hook Elementary School on Dec. 14, 2012 and killed 26 people, 20 of whom were children. Now researchers say that as a result of that rush in gun purchases, 60 additional Americans — 20 of whom were children — were killed by accidental gunshots in the five months following the tragedy.

That’s… interesting, if really kinda vague. So off to the study itself. You can read it, or I’ll give you the TL;DR.

They used Google Trends to define the period of gun sales that they attribute to post-SH panic buying (you’ll giggle at their search terms), which they determined to be 5 months. They looked at firearms-related accidental deaths — concentrating on children 0-14yo –for that period and compared them to a 2008-2013 period and magically came up with this:

That’s… even more interesting. I happen to recall another gun buying spree in 2008 and 2009. If these folks really found a sales/accidental deaths correlation, I’d expect a bigger spike in those years.

Well, charts are misleading. What’s graphed there isn’t the number of children dead, but the anomaly in deaths; that is, they essentially figured the statistical average for a five month period for the years 2008-2013, and decide the period in question had 20 more than average.

Not having access to their undisclosed “restricted” data, I decided to use the CDC WISQARS online tool, which only breaks data down by year. For the researchers’ 2008-2013 time frame, I got this:

Right off, you — not being a grant-funded academic — probably notice, despite the apparent increasing trend in deaths, that 2013 wasn’t much of a spike. In fact, it’s five deaths lower than the 2011 “spike.” And the average annual deaths for the 2008-2013 time frame is 62.17. So the annual total for 2013 is only 7 higher than average.* Where did they find 20, 13 more in just a five month period? And haven’t we heard that accidental firearms deaths are decreasing?

That’s an oddly limited time frame, given that more data is readily available. WISQARS currently has data for 1999-2015.

And the rate per 100,000 for that age group:

The entire year of 2013 is only the sixth highest, both in numbers and per capita. And again –not being a grant-funded academic –you may have seen the trend: constantly down.

The researchers’ “spike” in their study appears to be largely imaginary, and what there was is more easily attributed to random variance. The lack of sales/deaths correlations with other known periods of increased buying (2008-2009, 2012) invalidates their Sandy Hook-related claim. The overall consistent decrease in child accidental deaths tells me that, rather than untrained newbies going out and slaughtering kids, more people are getting trained and demonstrating safety awareness. Remember: the number of guns are cumulative; if more guns really correlated with accidents then there be a constantly increasing number of accidents instead of the real decrease.

Researchers Levine and McKnight say, “No external funding was used to support this research.” It might be interesting to see what monetary resources are consider internal.

And just for info regarding that additional people of all ages killed?

In 2012, there were 548 people of all ages killed in accidental firearms-related incidents.

In 2013, it dropped to 505.

* The 17 year average for 1999-2015 is 64, meaning 2013 was only 5 higher than average.

Carl is an unpaid TZP volunteer. If you found this post useful, please consider dropping something in his tip jar.




This last week was Parshat Vayishlach, and it talks about Yaakov and Esav’s reunion when Yaakov returns from his devious Uncle Levan, who had deceived him in much the same way he had deceived his father Yitzach. He has sent his family and herds across the Jabbok, and he remained alone, waiting for daylight when he would see the brother who had sworn to kill him. The one heading his way with 400 men.

Bereshit 32: 22-32

22 The same night he arose and took his two wives, his two female servants, and his eleven children, 1 and crossed the ford of the Jabbok. 23 He took them and sent them across the stream, and everything else that he had. 24 And Jacob was left alone. And a man wrestled with him until the breaking of the day. 25 When the man saw that he did not prevail against Jacob, he touched his hip socket, and Jacob’s hip was put out of joint as he wrestled with him. 26 Then he said, “Let me go, for the day has broken.” But Jacob said, “I will not let you go unless you bless me.” 27 And he said to him, “What is your name?” And he said, “Jacob.” 28 Then he said, “Your name shall no longer be called Jacob, but Israel, 1 for you have striven with God and with men, and have prevailed.” 29 Then Jacob asked him, “Please tell me your name.” But he said, “Why is it that you ask my name?” And there he blessed him. 30 So Jacob called the name of the place Peniel, 1 saying, “For I have seen God face to face, and yet my life has been delivered.” 31 The sun rose upon him as he passed Penuel, limping because of his hip. 32 Therefore to this day the people of Israel do not eat the sinew of the thigh that is on the hip socket, because he touched the socket of Jacob’s hip on the sinew of the thigh.

One of the Rabbi’s commentary I read this week talked about the difference in the style of Mozart and Beethoven. He felt that for Mozart, the music simply flowed from him, light and easy. For Beethoven, he struggled to get it just the way he wanted it, writing and re-writing it, the creativity for him was a struggle. He felt Yaakov, who later became Israel, had the same kind of struggles. In fact Rabbi Sacks points out in all of Tanakh/ First Testament, none of the people were perfect, they all had their struggles.

If you want to watch a little teaching on the Parsha, here is one from Rabbi Chaim.

Struggles was already on my mind this week, I’ve recently had the chance to see a independently produced movie. I think that’s what they are called. I don’t see many movies, cause there are not many I am willing to give money to see. The last one was a 1977 movie on Operation Thunderbolt.

This one was called “Big Sonia”. And it is about an amazing 91 year old lady from Poland who is a Holocaust survivor. Big Sonia stands a whopping 4’11” tall. The film talks very little about how she came to be in the concentration camps, she was in more than one, and she endured death marches. It does say the nazis used dogs to find her and her Mother hiding in the attic of their home, as they had found others. They were hidden under the floor. When the movie needs to show something from the Holocaust, it is mostly shown in crude, meaning not detailed, animation. The nazis and dogs finding them is one of those types of scene. Another is when they are separated after they’ve been at the death camp for a while. Her Mother had a red scarf, and in the graphic, I can’t really call it a cartoon, it shows her Mother handing it off to her. This is a clip of Sonia.

Sonia runs a tailor shop that she took over from her husband after he passed away. Her mission, I would say, is she with the help of her daughter visit school, prisons, and talk to groups about the Holocaust. About living with love and acceptance so that these things can never happen again. It has had a profound affect on students, and some of the prisoners were in the film crying and talking to Leah, one of the filmmakers about how hearing Sonia’s story affected them. It was disconcerting to me that some of these prisoners seemed unaware of the Holocaust, at all. But I know another Holocaust survivor, she was Austrian who had tried to tell her story to some people at a holiday get together. Some of them did not believe her. She told me she would never speak of it again. I understand, to have gone through that, then tell it, and not be believed? But to see this tiny little woman, who had survived more and harder things than the prisoners, or school children had and how she chose to respond to them? Amazing woman. I would also mention Sonia has a sister that did survive the war. She is currently living in Israel. She spent the war not in a concentration camp, but in the forest, with the Partisans, fighting. I don’t know how that happened, it doesn’t say in the film, but boy do I wish Leah would do that story! Sonia has faced many many struggles, her most recent one was when the shopping mall where the tailor shop was located served her an eviction notice. I will just say that there are Angels that walk among us today, and while we may not know the name of the one that wrestled with Yaakov, the one in the movie is Vernon and leave it at that. This movie is being seen all across the US, actually world wide. I’m free on the 16th, I think I’d like to see it again. That will necessitate me being in Jerusalem on the 16th. Hmm.

I was thinking about this column, and struggles. We all face them in our daily lives, from different directions. Some can be family, professional, monetary, personal, health, and just “stuff we have to do” be it cutting down trees, clearing fence row or making sure one kid gets to the doctor and another to piano lessons and you need to be at work on time, and pay for it all. But as I was thinking about struggles and how Yaakov faced his, and while it seems most of his life he faced a variety of struggles, he tried, he didn’t just give up. He may have been afraid and distressed, but he kept going forward and he struggled with the Angel and won. Sonia has certainly had her struggles, to survive and cope, she continues to try to use her experience to help others.

And then I had a conversation with a friend of the book of faces tonight. We’ll call him Chris. Chris is talking about his son that I’m going to call Stuart. Stuart is a Ordnance Disposal Tech in the military. Chris had said a little about some of the scares he has had due to Stuart’s occupation. We got started talking about this because of a particular song “More than a name on a wall” by the Statler Brothers.

Chris: I try to never miss an opportunity to tell him how proud I am of him. That song tears me up probably as much as it does you. But I know that if my son should go, he’ll be escorted to Valhalla by his fellows after accomplishing far more with his life than I ever have.

Me: WE each have a part to play in this drama called life Chris. HIS part is NOT your part. Your part is not mine. We must each fulfill our parts as best we can with who we are at this time, in this place.

And that’s when it gelled for me. I am so far from perfect, and some struggles will probably be lifelong, and some I may win, some I may lose. But the ones that G-d brings to me, those I must continue to try. We all have things that matter to us, to U.S. our freedom, our country, our way of life, and our families.

And each of us has a role we can play in that. Some who would never want to write on a Blog can pick up the pen and write a letter to the editor, they can talk to a co-worker who spouts Gabby Giffords latest uniformed, illogical or stupid idea. Some can take Grandchildren or nieces and nephews out to learn to shoot. Or, they can set their nephew up with lessons to learn to shoot from a good instructor. So I’ve heard. You can support Second Amendment groups, join local grassroots Second Amendment groups, go to rallies. You can know our country’s history, warts and all, and when people try to take it from us by lying, know they are lying and speak out, write a letter, make sure what your child or grandchild is learning in school isn’t the Common Core Crap, and if it is either talk to the school or at least talk to your child and make sure they know the truth. Old school books might make dandy gifts. To lose who were are and where we came from is something that is hard to reclaim. Someone has to keep the light burning.

There is a teaching in the end of the video Parsha about Yaakov going back for some small vessels. What? He hadn’t had enough struggle already? He goes back for some Tupperware? There is a bit more to it than this, but my point is, in that in the Tupperware, was oil.

Sonia’s struggles bring forth understanding and knowledge, Yaakov’s struggle brought forth the nation of Israel, and a small container of oil.

Last week was November 29th, there was an epic struggle that took place on November 29th, 1947  These are in English.

Behind the scenes stories

And today, today. President Trump announced that the United States recognizes Jerusalem is the Capitol of Israel, and the United States will be moving their Embassy to Jerusalem. The Jerusalem Embassy Relocation Act was written in 1995, at last, finally. I admit, watching those old film clips today, and then President Trump is a very emotional experience.

And so, what will our struggles bring forth?


Vegas Questions; and why they matter

The Mandalay Bay shooting has left more questions unanswered than answered. And yes, it matters.

It matter because numerous — and gross — violations of Constitutionally “protected” rights are being proposed to “fix” the problems that let that happen.

1. “‘Silencers’ must not be deregulated; they must be banned because what if the Mandalay Bay asshole had used them and nobody knew they were being shot?

2. “More preemptivly-prove-your-innocence prior restraint “background checks” because they were good enough to catch this guy when he passed them.”

3. “Ban bump-fire stocks because they turn any gun into a machine gun.”

4. “Ban all semiautomatic firearms because ‘military grade weapons of war’!”

5. “Stop reciprocal carry because that guy might’ve gotten a carry license.”

6. “Register all gun owners and all their guns because… we don’t know, but do it for Vegas.”

7. “Ban all guns because no murderer will ever figure out how to kill without a gun.”

And the list goes on. Mandalay Bay has become the rationalization for human civil rights violations on a scale not seen in this country since slavery was outlawed. Hyperbole?

Consider that anti-gunners are screaming that gun owners have no right to speak on the subject. Bans and confiscations deprive people of property. Finding the owners and guns will involve mass warrantless searches. Privacy will be invaded as authorities scour email and social media for ownership indications. Bank records will be searched for firearms (and accessories) purchases and sales. Failure to comply fast enough will get you dead or jailed.

Or somebody dead.

It isn’t just the Second Amendment violations; it’s everything else they have to violate just to accomplish them. That’s some serious stuff to be doing based on near total ignorance of the facts of the incident.

And, since the authorities claim the shooter acted alone, and they aren’t searching for anyone else in the matter, there’s no reason for the ignorance; there’s supposedly no real ongoing investigation to compromise unless they’ve lied about looking for accomplices.

So before any more rights violations advance, let’s get answers.

1. Several media outlets reported early on that, in addition to bump-fire stock-equipped weapons, the shooter had AR-pattern rifles converted to full auto. Fox reported that the full auto conversions were chambered in both .223 and .308.

Those reports were never walked backed or corrected. They just stopped talking about the weapons, leaving the anti-gunners free to whine about bump stocks.

I’m not a mass murderer, so I could be missing something. But if he had fully automatic weapons, why bother using bump-fire while the automatic weapons were available? C’mon, you’ve had months to do ballistics testing; you know what weapons were actually fired.

2. If no automatic weapons were used, why does at least one recording of the incident have a burst with two simultaneous rapid fire gunshot audio signatures, one a steady boom, and the other a sharper crack, at different rates of fire?

A wannabe Rambo could grab two fully automatic weapons and fire them at the same time. Poorly and inaccurately, but it’s doable if you don’t mind a face full of brass. But not bump-fired rifles; you need both hands with a bump-fire stock: one for the trigger, and one to provide the tension to pull the rifle forward.

If the weapons were bump-fired, it raises the question of how one guy fired two guns at the same time.

3. Las Vegas is one of the most surveilled cities in the world; possibly the most when you include all the casino and hotel interior cameras. Where is the video of the asshole bringing in his guns and thousands of rounds of ammunition? Sitting in a restaurant? Playing video poker? Walking down halls? He doesn’t even show up in the background in some tourist’s iPhone footage?

Did he carry everything himself, or did someone help him with all that stuff? Maybe an innocent valet, who could at least add to the timeline. Where’s the video?

4. When people spotted a “note” in crime scene photos and speculated that it was a suicide note or explanation of motive, authorities said it was actually “ballistic calculations” to better target his victims. Why would he need such ballistics calculations?

Calculations of that nature would involve wind speed for bullet drift, and more importantly bullet drop for shooting from an elevation at a given range. Except he didn’t need that, and relatively few shooters know how to do it on a scrap of paper. He didn’t need it because such precision is to hit a specific — often relatively small — target accurately. Our asshole wouldn’t be concerned about hitting a torso or head on one person. He was hosing down a mass of tens of thousands of people, a crowd the size of football fields. Unless there’s something else they haven’t told us.

And this brings us back to bump-fire. Bump-fire is inaccurate. What’s the point of careful calculations of the most accurate way to aim a firehose? An automatic rifle in most people’s hands wouldn’t be much better.

Can we see a legible image of that note/calculations?

5. Authorities said the asshole had an escape plan. What was it, and why did he abandon it for suicide?

6. Where is the computer hard drive? Law enforcement said the drive from the computer in the hotel room was missing; where did it go and when?

Would video answer that question, too? Speaking of video, the shooter had his own cameras which are implied to have been wireless computer types; where’s that video? On the perambulating hard drive?

7. Why did the shooter stop after 9-10 minutes with thousands of rounds of ammunition left over?

Is that when he killed himself?

7. So when did the asshole die?

Just body temperature should give them a rough idea of how long he’d been dead when they finally entered the room. Perhaps that would shed light on why spent brass appeared to be sitting on top of coagulated blood in crime scene photos. Or how he shot himself in the head and fell down, extending one leg under a rifle on a bipod without knocking it over.

9. Within a day or two, authorities were rummaging through the shooter’s financials enough to figure out that he’d purchased software, and been shipping cash out of the country by the pallet. Why did it take another month and a half — when folks were getting antsy over motive — to discover he was despondent over massive gambling losses, when they totally ruled out “terrorism” in less than a day?

How much had he lost? When? Was it significantly higher than previous losses? Victims and families suing the estate would probably like to know how much is left.

10. Why did the most valuable material witness leave the country, and did the authorities know before he left?

Seriously; no one told him, “Don’t go leaving town. Keep yourself available for more questions while we sort out the latest version of the timeline.”?

11. Why did the police wait until roughly an hour and twenty minutes after the last shot was fired to enter the room? Was the shooter still alive, did he communicate with them? For that matter, we don’t know why it allegedly took them so long to figure out what room the shooter was in. Two witnesses claim they reported it.

Oh well. It isn’t as if I don’t know about plenty of “armed standoffs” with empty houses, or sleeping drunks who didn’t know the cops were there.

Until investigators will explain what guns the asshole used, and how, along with other pertinent facts, imposing more infringements of human/civil rights based on “we have to prevent another Mandalay Bay” makes as much sense as banning automobiles because the shooter owned one of those, too. Or houses. Or boats. Airplanes. Clothing. Suitcases.


“‘Astronauts with Shuttles’ can be dangerous, too”

‘Good guys with guns’ can be dangerous, too. Don’t gut concealed carry laws.
That day in Tucson, amid a gun tragedy, one of the heroes almost got shot.

…and proceeds to tell of a lawfully armed man using his training — and restraint — to not kill anyone. Apparently Mark Kelly believes that we are as thoughtless and impulsive as he is, buying a gun “on a whim” and publicizing that it is an illegal straw purchase.

I’m beginning to believe the “brain damage by hypoxia” theory.

Using his… reasoning, Mark Kelly was “a matter of seconds” from crashing STS-108 and STS-121, not to mention all those aircraft in his naval aviation days.


Truth in advertising

Have you noticed the recent trend in arguments from the human/civil rights violators? If not, here are some hints.

“Why is gun control now equal to a restriction of liberties? Gun Control is not Gun erasure, it is not taking away the 2nd Amendment. Gun Control is not saying you do not have a right to own a gun for your protection, safety, and soundness of mind for you and your family.”
Anjeanette LeBoeuf, The Act of Gun Control

Ms. LeBoeuf, bless her heart, also demonstrates why she should have spent more time on history, and less on women’s studies.

“The challenge in bringing change is that the debate over gun rights isn’t really about guns at all. It’s about what they represent: cherished freedoms, a reverence for independence. ”
Philip Elliott, Haley Sweetland Edwards, Charlotte Alter; The Fight Over Gun Control Isn’t Really About Guns

Hold that thought.

“So how can we articulate the gun control message more effectively? What if instead of emphasizing gun control, there was a Movement for the Safety of All Americans? If the problem were framed as a domestic and public safety issue rather than a gun control matter, perhaps we could build greater demand for conquering this national epidemic.”
Bruce Berlin, Let’s Reframe Gun Control To Focus on Our Safety

Ah, safety.

“Take the phrase we often reach toward in the aftermath of a mass shooting: “gun control.” “It feels like there’s an American sense that responds quite well to the idea of ‘rights,’ and not so well to the idea of ‘control,’” Dust says. Dust believes that this small point could the origin of a new type of conversation–around how the right to carry arms is ultimately infringing on our right to peacefully gather.”
Eillie Anzilotti, Can We Redesign The Way We Talk About Gun Control In America?

The trend is to pretend there is no such thing as “gun control,” and the reason is because they finally realized it’s a non-finisher.

LeBoeuf wants people to believe that only total confiscation is “gun control.” Yet proposes… controls. She’s not alone in adopting that position, and it’s not new; there’s a reason Handgun Control, Inc. isn’t using that name anymore.

The rights violators are used to having money and near-exclusive media access, allowing them to push whatever message they wanted. In the Internet age, that access isn’t so exclusive (in the ’90s, merely getting an unedited pro-RKBA letter to the editor in an urban newspaper was a challenge; yet here you are reading this column now). The rights violators are forced to rephrase and hide their goal.

They think this is a winning gambit.

It might be. For us.

“Excuse me, Ms. LeBoeuf. If those laws preventing me from owning this type of firearm, or making me an ex post facto prohibited person without due process, requiring licenses to own, licenses to buy, licenses to carry, mandatory insurance, waiting periods, mental health evaluations, and so forth aren’t gun control, what are they?”

The answer being, as we’ve long known — but which the human rights criminals tried to deny — people control. Now, every time one of those smarmy SOBs plays the “not gun control” card, we can call them on it, and make them admit that the goal is to manipulate every aspect of every life, all the things they can’t do to an armed populace.

Carl is an unpaid TZP volunteer. If you found this post useful, please consider dropping something in his tip jar.


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