Meanwhile, in Arizona

Long time readers know that in the past, I have been critical of the Sheriff of Arizona’s Maricopa County, Joe Arpaio. Nor am I alone. And yet even Arpaio seems to think this guy is an idiot:

An Arizona grandfather has been arrested and accused of leaving his five-year-old granddaughter alone in the desert with a loaded and cocked .45-caliber handgun and the instruction to “shoot any bad guys,” authorities said on Monday.


Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio told Reuters by telephone… “I don’t know how a five-year-old can tell a good guy from a bad guy, but that’s what she said she was told.”

Here’s some other coverage of this fine, upstanding grandfather.

In Closing: Presidential candidates on money; Tokyo color.

Bad Habits: Firearms Edition

So, 2014 set a shameful record: most guns in carry-on bags seized by the TSA. Worse yet, over 80% of them were loaded. No shock that the rootinest-tootinest gun-totinest airports were DFW, Atlanta, and Sky Harbor. Not because they’re kinda southernish, but rather because they are big hub airports. For the record, it appears that there were 30 guns found at Vegas’s McCarran Airport, 9 unloaded and 21 loaded. It is unknown/unknowable how many weapons might have been missed by the TSA.

Now, who are these people who forget they’ve got a loaded gun in their carry-on bag? It’s not like guns not being allowed on airplanes is a new thing and people are just forgetting they have to check them now. It’s been the rule as long as I can remember, and I remember when Madonna was a hot new artist.

So if you’re in the habit of carrying a firearm, please do yourself and everybody else a favor: make sure it is secure so that it can’t be accidentally discharged, and lock it up at home before heading to the airport.

In Closing: Starbucks; Measles has arrived in Vegas; minimum wage and racism; cats in glasses; and perspective.

Shooting oneself in the foot

You’ll notice that I didn’t do anything to commemorate excuse to slide into a dystopian police state day oops sorry I meant 9/11. Insert quote about safety and liberty here.

Moving on then!

Today’s news brought me this item about a teacher accidentally shooting herself in the leg. Last week a college professor shot himself in the foot.

Now just to review. I support the right of responsible people to own guns. I think most “gun control” laws rest on the faulty premise that someone who intends to break one law will inexplicably follow another law. I realize this puts me in in the minority among liberals. I think we perhaps need better enforcement of the laws we already have on the books. I think reasonable measures should be taken to make sure that guns aren’t legally in the hands of crazy people and known criminals, but I know that’s harder than it sounds.

Another bit of review, I’ve stated several times that things in a school should as a general thing be safe and educational, with a bunch of latitude given where needed. I can’t imagine how a reasonable person could possibly disagree with the basic principle.

So then, I’ve been trying pretty hard to think of a way it is possible for a teacher/professor to carry a weapon such that it is both secure to prevent possible injury to students and available for use in an emergency situation. Hip carry? Too much chance a student could get hold of it. Concealed carry? Well, you see what has already happened twice this school year and it’s not even the third week of September. Locked in the desk? Yeah, just ask the Bad Guy to wait while you unlock that desk, professor, great plan. Perhaps some of the more firearm literate readers can think of a way to secure the weapon such that nobody gets accidentally shot but Bad Guys can be intentionally shot.

So yeah, I think gun-toting teachers are a really bad idea.

In Closing: walk it off; I still think Zero Tolerance is a bad idea with unintended consequences; test results; even crazy people get sick; “man” up, but not too damn much; preach on, Comrade; and this is a problem why?

Point, Counter-Point

Remember when we were told that only a good guy with a gun could stop a bad guy with a gun?

Last week, a good guy with a grain of common sense but no gun stopped a bad guy with a gun.

Yesterday, a good guy with a concealed carry license was killed by two cop-killing bad guys with guns. Instead of saving the day, he lost his life. Unfortunately this was local news for me. Oh and it’s off topic, but by the way? If you are ever trying to describe a northern section of Las Vegas, do not simply call it North Las Vegas. That’s someplace else.

Now that we’ve debunked that, what’s the real argument for carrying guns everywhere you go?

In Closing: Sure, we can serve up some more fun and interesting NSA, spying, and Snowden, and related links for you; can your smart TV be hacked?; a big leap for genetic engineering; another missive from the Duhpartment of Research; times have changed (or at least prices have); question everything; hope and change; and can anybody explain how these numbers are cost effective?

I know you’re out there somewhere.

I’m talking to the guy who decided to shoot at another motorist at a busy Vegas intersection during rush hour.

What the heck were you thinking? The cops still think it was probably a road rage thing: did he forget to signal? Maybe you were riding his freaking blind spot and he accidentally cut you off?

Maybe you thought you would just scare him. Well, he’ll never be scared again, because you killed him! Worse than that, he had two small children in the back seat. Thankfully, they were not hurt by your bullets — for pity sake, how many shots did you fire?? — nor by the subsequent crash into two other vehicles. That 2 year old boy and 3 year old girl got to watch their Daddy die. Somebody had to explain to their Mommy what had happened.

You gave no care to the fact that your bullets could have killed innocent people.

Those aren’t the only people you hurt that night either.  Thousands of motorists were detoured or otherwise delayed. Businesses were closed, their employees unpaid for hours they couldn’t work. Small sacrifices by comparison, but still.

You, sir, are a disgrace to gun owners. You obviously have anger management issues and no grasp of even the most basic gun safety rules. Asshats like you give ammunition to those who think we need more gun control laws, even though I think it’s a coin-flip whether you have yours legally. I don’t like the fact that people with as little judgement as you are in my community, perhaps even on the same road as me.

I know they’re going to find you. I don’t know where they’re going to find an unbiased jury.

In Closing: full of hot air and bacteria; and their kids pay the price; I’m only linking it because it’s correct; a variety of items on poverty, safety net programs and their impact, income inequality, corporate money stupidity; etc.; some bonus NSA links; they’ve got this backwards — Medicare [for All] can save the Affordable Care Act; everybody wins when kids can learn at their own pace; and the unsung hero of the medical device world.

ZOMG! He’s Asking About the Future!

My local news channel decided to cover some information about the Arapahoe High School Shooter, specifically using this “chilling” — that’s Channel 8’s descriptor, not mine — quote:

During a 2010 9NEWS town hall style debate, the then-freshman was selected from the audience to ask a question.

“What would you like your legacy to be,” Pierson asked.

Concerned about his own legacy even then, he told friends he had big future plans that were centered around his passion for speech and debate.

Right. So let me make sure I’ve got this right. Every kid who plans for the future might be planning something sinister for the future? Do we lock them up, maybe get them mandatory counseling so they won’t worry about planning for the future any more?? See, the thing that confuses me is that I’ve been told since I was 12 that “winners” and “successful people” have goals they work towards, perhaps even seeking to leave a “legacy” behind in the world. Does that make Napoleon Hill a subversive writer? What about Paul J. Meyer?

What about kids who “had very strong beliefs about gun laws and stuff”? Should we lock them up? Do we need a suicide watch on any student thrown off a school team? Is attending Bible meetings a warning sign?

It’s easy to force pieces into a puzzle when you know what it looks like at the end. Human brains are built for pattern recognition. “In retrospect, there were warning signs.” Sure, warning signs that would apply to millions of people who do not bring a weapon to school with the intent of killing someone.

Many thanks to all those who made this incident as short as possible with few victims. Let’s stop glorifying murder now, shall we?

Being Angry at a Black Guy is Not a License to Kill

Maybe there wasn’t justice in Florida. However, Wisconsin is another story.

Last year, an angry old white man decided that the people who had broken into his house had to be the black boys that lived next door, despite the fact that his security cameras showed two different black men who had happened to come from that direction and the fact that the police didn’t have enough evidence to arrest anybody. So he did what seemed right to him. He went and killed the 13 year old boy:

Spooner’s surveillance video provides a clear view of what happened. Spooner emerges from his house and confronts the teen, who is retrieving his family’s garbage cart from the street. Spooner points a gun at Darius, who moves back a few steps. Spooner then exchanges words with Darius’ mother, who’s standing on her porch out of view of the camera, and Spooner briefly points the gun in her direction. Moments later, Spooner points the gun back at the boy standing a couple of feet in front of him. He fires, hitting Darius in the chest.

The teen stumbles and runs away, and Spooner fires a second shot that misses. He appears to attempt a third shot, but the gun jams.

Darius’ mother, Patricia Larry, testified that she chased her son to where he collapsed in the street. She cradled him in her arms as he died.

You are welcome to watch the snuff film surveillance video here. The angry old white man still considers this “justice,” and admitted on the witness stand that if he had a clear shot, he would have killed the boy’s 18 year old brother too!  Finally, when asked how he felt about it, his answer was “Not that bad.”

Seriously? Killed a human being who wasn’t threatening you, wasn’t threatening your family, who might have stolen something from you, and you feel “not that bad” about it? Wow. What a guy.

So the case in court came down to two things: did the angry old white man intend to kill the boy, and was he sane at the time?

I am not an expert in gun safety, but I do know that one of the top gun safety rules out there is “Never point a gun at something you don’t intend to destroy.” Anybody who didn’t grow up in a Warner Brother cartoon knows that if someone is shot in the chest from a few feet away, they will probably die. Therefore I am forced to assume that he meant to “destroy” that kid. So intent? Check!

As for sanity, it really only mattered here for what his final destination was: prison or mental hospital. Most of us don’t want gun-waving angry old men in our neighborhoods. Nevertheless, another one of those gun safety rules? “Be sure of your target and what is beyond it.” By golly, he followed that one! That would tend to support the idea that he was sane at the time. Sanity? Check!

You will not be surprised to find that a jury figured the same thing. Now, he will probably live the rest of his life in prison.

Of course none of this brings that boy back. Thoughts of peace for his family.

In Closing: Just an assortment of NSA, Snowden, spying on Americans, blah blah links (can somebody please explain how this stuff can possibly be legal under the 4th Amendment??); Her Majesty; joblessrecovery“; Antarctica; and oops, somebody accidentally said the truth out loud.

Music Monday: For Trayvon


After this I hope to shut up forever about Trayvon Martin and/or George Zimmerman. In the meantime, here’s some of the better things that I have recently read. I particularly like this one, since it supports my position that a hip carry law would be preferable to concealed carry (Trayvon and any normal person would have run from a man with a gun on his hip!). Oh, and if you don’t think race was a factor, get your head out of the ground.

In Closing: yet more about spying on Americans and others; on the economy; and top secret vacuum cleaner.