At the beginning of this week, we celebrated a holiday commemorating a document that reads in part:

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.

All of us are created equal — not identical, but equal. Men and women are created equal. People of various races are created equal. Yes, there are differences between us all, but we are all people. One is not simply better than anotherFurthermore, we all have the right to be alive, the right to be free, and the right to attempt to be happy.

And, oddly enough, that brings me to the events of this last week. In case you are unaware, two men in two different cities and two different circumstances were shot and killed by police officers. Those men happened to be black. A peaceful protest in a third city ended when one disgruntled black man shot a dozen police officers, killing several of them. I find all three incidents disturbing.

There is a controversy going on over whether “Black Lives Matter” or “All Lives Matter” is the appropriate way to say that a traffic stop should not result in death. My local hip-hop station (I like Tupac, so what?), aired a PSA several times today proclaiming “All Lives Matter; Choose Peace.” I like this sentiment. It respects all the people whose deaths I mentioned above: white or black, cop or citizen.

If you aren’t bothered by the fact that in some areas of the country, the only thing between you and summary roadside execution is racism, you aren’t paying attention. You still have the inalienable right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.

Choose peace.


Pride and Prejudice and Shorties


My tabs are getting out of hand. Apologies for the sparse postings. Studying is seriously impeding my ability to goof off!

On the GOP: Be Afraid! And a few words on poverty.

On why making the No Fly List also a No Gun List is really a bad idea:  It’s absurdly easy to be put on the list, even if you aren’t even in preschool yet. There’s no due process to get off it. And exactly how many mass shootings have been committed by people who were already on the list? Judging from media coverage, I’d say that number must be very close to zero.

Dumbing Down: Even Sesame Street is dumbing down America and making us feel less safe.

What you should really be afraid of: Unexpected expenses: 63% of us are in deep financial doodoo if the transmission dies, the water heater springs a leak, or some other $500 expense pops up.

Another unfortunately rational fear: Death by law enforcement.

Close with something cheerful: Vegas and Sledge Hammer!

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.