“Anxiety simmers as mass shootings loom any time, anywhere”

That’s the headline of an article in the Detroit Free Press. Motorcycles backfired in Times Square last week. It sounded like gunfire, and panic ensued in the heart of New York City. The same night, a sign fell during a concert at a Utah mall. The loud bang when it hit the floor sounded something like a gunshot, and sent people racing into stores to hide. Balloons popped in a dorm in March on the University of Michigan campus. Outside, a vigil was underway for those killed in the massacre at mosques in Christchurch, New Zealand. Dozens of students heard the loud

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Early warning signs that Mexico may follow Venezuela’s example?

American Thinker notes two worrying developments in Mexico. We try to stay in touch with Mexico.  This week, we saw a couple of articles that should worry the Mexican middle class. First, Presidente López-Obrador is making investors a bit weary, according to Richard Castillo via Pulse News Mexico: Fear does not ride on a burro; it flies at the speed of sound! And spreading fear of President Andrés Manuel López Obrador’s (AMLO) economic policies seems to be the leading reason that Mexico’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) has slumped markedly to the point of reaching a minimal growth of 0.1 percent for the

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Suicide??? YGTBSM!!!

So, according to news reports, Jeffrey Epstein committed suicide last night . . . while on suicide watch in prison. Yeah.  Right. Folks, I served as a Federal prison chaplain.  I was trained in exactly the same way as a corrections officer, alongside them in the same training institution, because there would be times when I’d have to function as one.  I know more than a little about suicide watches, and I’ve been exposed to my fair share of them.  You can read a little about them in this Slate article, but there’s a lot more to them than that. Basically, on suicide watch, everything and anything that

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Personal safety during a mass shooting

I’ve seen a lot of comment among more gung-ho denizens of the Internet after the three mass shooting incidents last week.  It can be summed up as “Always carry your gun, and if someone starts shooting, shoot back!” Shooting back is not always a good idea.  It may be one’s only option, if worse comes to worst;  but that still doesn’t necessarily make it a good one. Let’s start by examining a scenario like the Walmart shooting in El Paso.  Around where I live, I can be pretty sure that there will be several persons in our local Walmart branches who have concealed weapons permits, and are

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Why government can’t solve the mass shooting problem

Time and again, in normal life or extreme difficulties, we see how outside assistance can be unwelcome, or abused, or lead to all sorts of complications (the famous law of unintended consequences).  We’ve spoken of some of them in these pages before, most recently the result of local governments subsidizing homelessness. We’re seeing it again now, in the reaction of politicians and community leaders to the mass shootings in Gilroy, CA;  El Paso, TX;  and Dayton, OH.  Almost without exception, they’re calling for more laws, rules and regulations to be passed.  The fact that we already have myriad laws, rules and regulations, and that the shooters

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The best comment I’ve yet seen on the El Paso and Dayton shootings

A tip o’ the hat to Stilton Jarlsberg (obviously, a pseudonym) for his insightful comments on last weekend’s mass shootings.  Here’s an excerpt. These gruesome murders are not about, nor caused by, politics. Rather, they are the unavoidable and perhaps unstoppable product of a deeply diseased culture. A culture which has become the perfect growth medium for psychopathy. . . . After all, who’s going to notice or care about garden variety insanity in a world which routinely describes everyone as murderous: baby killers on one side, Earth-destroying Nazis on the other. The stakes are absolute, the “other” is the enemy, and

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Acid tests for any proposed solution to mass shootings

In the wake of the El Paso and Dayton shootings over the past weekend, politicians and pundits are already bloviating about the need for more gun control, and all the yadda-yadda-yadda we’ve become accustomed to hearing from them.  Mostly, they’re dancing in the blood of the victims, seeking to build their own support on the back of their suffering, and offering “solutions” that are nothing of the sort. Of course, almost all the “solutions” being advanced are not “solutions” at all, because they focus on tools rather than individuals.  As I wrote back in 2009, after the Winnenden school shooting in Germany:  “Again and again

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Political correctness versus reality – Chicago edition

I see the new mayor of Chicago – now Heronner instead of the traditional Hizonner – is trying to blame outside factors for her city’s culture of crime and death. Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot weighed-in over the weekend on her city’s unprecedented gang violence; blaming nearby Indiana for the flow of guns into the region. “Previously we had a law enforcement first and only strategy and it wasn’t working. It’s not working when you talk about neighborhoods where the unemployment rate is 25% or higher. It’s not working when you think about the fact that in many communities, 90% or more of residents are

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Perfectly legal technology, but it makes me nervous

I note the availability of a “TF-19 WASP Flamethrower Drone Attachment“, that is “highly compatible with most cinema/industrial drone platforms with a payload capacity of 5 lbs or more“.  Here’s a promotional video. This is, of course, entirely legitimate technology in a number of industries and activities.  The supplier lists: Clear debris from power lines Pest management and nest elimination Forest fire containment back-burns / pre-burns Remote agriculture burns Nothing wrong with any of those.  However, I can’t help thinking how much damage it could do in the wrong hands. What if a disaffected person got hold of one of

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The geography of apartheid – and its human consequences

Gang violence and bloodshed in some of the so-called Coloured (i.e. mixed-race, in South African parlance) townships on the Cape Flats, outside Cape Town, has become so bad that the army has been called in to patrol the area.  This will likely bring some short-term stability, but it won’t solve the bigger, longer-term problem. It’s a particularly sad situation for me, because I was born and raised in Cape Town.  I used to travel through some of the townships there routinely, with my mother and my sisters, in the days before violence became endemic.  Many of the locations mentioned in an article in the Telegraph are

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