Saturday, June 02, 2018

Poor LeBron!

I couldn't tell the proximity or distance of either ref, one calling a blocking foul on James and the other calling charging on Durant.  But as I saw the play commence, there was no doubt in my mind that the blocking call was correct.  I don't know about all the sports talk dudes who discussed the call the next day, but in real time it was quite clear to me that James was moving when contact was made.  That makes it a blocking foul on him.  The replay made it even more apparent.  The sports talkers believed that at any other point in the game, or in any other game, Durant is called for charging.  This is nonsense given at least one of the refs called blocking immediately. 

So the refs pretend there is a question about the restricted area so the rules say they go to the tape.  There was never any real question that James was outside the restricted area.  It was just a ruse to settle the question since both refs were convinced of what they saw.  Again, not really seeing where they were when they made their respective calls, who knows?  But they abused a rule in order to see the tape and the tape showed James was moving.

I thought I heard someone, and it could have actually been while the play was being discussed by the announcers and analysts, that moving doesn't matter.  But that's not true.  And James was clearly moving, even without benefit of the replay to confirm.

Everybody is saying the Cleveland was robbed, because without the replay, the charge call, which I guess was the call on the floor, would have stood and should have.  But here's the truth:  if the roles were reversed, and it was James going to the rim and Durant defending, there is no way James would have been called for charging.  This is a guy who routinely runs over defenders who are even moving away from him, trying to avoid contact.  He could be called for charging two or three times per game on average, and when he is called for charging, he whines.

So for anyone who believes the game was stolen because of this call, go wet yourself.  Try scoring more points next time or prevent being scored upon, then these calls won't matter.

As for replays, I hate 'em.  Never wanted them to be employed in any sport I watch.  That is to say, not for the purpose of correcting or confirming calls.  Whiners whine about not wanting a game decided by a bad call.  Again, play better.  Score more.  Ensure that the other team scores less.  No one likes a call to go against them whether the call is right or wrong.  To blame a loss on the refs is wussy stuff.  Suck it up.  You weren't good enough.  The refs had nothing to do with it.  

Saturday, May 26, 2018

The Great Debate: Solutions Part 3

Before getting into other suggestions for solutions to the issue of school shootings, I would be remiss if I did not point out how the most recent incident at the Sante Fe, Texas happens to show the stupidity of the gun-control narrative.  No semi-automatic rifle was used.  The punk used a sawed-off shotgun (as I understand it) and a revolver.  Now the gun-control buffoons must admit they want to ban all firearms, because neither of these can be classified as military grade weapons.  They are not semi-automatic, don't have large magazines and don't look like M-16s.  The weapons were stolen from the punk's parents.  They were not purchased from a gun show, or through a straw purchase.  As such, no background checks were possible. 

And again, adults failed to see the warning signs, but thankfully, school resource officers were there to confront the punk and limit the carnage.  A teacher with a concealed carry permit might have done better were one on sight.  Thus, we again see that a punk felt relatively safe attacking people in a school with little fear of return fire. 

We also see that when we consider the weapons used, the means by which such a punk might achieve his goals is dictated by circumstance.  He didn't need an AR15 because he could get his hands on a shotgun and revolver.  With those, twenty took hits with half of them dying.  This means that banning rifles like AR15s is a worthless move and meaningless if other forms of firearms are accessible.  What's more, the reports stated that explosive devices were part of the plan as well, so no firearms wouldn't have mattered anyway, were his lethal intentions intense.  So still, guns aren't the problem.

So what other solutions might have made prevented this incident?  One that I encountered in a previous job that brought me to a number of schools is limited entry.  The fewer doors through which people can enter, the easier it is to monitor who comes in.  In several schools I had to regularly visit, I had to get buzzed in.  I'd ring a bell, a person from the office would speak to me over an intercom and, as I was expected, I was allowed entry.  More often than not, my entry was directly through the main office before I could access any other part of the school.  Some schools also had cameras at the main entrance so that a visitor was seen as well as heard.  (Other co-workers visited city schools --Chicago-- were there were security people who not only watched out for you, but for your vehicle as well, while protecting the school, too.)  Anybody that looked the least bit suspicious would not be granted entry.  This doesn't even require armed guards.

This one simple strategy acknowledges something that feo-for-brains gun control people don't:  the issue is protecting students from attacks by those who will find a way to do harm no matter what weapons are denied the law-abiding public.  By monitoring who comes in (listen up defenders of illegal immigrants), those in charge can regulate entry to those deemed safe for admittance.  Thus, the means by which an assailant intends to do harm...what tool chosen for the task...doesn't matter.  One who has no legitimate reason for being there isn't allowed entry in the first place.

I recall back in the early 70's, a friend and I drove another friend for his last day of summer school.  We sought to wait the four hours until school was out and drive the dude home.   We attempted to plant ourselves in the cafeteria where vending machines and a jukebox would make our wait enjoyable.  The administration denied us, simply because we had no legitimate business being in the building...waiting for our friend not considered legitimate business.  I have no doubt that the thought that we might be armed and intending to shoot up the place never crossed their mind.  It was simply a natural and reasonable attitude that those with no legitimate business could not remain in the building, particularly when classes were in session.  We were escorted out.

But let's get back to the Sante Fe shooting.  Would this suggestion have made a difference?  No.  The shooter was a student in the school.  But limited entry would help make this trench coat wearing kid stand out.  A hot day and one kid is overdressed.  Might that not be a good reason to approach the kid?  It was his practice and while I don't know if he was so attired on the day in question, had he been then perhaps he was planning this, or something like this, by setting the precedent of always wearing the coat.  How much intelligence is required to suppose that such fashion statements might be used for ill and thus it might be best to dissuade the kid from so dressing?  In another flashback to my yoot, a group of us was attending a school dance (live music from local bands populated with other friends was common back then).  Entry was limited through one doorway.  At the post was a couple of school staff, including the school cop, with whom we were each personally acquainted for one reason or another.  The officer had no moral issue with plunging his hand in the coat pocket of my buddy, wrapping his hand around an ounce of weed.  Knowing we were more rascal than criminal, he released his grip and warned us to stay out of trouble.  It would have been an easy bust, and had we been more than mischievous a ride to the station would have been in my buddy's immediate future.  The point here is that true monitoring was common then and that single point of entry resulted in an awareness the authorities couldn't have had with multiple avenues of access.

This school security thing isn't complicated.  Some of it, like single point of entry, has been implemented in many schools for some time.  Why it isn't universal is a failure of the adults who aren't using their heads.  It doesn't require denying weapons to the law abiding to implement in order to make schools that much safer.  It can be enhanced with metal detectors for those schools who want to go that far, as one school I visited now and then had upon passing through their single point of entry.   It can be enhanced by a cop, a volunteer or any member of the school staff with a concealed carry permit.  And it stands as one more point on a larger list of solutions that would actually reduce the ability of assailants to achieve their fatal goals, and which gun-grabbers with their heads up their feo's lack the intelligence to recognize is reasonable, practical and easily doable.

Friday, April 20, 2018

The Great Debate: Solutions Part 2

We live in a time where technology continues to astound and amaze us with constant advances.  It seems there's nothing that can't be done.  With this in mind, I would think it should be rather elementary (for those techies who do this sort of thing) to have a means by which background checks could be almost foolproof.

Now, there are already background checks for all licensed dealers to make sure potential customers aren't criminals or insane people.  And from what I understand, it might not be the case that a customer's info is stored so that his purchases are recorded for future use...except, perhaps, by the actual dealer should he be questioned about whether or not Joe Blow bought a piece from him.  That is, the dealer is protected in this way because it establishes as well that he followed the protocols. 

I have to say that I am not very well educated on just what the procedures are to the extent that I could present them here.  Should I decide I wish to purchase a piece, I'll find out at the time.  I just know that procedures are in place.

But as control freaks demand "tighter" background checks...or whatever the heck it is they're demanding...I offer the following:

We know there is facial recognition software and for all who make their living selling firearms, access to a system that stores photos of criminals and the insane should be as immediate as possible.  If the government is to be involved in deciding who should not have guns, the government should have a system in place for this purpose.  It should be accessible by all branches of law enforcement, from the local cops up to the federal level, including Homeland Security, the FBI (of course), the CIA, the DOJ and any other law enforcement department. 

The thought here is that should a person seek to purchase a firearm of any kind, a state issued picture ID (I outrage, isn't it?) must be presented (which it is now) and the picture on it could be scanned at the dealership because the dealer has access to the system that collects the info.  Should the person seeking a firearm turn out to be a criminal or an insane person, the dealer will know immediately and refuse the sale.  At the same time, law enforcement is alerted that the criminal/loonie is attempting to purchase a firearm. 

Conversely, if one has no criminal record or hasn't been certified as crazy, the sale can go through without anyone but the dealer knowing about the person's desire to purchase a gun.  Because there is no reason why a law abiding citizen need inform anyone in government about his ownership of any weapon.  It's a "none of your business" reality with regard to the government. 

I also think they should be able to have on file fingerprints or possibly DNA samples (not that gun dealers would need to draw blood or anything, but simply to have all that info about a criminal readily available in the same place).  There are fingerprint scanners in use in a variety of businesses and government facilities for security purposes, and I doubt it would too much trouble to adapt that tech for the purpose of screening out bad actors from purchasing weapons. 

If those who should not possess firearms are prevented from buying from legitimate sources, there would only be the black market which is already well as illegal.  Of course, there's theft, too, but the point here is that the focus turns from scrutinizing the law-abiding to blocking the unsavory and the certifiable...which is where the focus should always have been in the first place.

As to exactly who should have their info stored for this purpose can be worked out.  Naturally those convicted of violent crimes would be among them, as would those certified as dangerous due to their mental issues.  Non-violent misdemeanors and non-violent psych patients might be excluded.  The concern here is not to permanently deny those who won't forever be a threat, but again, that can be worked out.  The point here is that this addresses the issue of keeping guns out of the hands of those who would use them for ill.  Any techies out there who see this as an impossible task?

Wednesday, April 04, 2018

Reality, Delusion, Opinion and Fact

In two separate posts at Dan's blog (here and here), each discussion disintegrated into the usual diversionary accusations by Dan regarding things like "reality", "delusion" and "opinion versus fact".

Beginning with the third diversion...opinion versus fact...Dan determines to avoid dealing with points raised about Scripture with this favorite tactic.  If Dan disagrees with a point, regardless of how supported a point may be through citing Scripture, interpretations over the centuries by scholars, detailed studies of the original languages, etc...we mustn't regard our agreement with all of this as "fact".  Without an actual visit by God, complete with state ID so we know it's really Him, wherein He testifies that, yes, He really did mean what all that thousands of years of translations, interpretations, tradition and understanding verifies for us,  it simply isn't a fact, according to Dan, but only "human opinion".  And to Dan, we've proven we can't tell the difference between fact and opinion.

But despite my asking, Dan has yet to explain why opinion is NEVER also fact.  This is not to equate the two, as "opinion" and "fact" are clearly not synonymous.  But Dan seems to believe that an opinion can never also be fact at the same time.  Here's the problem:  Dan dismisses, say, a young earth because according to Dan, the science has "proven" that the earth is very old.  Actually, it does not.  Scientific interpretation of available data, minus any consideration for the supernatural, only suggests an old earth.  That is, Dan takes as fact that which is only truly opinion.  It doesn't even matter that evidence may seem overwhelmingly in favor of an old earth.  It is still only opinion as we cannot prove beyond any doubt that the earth is as old as Dan believes it is.  As such, Dan is guilty of the very "sin" of which he accuses his debate opponents.  (This particular issue...old earth, young one Dan likes to bring up to make his point.  I've never taken a position on which I believe to be true because it can't be proved without going back in time.  But he uses it to pretend his point is solid.  Rarely are our differences on issues of this type.)

More importantly is that the question of opinion versus fact in Dan's argument depends upon one agreeing with Dan that what is seen as a fact is really an opinion, simply because Dan doesn't like the fact.  That is, he insists it is only an opinion because he doesn't like the fact and he rejects all evidences submitted to support the point as fact.  In doing so, he provides himself cover from the obligation to either defend his own position to the end, or demonstrate the other position is wrong.  Indeed, he plays this card when he finds his position has been exposed as incredibly shaky.  I would much prefer that Dan drop this diversionary tactic and put in the effort required to, not only make his case, but to defend it against all the objections, criticisms and questions his positions always provoke.  He cannot, so he plays the "just your opinion" card and disparages his opponent should he not cave to Dan's insistence that it can be nothing more.

"Reality" and "delusion" are actually the same charge Dan levels at his opponents who will "not see reason" as Dan perceives it.  And this is another diversionary tactic Dan employs to free him from responding to specific criticisms and questions, or when Dan's criticisms of opponent arguments fail.  One is unable to grasp reality or is delusional if they disagree with Dan and refuse to abide Dan's rules for determining what is reality and delusion.  It is notable that these rules favor Dan exclusively and are thus an insurmountable hurdle that protects him from accepting the errors in his own reasoning, or even facing the possibility that errors exist at all.  He covers himself by "admitting" that he's only putting forth opinion, but he treats them as fact.  His "opinion" defense also allows him to wallow in his own delusion about the strength of his position.  What he fails to grasp is that reality and delusion are no more than opinion to him, but opinion he demands we accept as fact.  This irony is totally lost on him, but again, it is his shield against the obvious criticisms of his positions.  Only Dan is the authority on what is reality and what is delusion.  Conveniently, as I stated, this always puts Dan in the driver's seat and he won't start the car until one agrees with the road upon which we will travel in our discourse.  While we wish to take the road to truth, Dan insists we take the road to what he wants truth to look like.

Sunday, April 01, 2018

The Great Debate: Solutions Part 1

So the debate centers around the question of what we can do to protect our kids from getting shot in schools.  Of course, the reality is that we really want to prevent mass shootings of anybody regardless of where they take place, but most of what follows can be considered with schools in mind.  It is my opinion that most of what can and likely should be impemented to achieve this goal does indeed include "common sense" solutions without resorting to any kind or level of "gun control"..."common sense" or otherwise.  That's because not only is it unnecessary to enact more laws and regulations on the manufacture, sales and possession of firearms, but rather because guns aren't the problem.  They never were.

So what is the problem?  Bad people, either criminal or insane, getting their hands on weapons of one kind or another and using them to murder.  The situation at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida (henceforth referred to as "Parkland") points to the first point of emphasis:  adults doing their jobs. 

Due to the largest arrest numbers of juvenile offenders in the state, Broward County, FL. School Board implemented their "PROMISE" program (Preventing Recidivism through Opportunities, Mentoring, Interventions, Supports & Education).  This well-intentioned program sought to reduce the possibility of young people being burdened with a criminal record for what was often misdemeanors.  The crime rate for teens did drop, and they report 70% of those in the program did not go on to commit other crimes (I would say "not yet" is the best that they can honestly say).  But two major problems exist simply by a quick review:  1.  Arrest numbers have to drop if fewer kids committing crimes aren't having their crime reported or recorded, and 2.  The Parkland case is the second where the failures of this system led to a national news story, the first being the Trayvon Martin case.  And as in the Martin case, Nikolas Cruz was a person who should have been arrested, and had that been the case, Martin would likely be still alive and Cruz would not have been able to purchase firearms.

As this story suggests, the program puts the schools over the cops in deciding whether or not an arrest is warranted.  This is a problem if a school district is looking to improve their reputation as well as preserve their funding by keeping kids in school...maybe when a kid should instead be incarcerated.

In any case, Cruz stands as an example of the system failing in an epic manner.  It is said that many people, from fellow classmates to federal law enforcement, were aware of this kid and no arrests ever took place, even after repeated visits by local police and numerous issues while he was a student at the Parkland school.   Adults didn't do their jobs.   Indeed, some of his actions constituted felonies which would not have fallen under the plan of the PROMISE program...he should have had a criminal record or some level of psychological record that would have denied him the liberty to purchase a firearm. 

So when we really decide to dig deeply, we can see that before we talk about ANY regulations or laws, we must look first to enforcing what exists and doing those jobs as the seriousness of the ramifications dictates. 

Naturally, the "adults must do their jobs" step must be a commitment of parents as well.  This is much more difficult given how so many people reject traditional notions of right and wrong and also differing notions of what constitutes good parenting in the first place.  But at its most basic level, good parenting demands close monitoring and guidance of one's children from their earliest years  until they are legal adults.   The idea of parents as "best friends" is a dismal failure and while in my case, the relationship between my kids and myself and the missus has been as friends to a great extent, there was always a distinct line drawn about who lays down the laws and who follows them.  I've been blessed with great kids who, now as adults (with the youngest about to complete her senior year of college) though less than perfect as the best of us are, continue to make me both proud and humble with their fine, upright character.   How typical is our case is another story. 

But for some, the best efforts fail and the kids go bad, and can go bad early.  It is then that other adults, teachers, counselors, law enforcement, must do their jobs as if lives depend upon them doing so...since we've seen that lives do indeed depend upon them.

So this is the first step of the solution, but only a first step.  It is one that must be addressed before any other step is taken because without adults doing their job, no law, regualtion, program or government theft of personal property (guns) or infringements upon liberties (possessing the weapnos of one's choice) will make a difference.  Where the criminal or insane have the will, there's a way.  They'll find it. 

Stayed tuned. 


It occurred to me that I didn't mention a thing about what to do should adults continue to fail to do their jobs and future mass shootings occur as a result.  Well, for those in positions of authority, such as law enforcement, at the very least, job loss is reasonable.  In some cases, perhaps even charges of negligent homicide might be appropriate.  There must be some threat hanging over the heads of those in whom we've put our trust...something that compels greater care in making sure the jobs are done properly given the possible tragic consequences of NOT reporting bad behaviors, or NOT transferring records of bad behaviors to others that might have need of them.  I'll be thinking more about this as this series progresses.

Wednesday, February 21, 2018

The Great Debate: Guns---An Introduction

With the recent attack at that Florida high school, we are once again inundated with all manner of tired and useless suggestions about how to prevent the next one, all dealing with denying law-abiding citizens their Constitutionally protected right to keep and bear arms.  While these tragic events also compel facts and truths gun-grabbing, gun control advocates continue to ignore...if they ever take the time to actually research them in the first is incumbent upon rational, honest people to re-iterate those truths and facts every time.  With that in mind, I intend to post as many arguments for reason as is necessary in order to have them all aired in one place.  I will endeavor to support each one with links to evidence and facts that justify the positions I will put forth.

To begin, I wish to state my personal opinion on the issue of gun rights.  It begins with the United States Constitution.  This document is a restriction on government...specifically the federal government...and it acknowledges rights we already possess by virtue of the fact that we exist at all.  So, we don't possess the right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness because the federal government bestows those rights upon us.  We were born with those rights already a part of us in the same way we were born with two arms.  Government is obliged to respect those rights and the Constitution is the law that imposes that obligation by restricting the government from infringing upon those rights. 

The 2nd Amendment, then, protects the right of the people to keep and bear arms for the purpose, primarily, of defending ourselves against the government, as well as for personal defense against all else.  Hunting and sport shooting was of no concern when crafting the 2nd Amendment.  With that in mind, where's the sense in allowing the government (federal, state or municipal) to dictate whether or not I own a firearm, when and where I can carry one and what type f firearm I choose for the purpose?  The Constitution considers government the threat...the "bad guy" in this equation...and yet we decide that the potential oppressor gets to dictate to those it seeks to oppress how to deal with the oppression to be inflicted.  It's really insanity.

Thus, my position is that it is absolutely none of the government's business if I own a gun, what kind of gun it is, how many I own and whether or not I can carry it openly or concealed on my person.  They have no Constitutional authority to regulate any of that so long as I remain a law-abiding citizen, and that includes actual "military grade" weaponry, such as fully automatic weapons.

Oh, my!  He didn't just say that, did he?  Is he nuts? 

No.  I'm quite sane so far as anyone honestly can say.  Back in the day, when our nation was still pulling up its Pampers, all "military grade" weapons were produced privately, not by the government.  This was true well into the 19th century.  Even the Gatling gun was invented and produced privately and sold first to railroads (along with some others) to control striking workers.  The Army got them later. 

More importantly, the founders recognized that the able-bodied, law-abiding citizens...also known as "the militia"...needed to have weapons capable of fending off a rogue government.  This means that were Thompson Sub-machine Guns available at that time, the people would likely have had them first, and the founders would have been totally cool with it.  The concept is a simple one:  how does one keep the bully (despotic governments) at bay while giving the bully all the superior firepower? 

(Before going any further, I wish to insist that I can provide links with supporting evidence for all I say and believe, and will do so in later posts on this subject as needed.  Right now, I'm merely laying down a premise.)

Even the founders can be noted supporting these concepts.  They were inspired by an Italian guy named Cesare Beccaria, from his Essay on Crimes and Punishments, whence comes the 8th Amendment's prohibition on cruel and unusual punishments. 

     "A Principle source of errors and injustice, are false ideas of utility.  For example, that legislator has false ideas of utility, who considers particular more than general convenience; who had rather command the sentiments of mankind, than excite them, and dares to reason, "Be thou a slave;" who would sacrifice a thousand real advantages, to the fear of an imaginary or trifling inconvenience; who would deprive men of the use of fire, for fear of being burnt, and of water, for fear of being drowned; and who knows of know means of preventing evil but by destroying it.
     The laws of this nature, are those which forbid to wear arms, disarming those only who are not disposed to commit the crime which the laws mean to prevent.  Can it be supposed, that those who have the courage to violate the most sacred laws of humanity, and the most important of the code, will respect the less considerable and arbitrary injunctions, the violation of which is so easy, and of so little comparative importance?  Does not the execution of this law deprive the subject of that personal liberty, so dear to mankind and the wise legislator; and does it not subject the innocent to all the disagreeable circumstances that should only fall on the guilty?  It certainly makes the situation of the assaulted worse, and of the assailants better, and rather encourages rather than prevents murder, as it requires less courage to attack armed than unarmed persons."

 This moral has been manifested repeatedly with regard to self-protection...or the lack thereof, and we've seen it with all of these school shootings where the unarmed are at the mercy of the armed.  But the poor thinkers believe that new laws can make a difference, as if the many laws already on the books on any number of behaviors has ever prevented someone from engaging in those behaviors.

No, the laws that people are seeking...those people who want the government to "do something"...are definitively, distinctly and by definition those that are examples of our inherent right to own and bear arms. 

The problem is not now, nor has it ever been guns.  It is the character of people.  It is the absolutely insane idea of posting for all to see the message that those within are totally and absolutely unprotected because they inhabit a "gun free zone".  It is the unwillingness to accept the reality of the existence of evil in the world (unless they want to apply the word to Republicans or Christians) and the ongoing struggle between it and goodness.  It is the rejection of the notion that a God exists and is waiting to judge us for our sins.  But it is not guns. 

That's all for now.  More to come in future posts.

Thursday, January 04, 2018

More Than Just "A Little" Biased

One of Dan's nonsensical attacks on Trump is Trump's attacks on the press, and how anti-American and damaging to democracy it is for a sitting president to call out the press.  Despite Dan's ignoring of the facts I presented showing that his guy Obama was truly the malicious one in how he dealt with the press, Dan regards Trump's legitimate concern with blatant and hostile left-wing bias as somehow of greater concern.  He has provided no evidence that Obama's attacks worried him one bit, demonstrating that Dan is no better than those he defends.

In any case, I thought I'd provide some examples of liberal media bias and "fake news" that justifies Trump's criticisms, but also justifies the general mistrust of the media by the American people in general.  I doubt Dan will peruse these offerings, but at least he can't say no evidence exists that justifies those critiques and lack of trust.  Here ya go:

I really could have spent a lot more time gathering such stories.  These cover the issue from a variety of angles.  Personally,  I don't have a problem with a given news source deciding what story deserves its attention.  It would be great if they could be held to account when the general public finds out that their choices do not inform us in a manner that is most beneficial or informative (and truthfully so).  Fortunately, there are so many more sources available now than ever before.  But UNfortunately, this requires more diligence by the consumer to find sources that are trustworthy and dedicated to bringing news that is indeed most beneficial and informative (and truthfully so). 

The bottom line for the purpose of this post is that Dan's concern that Trump is wacky and a liar for calling out the press and for lamenting the proliferation of "fake news" is no more than scraping for evidence with which to indict Trump.  The more Dan can find to demonize Trump, the better, because Dan embraces grace.  

Count this as another area that Dan is completely wrong about Trump.