More guns, fewer fatal gun accidents

More Firearms, More Firearms Owners, Fewer Fatal Accidents

The National Safety Council released the 2017 edition of its annual Injury Facts report this week, and it contains welcome news about firearm safety.

The number of fatal firearms accidents dropped to the lowest point ever (since 1903, when the data was first tracked). There were 489 total fatal firearm accidents nationwide – a 17% decrease from 2014. As a percent of the total number of fatal accidents, firearms accident rank very low: just 0.3% of all fatal accidents involved a firearm.

Comparing the odds between the types of fatal accidents can help put these numbers into context, and the National Safety Council puts fatal injury data in this format to make comparisons easier. The odds of a fatal firearms accident are 1 in 6,905. You are more likely to be killed by:

Poisoning (1 in 96)
A motor vehicle crash (1 in 114)
A fall (1 in 127)
Drowning (1 in 1,188)
A bicycle crash (1 in 4,486)

What makes the record low number of fatal firearms accidents even more noteworthy is that it came at a time when the number of firearms in the country was skyrocketing. The year 2015 saw the most background checks ever conducted in a single year until that point (the number was surpassed in 2016). More than 23 million NICS checks were conducted in 2015. Background checks don’t have a one-to-one correlation with firearms purchases, so we don’t know for sure how many more guns were bought in 2015 than previous years…. but we do know that the number of American gun owners was on the rise.

NICS checks result in refusals in a relatively small number of cases, possibly because people with criminal records know they are not going to pass the check and so don’t bother to try.  There have been 2.4 million gun sales blocked by NICS check since 1998, out of 257,495,166 total NICS checks since 1998. That computes to just under 1% of NICS checks result in refusal to allow the sale to proceed.

So, while we know that NICS checks don’t exactly corrolate one-to-one with gun purchases, we know that they do corrolate at least 0.99-to-one. I say “at least” because at least one gun is bought with a NICS approval to proceed, but often more than one gun is bought with one NICS check.  So we can say that since 1998 at least over 257 million new guns have been added to the free American people’s arsenal of guns. So fewer guns accidents is a pretty big deal. I looks like American gun owners are very safe and responsible with guns, to say the least.

An historical primer on the ideological subversion and demoralization of America

A 1984 interview with Yuri Bezmenov, a high ranking KGB defector. Bezmenov tries to warn America of the communist attempt at the ideological subversion, demoralization, destablization and eventual normalization of leftist propaganda, finally ending by the loss of freedom.

Venezuela: No food, no medicine, no toilet paper, and no gasoline

The end point of socialism

The country with soil so rich it will grow almost anything is out of food. The country with the largest proven oil reserves in the world is out of gasoline.

But wait, it’s also true that Venezuela has more millionaires than any other country in the world.  Trouble is, a million bolivars in your pocket are worth only about 300 American dollars on the black market for currency exchange, which is the only market there is for changing bolivars into dollars.

Paul Ryan fell for the Barzini trap

Michael Walsh:

Well, it’s not like wiser heads didn’t warn him:

And yet Paul Ryan walked straight into the Barzini trap that president Trump set for him. By insisting that the voters desired “Repeal and Replace” when in fact all anybody wanted was “Repeal, full stop,” Ryan’s inner wonk superseded his duties as the speaker of the House to ensure the votes were there for the “Replace” part of the equation. That they weren’t should be the end of his speakership.

Apparently, Ryan had been listening to the die-hard never-Trumpers too much, and actually thought he could skate on his opposition to the insurgent outsider, whose entire campaign was based on his contempt for the Permanent Bipartisan Fusion Party and apparatchiks like Ryan. Once the bright shiny penny of young GOP congressmen, Ryan blotted his copybook badly in his disappointing vice-presidential debate performance against a gibbering Joe Biden. He then played coy after House conservatives finally managed to sack former speaker John Boehner, but eventually accepted the proffered crown. During the election, he fought Trump every step of the way and lied about it.

So heading into round one of the health-care debate, there was no love lost between Trump and Ryan. Despite the fact that the House had already voted some 60 times to repeal Obamacare — which is all GOP voters had been asking for — Ryan got it into his head that what was really needed was a Republican version of Obamacare: “a better way.” And so he set about crafting the latest version of GOP me-tooism, the American Health Care Act, which was ignominiously yanked this afternoon when it was clear there were not enough votes to pass it.

If the House GOP had wanted to insult and infuriate their voters, this bill was the best way to do it. Sin in haste, repent at leisure.

Yeah, wiser heads warned him. But you get the idea that at least some in the House GOP really do want to insult and infuriate their voters.

If you’ve been reading here you know that I’ve said all along “repeal” is the comfort word for the Democrat version of government-run healthcare, “replace” is the spoiler word for the Republican version of government-run healthcare. The people and a lot of House members, such as the Freedom Caucus, don’t want either (or any) brand of government health care. Ryan could have seen that coming if he’d bothered to look.

All of Michael Walsh’s piece is worth reading.

GOP punts on their awful health care bill

Because it won’t pass the house. They promised to repeal Obamacare. If they’d just do what they promised they wouldn’t look so stupid. They’d be heros in fact. They claim that only about half of repealing Obamacare can be done with 51 votes in the Senate, and full repeal will need 60 votes. But the Democrats didn’t need 60 votes to pass it, so why are 60 votes needed to repeal it? If the situation were reversed does anyone doubt the Democrats would have already got rid of it with less than 60 votes?

They don’t understand that politics is like prisoner’s dilemma. You lose if you don’t do tit for tat. The one who cooperates when the other defaults always loses.

Trump Ultimatum — Vote on health care Friday or Obamacare stays

If the bill does not pass, the president would see it as “people in Congress breaking their promises to their constituents to repeal and replace Obamacare” even with a Republican president in the White House,” the source told NBC News.

Looks like Trump is giving up. Why is the vote so important? What they’re voting on, if they do, does not repeal Obamacare! No promise left unbroken on Obamacare repeal, and that was the big reason the GOP has been winning elections. This won’t end well for the GOP. Nor for Trump.

They must be popping corks at Obama’s house.

Gorsuch tells Feinstein that “Heller” is the “law of the land”

Pressed on Heller, Gorsuch says it’s “the law of the land”

The death of Antonin Scalia has, I think, been the ramrod of Democrat’s new boldness on getting more anti-gun legislation.  If you read the NRA daily alerts you will see that liberal Democrats in state legislatures are outdoing themselves trying to pass new draconian restrictions on citizens’ right under the 2nd Amendment.

The rule in Heller is that the 2nd Amendment protects the right to keep and bear all guns that are in common use. At least that, that is.  Nevertheless, Maryland has banned all AR-15 rifles, and a federal circuit court has upheld that ban.  This is a plain violation of the 2nd amendment as it was interpreted in the Supreme Court’s Heller decision which was written by Scalia. The AR-15 is the most popular rifle in America. So popular that more AR-15 rifles are legally sold to American gun enthusiasts in recent years than the number of Ford F150s, the best selling vehicle in America.

More and more states are re-writing their hunting regulations to allow AR-15 rifles to be used in hunting big game. Pennsylvania is the latest about to do so, as the contiguous state of Maryland makes it a crime to even touch one.

So I think it’s a very good sign that Neil Gorsuch set Dianne Feinstein right on the subject of Heller.

I do have one slight nitpick, however. I’m not fond of crediting judges’ decsions as creating the “law of the land.” I believe the law of the land is the U.S. Constitution and cases such as Heller are correct interpretations of it. Otherwise, the “law of the land” is to be made by the people through their elected representatives, and the proper role of judges is to correctly interpret those laws and apply them in cases that come before the court.

Stare Decisis, the legal principle of determining points in litigation according to established precedent, is a similar concept as “law of the land”, but not quite the same thing.

Is the subprime auto-loan bubble about to burst?

This comes from Real Money:The Street:

Several data points to consider:

  • Losses for subprime auto loans, annualized, were 9.1% in January, up from from 8.5% in December and 7.9% in the first month of 2016, according to S&P. The rate is the worst since January 2010 and is being fueled by worsening recoveries after borrowers default, notes S&P.
  • More than six million U.S. consumers are at least 90 days late on their car loan repayments, according to the Federal Reserve Bank of New York.
  • The U.S. finished last year with about $1.2 trillion in outstanding auto loan debt, up 9% from the previous year and 13% higher than pre-crisis peak in 2005, in inflation-adjusted terms according to DOT data.

Everything I’ve read says it’s not as bad as the subprime mortgage crisis of 2008, but quite a lot of what I’ve read thinks this is something to be concerned about, especially as interest rates rise on variable rate loans. An ever increasing number of car loans are subprime loans made to buyers with poor credit scores. It’s safe to say that a fair number of buyers are getting car loans they cannot afford.

It’s not just new cars that are being sold to people who cannot afford them.  If you have a job of some sort you can probably walk into a Harley Davidson dealership and walk out with a brand new Harley Electra Glide Ultra Classic with no money down. You’d be financing $24,149 for 72 months (6 years) and assuming a monthly payment of $417.42.

At a local motorcycle dealership for several brands of Japanese and European motocycles I found proof that a lot of Harley buyers are biting off more than they can chew. This shop is not a Harley dealer and does not sell new Harleys.  It does, however, have an enormous stock of near-new Harleys that have been repossessed. Why, I wondered, does a shop that specializes in Ducati and Kawasaki motorcycles have so many low-mileage used Harleys in on its sales floor?

The answer I got upon inquiry was that this dealer has an arrangement with one or more banks that finance new Harleys, perhaps through arrangements with the motor company itself. OK, so why aren’t Harley dealers selling these repo-ed bikes? The best answer I could get was that they don’t want used bikes competing with their new bike sales, and they probably also don’t want to put on display such a glaring example of how many new Harley buyers are defaulting on their loans. The Ducati dealer with the bank arrangement has no less than 20 used Harley’s for sale at any one time, most of them with less than 1500 miles on them.

Cars are being sold to people who have no business buying a new car in much the same way as new Harleys. The number of years to finance a car used to 3, maybe 4. Today a new car loan can be for as much at 8 years in order to make the payment low enough for financailly stretched people to think they can afford to buy.

This is a bubble that has to burst sooner of later. Something that cannot go on forever, won’t. I don’t know what it will do to the auto financial lending sector of the economy but it sure seems that some heavy losses are going to be incurred. On the bright side, there may some good deals to be had in low-mileage used cars. Just as there presently are deals in low mileage used Harleys.

Too bad I’m a Ducati guy.

How a tactical flashlight may be employed in self defense against a criminal attack

Surefire E2D LED Defender Ultra

Surefire E2D LED Defender Ultra

A tactical flashlight is a flashlight that uses 3-volt 123A lithium ion batteries or is a rechargeable flashlight capable of producing at least 300 lumens of light. Some can light the darkness with up to 600 lumens. A 100 watt light bulb produces 1500 lumens but it won’t seem as bright as a small 500 lumens flahslight emitted in a tight beam from a light emitting diode (LED). It’s called a tactical flashlight because when shined in the eyes of a criminal attacker in low light situations it will temporarily deprive the attacker of his nightvision, allowing you time to escape and/or present your lawfully carried concealed firearm for your defense. You should never stand your ground; you should move as you maneuver your response so that when the attacker’s vision returns you won’t be where he last saw you.

So what exactly happens when you shine brilliant white light in an attacker’s eyes? We animals of the mammalia Class of Taxonomic ranking have light-sensitive receptor proteins on the rods of our retina. It’s what enables us to see in low light, even somewhat in darkness. These proteins are a biological pigment called Rhodopsin. Our dogs or cats have more of it than we do and that’s why their night vision is so much better than ours. They have always needed it because they’re nocturnal. We are not nocturnal (we are diurnal, meaning we sleep at night) so we never needed as much. We needed some, however. Most caves aren’t equipped with steel security doors.

It is the character of Rhodopsin that gives us a tactical edge against a criminal if we have one of the modern LED tactical flashlights such as those made by Surefire or Streamlight. When Rhodopsin is exposed to light, it immediately photobleaches. In humans, it regenerates in about 30 minutes; after which the rods in our retina are fully sensitive again. But near total night blindness only lasts about 30 seconds. That’s gives you a very long time to find a way to effectively respond to a criminal’s attack by either fleeing, summoning help, and/or employing your preferred method of force in self defense.

A tactical flashlight and a cell phone are important tools for your self defense. The flashlight pictured at the top of this post puts out 600 lumens of blinding light, will project a narrow beam of light for an amazing distance, is 5.6 inches long, 1.125 inches diameter, weighs 4.2 ounces and has a run time of 2.25 hours. Notice the serrated edges surrounding the front housing of the light source. Also around the opposite end, the base. On mine these are very sharp, but I’ve never cut myself. You ususally don’t grab the flashlight is such a way for that to happen. The belt clip is a nice touch. This is the ultimate in tactical flashlights and it’s price of $265 reflects that. You don’t need one this expensive nor this powerful. You can find several for under $100 that will work just fine.

Paul Ryan from hero to villain; from liberator to spoiler

It wasn’t long ago that Paul Ryan was the wonder boy of Congress. People were saying he should be president. That’s probably why Mitt Romney chose Ryan as his running mate.  That didn’t work out but Ryan went on to become Speaker of the House. Since then Ryan has earned the nickname Paul Ryno. Now he seems to be setting himself up take the blame for a pending GOP disaster if Congress fails to repeal Obamacare and instead offers its voters no more than Obamacare lite, already being called Ryancare.

GOP voters, independents and even some Democrats want Obamacare repealed. It seemed that Ryan and the GOP once understood that. What happened? Washington politics, I suppose.

The thing about Obamacare is that “repeal” is the comfort word and “replace” is the spoiler. We can now see the truth of that with the mess that Ryan and the GOP are making with their promise of repeal, which is beginnng to look like they never meant it in the first place. This betrayal could cost the GOP its majority if some adults don’t step in and bring them back to their senses.

At American Greatness: Ryancare Will Destroy the Republican Majority

Failing to repeal Obamacare would be “the ultimate betrayal of the electorate.” That’s what Charles Krauthammer said just last month. He was right. Congressional Republicans have been defined by nothing so much as their opposition to Obamacare since 2009. That opposition has been the source of four successful elections that have seen Republicans gain 62 seats in the House, 12 seats in the Senate, and now control of the White House.

The Republican leadership thinks that their half-measures and clever branding are a sign of moderation and prudence, but they are courting disaster. They apparently learned nothing about the fury of scorned voters during the last election.

The issue is simple—perhaps too simple for Washington: people want Obamacare repealed. The fact is that whatever its shortcomings (and there were many), American health care was better before Obamacare than it is today. Prices were lower, deductibles were lower, and there were more and better choices for both insurance and care.

If Obamacare were gone it would be like a full recovery from cancer so you could get on with the business of a healthy life. It would become possible to contemplate doing things your cancer had made impossible. After Obamacare health insurance would be legal again. It would be affordable if the mandates and restrictions that existed before Obamacare were also repealed. Health savings accounts could be enacted that would enable people to better provide for their own health care. More choices would be available.

We are in danger of losing this opportunity because Paul Ryan and the GOP are hell bent on commiting political suicide.

My own GOP Senator, Cory Gardner of Colorado, made a political career out of his oppostion to Obamacare. Now he is one of the sell outs; it appears he no longer wants to just repeal it. The spoiler of “replace” has replaced clear thinking.