Monday, September 26, 2016

FBI Crime Data For 2015 - Inconsistencies in the Data

FBI Crime Data Statistics - including extended data have been released for 2015.

I am letting my readers know, in  the spirit of full disclosure, because I often cite the FBI data in writing and discussions. 

This is the normal time of year when the prior years datasets are released.   The timing of this release is completely normal.  This is the normal time of year when the prior years datasets are released.  It takes sometime for the FBI to gather all the information from every jurisdiction and agency in every US state and territory.  

However, there are conflicts in the data.

For every year, there a huge number of tables- MS Excel spreadsheets- that are released.  The tables for each year, have  columns showing the previous five years of historical data.   For example a table that may show 2014 data would also have columns for 2010, 2011, 2012, and 2013. That same dataset for the year 2015- it would have columns dataing back to 2011. 

Normally, one would expect the data in the report for 2012 would be the same for each report, the 2012 data should be the same on each page it appears. The number of people murdered by drowning, for example in 2012 should be the same in the 2012 column in the 2013 report - with the column 2013 data added-- we should not see the numbers for 2012 (or any other prior years) be different than they were in the previous years  report. 

I have sent an email to the FBI asking for clarification.  I will share any response I receive. 

Until that time, I am concerned with using the 2015 data in posts online.  



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Sunday, September 25, 2016

Protecting Those That Protest Them


 

From 1988- 1995, I worked as a Firefighter and in EMS.  I worked Emergency Room. I drove an ambulance or rode in the back of one caring for patients, I sat the "jump seat" of the fire truck.  I responded to hundreds of accidents and fires.  I packed up and made entry into burning structures, crawling on my hands and knees in dark, smoke filled rooms with fire dancing across the ceiling, just moments from flashing over looking for wounded or injured.  I fell partway through the roof of a burning structure.   I fought grass fires to save crops and property.   I crawled into overturned vehicles to stabilize the c-spine of combative patients who may have been drinking.  I did chest compressions on patients until my own chest hurt, hoping beyond hope that we would somehow get a pulse.   I used my bare hands over gunshot wounds to stop bleeding when a patient would be "dumped" at the ER door.  I drove in heat, in rain, in snow and ice responding to accident and injury all the time hoping and praying that in responding I would not cause another or that my partner or I would become ones ourselves.    I also responded to crime scenes. 


In every response in the ambulance and most in the fire truck, we responded with, or sometimes at the request of a law enforcement officer.  

Every night I worked in the ER, there was always an officer of the law somewhere in the department  - either doing reports in the break room, bringing in patients, getting treatment for suspects, helping victims or just getting a cup of bad "break-room coffee."  

More than once, when working ER in San Diego, a police officer volunteered to put my bicycle in the back of a squad car and give me a ride home, just because it was raining.  

More than once, law enforcement officers- State Troopers,  County Sheriff or Local Police would jump in the back of the ambulance on a "purely medical" case to lend a hand with chest compressions or bagging - even though another firefighter would be available- and even though they knew that with the patients down time, the response time and distance, it was probably hopeless.  

More than once a police officer would put a hand on my shoulder and say a kind word, when we had fought a loosing fight.  

And more than once we all attended funerals, for Emergency Responders - Firefighters, Law Enforcement and EMS; for one of our fallen brethren.   

In all those responses and indents, I can never remember a Law Enforcement Officer, fellow Firefighter or fellow EMT-D or EMT-P ever base a response or action at a scene on race or ethnicity.  I never knew the race of the accident victim on the way to the scene.   We never heard a police officer call in a structure fire saying "smoke showing over residence- and oh, the people who own it are [insert race here]."  

Truth be told, I personally only remember the ethnicity of ONE patient I helped treat.  I was 19 years old and working in the Emergncy Room at University Medical Center in Tucson, Arizona.  She was almost 2 years old.  She was Native American.  She was in an automobile roll-over accident on reservation land south of Tucson.  She was not in a car seat, and her mother had an elevated blood alcohol level.   It was the morning of January 1, 1989.  I helped wheel the mother up to the little-girl's room and watched as the girl's heart rate kept getting slower and slower- until the nurse finally shut off the ECG.  I also remember walking outside, picking up a phone and calling my own mom in tears, partially because my mom was a nurse and I knew she would understand.  But I mostly I called to say thanks for being a great mom.    

Does racism exist? Of course it does.  Are there racist Law Enforcement Officers and Emergency Responders- Yes, I am sure there are.  

But we need to stop painting every police officer, every deputy sheriff, every state trooper or highway patrolman with the same brush.   The majority of officers and first responders are good people.   They do a job that many times is unappreciated. They deserve our thanks and our appreciation.  

Most of us only interact with law enforcement in awkward situations at best or in situations that are just plain bad.   We have been pulled over.  We have been in an accident.  The house has been robbed.   We are, understandably in a stressful situation and then we have a person with a badge prying into our lives.   For the most part we don't often see law enforcement when we are at our best.  Working with law enforcement often paints a different picture.  Law enforcement officers are just like every single one of us.  They have the same human strengths and weakness.  They have good and bad days.  They laugh.  They joke. They even cry.   

One thing I knew without question - if a gunman had come into the ER I worked in (one did in an ER up the road from where I worked when I was in California - two were killed and two injured in the Mission Bay ER shooting), or if a scene I was working "went south," the officers around me would have my back and put themselves in harms way to protect me if need be.  

Yes, there are those that have cause to be angry or have cause not to trust law enforcement.  But the actions of individuals are not the same as the actions or attitudes of all law enforcement.  

There are over 1 million Law Enforcement Officers in the US.  Not all of them are paid- many are volunteers or other reserve officers who don't receive pay- but all risk their lives with every traffic stop or response to a scene.  

Out of over a million officers, yes there are some who do now or previously have brought dishonor to themselves or their profession.  But we should remember- the vast majority have not. 

One of the great beauties of our Country is that we have the right to protest.  Lawful protests are wonderful.  Even better is that the very police officers and departments being protested will protect the protests and protestors.  

It is really something that is actually quite special and quite impressive; those who are the targets of protest, will protect with their lives those that are protesting them.  

That's something we should never forget.  

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Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Auto Deaths to Set Record- Time for Action!

While the Left would have us believe that guns are the deadliest "mechanism" man uses, the word comes that Automobile Deaths will likely exceed 40,000 this year alone.   And though it may be hard to believe there are far more Guns in the US than Cars (in May 2016 there were over 1.87 Million NICS background checks alone - or in other words more than 1.87 million people had their backgrounds run for the purpose of purchasing at least 1 firearm in just May 2016- you can purchase more than one on the same NICS check).

So of course we must do something here- 

1. We must ban all Jeeps and Hummers- they have a military appearance and we can't have that.  A military appearance makes things more dangerous.  Suburbans and other quasi-military looking vehicles also should be restricted.  

2. All vehicles must be limited to a tank quantity of less than 10 gallons.  That way you can't drive as much.   You must stop to reload (the tank) more often. 

3.  We must place an breathalyzer interlock on ALL cars and trucks- regardless of whether the person had ever had a DUI- they might try sometime even if they NEVER drink. 

4. All states should adopt "MAY ISSUE" laws instead of SHALL ISSUE.  It should be up to the wim of local sheriffs to decide who gets to drive and who doesn't.  With the Shall Issue law if a person passes the Drivers License test and has a clean record, the state MUSt issue a drivers license.   Obviously this is bad. 

5. One state should not be required to accept another's Drivers License.  Places like New York,  California, DC etc should be allowed to ban drivers from other states from driving in their states.  To hell with the fact that the Supreme Court has ruled that interstate travel is a right.

6.  All drivers should be requires to have a background check-- UNIVERSAL Background Checks- even in the case of someone being willed grandfather's old car.  The person buying could have a background of speeding or DUI

7.  Ban the private sale or transfer of autos, and all internet sales. The person buying the car MUST have a background check.   This includes all "car shows" - OK so even though all car dealers at car shows may be licensed  dealers AND they would already do a background check, who cares.   You can buy parts at shows and that means a bad driver "could" get a hold of a car at a show.

8.  Ban all vehicles that are in theory even capable of exceeding the highest local speed limit.  No one "needs" that type of car.

9.  We must limit AAA.   The problem is they are to powerful.  EVERY TIME a multiple vehicle accident occurs it is because of their members and the lobbying power they have.  If it wasn't for their political influence and stranglehold on Congress and State Legislative bodies there would not be such a problem.

10. A 5 day waiting period on all car sales.  

From what I understand, these are all VERY reasonable measures - and any car owner should support them. I have also heard that banning the private ownership of ANY vehicle is a valid argument- trust your local city "professional's" to take care of you.  To hell with any emergency where having a car could help- there are professional's out there- just wait.

If you haven't picked up on my sarcasm, well you should.   You should probably also know that I am really talking about "gun control." EVERY example I have listed as a reasonable idea, is actually  a "reasonable" proposal from gun control advocates.

The big difference between cars and guns?  There were only  8124 homicides with guns in the US according to the FBI for the last full year data.    That's only 31,000 less than the number of persons killed by autos.

Or maybe we really should be talking "car control"..... 

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Monday, August 15, 2016

Mostly Ignored Olympic History in the Shooting Sports

Kim Rhode, age 37, has made history.   She is the FIRST person ever to medal in SIX consecutive Olympics. While Michael Phelps may have more medals in his FOUR Olympics (Athens, Beijing, London and Rio- he competed in Sydney but did not medal), Kim
Six time Olympic Medalist Kim Rhode
has won medals in Women's Trap in Atlanta,  Sydney,  and Athens, and Women's Skeet in Beijing, London and Rio- and there is no reason to believe she will not compete in Tokyo.

In both Trap and Skeet, a "clay pigeon" that is roughly 5 inches in diameter and 1 inch thick (roughly- Olympic rules use metric measurements on the "pigeon" size).  In Trap the "pigeon" flies away from where the shooter is - at about 60 mph.    In Skeet, the "pigeon" flies across the shooter's position- left to right or right to left.  

If you want to see how difficult it is, go to your local Trap and Skeet club - in Phoenix go out to Ben Avery Shooting Facility and give it a try.   The clubs usually use American rules, so the clay pigeon will fly at a slow 45 mph- although Ben Avery does have an Olympic Trap (or "Bunker Trap") and Olympic Skeet ranges if you want to have a go with Olympic rules!  

The best thing about this, and almost all the shooting sports, is it is never to late to start shooting.  You don't have to be in your early 20's and as fit as Michael Phelps to compete. Literall, just about anyone could start today and with the next four years to practice, could, in theory, be on the medal stand in Tokyo in 2020.

One does have to wonder why Kim's accomplishment has been downplayed if not ignored.   Perhaps it is because she is doing something incredible and historic with a gun?  

Of course, that could never be the case...

For more information about Shooting Sports or the US Olympic Shooting Team visit the USA Shooting website at http://www.usashooting.org

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Monday, July 18, 2016

Racism and Gun Control Origins

As the GOP Convention gets underway, at some point a plank in the party platform will be adopted in support of the 2nd Amendment, Protecting Heller and McDonald, SHALL issue laws- basically a plank against arbitrary gun control.   The GOP took the position back in the late 1860's that the 2nd Amendment applied to ALL Americans and States could not interfere.  Why then? Because the GOP wanted freed slaves to be able to protect themselves and stay free.   

This year at the Democratic Party Convention, the DNC will likely propose a plank supporting Gun Control.  Southern Demorats started passing gun control laws in the 1860's and 1870's to strip former slaves of their 2nd Amendment Rights- along with a host of others.   

Gun Comtrol Laws, beginning with those passed by Democrat controled state governments at the end of the Civil War, Gun Control, have an origin in Racist Ideology.    
"A man's rights rest in three boxes: the ballot box, the jury box, and the cartridge [ammo] box." -Frederick Douglass, 1867

It was because of the "black codes" passed after the Civil War that the 14th amendment  was proposed and then passed.   One of the stated goals of passage was to protect the right of African-Americans to possess and carry firearms for thier own defense.  
'The black man has never had the right either to keep or bear arms,' and that, until he does, 'the work of the Abolitionists was not finished.'"  -Frederick Douglass, May 10, 1965 

Now, according to  a Pew Research Study, 54% of African-Americans view gun ownership in a positive light.  It is also being viewed as a matter of Civil Rights 

This is not a new phenomenon.  Dr Martin Luther King Jr. Applied for and was denied a concealed carry permit.  The best argument for SHALL ISSUE laws is it helps remove human  factors- such as racism - from the process.   If you are old enough and meet background requirements you cannot be denied- as Dr. King was.

It is well worth reading Associate Justice Clarence Thomas' opinion in McDonald v. Chicago, 561 U.S. 742 (2010) on the Second Amendment, its history, and racism.   The Washington Post called it "...a scorcher of an opinion that reads like a mix of black history lesson and Black Panther Party manifesto..."  

(I am not going to cite MTV as a source here, but I am going to provide a link to an interesting article on MTV on the Racist origins of Gun Control).

The bottom line is Gun Control has origins in post-Civil War racisim.  But, the Constitution, and our laws as American must and should be absolutely color-blind or there will never be real Freedom and Justice for all.

Reference Links:








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Thursday, July 14, 2016

ISIS Attack on Nice and Article 5

At what point are we going to realize ISIS is a Clear and Present Danger to all freedom loving peoples?  Not just the French, the British or the US.

It should be clear by now that ISIS just wants to kill.  This is not an attack because of support of Israel or because "troops desecrated holy soil" by allowing women to drive in Saudi Arabia.  There is NO other reason for this attack other than to kill indiscriminately. 

The last attack woke the French up and they began to fight back.  I have never been one to praise the French but I was impressed with their actions after the last attack.




I hate to say it,  but perhaps it is time for France to call for a meeting of the North Atlantic Council and declare this an Article 5 attack. 

Unfortunately I do not sit on the NATO Council.  All I can do is point to the words of 'La Marseillaise' and give my endorsement to any military action the French may take.

La Marseillaise

Allons, enfants de la Patrie
Le jour de gloire est arrivé!
Contre nous, de la tyrannie
L'étendard sanglant est levé
Entendez-vous dans les campagnes
Mugir ces féroces soldats?
Ils viennent jusque dans nos bras
Égorger nos fils, nos compagnes!

Aux armes, citoyens!
Formez vos bataillons
Marchons, marchons!
Qu'un sang impur
Abreuve nos sillons!

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Monday, July 4, 2016

An Anniversary of a Fight for Freedom

Sunday, July 4, 1976 was a day of celebration throughout the United States. I was eight years old. I remember the bicentennial coins that were issued and collecting the new quarters and even the new silver dollars that were released.   Flags were flying everywhere. I remember a special flag with 13 stars in the blue field and the white number '76 that were being flown for this particular occasion. Patriotic hymns were sung that morning in church services across the nation and that night brilliant firework displays lit up the sky.  This was in celebration of the bicentennial of our Declaration of Independence. It was a celebration of freedom for a nation. The celebration was tremendous.

What the majority of Americans did not know, was about another celebration taking place that very same day, several thousand miles across the Atlantic and Mediterranean; across the world from the United States.  It was a celebration taking place on the tarmac of Ben-Gurion International Airport.  This celebration was also a celebration by an entire nation about freedom. But this celebration was specifically about the freedom of 102 people- mostly Israelis and the crew of a French airliner- who had been hijacked a week before. 

On June 27, 1976, Air France 139 from Tel Aviv to Paris via Athens, Greece, was hijacked by members of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine.  

After leaving Tel Aviv, the plane headed to Athens Greece, for a scheduled stop.  The aircraft, an Airbus A-300, boarded an additional 58 passengers, including the hijackers. All told, 246 passengers and 12 crew where onboard the aircraft. Shortly after leaving Athens the aircraft was hijacked and diverted to Benghazi, Libya where it sat on the ground and took on fuel.  After refueling and sitting on the ground for seven hours, the hijackers ordered the aircraft to fly to Entebbe, Uganda.

Lt Col Yonatan Netanyahu
After arriving, the hijackers were greeted by "president for life", Field Marshall Idi Amin, dictator of Uganda. The Israeli and Jewish passengers were separated from the non-Israeli and non-Jewish passengers (there were some ultra-orthodox Jews who were flying under non-Israeli passports or not Israeli citizens; and there were some Jews, a member of the Israeli military for example who was flying under his British passport as he held dual citizenship, who were not separated out due to having non-Israeli passports).  Some of the passengers bore tattoos from the Nazi death camps. Several would say the "separation process" was as they remembered it from the concentration camps.  

By July 1, all the passengers, except those that had been separated out as Jewish or Israeli, where released by the terrorists including the 12 members of the French flightcrew. However, in an act that can only be described as selfless heroism, Air France Captain Michel Bacos and his crew said they would not leave until every single one of their passengers were released.  They chose to remain behind.  

Idi Amin, the "president for life" of Uganda, visited the hostages several times during their stay at the airport.  Although his military did not "actively" participate in the hijacking, they certainly provided assistance to the terrorists who did. Uganda provided the terrorists with a safe haven at the Entebbe airport. 
Hostages from Air France 139 returning to Tel Aviv after the "Raid on Entebbe"

From shortly after the hijacking became known, the government of Israel, as well as other parties attempted to negotiate with the terrorists. Some of this was to buy time, although there were doubts that any rescue could be undertaken by the Israelis because of the vast distance between Uganda and the nation of Israel.  Partly because of this distance, and partly due to the "support" of Idi Amin, the terrorists felt safe.

However, in the late night hours of July 3 and early morning hours of July 4, 1976 the Israeli Defense Forces pulled off the most audacious, brilliant, and amazing rescue operation ever attempted in modern military history. That operation was Operation Thunderbolt (also referred to as Operation Entebbe and Operation Yonatan) 

Just over 100 Israeli soldiers and airmen in four Israeli C-130s and two 707s flew, mostly under radar coverage at low altitude, from Israel, south and over Lake Victoria to the airport at Entebbe, Uganda.  The 29 man "Assault Unit" led by Lieutenant Colonel Jonathan (Yonatan) Netanyahu hit the terminal where the hostages were held. 

All of the terrorist were killed. Three hostages were killed in the crossfire during the gunfight between the Israelis and the terrorists.  

As the rescued hostages were being led to an awaiting C-130, a Ugandan soldier opened fire from the airport control tower, wounding five Israeli soldiers and killing the only Israeli soldier to die in the operation, Lt Col Netanyahu. Jonathan ("Yonni") had been born in New York. At the time of the operation his father was a professor at Cornell University. He was survived by two brothers, Iddo and Benjamin- the current Prime Minister of Israel. 
Hostages from Air France 139 returning to Tel Aviv after the "Raid on Entebbe"

There were other casualties as a result of this operation. Dora Bloch, a 75-year-old grandmother, who held both Israeli and British citizenship had been taken to the hospital days before the raid after choking on a chicken bone. She was recovering in the hospital at the time of the raid, and had been visited in the hospital before the raid by the British Consul. Sometime after July 4, officers of the Ugandan military went into her hospital room, dragged her from her bed and executed her. Her remains were discovered in 1979, after Idi Amin had been deposed. Her body was returned to Israel for burial.

Kenyan Minister of Agriculture Bruce MacKenzie also became a fatality of this operation.   Because of the great distance between Israel and Uganda, part of the success of the operation lay in finding a place in Africa where the aircraft could refuel for their return flight home. Minister MacKenzie persuaded the Kenyan president to allow the Israeli Air Force access to the Nairobi airport. He was also instrumental in granting the Mossad access to the airport in Nairobi for intelligence gathering prior to the operation. Because of this Idi Amin ordered Ugandan agents to assassinate McKenzie. He was killed by a bomb on May 24, 1978.  Director of the Mossad, Meir Amit, had a forest planted in Israel in MacKenzie's name to honor what he had done to help assure the success of the operation.  

Coming four years after the disaster in Munich, this operation showed how a small, intensely well trained, special forces group could deal with a near "impossible" hostage situation. The operation was so successful that several countries, including the United States, very quickly developed special operations teams based on this model, that was demonstrated so well in Entebbe. 

Today, July 4, 2016, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu was in Entebbe, Uganda, in what must be a "bitter-sweet mission" for him personally.  On the one-hand he is there to commemorate the victory of the IDF and the rescue of people who were kidnapped and threatened with death solely for their religious beliefs and nationality- for being Jews.  On the other hand, he is there to mark the place and moment his brother died to save others.  

This raid, which occurred 40 years ago today, has often been called the "Miracle at Entebbe." The use of the word "Miracle" usually denotes involvement of God's hand in the outcome. 

In this case, I believe, "Miracle" is right.






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