Follow by Email

Monday, March 26, 2018

On Gun Control, School Shootings, Etc.

I don't know about you, but it just makes me sad to see folks with big hearts and sterling intentions, wanting to DO SOMETHING about school killings, but not really having a clue about effective, socially beneficial things to do. Folks should be able to establish context, then consider the societal benefits of gun ownership, compared to costs, and then consider the specific problem of school massacres and likely solutions. I’ll share my own first-hand experience with you. I made my first firearm purchase when my wife and I purchased a townhouse in Washington, DC. I was 30 years old. After talking to my new neighbors, I realized that nearly 100 percent of townhouses like mine on my street had been burglarized within the prior two years. Therefore, before I moved my family, I bought a small 5-shot, snub nosed revolver – what gun control advocates used to derisively call a “Saturday Night Special.” Since that time, I have needed a gun three times. My home has been targeted by home invaders twice. On one occasion, intruders kicked down the front door by surprise. They were met by 2 very enthusiastic German Shepherd dogs. They fled. No gun was required. We had a carpenter repair the door and went on with life. On another occasion, however, no dogs were present and I met a pair of home invaders with my Saturday Night Special. I asked them politely to leave. When they surmised that I had a gun, they were ever so glad to leave politely. No shots were fired. No police report was filed because I did not want to get into trouble: I wasn’t even supposed to have a gun in Washington, DC. On third occasion, my wife woke me at night in our bedroom and said she heard noise downstairs. I got my Saturday Night Special, and went down to investigate. Sure enough, someone was breaking into our sliding glass door. They didn’t notice me. I thought hard about just sitting there in the dark, waiting, and teaching them a good lesson when they breached the door, like that homeowner in Prince Georges County did a couple of weeks ago. It was tempting. I was, however, in DC, but I decided against violence, so I made myself known to the burglars, and let them know I had a gun. They fled. No shots were fired. No police report was filed. On yet another occasion, my wife and I were out in Virginia visiting my parents, who lived on a dead end road. We stayed visiting until 11PM. When we said goodbye to my parents and went out to our car, I scarcely noticed the pickup truck staked out 30 yards behind us in a dark section of road where there were no houses. We packed out infant daughter into her car-seat and climbed into our little Honda hatchback with DC tags. We were faced downhill towards the dead end of the road. My plan was to drive to the dead end and turn around there so that we could leave. I scarcely noticed that when my headlights came on, so also did the headlights of the dark truck 30 yards behind. When we moved out, the truck moved out, too. As we approached the dead end, the truck came up close to tailgate us with high beams blazing. Although it was pitch dark, I could see in the reflection of the high beams that there were two men in the truck. I was surprised that when I came to the dead end, the truck maneuvered so that I could not complete my turn-around. We were trapped. By WILD coincidence, I had in the car an old hand-me-down .22 rifle that my parents had given me when I was 13. I wanted to have its rear sight upgraded to be adjustable, and I had been planning to bring it to the Davis Gun Shop in Arlington for the repair. I had put it in the back of the hatchback for that purpose. Without hesitation, I reclined my drivers seat, skooched back far enough so I could reach over the rear passenger seat, and retrieved the rifle from the rear compartment. It was non-functional because I had left the bolt at home, but I held it up in the rear hatchback window, in the glare of the high beams, for the guys in the pickup truck to see. The pickup truck backed up, turned around, and fled the scene. My family was safe; no shots were fired; and no police report was filed. That makes 3 occasions when I have prevented violence to my family by having a gun, not to mention an additional time that the force of large dogs saved the day. I eventually got a big NRA sticker and put it on the front window of my townhouse. I never had another problem. Additionally, I have used guns for socialization: going with friends target shooting, or trap shooting, or making my annual trip with a group of friends to Farmville, Virginia for deer hunting. I’ve put a fair amount of venison on the table with my K-Mart special 30-30, which is a humorous story for another day. Guns have DEFINITELY had a positive influence on my family’s life.

I don’t think my experience is unique. My old college classmate, Joe, had a similar experience. He was with his family on an isolated rural dirt road with only one way to exit. He noticed a truck a small distance away manoeuver and park so as to completely block the road. They were trapped, and the intention of the guys blocking the road was questionable. Joe’s family didn’t notice. Joe reacted by calmly stopping his car, getting a .22 rifle out of the trunk, and conducting an innocent target-practice lesson for the children. When the first shots sounded, the guys watching from the truck blocking the road got into their truck and left the scene. Again, there was no violence and the family was safe. Another old friend of mine, Jim, and I recently took our concealed carry classes together. Subsequently, Jim was traveling with his wife in Ohio. In the middle of the night, someone kicked their hotel room door in. Jim was happy to be carrying his .45 semiautomatic pistol. Again, no shots were fired, and the family was safe. My friend Loring and I took rifle shooting instruction together from NRA certified instructors at Boy Scout Camp Wilson. Loring later got a job as a hotel desk clerk in Washington, DC. On the night when the bad guy entered the lobby, the hotel security guard promptly confronted him. DC of course is a gun free zone, so the security guard was unarmed. He was promptly shot. The bad guy found Loring hiding in a dark closet (which is what we drill children in school to do). He had Loring kneel, right there in the closet, and put a bullet right between his eyes. I was devastated. To this day, I keep newspaper clippings about Loring’s death tucked here under my laptop computer.

In summary, guns have been a VERY positive factor in preventing violence to my family, as well a providing entertainment, socialization, and meat on the table. Most of the incidents that I directly know about resulted with no police reports or other statistics generated. Anecdotal reading suggests that my experience is not unique, and that across America, the presence of guns helps to prevent violence and deter crime. The Bureau of Justice Statistics’ National Crime Victims Survey indicates that 550 rapes and 1,100 murders are prevented per DAY just by showing a gun. This dovetails with my own experience of just showing a gun. The National Institute of Justice estimates that there are two MILLION defensive gun uses per year by law abiding citizens. The societal benefits to responsible gun ownership are certainly massive.

Now, to consider the societal costs.. Richard Peters recently surveyed the societal costs of gun ownership as follows:

“There are 30,000 gun related deaths per year by firearms, and this number is not disputed. The U.S. population is 324,059,091 as of June 22, 2016. Do the Math: 0.0009% of the population dies from gun related actions each year. Statistically speaking, this is insignificant. What is never told, however, is a breakdown of those 30,000 deaths. To put them in perspective when compared to other causes of death:
• 65% of those deaths are by suicide, which would never be prevented by gun laws
• 17% are through criminal activity, gang and drug related or mentally ill persons—better known as gun violence.
• 3% are accidental gun discharge deaths.
So, technically, “gun violence” is not 30,000 annually, but drops to 5,100. Still too many.
Now, let’s look at how those death spanned across the nation:
• 480 homicides (9.4%) were in Chicago.
• 344 homicides (6.7%) were in Baltimore.
• 333 homicides (6.5%) were in Detroit.
• 119 homicides (2.3%) were in Washington D.C. (indecently, a 54% increase over the prior year).

So basically, 25% of all gun crime happens in just four cities. All four of these cities have strict gun laws, so it is not the lack of law that is the root cause. This basically leaves 3,825 for the entire rest of the nation, or about 75 deaths per state. That is an average because some State have much higher rates than others. For example, California had 1,169 and Alabama had 1. Now, who has the strictest gun laws by far? California, of course. But, understand, it’s not guns causing this. It is a crime rate spawned by the number of criminal persons residing in those cities and states. So, if all cities and states are not created equal, then there must be something other than the tool causing the gun deaths.

All deaths are horrific. And 5,100 deaths per year is sad—and, especially so when it is in the commission of a crime. But, that is the nature of crime. Robbery, death, rape, assault are all done by criminals. It is ludicrous to think that criminals will obey laws. That is why they are criminals.

But, what about other deaths each year?
• More than 40,000 die from drug overdose.
• 36,000 people die from the flu.
• 34,000 people die in traffic related fatalities
• 250,000 die each year from preventable medical errors (Number 3 cause of death per Johns Hopkins Univ).
• 652,639 die from abortions (12.1 per 1000 live births)
• 710,000 people die per year from heart disease.

Just a 10% reduction in cardiac deaths would save twice the number of lives annually of all gun related deaths. A 10% reduction in medical errors would be 66% of the total number of gun deaths or 4 times the number of criminal homicides. Usually, a 10% reduction in any statistics is an easily achievable figure.” [End of Richard Peters quote]

So the costs of gun ownership are outweighed by the benefits, by far. That is BEFORE you even argue about the proposition that an armed populace is a counterweight to governmental overreach, and the right to keep and bear arms is fundamental to the God-given right to defend one’s life, liberty, and property. That’s a pretty important argument.

There is, however, the fairly-recent, heart wrenching problem of school mass killings, especially killings at schools. Some mass killings have been carried out with bombs (like the school bomb a couple of weeks ago) and motor vehicles, but let’s focus on the heart-wrenching school killings with guns. How do you fix that problem? Outlawing certain “mean looking” rifles will, sadly, not solve this problem. Despite all the media hype, the AR-15 is NOT a military grade rifle, and the difference between it and many standard hunting rifles is PURELY cosmetic. In point of fact, Nikolas de Jesus Cruz could have done equal damage with a standard pump-action shotgun loaded with standard 00 buckshot and a pocketful of extra shells. (Just feed shells from your pocket a few at a time as you go, and your gun is NEVER empty.) The Benton, Kentucky school shooting, in which 20 people were shot was, after all, carried out with an ordinary handgun. The unavoidable truth is that other effective weapons are available, so banning mean-looking rifles won’t solve the school massacre problem.

There are deeper social issues at work. When I was in high school, many of us young men had guns (at home mostly) but there were no problems with school shootings. There were even shooting clubs at some schools, but not at my particular high school. We need to understand what has changed to truly solve this problem. Consider that 100% of school massacre shooters come from households with reduced or absent father participation. When I was in high school, my best friend committed suicide (by hanging) when his father left. It’s a big deal, especially for boys. I believe that a lack of a stable mother-and-father family, especially when bringing up boys is involved. . One third of Americans know parents who refused to marry because they did not want to lose qualification for some government benefit(s), I definitely do! I can tell you, as a licensed tax expert, that there are MANY tax incentives for parents not marry, especially at lower income levels! When you consider that 100% of school mass shooters have come from fatherless households, you have to suspect that our wacky government regulations are a part of the problem. Another thing that needs looking into is the drastically increased use of behavior altering medications. As a licensed registered nurse, I can tell you that there are behavior altering drug for which “homicidal ideation” is a documented side effect of some behavioral altering medications. I have read that most school killers have taken behavioral altering drugs. This is certainly an under-discussed factor that needs more study ASAP.

The NRA? The NRA does great work in gun safety training. As I noted above, my Boy Scout rifle instructors were NRA-certified. It's been around for a long time, is an absolute expert on safety matters, has wholesome intentions, pretty decent members as far as I have seen, and is not the problem.

For, for do-able actual solutions, I say (1) ban the sale and possession of firearms for persons under the age of 25 and make parents or guardians responsible if they get a gun from home, and (2) have some sort of armed guardian presence in schools. I THINK THAT WOULD GO A LONG WAY TOWARDS SOLVING THE PROBLEM. I know that banning the sale of guns to a whole age category is a drastic gun control proposal, but I think it might help I hate seeing armed guards everywhere. I hated it when the Alexandria high schools hired “bouncers” in the early 1970's to control unruly students after racial integration, but the situation was dire and required it. They do arm some teachers in Israel, and it certainly seems to work for them. In America, it might have to be police officers because a lot of teachers would be uncomfortable with the guardian role. As a registered nurse, I understand perfectly. I have been asked by hospitals more than once, because I’m male, to eject unruly visitors. My response has always been that dealing with violent persons is not my job; that is for hospital security to handle. So I can understand a teacher not wanting to take on the role of actually protecting children. However, the situation is dire, and SOMEONE has to do it. Police are expensive, but police may be the way to go. Some teachers might be willing to be trained to carry concealed weapons. I have a concealed carry permit, myself, and it’s not that big a deal. I don't know about you, but I've been a parent and I've actually been a school teacher. I wouldn't mind carrying a concealed gun in school as long as I were compensated a little extra for it and the school would provide all necessary insurance coverage. A few armed teachers could save the day in a situation like the Florida massacre, and their presence would probably be a deterrent. Our experience right here in a Maryland school last week shows that a good guy with a gun is VERY effective for preventing school killings. If not teachers, then we need to assign police. Also, the psychiatric drug angle needs serious looking into. We have to do SOMETHING, and it really must be something that will likely SOLVE the problem of school killings,

Friday, February 23, 2018

ON ARMED GUARDIANS IN SCHOOLS - A FACEBOOK COMMENT

JC Leahy

The following reply to a comment was rejected by Facebook, so I publish it here to link back to Facebook.  

Hi Alicia. Sorry to be tardy in responding. I was celebrating our 40th wedding anniversary (Yay!! 40 years!!!), then dealing with a health issue, and then dealing with a bit of a family tragedy. Life! There is good and there is bad!

Now, where were we? Oh, yes, we were focused on the bad. Thank you for joining the conversation. It is wonderful to hear from you! Ellen had just asserted that there were 19 school massacres thus far in 2018. I had responded by pointing out, among other things, that statement was grossly bogus – which is to say inaccurate and misleading. You came to Ellen’s defense on that point and gave your perspective on the school massacre problem as a teacher.

On the 19 massacres statistic, I am reluctant to spend many words on this. There simply have NOT been anywhere near 19 school massacres in 2018. The statistic that Ellen referred to came from an organization called Everytown for Gun Safety, and was popularized by tweets from Bernie Sanders, Bill de Blasio, a guy named Jeff Greenfield, and several actors and musicians. Unfortunately – or fortunately – the statistic is bogus. The Washington Post’s Fact Checker gave some sort of Pinocchio award for Everytown for Gun Safety’s figures, meaning that the figures are a lie.. For example, on January 3, a 31 year old man in his car parked in a school lot phoned police and said he was armed and suicidal. He then killed himself. There were no teachers or students in the elementary school. In fact, the school had been closed for 7 months. In late January, someone reportedly fired a gun in the parking lot at a high school basketball game. No one was hurt, it was 8pm, and classes had long before ended for the day. Another incident involved a police officer. Apparently a 3rd grader crept up on him and pulled the trigger of his holstered handgun. Naturally, everyone was startled, but no on was hurt. Another involved a licensed peace officer who ran a college justice club of some sort. A club member accidentally pulled the trigger of a real gun rather than a training gun. Again, everyone was startled by no one hurt. These are NOT the kinds of incidents that qualify as “school massacres.” Indeed, all in all, it is my understanding that only 5 of the 18 (not 19) incidents occurred during school hours and resulted in any physical injury.

It makes me sad to see statistics like that so distorted because it draws us into focusing on (arguing about) the terms of the debate rather than actually solving the problem, which is school massacres. Criminal violence in schools is a big enough problem that it requires no dishonest exaggeration.

You also recounted emotionally how you have hidden in dark closets with children during active shooter drills. I agree that this is not good for the emotional well being of children. I, myself, remember participating in such drills when I was in elementary school. We were hiding from a nuclear attack, crouched down in the hallways in neat little rows of children, kneeling with our hands clasped over the backs of our necks. I doubt that this would have helped us in the event of a nuclear attack. I heartily agree with you that such drills may not be helpful, and probably are not good for the happiness of the children involved.

I also agree that children should have more support, food, and lots of other things at home. I myself grew up in a ramshackle, rodent infested old house with only-sometimes running well water, in a dangerous neighborhood, a long walk on a dusty road away from the nearest food store. That’s life. I was happy anyway. The lack of things didn't, however, make me go out and shoot kill anyone. It would, however, have been nicer to have more support, food, and lots of other things. So we agree.

I agree also that it is distasteful to see armed guards everywhere. My wife and I visited her native Philippines in 2006. The main thing I didn’t like about the Philippines was that there were armed guards EVERYWHERE. Every little shopping center had a uniformed guard with a machine gun. The bank had neatly uniformed guards armed with shotguns, inside and outside the bank, and to get into the bank you had to talk to the guard outside, who talked to the guard inside, who opened a big security gate to let you and only you in. At the grocery store, similar to a Giant Food or Safeway, I counted no fewer than five armed guards posted near the checkout counters. We went to a hotel at one point, and the porter who carried our luggage carried a shotgun in his other hand. There were armed guards everywhere, and it made me uneasy. So, I agree with you again.

Now that we agree on so many things, let’s focus on the problem at hand: which is, school massacres. Columbine was the first, and since Columbine we have made absolutely no changes in the way schools are patrolled and guarded!!! We know that virtually all school shooters are under 25 years old. We know that the perps use a variety of weapons, including handguns and military-looking semiautomatic rifles. In the Florida instance, the 19-year-old perp actually bought the weapon legally himself. Your proposal is that what we need is more counselors, nurses, psychologists, etc. in schools. You also want to ban military-looking semiautomatic weapons. I simply think that so many counselors, nurses, psychologists, etc for every school in America would cost so much that it is very unlikely to happen at all. If it DID happen, it is doubtful that the extra resources would solve the problem, although they might help. The main consideration is that this solution is SO expensive that it is very unlikely to happen. The other part of what you want, banning military-looking semiautomatic weapons is unlikely to solve the problem. Other weapons are available to killers. For example, the Benton, Kentucky shooting which you cited, in which 20 people were shot and 2 killed, was carried out with an ordinary handgun. Banning certain “mean looking” rifles will simply not solve this problem.. Which leaves the terrible problem unsolved.

So, what to do? We do know that most of these young perps come from dysfunctional (fatherless) homes. There is no easy solution for that. We also know that all or nearly all of the school massacre perps are under the age of 25. It seems obvious that it would be helpful to keep firearms out of the hands of persons under the age of 25. I know from experience that there are just too many hormones powerfully at work prior to that age to make gun unsupervised gun possession safe. The Florida perp had no criminal record and purchased his gun legally at the age of 18, for crying out loud! We also know that a number of these perps were taking psychiatric drugs. Some psychiatric drugs have documented behavioral side effects, including “homicidal ideation.” I think that bears serious looking into.

For, for do-able actual solutions, I say (1) ban the sale and possession of firearms for persons under the age of 25 and make parents or guardians responsible if they get a gun from home, and (2) have some sort of armed guardian presence in schools. I THINK THAT WOULD GO A LONG WAY TOWARDS SOLVING THE PROBLEM. I hate seeing armed guards everywhere. I even hated it when the Alexandria high schools hired “bouncers” in the early 1970's to control unruly students after racial integration, but the situation was dire and required bouncers. They do arm some teachers in Israel, and that seems to work for them. In America, it might have to be police officers because a lot of teachers would be uncomfortable with the guardian role. I understand that perfectly. I’m a registered nurse. I have been asked by hospitals more than once to eject unruly visitors, and my response has always been that dealing with violent persons is not my job; that is for hospital security to handle. So I can understand a teacher not wanting to take on the role of protecting children. However, the situation is dire, and SOMEONE has to do it. Police are expensive, but police may be the way to go. Some teachers might be willing to be trained to carry concealed weapons. I have a concealed carry permit, myself, and it’s not that big a deal. A few armed teachers could save the day in a situation like the Florida massacre, and their presence would probably be a deterrent. If not teachers, then we need to assign police. Also, the psychiatric drug angle needs serious looking into. We have to do SOMETHING, and it must be something that will likely solve the problem of school killings, rather than something that just makes us feel good or accomplishes some pre-existing aim

Friday, February 16, 2018

ON THE FLORIDA SCHOOL MASSACRE

JC Leahy

My own humble opinion goes like this: Donald J. Trump did not cause the Florida school massacre. The Florida shooting is very upsetting, heartbreaking. I am eager to learn more about the shooter so I can form more of an opinion about what caused this. I do agree with those who suggest that posting a reasonable number of armed personnel, police, in schools is, at this point, a no-brainer, and would go a long way towards solving this terrible problem. The Israelis have armed personnel (teachers in the Israeli case) in each school and there are no school killings. Police would be more do-able in America. However, I think that there must be deeper social issues at work in America. When I was in high school, many of us young men had guns (at home mostly) but there were no problems with school shootings. There were even shooting clubs at some schools, but not at my particular high school. We need to understand what has changed to truly solve this problem. My money is on the lack of a stable mother-and-father family, especially when bringing up boys is involved. The NRA? It's been around for a long time, is an absolute expert on safety matters, has wholesome intentions, pretty decent members as far as I can see, and is not the problem. The National Rifle Association actually offered to train school security personnel nationwide. Also, let's be too focused on the type of weapon. Without going into excessive detail, the AR-15 is not a military grade rifle, and the difference between it and many standard hunting rifles is PURELY cosmetic. In point of fact, Nikolas de Jesus Cruz could have done equal damage with a standard pump-action shotgun loaded with standard 00 buckshot and a pocketful of extra shells. (Just feed shells from your pocket a few at a time as you go, and your gun is NEVER empty.) I say (1) place a reasonable number of armed police in each school, and (2) do not allow anyone younger than 25 years old to buy any gun or possess any gun except possession with direct and immediate parental supervision. Hormones are running too high and maturity too low before the age of 25. THOSE 2 MEASURES WOULD HAVE PREVENTED VIRTUALLY ALL PAST SCHOOL KILLINGS!!! STOP with all the acrimony and foul language!! Those 2 measures could be accomplished more easily and with less political anguish and foul language than draconian gun control measures! But you still have to take a hard look at underlying social issues. Just a constructive suggestion.

ON ASSAULT RIFLES -- THE LEAHY SOLUTION

JC Leahy

 "Assault rifles" that are legal to buy are not military grade rifles, and the difference between them and many standard hunting rifles is PURELY cosmetic. In point of fact, Nikolas de Jesus Cruz could have done equal damage with a plain, old-fashioned pump-action shotgun loaded with standard 00 buckshot and a pocketful of extra shells. (Just feed shells from your pocket a few at a time as you go, and your gun is NEVER empty.) The problem, or one of the problems, is that Nikolas de Jesus Cruz had ANY gun at all!! 

I do agree with those who suggest that posting a reasonable number of armed personnel, police, in schools is, at this point, a no-brainer.  It would go a long way towards solving the terrible problem of school massacres. The Israelis have armed personnel (teachers in the Israeli case) in each school and there are no school killings. Police would be more do-able in America. However, I think that there must be deeper social issues at work in America. When I was in high school, many of us young men had guns (at home mostly) but there were no problems with school shootings. There were even shooting clubs at some schools, but not at my particular high school. We need to understand what has changed to truly solve this problem. My money is on the lack of a stable mother-and-father family, especially when bringing up boys is involved. 

The NRA? It's been around for a long time, is an absolute expert on safety matters, has wholesome intentions, pretty decent members as far as I can see, and is not the school massacre problem. 

My own humble  solution: (1) place a reasonable number of armed police in each school, and (2) do not allow anyone younger than 25 years old to buy any gun or possess any gun except possession with direct and immediate parental supervision. Hormones are running too high and maturity too low before the age of 25. THOSE 2 MEASURES WOULD HAVE PREVENTED VIRTUALLY ALL PAST SCHOOL KILLINGS!!! 

I have been told that restricting gun purchases for those under the age of 25 would unfairly discriminatory.  First of all, the school killings situation calls for some do-able solutions and personal-liberty/discrimination argument seems to call for inaction. After all, if states can forbid the sale of alcohol to adults under the age of 21, SURELY they can restrict the sale of guns to adults under the age of 25. This wouldn't discriminate against anyone because everyone who is under 25 will be 25 in due time. If the actual situation is that a 19 year old cannot buy a bottle of whiskey because of his lack of maturity, but he can  buy a firearm, there's something wrong with that  picture.  In the spirit of being serious about a do-able solution , I advocate to not allow anyone younger than 25 years old to buy any gun or possess any gun except possession with direct and immediate parental supervision.

 The NRA actually offered to train school security personnel nationwide, and was rejected. It seems to me that the NRA could be part of the do-able solution! Just my opinion, of course, but it does seem like a no-brainer, given the gravity of the situation and the need for an ACTUAL SOLUTION.  Time to get serious!

RESPONSE TO BERNIE SANDERS ON CANADIAN HEALTH CARE:

JC Leahy

Bernie Sanders has apparently been asserting that Canadians do not wait long times for needed health care.  I can only say that my wife's relatives in Canada are very pleased with their Canadian health care system. In fact, a certain E.C. and his wife visited us here in Silver Spring, Maryland a while back and mentioned that he had recently had cardiac bypass surgery. He said he only had to wait 7 days and his total cost was only $7. Wow! I was impressed, and I told him so. I said that I had read that there was a BIG business in the US providing cardiac surgery for Canadians who couldn't get timely surgery in Canada. So I was really impressed to hear about E's short wait time.
E said, "Well, I went standby."
"Standby?? What do you mean 'stand
by'?" I asked.
"You have to know the system,” said E with a sly look. “ I was lucky that my doctor knew the system well. It's like flying standby on an airline. You sign up to take a surgical slot in case someone else cancels."
I was amazed, and asked, "Sooo....somebody else cancelled, and you got to take his spot, and you only had to wait 7 days for this to happen?"
"Yes."
"Well, why did he cancel?"
"Oh, he died."
"How long was he waiting?"
"Oh, he was waiting for a long time."
 "So he died waiting for a long time for cardiac surgery, and you snapped up his spot in line, and you only had to wait 7 days?  Do you see anything wrong with that picture, E ?"
 "No. I only had to wait 7 days. It worked out for me."

 Footnote: to get medical treatment on a "standby" basis, you pretty much have to be in the immediate vicinity of Toronto or one of the other big cities. If you live elsewhere, this administrative trick won't work for you because you have to be at the hospital STAT when your standby slot “opens.”. Although I’m happy that my relative E got his cardiac surgery so quickly in Toronto, the system strikes me as unfair to the guy who had to die waiting, as well as for those who don’t live in Toronto or some other big city.

Tuesday, February 13, 2018

POLITICAL QUIZ

If you want a tough question here's one: Let's just say for the sake of consideration that some American presidential candidate went through his or her lawyer to hire a firm to hire a British ex-spy to collect fake dirty facts from a hostile foreign power, say Russia, and other nefarious sources, and disguised those fake facts as intelligence reports, combined the fake reports into a dossier, leaked the fake dossier to the press, and fed it to the FBI and Justice Department. who in turn KNOWINGLY used the fake dossier, along with news reports about the fake dossier, to defraud the FISA courts 4 times to obtain 360 days of wiretapping and surveillance of the opposing presidential candidate at the height of a close presidential election, then hatched a plan to fix that US presidential election and undermine the dis-favored candidate if he should win. I mean, I know it sounds like unlikely fiction, but let's just say....In that case would you agree that the responsible folks in the Justice Department, FBI, and the offending presidential campaign would NEED to be prosecuted for the sake of the integrity democracy in America? Leave a comment to let me know your opinion.  --  JC Leahy

Thursday, January 4, 2018

MONTGOMERY COUNTY, MARAYLAND -- A SANCTUARY COUNTY

In these times, just remember: In a statement dated January 11, and released by e-mail Saturday, January 13, Montgomery County's Ike Leggitt and the County Council declared that Montgomery County police will play no role in enforcing immigration law!!!  That makes Montgomery County, Maryland a Sanctuary County.  The announcement came within a day or so of an illegal alien causing a multiple-car accident on the Capital Beltway, through drunken driving.  The news media never made the connection between Mg. Leggett's announcement and the tragic deaths.  Very sad.

Statement by Montgomery County Executive Ike Leggett: The Montgomery County Council on Deportation Threats Against County Residents

For Immediate Release: Monday, January 11, 2016
Our nation faces a significant humanitarian challenge in how we deal with the thousands of children and families fleeing violence in Central America. Current conditions in El Salvador, Guatemala, and Honduras merit granting special temporary protection to these children and parents who have legitimate reason to fear for their lives if returned to their countries.

We recognize that the recently announced federal policy is narrowly crafted to apply only to those who have been issued final orders of removal by an immigration court. But the obvious truth is that many of these children and parents have not had adequate legal representation in these proceedings. No deportations should take place without ensuring that the person to be deported received adequate representation and due process of law under our Constitution.
Imagine being a teenager in a formal process in a forbidding setting in a strange land where they speak a language you do not understand. What chance would you have?

These children and parents deserve an opportunity to have their cases presented properly as they seek refuge in our nation. And for those ordered to be deported after receiving due process, no deportations should take place unless the federal government guarantees legally required family reunification and support to help them live in their own countries safely. Failure to guarantee these essential protections is unthinkable as it will deliver them back to the very violence and human trafficking that caused many of them to flee to the United States.

We in Montgomery County, especially our public safety officers, have worked extremely hard to build trust with our immigrant population. We are convinced this is the key to reducing crime and building a thriving, welcoming community where all can live in peace.

We are very concerned that any federal enforcement actions in our county not undermine this trust and threaten public safety in our community.
We want all of our community members to know that they are free to go about their daily life, to go to schools and work, social service agencies, hospitals and medical clinics, community organizations and public buildings, as well as grocery stores and other commercial areas.

We respectfully recommend that federal authorities proceed with great caution and respect for the values of our country and requirements of our Constitution. Please take the time necessary to ensure that any deportation is based on a court action only after due process and, if the deportation is ruled to be appropriate, carried out with the protections required by law. Please assure us that our residents are free to go to school and work, attend services at their faith congregations, seek needed medical attention, and ask for help from our police without fear. A warrant to arrest one person must not be used to round up many.

We applaud the recent federal budget commitment to spend $750 million to address the root causes that have led people to flee Central America. We ask that the federal government dramatically step up the pace of the existing Central American Minors Program to provide a legal in-country path for children with parents lawfully in the United States. And we ask that local governments here in the United States be given adequate federal support for receiving these children and helping them reunite with their parents.

To the members of our Montgomery County community who are justifiably concerned about the federal government’s most recent deportation actions, we encourage you to go about your daily activities free of fear.
Go to your schools, work, and faith congregations, social service agencies, hospitals and medical clinics, community organizations and public buildings, as well as grocery stores and other commercial areas.

Continue helping us work hard every day to make Montgomery County one of the very best places to live, work, play, and age with dignity in the nation.

Please know that our county police will play no role in enforcing federal immigration law. If you have reason to need help from our police, do not be afraid to call on them.
We will continue to work closely with our community-based nonprofit and faith based partners to develop ongoing “know your rights” training around the county, increase pro bono legal support, and develop and distribute educational materials as part of a bilingual public information campaign.

We are proud of the people who have come to Montgomery County from every corner of the globe. You have enriched our community, and you will always be welcome here. Some of us have had the privilege of traveling to our Sister City in Morazán, El Salvador where we experienced the beauty of Central America and the graciousness of its people. We know that if we all act with calm and dignity and work together, we have the capacity to get through these difficult times and improve the lives of those who have come to our country and those who remain in their native lands.
# # #

Release ID: 16-007
Media Contact: Patrick Lacefield 240-777-6507 

Juan Sanchez Jailed 1/14 after causing a 9 car crash on the beltway 1/11 which killed

 http://www.nbcwashington.com/news/local/4-Injured-in-Serious-Accident-in-Upper-Marlboro-365276591.html