American Elephants


If Banning Guns Won’t Work, What Should We Do? by The Elephant's Child

To reach a point where people can begin to talk sensibly about the problem of violence in our schools, you have to wait a while. Probably longer than this. All the people who have never held a gun, nor fired one, have time to insist that banning all guns is the answer. Unfortunately, it’s often the less they know, the more they sound off.

There are no reliable statistics that I could find on gun shootings in schools. Everytown for Gun Safety is an activist gun-banning group, and has listed every incidence when a gun has been discharged in or near a school in their statistics, including on school property when schools are not in session, which includes a suicide in his own car, that sort of thing, which has contaminated most lists.

There are some few sensible suggestions emerging. Most courthouses and state buildings have  metal detectors at their doors, and a guard inside to do something if a metal detector sounds off.  Interesting that government officials are ready to insure protection for themselves, but not for vulnerable students. So the first need is for some proper statistics enumerating the people who have attempted to attack school children as the most vulnerable and precious victims. This is not as easy as it should be. The United States is a big open country with all sorts of news outlets, some of them even reliable. Our news is reported as headlines in most other countries. Because we let it all hang out, so to speak, countries that are more sparing in what they tell the public are shocked by us.

Banning guns is everyone’s first choice, but will not change anything. Guns don’t kill people, people kill people. The kid who was turned in by his grandmother this week because she read his journal, was not only talking about guns, but about making bombs at home.  If metal detectors at every entrance to a school are a good idea, then it detects as someone enters—and who responds to that and what do they do? Is it an armed guard? For every door? Or are all other doors but the main door locked, and checked to make sure they are locked? It gets complicated right off the bat, and needs to be thought through carefully.

The grandmother who called 911 after reading her grandson’s journal here in Snohomish County (Everett) just had to trust that the responders from 911 would know what to do. It would seem that adults in such a situation would be more apt to take action if they knew what and who to reach, and what would result.

It’s agreed that the FBI fouled up very badly by not following up on warnings they received about Nikolas Cruz. They had a definite warning call from someone who knew him and took his threats seriously. His father had died earlier, and his mother had died suddenly and recently from pneumonia. He was expelled from school. Police were reportedly called to the home some 39 times. That’s a remarkable number of red flags and call for help, to FBI and city police, but nothing happened, no one took him in for help. That suggests missing training in when red flags should go up, and in what avenues to follow. Is a jail cell the only answer? Taxpayers are supporting a vast array of agencies that are supposedly trained to deal with situations like these. School shootings are not as common as the gun-control advocates assume, but there have been others. Some of the attacks have been by adults which are a different situation.

Junior high and high school are difficult times for kids. They are dealing with  puberty, and sex education, that currently seems to tell them they they can be any sex they choose, when they are trying to figure out how to be popular like some other kids seem to be, having crushes, wanting to be good at sports or acting or singing or anything like other kids seem to be. Everybody remembers traumatic things from their own high school career. It’s a very emotional time, taking the first steps toward adulthood.

It has been widely, if quietly, reported that teachers are being attacked in their own classrooms, in many cases by unruly students. School districts do not want that to be reported so it is not frequently mentioned, but it happens, perhaps more frequently where there is gang activity. What is being done about that?

When a kid has acted up enough to be expelled from school, had the police called to his home 39 times, and  just lost his mother, that would seem to be a powerful call for help. You would have one very angry kid. What all of this suggests is that all those administrators that the taxpayers are supporting besides the teachers in the classroom, should be planning and working with other agencies to think through the possibilities and come up  with plans so people know what to do and who to call.

What about the kid who uses the internet to learn how to build a bomb? Or learns how to make Molotov cocktails?  Do we still have reform schools? There are a lot of quiet agencies who take on troubled kids in rural settings to straighten them out and set them on a better path. Very expensive. Military schools. Also very expensive. Can states and communities learn from them and put new programs for troubled kids in place? Some used to be encouraged to enlist in the military, and drill sergeants know a thing or two.

Banning assault weapons (aren’t those the scary looking guns with scopes and a military profile) and AK-47s sounds important, and accomplishes nothing at all. Countries that have really gone for banning guns have learned that it does not work. Our cities with the most restrictive gun laws are some of the most violent.

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Today is Abraham Lincoln’s Birthday by The Elephant's Child

Today is  “President’s Day.” As a long time crank, I disapprove of moving days of remembrance to Mondays to make a  3-day weekend. I would prefer that we stuck with Lincoln’s Birthday, and when we get there, to Washington’s Birthday on the 22nd.

Both men deserve special honor. In elementary school, kids used to make log cabins with construction paper or crayon, and Washington got axes and cherry trees. Classrooms had portraits of the two men, and an American flag standing in the corner for the flag salute. I assume I am badly dating myself, but I’m not sure just when these formalities ended.

On Valentine’s Day we had a big decorated box in which to put the valentines for our classmates. The drugstore sold sheets of punch-out valentines in numbers suited to average class size. It was considered tacky not to be completely equal in favoring everyone with a card — even the ones you hated. I don’t think I have seen a picture of a classroom lately that has pictures of either president. I wonder if they still do Valentine’s Day?

Most kids have probably never seen a log cabin, and are unfamiliar with a split rail fence.  The tale about cherry tree and never told a lie is undoubtedly specious, and I don’t remember actually learning much of anything about either man.

Even little kids should learn something about history, but most colleges are dropping any Western Civilization or  American history requirement. The protests we hear on our campuses display a vast ignorance of U.S. History, and world history as well. Troubling.



Planning for A Self-Driving Future? by The Elephant's Child

Our local throwaway newspaper arrived today with an article about our city and autonomous vehicles. Traffic is a major problem in most cities, and governments have no idea how to solve it. So of course they are planning.

Experts in autonomous vehicle (AV) technology say the path forward requires city and state leaders to be proactive, making changes to local roadways, infrastructure, and legislation.

Our city, it seems is right on top of the question, and paving the way to accommodate the impact of replacing human drivers. The governor has signed an executive order allowing for easier testing and operation of self-driving cars. Our city is very technology friendly, it seems. Without going into all the radar system, detecting of objects, fiber optic stuff, I find that they are looking down the road and noticing that we have major transportation problems right now, mostly caused by big ideas from local and state governments.

They are looking down the road to a day when nobody will own a car. This seems to be an interim step to the flying car stage. There are shuttles now that are fully autonomous and will carry six people seated and six people standing. (See, we just got rid of six to 12 cars). They are envisioning a city  of solely ACES technology (Autonomous, Connected Electric and Shared) vehicles. This, they believe will allow all those parking lots and parking garages to become residential. When you need a vehicle, you will just summon one and it will pop over and take you where you want to go. Amazon, I guess, will deliver whatever else you need.

I’m leaving out six columns of excitement for the future, but this is what the Left has been talking about for years. Stuff all the people into high rise cities, and turn the rest of the country into wilderness parkland, saving the environment you know. It would seem that there is to be not much freedom in the future. They always ignore the real people out there. People who work have errands. We even have a new and apparently thriving doggy day care center where you can drop your dogs off for the day, but have to be picked up on the way home. One kid at daycare, another in elementary school, need groceries, have to get to the hardware store sometime soon, books to return to the library, pick up the dry cleaning. That sort of thing.

How does a small fleet of city-owned AV cars deal with a city full of people who want to go somewhere on the weekend? Do you have to reserve a car months ahead? If you like to hike or fish? If population growth is a problem, why are they not talking about building up some of the small cities or dying towns that could use more business and jobs and growth? Cities don’t want to get smaller or even stay the same. Growth is hardwired in. Every legislator wants to be in charge of more and become more important. We don’t do a very good job of planning for the future, and we aren’t much good at learning from history. Look at all the millennials out there trying to erase the parts of history they don’t like. Some high school just banned (once again) Huckleberry Finn and To Kill a Mockingbird.

So what happens when Amazon delivers everything and we have an EMP attack frying the grid, electric vehicles don’t run, and America starves to death in a massive famine? I think I read some science fiction novels along those lines a while back. This is all idle speculation of course, very idle. Do you worry about stuff like this?



The Usual Suspects Are Back Again, Trying to “Save the Planet” by The Elephant's Child

Four Democrat senators are demanding that the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Administrator Scott Pruitt recuse himself from repealing a 2015 Obama-era regulation that places significant burdens on fossil fuel energy providers, according to the Washington Post.

Obama’s Clean Power Plan (CPP), an add-on to the Clean Air Act, was meant to curb carbon emissions from fossil fuel fired energy plants in order to conform to the emissions targets agreed to by the United States in the Paris climate accord. President Trump announced last June  that he was pulling the U.S. out of the accord, and Pruitt and the EPA proposed repealing the CPP about three months later. Repealing the regulation could save $33 billion in compliance costs by 2030.

The Democrat senators are Sheldon Whitehouse of Rhode Island, Edward Markey of Massachusetts, Jeff Merkley of Oregon and Brian Schatz of Hawaii. They claimed that since Pruitt had sued the EPA four times at attorney general of Oklahoma he would not be able to make a fair judgment.

“The evidence for Pruitt’s inalterably [sic.] closed mind on CPP rulemaking is overwhelming,” the senators wrote, according to The Hill. “It falls into three categories: (1) his deep and wide financial ties to the fossil fuel industry which is ferociously opposed to the CPP; (2) his status as a previous petitioner suing the EPA to block the CPP; and (3) his numerous statements denouncing the CPP, questioning the ability to regulate carbon emissions under the [Clean Air Act] as the CPP proposes to do, and casting doubt on climate science.”

Environmentalists and Democrats have never been able to get it through their heads that our economy runs on electricity produced by fossil fuel fueled power plants, that is coal, natural gas, and petroleum products. All the solar arrays and wind turbines that we have installed manage to produce about 4% of our energy needs — when the wind is blowing and the sun is shining on a mostly cloudless day. That’s all.

Carbon dioxide is plant food. It makes plants (including food crops and trees) grow. The planet has been greening because of the very slight rise in the amount of CO2 in the atmosphere, and more of the world’s people are getting enough food. Greenies like to think that CO2 is poisonous, but it is what we exhale. Nurserymen pump extra CO2 into their greenhouses to help the growth of the plants therein. You haven’t seen any stories in the news about all the dead bodies in greenhouses have you?

The Paris accords were designed to transfer money from the western nations to the poor countries of the developing world, under the guise of the global warming theme. Would have done nothing for global warming, and very little for the countries it meant to benefit. All about globalism.

The Clean Power Plan is a dumb regulation that should be repealed. It accomplishes nothing, and harms fossil fuel fired power plants for no reason at all except for pleasing environmentalists, who illogically hate fossil fuels. Drop a note to EPA administrator Scott Pruitt, and tell him he’s doing a great job. I’ll bet he isn’t getting a lot of fan letters just now, though he should.



Jordan Peterson: A Speech for Every College Student by The Elephant's Child

Here’s a speech every college student should hear. I wish someone had made that speech when I was in college. It seems like much of the world has slipped a cog. Minds are in disarray. Obvious signs are ignored. The unimportant and minor takes center stage and important things rouse no interest.

I think Jordan Peterson is one of our most interesting intellectuals trying to get people to pay attention. He’s pushing basic common sense and that is so rare in today’s world that people don’t know what to do with it.



Here is the Memo, as Published by The Elephant's Child

There are six pages, in Scribed, and you can enlarge or print it out.  It begins with the Presidential permission to post what were classified records for Congress. The House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence has voted on party lines to make it public.

https://www.scribd.com/document/370599126/fisa-memo#from_embed



The Trials and Tribulations of Technology Gone Haywire by The Elephant's Child

People who run big companies are only human, like the rest of us. Some are not as bright as they think they are, they are subject to fashion and fads, and very much influenced by what other companies are doing—because they might know something that their own company does not. It’s not easy running a big company, that’s why they make big salaries, and why the Democrats always want to raise their taxes.

One of the very BIG words floating around in our society at present is “Diversity.” An organization must be diverse or they will be accused of being racist, sexist, homophobic, anti-another underrepresented minority or another of those words, and held up to censure, ridicule, bad publicity or even attacks from the more enlightened. Womyn are particularly interested in diversity, as they know that all women are paid 9% less than men for doing the same job, even though equal pay has been the law since 1963. Group pictures will be scanned for the correct mixture of skin colors and ethnicity. It is a very big deal, and utterly meaningless.

James Damore, a software engineer at Google, was attempting to help to alleviate the problem, which Google apparently considers to be a very major problem indeed.  J. Christian Adams wrote about Mr. Damore and his lawsuit against Google at PJ Media.

I met James Damore at a conference last November after he received an award for speaking out against Google’s race obsession and cultish orthodoxy. The poor fellow seemed bewildered, still stuck in those good old-fashioned American notions of free speech, tolerance, and color-blindness toward other people. Damore didn’t seem to understand the Left has big plans for America. His experience at Google should make clear to every American that this gang is playing for keeps.

This article cannot possibly capture all of the rancid, racialist, thuggish things going on at Google, so I’d urge you to take time to read the whole complaint. It’s like reading Solzhenitsyn’s travel log from Ekibastuze. It reveals nothing short of the psychologies of totalitarianism in their timeless forms. The purges. The moral relativism. The threats. The lists of enemies.  The upside-down world of the wicked justifying their wickedness.

Do read Mr. Adams’ short article, and then follow the above link, to the whole complaint. I read it last night, and had a hard time getting to sleep.

Google is so wrongheaded, so foolish. They have fallen for a racist meme and are criticizing the most valuable thing they might have in their employees which is diversity of ideas. Real advances come about when someone thinks differently, follows up on a moment of inspiration, refuses to accept the standard idea as the standard.  Neither Orville nor Wilbur Wright had a pilot’s license.

Back in 1852, “Joseph Lister was a young house surgeon at London’s University College Hospital. While dealing with an outbreak of gangrene, he noticed that when he cleaned his patients’ ulcers—an unusual practice at the time—they had a much higher incidence of recovery. ”

He kept following up on his unorthodox idea, and learned of Louis Pasteur’s work, and eventually was able to decide that it wasn’t bad air, but “its constituent of microbial life” that was the source of hospital infection. Generations of people are alive today because Joseph Lister pursued his own diversity of thought. You can quickly come up with dozens if not hundreds of advances in our world that came about because someone had the fortitude to think differently, even in the face of taunts and condemnation.

It is, of course, much more comfortable when no one ruffles the feathers of anyone else, goes along to get along, does not rock the foundations. But thinking a little differently is what allows us to advance. It will take a courageous court in Santa Clara County to deal properly with Mr. Damore’s complaint, and conventional thinking would take note of the fact that Google is a very large and prosperous employer in the county. Think differently.




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