“Why are there never any “newly discovered ballots” in close races that Democrats win? Why are there no “newly discovered ballots” in races that aren’t close? And why is it that all the “newly discovered ballots” in every race always contain a surprisingly disproportionate number of votes for the Democrat candidate?
We all know why.”
— Randy Spencer.
The Jaguar (Panthera onca), third largest feline predator in the world, has been described as extinct in the United States since early in the last century, but rumors and scattered alleged sightings on the tops of the “sky island” mountains south of Tuscon, Arizona were followed in recent years by photographs and videos, and even treeings and collarings of real jaguars in the Arizona mountains.
Smithsonian has a typical bleating nincompoop piece gushing over the return of the jaguar (in reality, doubtless, jaguars have always been present in the same area in very small numbers, their existence simply denied and overlooked by the authorities), complete with naming the kitty, publicity and promotion for particular self-appointed experts, partisan turf war accounts, and anti-capitalist agitation (development of a single copper mine south of Bisbee might threaten or somehow impede the peregrinations of the odd jaguar).
The real threat to the presence of jaguars in the United States is Donald Trump’s “great, beautiful wall,” 35 to 50 feet high, which would probably not stop really determined humans, but which would put the final kibosh on rare cross-border species like the jaguar.
If you can put up with all the cant, it is still worth reading.
Jaguar filmed recently in Arizona (February 2016 video)
Hat tip to Karen L. Myers.
Amy Davidson, in the New Yorker, quarrels with the characterization by the local sheriff of the accidental shooting death of instructor Charles Vacca by a 9-year-old girl firing an Uzi as “an industrial accident.”
The Arizona Last Stop, where a nine-year-old girl accidentally shot her instructor with an Uzi last Monday, has already reopened. It was â€œbooked pretty solidâ€ for the Labor Day weekend, Sam Scarmardo, the owner, told Reuters. The sheriff of Mohave County described a video of the shootingâ€”recorded by the girlâ€™s parents, who were tourists from New Jerseyâ€”as â€œgrisly,â€ and has filed his report. He found that there is no cause for any criminal charges, not against whoever put together the rangeâ€™s Bullets and Burgers Adventure, designed to put automatic military weapons in the hands of children as young as eight, or against anyone else. Instead, the sheriff referred the case to the Arizona Department of Occupational Safety and Health, because, he said, it was â€œbeing viewed as an industrial accident.â€
â€œAn industrial accidentâ€: that phrase raises the question of what industry we are talking about. …
There are many businesses that make up the gun industry, including the buying and selling of political influence. In Arizona and many other states, the realm of firearms is poorly regulated, from gun stores and fairs to tourist traps like Last Stop. As the Arizona Republic wrote, â€œArizona statutes do address firing ranges, but the laws primarily deal with noise levels. No laws govern any training protocols for firearms instructors, safety guidelines or age restrictions. But even if there were, there is no regulatory authority to enforce them.â€ A former Last Stop employee described the range, to the Republic, as a â€œshake and bakeâ€ operation, but, for what itâ€™s worth, its enforcement record was clean. Setting a minimum age of eight to use a gun on a range has been described, since Vaccaâ€™s death, as something of an industry standard in many states. There is still an overhanging injunction that workplaces be generally safe, and maybe the Arizona authorities can do something with that, but there is not much cause for optimism.
This shouldnâ€™t be surprising; it is not accidental. The same political forces that gather around gun rights are those railing against government in any form, even the kind that involves keeping children and their gun instructors, or other teachers, safe. We are left not only with lax gun laws but shake-and-bake shooting ranges. This is part of the explanation for why talking to the gun lobby about â€œcommon-sense regulationsâ€ never seems to go well. They are drawing on, and stoking, a view that presumes the foolishness of regulations. It is sad and telling that the only department left to look into Vaccaâ€™s death is the state equivalent of the Occupational Safety and Health Administrationâ€”regularly derided by Republicansâ€”and that itâ€™s unlikely to be able to do much at all.
A possible question for a 2016 Republican Party debate is whether the candidates think that nine-year-olds should ever be permitted to fire automatic weapons.
But an industrial accident, i.e. an accident which occurred as the result of improper handling of a tool, was precisely what happened.
The 9-year-old girl was clearly too small, too weak and uncoordinated, and insufficiently instructed in the safe handling and management of that weapon in full-automatic fire. She fired too long a burst and lost control of the weapon, which climbed as the result of recoil as it proceeded to continue to fire causing the muzzle to move beyond her intended target, and finally move upward to the left, winding up pointed at one moment as it continued to discharge at the unfortunate instructor’s head.
Was it unwise to put that Uzi into the hands of this 9-year-old girl? Clearly, it was. Yet, I feel perfectly sure that Mr. Vacca could have put that Uzi into the hands of entire school classes full of 9-year-olds without any such accident occurring. Most children would have kept their heads and never lost control of the Uzi. If warned in advance of the hazards of firing too long a burst, if given a magazine for full-auto fire with a more limited number of rounds, if the child were taller or if the instructor stayed lower or stood further behind the child, if the instructor were more alert, Mr. Vacca’s tragic death could easily have been averted.
All over America and the world, adults, from time to time, in the natural course of life, expose children to the excitement and interest of using dangerous tools, machinery (and sometimes weapons) all of which are potentially lethal. Parents teach children how to drive a car, a tractor, a lawn mower, or an ATV. Adults show children how to use a power saw, a lathe, or other machine tools. Parents take children to the shooting range and allow them to handle and fire guns. That is precisely the way that children grow up acquainted with tools, weapons, and machinery and learn to use them safely.
Amy Davidson’s philosophic approach to a tragic accident of this kind is to demand new federal laws and regulations based on the prejudices and emotional responses of people like herself, bien pensants socially and geographically remote from the kind of people who like to play with guns, and who actually in reality possess no expertise concerning guns or firearm safety themselves whatsoever.
From the liberal point of view, the combination of the administrative state and the pure intrinsic wisdom of the well-educated elite is effectively omnipotent. Just surrender more liberty and money to them, let them pass some more laws and create another federal agency, and they can successfully regulate happenstance, misfortune, and human incompetence and stupidity out of existence.
Obviously, there are a lot of us who disagree.
Instructor Vacca’s death was a tragic accident, but Mr. Vacca himself had as good a chance as anyone could possibly have had of preventing it. He simply failed to foresee one extreme possibility. I expect that shooting instructors nationally are going to be a lot more careful about placing full-auto weapons in the hands of children, and are going to take extra precautions and be more alert when they do.
Davidson obviously falsely depicts shooting ranges as part of an imaginarily lucrative and conspiratorial firearms industry so rich that it can buy political immunity from regulation. Gun control has actually been successfully resisted almost entirely by the purely grass-roots efforts of individual sportsmen, hobbyists, and collectors. The firearms “industry” contributes modestly to the NRA and many of its member corporations sell out to government quite readily.
Shooting ranges are all well aware that they live in a litigious country with a predatory trial bar eager to go after them. They do not need political prodding to implement safety rules and protocols. Every shooting range has already adopted all of them that they could think of as necessary.
The accidental death of Mr. Vacca merely proves that human foresight is limited and that even experts –Mr. Vacca was undoubtedly an expert– make mistakes.
The decision about when a particular child should be permitted to shoot a gun, or drive a tractor, or even I would say, when a child should be permitted to take a drink, ought really to be left up to the child’s parents. We do not need state or national policies and the last people who should be permitted to regulate access to, and usage and possession of guns or other machinery or tools should be the kind of people who write in the New Yorker and who are completely innocent of personal acquaintance and familiarity with the things they wish to regulate.
About once in ten years the Grand Canyon will temporarily fill with fog. American Digest has some excellent photos from a couple of days ago when the “ocean of fog” effect occurred.
A six-months-pregnant woman in Mesa, Arizona chased her husband around a shopping center parking lot with her SUV, and finally ran the miscreant over leaving him in critical condition for failing to vote for Mitt Romney. The lady blamed the incumbent for her family’s economic distress.
Police said there were no indications that Holly was impaired by alcohol or drugs during the incident.
The Arizona Game and Fish Department is currently analyzing a recent trail camera photo of either a jaguar or an ocelot sighted southeast of Tucson.
The photo includes only the tail and a small portion of a hind quarter of the animal, making positive identification more difficult. Game and Fish is now consulting with outside experts about the photo, taken Sept. 23 and submitted by a sportsman, to better identify the species.
“We have definitively determined that it is either a jaguar or an ocelot, but we need to do further analysis of the animal’s spot patterns and size to try to positively identify which species it is,” said Game and Fish Nongame Branch Chief Eric Gardner.
Arizona game officials are consulting with seven outside experts to determine if a photo recently submitted by a hunter shows the tail of a jaguar or an ocelot sighted southeast of Tucson.
While those expertsâ€™ conclusions arenâ€™t in yet, two longtime cat biologists who work as volunteers for the Sky Island Alliance conservation group said Wednesday they believe itâ€™s a jaguar.
The predominant opinion among those responding to the State Game and Fish Department so far is also that the tail is of a jaguar, â€œbut it is not the only opinion,â€ said Eric Gardner, Game and Fishâ€™s non-game branch chief. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has reached out to an eighth expert, Gardner said today.
â€œWe do have an individual who believes it is inconclusive, but if pressed would probably go the ocelot route,â€ Gardner said. â€œItâ€™s still premature. Most of it is a lot of opinion without a lot of reasoning behind it, based on experience. We have some statements based on size and length of the tail and the bushy tip of tail. But itâ€™s still being discussed in the professional arena. I think we have to let that discussion occur.â€
Gardner said he hopes to have heard from all the experts by early next week.
The photo was taken Sept. 23. As is typical, the state Game and Fish Department did not release the animalâ€™s specific location and Gardner declined this morning to say what county the photo was taken in.
Hat tip to Karen L. Myers.
Guns and Ammo forwarded a cringe-inducing report. Earlier this month, on August 9th in Chandler, Arizona, 27-year-old Joshua Seto was attempting to secure his fiancee Cara Christopher’s pink Taurus .380 in the waistband of his trousers, before stopping in a Fry’s Food Store to make a purchase.
The unfortunate Mr. Seto, at the time under the influence of prescription drugs, accidentally discharged a round which struck him in the penis before proceeding through his left thigh.
The Arizona Republic reported:
The bleeding started immediately and was heavy, according to police dispatch recordings released Sunday.
“He is still conscious, there is just a lot of blood,” Christopher, 26, told 9-1-1 operators and dispatchers.
One operator told Christopher to apply direct pressure to the wound with a dry towel or T-shirt, but to avoid looking at the wound.
“I did look at it,” Christopher said. “It’s pretty bad.”
There was talk in the Arizona papers that Mr. Seto might even be prosecuted as the result of his accident.
The local police also proceeded to advise gun-owners to use holsters for carrying sidearms.
My own opinion is that semiautomatic pistols offer a real advantage over revolvers for concealed carry in being flat sided and basically rectangular. They tend to have fewer protrusions and tuck up against the body more comfortably.
I myself look with disfavor on the trend in recent decades toward double-action semiautos, lacking a safety because they are philosophically intended to be treated as if they were revolvers. I own one such semiauto, a .357 SIG, and if I were carrying it, I’d carry it with an empty chamber, and simply assume that I would inevitably have adequate time to rack the slide if I ever needed to shoot anybody.
This accident was obviously a fluke. The victim was evidently impaired by drugs. But we are all impaired some of the time. Advancing age and illnesses impair everybody sooner or later a bit. We all occasionally take prescription drugs and some of us drink.
It is probably a little safer to use a holster, as the cops suggested, but I read regular reports of users of DA autos shooting themselves in the leg while putting their gun in the holster. Tex Grebner managed to do the same thing with a regular Model 1911 variant as a consequence of confusion induced by a push-button-release holsters. Grebner pushed the safety accidentally.
If you aren’t Jeff Cooper, it may be a better idea to carry that semiauto in Condition 3, magazine full, chamber empty.
Mavanell and Dorwan Stoddard
Matthew Shaffer memorializes an Arizonan retiree who managed to move quickly during an emergency and saved his wife’s life.
Dorwan Stoddard and his wife, Mavanell, grew up together as friends in Tucson, and were high-school sweethearts in the 1950s. The two parted, moved away, and married others. But 15 years ago, having survived the death of their spouses, the two were reunited â€” and then married â€” in their hometown.
When Jared Loughner began firing on the crowd gathered around Rep. Gabrielle Gifford at the Safeway supermarket in Tucson on Saturday, Mavanell thought the sounds came from firecrackers. Dorwan knew otherwise and quickly pulled his wife to the ground and threw himself over her. Mavy â€” as she is known to her friends â€” was hit three times in the legs, and is now in stable condition and expected to survive. Dorwan was shot, fatally, through the head, at the age of 76. Dorwan was memorialized at the Mountain Avenue Church of Christ â€” a small Tucson-area church where he and Mavy had worshipped and served â€” on Sunday.
Alan Caruba points out once again that gun control laws are ineffective in disarming the insane.
In 1247, the Bethlehem Royal Hospital was established at Bishopsgate, just outside the London wall. It was better known as Bedlam and was the first asylum for the mentally ill in England. By 1403 it had some prominent guests. Bedlam had become the generic name for psychiatric hospitals and, more colloquially for a disturbance of the peace.
There was such a disturbance on Saturday when Jared Loughner shot U.S Representative Gabrielle Giffords in the brain at point blank range. He then shot others including a Federal judge and a nine-year-old child.
There is something like 25,000 laws on the books concerning the purchase and ownership of guns and not one single one of them could have prevented what happened.
This is not a defense of guns. The U.S. Revolution began at Concord and Lexington when a group of farmers picked up their guns and shot at British soldiers. No one is going to un-invent guns and everywhere they were banned, tyrannies of every description occurred.
This is about the Jared Loughnerâ€™s who, in my lifetime, assassinated men like John F. Kennedy, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and Malcolm X. Some nine U.S. presidents have either been killed or attacked by assassins. …
Anyone who has been a reporter as I have been will tell you that every American city has a section that local residents fear to travel to or through. Murder occurs in every American city, large and small, every day. Usually it is a drug deal or robbery gone bad or a gambling dispute.
For reporters, the killing of someone prominent is a news bonanza. It overrides the usual buzz in a newsroom devoted to the more commonplace stories. Thereâ€™s a reason the news channels are into full coverage mode and why, by the end of the week, when they have exhausted the few known facts of the Tucson shooting, they will return to a normal coverage of the news.
Hereâ€™s what you need to keep in mind. Itâ€™s not about gun laws. Itâ€™s not about Tucson. Itâ€™s not about Arizona. Itâ€™s not about political analysis and dialogue, so you can ignore the hypocritical ravings of MSNBCâ€™s Keith Olberman and others eager to blame Rush Limbaugh or the Fox News Channel.
Loughner is Hinkley redux. Described by all who know him as â€œa lonerâ€ and rejected for military service, invited to leave the campus of a local college, more than a few people understood that Jared had a screw loose.
The closest you can get to understanding what happened is to rent Martin Scorseseâ€™s brilliant film, â€œTaxi Driver.â€ There you will see Robert DeNiroâ€™s portrayal of Travis Bickle, the archetype of every lone gunman. And yes, also in the film, you will find Jodie Foster.
The shooting was about mental illness. It was about paranoia. It was about schizophrenia. It was about all the other killings where innocent people were gunned down by someone hearing voices in his head.
Say a prayer for Rep. Giffords, but remember, they walk among us.
Arizona, Free Speech, Gabrielle Giffords, Jared Lee Loughner, Sarah Palin, The Left, The Mainstream Media
Matthew had a nice comment apropos of all the opportunistic leftist whingeing about “vitriolic political speech.”
The First Amendment is the singer on stage in front of everyone whose voice can not be ignored, while the Second Amendment is the individual in front of the stage making sure no one kills the performance.