Sunday, November 22, 2015

Campus Carry

The big issue on Florida college campuses these days is the impending possibility that people who can lawfully carry a concealed firearm elsewhere in Florida may soon be permitted** to do so at Florida colleges.  Horrors!

That is: those who are 21 or over (we're talking seniors or grad students, generally), who have had an extensive background check both by FDLE and FBI, whose fingerprints are on file in Tallahassee, and who have demonstrated reasonable proficiency with a firearm, may do on a college campus that which they can do almost everywhere else in the state, viz.: be inconspicuously armed.  Students, faculty, and administrators are suffering a case of the vapours at the mere thought that, should a Virginia Tech incident or a Strozier Library incident occur in their school, there will be even more guns making loud noises.  At least, that's what I believe they're thinking##.

Now, it turns out that only two states, Texas and Florida, compile statistics on "how many crimes are committed by people who have concealed weapons permits (CWPs)".  The numbers are truly puzzling if one accepts the dominant meme that all CWP-holders are Dirty Harry wannabees looking for any excuse to whip out their penis-substitute and start rendering swift justice — you know, like George Zimmerman.  The numbers Texas and Florida supply suggest that CWP-holders are more law-abiding than the police as a class.  Not only that, it appears they are less likely to shoot the wrong person than the police are — by a factor of five (5).

On net, then, for those really worried about their safety, the most logical course of action is to hope that they're seated next to one of those... those... people (ugh!) with their nasty guns (shiver!) because — oddly enough — that's likely the safest place in the room or the building or (perhaps) the school.  Far from making the college a riskier place, those CWP-holders will actually make it a safer place.



(**:)  By 'permitted', I mean that they will no longer be under threat of felony prosecution for the action.

(##:)  ...if, in fact, thinking has actually occurred, something for which there appears to be little or no evidence.

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

First, Charlie Hebdo, now...

Well, it's been a few days since the terrorist attacks in Paris.   The dust has mostly settled and speculation has tapered off.   We're pretty sure what we know or suspect is, in fact, true:   ISIS has claimed responsibility and there is little reason to doubt their veracity, in this case at any rate.

The French — indeed, all of Western Europe — are shocked — shocked, I tell you — that terrorists can so easily obtain better, more deadly, weapons than the Paris gendarmerie typically tote.   The ordinary Jacques-sur-la-Rue, I might add, is a criminal for carrying almost anything that might be called 'a weapon'.

I could rant on and on for paragraphs about how important it is for ordinary people to be able to be their own first responders and how that requires that they be able to act — forcefully — in their own defense.   You've just heard all the ranting I'm going to do, except...  

I do wish to point out something L. Neil Smith has already expounded:   'terrorism' is a diffuse problem and it will not succumb to a targeted solution;   only a diffuse solution will fit a diffuse problem.   What this means, on net, is that we cannot expect the police, the FBI (or, in France, DCPJ), or the NSA to always be on top of the situation.   Yes, they will thwart the occasional plot, but not every one.   The only thing that will put a bullet into the nefarious plans of terrorists is the thought that Jacques Bonhomme will put a bullet into one or more terrorists.

I am pretty sure France will not take my advice.   Too bad, but I've done my part.

Monday, November 9, 2015

Where Were You When the Lights Went Out?

The greatest of the 'all-time great' first-person stories have to be those told by people who were involved in The Great Northeast Power Blackout of 1965.   I'm impelled to add mine for no reason than to add luster to the others.

I, fortunately or unfortunately, slept through the entire thing.

The GNPB struck New York City...  struck the whole Northeast...  at about 5:15pm on November 9th 1965.  At the time I was a student at Pace College, 41 Park Row in lower Manhattan.   My mother and her second husband, Eddie, were on a cruise to Bermuda at the time and I was left to my own devices.

The afternoon of November 9th I had two things I didn't really want:  a developing cold and a Biology Lab final exam.  When we started the Lab final the instructor told us that as soon as we were finished we could leave, and as soon as I was finished I did.

I recall swapping material at my locker in the basement then heading straight for the subway.  I felt terrible;  my head was pounding and my nose was stuffy and I was developing a fever and...  I caught a train headed into Brooklyn, a 4th Avenue Local most likely, and got to the 45th Street station very close to 5:15.  I have always suspected that the train I was on might not have made it to 53rd Street, the next stop.

Oddly, the section of Brooklyn that I called 'home' was served in an electrical sense by a small independent generating company on Staten Island, probably under contract to Con Ed, and they never got hit by the blackout.  Consequently, I had power all night long if I had wanted or needed it.

When I arrived home, I made something simple and small to eat for dinner and turned on the TV to catch the news.  There was nothing but snow on the TV and none of the radio stations were broadcasting either.  For some reason I didn't find this odd; it was just another reason not to stay up.  I had a quick bite to eat and went upstairs to bed, fell asleep, and awoke the next morning to a perfectly normal world.