Spoiler Alert: It Won’t

This data may change one way you think about guns

What’s this “new” data?

A decade’s worth of data from the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services shows that thousands more people die from self-inflicted gunshot wounds than from assaults.

From 2005-15, the department tracked that data. There were 3,533 firearm assaults that resulted in death, while 5,483 people died from self-inflicted gun shots (55 percent more).

The difference in rate is even greater locally. Over the same period in Greene County, 56 people were killed by guns fired by another person, while 262 died by firearm suicide (368 percent more).

The article includes several scary graphs about how gun suicides are more successful than other mechanisms for self-harm.

Which leads us to the inevitable coda:

A measured change to gun laws can help this specific problem because if we can keep firearms out of the hands of people who may be suicidal, we have a much better chance of saving their lives.

The author also says:

Folks in Missouri are protective of guns, built out of a culture of defending ourselves and providing for ourselves. We don’t have to change that culture, but we may have to change our law.

Folks with good intentions may be inconvenienced by waiting for guns. But for people considering suicide, it could save their lives.

Summary: I didn’t know this, so here’s an argument for increased legislation based on what I just learned.

But people who know about guns know about the risks. Especially the risks of turning the ratchet to the right.

You Win Some, You Lose Some

Two stories from Friday’s Springfield Business Journal‘s Today in Business newsletter:

Trump tariffs blamed for potential closure of SEMO employer:

George Skarich of Mid Continent Nail Corp. says President Donald Trump’s tariff on steel imports could put the company out of business.

“Cheap nail imports from China and other countries don’t face this tariff and are increasing every day. We need our wire to be excluded from this tariff or we will have to increase the layoffs we’ve already begun,” Skarich says.

The Poplar Bluff-based 500-employee operation is said to be one of the last major U.S. nail manufacturers.

Steel company JSW USA to add 1,000 new jobs:

JSW Steel USA plans to invest $1 billion in facilities in Mingo Junction, Ohio, and Baytown, Texas.

“We are going to be hiring over 1,000 people,” JSW President and CEO John Hritz told CNBC.

Hritz credited President Donald Trump’s steel tariffs for allowing the company to supply more steel for defense and infrastructure purposes.

Now, I’ve not studied Common Core math, but this looks like a net positive for employment numbers.

I note, though, that the headlines blame Trump for the job losses but credit the company with job creation.

I Was Just Telling My Child About Recycling

He was slowly dumping a bottle of old soy sauce into the sink while I was trying to do dishes, so I grabbed it from him, put the cap on, and tossed it in the trash.

“But recycling!” my children chirped as they’ve been taught.

So I gave them a little talk about how recycling consumes resources and produces a recycled product of dubius utility.

This was last night. Today, a story reiterates what those of us paying attention and concerned with actual economic costs instead of simple absolution rituals already know: Some Inconvenient Truths About Recycling:

It has become an article of faith in the U.S. that recycling is a good thing. But evidence is piling up that recycling is a waste of time and money, and a bit of a fraud.

The New York Times recently reported that, unknown to most families who spend hours separating garbage into little recycling bins, much of the stuff ends up in a landfill anyway.

Penn and Teller had a program on in the old days called “Bullshit!” that had an episode on recycling. The whole thing doesn’t look to be on YouTube, but a small sample is (Penn language warning):

Me, I recycle just because otherwise I might have to pay for another garbage cart to be picked up weekly.

(Link via Instapundit.)

An Unfortunate Banner

417 magazine has a cover story this month Your Guide to the Best Swimming Holes in the Ozarks.

Although it’s not the magazine cover image, here’s the banner on the Web site:

The magazine hit the stands this week. Also in the news this week: High cliff jump into Buffalo River breaks paddler’s neck:

Nearly 40 feet high on the side of a cliff, [redacted] knew instantly that his double backflip into the Buffalo River wasn’t going right.

“When I turned backwards on the cliff I started falling backwards,” [redacted] remembers. “I over-rotated on the way down and I didn’t land it well.”

I’m not from around here, so I was not aware the cliff jumps were a thing. I grew up in the projects, where we went wading in the storm water basins, and nobody was going to dive from the overpass into a couple inches of water over concrete. But apparently it is.

Although it’s not illegal to jump from cliffs in Buffalo National River Park, ranger Casey Johannsen advised against it because of the risk for injury.

“We have signage in the park that strongly discourages it,” Johannsen said Friday. “My recommendation, always, is don’t do it.”

There are no fines if someone is observed jumping off a cliff, but Johannsen said several people a year are injured doing risky cliff jumps.

It shouldn’t be illegal, of course, but people need to be careful.

Strangely enough, the incident reminded me of a book: The Dive from Clausen’s Pier. Between the book, though, and cliff-jumping into an unknown stretch of river, I’d be torn.

That’s Not A Bus Strike

Madison County bus strike possible, agency chief says:

Madison County’s transit agency is preparing for a potential strike by its 200 or so bus drivers amid a stalemate in negotiations on a new contract, the agency’s chief said Wednesday.

This is a bus strike:

Excessive speed played a role in Tuesday’s crash of a Milwaukee County Transit System bus on the Marquette University campus, officials said.

The 59-year-old male driver of a route 12 MCTS bus lost control about 5:15 p.m. Tuesday along West Wisconsin Ave. and the bus crashed into Johnston Hall on the Marquette University campus, just east of Gesu Church.

For the record, I did not take the 12 to get to Marquette. I took the 23.

Something Other Than Coyotes

As the sun is coming up here at Nogglestead, we often hear the coyotes calling as they return to their dens in the national battlefield just across the fields.

But yesterday, about 5:40, we got a novel new sound: a high speed police chase.

Police closed part of U.S. 60 in Republic Saturday morning after a pursuit led to a crash.

The crash happened near Farm Road 170.

Republic police say the pursuit was initiated by the Greene County Sheriff’s Office.

What does a police chase sound like? A siren in the distance, getting closer, and then cars passing by at high speed. I caught sound of the sirens and looked out of my office window to see the fleeing car through the trees followed by a couple of deputies at some remove.

This is the second high speed pursuit I have seen within a year. The last was when the fleeing car and the deputy passed me in the opposite direction on the county highway. Everyone, I was pleased, stayed in their own lanes.

For the record, I prefer the coyotes.

Not Me, But Don’t Think I Haven’t Thought Of It

Self-storage units surge in Milwaukee because ‘people don’t like to get rid of stuff’

As you might know, gentle reader, I like to retain things as artifacts of my youth as I’m a few decades ahead of my peers in not having many friends or family with whom I can reminisce. So I have bunches of things from my dead family members on mantels and shelves and in boxes in my closets. I also collect a lot of things, from comic books to old computers, that take up space in our store room. I don’t like to let things go.

But strangely enough, the only time I’ve considered renting storage space is to clear space in my garage, where we have boxes of children’s or my beautiful wife’s books, some kitchen stuff not in frequent (that is, once in a decade) use, and some craft gear that I’m not actively using, and some furniture that I’ve been meaning to refinish for the last twenty years (what, you say–have I really moved these articles four times? Yes.). If I put them in a storage unit, I can make room in the garage for me to actually do things in it.

But so far, no. I’m afraid of what would happen were I to get one storage unit. I fear it would be like putting the first item in the bag at a book sale’s bag day.

So I’ll just have to resign myself to the remedy that we’ve used over the years: buy a bigger house.

I Buy My Swords And Trucks, Thank You

So many people across Springfield saw this story and thought of me: Man Steals Truck, Swords then Flees Police:

Police in Springfield are looking for a man who stole from items from Vintage Stock, including display swords.

Store employees say the swords are not made to be weapons, but could potentially be used as such.

Police say prior to the theft at Vintage Stock, the suspect stole a Dale’s Roofing truck, which hit a Pontiac Grand Am at the intersection of Glenstone and Barataria as he fled the Vintage Stock store.

To be clear, I’ve bought all the bladed weapons I own except for the halberd, which was a very nice gift from a D&D friend who asked me what I wanted for Christmas, and I said, “A halberd.” Because polearms don’t get enough attention in role-playing games and film, if you ask me.

A Little Too Far Ahead Of The Story

The Springfield News-Leader made sure to post someone at Wilson’s Creek National Battlefield to capture the chagrin of people who would find the GOVERNMENT SHUT DOWN! PEOPLE WILL DIE, OR NOT GET TO USE THE BATHROOMS IN THE VISITOR’S CENTER!

Unfortunately, since the Senate reached cloture and the government shutdown ended, they didn’t get to write the ongoing story of how the shutdown was causing DISASTER and HARDSHIP for all, but with the story already written, they went with it:

Wilson’s Creek visitors frustrated by diminished experience:

Three visitors from Michigan spent a cold afternoon battling whipping wind and a government shutdown in their attempt to see Wilson’s Creek National Battlefield.

The historic Civil War national park southeast of Republic was nearly empty of visitors Monday afternoon, and no park staff was visible during the short-lived government shutdown.

The popular visitors center was closed, but motorists could still drive through the park property, read the educational signs and listen to recorded bits of history about the first Civil War battle west of the Mississippi in 1861.

In other words, it was about as busy as you could expect on a cold Monday afternoon.

But the journalist was sure to make sure the newspaper’s dwindling readers knew who to blame:

All three, however, laid the primary blame on President Donald Trump.

It’s a shame how many people don’t know that the President signs the bills and the legislature passes or does not pass them. I used to give journalists the benefit of the mendacity when they’d write stories mischaracterizing the political process in this country, but now I’m pretty sure they’re just ignorant, too.

Also Florid and Mockable

As I was reading this post by Don Surber, I came across this oft-repeated nostrum:

The pen is mightier than the sword.

By Edward Bulwer-Lyton (more).

You know the other quote Edward Bulwer-Lyton is known for?

It was a dark and stormy night.

(more.)

The latter has spawned annual writing contest.

One wonders if there should be a similar floridly written fiction contest for journalists who think that their keyboards would best an actual tyrant’s sword, guns, or Polonium, or if perhaps those in the trade who quote the first Bulwer-Lyton confuse their own egos with “the pen.”

(Link via Instapundit.)

Ozark Police Assault Some Deerde Who Wasn’t Doin’ Nothin’

As Ms. K. likes to say, gas stations and convenience stores are like watering holes on the Serengeti for criminals (or something like that).

On Wednesday, November 22, somebody called the police on a suspicious looking young deer loitering outside the Casey’s General Story (famous for pizza). Probably asking for money or for someone to buy some beer.

The police responded less brutally than the Carbondale police department handling an emu, but still, when the deer gave them a little lip, they brutally assaulted the innocent piece of Bambiana.



The question on my mind, though, is who called the police on a wayward deer?

The answer, I think, is the manager of the Casey’s, who wanted to get free publicity for the fact that he or she is currently hiring.

It’s only the Black Friday deals that have kept the protesters otherwise occupied than to organize marches in Ozark.

Stuck in Reruns

You know, as I mentioned, I’m going through old posts and whatnot, and I notice that I used to comment on the news of the day every day.

Lately, though, my posts have been mostly music, mostly books, mostly life.

Why is that, you ask?

Well, it’s partly because I don’t want to sound like a crank on the Internet, and I don’t devote enough time to my commentary to not were I to jot a couple things here and there. Also, in the modern world, I can’t help but wonder if I would lose career opportunities based on my commentary. Although this site with its rich archives is still here, so any job opportunities I would lose I have already lost. And I’m thinking that the field that I am in has changed enough to leave me behind a bit as it were anyway.

Also, it’s partly because like reading a Rogue Warrior novel, I see the same things come up over and over again over the years, and I’d just be repeating myself.

A couple cases in point: From 2012, stories about local governments in St. Louis County and Republic looking to consolidate trash hauling to a single government-selected option. I know I’ve written at length about this as far back as my Suburban Journal days. Well, look, here the issue is again in Springfield. I wrote about it earlier this year even. What more do I have to say about it except to point out further examples?

I also spotted a story from 2008 about the Hidden Valley ski resort in St. Louis County clashing with local governments about blocking an amenity, and the resort threatened to or it will have no choice to shut down.

It just seems so dull to keep posting the same things, year after year, with little change.

Occam’s Razor Suggests Robur the Conqueror

BOOM! MYSTERY BLASTS RATTLING THE GLOBE:

Those are the questions experts and non-experts around the world are asking themselves in recent weeks as curiously loud mystery BOOMS have not only been hear around the world, but felt – shaking buildings and rattling nerves from Alabama to Michigan, Idaho to California, Russia to Denmark.

The Alabama boom last Tuesday at 1:39 CST was heard and felt through 11 counties, but an earthquake event has been ruled out.

The day after Alabamans were shaken by that incident, something similar occurred in Idaho. No explanation has been forthcoming from law enforcement officials there.

Then, last Saturday, much the same thing was reported in Michigan, according to various local newscast. Still no explanation.

Clearly, it is Robur the Conqueror in his Clipper in the Clouds:

Never had the sky been so much looked at since the appearance of man on the terrestrial globe. The night before an aerial trumpet had blared its brazen notes through space immediately over that part of Canada between Lake Ontario and Lake Erie. Some people had heard those notes as “Yankee Doodle,” others had heard them as “Rule Britannia,” and hence the quarrel between the Anglo-Saxons, which ended with the breakfast on Goat Island. Perhaps it was neither one nor the other of these patriotic tunes, but what was undoubted by all was that these extraordinary sounds had seemed to descend from the sky to the earth.

What could it be? Was it some exuberant aeronaut rejoicing on that sonorous instrument of which the Renommée makes such obstreperous use?

No! There was no balloon and there were no aeronauts. Some strange phenomenon had occurred in the higher zones of the atmosphere, a phenomenon of which neither the nature nor the cause could be explained. Today it appeared over America; forty-eight hours afterwards it was over Europe; a week later it was in Asia over the Celestial Empire.

Hence in every country of the world—empire, kingdom, or republic—there was anxiety which it was important to allay. If you hear in your house strange and inexplicable noises, do you not at once endeavor to discover the cause? And if your search is in vain, do you not leave your house and take up your quarters in another? But in this case the house was the terrestrial globe! There are no means of leaving that house for the moon or Mars, or Venus, or Jupiter, or any other planet of the solar system. And so of necessity we have to find out what it is that takes place, not in the infinite void, but within the atmospherical zones. In fact, if there is no air there is no noise, and as there was a noise—that famous trumpet, to wit—the phenomenon must occur in the air, the density of which invariably diminishes, and which does not extend for more than six miles round our spheroid.

(Link via.)

I AM NOT A SERIAL KILLER, But I’m Working On My Alibi Just In Case

For the second time this year, human body parts have been found at a location named in my poetry.

First, it was Bee Tree Park. Now, it’s Okauchee Lake in Wisconsin:

A body found floating in Okauchee Lake near Road J on Oct. 26 appears to have been missing its head, part of an arm and a foot, if a photo circulating on social media is to be believed.

Police declined to comment about the photo, but Police Chief James Wallis said, “It does appear that the body may have been in the lake for an extended period of time.”

The relevant poem: “Okauchee Light”:

Across the dark Okauchee lake, a light,
the marker for the end of someone’s dock,
is strangely lit at nearly twelve o’clock
and breaks the solid black that is the night.
From here, across the chilling April lake,
through busy bar room glass I see that glow,
but life or rooms beyond I’ll never know.
One light does not a utopia make.
Quite like your smile, that single man-made star:
Up there, on stage, you flash a smile at me,
and crinkle eyes to give the gesture weight,
but like the dock-end light, you are too far;
your glow is there for someone else to see,
and now, for me at least, it is too late.

If anything happens six miles south of Tonica, Illinois, I will probably be interviewed.

Weird that “Okauchee Light” did not appear in one of my chapbooks from the middle 1990s. It will appear in my forthcoming volume Coffeehouse Memories, due out whenever I get around to it.

It Would Have Been Less Romantic That Way

As you might know, gentle reader, I met my beautiful wife on the Internet when I posted a poem on a Usenet newsgroup (ask yer grandpa), and she liked it (fuller story here).

This is the poem I posted (and which should appear in a forthcoming volume of poetry when I get around to finishing it up.

Exploring, we discovered Bee Tree Park.
Tree branches laced like lazy fingers behind our head,
above the trail, above the naked rock,
where neon graffiti was worn to earthen tones.
The slow Mississippi whispered by.
Fingers woven like dreams and the night
before falling asleep.
Her warm palm pulsing, we paused
to watch the barges wander down
and sip the summer breeze.
Her voice murmured cooly in my ears,
she spilled her hair over my shoulder,
maple syrup dripping down my chest,
“This would be a great place to make love.”
I smiled, ruffling kisses through her hairs,
a butterfly on a field of clover,
and rustled in her ear, “We are.”

The whole scene and setup would definitely be less romantic with a severed human foot in it.

How Far Into The Elite Are David Brooks and the New York Times

In a column decrying the how the elite are ruining America and destroying the Middle Class entitled How We Are Ruining America, he says:

Recently I took a friend with only a high school degree to lunch. Insensitively, I led her into a gourmet sandwich shop. Suddenly I saw her face freeze up as she was confronted with sandwiches named “Padrino” and “Pomodoro” and ingredients like soppressata, capicollo and a striata baguette. I quickly asked her if she wanted to go somewhere else and she anxiously nodded yes and we ate Mexican.

Forget the parochialism in thinking his friend was freaked out by the high class vittles (the text does not mention that he asked her if she was put off by the offerings or, mayhap, the erm, exuberant pricing for such fare or whether it just wasn’t to her taste–he assumes it’s because she’s uneducated).

He says, and no editor corrects, high school degree.

That’s not what we call it out here in the middle class hinterlands.

(Link via Instapundit.)

That’s A Bold Email Subject Line, Cotton

An email touting a Webinar:

“Kaspersky-KSV -How a Light Agent Gives You More Capabilities.” I dunno, putting “Kaspersky” and “agent” in the same sentence when marketing Kaspersky seems a little risky given recent news headlines that do the same, such as Documents could link Russian cybersecurity firm Kaspersky to FSB spy agency.

But who knows? Maybe any publicity is good publicity, and marketing people who might find themselves out of work soon can disavow any particular email subject line in five seconds.

Potential Payday for Attorneys of the Uninformed

Home Depot, Menards face lawsuits over lumber size description:

Two home improvements stores are accused of deceiving the buyers of four-by-four boards, the big brother to the ubiquitous two-by-four.

The alleged deception: Menards and Home Depot (HD) market and sell the hefty lumber as four-by-fours without specifying that the boards actually measure 3½ inches by 3½ inches.

. . . .

The retailers say the allegations are bogus. It is common knowledge and longstanding industry practice, they say, that names such as two-by-four or four-by-four do not describe the width and thickness of those pieces of lumber.

Rather, the retailers say, those are “nominal” designations accepted in government-approved industry standards, which also specify actual minimum dimensions — 1½ inches by 3½ inches for a two-by-four, for example, and 3½ inches by 3½ inches for a four-by-four.

Mein Gott, this has been that way forever. People who use lumber know it. But apparently not some people easily influenced by trial attorneys. When these suits are resolved, the attorneys in question will get the money from it, the plaintiffs themselves will get coupons, and Home Depot, Menards, and all smaller lumber yards will have new signage that indicate the actual size (and, perhaps the calorie count of various types of wood just to be on the safe side).

Meanwhile, I’m preparing my paperwork for a suit of my own: A monkey cannot actually use a monkey wrench except to bash things a la 2001: A Space Odyssey. I WANT MY CLASS ACTION LAWSUIT COUPON!

Your Wi-Fi Network, A Public Utility

An alarmist story about a new Amazon patent filing:

People have been using Amazon to compare prices since the site made its debut in 1994, but soon Amazon may kill customers’ ability to do just that in its own brick-and-mortar stores.

Amazon — which just announced the nearly $14 billion purchase of upscale grocer Whole Foods on Friday — was recently granted a patent that could be used to track customers’ web surfing in stores and interfere with where they go online.

Hijacking cellular data? Unconscionable! But wait:

The patent, aptly titled “Physical store online shopping control,” details a system that would prevent customers from comparing prices in Amazon stores by watching any online activity conducted over its wi-fi network, detecting any information of interest and responding by sending the shopper to a completely different web page — or even blocking internet use altogether.

So this patent is about altering content delivered on their network. You know, like hotels do when they ask you to sign in. Or what your workplace does when you join it. What schools do.

You know how you get around Amazon’s patented Internet-filtering? Pay for your own Internet. Use cellular data if you must go to an Amazon store and comparison shop online. Otherwise, you’re expecting–as the author of the article might–that you have some sort of right to wi-fi access without any strings attached. Which you do not.

Which would be turn around, hey? Real stores have forever claimed that people come into the shops to see what they want to order on Amazon.