#NRA

Our Sandy Hook moment?

You have to hand it to the editors of The Guardian. In what world can anyone draw an equivalence between action on climate change and a crazed gunman who murdered 27 people, mostly kindergarten kids? Who wouldn’t think the two are interchangeable?

The Guardian columnist Brigid Delaney wants us to believe the connection. At the very least this article proves once again why the paper still asks for charity at the bottom of each article because the content doesn’t warrant a high enough value that ordinary people are willing to shell out for it. Sometimes, content IS the problem.

Her column takes similar cues from the recent NY Times article on ‘Australia committing climate suicide.‘ The Man Booker prize-winning author of the opinion piece, Richard Flanagan, is a novelist, not a climate expert. 

As Mikhail Gorbachev, the last Soviet leader, once observed, the collapse of the Soviet Union began with the nuclear disaster at Chernobyl in 1986. In the wake of that catastrophe, “the system as we knew it became untenable,” he wrote in 2006. Could it be that the immense, still-unfolding tragedy of the Australian fires may yet prove to be the Chernobyl of the climate crisis?

Such dramatic language may well have inspired Delaney,

Sandy Hook was the rock bottom moment – where things are so bad you know they can no longer continue as is. After rock bottom, there is a choice: stasis and misery or growth and transformation…This apocalyptic-seeming Australian summer is our Sandy Hook moment. We have to seize it and change our thinking, our priorities and our politics. In doing so we can change our country, our future, and transform ourselves into global leaders on climate change.

Delaney might reflect on the facts surrounding gun violence in the US. 95% of firearm-related murders in the US are committed with handguns, not automatic weapons. So despite the constant fixation on automatic rifles, statistically American lawmakers would be better off banning sales of pistols. Deaths from mass-shootings are less than 0.6% of the total. Horrible yes, but a handgun ownership culture moment would have been more apt given that almost 40,000 that perish at the wrong end of a trigger every year. 

According to the Crime Prevention Research Center, murders in the US appear to be very concentrated: 54% of US counties (representing 11% of the population) in 2014 had zero murders, 2% of counties made up 51% of the murders, ironically in states with the strictest gun controls – Illinois, NY and California. 

Who needs facts when it is much easier to put the blame at the feet of 5 million law-abiding citizens who happen to be NRA members. Perhaps Americans don’t view gun massacres as ‘rock bottom’ moments when it comes to defending their amendment rights. Mark Robinson gave a perfect example of why Americans are fed up with being punished for the actions of others. Obama had control of both houses in his first term. Spoke about 2A. Didn’t do anything about it. Plenty of gun massacres in his first term including Fort Hood.

Moving on from Sandy Hook and guns, allow us to indulge her commentary on The Guardian’s pet topic of climate change. Let us not forget that the newspaper implores its journalists to crank up the alarmist rhetoric. If only as much effort went into investigating the numbers behind the claims.

Transformation is recognising the facts: Australia is a climate vandal, led by wreckers. We are ranked the worst of 57 countries on climate policy.

Delaney has probably never read the entire CCPI report which ranked us 57th. If she had (like we did), she might have found the following,

The CCPI measures the emissions, renewable energy share and climate policies of 57 countries and the European Union. It released the document at the COP25 summit to bathe in the spotlight with alarmists pals. Where was the journalistic rigour? Of course, it was non-existent.

Who were the Aussie based “experts” (activists) the CCPI relied on to provide really in-depth qualitative opinions on our climate policy evaluation?

Doctors for the Environment Australia
Australian Conservation Foundation 
Oxfam
The Australian Institute

All climate activists. Precious little objectivity there. It is isn’t hard to work out why Australia scored a 0.0 on climate policy. Even worse, any think tank with the remotest thirst for integrity in reporting and sensible data collection should have questioned a zero score. CCPI didn’t.

Yet Delaney went in all guns blazing to bash Australia’s lack of climate-friendly credentials, citing this farce of a study as gospel. It is so bad it actually makes the IPCC climate bibles look good and that takes some doing given many scientists slammed the processes which were documented in the internal feedback study. We summarised the outcomes of that 678-page document here.

Is Delaney aware that according to Bloomberg NEF, an organisation owned by an individual with heavy green credentials, Australia has the 3rd highest clean energy spend per capita! We spent twice as much in real dollar terms as France yet these climate alarmists marked us down to zero “because our democracy supported Adani.”

Sorry Ms. Delaney, we are finding it hard to reconcile how Australia spending  11x the global average on renewables makes us climate vandals? What level would you suggest we lead? We await your data-rich analysis. 

Is this the takeaway from your rich climate expertise?

What might our transformation look like? It might look like a simple acknowledgement of causation between climate change and this summer’s fires.

OK, so we just get ScoMo to declare a climate emergency? Job done!

Presumably, if we follow alarmist logic, had we legislated to accelerate renewables by not having a democratically elected carbon-loving prime minister, supported by the Murdoch media and fossil fuel industry“, these dreadful bushfires, many lit by arsonists taking advantage of poorly managed fuel loads, wouldn’t have happened, right?

It couldn’t have been the lax fire service management of the forests and the closed shop mentality of our emergency services?  Did Delaney know that Greg Mullins, the leader of the 29 former fire chiefs, barely mentioned climate change in the last five years of FR NSW annual reports under his leadership? If it is such a huge issue in retirement, why didn’t he mention it when in a position to prosecute the case? Mullins would have sounded far more credible were his alarmist fears documented in black and white. They weren’t. Go figure. 

If we indulged Delaney’s the painful lessons of this summer could be transformative, if we allow them to be. Australia – having experienced the pointy end of the climate catastrophe – could become a leader in the global fight to reduce emissions.” for a moment, does she honestly believe that spending billions more on renewables in Australia and terminating coal exports would put a dent in our already minuscule 0.0000134% contribution to human-caused global CO2, much less the world’s? Can she make a case in data?

Will she stand in Tiananmen Square and shake her fist at China, which is building between 300 and 500 new coal-fired power plants out to 2030? Or rant to President Xi that China will spew one full year of Australian emissions every week by that date vs every two weeks as it stands today? Just easier to hitch to the media wagon and heap scorn on ScoMo. 

Bette Midler attacks the NRA

Champagne socialist Bette Midler, who recent flew her three pooches to be with her in Europe despite her leanings on climate change, decided she’d troll the NRA after the shootings in El Paso and Dayton.

Unfortunately Twitter turned on her suggesting she might tally the terminations at Planned Parenthood, which cycle at one every 97 seconds.

The reality is that 5m odd NRA members aren’t all gun-toting murderers.

Mental Illness = Gun Violence?

As ever, the mainstream media are sensationalizing “mental health” and the connection to gun massacres. Let’s not forget that mental health can be categorized in a broad variety of ways – from mild anxiety, ADHD to PTSD and full blown bi-polar or schizophrenia. The mainstream media would have us believe that Trump wants the keys to the gun cabinet handed over to certified crackpots to go on white supremacist fueled mass rampages. It is easy to say that those who commit these atrocities must be mad. How easy is it to fall for that assumption? Yet the stats say otherwise.

First, what is this bill that has been repealed by Trump? Why is the media making such clickbait hyperventilating news of something that was already enacted c.2 years ago?

The previous Obama bill allowed gun retailers to get access to “mental health” related social security benefits paid to potential buyers. There are nine categories of mental disorders covered in the Social Security Blue Book. These include:

Affective disorders

Anxiety Disorders

Autism and related disorders

Mental retardation

Organic Mental Disorders

Personality disorders

Schizophrenia, paranoia, and psychotic disorders

Somatoform disorders

Substance addiction

The idea is that if one had claustrophobia or similar mild anxiety, it would be unlikely to be a factor in causing someone to shoot up a Walmart. In order to get mental health disability checks, the applicant must prove compliance to prescribed medication and that they seek regular treatment from professionals. Why do we automatically assume that mental health status is a direct trigger to mass murder? Simply because it is easy to categorize these events to unhinged crazies and presume that there was ‘illness’ involved.

A study conducted by the National Institute of Health (NIH) in America showed,

Thirty-four subjects, acting alone or in pairs, committed 27 mass murders between 1958 and 1999. The sample consisted of males with a median age of 17. 70% were described as a loner. 61.5% had problems with substance abuse. 48% had preoccupations with weapons. 43.5% had been victims of bullying. Although 23% had a documented psychiatric history, only 6% were judged to have been psychotic at the time of the mass murder. Depressive symptoms and historical antisocial behaviors were predominant. There was a precipitating event in most cases–usually a perceived failure in love or school–and most subjects made threatening statements regarding the mass murder to third parties. The majority of the sample clustered into three types: the family annihilator, the classroom avenger, and the criminal opportunist.”

Recall Cuban Parkland, Florida student Emma Gonzalez admitted she’d bullied the shooter Nikolas Cruz. It doesn’t excuse his actions. Nor hers.

Take cyber bullying stats from the Association of Psychological Science in the US. In 2015 more than 16,000 young people were absent from school daily because of bullying. 83% of young people say cyber bullying has a negative impact on their self-esteem. 30% of young people have gone on to self-harm as a result of cyberbullying. 10% of young people have attempted to commit suicide as a result of cyberbullying.

So the stats tell us in 3 out of 4 cases, mental illness was not the culprit in mass shootings. A violent/bullying, substance abuse based environment was.

As mentioned in the previous post, how is it we can find out about the history of shooters within hours of the terror? Surely the powers at the FBI, NSA etc can monitor the traffic of hate – death lists, death threats etc and use that as the basis of background checks rather than rely on whether someone received mental health related disability cheques? Perhaps someone who is fully healed from a mental illness as a child poses no threat if wanting to hunt or fire at a supervised gun range. Perhaps that individual wants to be a security guard?

Dr Jeffrey Swanson, a professor in psychiatry and behavioral science at the Duke University School of Medicine believes that in the event of unlawful use of a firearm by those with mental illness, 95% likely to turn the weapon on themselves than commit homicide.

He also believes that those who are violent or been charged with assault make far better predictors of homicidal behavior than the outcome of a mental health diagnosis.

In Connecticut, almost 23,300 people were diagnosed with a history of serious mental illness. 7% were disqualified from owning a gun because of that mental record. 35% were banned based on a disqualifying criminal record that wasn’t necessarily linked to the mental illness.

Dr. Swanson closed with,

We need to think of violence itself as a communicable disease. We have kids growing up exposed to terrible trauma. We did a study some years ago, looking at [violence risk] among people with serious mental illness. The three risk factors we found were most important: first, a history of violent victimization early in life, second, substance abuse, and the third is exposure to violence in the environment around you. People who had none of those risk factors ― even with bipolar disorder and schizophrenia ― had very low rates of violent behavior…Abuse, violence in the environment around you ― those are the kinds of things you’re not going to solve by having someone take a mood stabilizer.”

Sadly such is the state of lazy journalism that ‘respected media outlets’ simply infer that those that commit mass murder are simply head cases and giving them access to guns will somehow create a bigger problem. That’s how the mainstream media is portraying a 2-yr old bill to whip up more misunderstanding.

Nike & Colin Kaepernick

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Ultimately consumers will vote with their feet (no pun intended) after Nike’s use of original kneeler Colin Kaepernick as its latest “Just do it.” campaign face. Arguing over who is right or wrong over this has become somewhat irrelevant. The kneeling debate is over 12 months old.

Nike is free to market how it chooses but must bear full responsibility for the firestorm it creates for itself. There is no doubt the social media impact will be huge and the marketing department might wax lyrical at the attention gained all it wants but the question is will the majority of it be positive? Virtue signaling for corporates is a dangerous game. More often than not it backfires.

CM has always held that corporations should stay out of politics because as much as they might profess a united face on certain issues, there is no way they speak on behalf of all those that work for them. The risk is creating an unfair working environment to those who do not wish to participate in the manner the corporate desires, even if they might privately agree. Coercing staff to openly tow the party line is tantamount to making them slaves if forced against their will for fear of repercussions in the workplace.

Don’t think for a second it doesn’t happen. Think of the same sex marriage (SSM) debate. If you had a rainbow flag screen saver you would have been cheered by the internal apparatchiks. Had you a “Vote NO for SSM” screen saver it is likely you would have been hauled in front of your manager and HR to explain your inappropriate workplace behaviour. The matter was a vote of democracy. What place is it for corporates to enforce one type of opinion on changes to the Marriage Act? Let’s not forget the results of the 2011 Census where 0.03% of the population identified with being husband and wife in a same sex relationship. Yes. 1,338 people only. All that fanfare for less than 1,400 people.

We are already seeing people in the US burn Nike products to protest the company’s move.

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In much the same vein as Democrat Party activists boycotting In-N-Out burgers for donating to the GOP, there is no real sense in die-hard NFL fans pushing to #boycottNike. What is the obsession with boycotts? Surely disgruntled fans can make up their own minds whether they’ll choose to buy Nike products or not. It is just more of the oppression obsession.

Nike will ultimately survive. The NFL has already seen ratings take a proper beating. The question is does this help? Probably not but Nike want to make a statement.

Knee jerk reactions where people burn football jerseys, season tickets, Superbowl pennants or Nike sneakers have become less and less about the subject protested about (Black Lives Matter) but more about people getting sick and tired of political correctness and social justice rammed down their throats on an almost daily basis. Even Buzz Aldrin is sick of the politically correct overtones in ‘First Man’ that went out of its way to delete scenes of an epic moment in America’s history – planting an American flag on the moon. Don’t forget Buzz punched a reporter who disparaged him in public. He said he is a “proud American

Sadly, many Americans feel their patriotism is under fire. That they should feel guilty for displaying Old Glory outside their homes. Maybe those loyal fans want to go and watch a NFL match to leave the financial, relationship, work, marital stresses behind. They pay money to unwind, not have political messaging paraded in front of them. Even if they think Black Lives Matter is a worthy cause, kneeling every match won’t make it sink in any deeper but dilute the message, as has been displayed by making Kaepernick the poster child.

Not all NRA members are cold blooded murderers. Those people that voted Republican in the last election aren’t all white supremacist, bigoted, racist Nazis any more than all those people that voted Democrat aren’t all whining, virtue signaling liberals.

Open debate is what is needed. Kicking people out of restaurants through open harassment, burning runners or boycotting businesses won’t fix a thing. Listening and debating the issues based on logical reason is the only way forward.  The only thing worth boycotting is the boycotters themselves. Sadly the lesson is unlikely to be learnt.

YETI puts the NRA on ice while BISON puts the lid on political correctness

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YETI coolers has announced it has decided not to be associated with the NRA anymore. News to the ears of Bison Coolers which announced they’re only too happy to fill the void. Interested in seeing the relative revenue performance of both brands. One might bet that the Bison may stampede the Yeti.

6.3 trillion reasons Blackrock isn’t worried

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Student activist, David Hogg, has added to his seemingly never ending list of firms to boycott. Yet again, the impetuousness of youth made him misunderstand the very nature of the business he is attacking. Yes, some Blackrock funds hold gun makers for the sake of index tracking. Some ESG related funds don’t. Clients of Blackrock and other funds get to choose what products they wish to invest in.

Paraphrasing what Blackrock’s Larry Fink said to CNBC on the matter, “we are just custodians of our client’s money. They decide what they wish to invest into and they can select from products that don’t hold gun manufacturers.

Fink said the feedback from clients was a 95/5 ratio in favour of what Blackrock is doing with respect to investment offerings. As a $6.3 trillion AUM asset manager one wonders how much impact this boycott will have. If history is a guide then Blackrock and other funds will no doubt see a boost to assets under management thanks to Hogg’s boycott.

Or perhaps Fink should offer him an internship to learn about ESG.