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Lessons not learned.

Various news outlets, including the Palm Beach Post and Sun Sentinel  are reporting that the 17-year-old brother of the Parkland school shooter apparently simply walked through an unmonitored and unlocked gate at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School to “visit” the scene of the shooting. He reportedly did not exhibit any threatening behavior.

Bear in mind that Zachary Cruz has already been the subject of mental health welfare checks for exhibiting erratic behavior, especially since the shooting.

He was arrested for trespassing, but once again an adult, Broward County school superintendent Robert Runcie,  chose to make light of the incident. He noted that the incident did not involve a breach of security, and the brother simply walked onto the campus through an unlocked gate. .

Twitter exploded with variations of “WTF is going on with that” comments.

What, indeed?

Perhaps most disturbing is that various tweets also tried to make excuses for the young man.

Schools all over the U.S. are grappling with how to “harden” their campuses, but of all of them, Stoneman Douglas should have the most invested in securing their grounds.

In view of recently released information that the shooter was referred to law enforcement as a possible “Baker Act” candidate, which would have allowed him to be placed involuntarily into a mental health facility, you have to wonder whether the brother (sometimes referred to as a half-brother) should at least be more closely monitored.

Not that the Baker Act confers any real protection.  Wikipedia lists a synopsis of the Baker Act criteria as follows:

Reason to believe that the person has a mental illness; refusal of voluntary examination; the person is unable to determine whether examination is necessary. Criteria are not met simply because a person has mental illness, appears to have mental problems, takes psychiatric medication, or has an emotional outburst. Criteria are not met simply because a person refuses voluntary examination. Criteria are not met if there are family members or friends that will help prevent any potential and present threat of substantial harm.

To further clarify this point of substantial likelihood, there must be evidence of recent behavior to justify the substantial likelihood of serious bodily harm in the near future. Moments in the past, when an individual may have considered harming themselves or another, do not qualify the individual as meeting the criteria. (“Near” means close, short, or draws near.)[5]” (Emphasis added.)

If you read this the way we do, then the person’s past history has no bearing whatsoever when applying the standard of probable cause to attaining a warrant for involuntary 72-hour evaluation.

Would you want to rely on the Baker Act to prevent anything?

To be fair, Governor Rick Scott did sign a type of red flag legislation into law in early March, which permits temporary gun confiscation if a person is held or referred for evaluation. It’s unclear whether in practice that will work in tandem with the Baker Act or if it can be applied independently from it.

In the meantime however, the anti-gun lobby is having a field day making money and harvesting political hay from the Florida tragedy  using their standard crowd manipulation and propaganda tactics.

It has been difficult ever since the mental health facilities were emptied during the mid 1950’s to get a person placed under an involuntary hold for mental health evaluation.

Even when you do get some sort of action, the evaluations are usually ineffective as deterrents except in the case of someone who is quite literally seeing snakes and frothing at the mouth during the evaluation.

None of that past history matters if the “adults” in charge of school safety can’t even spend under $20 for a heavy duty padlock and then actually lock it,  until better security measures can be installed.

Maybe teachers are just slow learners so here is an addendum to the curriculum. Maybe we could put it on flash cards.

People, not objects, kill people. Control the people and you’ll control the problem.

It’s time to leash the hounds.

In the past two weeks, the enemies of the United States have now gained stable, or at least effective leadership in two more countries.

Both Russia and China now have what amounts to leaders for life. Iran remains, as it has been for some time, under the control of the antagonistic leadership of its clerics, and North Korea remains under the leadership of a political and ideological dynasty that has hated us for 55 years.

Meantime, our country is caught up in the process of tearing itself apart from within through petty political infighting.

If it was Russia’s 2016 election interference goal to divide and conquer, they are winning.

We can debate all day every day as to the validity of that assumption, but the fact is that whether it is enemies from within or without, every day we spend our energy on stupid political wrangling, our enemies grow stronger.

We have the President we have.  Whether you like him or not, it’s pretty hard now to sell the story that we would have been better off with Hillary Clinton, given her bizarre behavior over the last 15 months.

Several members of the resist movement, on both sides of the aisle, have given notice that they want to drag out certifying Mike Pompeo’s confirmation for weeks if not months, not because they think he is unqualified, but solely for the purpose of opposing the President.

In so doing these resisters, whether they are motivated by personal hatred or far more devious reasons, acknowledge that we need an effective person in charge of the State Department  in view of the proposed negotiations with North Korea.

While he may be a fine man in his own right, Rex Tillerson was not only at odds with President Trump privately, he seemed to be determined to steer the State Department along a course almost 180 degrees off from what the President wanted, and he did it very publicly.

In this world, if the government doesn’t speak with a single voice, it may as well not speak at all.

So far, in spite of his unorthodox style and the unending animus of his enemies, President Trump has accomplished much of what he said he would do if elected.

One of his promises was to repair the damage done to our military so that in the event of the unthinkable we would be able to defend ourselves effectively.

Of all of the promises he made, that one is any President’s first responsibility to the nation, yet here we are again, staring at another budget battle, and fighting over, excuse the phrase…stupid stuff like a progressive’s stage adaptation of “To Kill a Mockingbird.”

It might be time to reconsider that strategy, before each of our separate tribes wind up going the way of the dinosaurs.

TGIF – March 16, 2018

The JROTC is not the problem.

So-called pacifist organizations like are once again blaming the Junior Reserve Officers Training Corps for the Stoneman-Douglas school shooting, presumably because the killer Cruz is said to have learned to shoot through the program.  .

These quasi-anti-war groups have been for the complete dismantling of the military forever, and the very idea that anyone should train people to be soldiers is anathema to them.

Anti-war groups became famous during the Viet Nam war era, but they have been active since before WWI. Today however, many of the so-called pacifists are actually fronts for an ideology that is decidedly not peaceful.

What about the JROTC?

First of all, it’s not the military that is the problem. Second, not very many people in JROTC actually go on to volunteer to fight in the military. Third, the current protest is not about the military, it’s about disarming America.

Let us not forget that at least two JROTC members  saved the lives of several students at Stoneman-Douglas and one died doing it. They and fellow students and staff stepped up while law enforcement was standing down.

Once again. It’s not the color of your skin or whether you cover that skin with a uniform.

It’s about the color of your soul.

Obamacare still needs to go away.

Idaho has been trying to find a way to offer non-Obamacare-compliant plans alongside ACA-compliant ones as a means to allow coverage for people caught in the “too much income for subsidies, too little for insurance” trap.

These plans could reportedly slash the cost of health insurance by as much as 50%.

On March 9, it was reported that Idaho had received a letter from CMS indicating that until the law was repealed the state could not offer non-compliant plans to its citizens, even though it was keeping all the Obamacare-compliant ones too..

Of course the lying liberal media immediately tried to portray the state’s attempt to find a way to cover those who do not have any kind of insurance now as unconstitutional and predatory, as noted in this February 3, 2018 article in the Idaho Statesman newspaper.

Interestingly one of the arguments is that Idaho must abide by the Constitution’s supremacy clause.

In view of what’s going on in California, that’s truly rich.

So what’s better? Not requiring obstetrics coverage for a 60-year old man, or not having any insurance at all?

If you have to think about that, you are definitely NOT a redneck.

Note to HRC.

From a tweet comes the following question for the former candidate.

What about white women with no husband, no sons, no brothers, no living fathers, who voted for Trump?”

Maybe they have one thing Hillary Clinton doesn’t;  a working brain.

Love is not a strategy.

Looking at some of the signs held by student (and non-student) protestors who walked out of class yesterday, you could see everything from people supporting armed teachers and guards in schools to confiscating all guns to love conquers hate.

The professionally printed signs were there in abundance, but many were hand lettered, using the exact same language as the more polished signs.

A very few students held signs saying “Where were the cops?” or “I see, I tell, and no one cares.”

A twenty-year old college student commented on that last one.

“That happened to me in high school. There was this kid that was just crazy. He was always threatening to blow up the school and I went and told a teacher about it. Nothing happened so I put it on Facebook to like, warn people.

Next thing I know, I got called into the principal’s office and was told to stop bullying him.  They told me I needed to be nicer to him. How do you love crazy?

After that I just shut up and hoped he would transfer or something.

Just like in Florida, everybody  tried to cover it up. The kid wound up wrecking his car and getting killed, and I was glad it happened. That sounds really bad, but it’s how I felt.”

That’s the problem with politicizing tragedy. It makes for good TV but it doesn’t fix the underlying problem.

Take NICS for example. Some news stories are reporting that under the Obama administration 500,000 names were removed from the database because it seems no one could agree on the definition of a “fugitive from justice.”

That’s a half million felons who could potentially buy a gun legally. That makes the three-day wait to buy a gun or checking NICS sound pretty ridiculous.

Mass shootings anywhere are bad. But going for a superficial fix or telling people to love one another more is like sticking your finger in a hole in a dike while the end of the dike is washing away.

PA-18 lessons.

Although the outcome is still uncertain, the election in Pennsylvania’s District 18 may point out what American voters have been saying for months now.

Trash-talking may not be working for anyone in the next elections, and that goes for Donald Trump as well.

If Rick Saccone loses, it’s a pretty sure bet that calling all Democrats God-haters will share some of the blame for that loss.

That’s right up there with Hillary’s “deplorables” comments.

Attacking whole groups of people instead of focusing on the specific comments of specific people just ain’t cuttin’ it anymore, especially at the local level.

Saccone’s opponent, who many feel ran on a GOP platform while using Democrat money, certainly never disparaged Christians.

Lamb, should he win, may very well be pressured by the DNC to vote more in line with the far left of his party if he wants another massive cash infusion when and if he decides to run after D-18 disappears.

Be that as it may, in this election his public stance was all about shoring up the things people in D-18 like about Trump’s policies to date.

President Trump takes a few generic jabs at Democrats, as when he calls all Dems obstructionists, but largely he calls out people by name.

That may infuriate the supporters of those specific people, but it doesn’t alienate all voters.

That said, the GOP has to do something about attracting better candidates, or at least improving their messaging.

Over the past decade or so,  it has become popular to demonize groups of people instead of lasering in on specifics. That’s a classic propaganda tactic, and thanks in no small part to social media and a clickbait-seeking media, it works at the macro, or national level.

One current example of that is the demonization of all NRA members.  What you have now is well more than 5 million pissed off gun owners who feel they are being made scapegoats to cover up many very bad decisions made by some FBI and Broward County law enforcement personnel.

Not everyone who owns a gun belongs to the NRA, and Democrats own guns too.

Or take the sanctuary city debate.

Notice that President Trump focused his criticism of the policy on specific people he feels are responsible for that policy. He didn’t call all Californians open border advocates.

The point is that at the local level candidates need to spend the time to ferret out the other person’s weaknesses and not just parrot some national party’s fundraising jargon.

If District 18 proves nothing else, it should prove that.

What’s so great about citizenship?

From the oath of U.S. citizenship:

I hereby declare, on oath, that I absolutely and entirely renounce and abjure all allegiance and fidelity to any foreign prince, potentate, state, or sovereignty, of whom or which I have heretofore been a subject or citizen;…” 

Which leads to the next point…how can you vote in a Mexican election while living in the United States if you have taken this oath, and still remain a naturalized U.S. citizen?

This question arises after listening to Jorge Ramos expound on the subject, and legally it isn’t against the law, assuming he claims dual citizenship.

Obviously if you are still a Mexican citizen, then voting in their election is no different than our citizens casting an absentee ballot if they live outside the U.S.

Not all countries allow people with dual citizenship to vote in another country’s national election, and until 1967, the U.S. was one of those countries, as mentioned in the above-referenced  2014 article from the L.A. Times.

At that time SCOTUS declared that a law forbidding a U.S. citizen to vote in another country’s national election was unconstitutional if it resulted in loss of one’s U.S. citizenship.

The question of dual citizenship takes on a different focus when viewed in the context of illegal immigration.

One of the main objections to granting citizenship, rather than legal permanent residency to persons who entered the country illegally is that they may then acquire voting rights in two countries.

That’s probably fine if the other country is friendly to the U.S. If not, it could be problematic.

For instance, if there are an estimated 11 million illegal immigrants in the U.S. If all of them were from Mexico,  they would represent almost 10%of the population of Mexico. That’s more than enough people to swing an election in favor of a candidate who might be openly hostile to our country.

That’s a lot of suppositions, and certainly isn’t a true representation of the entire undocumented population.

Still, it does bring up the question, what good is citizenship if it doesn’t result in at least legal fealty  to the country?  Well, for one thing it means you can vote in this country.

That might be great for one political party or the other, but it might not be so great for the country.

Assimilation is one of the buzzwords of this era, but if your loyalty lies with your country of origin, then citizenship in this country is no more than a fancy work permit, no assimilation needed.

Which leads to one final question. Do we need to fix our definition of the responsibilities of citizenship before handing it out like a school lunch pass?

Do we need a school safety commission?

Although the President has not been complimentary about the efficacy of commissions, apparently we are going to get another one anyway.

It’s hard to see what good the school safety commission will do.

We already know that most schools do not have controlled entry procedures. Some schools are apparently more concerned with their public image than the safety of their students, as witnessed in the Parkland incident.

We also know that any one of the people threatened by Cruz could have filed formal charges against him, and the police would have had grounds to arrest him.

We know that part of the reason no one put him on the NICS list was because he was a minor when many of the law enforcement visits occurred.

That’s something that could be fixed by not covering up for criminals or repeated law enforcement interactions just because they aren’t 18 yet. There shouldn’t be a sealed juvenile record for certain offenses.

The shooter had been on law enforcement’s radar since he was nine years old, according to some reports. Surely, when he was still a problem at 12 or at 14 he should have been treated as an adult offender.

Certain offenses, for instance threatening a girl’s life because she won’t go out with you, or beating up your family members, or torturing animals should at the very least result in some sort of habitual offender penalty that would be reportable to NICS, regardless of his age.

Cruz had been in a court-ordered mental health outpatient program for a period of time until he turned 18, at which time he simply quit attending. That should have been enough to put his name in the NICS database, but perhaps because of arcane patient confidentiality laws it didn’t happen.

But we know all that now, just as we know that the Broward County Sheriff’s office wasn’t exactly the epitome of serve and protect.

No laws that we pass are going to catch every potential offender. Stephen Paddock, at least as far we know, didn’t exhibit any violent behavior until he attacked people in Las Vegas.

Outlawing guns won’t stop someone who is intent on doing harm to others. They will find a way, whether it’s arson, a bomb, a knife, a club  or whatever else they can find.

With all that said, is the new commission going to study any of these problems? Somehow, we doubt it.