Grab Bag: August 2017

Michael Bloomberg vastly overstates gun deaths, a lawmaker in Ohio wants elected officials to carry, and a few stories from Team Rubicon to reinforce basically all of July.

1.) Bloomberg. Did you know that more Americans have been killed in the US than the entire history of military deaths (yes, including Civil War and WW2.) Of course, the Civil War alone saw upwards of 600,000 deaths.

It has all of the characteristics of a new anti-gun campaign; simultaneously over-dramatic and wrong on a historic level.

2.) Ohio. Following incidents around the Ohio Capitol (and of course the Scalise shooting), a lawmaker in Ohio is proposing to allow elected officials to carry in government buildings. The bill’s sponsor, State Representative Nino Vitale, said “there’s so much of a hyper-charged negative culture that people think if they disagree with someone’s viewpoint on something the way to resolve that is take a gun out on someone and take their life.”

He notes that, while no direct threats have been made on his life, there have been incidents of Vitale being followed into committee rooms, the Capitol parking garage, and having “less than pleasant” (a rather obvious euphemism) conversations.

It should come as almost no surprise, however. In a culture as outrage-driven as this one, where death threats are almost the default setting in any outrage-mob gathering, it stands to reason that legislators and other elected officials would want to be legally able to defend themselves. The Scalise shooting made that blatantly obvious.

3.) Team Rubicon. There is a story from disaster relief/veteran assistance network Team Rubicon that I want to bring up this week as we get into August. Midnight Run: Improvement, and it’s prequel from last year, Lethal Ignorance, were built around the simple concept that stronger people lead to stronger communities. To reinforce that point, I with to turn to three reports from the blog of TR, all of which highlight that concept in a different light. Whereas both Improvement and Lethal Ignorance were built around the individual, these reports are more about the experience in a team environment helping with disaster relief. (Severe weather being point 7 in Lethal Ignorance.)

The report, titled “Service is a Lifestyle“, is written by Army veteran Jeremy Gaal. It is a short, quick read from Salt Lake City, Utah on how assisting in disasters (which, for the record, is not limited to military and first responders, Team Rubicon also is open to civilians.) both is much appreciated by the survivors and is immensely gratifying to the people involved.

4.) Severe weather. It is worth noting that we are entering what WTVT FOX13 meteorologist Paul Dellegatto calls “prime time for tropical development.” Thankfully, we got through most of summer with nothing like the Georgia tornado outbreak. However, the key lesson from the Georgia outbreak, considering that Georgia isn’t in Tornado Alley (nor are the three states to the west of Georgia, for that matter), and that it was the middle of winter, “it can’t happen here” is dead wrong.

As we wrap up the summer months, it is prudent to be aware of severe weather, and the final weeks of the 2017 hurricane season.

And if you have the ability, whether with Red Cross, Team Rubicon, or CERT, try to get involved. As with Lethal Ignorance and Improvement; the reasoning is the same. Improve yourself, to be ready to help those around you.

Stay alert. Stay informed. Stay free.

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