Category Archives: politics

Swine Flu – Some Perspective

This article was written by Dr. Larry Miller (former head of Emergency Medicine at the Baptist Health System in San Antonio and Medical Director for several EMS Systems). I think it provides some great perspective on the current situation and gives an alternative viewpoint to all of the media hype.

Swine Flu – The Journalistic Scaredemic
April 28, 2009

Swine Flu is a new strain of influenza that has yet to cause a death in the USA. That being the case, why are Americans in a state of panic over the Swine flu?

The answer is that the media (CNN, ABC, NBC, USA Today, along with other publications) have stirred the public into a virtual frenzy. They are bombarding us with hysteria. They love it. Nothing turns them on more than to sensationalize mountains out of molehills. In the case of the Swine Flu, the media is guilty of causing an epidemic of panic. They are guilty because they relentlessly hype this dubious threat into a certain deadly pandemic.

Let’s look at the facts:
Seasonal influenza causes thousands of deaths every week during flu season in the USA. The CDC estimates that seasonal flu causes over 36,000 deaths per year (200,000 hospital admissions) and over 500,000 deaths per year in the world. Does the media discuss these statistics? No. Why? Because these are boring facts – not sensational news that bolsters their ratings and increases their revenue.

How is Swine Flu different than regular seasonal flu?
It has become the “boogie man”, used by the media to terrorize the public. And they are getting away with it. Yes, the Swine Flu will eventually kill people in the US, but the chance of it becoming more dangerous than seasonal flu is unlikely. Unfortunately, the media is even scaring medical and public officials into irrational behavior. Why are they closing schools for Swine flu (that has yet to kill anyone) but not for seasonal flu (that kills thousands every week)?

What other biological threats do we encounter every day?
Tuberculosis, Streptococcus (flesh eating bacteria), AIDS, Hepatitis, Pneumonia, Influenza, Staphylococcus, E Coli, Salmonella, Shegella, and the list goes on and on. Thousands die every week from these infections; some are incurable and untreatable. I would much rather be infected with Swine Flu which is susceptible to several antiviral agents, than to have MRSA that often cannot be cured.

As EMS leaders what should we do?
We already have protocols that address exposure to dangerous biological threats. As long as we practice our usual and customary universal precautions we will not contract Swine Flu or any of the far more dangerous biologics we encounter every day. We do not have to change any policy, protocol or procedure. We do have to use common sense and notify supervisors or medical control if we are concerned about a particular incident.

We live in an environment of danger from infectious diseases. Swine Flu is only one of them. How do we stay healthy? Most folks have a strong immune system that protects them. In medicine we work in the midst of such infections, but rarely contract them because we use universal precautions (gloves, masks, and gowns) to keep us safe.

What we in the medical field need to do, more than anything else is to remain calm and reassure our patients that the sky is not falling in. Be understanding and prepared, but do not get caught up in the hype and hysteria. We need to be a voice of sanity in an insane world.

During the last great war, Franklin D. Roosevelt said, “The only thing we have to fear is fear itself.” That has not changed.

As a rational scientific community, we should reprimand the media for their irresponsible behavior. Force them to develop a balanced approach to a potential problem. As it stands today, they have inadvertently become the problem. They are the Epidemic (Scaredemic).

Larry J Miller MD
miller ‘at’ gvtc.com

$1000 is the new $500

I went to the SAXET gunshow this morning with some of the crew and was pretty put-off by the amount of price gouging going on with some of the more shady dealers. I expected a little bit of shenanigans due to the recent election, but a quick browse through Shotgun News will show that recent reports of the end of gun ownership in America are a bit premature.

I saw a $700 Golani going for $1100. An Armalite AR-180 selling for $2,599 (not a typo). Wall-to-wall crowds of sorry looking hopefuls trying to find their last chance to get a (gasp!) assault rifle before the laws get passed (no new laws have been suggested).

But the belle of the ball was a Mak-90 (yes – that Mak-90) selling for $1600. The best part was the “faux operator” behind the table (thigh rig, cropped hair cut, 80’s aviator glasses) assuring all of the unwashes masses that these were the absolute last ones they could ever hope to get and the The Man was going to come to the show personally by the end of the weekend and collect up anything that hasn’t sold.

Sort of a reverse Santa, I suppose.

For shame.

Banning Assault Weapons Because of . . . Mexico?

I’ve been struggling over the past few weeks, trying to figure out how exactly the Libs are going to take their next step in the war on firearms rights in America. You know it’s big on their wish lists and with all four branches of the government now being Democrat (the House, the Senate, the President, and the Media), it seems high time for them to come in together for the Big Win.

Unfortunately, it’s not exactly a great time to try to introduce gun control legislation. There’s that whole economy thing that us working stiffs want the government is fix. Gun ownership is also on the rise. Crime isn’t out of control. And because of the realities of the post-911 world and the really choice way the government handled Katrina and Rita, a lot of people who would have never considered gun ownership in the past have stocked up on arms and ammunition.

Despite getting the Big O elected into office, things were looking pretty good for gun rights in America, especially with the recent DC vs. Heller decision, so you can imagine one might be inclined to let his guard down.

In fact, just last week I was talking to one of my friends at a local gunshow about how Obama never really introduced any new gun control legislation, and since he told Field and Stream he was really interested in any new gun laws, I was feeling pretty good about how we’d do over the next four years.

Then . . . wham! I saw it in this morning’s Express News.

Gunrunners’ land of plenty

A giant, front page headline. Even more relevant than the recent terrorist attacks in India, more alarming than our nation’s financial crisis. All other stories bested by the news that over 1000 guns that were sourced in Texas have been used in crimes in Mexico.

I can see it now . . . since the primary “reason” assault rifles were banned in the 90s – the super crime wave hyped by the media that never came to fruition – is no longer a viable excuse, we are supposed to give up our gun rights because there are criminals doing horrible things in other countries.

Wow. I am just glad Texas doesn’t export machetes to Africa!

Wait, I have an idea. Maybe since there are so many problems in central and south America due to America’s drug habits, we should ban drugs here. Yes – more laws! That should stop the problem. Criminals will suddenly stop being criminals when they realize there are more laws against their crimes.

Oh wait. That didn’t work so well, either.

Here’s the crux of the article:

Last year, Texas sellers were the source of 1,131 guns found discarded at shootings in Mexico or confiscated from the cartel gangsters, according to the U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives. That’s more than twice the number of runner-up California and more than the combined total of 13 top other states.

I am not sure that’s altogether too amazing considering the fact that you can’t really buy guns in California and there are MILLIONS of gun owners in Texas.

It goes on to describe the nature of the weapons that these thugs in Mexico are so eager to get their hands on:

[Assault Rifles] are so prevalent these days that Mexico authorities have seized 13,000 of them in the last two years, along with thousands of other guns and 3 million rounds of smuggled ammunition, much of it also bought from U.S. retailers.

But wait a minute, I thought they said this was all coming through Texas and the US? I added up all of the numbers on their pretty chart and it totals 4,180 weapons for all of the United States (and BTW – remember that California – land of some of the strictest gun laws in Amercia was in 2nd place with 1006) – this means that the other 8,820 weapons are coming from somewhere other than the US.

In fact, the article also mentions:

Some of the hardware is military grade — rocket launchers and grenades coming into Mexico through Guatemala.

So maybe we need to have Guatemala get on board and get some of these gun laws going there, too?

Here’s the deal, folks.

1) Despite what Hollyweird would have you believe (and I am not going to even bother listing all of the movies where this has happened), you can’t just wander into a gun store or army-navy store and pick up machine guns and grenades and related military-grade ordinance.

2) Mexico is a corrupt, corrupt country where the almight peso (dollar) can make any of your dreams come true – regardless of what the laws say.

The problems that Mexico is having with gun smuggling isn’t because gun laws are so lax in US, but because we have a completely porous border between us and Mexico. I know it isn’t popular or hip to say that, but its a choice we’re going to have to make as a society – open border (crime, illegal imigration, gun and human smuggling, TB, polio, etc) or closed border (social/political quagmire).

The article even states:

Someone would only have had to drive the guns over the international bridge and then 12 hours to Aguascalientes.

No mention or a search, scan or any type of countermeasures. Just driving over a bridge.

Guns that criminals use are almost always either stolen or purchased for the criminal by a family member. Or bought from some cash-strapped brothel owner at a shooting range. Seriously? That sounds like a judgement call to me and laws don’t really do a lot of good to make folks have better judgement.

I think one of the respondents to the article said it best:

We had the assault weapons ban for 10 years. It didn’t result in any reductions in crime. I have been in LE for over 30 years. Most of the guns we find in criminal situations are stolen! NOT BOUGHT ACROSS THE COUNTER OR AT GUN SHOWS! Criminals don’t usually spend much money on their guns. They prefer buying stolen ones from druggies who need to support their drug habits. A Glock sells across the counter for $500 or more most places. The last one I came across was sold for $50 on the street. It was stolen from an apartment here in SA.

Lastly until Mexico decides it wants to be more then a Third World country they have to deal with their own problems. The article even points out that military armament is coming from Guatemala. I guess we’re going to stop that too? With the money being generated from the sale of illegal drugs I would bet that they can buy any guns they want, any time they want. Who’s going to stop them? Also please note that they aren’t mentioning the AK47 that is coming from China and all parts of the far East by the hundreds of thousands. And sells for pennies compared to the American made AR15s. But then again we wouldn’t expect the truth from the media. Just look at the last election for evidence of that.

Here. (San Antonio Express news – 11/30)

And here. (Houston Chronicle – 11/29)

Rest assured this is only the beginning of the “anti-gun” sentiments in the media and the first salvo in the latest war against our gun rights.

More Obama Gun Fun

No sooner had I pulled the trigger on my last post then I realized that there was a veritable full magazine of online articles discussing everyone’s fears about gun rights under an Obama presidency.

Gun sales surge after Obama’s election

“I have been in business for 12 years, and I was here for Y2K, September 11, Katrina,” Conatser said, as a steady stream of customers browsed what remained of his stock. “And all of those were big events, and we did notice a spike in business, but nothing on the order of what we are seeing right now.”

Weapons dealers in much of the United States are reporting sharply higher sales since Barack Obama won the presidency a week ago.

Buyers and sellers attribute the surge to worries that Obama and a Democratic-controlled Congress will move to restrict firearm ownership, despite the insistence of campaign aides that the president-elect supports gun rights and considers the issue a low priority.

“I believe the Second Amendment means something. I do think it speaks to an individual right,” Obama said in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, in February.

With the U.S. economy in a tailspin, however, the president-elect’s advisers say gun legislation is not a high priority.

The October ’08 issue of Field and Stream had extensive interviews with both Obama and McCain detailing their opinions on hunting and fishing, gun rights, and conservation. The message from Obama was pretty clear,

“I’m more interested in enforcing the laws that we do have – for example tracing guns that are used in crimes back to people who have been using them. I don’t anticipate that there’s going to be a whole slew of efforts at the federal level when it comes to gun control. “

However this still hasn’t dissuaded anyone from considering him an anti-gun politician, and his record of past votes lies in stark contrast to his election promises.

Apparently, no one is convinced that “common-sense measures” aren’t a thinly-disguised metaphor for yet another round of new legislation on “ugly guns.”

The good news is that none of this legislation ever happens quickly – and the national economy is a far more pressing issue at this time – but one thing that is apparent is shooters generally aren’t getting the warm and fuzzy from Obama on gun rights – despite everything he has said to the contrary.

I understand the reason why everyone is running out and arming up – there are more cool innovations in modern weapons technology available now then ever before:

  • Civilian legal FN P90s
  • Mad amounts of AR upgrades (Go LaRue!)
  • USCM-inspired HK G36-clones
  • 37mm flare launchers – oh, my!

But it is important to also realize that the focus must remain on preserving our rights – not just so we can go to gun shows and exercise the right our Constitution guarantees, but to fight to preserve these rights so that those who haven’t yet gone to gunshows or been to a shooting range – will get the same opportunities that we did.

Get involved!
Gun Owners of America
Jews for the Preservation of Firearms Ownership
The National Rifle Association

Couldn’t see this one coming . . .

Ok – so I am trying to not get a whole mess (literally) of politics into this blog, but this one is notable for the gun show culture. We’ve all been taking about the inevitability of Obama and what that has to do with 2nd Amendment rights – and apparently this is a sentiment shared fairly generally with gun enthusiasts.

Run on Guns After Obama Wins

Full article.

And another from before the election.

Ban Guns and the Loonies Will Find Something Else

I saw this little tidbit on Drudge today and it again drives home the proven fact that banning guns doesn’t make people safer, it makes law-abiding citizens less able to defend themselves:

Six dead in South Korea fish knife frenzy

SEOUL, South Korea (AP) — A financially strapped South Korean man went on an arson and stabbing rampage in Seoul on Monday, leaving six people dead and seven others wounded, police said.

The 31-year-old suspect, identified only by his surname, Jeong, first set fire to his room in a low-cost lodging facility in southern Seoul and then stabbed other residents with a sashimi knife while fleeing the fire, police said.

Five people were stabbed to death and another died after jumping out of a window to escape the blaze, police said.

Seven others were wounded, including four seriously, and the death toll could rise, according to police.

The suspect, arrested at the scene, told police he did not want to live because “everybody looks down on me,” Kim Kap-shik, chief detective at Seoul’s Gangnam Police Station, told reporters.

Yonhap news agency and other media reported that Jeong has been convicted of crimes eight times in the past. Police were not immediately available to confirm Jeong’s criminal record.

More.

Once again a career criminal with a history of mental illness goes off and engages in violence against the citizenry. That is so bizarre. And unpredictable.

If they’d had a way to defend themselves, then someone wouldn’t have had to jump out of a window to get away from the attacker. On second thought, anyone who jumps out of a multiple-story window to avoid a knife attack may not be the most tactically minded person in an emergency situation.

Britain has a law now banning “assault knives” as the number of people using knives and swords in crimes has exploded. Taking away guns didn’t make England safer (ask the Home Guard veterans about this, if anyone over there is still alive that remembers) , but instead forced criminals to find a new way to conduct their nefarious deeds. The citizens – now unarmed – are left to their own devices and must rely on random chance to not become the victims of crime.

Banning guns does nothing to reduce crime. Reduction in crime comes from taking a long look at what causes the problem (unemployment, ridiculous drug laws, disenfranchisement with society, a lack of opportunity or hugs/love from parents) – versus trying to stop it by taking away people’s rights.

We have enough laws, statutes, provisions, and acts to restrict us in every aspect of our lives from now until The Judgment. What we need is to punish the hell out of folks who use guns in a crime – mandatory sentences – and get these violent ne’er-do-wells off of the streets and away from giving gun haters the ammunition they need for their ultimate goal of banning private firearms ownership.

You Don’t Agree With Me – You Must Be A Racist!

Ah, the good old days.

I remember back in my college days when I would get involved in debates/yelling matches on the West Mall at UT. It was the standard post-high school goodness – you remember these times – you had just left mommy and daddy’s house and you claimed you knew everything.

Years later – 10 years into my career and knee deep in families, mortgages and ‘real life’ action – now I claim I know nothing. 🙂

Anyway, back in those days, being a young, semi-conservative Christian at a very liberal school, I was assured by my erudite college mates, homeless folks, and other questionable adults who for some reason had the ability to spend all day arguing with kids (still trying to figure out what job that was) – that all of the beliefs that I held dearly were wrong.

The Bible was wrong. Gun ownership was wrong. The right to self-defense was wrong. The Civil War was all about slavery and had nothing to do with the long-running battle over states rights vs. federal rights. For God sakes, even being a “real man” was wrong. Everything I stood for. Challenged, crapped on, spat on – because my rules for living came from a 2000 year-old-book* – not from whatever the latest word was from Hollywood celebs and the MTV-culture set.

The arguments were pointless. It was two perspectives with such a wide delta between them that there was no way we would reach common ground. My basis for belief was scorned (even though most of these folks would also claim to support 1st amendment rights – but not for all beliefs, apparently), but because I wouldn’t accept their perspective as dogma, I was stupid.

Here is how a typical “debate” went down:

Angry Man #1: “There is no Jesus.”

Me: “Yes, there is”

Angry Man #1: “How can you believe such mythology?”

Me: “Because of faith, and the Bible”

Angry Man #1: “The Bible is wrong. And bad.”

Me: “I don’t agree with that.”

Angry Man #1: “Then you are STUPID!”

That was it – I was stupid. College scores, SAT scores, IQ tests – useless in the face of my inability to turn my back on my beliefs and my God.

But at least back then, I was only called “stupid.”

Now, I would be considered racist for not agreeing with the liberal intelligentsia.

Because surely, if I don’t agree with the supposition, that in this time – certainly the greatest moral, political, ideological and economic crisis this country has ever faced – if I don’t buy their hype and support their ridiculous policies, then it is not because their candidate is unqualified, it is not because I happen to not agree with his politics or his charisma, it is because I am racist.

Calling me racist is an unacceptable lie that denies the legitimacy of my right to take part in the political process – and makes them look like fools in the process.

Please go back to just calling me stupid for not thinking the way you do.

* BTW – Christianity is based on the concept of freewill – the only major religion to do so. Freewill also happens to be the entire basis of Western Culture and democracy.