The Olympics, Fair Play, Doping, Shaming and Political Correctness

I wholeheartedly concur with one Olympian’s recent conclusion that “we need full reform of the organization, its purpose, and its functionality.” Myself and my friends who were in Fellowship of Christian Athletes in college are rather aghast at what at least some of the elements within the USOC have become.
Do you think the erosion of the sense of fair play and above-board mindset afforded the U.S. from our Judeo-Christian heritage has contributed to the problems? After all, if one is never willing to cut any corners in the first place, then the idea of doping in any form, much less the horrors that happened with Nassar, is simply out. But when moral relativism approaches the rules in such a way that it’s looking to see how far they can push the envelope, bending the rules but not breaking them, the logical next step involves breaking them without being caught, and even hiding the truth in the process.
That mindset is based not on a sense of fair play but on winning at all costs, just so long as they’re not caught.
By contrast, an approach whereby everyone within the system both understands and fully respects what is prohibited results in steering well clear what’s inappropriate, working within “the Olympic Spirit which requires mutual understanding with a spirit of friendship, solidarity and fair play.”
Learning that level of respect, that sense of fair play, begins at a very early age. While I appreciate the “winning isn’t everything – it’s the only thing” Red Saunder-isms and Lombardi-isms in professional sports, and certainly on the battlefield, the Olympics was never about replacing war with sports as a means of counting coup. If that’s what’s corrupting the sense of fair play we viewers world-wide expect to see, then perhaps the IOC has bigger fish to fry, including tackling the worldwide loss of faith-based foundations upon which these ideals stand firm.
Under a true sense of fair play, strict doping rules would result in athletes who take the high road. They wouldn’t behave in ways which avoid getting caught (the letter of the law), but rather, they might behave in ways would refuse to engage in any form of doping at all. Under strict rules, however, that might not only ban training while using oxygen-deprivation devices, but also requiring all athletes to train below a certain altitude, say, the lowest elevation available in all member nations. Such a draconian approach to political correctness, however, adopts all nation’s responsibilities to afford their athletes appropriate access to reasonable training venues.
The point is that even within the scope of doping, lines should be drawn between natural and artificial means of training. It’s perfectly natural to train at higher altitudes. Athletes have been hiking or running up mountains for millennia. We now have the technology to detect changes in the hypoxia-inducible factor 1 regulator and its many subservient enzymes. The problem is, we cannot yet differentiate, and may never be able to differentiate between training and altitude and training in an hypoxic environment. Thus, we’re back to fostering and relying on a sense of fair play. Fair play is only effective, however, in an environment where those who skirt the boundaries are chided and censured, “shamed,” if you will. Political correctness and its spirit of tolerance leaves little room for shaming.
Perhaps the problems within USOC are a reflection of similar or even greater problems throughout the International Olympic Committee and its competing athletes, many of whom feel that winning is everything and are compelled to win at all costs by the expectations of their respective nations.

Term Limits for Congress

I like what Charlie Daniels has to say on the matter, except the part about the lengths of terms.  His proposal is just way too darn short, for a variety of reason.

 I agree with term limits, provided they’re not so short that there’s no continuity. Continuity is EXTREMELY important when you’re talking about detailed, complex jobs and procedures, and Congress isn’t simple. It takes four to six years for a member of Congress just to learn the basics.  The military builds in continuity.  Airlines build in continuity.  Just about every important, complex job builds in continuity, and the demands of Congress are no different.
I’ve analyzed a lot of different proposals, and find the tiered approach to provide the best balance between fresh faces and maintaining continuity:
Tier I: 0-12 Years, consisting of three House terms or two Senatorial terms, IF they’re re-elected each of those terms.
One-third of all members of Congress (both House and Senate), will be capped at 12 years. That’s it. At the 12-year point, they roll a die. If you score a 1 or 2, you get to run again. But if you score a 3, 4, 5, or 6, it’s time to pack your bags.
For practical purposes, that year group should draw random numbers and be ranked accordingly. The bottom third is out.
Tier II: 12-24 Years, consisting of three more House terms or two more Senatorial terms, IF they’re re-elected each of those terms.
Two-thirds of all members of Congress (both House and Senate), will be capped at 24 years.
Tier III: 25-36 Years, consisting of three more House terms or two more Senatorial terms, IF they’re re-elected each of those terms.
100% all members of Congress (both House and Senate), will be capped at 36 years.
FOR ALL PRACTICAL PURPOSES, and because some members of Congress are not re-elected after their first, second, or third terms, it’s likely that only half will serve more than 12 years and a quarter will serve more than 24 years.
In addition, since Congress puts a mandatory retirement age on airline pilots of 65 years, I feel it’s only fair that this be the mandatory retirement age for members of Congress, as well, and for the same reasons.
This approach is simple, straightforward, and provides for roughly double the current turnover while maintaining critical continuity.

Lee Sang-Ho LOST to Zan Kosir

This article raises several very good questions:

  1.  Why did the S. Korean flag appear beneath Lee Sang-Ho well before the Slovenian flag appear beneath Zan Kosir?
  2. Did the premature appearance of the S. Korean flag (or the delayed appearance of the Slovenian flag) affect the judges’ ruling?
  3. Was there electronic timing being used on the course?  If so, what did the timing claim?
  4. Given the fact that the video clearly shows Zan Kosir crossing the finish line first, with both board and hand over the line when neither Lee Sang-Ho’s hand nor his board had reached the line, why did the judges decide in favor of Lee Sang-Ho?
  5. Given the video, why was the electronic timing not examined immediately afterwards?
  6. Why has this obvious mistake on the part of the judges not been called into question at the highest level???

If Lee Sang-Ho or S. Korea has any honor, they will concede defeat and ask the IOC to redistribute the medals.

Mister Rogers and Mass Shootings

This is SO TIMELY! Gave me goosebumps, too. 🙂

I can’t help but wonder what proportion of children raised on Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood like I was has committed a violent crime as compared to the proportion of children who were not raised on Mr. Rogers. Not to be greedy, but I’d like to see two questions, the first a yes or no question, and the second followed by five categories:
Have you ever committed a violent crime?
How many times a week did you watch Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood?
1. Never
2. Less than once a week
3. Two or three times a week
4. Four or five times a week
5. More than five times a week
If a Democrat were to design this study, they would make it far more complicated and yet fail to get at the crux of the matter, the heart of the truth, with these two simple questions from which we could learn so much.
I wonder how many prisons would slowly empty, never to be refilled, if the only programming on television in prison was half an hour a day, twice a day, of Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood?
Rogers graduated from Latrobe High School (1946). He studied at Dartmouth College (1946–48), then transferred to Rollins College in Winter Park, Florida, where he earned a B.A. in Music Composition in 1951. Rogers was also a trained general aviation pilot.
At Rollins, he met Sara Joanne Byrd (born c. 1928), an Oakland, Florida, native; they married on June 9, 1952. They had two sons, James (b. 1959) and John (b. 1961).
In 1963, Rogers graduated from Pittsburgh Theological Seminary and was ordained a minister in the United Presbyterian Church in the U.S.A. 
Rogers was red–green color blind, swam every morning, and neither smoked nor drank. He was a vegetarian on ethical grounds, stating “I don’t want to eat anything that has a mother.”
Despite recurring rumors, he never served in the military.

Mass Shootings: A Systems Analysis

Apparently, liberals have never heard of systems analysis, “the process of studying a procedure or business in order to identify its goals and purposes and create systems and procedures that will achieve them in an efficient way.”
Having been a systems analyst since 1989, I can attest that it’s also a great way to blueprint any system or situation in order to identify what’s wrong with the system, as well as what’s right or wrong about what’s being said about the system.
We now have enough data on mass shooters in order to analyze it as a system.

Here’s the lead in the article:  “Frustration is mounting in the medical community as the Trump administration again points to mental illness in response to yet another mass shooting.”

Dr. Louis Kraus (article) is apparently incapable of thinking through the issues using systems analysis. Perhaps he’s forgotten the the class in which we consider mass shooters: Violently Criminally Insane.

Certainly, most mentally ill people are not prone to violence.

Certainly many violent people and criminals are not mentally ill.

But anyone who would indiscriminately murder large numbers of human beings outside the bounds of lawful warfare is, by definition, violent, criminal, and insane.

Then along come the armchair quarterbacks like Dr. Kraus: “Mental health professionals welcome more resources and attention, but they say the administration is ignoring the real problem — easy access to guns.”

Dr. Kraus, that is absolutely NOT the problem: 150,000,000 (150 MILLION) Americans have INSTANT access to guns, yet I don’t see them running around blowing holes in school children or predominantly conservative concert-goers in Las Vegas. DO YOU, DR. KRAUS? Of course you don’t. Furthermore, the UK’s violent crime rate shot up from near-US levels to nearly triple US levels when their government banned and confiscated most guns. Clearly, the fact that they had an armed general populace was a significant DETERRENT to violent crime, WASN’T IT, DR. KRAUS???

So what’s the difference? Out of those 150 MILLION gun owners, many can be violent, but they’re not criminals. A few are criminals, but they’re not insane.

The difference is simple: 99.999998% of those who have access to firearms are NOT violently criminally insane. Put another way, simply compare 150 million to the roughly 3 people per year who commit indiscriminate mass murder of the kind we see in school shootings, mall shootings, and theater shootings. Nearly all of them DO Have mental health issues, DON’T THEY, DR. KRAUS?

Please pardon my allcaps, but I’m trying to point out what is clearly obvious to the vast majority of Americans who have had properly military and/or law enforcement firearms training: It’s NOT the guns. Guns are NOT the problem. In fact, mass shooters rarely exhibit either violent or criminal tendencies before the snap. But SNAP they do, and when they do snap, it’s psychological in nature i.e. broken mental health, and many people die.

Thus, when people like Dr. Kraus come along and claim, “The concept that mental illness is a precursor to violent behavior is nonsense,” I find such statements themselves to be nonsense. Don’t get me wrong: It may very well hold true for the 99.999998% of gun owners who do NOT commit a mass shooting during any given year.

But that’s not the group we’re discussing, is it? We’re discussing the 3 people each year who go on indiscriminate shooting sprees against dozens of people. We’re talking about the mass shooters in Orlando, San Bernardinao, the Navy shipyard, Sandy Hook, Aurora, at Gabby Gifford’s talk, Virginia Tech, the church in Texas, the church in Charleston, SC, Luby’s, etc. Each and every one of them is, by definition, MENTALLY ILL.

So OF COURSE President Trump is talking about mental illness.

What YOU can do, Dr. Kraus, is help identify the 0.000002% of gun owners who meet the full definition of “violent criminally insane” AND are likely to go on a shooting spree.

THAT’S how you can help, Dr. Kraus. Please do THAT, instead of sitting back on your high horse and obfuscating the issue.


Gun Control in its Proper Perspective

According to Statista, there are 1.25 million violent crimes in the U.S. each year.  However, roughly 725,000 (37%) are stopped before they happen by armed, law-abiding citizens with guns.

Gun control’s success rate in stopping violent crime is less than 1%. Armed, law-abiding citizens stop 37% of all violent crime.

Armed, law-abiding citizens are roughly 50 TIMES more successful than gun controlSo why do politicians keep pushing gun control instead of encouraging armed, law-abiding citizens?

There are 30,000 gun related deaths per year by firearms, and this number is not disputed. U.S. population 324,059,091 as of Wednesday, June 22, 2016. Do the math: 0.000000925% of the population dies from gun related actions each year. Statistically speaking, this is insignificant! What is never told, however, is a breakdown of those 30,000 deaths, to put them in perspective as compared to other causes of death:

• 65% of those deaths are by suicide which would never be prevented by gun laws
• 15% are by law enforcement in the line of duty and justified
• 17% are through criminal activity, gang and drug related or mentally ill persons – gun violence
• 3% are accidental discharge deaths

So technically, “gun violence” is not 30,000 annually, but drops to 5,100. Still too many? Well, first, how are those deaths spanned across the nation?
• 480 homicides (9.4%) were in Chicago
• 344 homicides (6.7%) were in Baltimore
• 333 homicides (6.5%) were in Detroit
• 119 homicides (2.3%) were in Washington D.C. (a 54% increase over prior years)

So basically, 25% of all gun crime happens in just 4 cities. All 4 of those cities have strict gun laws, so it is not the lack of law that is the root cause.

This basically leaves 3,825 for the entire rest of the nation, or about 75 deaths per state. That is an average because some States have much higher rates than others. For example, California had 1,169 and Alabama had 1.

Now, who has the strictest gun laws by far? California, of course, but understand, so it is not guns causing this. It is a crime rate spawned by the number of criminal persons residing in those cities and states. So if all cities and states are not created equally, then there must be something other than the tool causing the gun deaths.

Are 5,100 deaths per year horrific? How about in comparison to other deaths? All death is sad and especially so when it is in the commission of a crime but that is the nature of crime. Robbery, death, rape, assault all is done by criminals and thinking that criminals will obey laws is ludicrous. That’s why they are criminals.

But what about other deaths each year?
• 40,000+ die from a drug overdose–THERE IS NO EXCUSE FOR THAT!
• 36,000 people die per year from the flu, far exceeding the criminal gun deaths
• 34,000 people die per year in traffic fatalities(exceeding gun deaths even if you include suicide)

Now it gets good:
• 200,000+ people die each year (and growing) from preventable medical errors. You are safer in Chicago than when you are in a hospital!

• 710,000 people die per year from heart disease. It’s time to stop the double cheeseburgers! So what is the point? If Obama and the anti-gun movement focused their attention on heart disease, even a 10% decrease in cardiac deaths would save twice the number of lives annually of all gun-related deaths (including suicide, law enforcement, etc.). A 10% reduction in medical errors would be 66% of the total gun deaths or 4 times the number of criminal homicides……Simple, easily preventable 10% reductions!

So you have to ask yourself, in the grand scheme of things, why the focus on guns? It’s pretty simple.:
Taking away guns gives control to governments.

The founders of this nation knew that regardless of the form of government, those in power may become corrupt and seek to rule as the British did by trying to disarm the populace of the colonies. It is not difficult to understand that a disarmed populace is a controlled populace.

Thus, the second amendment was proudly and boldly included in the U.S. Constitution. It must be preserved at all costs.

So the next time someone tries to tell you that gun control is about saving lives, look at these facts and remember these words from Noah Webster: “Before a standing army can rule, the people must be disarmed, as they are in almost every kingdom in Europe. The supreme power in America cannot enforce unjust laws by the sword, because the whole body of the people are armed and constitute a force superior to any band of regular troops that can be, on any pretense, raised in the United States. A military force at the command of Congress can execute no laws, but such as the people perceive to be just and constitutional; for they will possess the power.”

Remember, when it comes to “gun control,” the important word is “control,” not “gun.”

Nikolas Cruz – Another Mass Shooting

Despite the fact that an article entitled, “Antidepressants Are A Prescription for Mass Shootings” first appeared in November of 2012, five years ago, as part of CCHR* Florida’s efforts, now we have a shooter, Nikolas Cruz, with a 7-year history of calls to 911, FBI involvement, and repeated evaluations by licensed therapists, all of whom deemed him not to be a threat.  Here’s another salient article.

The fact they were all wrong is undeniable.

I’m a data/systems analyst. In 2012, shortly after the Newton shooting, I located, downloaded, and began analyzing a very detailed set of data on mass shootings between 1981 and 2011. That’s 30 years of mass shootings.

There are only two substantial conclusions one can draw from the data:

1. Even the best psychological practitioners cannot successfully identify everyone who might prove harmful to themselves and others. Many mass shooters had been evaluated by psychologists or trained/licensed therapists who failed to identify them as a threat. Deeming everyone who passes through their doors as a threat, however, is not the answer. Less than 1 out of 10,000 subjects evaluated for potential harm, yet dismissed as non-harmful, ever go on to engage in a mass shooting. You cannot deprive the other 9,999 (actually, a lot more) of their own rights.

2. So-called “gun-free” zones occupy less than 10% of the physical space frequented by the general public, yet are where more than 80% of all mass shootings occur. In fact, more than one mass shooter has confessed they targeted a gun-free zone precisely because it was a gun-free zone so as to minimize the likelihood anyone would be armed and could shoot back.

Based upon the indisputable facts communicated by the objective data itself, along with 27 years of military and civilian education and experience in the use of firearms, here are my recommendations:

1. Stop designating areas as “gun-free” zones. Not only is that a wide open invitation to mass shooters, but it also denies the lawful general public their Constitutional right to defend themselves. Given the undeniably clear data and findings, the so-called “gun-free” zones are pathetically stupid. Stop designating zones as “gun-free.”

2. For areas where you really do not want firearms, such as K-12 schools, courtrooms and prisons, authorities bear the responsibility of protecting those who must be there. Secure the physical facility from unauthorized entry. Employ well-trained armed guards to stop unlawful armed intruders. Single point of access. Controlled entry. We do a very good job of this with courtrooms and prisons. Some municipalities do a very good job of this with schools. Take heed. Learn. Do. Protect our kids.

3. For more adult areas like malls and movie theaters, stop preventing law-abiding adults from defending themselves. Law-abiding citizens use firearms somewhere between 650,000 to 800,000 times each and every year to defend themselves against violent crime, usually without having to fire a shot. I’ve been involved in three such incidents. No shots fired, but the attack was stopped. In fact, because armed, law-abiding citizens are not cops, they invariably hold their fire until it becomes absolutely necessary to stop the attack. Error rates are only 2% for armed citizens, but 11% for law enforcement officers. Thus, disarming law abiding citizens is pathetically stupid.

4. Don’t touch the current psychological evaluation programs in place. Although it’s not an exact science, they do a very good job, with a very low error rate, in terms of identifying those who are a threat to themselves and others.  Trying to monkey with that from a legislative perspective would be a pathetically foolish thing to do.

5. Stop politicizing the issue. It’s not Trump’s fault. It’s not Hillary’s or Obama’s fault. It’s not the fault of Democrats or Republicans. In fact, most of the “solutions” proposed by politicians would greatly exacerbate the issue. Stop it. Knock it off. Do the research and find out what really works. Limits on magazines? Caliber? Number of guns one can buy during any given time period? Absolutely none of these foolhardy measures has ever stopped a single mass shooting. What HAS stopped mass shootings is when either a law-abiding citizen or law enforcement officer at the scene SHOT the mass shooter before they could continue. Securing places where people who must attend are disarmed, like students in schools, is the best way to deter such shootings in the first place.

6. Stop the blitheringly idiotic headlines. Mainstream media bears a huge responsibility to print the truth, instead of sensationalism like, “No other country has these types of…” Phooey. I can name thirty countries off the top of my head where such shootings are far worse than they are here in the United States of America.  Fact-checking is a basic yet critical responsibility of all journalists.  Those who fail to check their facts make the problem much worse.

7. Investigate the relation between mass shootings and psychoactive drugs. When a mother of four on psychoactive drugs drowns all four kids in a bathtub as her very first indication she has any violent tendencies, it’s a statistical anomaly. When similar events, including mass shootings, are repeated thousands of times over thirty years, you’ve got a real problem, and the drugs are highly suspect.

Yes, mass shootings are a tragedy. Let’s not create further tragedy by resorting to knee-jerk gun control that has not nor will ever stop mass shootings and is likely to make them much worse by progressively disarming law-abiding citizens who can and do protect themselves and others.  Instead, let’s secure certain facilities and respect the rights of all citizens to defend themselves in accordance with our Constitution.

*Citizens Commission on Human Rights