DougCounty (Ken Lassman)

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Political shift, hospital's fears hand NRA defeat in Kansas

1. I'm not yelling, Andrew. Take a deep breath. Take another one. Now. I'm not going to repeat this again, since you are hearing me less and less, and I suspect you think I am not hearing you, either, so it makes no sense to continue with this thread.

2. I have pointed out that the CDC has an entire division devoted to reducing accidental deaths through focused research projects, and indeed the head of this division has teamed up with the author of the Dickey Amendment that said that it is entirely possible and even desirable to devote some of their research dollars into the causes of gun violence in an attempt NOT to restrict gun ownership but INSTEAD to reduce preventable gun accidents and intentional gun deaths. You are entitled to think differently and I've given up trying to explain to you that such a focus is not "bad science" or "sampling bias" any more than focusing on the subset of children drowning in swimming pools is "bad science" or "sampling bias" because it excludes other types of accidental drownings and deaths. We'll just have to agree to disagree.

3. As regarding the population density of a county within a state, you've provided a fine example of cherry picking. I can show you that my back yard has 0 density population since nobody actually is living there. Show me a million square mile section of the US with a density of 3.7, and I'll agree you have a point. But of course no such place exists outside of Alaska.

4. I know you don't believe it, but ALL of my comments make it transparently clear that your thinking I'm asking for a blanket override of the 2nd amendment is pure projection, plain and simple, with absolutely no basis in reality. Oh, well, sorry to disappoint you.

5. Increased population density does not necessarily mean an increase in violent crime; in fact violent crime in many of the most densely populated places on the planet is lower than some small towns in the good 'ole USA. Historically, violent crime has decreased over time if you compare rates in prehistoric hunting and gathering tribal societies to today as well.

But I'm done with this, because you're not really interested in a discussion. So be it, Andrew. Be well.

June 13, 2017 at 11:11 p.m. ( | suggest removal )

Political shift, hospital's fears hand NRA defeat in Kansas

That's right, Andrew: did you know that my forked tongue is in support of the "biased sampling" and "bad science" that targeted the problem of kids accidental swimming pool drownings from other causes of death, looked at the possible solutions such as swimming pool fences, swimming lessons and lifeguards and developed an outcomes-based set of recommendations that is reducing the problem?

My forked tongue is also supportive of the extensive research the CDC has done to study the variables that lead to falls in the elderly, such as sleep, bathroom arrangement, carpening, etc. and has developed the STEADI program to try to head off the anticipated rise in elderly falls as our older population rises in coming years? I suppose you consider this to be bad science, too, because of "sampling bias?"

Don't forget how the CDC's sampling bias unfairly focused on infection control in the hospital setting, or their appalling singling out the issue of bed sores that has reduced ulcer formation in bedridden and wheelchair patients. And don't forget: they are not content with just bothering the health of Americans! They had the audacity of unfairly isolating AIDS, ebola, zika and other emerging scourges to study the vectors of transmission and infections--I don't know how the people of the world can stand our imperialist urges!

And I grant you that I was not aware of the technological sophistication of arms in the 1790s when the 2nd Amendment was passed. But if you want more context, which is only fair, the 1790 census was 3,929,214 and the US covered a little over 1 million miles (1,059,550 by my estimation), so the population density was 3.7 people per square mile. Only Alaska has lower density: even Wyoming has 6 people/square mile, the second least populated density in the US.

Our average population density is currently 84.6 people per square mile here in the US. And THAT is the context of our current debate. So your flesh out your facts if you want to be taken seriously, Andrew, and have a great day.

June 13, 2017 at 7:12 a.m. ( | suggest removal )

Political shift, hospital's fears hand NRA defeat in Kansas

The Center for Disease Control has STUDIED swimming pool drownings and they have reduced the incidence of kids drowning in them as a result by promoting the most effective ways to prevent kids from drowning in pools. It studies every other cause of accidental deaths, it studies health-related mortalities, and in practically every cause, they've made a positive impact. Now exactly why is that? So I can throw your questions right back at you: your aversion toward studying anything to do with gun violence as a subset of overall violence is based on a completely irrational fear of how that might somehow lead to some unknown limitation on our right to own a gun, even though it seems that you don't know exactly why. Your infatuation with a specific set of words that were written in a different time in a country that has almost no resemblance to the current world and current technologies and yet you apply a blanket interpretation of the right to own guns as if we still had black powder muskets, a low population density in a world where folks lived most of their lives in a 10 mile radius of where they were born and where they knew most of their neighbors, compared to a world that is highly mobile, technologically and communication-rich in ways that would blow away our forefathers. Why should I believe that your interpretation has more relevance to our goal of reducing gun violence than what science can now tease out in terms of objective, situation-specific means to develop effective strategies to reduce gun violence?

June 12, 2017 at 9:25 p.m. ( | suggest removal )

Political shift, hospital's fears hand NRA defeat in Kansas

You claim that you are catching my ulterior motives that simply don't exist and there is no way that I can convince you otherwise, so I see no reason to continue this discussion. You seem to see everything as "either-or:" you are either FOR gun rights or AGAINST it, period. You seem incapable of comprehending that I'm "both-and:" I'm both FOR gun rights AND for reasonable, well-researched safeguards that reduce the incidence of gun violence. You consider that as speaking out of both sides of my mouth and I think your all-or-nothing attitude is fear based thinking that unnecessarily cuts us off from measures that would benefit everyone, INCLUDING the gun owning public. Nobody wants their gun to accidentally kill a child playing with a loaded gun they shouldn't have access to, or to have a gun used in the act of suicide, or to have a shooting incident spread like an infectious disease to where now 12 people are dead. If you don't understand this, or think it is legitimate to research into ways to reduce the incidence of these "collateral damage" deaths, then I have nothing more to say to you and must agree to disagree with you.

June 12, 2017 at 2:57 p.m. ( | suggest removal )

Political shift, hospital's fears hand NRA defeat in Kansas

I quote myself from my very first comment:
"The Constitution says that the United States can legally be a country where every adult straps on a gun in the morning and is therefore prepared to defend themselves against any lunatic who tries to shoot up his or her fellow citizens, whether that be in the kindergarten room, the lunch room or the bathroom."

Now I have and will continue to say that most Americans would prefer not to live in such a world where this is necessary. But have I EVER said that I think that people's right to possess guns should be taken away? NO. You continue to accuse me of this when I have repeatedly said just the opposite. Get it yet?

Now. I DO believe that if we can develop policies that reduce gun violence, i.e. the accidental shootings, the suicides where guns are the preferred means, or where people who should legitimately have their right to carry a gun taken away because of a well documented history of violence and/or mental illness with a tendency toward violence/suicide, that research CAN help us develop community-specific policies that reduce the incidence of gun violence WITHOUT taking away anyone's legitimate right to posses a gun.

So I stand falsely accused by your last post, and I don't know how to state all of this more clearly. In fact, I think YOUR stance is more likely to end up with our rights to posses a gun being restricted in the future than mine, because if the rate of gun violence doesn't come down and there is no chance to research the underlying reasons, then the anti-gun lobby will continue to spout half truths just as the NRA is spouting theirs, and our rights might get thrown out with the resulting bathwater, so to speak.

So there it is, Andrew. I'm not asking you to even agree with my stance, which I believe is the attitude of most Americans, but at least try to understand it for what it is--and is not.

June 11, 2017 at 5:05 p.m. ( | suggest removal )

Political shift, hospital's fears hand NRA defeat in Kansas

The problem all along is your refusal to even admit to the possibility that there might be some effective ways to reduce gun violence that does not entail arming every adult with a gun for self defense purposes. You've never admitted that there might be some very effective ways to reduce the number of injuries and deaths that continue to go hand in hand with guns, and that research can provide the criteria to be be able to sort out what works and what doesn't. Why would you be so afraid of looking for better alternatives than arming every adult, and not be willing to admit that arming everyone might have unintended consequences?

Your last post pretty much clarifies your intentions, which has been to "educate," which in your usage means to convert me over to the NRA position of arming citizens to the point that they can reduce gun violence through the threat of more gun violence. And yes, you've wasted your time, because I've never said that it's not our right to own guns and to arm ourselves in self defense. Your fear that I'm out to get your gun is purely your fear based projection, and has nothing to do with reality, which I've also stated all along. What I HAVE also said all along is that money spent looking for alternatives to that scenario has great potential to reduce gun violence even more effectively and would be money well spent. There are a whole host of research questions that might lead to effective prevention measures that would result in less gun violence. What are the most effective ways to limit gun access to folks who are suicidal? Gun violence in cities follow patterns that mimic disease spreading epidemiology: can what we've learned about reducing the spread of infectious diseases be effectively applied to gun violence of this type, and exactly how? What incentives work that would create better compliance with gun owners to lock up their weapons to prevent theft/accidents from kids playing with guns laying around the house? Guns that are not loaded can't accidentally hurt, but how can they be used defensively if they aren't loaded, so what is the best way to prevent accidents?

The list goes on and on, and yet the opportunity for the research community to address this public health issue has been stupidly blocked by the extremist position taken by the NRA that even the author of the Dickey Amendment considers to be over the line. Hopefully the few folks who have bothered to read all the way down the thread to this will be rewarded with a little more enlightened information on the topic, in spite of your attempts to "educate," Andrew.

June 11, 2017 at 8:12 a.m. ( | suggest removal )

Political shift, hospital's fears hand NRA defeat in Kansas

Sorry you don't see that it's possible to respect the second amendment AND see it worthwhile to look to alternatives to NRA's agenda of arming everyone as a way to reduce gun violence. I have consistently maintained this during this entire thread; sorry you didn't notice that earlier. I still don't know if you see the value of good research-based policies that are community-specific designed to reduce gun violence, but I can assure you that most Americans would be thrilled with such options being developed. I hope you don't stand in the way from these being developed in a way that also respects responsible gun ownership rights.

June 10, 2017 at 4:14 p.m. ( | suggest removal )

Opinion: The problem isn’t Paris; it’s Trump’s crazy behavior

There is a grim humor in seeing Krauthammer pulling his hair out over Trump's actions, as if we didn't know that this was going to happen: reminds me of Kansans being shocked when Brownback undercut the functioning of state government and took the economy along with it: who coulda guessed that would happen (answer: anyone!)?

Krauthammer is simply wrong about the Paris Agreement as well: there is great wisdom in each country coming up with its own goals, using whatever mechanisms that make sense for that country to use, thereby bypassing the issue of being forced to do something by outside powers arguments--at least for anyone who is paying attention and actually understands that. Furthermore, Krauthammer simply doesn't get that it will take at least 13 years for the incredibly growing emissions of China to retool enough to where they can move from growing incredibly fast, to growing less and less until it actually stops growing. An incredible number of low carbon alternatives have to be put into place and integrated into the grid, as well as shutting down the thousands of coal fired plants that are currently producing that country's power. To say they are not doing anything is not only wrong, it's stupidly misleadingly wrong.

But he's right about Trump, albeit a little late.

June 10, 2017 at 11:23 a.m. ( | suggest removal )

Political shift, hospital's fears hand NRA defeat in Kansas

Gee, Andrew, maybe if someone who has a differing opinion than you tries to carry on a conversation with you, you might consider starting with something other than: "I'm not sure if you are too stupid to understand what you're typing or too dishonest to admit it...." So it is with real reservations that I'm going to reply to your points, in hopes that you are capable of still listening despite the very poor form.

I presume you are familiar with the Dickey Amendment that forbids any research "that will advocate or promote gun control," right? Are aware that the CDC includes something called the National Center for Injury Prevention and Control, headed by Mr. Mark Rosenberg during the time that the Dickey Amendment was passed in 2012? Well in 2015, Mr. Rosenberg and Mr. Dickey wrote a joint editorial for the Washington Post that I think reflects what I think is a reasonable position to take on the whole issue:

“We have also come to see that gun-violence research can be created, organized and conducted with two objectives: first, to preserve the rights of law-abiding citizens and legal gun owners and, second, to make our homes and communities safer,” Dickey and Rosenberg wrote. “Well-structured research can be conducted to develop technologies and identify ways to achieve both objectives. We can get there only through research.”

To do anything less than this leaves our law enforcement officers, local, state and national legislators and policy makers with the same tired old he-said-she-said arguments and no way to sort the wheat from the chaff. The position that everyone has the right to arm themselves does not mean that we can't take reasonable, evidence-based measures to make gun violence less probable and greatly reduce the number of accidents. 30,000 lives hang in the balance each year and it's irresponsible for the CDC to just ignore the 5th leading cause of death for individuals under 65.

June 9, 2017 at 3:28 p.m. ( | suggest removal )

Lawrence mayor takes stand against Trump's withdrawal from Paris climate agreement

I already responded earlier to Mr. Aronoff's suggestion about creating a cash prize to create the solution, then the government getting out of the way. Since you missed it, I will copy it and paste it below:

"This isn't a contest to create a magic bullet, winner-take-all type of scenario, either. For the scope and breadth of the required changes if we really want to convert to a low carbon future, every energy producer and consumer will be affected, up and down every supply chain of every industry, from countries with no or very little cash economy to emerging middle class economies in Asia and Africa, to mature economies with global outreach. The role of governments in this wide ranging of an issue is precisely what Paris is doing: giving each country control over setting up its own goals and monitoring, then ramping up the process over time at a rate the local economic conditions can bear, with the outcome hopefully heading off the worst long-term effects that will take millennia to reverse if we continue to go down the path we've been on."

June 8, 2017 at 7:43 p.m. ( | suggest removal )