I don’t normally quote Reason, but they do mention something that I find really irritating:
Undeterred by how wrong they got the Columbine shootings 13 years ago, or how disgustingly politicized they turned Jared Loughner’s 2011 rampage, the humans who work for and talk with journalistic outlets are again rushing to speculative judgment about Jim Holmes, the suspected Batman murderer in Aurora, Colorado.
via Half-Assed Media Speculation About the Batman Shooter – Hit & Run : Reason.com.
It turns out that there’s actually a precept of the American Psychological Association known as the Goldwater rule that states that it is unethical “for a psychiatrist to offer a professional opinion unless he or she has conducted an examination and has been granted proper authorization for such a statement.”
Wild speculation doesn’t help and can be harmful. I’m inclined to let the appropriate experts make their informed conclusion rather than make guesses based on potentially-unreliable reports or claims in the media.
If only more people thought the same way…
Say what you will about the quality (or lack thereof) of government officials, I’m just exceedingly glad that the people who comment on news websites are not in charge. Holy crap, the stupid burns.
I suppose newspaper editors would have always had to deal with various deranged Letters to the Editor, but I was able to retain some faith in humanity because the editor would use some discretion to weed out the most absurd, crazy letters and so I’d only see the mostly-sane letters that they’d publish.
The Internet has served to enhance communication for people all over the world, and for that I’m pleased, but it’s also served to bring the crazies out of the woodwork. Some times it makes me want to disconnect and go hide.
That said, YouTube commenters are by far the worst, but I guess I’ve adapted to that and consider YouTube to be a video side with a side of fresh stupidity. I’ve not yet wrapped my mind around the same thing with news site comments.
The Tucson area is filled with tons of fireworks stands; even the grocery stores have displays of fireworks available for sale. There’s even a “discount fireworks” tent on a vacant lot next to a road I frequently drive on.
However, the actual use of retail fireworks (as opposed to the big stuff used by professionals in approved displays) is prohibited in the city of Tucson. Indeed, many cities and counties prohibit the use of fireworks, as they’re enormous fire risks. Same thing with all Federal lands within the state borders (e.g. National Forests, National Parks, BLM land, etc.).
Nevertheless, business as the fireworks stands appears to be going gangbusters as people stock up for the Fourth of July celebrations.
It’s 103F outside now with 16% humidity (it was 108F yesterday and 8%). Combined with it being incredibly hot and dry, there’s already several huge wildfires raging in the state, so firefighting resources are occupied with combating these fires. All we need now is some idiot to inadvertently set some new fire with his fireworks.
Yes, the Fourth of July is traditionally celebrated with fireworks, but buying (and presumably using) fireworks with the current weather and fire conditions seems like an enormously stupid thing to do.
I hope people are responsible, use their fireworks in appropriate areas, and have suitable means of quickly extinguishing any resulting fires quickly and completely.
Update July 19 2011: It appears that the original link has gotten domain-hijacked. Link changed to a different site covering the same story.
From the BBC:
An American diplomat in the Pakistani city of Lahore has shot and killed a Pakistani motorcycle rider and his pillion passenger, police say.
They say that the consular official fired his pistol in self-defence. US embassy officials confirmed that an American was involved.
The men were pursuing the American in his car when the incident happened.
Weapons were recovered from the bodies of the dead men.
I’m sure that this is going to do wonders for US-Pakistan relations.
Even if the shooting turns out to be perfectly justifiable and legal, there’s going to be a lot of drama.
From the BBC:
A US military base that carries out tests to protect troops against biological attacks was locked down on Wednesday to resolve a “serious concern”, officials have said.
[...]No information was given on the nature of the problem.
They also say that nobody was in danger, which is good, but it’d be nice to know what happened.
Police in Britain are searching for guns smuggled from the US, according to the BBC.
The alleged smuggler, who is in custody in the US, is accused of smuggling 62 guns into the UK.
The last paragraph, however, stood out to me:
Former Scotland Yard counter-terrorism chief Andy Hayman said details of the case were “genuinely shocking”.
Writing in The Times, he said: “This makes a mockery of the stringent checks we all endure at US airports, such as removing our shoes and belts, having our toothpaste confiscated and all the other irritants.
“Steven Greenoe’s guns could just have easily been bombs.”
Mr. Hayman clearly is not familiar with how things are done in the US when it comes to firearms and air travel. There are clear rules and procedures for traveling with checked firearms. In general, the firearms must be unloaded, kept in a locked case, be in checked baggage (there are certain exceptions for police officers that allow them, in certain situations, to fly with weapons on their person), and be screened by the TSA.
Since Mr. Greenoe’s firearms were in his checked luggage, they were inaccessible to himself or others during the flight. This is in accordance with US travel laws, as well as my understanding of UK laws relating to traveling with firearms. Thus, Mr. Hayman’s comments about this incident making a “mockery” of the searches of passengers and their effects is not relevant. Don’t get me wrong, I think the current passenger screening policies are absurd and well deserving of mockery, they have nothing to do with the carriage of firearms in checked luggage. While his luggage may have contained bombs, one can hope that current screening methods for checked luggage would have detected them. In addition, bombs are inherently dangerous (for example, they could explode by themselves if mishandled or if constructed incorrectly), while disassembled firearms are simply inert pieces of metal. There’s quite a difference.