You’re on your own

Unfortunately the people calling the police in an active shooter event (or an armed robbery, or a home invasion, etc) don’t have three minutes. Lethal violence typically happens in seconds, not minutes. The bad guys do not announce their presence or intentions ten minutes before they start the fireworks. The police are almost always going to be reacting to an act of violence that is ongoing, meaning they are going to be rushing to the scene where people are already bleeding in a valiant effort to limit the carnage. Not to prevent it. To quote from the report: “Approximately half of the events (49 percent) ended before law enforcement arrived on scene. This points to the phenomenal speed with which these incidents occur.”

The FBI report is acknowledging a simple, inescapable truth: You are on your own.

– Tim at Gun Nuts Media (Emphasis in original.)

Read the whole thing.

Arizona and (the lack of) Natural Disasters

Arizona is, in essence, a land without natural disasters.

The most dramatic natural occurances we get here are:

  • It gets really, really hot during the summer.
  • For a few months out of the year, it rains pretty hard.

The most dangerous part is that people freak out and forget how to drive in the rain, so there’s a few car crashes. The summer heat means I run my AC, so the electric bill goes up a little bit.

No major floods, no earthquakes, no hurricanes, no tornadoes, no blizzards, etc. The deserts have a lot of little scrubby plants, bushes, and cacti, but there’s not a lot of big trees (Northern Arizona is an exception) so wildfires are not a big threat.

I used to live in the San Francisco Bay Area, and while earthquakes were a risk, they weren’t a huge deal: they happened infrequently (unlike a “hurricane season”, there’s no such thing as “earthquake season”), modern buildings were constructed to be seismically safe, and our house was built on bedrock. During the big 1989 earthquake, we had a picture or two fall off the shelves. No other damage. It’s easy to prepare against an earthquake, but considerably harder to prepare against things like floods.

I’m still not sure why anyone settles in low-lying, flood-and-hurricane-prone areas. I’m even more puzzled as to why people who settle in those areas don’t buy insurance to protect against the risks they face. If I lived in a hurricane area and couldn’t afford flood insurance, I’d move somewhere where floods and hurricanes were not common. Like Arizona.

On a similar note, this blog is hosted in Phoenix by an excellent hosting company. The lack of major natural disasters was one of the reasons I chose to host there, in addition to their excellent stance on free speech, affordable price, and great performance and reliability. Lack of huge storms trying to destroy your datacenter is a good thing, even if it means that employees of my hosting company will never have to camp out in the datacenter with food and armaments.

A Day of Winning

Today, Michael Phelps won his 8th Olympic gold medal at a single Olympic event. Congratulations!

When the Star Spangled Banner was playing, I reflected on how unusal it must be to hear that song in Communist China.

In a comparable achievement, my girlfriend and I won a $25 Shell gas card while eating lunch at Texas Roadhouse this afternoon.

Weird departmental email…

From the physics department at the UofA:

Last week, on Tuesday, July 17th, there was an incident involving the behavior of one of our undergraduate students, [name redacted], in the AMS Lab.  This incident has been under review by the Dean of Students Office for the past week, and was resolved at a meeting yesterday. [name redacted] is no longer a student at The University of Arizona, and is not allowed on campus.  If any of you who know him see him on campus, please call 911. It is believed that this episode has been resolved satisfactorily.

No further information was provided by the department, and I can’t find anything on the university police or local news sites. I also suspect they meant “June” rather than “July”.

Anyone have further details? I was out of the country at the time.