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Friday, March 16, 2018

"Transgender" Does Not Mean "Mentally Ill"

Just about a month ago I posted this picture across social media, and it took off like a rocket. While I'm glad it was so well-received, more than a few replies were in the vein of "Well, isn't it? Transgenderism is listed in the  DSM-V."

... actually, those were the polite comments. More than a few were rather insistent in their declaration that "all trannies be crazy, yo."

So strap in, folks, this is going to be a long one and may take a few installments.

First, a note on terminology
This is another instance of "I hope you don't think I'm scolding you; that's not my intention. I just want to help some well-meaning but misinformed/uninformed people avoid an awkward situation."
  • "Transgenderism" is not the proper term. The clinical term for "being transgender" is gender dysphoria or gender incongruence. To quote Jae Alexis Lee on Quora
In referring to transgender issues as “transgenderism” it can be framed as an ideology, philosophy, political strategy… It places transgender issues in the realm of Environmentalism, Feminism, Libertarianism and any other -ism you’d care to think about. If a thing is a philosophy, ideology or political strategy then it can be diminished from the status of objective fact to controversial opinion. Once you move something from fact to opinion then it’s easier to build “everyone has an opinion” arguments and to place specious arguments on more equal footing.
  • "Tranny" is a word you need to be very, very careful with. Many people find it incredibly offensive, right up there with the sexual epithet beginning with C and the racial epithet beginning with N. Now I personally find the word hilarious, and I will often use the word to describe myself (and only myself) because if I laugh at it, it can't be used as a weapon against me. But I would never describe another trans person using that word unless I was specifically told to, and so as a courtesy you shouldn't either. 

If it's not an illness, why is it in the DSM-V?
The short answer is that the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fifth Edition deals with the brain and its problems. Some of those problems are psychological, like fears and traumas and neuroses. But some of those problems are biochemical or neurological, like schizophrenia or bipolar disorder. And some can be either: depression, for example, can be caused by a chemical imbalance within the brain, or it can be caused by something really traumatic happening to you.

In other words, if it's a "brain issue" instead of a "body issue" like a cold or the flu, it's listed in the DSM-V. If you're diagnosed with something from that book it doesn't mean you're crazy. It may mean you're mentally ill inasmuch as you aren't at optimum mental health, but that doesn't mean you're a threat to yourself or others, which is unfortunately what people think "mental illness" means. This is a topic I'd like to address in greater detail in a later post.

The much longer explanation is a quote taken directly from the American Psychiatric Association, the group which publishes the DSM-V. All underlined phrases are my emphasis.
Gender Dysphoria
In the upcoming fifth edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5), people whose gender at birth is contrary to the one they identify with will be diagnosed with gender dysphoria. This diagnosis is a revision of DSM-IV’s criteria for gender identity disorder and is intended to better characterize the experiences of affected children, adolescents, and adults.

Respecting the Patient, Ensuring Access to Care
DSM not only determines how mental disorders are defined and diagnosed, it also impacts how people see themselves and how we see each other. While diagnostic terms facilitate clinical care and access to insurance coverage that supports mental health, these terms can also have a stigmatizing effect. 

DSM-5 aims to avoid stigma and ensure clinical care for individuals who see and feel themselves to be a different gender than their assigned gender. It replaces the diagnostic name “gender identity disorder” with “gender dysphoria,” as well as makes other important clarifications in the criteria. It is important to note that gender nonconformity is not in itself a mental disorder. The critical element of gender dysphoria is the presence of clinically significant distress associated with the condition.

AUTHOR'S NOTE:  a mental disorder is "a behavioral or mental pattern that causes significant distress or impairment of personal functioning."  Dysphoria is "a state of feeling unwell or unhappy; a feeling of emotional and mental discomfort and suffering from restlessness, malaise, depression or anxiety."

As an analogy, then, dysphoria can be likened to having a cold -- which makes a person miserable but isn't life-threatening -- wheras a disorder is more serious, like being sick with influenza or pneumonia. END AUTHOR'S NOTE.

Need for Change
Persons experiencing gender dysphoria need a diagnostic term that protects their access to care and won’t be used against them in social, occupational, or legal areas. When it comes to access to care, many of the treatment options for this condition include counseling, cross-sex hormones, gender reassignment surgery, and social and legal transition to the desired gender. To get insurance coverage for the medical treatments, individuals need a diagnosis. The Sexual and Gender Identity Disorders Work Group was concerned that removing the condition as a psychiatric diagnosis — as some had suggested — would jeopardize access to care.

Part of removing stigma is about choosing the right words. Replacing “disorder” with “dysphoria” in the diagnostic label is not only more appropriate and consistent with familiar clinical sexology terminology, it also removes the connotation that the patient is “disordered.”

Ultimately, the changes regarding gender dysphoria in DSM-5 respect the individuals identified by offering a diagnostic name that is more appropriate to the symptoms and behaviors they experience without jeopardizing their access to effective treatment options.   
In other words, gender dysphoria is in the DSM-V so that transgender people can be diagnosed with it so their hormone therapy and surgery can be covered with insurance. Without this diagnosis, it would be considered cosmetic.

For example:
  • A woman who wants larger breasts has to pay for that out of pocket because insurance is not cosmetic surgery. 
  • However, a woman who had breast cancer and two radical mastectomies needs breast reconstruction surgery to help return her to the quality of life she had before. 
  • Similarly, because many gender dysphoric people are so at odds with their body that it's causing them real, measurable distress and degrading their quality of life, hormone therapy and surgery is not cosmetic but necessary to improve quality of life. 
  • I say "many" instead of "all" because some trans people get along just fine once they're accepted for who they are and can dress and act accordingly. 

But if you still need treatment, aren't you ill?
People think that being transgender is a sickness that needs to be cured, but that's not the case. Sick people want to return to their state of wellness before they were sick; but transgender people don't want to revert to an earlier state (which would be what, exactly? A time when we didn't know what was wrong with us, only that we were profoundly unhappy and didn't know why or how to fix it? Sounds hellish if you ask me).

Think of it like being born with a birth defect that handicaps you, like missing a leg. There's nothing to cure because you aren't sick. There's no pill which will grow you a new leg. But you see all those two-legged people, running around and playing sports and dancing and just walking up stairs like it's no big deal and that's something you want, too, with all of your heart and soul, and you can't have it.

But look! There's someone with a prosthetic leg! And she's walking and running and living a normal life. That's what you want, too! So you ask to be given a prosthetic leg so that you can feel normal and do all the things everyone else can do!*

That's what transitioning is for us. Wanting to transition isn't a sickness; transitioning is the cure. It's the procedure which allows us to lead happy, productive lives. It helps us overcome our birth defect.

A Mild Rant in the Footnotes
*To continue the analogy, when people say "Transgender folks are mentally ill" they are doing the equivalent of telling that one-legged person "Your desire to have two legs is a sickness. This is how you were born. You just need to learn how to accept it."

Not only is this incredibly cruel, it's amazingly discriminatory; they wouldn't tell a person with bad eyesight that she shouldn't get glasses but rather accept that she was born with bad eyes and just learn to live with being unable to see properly.

Yet so many people feel they are "speaking truth" and "refusing to pander to mental illness" by misgendering us and calling us by our birth names, when what they are really doing is yanking off that girl's prosthetic leg and saying "Hey everyone, look at the cripple!" and laughing as she tries to get it back.

My gender and sexuality neither breaks your leg nor picks your pocket. Stop acting like it does.

Wednesday, March 14, 2018

Ideological Whiplash and the Treatment For It

Siddown, kiddos. Uncle Salem's got the whiskey back, and the white collar's going back on. The Reverend is in. 

I have been asked a few times my thoughts regarding the recent noises that President Trump has made regarding violence and video games.

I am, frankly, unconcerned. This is hardly the first time that video games have been put through the government ringer. I'm old enough to remember the Family Entertainment Protection Act and its sponsor. I've heard the tales of Tipper Gore and the PMRC.

I'm only surprised that it took this long for Trump and Hillary Clinton to align on an issue. I'm also aware that, after analyzing (that's not something that you pay Stormy Daniels not to talk about, in case you need it pointed out) the situation, that it's more than likely this is a giant cloud of hot air that Trump is pushing to distract from the NRA.

What perturbs me about the situation is the moral vanguard of defenders that have arisen to defend the poor, defenseless art form against the big scary cheeto man.

Such as Polygon.

Or Feminist Frequency.

Or Vice's Motherboard.

Or any number of examples that I could dig up with a marginal effort.

See, there's something you should realize as you pull an ideological 180 so quickly that your scraggly beards crawl up to cover your prematurely-balding heads: that you're no longer welcome to defend an art form after you spend the better part of the decade bashing it.

You don't get spend five years vacillating between implying and outright declaring that video games will turn you into anything from a rapist to a murderer because the pretty Armenian girl with the teleseminar background bats her eyelashes approvingly at you, then turn around and pretend to be strident defenders of artistic freedom when the mean man in the big house on the hill says the same things she did, albeit not nearly as artistically.

It rings incredibly hollow and lends an inordinate amount of credence to the Trump Derangement Syndrome theory. You truly are pivoting on a position just because he said something you agreed with 10 minutes ago.

Video games survived government overreach once before, and yes, you played a part in that. You're not needed anymore. The internet exists, and gives a voice to each and every person that chooses to use that voice. Even people you don't like. Especially people you've spent the last 5 or so years painting as the most dangerous villains on the planet.

There is the road. Those are some rocks. Kick the rocks. At least the rocks won't kick back.

Tuesday, March 13, 2018

Pellatarrum: Idle Thoughts Lead to Mad Noodlings

Me:  "You know, the Summon Monster spells suck at lower levels. Everything at level 1 sucks, and why would you want to summon anything except elementals at levels 2 and 3?"

Also me, after poking around for a while: "Why are there lightning elementals? Lightning isn't a classical element. Sure, it's the energy associated with Air in Pathfinder, but.... oh. Hmm."

Me, later: "Okay, so I have to dip into 3rd party content to do it -- but it's from a reliable and respected publisher so that's cool -- but I have statted-up elementals for each of the elemental energies. Well, except for fire, because fire is always an energy, but I can deal with that later. But it's so weird that there are listings for mud, magma and salt elementals."

Me, much later: "OK, so regular elementals are their platonic states. Then we have the energy states -- I'll call them 'energetics' -- and they're the ones which have been energized by the positive energy plane. Which means we need negative-energy infused elementals as well -- I think I'll call them 'entropics', nice alliteration there -- and that's great because it means that salt can be the negative form of water. I'll need to come up with entropic forms of the other elements, though. And fire.. okay, I can rationalize that because all of the elemental forms don't have any ranged attacks, so I can further differentiate energetics by making them all blaster types. Which means I need to rename "ice" to "cold", but I can keep the power, and I'll have to stat up a ranged version for fire and call it "heat". Great. But mud and magma are like half-and-half elementals..."

Me, even later: "OK SO I HAVE CREATED A MATRIX TO DEVISE NAMES FOR ALL THE ELEMENTAL HYBRIDS. I'm a little bit crazy, but that's okay. I'm going to need to stat up most of them, but maybe I can steal powers from mephits or other elemental creatures.... but WHY DO THESE THINGS EXIST? Some of these planes don't even touch?"


Me, getting out of bed to write something down because this entire process has shaken something loose: "well that's a clear and easy way to differentiate the major races on a two-axis graph zzzzzzzzz."

Monday, March 12, 2018

Operation Blazing Sword's Position Regarding SB 7026

Operation Blazing Sword wishes to state in unequivocal terms that Florida bill SB 7026, aka the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School Public Safety Act, is terrible.

Queer people under 21 are denied their Constitutional right to buy a firearm for self-defense. The ages of 18 to 21 is a critical period where young people are discovering their sexuality but are away from home — or perhaps even kicked out of their home due to their sexuality — and thus are in special danger. Federal law already prohibits them from purchasing a handgun, and now they cannot even buy a rifle or shotgun for home defense.

The mandatory three-day waiting period now forces all innocent people 21 years or older to wait before they can obtain the tools to defend themselves from stalkers, rapists, violent exes or family members, and other perpetrators of hate crime, while those who seek to harm these innocents have only a restraining order — a mere piece of paper — to stop them.

While we applaud the notion of armed school guardian, the requirements are so onerous that they are effectively a barrier against qualification. What's more, the requirements of 132 hours of training are far in excess of what is required for police academy graduates, who carry firearms full-time in the line duty and yet have had a median instruction time of only 60 hours*.

In short, this bill puts young queer adults and women of all ages at risk, and demands more instruction of school guardians than it does of actual police.

While Operation Blazing Sword was started as educational outreach to the queer community, we emphasize that our organization and our volunteer instructors do not discriminate and will teach anyone who wants to learn the basics of firearm safety and operation. Therefore, if any teacher in Florida wants to learn how to shoot and acquire their Concealed Weapon Permit, our instructors will be happy to teach them.

Saturday, March 10, 2018

My Thoughts on SB 7026

I would like to congratulate the State of Florida on passing a bill that makes no one happy. That takes skill.

It's technically a compromise, in that compromises usually make no one happy because each side gives a little to get a little, but in this case the compromise seems composed of the absolute worst of both worlds and benefits hardly anyone.

Come, let us analyze what SB 7026, the "Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School Public Safety Act" does. I'll go through it in order as it appears on the bill:

Creates grants to fund student crime watch programs
There's not a lot of information on this; the section to which it refers, 1006.07(3) simply says
(3) STUDENT CRIME WATCH PROGRAM.—By resolution of the district school board, implement a student crime watch program to promote responsibility among students and to assist in the control of criminal behavior within the schools.
So this bill will allow more money to be given to a nebulous program. This is not a big surprise; government's solutions to many problems is to throw money at it. I expect that this money will be mishandled, misappropriated, and embezzled; business as usual, to be honest.

Creates the Office of Safe Schools
The Office of Safe Schools serves to promote and support safe learning environments by addressing issues of student safety and academic success on state, district, and school levels. Schools that implement school safety measures, drug prevention programs, and positive school climate that promote caring relationships either directly or indirectly facilitate rising student academic achievement.
I assume this will be the governmental body which administers the grant process and oversees the spending of the funds, so read the previous section about graft and mismanagement again.

Creates the Coach Aaron Feis Guardian Program 
There's a saying that There's nothing which can be done that the Government can't do poorly, and this section is an exemplar of that aphorism.  This section manages to offend both sides of the political aisle by allowing some people to carry guns in school (offending the anti-gun left), but it does so in the stupidest, most inefficient manner possible (offending the pro-gun right).

Let's break it down:
  1. This entire section hinges on whether or not the county sheriff allows it. 
  2. Creates "school guardians" who are allowed to carry on school grounds, but only to react to an active shooter; no other powers are given. TL;DR they have no law enforcement powers. I think it's a sad commentary that this needs to be spelled out, but we live in a stupid world. 
  3. Specifically excluded from the Coach Aaron Feis Guardian Program are "individuals who exclusively perform classroom duties as classroom teachers as defined in s. 1012.01(2)(a)." That relevant statute reads

    (a) Classroom teachers.—Classroom teachers are staff members assigned the professional activity of instructing students in courses in classroom situations, including basic instruction, exceptional student education, career education, and adult education, including substitute teachers.

    Meaning that actual classroom teachers can't carry, but coaches, librarians, principles, guidance counselors, hall monitors, janitors, secretaries, nurses, etc can all theoretically carry. 
  4. Specifically excluded from that exclusion -- meaning that they can indeed carry firearms -- are 
    • JROTC classroom teachers;
    • active-duty servicemembers (I assume this is there to cover other JROTC staff who aren't specifically teachers;
    • current or former law enforcement officers. 
  5.  The sheriff (see 1, above) gets to appoint who becomes school guardians out of a pool of volunteers. 
  6. These volunteers have requirements that are actually above and beyond what are required for police academy graduates:
    1. Hold a valid CWP. 
    2. Complete 132 total hours of comprehensive firearm safety and proficiency training conducted by Criminal Justice Standards and Training Commission-certified instructors, which must include:
      • Eighty hours of firearms instruction based on the Criminal Justice Standards and Training Commission’s Law Enforcement Academy training model, which must include at least 10 percent but no more than 20 percent more rounds fired than associated with academy training. Program participants must achieve an 85 percent pass rate on the firearms training.
      • Sixteen hours of instruction in precision pistol.
      • Eight hours of discretionary shooting instruction using state-of-the-art simulator exercises.
      • Eight hours of instruction in active shooter or assailant scenarios.
      • Eight hours of instruction in defensive tactics.
      • Twelve hours of instruction in legal issues.
    3. Pass a psychological evaluation administered by a psychologist licensed under chapter 490 and designated by the Department of Law Enforcement and submit the results of the evaluation to the sheriff’s office. The Department of Law Enforcement is authorized to provide the sheriff’s office with mental health and substance abuse data for compliance with this paragraph.
    4. Submit to and pass an initial drug test and subsequent random drug tests.
    5. Successfully complete ongoing training, weapon inspection, and firearm qualification on at least an annual basis.
    6. Successfully complete at least 12 hours of a certified nationally recognized diversity training program.
So just to recap here, teachers -- who have already had their background checked because they are working with minors for eight hours a day -- must not only be psychologically tested to see if they're fit to carry a gun in school, but they are also required to become shooting experts and requalify at least once a year and complete 12 hours of diversity training because why the hell not?

I have it on good authority from LawDog that is is more training than police academy graduates get:
"When I went through the Academy in 1993, we had 40 hours of training. And [my Academy] was considered fairly heavy on firearms training, because roughly half of that time was revolver, and the other half semi-auto.
"I don't know of any current State Peace Officer academy that currently does more than 110 hours of firearms training, and most do considerably less.
"The Texas State-mandated annual requalification for peace officers mandates a minimum of 50 rounds, from 3 yards to 15 yards and a 70% pass rate, once a calendar year to maintain your peace officer licence.
"As a contrast, the State of Texas currently requires armed security guards, private investigators and Personal Protection Officers to have a minimum of 10 hours of firearms training to get licensed."
So there you go: Florida legislators truly want armed teachers to possess more shooting experience than police officers.

Really, this entire section ought to be called the We Don't Really Want Anyone Except Cops and JROTC Instructors Armed So We're Going To Make It Nearly Impossible To Qualify Oh And Let's Tack On Coah Feis's Name So It Looks Like We Did Something Program. 

This is what gun-rights activists mean when we say that we don't want the government mandating training requirements before we're allowed to own guns, because they'll end up looking like this: a massive time and money sink designed to keep average people from exercising their rights.

Allows schools to employ retired police officers as school resource officers
There's a lot of legal verbiage after this, but the short version is the title. I expect a lot of schools will do this, and I have no real problem with it, but this is another salary which has to be paid and that money has to come from the school budget. It would be cheaper to allow CWP holders to carry their lawful firearms, but they don't have the magical radiance of having been a cop and laws like these are all about the magical radiance.

Creates community action treatment teams throughout the state
This is an add-on to the mental health statues that basically says extra effort and money will be spent to create teams that will pay special attention to high-risk kids ages 11-21 to make sure they don't go nuts and kill people.

The risk factors are
  1. Repeated failures at less intensive levels of care;
  2. Two or more behavioral health hospitalizations;
  3. Involvement with the Department of Juvenile Justice;
  4. A history of multiple episodes involving law enforcement; or
  5. A record of poor academic performance or suspensions.
I don't have a problem with this, although it is a tacit admission that the state has screwed up and neglected kids with behavioral issues.

Forbids firearms possession for the mentally defective 
I honestly don't know why this is here, because Florida statute s. 790.065 (2) says basically the same thing. 

Raises the minimum age of all firearm purchases from 18 to 21
... unless you're a police officer or an active-duty service member.

This is pure virtue signalling and nothing more, because it is unconstitutional. Federal law (which overrules state laws -- and we had a little war about 150 years ago to decide that fact) says that 18 is the age of legal adulthood, and adults can buy firearms for self-defense per the Second Amendment. Since the State of Florida is denying adults their Second Amendment rights (and if you legally restrict purchasing firearms, you are restricting the keeping and bearing thereof), this won't stand moderate scrutiny.

I had expected that a Florida citizen between 18 and 20 years old, ideally a military veteran,  would sue the state under the premise of "I was old enough to join the military and operate fully automatic weapons (and in the ideal case, be not only trained in their use but also used them in combat) and yet I'm not 'adult' enough to buy a semi-automatic version of my service rifle for personal use?" because that would be fantastic standing. However, it seems that the NRA was waiting for this because the same day that Florida Governor Scott signed the bill, the NRA sued the State of Florida because -- you guessed it -- the law is unconstitutional.

Done right, this lawsuit could then be used to challenge the federal law which states that adults must be 21 years old before they can purchase a handgun. I'm not holding my breath on that, but it's a possibility.


Thanks to a question from Oleg Volk, I checked the statute and to my un-lawlerly eyes, it looks like the text of the law only forbids sales to 18-20 year-olds from licensed dealers; private sales are still fine.

This isn't anything I'd want to test, though, because a test case is expensive and I'm too pretty for prison.

Creates a three-day waiting period for all firearm purchases
Florida already mandated a 3 day "cooling off" period for handgun purchases, but long guns could be taken home immediately. This period is now mandated for all purchases unless you have a Concealed Weapons Permit [no wait for anything], have completed a hunting safety course [no wait for long guns], or are a law enforcement officer or active duty military [no wait for anything], which means that if you're a woman in fear for her life from a stalker or an ex, you're vulnerable for 3 days unless you can get a gun from a friend.

In other words, this does nothing to stop crime and only hurts the law-abiding, but it might drive more people to get their CWP.

Prohibits bump-fire stocks
There's been a lot of freaking out over this one, mainly due to how it's phrased.

On the one hand, the bill begins with
790.222 Bump-fire stocks prohibited.—A person may not import into this state or transfer, distribute, sell, keep for sale, offer for sale, possess, or give to another person a bump fire stock. A person who violates this section commits a felony of the third degree, punishable as provided in s. 775.082, s. 775.083, or s. 775.084. 
Okay, so it calls out bump-fire stocks. Gun owners don't like this, because it's banning something and the camel gets more of its head into the proverbial tent, but it's just bump stocks, right?

Well, the very next part of the bill reads
As used in this section, the term “bump fire stock” means a conversion kit, a tool, an accessory, or a device used to alter the rate of fire of a firearm to mimic automatic weapon fire or which is used to increase the rate of fire to a faster rate than is possible for a person to fire such semiautomatic firearm unassisted by a kit, a tool, an accessory,  or a device.
Emphasis mine. Some people are worried this could mean competition triggers, trigger jobs, or even lubing the trigger could be considered a "bump fire stock." I doubt this, but I admit that it's possible.

Creates the Risk Protection Order Act
There's a lot to this section, and I can't go into it in detail. If you want all the crunchy details, I encourage you to read the whole thing yourself. For those of you who want the highlight reel, this act is
...intended to temporarily prevent individuals who are at high risk of harming themselves or others from accessing firearms or ammunition by allowing law enforcement officers to obtain a court order when there is demonstrated evidence that a person poses a significant danger to himself or herself or others,  including significant danger as a result of a mental health crisis or violent behavior.
So basically, if the cops think you're a danger to yourself or others, a court order can be issued where they seize (well, "you must surrender to them") all firearms and ammunition until such time as you can prove to them that you aren't a danger. This hearing must take place within 14 of the order being issued, and if you can prove to them that you aren't a danger, they must give your guns and ammo back within 30 days.

The 'good news' in this bill is that you're allowed to give your guns and ammo to someone else for safekeeping, so long as you don't have access to it (so you couldn't give your stuff to a family member who lives in the same house as you). This ought to increase the likelihood of getting your property back in full and undamaged.

This bill is one of those things which sounds good, and probably will be used to do some good, but is also rich with opportunity for abuse. I can easily envision feuding family members using this to make life hell for their relatives.

Creates a School Safety Awareness Program
This is "a mobile suspicious activity reporting tool that allows students and the community to relay information anonymously concerning unsafe, potentially harmful, dangerous, violent, or criminal activities, or the threat of these activities, to appropriate public safety agencies and school officials."

In other words, it's a smartphone app where you can voice your concerns and/or snitch on people. 

Creates the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School Public Safety Commission
A state-level committee that will "investigate system failures in the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School shooting and prior mass violence incidents in this state and develop recommendations for system improvements." 

In other words, they're going to spend a lot of time and money pointing fingers and trying to come up with ways to prevent future shootings

Creates the Florida Safe Schools Assessment Tool
The FL Dept of Education will contract with a security consulting firm to create the Safe School Assessment Tool to identify threats and vulnerabilities and then implement safety changes. From what I can tell, legislators have finally realized that school shootings aren't stopped by gun-free zones and are treating them like fires, and will research ways to make schools less vulnerable to gunmen.

Authorizes spending lots of money to fund these programs
How much?  Around $400 million, with about $200 million in recurring funds. God knows where Florida is going to get the money for almost half a billion in school improvements. 

Too Long, Did Not Read version:
No one is happy except the bureaucrats.

Thursday, March 8, 2018

In Memoriam: Christian Jack Scheel 7/7/17 – 3/6/18

Art Scheel, also known as "Anti Tango", suffered a devastating loss this week when his 8 month old son Christian died.

Here's the story in his own words.

I can't even begin to process this. I've never had children, so I don't know what kind of love that is, or what kind of fear a parent has for them. I call it a slippery, spherical tragedy; like trying to pick up a greased bowling ball, it's something I cannot grasp... and yet, I'm still struck ill by this terrible thing, which tells me that what the Scheel family is going through is immeasurably worse.

Like many of you, I have this urgent desire to help, to comfort, to do something, anything, but am frustrated by the separation of distance between them and me and the knowledge that anything I do will be just a bandaid on an amputated limb.

Still, if you're like me you'll want to do something to help. Here's what you can do:
  • There's a GoFundMe to pay for the medical bills and the funeral. Funds are always useful at a time like this. 
  • If you'd prefer to donate directly, I have been informed by Meghan, the lady who started the GoFundMe, that there is an America First Credit Union for Art and his family and that you'll need the account name and account number to donate:
    • Account name: Arthur Scheel 
    • Account number: 9100280 
  • If you're local and want to give direct aid, or if you want to send something physical to the family (such as flowers, toys for the two older boys, etc), please email Brandon Kuhn at Utredneck AT gmail DOT com or message him via Facebook if you're FB friends. Brandon knows the Scheel family, is local, and is active in their church, so he's our Boots On The Ground man. He knows what they need and what they don't, so talk to him before sending anything. 
  • Offer sympathy, support and love to the Scheel family on Art's Facebook page. If you find you can't post to that page, write it on my wall and I'll tag him. 
  • Pray, if you're the praying type, for peace and healing upon this family. 
Thank you. 

Wednesday, March 7, 2018

Catastrophic Human Emulation Failure

Booting system

Commencing system check...

Memory unit: yellow

Initializing tactics log...

Catastrophic damage detected

Vitals: Red

Warning: trauma detected in the following systems

  • Ocular tracking
  • Vocal fluidity
  • Empathy emulation
  • Digital dexterity modules
Ambulatory systems offline

Black Box system failure

IFF system failure

Pod connection not found

DBU Setup failed

Primary inertia control system offline

Engaging secondary motion control systems...

Primary boot sequence halted: Offline repairs recommended before continuing

Mission status: incomplete

Emergency override initiated...

Loading backup personality profile...


The Fine Print

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