Tuesday, December 31, 2019

Heh: "Ouch! Bungling armed robber accidentally shoots himself as he pulls gun out of his trousers to hold up bus passengers"

The incident occurred in Tlajomulco de Zuniga in the western Mexican state of Jalisco. Article from the Daily Mail. 

Tom Nichols and Flawed Logic About Being Armed At Church

Tom Nichols is the author of an op-ed at the Los Angeles Times titled "Mass shootings, irrationality, and why you shouldn’t bring a gun to church," where he argues that, contrary to the outcome at the White Settlement, Texas, church shooting, you shouldn't carry a gun to church because you might shoot your eye out, or something.

      As typical of his ilk, Nichols firsts tries to establish a relationship of trust by confiding that he is "a conservative and a defender of the 2nd Amendment right to own weapons[.]" He then goes on to state his thesis: "The 'guns everywhere' reaction exposes two of the most pernicious maladies in modern America that undermine the making of sensible laws and policies: narcissism, and a general incompetence in assessing risk."

     His first point, about narcissism, is a claim that people that carry guns only do so because they have a deep rooted desire to be a hero. "That impulse," to be a hero, he explains, "has now rotted into a paranoid, grandiose belief that every citizen is a hero in waiting." Moreover, he claims, "[t]his kind of narcissistic fantasy has no remedy. The people who think they’re going to shoot it out with mass killers — who seem, even, to relish the idea — are impenetrable by reason." Translation: "you're just a bunch of dumb sheep and that is all you are ever going to be, so know your place and stay there; and if you think otherwise, you're crazy." Nichols doesn't back up his assertion, so I must presume that it is merely his own belief about why anyone would carry a firearm for self-defense.

     Nichols second argument is a bit more nuanced because it actually has a bit of truth to it: people aren't very good at gauging risk. Nichols writes:
But even most well-intentioned people have no real sense of risk. They are plagued by the problem of “innumeracy,” as the mathematician John Allen Paulos memorably called it, which causes them to ignore or misunderstand statistical probabilities. They fear things like nuclear meltdowns and terrorist attacks and yet have no compunctions about texting while driving, engaging in risky sex, or, for that matter, jumping into swimming pools (which have killed a lot more people than terrorists).
       Nichols, of course, doesn't discuss how the media plays a role in people exaggerating certain risks and downplaying other risks. Most people are afraid of mass shooters and serial killers not because there is an appreciable risk that they will be killed by mass shooters or serial killers, but because the media spends an inordinate amount of time reporting on such persons and their crimes. Steven Pinker wrote about this for The Guardian in a 2018 article, "The media exaggerates negative news. This distortion has consequences." He explains:
        The nature of news is likely to distort people’s view of the world because of a mental bug that the psychologists Amos Tversky and Daniel Kahneman called the Availability heuristic: people estimate the probability of an event or the frequency of a kind of thing by the ease with which instances come to mind. In many walks of life this is a serviceable rule of thumb. But whenever a memory turns up high in the result list of the mind’s search engine for reasons other than frequency—because it is recent, vivid, gory, distinctive, or upsetting—people will overestimate how likely it is in the world.

       Plane crashes always make the news, but car crashes, which kill far more people, almost never do. Not surprisingly, many people have a fear of flying, but almost no one has a fear of driving. People rank tornadoes (which kill about 50 Americans a year) as a more common cause of death than asthma (which kills more than 4,000 Americans a year), presumably because tornadoes make for better television.
Pinker went on to relate that studies have shown that news reporting has become more negative in the past few decades, and adds:
The consequences of negative news are themselves negative. Far from being better informed, heavy newswatchers can become miscalibrated. They worry more about crime, even when rates are falling, and sometimes they part company with reality altogether[.]
So, Nichols is correct that you stand little chance of being shot at church, but is wrong in blaming the exaggeration of the risk on “innumeracy”.

     But even if the risk of an event is low or improbable doesn't mean that it is not worthy of consideration. Experts that analyze risk often will make use of a risk matrix that assesses risk by comparing two variables: severity and probability. A church shooting is a low probability event (remote or improbable), but the severity is high (critical or catastrophic). On a typical risk matrix, then, it would be considered a medium risk. Accordingly, it is not "paranoia" to take steps to mitigate the risk even if there is only a low probability of it occurring, but is a reasonable step to mitigate risk. For instance, my probability of being hit by lightening is low, but a lightening strike could kill me, so I still avoid carrying a long metal rod or going swimming during a lightening storm.

     But with all of that aside, the fundamental flaw with Nichols' argument is that it focuses solely on carrying a weapon to church. I don't know of anyone that carries a weapon to church that doesn't carry a weapon at other times and places. The equivalent of Nichols' argument would be arguing that you shouldn't have health insurance for fear of being struck by lightening because being struck by lightening is statistically improbable. But health insurance is useful in many other circumstances than being struck by lightening. So, too, is carrying a firearm useful outside of the church shooting scenario.

     It is not easy to find up-to-date data on the lifetime likelihood of victimization. This 1987 report from the Department of Justice seems most cited. According to that report, 83% of Americans would be the victim of a violent crime at least once during their life after the age of 12 (this is an average; the odds were significantly higher for men than for women). Again, on average, 25% of Americans would be victims of violent crime 3 or more times in their life. And 99% would be the victim of a personal theft. So, the odds are actually very high that at some point in your life you will be in a position where you would have need to use a firearm.

      And while there is disagreement on how many times firearms are used to prevent crime, the number is significant no matter whose estimate is used. In 2013, and as a result of the Sandy Hook Shooting, the National Academy of Sciences published a report, Priorities for Research to Reduce the Threat of Firearm-Related Violence, that related:
Defensive use of guns by crime victims is a common occurrence, although the exact number remains disputed (Cook and Ludwig, 1996; Kleck, 2001a). Almost all national survey estimates indicate that defensive gun uses by victims are at least as common as offensive uses by criminals, with estimates of annual uses ranging from about 500,000 to more than 3 million (Kleck, 2001a), in the context of about 300,000 violent crimes involving firearms in 2008 (BJS, 2010). On the other hand, some scholars point to a radically lower estimate of only 108,000 annual defensive uses based on the National Crime Victimization Survey (Cook et al., 1997). The variation in these numbers remains a controversy in the field. The estimate of 3 million defensive uses per year is based on an extrapolation from a small number of responses taken from more than 19 national surveys. The former estimate of 108,000 is difficult to interpret because respondents were not asked specifically about defensive gun use.
So, between 500,000 to 3,000,000 times per year (and based on the victimization statistic given above, the higher number seems more likely). These are not insignificant numbers.

      On top of all of this, armed citizens are much less likely to shoot the wrong person than police, and are able to stop mass shooters quicker and with less deaths than police. Consequently, Nichols comment that "civilians who think they’re going to be saviors at the next church shooting are more likely to get in the way of trained law enforcement personnel than they are to be of any help as a backup posse," is flat out wrong from a statistical point of view. Perhaps when Nichols discusses “innumeracy” he should look in the mirror.

Monday, December 30, 2019

A Quick Run Around the Web (12/30/2019)

"Nearby Superflares | What Do They Mean"--Suspicious Observers (8 min.)

      In a recent class that I taught, when we were discussing plea bargaining, a retired prosecutor and defense attorney said that prosecutors over charge to threaten a long prison sentence to get the defendant to plead to a lesser offense to reduce the potential time in prison.  It's really hard not to take the plea deal.  This was in response to my teaching that you should never take a plea deal, because in the end we are all judged by God. I don't want God to ask me, "Why did you confess to a crime you did not commit? Didn't you know that lying is a sin?"
         We tried to get President Trump to pardon a Marine.  But, the President couldn't, because the Marine had taken a plea deal, where the Marine had confessed to the crime.  It's really hard to pardon someone who confessed to the crime.
           President Trump did pardon two soldiers, one of whom had spent significant time in prison, but never confessed.  Often a condition of parole is confessing to the crime that you were convicted of.  So, people will confess to get out of prison.  But, the soldier would not lie.  So, he stayed in prison until President Trump pardoned him.
      It is the use of plea bargains to get confessions to a lessor crime to avoid having to go to trial that has led to it being compared to torturing a confession from someone.
      • "Coincidentally, CDC Issues 'Health Advisory' On Ebola Rapid Test and FDA Approves New Ebola Vaccine"--Organic Prepper. The author remarks: "In an interesting coincidence, the CDC has issued an advisory on the use of an Ebola rapid diagnostic test only 3 days before the announcement of a new FDA-approved Ebola vaccine with a '100% effectiveness' rate." The rapid test is intended as a quick test to be used on travelers, but the CDC warns that it is only a preliminary test and cannot be relied upon for a definitive diagnosis. The vaccine must be taken at least 10-days prior to exposure to be effective. The author wonders if these announcements are coincidence or something more:
            It could mean absolutely nothing. It could just be medical advances that seem to be coinciding.
              Of course, the last time the CDC began to talk about Ebola making it to the United States, it did. And the federal government recently hired “ebola airport screeners.”
        • "Antibiotic Resistance: Go Big Or Go Home"--Beans, Bullets, Bandages and You. The author discusses how antibiotic resistance arises and why its a problem, as well as sanitary precautions you can take to reduce the change of getting a bacterial infection. But the real key is not to scrimp on antibiotics when it comes time to use them:
                Not going big is especially tempting from a prepper point of view. One’s hoard of prepper antibiotics is likely to be limited, and perhaps irreplaceable at least in the short term during an emergency. It will be tempting to take the drugs when the problem is glaring, but see if you can get by with less than a full course. That strategy, though, invites resistance. At least originally, most of the randomly occurring mutations provide microbes resistance to the drug, not immunity. Taking a full course is likely to kill ’em all, even the somewhat resistant ones. Half courses just reward them for being resistant and encourage them to develop more of it.
                 If someone takes a partial course of antibiotics, they kill off a lot of the original population of microbes. They feel better, but the remaining microbes all carry resistance genes.  When these survivors breed back up, the drug is far less effective. Most preppers can’t afford to let any of their few antibiotic choices become ineffective. If you’re going to take antibiotics, now or in an emergency, doctors strongly recommend taking enough to do the job right.
            • "Knife and Hand Safety Review"--Blue Collar Prepping. The author recently had a co-worker injured while using a knife at work and so discusses some of the basic points of knife safety: keep your knife sharp and clean; cut away from your body; maintain and enforce a 'Circle of Blood' (i.e., an area around you free of other persons so a mishap won't cut a bystander). The author also links to a knife safety video produced by Schrade Knives.
            • "When you can't pull the trigger"--The Armory Life. A video and short article on weapon retention. The issue is that if someone grabs your firearm, you may not be able to fire the weapon (e.g., the slide has been pushed out of battery) or want to fire the weapon (e.g., it has been pushed so its pointing in an unsafe direction).
            • "HOME DEFENSE BLASTER BASICS: WHAT TO USE, AND WHY (ONE PROFESSIONAL’S OPINION)"--The Mag Life. Frank Woods gives us his opinion on what handguns, shotguns, and rifles (including caliber or gauge) he recommends for home defense, as well as accessories such as lights or optics. As to handguns, he writes:
            Generally we recommend a modern design polymer frame pistol of quality manufacture. Worthy examples of note are the Glock 17/19/34 series, S&W M&P 2.0, FNH FNX, FNS, and 509, the CZ P-series, the HK VP9, and the various iterations of the SIG P320. The reasons being, they’re proven designs, they function as expected much more often than they fail, and they’re relatively affordable (therefore easy to buy into) even for a beginner.
            And as for caliber? 9 mm he says because of higher magazine capacity, lower cost per round, and less recoil (for quicker follow up shots, if necessary).
                    It is my opinion that a small fixed-blade knife (“SFBK”) should have a prominent spot on the list of appropriate tools. In no way does the SFBK replace the defensive handgun, but if forced to defend myself against an attacker or attackers that pose a legitimate threat to life and limb, I want to have on my person the most effective tools possible. There are situations in which the SFBK is the defensive tool of choice, such as:
              1. I fear for my life while being forced to grapple with a person with obvious superior physical strength or fighting skills, and any attempt by me to deploy the handgun may result in the same being stripped from and used against me. This is almost always the case if I end up on my back with my attacker on top, or my attacker is grasping my dominant arm if I am trying to draw my handgun.
              2. A similar grappling situation as above, but involving multiple attackers.
              3. For reasons beyond my control, I am prohibited from having my handgun on my person.
                    A SFBK carried near the centerline of the body is an effective force multiplier in such situations. It is difficult to access and deploy a folding knife while grappling, especially if the attacker is throwing punches at the head, any of which can concuss or knock me out. Most persons allow their elbow to flare away from the body while reaching for and then opening a folding knife, which makes it easier for the attacker to not only observe the action but seize and isolate the weapon-bearing arm.  My take on centerline carry is that the SFBK should be carried on the belt or waistline close to the center of the body, and on the opposite side of the holster.  Done properly, the SFBK should then be accessible with either hand.
                             One study looked at coyote attacks in the United States and Canada and found a clear upward trend. Robert Timm, formerly with the University of California, and Rex Baker of Cal State Polytechnic University—Pomona, examined coyote attacks on humans from 1977 to 2015. During the study period, there were 165 attacks in California and an additional 202 in the rest of the US and Canada. Although California’s numbers have bounced up and down, the total number of coyote attacks went from an average of about four per year during the 1980s to about 15 per year in the late 2000s and early 2010s. The authors, however, caution that many more attacks have likely taken place. 
                              “…numerous animal regulation organizations and city authorities declined to cooperate in gathering these data, to avoid adverse publicity toward their management of wildlife or the specific cities. Park rangers also reported a reluctance of some citizens to file reports after being attacked by coyotes (Baker and Timm 1998). We also found that some agencies or entities that received such reports would not share this information with researchers or others, and some reports were said to have been discarded after a few years or were not maintained in a manner that was easily accessible,” they wrote. 
                                Even with incomplete data, the researchers had no doubts about reaching a consensus. Attacks on people and pets have gone up. 
                                 So what’s going on? The increase is likely attributable to two factors: The numbers of both humans and predators have increased. It’s inevitable that encounters between humans and predators would rise over time. 
                                   Grizzly bears in the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem, for example, increased from 136 in 1975 to more than 700 now. Lion numbers have been stable in California, but they have more than doubled in Oregon in the past 25 years. Coyotes are now found in every county in the Lower 48 and in virtually every major city in the United States. They even live New York City’s Central Park, and are seen frequently in downtown Chicago. 
                                      That’s because they have an abundance of food. Researchers have analyzed urban and suburban coyote diets in a number of cities. Generally, they eat such things as discarded food scraps, pet food left outside, road-kill and, on occasion, free-roaming housecats. They also eat lots of rodents. 
                                        The recent increase in mountain lion attacks is likely also directly related to the same two factors: Humans encroaching on lion habitat and more lions in the woods. Although California’s big cat population has remained relatively stable, the number of humans living on the fringes of cities has spiked. According to Headwaters Economics, since 1990, 60 percent of all new homes in the western United States were built in what is known as the wildland-urban interface.
                                          Attacks by brown bears, which include grizzlies, have gone up worldwide, according to a report in the journal Nature. The authors examined attacks from 2000 and 2015 in North America, Europe and the Asian range of brown bears. Worldwide, there were 18 attacks in 2000. There were 83 in 2014, including 18 in North America. 
                                      It may even be that once the laws are enacted, nothing specifically happens. However, as I stated above, what you need to do is not scuttle and hide. You need to stand up as a responsible Citizen. What could this mean? Perhaps business as usual with going to the range, wherever that is, even in your backyard? Do not acknowledge that any ‘laws’ have even been enacted. Carry on as normal. Particularly if your County has already declared itself a Sanctuary. It may be the case that raids are conducted by armed men in the employ of the State in order to create an example – I would suggest the creation of mutual support groups in your area, in order to make that impossible.


                                      "Giant Waves | Disaster Series Follow-Up"--Suspicious Observers (5 min.)

                                      • How far we have fallen: Last week, I noted an article from Rod Dreher under the title, "Pop Culture’s Erasure Of Religious People." What prompted him to write his article was coming across a Showtime program, "Work In Progress," with the following description: "Abby is a 45-year-old self-identified fat, queer dyke whose misfortune and despair unexpectedly lead her to a vibrantly transformative relationship. Chicago improv mainstay Abby McEnany co-created and stars in this uniquely human comedy series." I'm sure that Showtime had no qualms about the message that would be conveyed by that program. But it reminded me of another article, "How the Creator of 'A Charlie Brown Christmas' Got the Gospel Past CBS Execs." This article described the difficulty Charles Schulz had convincing CBS executives to allow the character Linus to recite a short passage from the Gospel of Luke at the end of the program. CBS's position was that it was too controversial to read from the Bible on network television. And this was in 1965! At that time, at least, television executives would not have had a fat lesbian character either. But here we are at the end of 2019, and the fat lesbian is okay, but I suspect that reading from the Bible would still be verboten. 
                                      Furthermore, there is also a race element to these attacks against Jews that has made the racial-hierarchy-obsessed left struggle to address the problem with any teeth. The vast majority of hate crimes committed against Jews in New York City have been carried out by people of color, and early reports alleging the identity of the recent murderer reveal the current attack may be no exception. This pattern presents a true problem for the left. As my colleague David Marcus has written, “The notion that hatred is harbored by some in the black community towards Jews does not comport with their hierarchies of oppression.” And indeed, the left, in all its racial obsession, has picked favorites. And they didn’t choose the Jews.
                                      • Related: "Jews Under Attack Deserve Better Than Selective Outrage"--Benjamin Wittes at The Atlantic. He also notes that these attacks aren't getting as much attention as they might otherwise receive because it doesn't fit the Left's narrative, writing: "People who are more interested in how they can use the problem of anti-Semitism as a weapon than in the problem itself will always be a little too willing to avert their gaze when the wrong sort of people get killed by the wrong sort of killers for the wrong sort of reasons." 
                                            It has frankly been astounding how little attention attacks on Jews in the New York City area have received. If any other minority group were subject to such abuse, it would be a leading national story. Why have these attacks been swept under the carpet? The clearest answer seems to be that the news media and our political leadership are uncomfortable with the fact that many of these attacks, including last night’s, were perpetrated by black people.

                                           Make no mistake, if white supremacists in MAGA hats were shooting minorities or carving them up with machetes, it wouldn’t just be news, it would be the only news. So satisfying would that narrative be to our politicians and scribes that we would scarcely be able to turn away. But alas, it’s Jews being killed and maimed. And the criminals don’t fit the bill of right-wing, Trump-supporting Nazis, so, you know, it’s complicated.
                                      At Instapundit, it was noted that the reason for the lack of ardor in reporting this isn't just the ethnicity of the attackers, but that the victims are the wrong type of Jew: ultra-Orthodox Jews who often vote Republican. See also: "Most U.S. Jews Don’t Care About anti-Semitic Violence Against the ultra-Orthodox" by Jonathan S. Tobin at Haaretz.
                                              The pre-welfare black society understood the necessity for respect and responsibility.  From slavery until LBJ's War on Poverty programs, intact black American families were the norm.  The church was the glue that sealed biblical bindings in the hearts and minds of the family.  Fathers governed their households, and young men were less likely to become criminals.  Fornicators and adulterers were unwelcomed parasites.  Premarital pregnancies were a rarity, as they were a cause for shame and reproach.
                                               In 1950, eighty-five years after slavery, the two-parent black household was 78%.  By the mid-sixties, black lives started to matter much less under LBJ's Great Society.  Now, just fifty-three years after the War on Poverty began, the once stable two-parent black household has disintegrated to an abysmal 27%, and the black church is all but silent!  The roots of this catastrophe were sown the minute the black church started trusting in government instead of God.
                                                 While the two major political parties share joint responsibility for the state of government, the Democratic Party has placed itself in direct opposition to God.  Those whose stand against God dig their own graves, and the black church by and large has decided to dig alongside the Democrats.
                                            The accounts included in this book are as noteworthy for what they don’t say as for what they do. The attentive reader will note that there is no period since the beginning of Islam that was characterized by large-scale peaceful coexistence between Muslims and non-Muslims. There was no time when mainstream and dominant Islamic authorities taught the equality of non-Muslims with Muslims, or the obsolescence of jihad warfare. There was no Era of Good Feeling, no Golden Age of Tolerance, no Paradise of Proto-Multiculturalism. There has always been, with virtually no interruption, jihad. This book completes the case I have been making for decades now.
                                                    Bd—Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis in full—kills frogs and other amphibians by eating away at their skin and triggering fatal heart attacks. It’s often said that the fungus has caused the decline or extinction of 200 amphibian species, but that figure is almost two decades out-of-date. New figures, compiled by a team led by Ben Scheele from the Australian National University, are much worse.
                                                     Scheele’s team estimates that the fungus has caused the decline of 501 amphibian species—about 6.5 percent of the known total. Of these, 90 have been wiped out entirely. Another 124 have fallen by more than 90 percent, and their odds of recovery are slim. Never in recorded history has a single disease burned down so much of the tree of life. “It rewrote our understanding of what disease could do to wildlife,” Scheele says.
                                                The giant red star known as Betelgeuse, situated almost perpendicular to Orion’s belt, has rapidly dimmed since October. By mid-December, the once shining star, usually among the top 10 brightest stars in the sky, had plummeted out of the top 20, reported Villanova University’s Edward Guinan in an Astronomer’s Telegram.
                                                The star is a known variable star, so while the rapidity of the dimming is unusual, it is far from conclusive. Betelgeuse is over 600 light years away so even if it explodes, it wouldn't impact life on earth other than giving a spectacular display. At full nova, it would be bright enough to be seen in the daytime. 
                                                  ... What was needed [following the slaughter of World War I], many felt, was a peoples’ revolution, and Marxism provided a ready answer; what few Marxists admitted was that what was needed was a new mandarin class, with themselves as the mandarins.
                                                         This was the great, satanic lie of Marxism: that the people would rule. Lenin and his Bolsheviks never had any intentions of allowing the worker’s paradise they preached to actually come to pass. ... 
                                                    * * *
                                                            ... The zealots, therefore, are the shock troops of the Revolution. But they are not mandarins; they only work for the mandarins – useful idiots, as Lenin famously called the true True Believers.
                                                             A true mandarin, on the other hand, believes in nothing except himself and his own self-aggrandizement. These men do not serve the State, the State serves them: it takes care of their financial and physical needs and it helps them exterminate their enemies. In a mandarin-led society, the State is presented as a father figure, if not an actual Big Brother. He may be a boy emperor, a regent, a figment of the imagination – but he does not rule; the mandarins do. And they are opaque. In the Bartók-Lengyel ballet, the titular Miraculous Mandarin is not miraculous because he is a wizard, but because he is immune to physical pain until the girl finally takes pity on him and finds the way, mortally, to his heart. Like his real-life incarnations in bureaucracies everywhere, his intentions are obscure and his motivation well hidden. He is the Other; his attempt to fit in with the commoners is fatal.
                                                               We can always spot Mandarins, which is why their professed fealty to the welfare of the common man rings so hollow. Like vampires, they continue to stalk us, seeking more throats into which to sink their gleaming fangs. How, then, can we stop them?
                                                          • "Exorcism"--The Social Pathologist. The author argues:
                                                            By accepting the de facto framing of our current civilisational battle as being one of Right vs Left, without actually defining what these terms mean, has resulted in the Right being composed of Christian and anti-Christian elements, fundamentally crippling any resistance to the Left.  For the Christian, the problem is that he has to fight not only the anti-Christian on the left but also the anti-Christian on the  right. The net result is that the Left wins most of the time while anti-Christianity wins all of the time. Meanwhile the West slouches towards Gomorrah.
                                                              He also contends that this is a direct result of the failure to have a purity test. He proposes the following test:
                                                                As I see it, any future Dissident Right needs to police its membership to prevent subversion by Right Modernists. The "purity tests" to be used are;
                                                                  a) A commitment to the Truth.
                                                                    b) A recognition of the formative role of Christianity in Western Identity.
                                                                      c) A commitment to Christian social morals-if not necessarily belief.
                                                                        As I see it, these three tests are our garlic, holy water and crucifix that we use to exorcise the modernists from any re-emergent Dissident Right movement.

                                                                        West Freeway Church of Christ Shooting


                                                                        As you have undoubtedly heard, there was a shooting at the West Freeway Church of Christ in White Settlement, Texas. The shooter had a shotgun and shot two people before being shot dead by a member of church's security team. The two shooting victims also died.
                                                                              Matthew DeSarno, the FBI agent in charge of the Dallas-Fort Worth area, didn't identify the shooter, but said he was "relatively transient with roots to this area" and had been arrested multiple times in different municipalities.

                                                                              The shooter was not on any sort of "watch list," DeSarno said, but investigators will try to determine whether he was driven by any sort of ideology. Authorities said the motive is unknown, and nobody knows yet whether the shooter targeted the victims.

                                                                              Texas Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick said the incident was over within six seconds thanks to the quick response of the security team members. Recent changes in Texas law allow licensed gun owners to carry firearms into houses of worship.

                                                                              "Two of the parishioners who are volunteers on the security force drew their weapons and took out the killer immediately, saving untold number of lives," he said.
                                                                         Another article related:
                                                                               “We lost two great men today, but it could have been a lot worse,” the church’s Senior Minister Britt Farmer claimed on Sunday. “I’m thankful our government has allowed us the opportunity to protect ourselves.”

                                                                              “The citizens who were inside that church undoubtedly saved 242 other parishioners, and that might get swept aside,” Texas DPS Director Jeoff Williams said. “It was miraculous. The true heroes in all this are the people who were sitting in those pews today and responded, the immediate responders … it was truly heroic.”
                                                                        The security team member that shot the gunman dead with a headshot is reported to be a former FBI agent, and has been identified as Jack Wilson, the owner of On Target Shooting Academy. The latter article relates:
                                                                        From ~50ft he drew his weapon under pressure and fired one shot to the terrorist’s swiftly moving head in just 2 seconds. Hero,” a tweet posted by Caleb Hill with a picture of the reported security guard.
                                                                        Claude Werner, who writes the Tactical Professor blog, has some additional commentary and thoughts on the shooting.

                                                                        Sunday, December 29, 2019

                                                                        "65 Signs of the Times Leading Up to the Second Coming" by David Ridges

                                                                        Back in 2013, I blogged about the book 65 Signs of the Times Leading Up to the Second Coming by David Ridges (Amazon link here) as I went through the book. My summary/review stretched into 8 parts. I decided to try and consolidate my summary in one post to make it more accessible, as well as correct typos that I located.

                                                                              I would note for the benefit of my readers that are not members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints (LDS Church) that Ridges is LDS and so these signs are discussed in relation to LDS doctrine, whether from the Old and New Testaments (the LDS Church uses the King James Version), or other books considered scripture by the LDS Church.

                                                                            With that aside, let's get started on the summary of the book....

                                                                        Mass Killings: 2019

                                                                        The other day I came across an article at the Daily Mail, "Mass killings hit new high: 210 people were killed in 41 attacks including 33 mass shootings in the US during 2019." In this case, a "mass killing" is being defined as 4 or more people, other than the perpetrator, being killed in a single incident. At least the authors were honest enough to report that:
                                                                             The majority of the killings involved people who knew each other - family disputes, drug or gang violence or people with beefs that directed their anger at co-workers or relatives.

                                                                            In many cases, what set off the perpetrator remains a mystery.
                                                                        Of course, this pales in regard to what we see in other countries. I just did a quick search using Google for bombings in 2019 and came up with this:
                                                                        Remember, this is just bombings and is no where inclusive of all such attacks. Not surprisingly, all but one of the bombings was committed by Muslims, and primarily against other Muslims.

                                                                        Book Review: Brothers In Arms by Marcus Wynne

                                                                        Book: Brothers In Arms by Marcus Wynne (362 pp.)

                                                                              In this novel we are reunited with characters from two of Wynne's earlier books: Dale Miller (from No Other Option) and Charley Payne (from Warrior In The Shadows). Miller and Payne happen to witness (and respond to) an assassination. Pulled together in the firefight, the two hire on to protect the principle that was the intended target of the assassination. But things are more than they seem when they realize their principle is the key to a terrorist plot. A plot, it turns out, to spread a deadly bio-weapon throughout the United States. Drafted by a government program called Dominance Rain into uncovering the purpose of the plot, the duo travel from the American heartland to Amsterdam, Athens, and back to Washington D.C. before the story is wrapped up. Of course the terror attack is thwarted, but it is the journey that is the story.

                                                                             As with Wynne's other books that I've read, this one has lots of good shooting action by someone who knows guns. In addition, we are treated to additional insights into field craft, and some examples of easy to make mistakes, in both executive protection and surveillance/tailing of targets. The reader is also offered a glimpse of the world of international terrorism before the "war on terror." It is easy to forget that pre-9/11, international terrorists freely walked in the streets of many European capitals and grand cities.

                                                                             While the Publisher's Weekly review of the book described the action as "over the top," I think it merely reflects the reviewers lack of knowledge of how terrorist and anti-terrorist activity was often conducted. We know that Mossad had no problem with gunning down PLO terrorists on the streets of Paris or other European cities.  Carlos "the Jackal" (Ilich Ramírez Sánchez) was infamous for his terrorism spree in the 1970s. Wikipedia notes, for instance:
                                                                              In 1973, Carlos conducted a failed PFLP assassination attempt on Joseph Sieff, a Jewish businessman and vice president of the British Zionist Federation. On 30 December, Carlos called on Sieff's home on Queen's Grove in St John's Wood and ordered the maid to take him to Sieff. Finding Sieff in the bathroom, in his bath, Carlos fired one bullet at Sieff from his Tokarev 7.62mm pistol, which bounced off Sieff just between his nose and upper lip and knocked him unconscious; the gun then jammed and Carlos fled. The attack was announced as retaliation for Mossad's assassination in Paris of Mohamed Boudia, a PFLP leader.

                                                                              Carlos admits responsibility for a failed bomb attack on the Bank Hapoalim in London and car bomb attacks on three French newspapers accused of pro-Israeli leanings. He claimed to be the grenade thrower at a Parisian restaurant in an attack that killed two and injured 30 as part of the 1974 French Embassy attack in The Hague. He later participated in two failed rocket propelled grenade attacks on El Al airplanes at Orly Airport near Paris on 13 and 17 January 1975. The second attack resulted in gunfighting with police at the airport and a seventeen-hour hostage situation involving hundreds of riot police and the French Interior Minister Michel Poniatowski. Carlos fled during the gunfight while the three other PFLP terrorists were allowed flight to Baghdad, Iraq.

                                                                             According to FBI agent Robert Scherrer, one MIR and one ERP member were arrested in Paraguay in June 1975. These two would have possessed Carlos's phone number in Paris. Paraguayan authorities would then have handed over the information to France.

                                                                              On 26 June 1975, Carlos's PFLP contact, Lebanon-born Michel Moukharbal, was captured and interrogated by the French domestic intelligence agency, the DST.[citation needed] When two unarmed agents of the DST interrogated Carlos at a Parisian house party, Moukharbal revealed Carlos's identity. Carlos then shot and killed the two agents and Moukharbal, fled the scene, and managed to escape via Brussels to Beirut.
                                                                              From Beirut, Carlos participated in the planning for the attack on the headquarters of OPEC (Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries) in Vienna. On 21 December 1975, he led the six-person team (which included Gabriele Kröcher-Tiedemann) that attacked the meeting of OPEC leaders; they took more than 60 hostages and killed three: an Austrian policeman, an Iraqi OPEC employee and a member of the Libyan delegation. Carlos demanded that the Austrian authorities read a communiqué about the Palestinian cause on Austrian radio and television networks every two hours. To avoid the threatened execution of a hostage every 15 minutes, the Austrian government agreed and the communiqué was broadcast as demanded.

                                                                              On 22 December, the government provided the PFLP and 42 hostages an airplane and flew them to Algiers, as demanded for the hostages' release. Ex-Royal Navy pilot Neville Atkinson, at that time the personal pilot for Libya's leader Muammar al-Gaddafi, flew Carlos and a number of others, including Hans-Joachim Klein, a supporter of the imprisoned Red Army Faction and a member of the Revolutionary Cells, and Gabriele Kröcher-Tiedemann, from Algiers.[29] Atkinson flew the DC-9 to Tripoli, where more hostages were freed, before he returned to Algiers. The last hostages were freed there and some of the terrorists were granted asylum.
                                                                        And some of you may remember the kidnapping of Gen. James Lee Dozier in December 1981 by the Italian Red Brigades Marxist terrorist group. Dozier was rescued by NOCS, an Italian special force, with assistance from the Intelligence Support Activity's Operation Winter Harvest, after 42 days of captivity. And, of course, we are treated almost weekly to drug cartels using automatic weapons to gun down rivals or enemies in Mexico. So, no, I don't think that the action is necessarily "over the top."

                                                                             All in all, if you are looking for something fast-paced to read, you can't go wrong with this book.

                                                                        Friday, December 27, 2019

                                                                        A Quick Run Around the Web (12/27/2019)

                                                                        "Galactic Sheet Impact | Timing the Arrival"--Suspicious Observers (9 min.)
                                                                        If the current sheet is what caused the flaring at Bernard's Star and Proxima Centauri, the latest we could expect it is 2052 (based on the time between the flaring of the two stars and the distance between them). However, the author discusses some reasons why it might be sooner, and that we may actually already be experiencing some of the effects from the current sheet.

                                                                        We hear a lot of banter from the “anti-gun” media that these problems are gun problems, and they’ve concocted this “gun deaths” number in order to lump these into the same problem and gloss over the differences. But if the problem were “guns,” then the hot spots on the suicide map and the hot spots on the homicide map would coincide, and would be related to gun ownership rates. There are only a few places where they overlap. Most of the hot zones for suicide have low homicide rates, and most of the hot zones for homicide have low suicide rates. The difference is stark
                                                                        High homicide rates correspond to black populations, and high suicide rates correspond to white populations, but the author finds that it isn't even quite that simple. Read the whole thing.
                                                                                The immediate advantages of these mini shells are a lot lower recoil and a much higher capacity. A Shockwave can typically hold five shells in the tube, but with the minis, you can squeeze in eight rounds. In my 590 with a 20-inch barrel and 8-round tube, I can pack in 12 cartridges.
                                                                                 The main issue we get to is cycling reliability. In short, these shells don’t cycle well. They tend to flip around, fall down and have serious issues with some guns. Apparently, they cycle in the KSG shotgun fine, and the same goes for Winchesters. In Mossberg’s and Remingtons, you may have issues. In Mossbergs, I used the OPSol Mini-Clip 2.0 to ensure proper feeding.
                                                                            The author's conclusion is that the mini-shells are fun to shoot, and may have an application for hunting small game, but he would not use them for self-defense.
                                                                            • It depends: "Which is Better For CCW, 9mm or .380?"--NRA Family. .380 allows a smaller, lighter firearm for the same type of firearm, whether full-size (e.g., Beretta 84 versus Beretta 92) or compact (e.g., Sig 238 versus Sig 938). This means that if you want a truly pocket automatic, you will probably want to go with a .380. If you want a more powerful round (i.e., capable of better penetration and expansion), then you will probably want a 9 mm.
                                                                            • Related: "The .22 Magnum for Self-Defense"--American Rifleman. A look at the statistics for the .22 Magnum, including performance in ballistic gel. I would add the caveat, though, that Greg Ellifritz has indicated that .22 Magnum seems to perform better in the real world than the bare statistics would indicate.
                                                                            • Reloading, yea or nay? I recently saw a couple articles asking the question of whether it is worth it to begin reloading ammunition: "Should You Reload Your Own Ammo?" by Richard Mann at Shooting Illustrated, and "The Case Against Reloading…" by Ed Combs at Guns America Digest (reprinted from USCCA’s Concealed Carry Magazine). The article by Richard Mann is definitely pro-reloading although it notes the downsides, while Ed Combs is pretty frank that he does not believe that most shooters will benefit much from reloading. Not counting the time spent helping my father as a youth, I've reloaded for approximately 30 years. Reloading opens up options and opportunities, especially if you shoot a lot of expensive ammo or have a caliber for which it is hard to locate ammunition; but hand loading also has a high starting cost in terms of equipment, and a high ongoing cost in terms of time. It is not for everyone. 
                                                                            • Related: "Hornady Brass-Cased Boxer-Primed 5.45x39mm Ammunition"--The Firearm Blog. If you liked the AK-74 in 5.45x39mm, your ammo options have been limited to cheap, steel case ammo or high-end Hornady V-Max ammo, also using steel cases. Hornady will be offering brass cased ammunition in this caliber, as well as separately selling brass to hand loaders. According to the article, Hornady will also be selling a set of reloading dies.
                                                                            • Related: "Powder Burning Rate Charts"--Sporting Shooting. Short take: the author recommends that you stick with published loading data rather than trying to work up loads based off burning rate charts. 
                                                                            • ".277 SIG Fury Demystified"--Guns America Digest. This is a round developed by Sig for the military's new rifle and machine gun trials. It uses a 140-grain bullet with muzzle velocities of greater than 3,000 FPS from a 16" barrel. This obviously requires a high pressure cartridge, and Sig has done this using a case made of three parts: a brass body, a stainless steel base, and a third part to lock the brass and steel sections together. Sig indicates that it is committed to bringing this round to the civilian market notwithstanding how the military trials turn out.
                                                                            • "VIRGINIA: All Hope Is Not Lost"--The Truth About Guns. Comparing the situation in Virginia to that of Illinois, and how gun owners in Illinois have made headway in the state legislature.
                                                                            • "Throwback Thursday: Daniel Boone's Daring Escapes"--NRA Family. Daniel Boone is an early American frontier legend, and this article discusses some of his escapes from times he was captured by hostile American Indian tribes.
                                                                            • "Walking On Ice: How Thick Is Safe?"--Beans, Bullets, Bandages & You. The author grew up using a 6" rule--that the ice had to be at least 6 inches thick before it was safe to walk on. That is a bit conservative. He relates the following from the Michigan Department of Natural Resources:
                                                                            • UNDER 4″ – STAY OFF
                                                                            • 4″ – Ice fishing or other activities on foot
                                                                            • 5″ – 7″ – Snowmobile or ATV
                                                                            • 8″ – 12″ – Car or small pickup
                                                                            • 12″ – 15″ – Medium truck
                                                                              As they put it in their ice guidelines, “Temperature, snow cover, currents, springs and rough fish all affect the relative safety of ice. Ice is seldom the same thickness over a single body of water; it can be two feet thick in one place and one inch thick a few yards away. Check the ice at least every 150 feet.”


                                                                              "Geopolitics of the South China Sea"--Caspian Report (17 min.)

                                                                                   Hours before the FISA court issued a December 17 order openly declaring that it could no longer trust any of the sworn statements the FBI had submitted to justify spying on Americans, The New York Times published an opinion article by William Webster, a former director of both the FBI and the CIA. Webster wrote, “Today, the integrity of the institutions that protect our civil order is, tragically, under assault from too many people whose job it should be to protect them.”
                                                                                    Gone are the days The New York Times worked to expose government abuse of power. The New York Times now defends power from truth.
                                                                                  The author goes on to discuss the "misconduct" (the FISA court's choice of word, not the author's) the FBI engaged in to obtain the Carter Page warrant, including concealing evidence that did not support the issuing of a warrant, as well as making false statements to support the veracity of other items upon which the FBI relied. But that is not all:
                                                                                    The FISA court recently exposed a massive spying operation by the FBI using the National Security Agency’s secret database. It confirmed that under FBI Director Christopher Wray, “Since April 2017, the government has reported a large number of FBI queries that were not reasonably likely to return foreign-intelligence intonation or evidence of crime. In a number of cases, a single improper decision or assessment resulted in the use of query terms corresponding to a large number of individuals, including U.S. persons.”
                                                                                    • "For Whom the New Rules?"--Angelo Codevilla at American Greatness. Also writing about William Webster's NYT op-ed, Codevilla notes: "America’s national security apparatchiks  effectively have changed the meaning of current law. They have established the propriety—maybe even the necessity—of adulterating or manufacturing allegations as premises for investigations the purpose of which is to hurt candidates or officials of whom they disapprove." Codevilla also observes that "Webster’s 'rule of law' amounts to the assertion that he and people like himself are the law. Hence, to criticize them is to criticize the rule of law." 
                                                                                      “As we walk into 2020, I want to cast my vote for more good in this world,” he said. “Ah yes, I know what you’re thinking. Can he be serious? I’m dead serious. And it’s not that hard, trust me. The next time someone does something you don’t like, you can go on the attack. But you can also hold your fire and do the unexpected. You can kill them with kindness.”
                                                                                        Here, I’ll decode for you, hard of hearing leftists: Jeffrey Epstein didn’t kill himself, means “We can see you there behind the curtain.  You’re not a great wizard. You’re not a medium size wizard. You’re just corrupt little leftists swollen in your own importance.  AND WE SEE YOU.  AND WE SEE THROUGH YOU.”
                                                                                        • "Out of the Shadows… and Into the Voting Booth?"--Michelle Malkin. A warning that the movement to provide driver's licenses to illegal aliens will be the stepping stone to granting voting rights to aliens.
                                                                                        • A reader directed me to this article: "UN demands that British army send more women for defense against jihad in Mali"--Jihad Watch. It's a trap.
                                                                                        • "Nationalist economics"--Vox Popoli. A critique of the economic theories used to support free trade, including comparative advantage; in particular, looking at the reasons asserted by Henry Hazlitt, in his book, Economics In One Lesson. The basic issue, however, is that, notwithstanding the simple models used in the theories, the real world shows that unrestricted free trade merely serves off-shoring of jobs and the collapse of wages. 
                                                                                        • Cannon to right of them, Cannon to left of them, Cannon in front of them Volleyed and thundered: "Sources of inspiration to survive the coming bad times"--Fabius Maximus. The author writes of the conflicts in our body politic:
                                                                                               The cause of these conflicts is obvious: we are squeezed between two powerful political alliances. Like cats and rats in city alleys, they pursue their agendas and leave each other alone. They chase weaker prey: us. The Right help the 1% amass wealth and power: tax cuts for the rich, deregulation of labor and environmental regulations, crushing unions, and building bigger cartels. The Left pursues their ever-more-ambitious social engineering experiments on us (their white mice). While they vie with each other for supreme power, taking turns slowing each down, their tag-team has no effective opposition.
                                                                                                 We get to choose who abuses us next. The conclusion of both programs will destroy the America-that-once-was. The Left seeks open borders, radical education of children so that many are weak or mentally ill, crushing of free expression and association, and use of the government’s punitive machinery to force participation in their experiments. The Right seeks to create levels of economic inequality incompatible with democracy.
                                                                                                   Of course, on the fringes there are people with bolder plans. Far-Left and Far-Right websites burn with predictions of coming violence. Begun, of course, by the demons among the Others – against which the Righteous must strike first in self-defense. An escalation of violence is a serious danger if we lose cohesion.
                                                                                              I think the horse is already out of the barn and violence is inevitable. Diversity + Proximity = War, and we have plenty of Diversity and Proximity.
                                                                                                      You must be proactive with your children. Fight The New Drug puts the age most children are exposed to porn somewhere between 8 and 11 years old. This means we as parents can’t wait for high school or youth group to talk about family values, sexual morality, safe browsing, or the porn industry. At that point, it could be far too late.
                                                                                                       While it’s uncomfortable to think of sitting down with elementary-aged kids to talk about the dark side of the Internet, our discomfort cannot get in the way of protecting our children. That means being there, unconditionally, despite our own hangups, to tell them about what sexuality should actually be like, and before anyone else does.
                                                                                                         Tell your kids about your religious values. Tell them how much you want them to have happy relationships — when they’re old enough to have those relationships. Talk to them about how porn distorts and warps views of sexuality, damaging the viewer’s ability to engage in a healthy marriage. Tell them how it destroys their brains and their ability to love someone. Tell your kids you want them to know that if they see anything — and you do mean anything — online that scares them or makes them uncomfortable, they can talk to you and you will help them.
                                                                                                           If it’s easier for your kids to talk to you in the car, where distractions ease awkwardness, use that time. Or write notes back and forth, or send text messages. Open up the lines of communication and find out what is actually happening around your kids and their friends.
                                                                                                             Ask if anyone they know has seen upsetting things online. See what they already know, and use that as a jumping-off point to talk about this in an age-appropriate way. Remind them it’s all too easy for people online to pretend to be something they aren’t, to trick them into things they shouldn’t do.
                                                                                                          Consistent with prior research, the researchers found that the following traits are most exaggerated among females when considered separately from the rest of the gestalt: sensitivity, tender-mindedness, warmth, anxiety, appreciation of beauty, and openness to change. For males, the most exaggerated traits were emotional stability, assertiveness/dominance, dutifulness, conservatism, and conformity to social hierarchy and traditional structure.
                                                                                                            When you think about it, it’s really incredible that there are no TV shows in the US like this — not about Orthodox Jews, not about Southern Baptists, not about Catholics, not about anybody. There are tens of millions of religiously observant people in this country — no doubt vastly more than the potential audience for a comedy about a middle-aged fat, queer, unlucky dyke — and yet, we are invisible to Hollywood.
                                                                                                            • Related: "The Coming Oppression Of Christians"--Rod Dreher at The American Conservative. He believes that the West will follow in the footsteps of China in adopting a social credit system, and it will be used to persecute Christians.

                                                                                                            Thursday, December 26, 2019

                                                                                                            Forbes: "The 147 Companies That Control Everything"

                                                                                                            This is a 2011 article from Forbes that was referenced in a different article I came across today. The Forbes article was based, in turn, on "Revealed – the capitalist network that runs the world" at The New Scientist, which reported on a study, "The network of global corporate control" (PDF) by Stefania Vitali, James B. Glattfelder, and Stefano Battiston. While there has been extensive research into analyzing networks between companies for nearly a century, looking at connections based on ownership and interlocking directorates (i.e., persons serving on multiple boards of directors), the authors of this study focused on analyzing networks of control. From the Forbes article:
                                                                                                                  Three systems theorists at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Zurich have taken a database listing 37 million companies and investors worldwide and analyzed all 43,060 transnational corporations and share ownerships linking them. They built a model of who owns what and what their revenues are and mapped the whole edifice of economic power.

                                                                                                                  They discovered that global corporate control has a distinct bow-tie shape, with a dominant core of 147 firms radiating out from the middle. Each of these 147 own interlocking stakes of one another and together they control 40% of the wealth in the network. A total of 737 control 80% of it all. 
                                                                                                            The New Scientist article described the research thusly:
                                                                                                            When the team further untangled the web of ownership, it found much of it tracked back to a “super-entity” of 147 even more tightly knit companies – all of their ownership was held by other members of the super-entity – that controlled 40 per cent of the total wealth in the network. “In effect, less than 1 per cent of the companies were able to control 40 per cent of the entire network,” says Glattfelder. Most were financial institutions. The top 20 included Barclays Bank, JPMorgan Chase & Co, and The Goldman Sachs Group.
                                                                                                            The primary concern of the authors of the Forbes and New Scientist articles focused on the potential risk to stability with such a concentration of economic power. A follow up article at Forbes, "Retort: The 147 Companies That Run The World? They're You," tried to further downplay the issue by arguing that it means nothing because the concentration merely reflects broad private investment through tools such as mutual funds (such as might be used by your 401k retirement plan). The author of the "Retort" explains:
                                                                                                            Most of the companies on the top 50 list are simply investment companies - they aren't operating companies. (The only obvious example is #50 China Petrochemical.) The enormous size of these companies is simply a reflection of the way most people invest in the public markets, through mutual funds, money funds and other vehicles. Disturbing? Nah. Simply a reflection of the way most people invest in the markets.
                                                                                                            But that misses the issue, which is control.

                                                                                                                 Those of you familiar with Robert Greene's The 48 Laws of Power might remember a law (or perhaps it was a corollary) that the power to control money or wealth was more important than having money or wealth. Such is the case here. As the researchers reported in their paper, "network control is much more unequally distributed than wealth. In particular, the top ranked actors hold a control ten times bigger than what could be expected based on their wealth." The authors additionally determined that "despite its small size, the core holds collectively a large fraction of the total network control. In detail, nearly 4/10 of the control over the economic value of TNCs [Trans-National Corporations] in the world is held, via a complicated web of ownership relations, by a group of 147 TNCs in the core, which has almost full control over itself. The top holders within the core can thus be thought of as an economic 'super-entity' in the global network of corporations. A relevant additional fact at this point is that 3/4 of the core are financial intermediaries."

                                                                                                                The author's study raise the issue of stability and risk of this interconnectedness, but then go on:
                                                                                                            Secondly, what are the implications for market competition? Since many TNCs in the core have overlapping domains of activity, the fact that they are connected by ownership relations could facilitate the formation of blocs, which would hamper market competition. Remarkably, the existence of such a core in the global market was never documented before and thus, so far, no scientific study demonstrates or excludes that this international “super-entity” has ever acted as a bloc. However, some examples suggest that this is not an unlikely scenario. For instance, previous studies have shown how even small cross-shareholding structures, at a national level, can affect market competition in sectors such as airline, automobile and steel, as well as the financial one. At the same time, antitrust institutions around the world (e.g., the UK Office of Fair Trade) closely monitor complex ownership structures within their national borders. The fact that international data sets as well as methods to handle large networks became available only very recently, may explain how this finding could go unnoticed for so long.
                                                                                                            (Endnotes excluded).

                                                                                                                 Research over the last 30 years or so has shown that interlocking directorships have created a self-reinforcing, self-protecting, social network that shares normative values. Moreover, the people that sit on multiple corporate directorships are often selected to sit on government advisory boards. This suggests that if there are interlocking directorships between the 147 entities, and we must assume that there are, there is a potential for the formation of a "super-elite" social network that could use their influence to guide the policies of whole economies and political units. I cannot say for certain that such networks exist, or that they might act as a bloc, but they easily could.

                                                                                                            Related: