Paul Revere by Cyrus Dallin, North End, Boston

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The Irrelevant Ghoul

The Irrelevant Ghoul
A noun, a verb, and 9/11

Monday, January 7, 2013

Twenty-three days ago...

27 Americans were slaughtered in Newtown, Conn., including six and seven year old children.

President Obama promised action on tightening gun control laws. 

I'm posting this to keep the issue in front of our noses.

Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.)–author of the federal assault weapon and large ammunition magazine ban of 1994-2004–has said for weeks that she will soon introduce an even more restrictive bill. Leaders in the U.S. Senate have stated that January 22 will be the first day on which new Senate legislation can be proposed, so that is the most likely date for the new, sweeping legislation to be introduced.

As that date approaches, we need to keep in mind these facts:


Shooting sprees are not rare in the United States. Mother Jones has tracked and mapped every shooting spree in the last three decades. “Since 1982, there have been at least 61 mass murders carried out with firearms across the country, with the killings unfolding in 30 states from Massachusetts to Hawaii,” they found. And in most cases, the killers had obtained their weapons legally.


15 of the 25 worst mass shootings in the last 50 years took place in the United States. Time has the full list here. In second place is Finland, with two entries.



The myth of Israel and Switzerland gun ownership and violence:

Janet Rosenbaum: First of all, because they [Israel and Switzerland] don’t have high levels of gun ownership. The gun ownership in Israel and Switzerland has decreased. For instance, in Israel, they’re very limited in who is able to own a gun. There are only a few tens of thousands of legal guns in Israel, and the only people allowed to own them legally live in the settlements, do business in the settlements, or are in professions at risk of violence. Both countries require you to have a reason to have a gun. There isn’t this idea that you have a right to a gun. You need a reason. And then you need to go back to the permitting authority every six months or so to assure them the reason is still valid. The second thing is that there’s this widespread misunderstanding that Israel and Switzerland promote gun ownership. They don’t. Ten years ago, when Israel had the outbreak of violence, there was an expansion of gun ownership, but only to people above a certain rank in the military. There was no sense that having ordinary citizens [carry guns] would make anything safer.  MORE HERE.



Of the 11 deadliest shootings in the US, five have happened from 2007 onward. That doesn’t include the shooting in Sandy Hook, Connecticut. [The death toll is 27, which makes it the second-deadliest mass shooting in US history.]


The South is the most violent region in the United States. In a subsequent post, Healy drilled further into the numbers and looked at deaths due to assault in different regions of the country. Just as the United States is a clear outlier in the international context, the South is a clear outlier in the national context.







More guns tend to mean more homicide. The Harvard Injury Control Research Center assessed the literature on guns and homicide and found that there’s substantial evidence that indicates more guns means more murders. This holds true whether you’re looking at different countries or different states.

 States with stricter gun control laws have fewer deaths from gun-related violence. Last year, economist Richard Florida dove deep into the correlations between gun deaths and other kinds of social indicators. Some of what he found was, perhaps, unexpected: Higher populations, more stress, more immigrants, and more mental illness were not correlated with more deaths from gun violence. But one thing he found was, perhaps, perfectly predictable: States with tighter gun control laws appear to have fewer gun-related deaths. The disclaimer here is that correlation is not causation. But correlations can be suggestive.




America has a gun and violence problem:









I've been following discussions online at other blogs on this subject.  I've read comments saying people don't know the answer to the gun and violence problem here in the US.  The best way to find answers is to find what the facts are, then to come together to find solutions.   

Gun violence is a man-made problem; we will be able to solve it.  




43 comments:

skudrunner said...

"The South is the most violent region in the United States."

Yet in the example you used only one if the first ten are in the south. You didn't state that Chicago was the most deadly city in the US last year and has started off with a bang this year. NYC has started off in a tie with Chicago in gun related killings. Both of those cities have very strict gun control laws.

I agree that America has a gun violence problem but more associated with prosecution than ownership.

Some crazy rented a truck, bought some fertilizer and killed a bunch of people, others learned to fly and drove some planes into buildings. By your logic we should perform criminal background checks on people who rent trucks and hijack airplanes.

Something will be done so the elected elite can pat themselves on their backs but until we enforce existing laws and take this serious, nothing will happen that is meaningful.

FreeThinke said...

While even ONE death of an innocent is too much, I must say that in a nation of three-hundred-million souls sixty one incidents of this kind is not a mathematically high proportion. If the issue were less emotional, it might even be considered statistically insignificant.

Numbers have never been my long suit, so I stand willing to be corrected, thought not upbraided. ;-)

What concerns me far more than the mere physical deprivation of arms availability are the conditions that prompt individuals to engage or indulge in psychotic, nihilistic, anti-social behavior.

Dealing with 'root causes' is far more challenging than dealing with what-may-appear-to-be obvious.


"There are a thousand hacking at the branches of evil to one who is striking at the root."


~ Thoreau (1817-1862)

Dave Dubya said...

Yes, "Some crazy rented a truck, bought some fertilizer and killed a bunch of people" who happened to be one the loony fringe who think the Second Amendment is for armed revolution and civil war against fellow Americans.

Now there's one of your root causes of paranoia and weapons of mass slaughter.

BB-Idaho said...

Responding to Free Thinke's comment, to make comparisons fairer, the data is most often
presented as incident per 100,000
population, sort of a percent type number. Any which way you sort it,
a strong case for correlation between gun ownership and gun death can be made. Free thinke makes a good point about the root causes, which include the ease with which weapons may be obtained by dangerous folk, psychotics etc.

KP said...

<< Responding to Free Thinke's comment, to make comparisons fairer, the data is most often
presented as incident per 100,000
population. >>

This is a good point. It would be interesting to apply this observation and data points to other political issues.

I have been suggesting for a long time that mega cities, statistically, have different struggles (for good reason) then the rest of America.

And so, the gerrymandering as well as the blue and red states.

Anonymous said...

People like SF and RN will never let facts and reality get in the way of their failed beliefs.
Like children, they want what they want, and will not take the truth for an answer.
Obama is destroying America, guns are not. Obama is responsible for our 17 trillion dollar debt, Republicans are not. People shoot people, guns have nothing to do with it.
You can't change the minds of people who use lies to make their case. You can only ignore them, something PE refuses to do. Instead you pretend the have a legitimate viewpoint. It's no longer possible to call a liar a liar. Every opinion is valid. BS!

Rational Nation USA said...

Yes Dave it is. However, the millions of responsible law abiding firearm owners don't fit that mold, very fortunately.

So, the task is to identify a solution and apply it effectively and uniformly. Although that is a bitter pill for state rights advocates.

Whatever the ultimate outcome the right of law abiding citizens to keep and bear arms must be respected. IMNHO.

BB-Idaho said...

This morning, General McChrystal appeared on 'Morning Joe' and was asked his opinion on civilian
ownership of assault weapons. He stated that weapons carried by the infantry- M-16s, bushmasters and the like, are designed to provide a high rate of fire and muzzle velocity; to inflict maximum damage. As such, he believes they have to place among the gun owning public. We note the attraction:
many gun sites describe the terminal ballistics in terms like “entrance wound the diameter of a pencil/exit wound the diameter of an orange". Consider the effect of up to eleven of these rounds fired at close range into a first grader. It is a no-brainer; everyone should be with General McChrystal.

Anonymous said...

Truthfully, I would much rather be shot with a .223 Bushmaster several times than once with a 12 gauge shotgun with buckshot. One buckshot round contains 8 0.32" pellets, which is the same as being shot 8 times with a .32 caliber handgun. A 7 round holding 12 ga. shotgun basically holds 56 projectiles before reloading is required. This is why the shotgun is an ideal home defense weapon, you can cut someone in half with one shot. I also would rather be shot with a .223 several times than once by a 30.06 rifle round, commonly used in deer and elk hunting, which is the round that Martin Luther King Jr. was killed with. It is also the round fired from the WW2 era M1 Garand infantry rifle, and will kill with one shot darn near anywhere in the body. As someone who is quite well educated in the use and capabilities of firearms as a veteran and former deer hunter, I would like to inform my liberal friends that the rounds in current military assault rifles are considered to be too underpowered to bring down big game, and therefore are LESS dangerous than most rifles used for hunting. This round is a wounding round, because it is more advantageous in war to severely wound, and not kill the enemy as now one of his fellows must stop fighting to tend to the other, and you may take up to three soldiers out of the fight as it may take two other soldiers to carry the wounded man to the aid station. Their only advantage is the large capacity magazine. The ability to shot many rounds before reloading is the only advantage, and the fact that they are usually lighter and easier to carry than a hunting rifle, although this is only important in the area of a foot soldier who must lug the weapon around all day and much less important to the mass mall/school nutjob shooter. So yes, limiting the availability of large clips is the only thing that will be the only real productive step, as "assault rifles" as such are really only for posers who want to go to the range and look like a bad ass, but really all of the hunters sighting in the rifles prior to deer season see these guns as a toy not worth buying. If your goal is to shoot many rounds for target practice it is cheaper to buy a .22 plinking rifle. IMHO, the only thing that could help is getting rid of large clips. Banning assault rifles is pointless. I also favor stricter registration requirements, and mandating gun safes for storage to limit the amount of guns that are stolen and then used in a crime. All of my guns are in a safe that I only ave the key to.

Tim

Republican Racism said...

"be considered statistically insignificant"

This is what we are up against. People who don't consider a human life valuable, because it is insignificant compared to the number of people in society.

There would be less murders, if we were limited to the kind of weapons of Thoreau's day.

Guns have nothing to do with this problem of mass killing.

Really?

"The price of anything is the amount of life you exchange for it."

Henry David Thoreau

Shaw Kenawe said...

"Anonymous said...
Truthfully, I would much rather be shot with a .223 Bushmaster several times than once with a 12 gauge shotgun with buckshot. One buckshot round contains 8 0.32" pellets, which is the same as being shot 8 times with a .32 caliber handgun."

Anon, I'd like to live in a country where neither I nor little kids have to speculate on what sort of firearm we would rather be murdered with.

We have more guns in circulation than any other civilized country, and we have more deaths from firearms than any other civilized country.

A rational person would look at that fact and learn something from it.

A responsible gun owner is not the subject of this dispute.

The problem we've brought on ourselves is glorifying firearms and pretending that the Founding Fathers wished for every citizens to be armed to the teeth.

Now every citizen has to fear for the safety of their children in schools.

Shaw Kenawe said...

General McCrystal gets it. And he is just as much as an expert as Anon above is:

"GEN. STANLEY McCHRYSTAL: Yeah, I spent a career carrying, typically, an M-16 and then later an M-4 Carbine and an M-4 Carbine fires a .223 caliber round, which is 5.56 millimeter at about 3,000 feet per second. When it hits the human body, the effects are devastating. It’s designed to do that and that’s what our soldiers ought to carry. I, personally, don’t think there’s any need for that kind of weaponry on the streets, and, particularly, around the schools in America. I believe that we’ve got to take a serious look. I understand everybody’s desire to have whatever they want but we’ve got to protect our children, we’ve got to protect our police, we’ve got to protect our population and I think we’ve got to take a very mature look at that."

KP said...

Good last post Shaw. I know you have thought this issue through. I agree with the General. Very interesting man. I just bought his new book.

How would you alter 'some' of the far left's criticism of gun ownership over the last few weeks? It seems the louder it gets the more guns fly off the shelves.

I have to admit, I am not a gun owner. But with what all the talk and attention I probably will be soon. It seems the ferver of (what I perceive) as unfair criticism of gun owners is motivating me to be a gun owner. Most likely a home defense Remington pump action shotgun or/and a 45 semiauto Smith & Wesson pistol.

My view, some people might consider lowering the emotional tenor and raising the thoughtful tenor, a la McChrystal.

Then lets get some thoughtful legislation passed.

S.W. Anderson said...

skudrunner wrote, "I agree that America has a gun violence problem but more associated with prosecution than ownership."

You're saying prosecution would've prevented Jared Loughner from killing six people and wounding 12? You're saying James Holmes who killed 12 people and injured 58 in an Aurora, Colo., theater and who had no criminal record could've been stopped by prosecution?

You're telling me Adam Lanza, who had no criminal record, could've been prevented from committing the Newtown, Conn, school massacre if only he had been prosecuted? For what, being an overly shy oddball?

I seem to recall that booze-screwed jerk in Florida who shot and killed an unarmed 17-year-old in an adjacent car because he thought music was being played too loud had no criminal record.

The list goes on and on.

We've got more people in prison than any other major industrialized nation. From the mid-19th century to the late 1960's, the U.S. had a very harsh criminal justice system. Then, for about 15 years things swung the other way. A good case can be made they swung too far the other way. That triggered a backlash that persists to this day. As the DNA project has proven, a shocking number of death sentences for murder are handed out to innocent people. Lack of prosecutions is clearly not our big problem here.

Would you please make an effort to know what the hell you're writing about before writing?

S.W. Anderson said...

Shaw, to your telling batch of statistics let me add one more. A guy interviewed on MSNBC Tuesday evening told what may the most chilling statistic of all: 85 percent of the children killed by gun violence worldwide are killed in the U.S.

The U.S. has probably got more guns per capita than any other country. If guns make good guys and gals safer, we should be the safest people on Earth. Clearly, we're not.

Part of the problem is the number and kinds of guns readily available to whoever. Part of the problem is that our Loughners, Holmeses and Lanzas are honest, law-abiding citizens and, usually, gun owners, right up to the moment they go haywire and start killing people.

We need a balance of remedies that includes more and more-certain identification of people with mental and emotional problems that disqualify them from having access to guns or other weapons. Beyond that, we need to get those people the treatment and, if necessary, hospitalization they need — treatment the rest of us need for them to have.

Anonymous said...

Shaw you misunderstand. I am in agreement with you that there are measures that could be taken legally to get the guns out of the hands of people who would use them to do harm, I was trying to illustrate to you that hunting calibers are much more deadly shot for shot than the so called assault rifle calibers of the .223 and the "mini .30" AK 47 round. Yes I too do not want to have to walk around carrying a gun to protect myself, but banning assault rifles alone is a feel good measure, and will not make a very big dent in gun violence. Let's face it: it's the proliferation of handguns, and especially the high capacity 9mm that is driving these statistics.

Tim

Shaw Kenawe said...

KP, I'm not a gun owner, nor is any member of my family. I know nothing about gun culture, except what I see on the news.

If folks on the far left are calling for a complete gun ban, they're not going to see that happen. For better or for worse, gun ownership is embedded in the Constitution.

I believe our gun problems began when the NRA turned from providing firearms education to firearms proliferation, working FOR the firearms industrial complex, instead of individual gun owners.

Through the NRA's influence, legislation passed in Florida that prohibits a pediatrician to even TALK TO PARENTS about gun safety in the home. Also through the NRA's influence, as reported in the Journal of the American Medical Association research on gun deaths and statistics is prohibited.

The idea that anyone in this country should be allowed any sort of firearm with absolutely no constraints is insane. But it appears that lobbyists like the NRA are in favor of that.

A massacre similar to the one that occurred at Newtown occurred at the Cleveland Elementary School in Stockton, CA in 1989 (six children killed and 30 children wounded) that finally led to the 1994 Federal Ban on Assault Weapons, which Congress and President Bush let expire in 2004, and which President Obama [shame on him] did not reinstate.

Every day eight kids under 20-years-old die from gun violence in America. That's 56 kids a week, 340 kids a month and over 3,000 kids every year. That's a 9/11 death toll of children every single year!


In fact you could fill Fenway Park three times over with the 110,000 children killed by guns in the U.S. over the past 30 years!

Shaw Kenawe said...

Thanks for clarifying that, Tim. I get what you were trying to explain.

Anonymous said...

"But with what all the talk and attention I probably will be soon. It seems the ferver of (what I perceive) as unfair criticism of gun owners is motivating me to be a gun owner."

Typical American, weak mind.
You would buy a gun simply because of the heated debate? Is this a fad, like bell bottom jeans? By a Bushmaster and be proud.

billy pilgrim said...

Burke, a good boston boy got fired today!

all the good players vancouver has now were acquired by Burke. bring him back to vancouver and we'll give your big bad broonz a run for their money.

Anonymous said...

KP, If you are looking for home defense I recommend the Mossburg 500 pump shotgun over the Remington. It is cheaper and just as good. Do not get a .45 automatic. They have a tendancy to jam, usually at the worst possible time. Go with a .357 revolver. You can shoot .38 special ammo at the range to practice with (saving a lot of money) and although it is powerful enough (more so than the .45 or 9mm) it can be handled easily by women as well as men. 6 shots is all you need.

Tim

BB-Idaho said...

Back prior to the NRA success in
banning NIH studies of gun injuries, there were indications of a high ratio collateral damage involving home defense.
There are many opinions about the best home defense weapon, such as
a shotgun isn't going go through
a number of walls and bring down
someone across the street in their
living room, the reliability and simplicity of the revolver, etc.
It is sad that we feel compelled to
be armed in our own homes, but I can see where those in high crime
areas have a need. As an ex-Army officer and retired ammunition scientist, I've seen enough weaponry..and in retirement just
don't want one around.

KP said...

Thanks Tim. I am mosted interested in having my wife protected and your insight is helpful.

Steve, go suck a lumpy one.

Anonymous said...

Lebanon, PA: A mother of three who became a voice of the gun-rights movement when she openly carried a loaded pistol to her daughter's soccer game was fatally shot along with her husband, a parole officer and former prison guard, in an apparent murder-suicide at their home.
Autopsies were planned Friday for Meleanie Hain, 31, and Scott Hain, 33, who were pronounced dead shortly after 8:30 p.m. Wednesday at their brick home in this small city about 80 miles west of Philadelphia.
The couple's 10-year-old son and daughters ages 2 and 6 were home at the time, police said. The two older children ran outside and told neighbors that their father had shot their mother, neighbors said. The children are being cared for by neighbors and relatives.


KP said...

Tim, at the range, I was quite accurate with the .45 but it felt rather light in my hand(s).

Using my friend's S&W 629 I was most accurate. Would you ever recommend this revolver as home defense?

Anonymous said...

KP do not leave it loaded and unsecured, whatever you do. Keep it in a safe that only you and your wife have the key to, and no offense, but are you absolutely, positively certain that the other person who has access to it will act responsibly? This is serious business, owning a gun.And go to the range once a week to get proficient in its use. You don't want to be figuring out how to use it at the time that you need it the most. Like BB-Idaho, I no longer feel the need to have a gun around because I know what they are capable of, and I sleep much better without one in my home.
Tim



Shaw Kenawe said...

Tim,

This Op-Ed in the NYTimes by Charles Blow seems to be directed at folks like you and KP, and other responsible gun owners, past, present, and future:

This time, nearly a month after the horrible mass shooting in Newtown, Conn., the public attention hasn’t ricocheted to the next story. On the contrary, sorrow has hardened into resolve.
This time, something can and must be done. And it looks as if something will...

Second, more reasonable people of good conscience and good faith, including responsible gun owners, need to talk openly, honestly and forcefully about the need for additional, reasonable regulations.

There is power in speaking up. We know the face of unfettered gun proliferation. Now it’s time to see more faces of regulation and restraint.

Anonymous said...

For strictly home defense I like a shotgun. People instinctively know to leave your home immediately when they hear the pump action being racked. This alone may thwart the would be invader. Handguns are less of a deterrent and only the shooting of one produces the desired effect. That is a fine handgun, though. Really, it is preferable to scare off someone than to have to deal with the consequences of shooting someone. One of the reasons that I quit hunting is that I could not forget the first deer that I shot. I broke it's back with a .50 sabot slug but it was still kicking it's hind legs uncontrollably when I approached it. I will never forget how it looked at me, it's eyes seeming to say "why?" as I pulled the trigger a second time and shot it in the head to end the suffering. It haunts me at times to this day. I would never want to have to do that to a human being. Of course if you have no choice but to defend your family, but there will be a price to your mental health I am sure.
Tim

Anonymous said...

Shaw, all of my other gun owning friends except one have fallen right into the NRA ( a group that I quit after Waco because they attacked Federal ATF agents as "jackbooted thugs") line and are posting memes on Facebook straight out of the NRA playbook. They want no change in gun control laws, and won't even talk about limiting magazines, and want nothing to do with stricter registration either. Friends who used to post funny jokes, cute cat pics, etc., are now in full on pro NRA mode posting nothing but stuff that is pro-gun ranting. I just have to remove them from my newsfeed until this dies down. There is no talking to them.
Tim

skudrunner said...

KP
If you are looking at only having something for home defense you should look at an 18" 20 gauge pump.

A 20 gauge will be easier for your wife to control and still be effective. With a pump, you can leave it loaded and if need be pump one into the chamber. That sound alone will scare off a lot of intruders and you shouldn't leave a semi automatic with one in the chamber.

Pistols for home defense are not that effective unless you are very good.

skudrunner said...

"honestly and forcefully about the need for additional, reasonable regulations."

Shaw,
The problem is when was the last time the government imposed a reasonable regulation. Never let a crisis go to waste seems to be the way we govern and they will knee jerk a regulation that will accomplish little.
Most responsible gun owners are not opposed to reasonable regulations. To make Biden the point man proves it is all show and politics and has nothing to do with meaningful regulation.

KP said...

Great advice, Tim. I take it very seriously and appreciate your advice and honesty.

Anonymous said...

"as unfair criticism of gun owners is motivating me to be a gun owner'

One of the dumbest reasons I've ever heard of for buying a gun.

BB-Idaho said...

For those that like to mine data,
a site detailing fatal incidents
involving permit to carry has several categories: click on the
number total for each detailed story in that category.

Shaw Kenawe said...

Unbelievable:

Vice President Joe Biden's meeting on gun control interrupted by a report on another school shooting.

Shaw Kenawe said...

Also:

"So much for the NRA’s talking points on armed patrols putting an end to gun violence in schools. Vice President Joe Biden’s presentation on how the Obama administration plans to address gun violence in the United States was interrupted today by news of yet another school shooting. This one happened in a school that has “a uniform deputy sheriff monitoring campus ‘before, during and after school.’”

That armed guard did stop the attack.

"At least one person (possibly two) was shot at Taft Union High School in Taft, California (120 miles northwest of Los Angeles, 30 miles west-southwest of Bakersfield) this morning. The student who was shot is reported to have been airlifted to a Bakersfield hospital. Some reports say a second victim (possibly a teacher) denied medical care. The shooter, who is believed to be a student, was taken into custody at about 9:20 AM.

23ABC News of Bakersfield, California reported receiving phone calls from people inside the school who were hiding in closets."

Anonymous said...

And Americans will just go out and buy more guns, on that news.

KP said...

"One of the dumbest reasons I've ever heard of for buying a gun."

I was once on a 5 day, deep sea, fishing boat named the Royal Polaris. We were off the coast of Mexico about 50 miles when the water started to boil. I threw a line and hook (without bait) over the side of the boat and into the water. I caught a 50lb tuna.

You, specifically, are like a boiling tuna. I almost feel guilty for baiting you.

skudrunner said...

BB
What would have made that VPC article relevant would to site specifics on non CCP deaths since 2007.
We should probably ban alcohol because over 10,000 people were killed in alcohol related deaths in 2010 alone. Falling claims more than 6000 people and in Chicago where owning firearms is illegal, more than 500 gun related deaths last year.

BB-Idaho said...

Skud, I'm not for banning guns, but
think there is a collateral damage problem. Guy hereabouts caused a ruckus last week when his cc pistol
fell on the floor and went off in a Bed, Bath & Beyond...severely wounding a stack of towels. IMO,
if NRA and responsible gun owners
would disavow the loonier folk, they would be taken more seriously.

Shaw Kenawe said...

skudrunner: "We should probably ban alcohol because over 10,000 people were killed in alcohol related deaths in 2010 alone."

There are restrictions on alcohol. Only places of business that have licenses can sell it, and it is illegal to sell it to minors. If you drive while under the influence, there are stiff penalties. Imagine how much higher the death-count would be if there were no restrictions.

No one is suggesting we ban guns outright. That's some paranoid idea that the uninformed keep repeating so as to scare away anyone who wants to consider gun restrictions.



skudrunner: "Falling claims more than 6000 people"

Accidentally falling is not the same as some crazed individual coming into a grammar school and shooting 6 and 7 year old kids. Comparing the two is fatuous on your part.

skudrunner: "...and in Chicago where owning firearms is illegal, more than 500 gun related deaths last year."

That's part of the problem of our gun culture.

skudrunner said...

If the administration wants some meaningful changes in regulation then have a panel study what would work and make it a serious effort. Instead they parade around Biden, talk tough and will enact something that is meaningless and will not work. Much like tax the rich then give tax breaks to some big businesses to offset the gain in revenue.

They take a serious issue and turn it into a political sideshow just to appease and show concern.

Rational Nation USA said...

BB Idaho, I agree wholeheartedly with your last comment post. Exactly the point in my running series on this important issue.

Well said.