Prison

Mental Illness = Gun Violence?

As ever, the mainstream media are sensationalizing “mental health” and the connection to gun massacres. Let’s not forget that mental health can be categorized in a broad variety of ways – from mild anxiety, ADHD to PTSD and full blown bi-polar or schizophrenia. The mainstream media would have us believe that Trump wants the keys to the gun cabinet handed over to certified crackpots to go on white supremacist fueled mass rampages. It is easy to say that those who commit these atrocities must be mad. How easy is it to fall for that assumption? Yet the stats say otherwise.

First, what is this bill that has been repealed by Trump? Why is the media making such clickbait hyperventilating news of something that was already enacted c.2 years ago?

The previous Obama bill allowed gun retailers to get access to “mental health” related social security benefits paid to potential buyers. There are nine categories of mental disorders covered in the Social Security Blue Book. These include:

Affective disorders

Anxiety Disorders

Autism and related disorders

Mental retardation

Organic Mental Disorders

Personality disorders

Schizophrenia, paranoia, and psychotic disorders

Somatoform disorders

Substance addiction

The idea is that if one had claustrophobia or similar mild anxiety, it would be unlikely to be a factor in causing someone to shoot up a Walmart. In order to get mental health disability checks, the applicant must prove compliance to prescribed medication and that they seek regular treatment from professionals. Why do we automatically assume that mental health status is a direct trigger to mass murder? Simply because it is easy to categorize these events to unhinged crazies and presume that there was ‘illness’ involved.

A study conducted by the National Institute of Health (NIH) in America showed,

Thirty-four subjects, acting alone or in pairs, committed 27 mass murders between 1958 and 1999. The sample consisted of males with a median age of 17. 70% were described as a loner. 61.5% had problems with substance abuse. 48% had preoccupations with weapons. 43.5% had been victims of bullying. Although 23% had a documented psychiatric history, only 6% were judged to have been psychotic at the time of the mass murder. Depressive symptoms and historical antisocial behaviors were predominant. There was a precipitating event in most cases–usually a perceived failure in love or school–and most subjects made threatening statements regarding the mass murder to third parties. The majority of the sample clustered into three types: the family annihilator, the classroom avenger, and the criminal opportunist.”

Recall Cuban Parkland, Florida student Emma Gonzalez admitted she’d bullied the shooter Nikolas Cruz. It doesn’t excuse his actions. Nor hers.

Take cyber bullying stats from the Association of Psychological Science in the US. In 2015 more than 16,000 young people were absent from school daily because of bullying. 83% of young people say cyber bullying has a negative impact on their self-esteem. 30% of young people have gone on to self-harm as a result of cyberbullying. 10% of young people have attempted to commit suicide as a result of cyberbullying.

So the stats tell us in 3 out of 4 cases, mental illness was not the culprit in mass shootings. A violent/bullying, substance abuse based environment was.

As mentioned in the previous post, how is it we can find out about the history of shooters within hours of the terror? Surely the powers at the FBI, NSA etc can monitor the traffic of hate – death lists, death threats etc and use that as the basis of background checks rather than rely on whether someone received mental health related disability cheques? Perhaps someone who is fully healed from a mental illness as a child poses no threat if wanting to hunt or fire at a supervised gun range. Perhaps that individual wants to be a security guard?

Dr Jeffrey Swanson, a professor in psychiatry and behavioral science at the Duke University School of Medicine believes that in the event of unlawful use of a firearm by those with mental illness, 95% likely to turn the weapon on themselves than commit homicide.

He also believes that those who are violent or been charged with assault make far better predictors of homicidal behavior than the outcome of a mental health diagnosis.

In Connecticut, almost 23,300 people were diagnosed with a history of serious mental illness. 7% were disqualified from owning a gun because of that mental record. 35% were banned based on a disqualifying criminal record that wasn’t necessarily linked to the mental illness.

Dr. Swanson closed with,

We need to think of violence itself as a communicable disease. We have kids growing up exposed to terrible trauma. We did a study some years ago, looking at [violence risk] among people with serious mental illness. The three risk factors we found were most important: first, a history of violent victimization early in life, second, substance abuse, and the third is exposure to violence in the environment around you. People who had none of those risk factors ― even with bipolar disorder and schizophrenia ― had very low rates of violent behavior…Abuse, violence in the environment around you ― those are the kinds of things you’re not going to solve by having someone take a mood stabilizer.”

Sadly such is the state of lazy journalism that ‘respected media outlets’ simply infer that those that commit mass murder are simply head cases and giving them access to guns will somehow create a bigger problem. That’s how the mainstream media is portraying a 2-yr old bill to whip up more misunderstanding.

Drinking out of toilets?

Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez claimed that those in border detention centres were forced to drink from toilets. Technically speaking the water fountains are attached to the toilet. The detention facilities have such combined units for space saving reasons. This is a picture from the Department of Justice in 2015.

As can be seen by the constant court filings against inhumane conditions, it is clear these complaints have been made since Obama’s time in office.

Note this from June 8th, 2015:

Immigrant rights groups have filed a class-action lawsuit challenging detention conditions in CBP (Customs and Border Protection) detention facilities. The complaint alleges that Tucson Sector Border Patrol holds men, women, and children in freezing, overcrowded, and filthy cells for days at a time in violation of the U.S. Constitution and CBP’s own policies. Detained individuals are stripped of outer layers of clothing and forced to suffer in brutally cold temperatures; deprived of beds, bedding, and sleep; denied adequate food, water, medicine and medical care, and basic sanitation and hygiene items such as soap, sufficient toilet paper, sanitary napkins, diapers, and showers; and held virtually incommunicado in these conditions for days.”

Why do politicians insist on hyperventilating when the reality soon gets discovered?

Vacant homes in Japan hit 8.46m

8.46m homes or 13.6% of all dwellings are vacant in Japan in 2018. This is up 3.2% on 2017 according to the Housing & Land Survey. CM wrote about the population exodus from regional areas in Japan in this report.

Vacancy rates in Wakayama, Tokushima, and Kagoshima prefectures stand at 18.8%, 18.6%, and 18.4% respectively, areas suffering population exodus. Tokyo, Kanazawa (Yokohama), Okinawa and Saitama, all experiencing net migration inflows, have the lowest rates of unoccupied houses.

Yubari City in Hokkaido has a campaign poster – “No money but love.

Yubari is notable for five things. First, it is the region that produces Japan’s most expensive melons, the type you see beautifully encased in a satin-lined pine box with a price label of US$200. Second, it had to declare bankruptcy in 2007. Third, its population has fallen from 117,000 in the 1960s to around 21,000 in the 1990s to less than 8,900 today, falling 19% in the last 5 years alone. Fourth, the average age of the city’s residents is set to hit 65 by 2020. Fifth, taxable income continues to fall with estimates that government coffers will swell by a woozy 25% of the levels seen 20 years ago.

Not a good sign for the regional economies. Japan has a stall speed warning and the government plans to fix it are painfully inadequate.

Japanese FSA concedes defeat on pensions

Image result for japanese pensioner

So the Japanese Financial Services Agency (FSA) has finally conceded that the pot can’t sustain elderly pensioners and believe that the onus should be pushed back on individuals. Unsurprisingly the natives are upset.

On May 22, the FSA presented a draft report entitled “Asset Formation and Management in an Aging Society” to the Financial Council. This draft report summarizes the ideal form of finances based on a 100-year lifespan but also aims to encourage individuals to form assets on their own of at least ¥20,000,000 (c.US$180,000). It also recommended long-term investment in stocks formed between 30 and 60 years old. After retirement, the premise is to continue working and earn salaries to maintain the asset level.  Sadly by 2060, 40% of the population will be aged over 65! It stands at 28% today.

The focus of this report is on the clear recognition of the limits of public pensions. In the report, there is a statement that “public pensions alone may not reach a satisfactory standard of living“.

For such a greying society, the reality is that once people hit retirement age, they are often let go and rehired on fractions of what they once earned. The idea of retiring gracefully is a complete myth. Hence the increase in pensioner crime and the 50% increase in prison capacity to house the highest cohort in Japanese prisons.

So whenever you hear Western central banks wax lyrical that if worst comes to pass, we just need to follow the Japanese example of low growth and low inflation, you have even more evidence that it simply won’t work. The Japanese have a culture of shared misery in tough times. Western culture sadly does not have that feature.

CM wrote about the dangers of pension shortfalls around the globe. The unfunded liabilities in America just for public pensions alone stands at around $5.2 trillion. Such were the shortfalls in Rhode Island, that the whole structure needed to be revamped with payouts being shed 40% just to stay solvent.

At least Japan has fallen on its sword, re pensions. CM is owed a pension but always set aside the amount owed at zero.

Kim Foxx subpoenaed over Smollett case

A retired appellate judge has pushed for a special prosecutor to subpoena Cook County State Attorney Kim Foxx over the Jussie Smollett hate crime hoax.

Foxx has defended the decision and says she welcomes an independent investigation. They are also requesting her deputy and Smollett attend the hearing.

Will be interesting how a State Attorney’s office can explain handing down a ruling emphatically stating Smollett is guilty but dropping all 16 charges.

How hardcore are you really?

Once again the pill testing argument will rear it’s ugly head after 14 Australia Day revelers were hospitalized at two events, the HTID and Electric Gardens concerts. 6 remain in critical condition. At what point will we hand responsibility over to ‘legal’ adults?

If voting age party-goers are caught with ‘illegal’ substances then charge them accordingly. If people don’t like the law then put action behind a proposal to change it. Despite police sniffer dogs, people smuggled in drugs in condoms and ziplock bags presumably hidden in the nether regions. Coffee grounds were used to throw off the scent.

The real question is if one is hospitalized, why should tax payers pick up the tab for their selfish, reckless behaviour? Would it be a deterrent to let them know that any medical treatment (likely expensive) would not be covered by the state? Put measures in place to ensure the bill is paid for out of future income tax or lowered dole payments. Then let these adults work out the risk reward ratio of taking illicit drugs. Instead of having OD survivors tell horrid tales, they might talk of the financial penalties that followed which have made life considerably tougher than going cold turkey.

If you take illegal pills, don’t say we didn’t warn you. Let’s see how hardcore you really are.” That should be the slogan. Flash up the average cost of an OD treatment on the big screens.

Hard Brexit in a Tweet

Sometimes perspective on a No Deal Brexit is this simple. Nary a Leave voter wanted to have any political ties or rules set in Brussels. That’s kind of what “Leave the EU” on a ballot means. There were no other interpretations.

Despite PM May’s warning that changing Conservative leaders would “put our country’s future at risk and create uncertainty when we can least afford it given the deal she has managed to achieve many Brits would welcome it all the same. CM has been a huge seller of May since she called an early election.

Time to put a leader in charge that will throw it back at Brussels. No Deal for the EU is a disastrous outcome for the continent. It is the deal they least want because it would reveal how impotent Juncker and Tusk are. Time to find a spine and tell the hostage takers their ransom demands won’t be met.