Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer’s claim that “the leading cause of death among children is a firearm” is actually MUCH MORE upsetting than you think

Yes, “the leading cause of death among children is a firearm” is an extremely upsetting sentence—and also, a sadly accurate one (given that you define children as “humans between the ages of 1 and 19”; infants in their first year die from lots of stuff that doesn’t kill you after your first year; if you include them in this number, then it skews toward premature birth, birth defects, and SIDS).

But, the truly upsetting part is buried in this chart (shown below with a big dumb pink circle to emphasis the “Mechanisms” section), which was an addendum to the original source Schumer’s staff cited

Guns are the leading cause of death among children, and most of those deaths are murder.

Population wide, gun deaths are usually ~66% suicide and ~33% homicide. Among children, that’s now basically flipped.

In other words, in America today most gun deaths are suicide, and most adults will die of something else (probably disease). But for kids in America, the leading cause of death is guns, and most of those gun deaths are murders.

Is this Presumably Bot-Designed Product Awesome, or in Remarkably Poor Taste?

More on this specific painting here, and a bit about famed Russian (anti) war artist Vasily Vereshchagin. Other works by Vereshchagin suitable for throw pillows:

Given the current state of Russian nuclear drills and military exercises on the Ukraine border, I imagine that all of this might feel a bit more painfully topically when those post goes live in a day or two.

Some part of me objects to this armed robot dog because it doesn’t seem “sporting” … 🤖

[ARTICLE: Robot Dogs Now Have Assault Rifles Mounted On Their Backs]

… and then I reflect on this SNL skit about the evil scientist contest, and realize I’m being a little twee. Folks don’t build IEDs because they are fair. They don’t fire mortar’s from the alley next to a hospital, or operate out of apartment blocks full of civilians because they “have no other choice.”

War is killing, not “defense” or “peacekeeping.” It is about the maximization of dead humans who aren’t you while minimizing the dead ones who are you. A robot dog with a gun obviously leads to the best dead not-yous per dead-you ratio.

If that is shitty, it’s because war and violence are shitty, not because technology is shitty or imperialist aggressors aren’t playing fair or whatever.

All war is low-key genocide. If you don’t like that, then you better start agitating against war, not just bitching about new robots. The robots are not the problem.

May We Be Brought Back from the Mouth of Annihilation

After the Pittsburgh Synagogue shooting my coworker at the Hebrew school admits she wishes we had less windows” by Joshua Elbaum

​​I bet birds wish the same thing.
That anyone would take the sky, crack it,
put its pieces where they don’t belong,
astonishes them. The birds fear our foolishness.
We who dare to choose between gifts
the sky offers: light without rain, heat
without hail, stars without the space between—   
I remember the stained glass of Sundays,
how it stained the light too, shape of Jacob,
Joseph, Miriam. Shape of a dove,
of an ox. Shape of a story our faith arrives
through, refracted. My mouth forming
the shape of someone else’s mother
tongue, the prayers too a window,
through which a song might pass
but not the meaning. We are to be ready
for what the children ask in the morning.
We are to be ready to barricade the doors.
Windows are most dangerous when they are so clean
you could mistake them for air.
When I tell my family about this job they laugh
because all I ever used to ask about at holidays
were the plot holes. These children ask nothing,
as if knowing they could slip away into American
suburbia if they had to. It is said Jews fear transcendent
relationship with G-d because it reminds us
of assimilation. There is a reason for every law,
like skin they keep the self inside the self.
A person should pray only in a house
with windows, as it is written.

The Orthodox draw a circle in the sand
saying everything to one side of this is holy.
The Mystics draw a circle around a circle
and erase little holes into the smaller one.
My grandparents kept glass cases
filled with children and birds,
a tiny fiddler, a goose with golden eggs.
Each case a window into a childhood
that might be bought back retroactively
from the mouth of annihilation,
from the night of too many stars,
the streets covered in little pieces of sky.
The body perishes because it is permeable.
To weather and disease and bullets.
If you want to be king of the world
make your world very small. Plug every plot hole.
Take the lightless box and pray in it.
The killer too sat at a dark window others
at other dark windows whispered through.
Windows are most dangerous when they are so clean
you could mistake them for a mirror.
There is a teaching that Moses at Mount Sinai
received no tablets, no commandments
not even a word, just one soundless letter
the noise of the larynx clicking into gear,
glottal seed to spool story around like pearl to grit,
plot hole that vacuums creation in around it.
On another stained Sunday I wonder why
any sound needs my mouth to make it at all.
When I open to ask, a pigeon flies down my throat.
I close my eyes and everything I can’t see is spared.
God whispers through the window of the sky at night
saying, the body perishes unless it is permeable.
A kid at work tells me my eyes look like the universe.
I thank him, and he corrects me: the universe is dead.
My eyes look like the dead universe. He is my favorite.
The sky is running out of birds to throw at us.
Soon there will be no wings to carry our prayers up.
I am trying to keep breathing. I am trying not to look away.
A miracle, that no matter how much we see,
there never seems to be any less light.

for Joyce Fienberg, Richard Gottfried, Rose Mallinger, Jerry Rabinowitz, Cecil Rosenthal, David Rosenthal, Bernice Simon, Sylvan Simon, Daniel Stein, Melvin Wax, and Irving Younger

…for all of my slaughtered brothers and sisters…

May their memories be for a blessing. May HaShem avenge their blood.

This is a fun little film…

… but just a reminder to my American readers: We already live in this reality. This country isn’t just full of guns; it’s full of ammunition. If you have access to even a single bullet, you are $10 and a trip to the hardware store from making a wonderfully lethal weapon: unserialized, untraceable, highly concealable, nearly foolproof.  You won’t be doing any civil massacres with a hardware-store slam gun, but you can mostly definitely kill the guy standing in front of you with little effort.

The reason no one will shoot you today is because no one feels like shooting you today.

Why Bulletproof Hoodies and Backpacks are Bullshit

This video isn’t about “bulletproof backpacks” and “bulletproof hoodies” and all the other misery-profiteering school products out there—but it illustrates an important point, which is that this shit isn’t a +4 magic shield; you have to stop the projectile, and you have to do something with the force it’s exerted, and you have to be able to get up and get moving to avoid getting shot in the face or the crotch or anywhere else that’s exposed because you’re on the ground and gasping.  Life isn’t a video game:

Heck, just jump to ~3:34, and see the wreckage caused by an extremely common, extremely legal gun—even when the bullet is stopped.

Incidentally, here’s the testing documentation for the bullet-resistant hoodies featured in that BoingBoing article linked above. 

Do those hoodies stop a .44 Mag?  Yup!  Zero penetration.  That is indeed impressive.  But look closer at these results: the witness panel was deformed by 1.25 inches on average. That’s how far that bullet would go into your body—even though it hasn’t torn the fabric. It’s called “soft body armor” for a reason, folks.  The manufacturer implies that the hood will protect you, but that’s a load of shit:  If your skull suffers a blunt penetration of 1.25 inches, you are dead. Your brain is only about .5 inches from the outside world.

This is Not a Peaceful Transfer of Power; It’s a Frog Boil 🇺🇸🔥🐸

This whole article is sorta astounding. I mean, nothing is really surprising, but it’s sorta shocking to have all of your assumptions confirmed:

20 days of fantasy and failure: Inside Trump’s quest to overturn the election

I can’t help but imagine all of what’s happened over the past month from the PotUS’s perspective: 

art by DonkeyHotey
(art by DonkeyHotey)

He’s never had a real job—not one that he could actually lose. And now a bunch of losers—people with no wealth, no audience, no “pull,” folks with meager incomes and dumb names, with little (if any) power, many of them women and people of color—they took away his toy.

And they didn’t do it by force: They didn’t pull a gun on him, they didn’t have to “see him in court!!!” They didn’t have to look at him or talk to him or even acknowledge him. They just ticked a box and mailed a stupid scrap of paper.

And all of those “they”s in the previous graff: those are “you” and “me”; we did this. We, who are weak-ass little pussies and cry babies and retarded faggot snowflakes, we hurt him, deeply. And we did it while hiding in our little shithole houses in shithole towns and bullshit states.

I imagine that, in his heart of hearts, he simply never believed such a thing was possible, so insulated from reality was his 70+ years on this earth. 

The most petulant 46 minutes in American history

It is all so astoundingly pathetic. If he hadn’t done so much to hurt so many, you’d weep for his loss of innocence.

Just to be clear: Although no shots have been fired (yet), this is not a “peaceful transfer of power.” At best, it’s a tremendous waste of the most precious resource in a time of crisis (like this one): Attention

At worst, it’s an incitement to violence. 

His blood is boiling, and we are the frogs.

I was having trouble wrapping my brain around a quarter million Americans dead from COVID since March…

… so I made this:

250000dead/ 😷

Building this didn’t make me feel better, per se, but it’s giving my mourning a proper place to latch onto things. z”l

May your memory be for a blessing, Leviticus Erlewine (z”l); he was a commercial pilot from Wolf Lake, MN. He hated go-karts and loved his wife.