We need that reopening plan PDQ


US weekly jobless claims jump by 6.6 million, bringing three-week total to more than 16 million.

Jobless rolls continued to swell due to the coronavirus shutdown, with 6.6 million Americans filing first-time unemployment claims last week, the Labor Department reported Thursday.

That brings the total claims over the past three weeks to more than 16 million. If you compare those claims to the 151 million people on payrolls in the last monthly employment report, that means the U.S. has lost 10% of the workforce in three weeks.

Fauci [head National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID)] Says U.S. Virus Deaths May Be 60,000, Half of Projections.

One of President Donald Trump’s top medical advisers slashed projections for U.S. coronavirus deaths on Thursday, saying that only about 60,000 people may die — almost half as many as the White House estimated a week ago.

The falling projection, the result of aggressive social distancing behaviors Americans adopted to curb the spread of the virus, may accelerate Trump’s effort to develop a plan to urge Americans to leave their homes and return to work next month.

“The real data are telling us it is highly likely we are having a definite positive effect by the mitigation things that we’re doing, this physical separation,” Anthony Fauci, director of the U.S. National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, told NBC in an interview.

“I believe we are going to see a downturn in that, and it looks more like the 60,000, than the 100,000 to 200,000” projected fatalities, he said. “But having said that, we better be careful that we don’t say: ‘OK, we’re doing so well we could pull back.’”

Birx Projections

Deborah Birx, the State Department immunologist advising the White House’s coronavirus task force, projected March 31 that as many as 240,000 Americans could die as a result of the coronavirus outbreak, even with another 30 days of stringent public health restrictions.

That analysis caused Trump to retreat from ambitions to urge Americans back to work by Easter. But as the outbreak has appeared to plateau in New York, the U.S. epicenter, Trump’s aides have begun initial planning to urge a re-opening in May.

Below The Radar: S Res 110

United States – -(AmmoLand.com)- One thing to keep in mind is when you look at what has been introduced in Congress, not all of the items are legislation. Sometimes, attacks on our rights can come in other ways – even if they don’t actually infringe on our rights, they hold the potential to shift the political landscape against our rights.

One such piece of legislation is S Res 110, introduced by Senator Chris Murphy (D-CT). This is a resolution, which would just be voted on by the United States Senate. As such, it would not have the force of law. So why focus on this one? Because this resolution would make it far easier to attack our rights. This is not a huge stretch of the imagination. This is very real, and you can understand why by reading the text of the resolution.


RESOLUTION

Keeping guns out of classrooms.

Whereas Congress has consistently made clear that it is unlawful for Federal funds to be used for training or arming school personnel with firearms;

Whereas Congress passed the STOP School Violence Act of 2018 (title V of division S of Public Law 115–141) in response to the shooting in Parkland, Florida, and amended part AA of title I of the Omnibus Crime Control and Safe Streets Act of 1968 (34 U.S.C. 10551 et seq.) to specify that “No amounts provided as a grant [for school security under such part] may be used for the provision to any person of a firearm or training in the use of a firearm.”;

Whereas section 4102 of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965 (20 U.S.C. 7113), as added by section 4101 of the Every Student Succeeds Act (Public Law 114–95; 129 Stat. 1970), defines drug and violence prevention in schools as including the “creation … of a school environment that is free of weapons”;

Whereas existing research demonstrates that training or arming school personnel with firearms will not make schools safer;

Whereas an analysis by the Federal Bureau of Investigation of active shooters between 2000 and 2013 found that trained law enforcement suffered casualties in 21 of the 45 incidents in which officers engaged the shooter to end the threat;

Whereas a survey of gun violence on school campuses showed that out of 225 incidents of gun violence between 1999 and 2018, trained armed personnel or school resource officers failed to disarm an active shooter 223 times;

Whereas proposed and existing programs to train or arm school personnel with firearms require significantly less training than law enforcement officers receive;

Whereas research demonstrates that increased gun access and possession are not associated with protection from violence and a greater prevalence of guns increases the likelihood of gun violence;

Whereas a greater prevalence of guns in schools creates undue risk of students gaining unauthorized access to firearms and the potential for unintentional shootings and school staff using guns in situations that do not warrant lethal force;

Whereas students of color, students with disabilities, and other vulnerable groups would experience a disparate impact of programs that arm school personnel as those students are disproportionately disciplined and arrested;

Whereas heightened policing within public school spaces decreases a student’s sense of safety and the associated anticipation of violence leads to increased anxiety, fear, and depression;

Whereas 73 percent of teachers in the United States do not want to carry guns in school and 58 percent say arming personnel would make schools less safe, according to a Gallup poll from March 2018;

Whereas the majority of parents of school-aged children oppose arming school personnel, according to surveys;

Whereas, as of March 2019, there is no evidence supporting the value of arming school personnel;

Whereas the broad consensus among participants in the listening tour for the final report of the Federal Commission on School Safety released in December 2018 was disagreement with programs that would arm school personnel, according to transcripts; and

Whereas, in that final report, the Department of Education endorsed the use of Federal funds to train personnel to use firearms: Now, therefore, be it

Resolved, That it is the sense of the Senate that Federal funds shall not be used to train or arm school personnel with firearms.


Murphy, who has been very active against our Second Amendment rights, is opposed to allowing those teachers (or other school personnel) who wish to have effective tools to defend the students under their care to receive effective training on how to use those tools. He can’t argue against armed security’s potential to stop a potential tragedy after the West Freeway Church of Christ incident.

Armed attendees at that church stopped the potential mass shooting in six seconds. It is generally accepted that it took police about ten minutes to first enter Sandy Hook Elementary School, almost five minutes after the last shot was fired (per the New York Times). Roughly 600 seconds for police to arrive, and roughly 300 for the killer to do his evil (or insane) act.

For years, Murphy and other anti-Second Amendment extremists have used Sandy Hook to beat Second Amendment supporters over the head. It was a horrific event, and any person with a shred of decency or morality wants effective solutions to prevent a recurrence. For Second Amendment supporters, the morally imperative thing to do is also the right strategic move to make.

Murphy, though, has a much easier case to make, usually through the usual emotional manipulation. His argument runs along the lines of, “Teachers are there to teach, to nurture kids. How can someone do that while carrying a gun?”

Any mother who has a CCW permit can refute that nonsense. So could any teacher who has one that they use – of course, not when on school grounds – in the course of their lives. Does it make them any less capable of being a nurturing force? Second Amendment supporters know that the answer is no.

The real problem, though, given the media and political landscape, is convincing the American people that the real answer is ending gun-free zones. That is a long-term effort, and it will involve getting through the propaganda that Murphy and others will spread with the help of the media.

In the meantime, Second Amendment supporters should politely urge their Senators to oppose S Res 110. Instead, urge them to support measures like The School Violence Prevention and Mitigation Act of 2019, which would actually make a difference.

 

This does not mean SCOTUS will hear the case, just that they’ve decided to decide.


U.S. Supreme Court Takes Another 2A Case To Conference

We’re still waiting for the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision in New York State Rifle & Pistol Association v. NYC, but in the meantime, justices will be considering another Second Amendment-related case in conference later this month. Rodriguez v. San Jose is a case out of California, and the issue before the court is whether or not a woman’s Second Amendment rights were violated when police seized her firearms and refused to return them, because they believed her husband to be a danger to himself or others.

The 9th Circuit Court of Appeals bizarrely ruled that Lori Rodriguez had no right to keep her firearms, though they also noted that there was nothing illegal about her buying a gun either. The court argued that because police believed that her husband (who according to Rodriguez did not have access to her firearms) could pose a threat to public safety, firearms that had been seized from their home when her husband was taken into custody under a mental health hold did not have to be returned to her.

Lori contended in the state court proceedings that Defendants were violating her “right to keep and bear arms” by refusing to return the firearms because of her husband’s prohibited status, even though “she was not prohibited from acquiring or possessing firearms and had promised to take all steps required under California law to secure the firearms in a gun safe.” The California Court of Appeal expressly rejected this argument and the notion that the Second Amendment required returning her the guns. Highlighting that Lori had not pointed to any authority to the contrary, the court stated that the Supreme Court’s decisions in District of Columbia v. Heller and McDonald v. City of Chicago suggested that the Second Amendment did not “extend to keeping and bearing either any particular firearms or firearms that have been confiscated from a mentally ill person.” Ultimately, the court concluded “that Lori ha[d] failed to show that the trial court’s . . . order violate[d] the Second Amendment.”

Under the 9th Circuit’s decision, you may have the right to own a firearm, but the police have the power to seize it and refuse to return it. As long as you can buy another one, says the court, your Second Amendment rights remain intact.

Thankfully, this ridiculous decision has now reached the Supreme Court, though that doesn’t guarantee that they’ll accept the case. In fact, I’d say it’s unlikely that they’ll do anything with it until the decision in NYSPRA v. NYC is handed down. There are already a number of Second Amendment-related cases that have been in conference for months, including challenges to New Jersey’s concealed carry laws and a lawsuit taking on California’s microstamping law. Everything seems to be on hold until we get the opinion on the challenge to one of New York City’s gun laws, and depending on what that opinion says, we could see a number of cases dealing with the right to keep and bear arms accepted by the Supreme Court in the coming months.

Feds loosen virus rules to let essential workers return

WASHINGTON (AP) — In a first, small step toward reopening the country, the Trump administration issued new guidelines Wednesday to make it easier for essential workers who have been exposed to COVID-19 to get back to work if they do not have symptoms of the coronavirus.

Dr. Robert Redfield, director of the the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, announced at the White House that essential employees, such as health care and food supply workers, who have been within 6 feet of a confirmed or suspected case of the virus can return to work under certain circumstances if they are not experiencing symptoms.

The new guidelines are being issued as the nation mourns more than 14,000 deaths from the virus and grapples with a devastated economy and medical crises from coast to coast. Health experts continue to caution Americans to practice social distancing and to avoid returning to their normal activities. At the same time, though, they are planning for a time when the most serious threat from COVID-19 will be in the country’s rear-view mirror…….

Under the new guidelines for essential workers, the CDC recommends that exposed employees take their temperatures before their shifts, wear face masks and practice social distancing at work. They also are advised to stay home if they are ill, not share headsets or other objects used near the face and refrain from congregating in crowded break rooms.

Employers are asked to take exposed workers’ temperatures and assess symptoms before allowing them to return to work, aggressively clean work surfaces, send workers home if they get sick and increase air exchange in workplaces.

Fauci said he hoped the pandemic would prompt the U.S. to look at long-term investments in public health, specifically at the state and local level. Preparedness that was not in place in January needs to be in place if or when COVID-19 or another virus threatens the country.

“We have a habit of whenever we get over a challenge, we say, ‘OK, let’s move on to the current problem,’” he said. “We should never, ever be in a position of getting hit like this and have to scramble to respond again. This is historic.”

Even the new guidelines will not be a foolproof guard against spreading infection.

Recent studies have suggested that somewhere around 10% of new infections might be sparked by contact with individuals who are infected but do not yet exhibit symptoms. Scientists say it’s also possible that some people who develop symptoms and then recover from the virus remain contagious, or that some who are infected and contagious may never develop symptoms.

Well, if a homeowner called the police to report shooting s burglar, I’d expect the police to find a man with a gunshot wound.


Homeowner shoots, wounds suspected intruder in Phoenix

PHOENIX — A homeowner in Phoenix shot and wounded a suspected intruder early Wednesday, police said.

The shooting occurred near 17th Avenue and Union Hills Drive around 3:45 a.m.

Phoenix police officers responded to a call of a burglary and found a man with a gunshot wound.

The suspect was taken to a local hospital in serious condition.

His wounds are not life-threatening, according to police.

Why Owning A Gun Is A Completely Rational Insurance Policy Against Danger
Owning a gun is like keeping a spare tire in your trunk, a first aid kit at home, or an emergency savings account. We hope never to use them, but we’re glad we have them.

The social and economic uncertainty surrounding the Wuhan coronavirus pandemic has Americans understandably concerned about their personal safety. In March 2020, the FBI reported the highest monthly number of firearms background checks ever recorded: 3,740,688. Compared to March of the previous year, Americans bought 1.1 million more guns in a single month. Ammunition is also flying off the shelves, with sales in some states increasing more than 4,000 percent.

Many recent first gun-buyers are people who were previously either ambivalent or even opposed to gun ownership. Several such people have reached out to me with questions about which gun they should buy. Many fellow firearms instructors report the same experience.

It’s easy to see why Americans are worried. While we live in a generally high-trust society, catastrophes can easily disrupt the delicate social order on which that trust depends. As it is sometimes said, we are all only nine meals away from anarchy.

Desperate people do desperate things. Economic goods are human goods, and while the current lockdowns are necessary to contain the pandemic, they carry real human costs. Many of these costs — joblessness, homelessness, mental health issues, and drug abuse — lend themselves easily to criminal behavior.

Always Be Prepared

Am I saying society is on the brink of collapse? No, we are far from an apocalypse. The point is simply that the world is and has always been a risky place, so it makes perfect sense to be proactive and prepared. When things are peaceful and prosperous, we often don’t pay attention to danger because things are going so well. But in times of great social and economic stress, we are more attuned to things that might go wrong.

Having a disaster plan isn’t as foreign as some might think. We routinely make decisions aimed at mitigating risks. We purchase insurance, maintain emergency savings, and get flu shots. We keep spare tires, jumper cables, flashlights, and fire extinguishers handy, and buy extra supplies just in case we might need them.

Unless you happen to be naively optimistic, you’re already a “prepper.” Even if you’re relatively “lucky,” you can bet something catastrophic will eventually befall you sometime in your life. Better to be prepared than to be caught off guard.

Prepping for improbable events isn’t necessarily irrational; it is often wise. Consider this: In 2017, more than 2.7 million people were injured in 6.4 million car crashes. With 327 million people in the United States, this means the baseline probability of you getting injured in a car accident each year is slightly over 0.8 percent.

Now, a 0.8 percent chance might be perceived as pretty good odds. After all, that’s a 99.2 percent chance you won’t be injured. But .8 percent of 327 million still comes out to 2.7 million people each year, which is no small number. Are you willing to bet you’ll never be one of those unlucky few? Probably not.

Although your chances of getting into an accident are small, consider what you stand to lose if you do get injured. Making preparations, such as buying insurance or carrying road flares, isn’t irrational, despite statistical improbability.

The Odds of Violent Crime Are Higher than You Think

With that point in mind, let’s look at the odds of violent criminal victimization. In 2018, 3.3 million people ages 12 and older were victimized in 6 million violent crimes. There were 23.2 violent victimizations per 1,000 U.S. residents ages 12 and older, meaning 2.3 percent of Americans 12 and older were victims of violent crime in 2018. This is much greater than the baseline odds of injury from motor vehicle accidents, for which preparation is rational.

If you have a 1-in-50 baseline chance of being violently victimized each year, wouldn’t it be rational to take prudent measures to protect yourself? I think so.

That is exactly why millions of ordinary Americans own guns. Firearms are extremely effective in preventing injury and do not require a great deal of effort to use and keep around. Guns are a perfectly reasonable, cost-effective, safe, and convenient form of risk mitigation.

Owning a gun is like keeping a spare tire in your trunk, a first aid kit at home, or an emergency savings account. We hope never to use them, but we’re glad we have them. None of this indicates paranoia. Carrying a gun is similar to carrying insurance, except it’s better: You actually get to collect the benefits without having to incur serious harm.

Insurance against national catastrophe makes pretty good sense when you consider the past few hundred years of failed states, civil wars, and less-than-ideal regimes. Among other things, the track record of state-sanctioned citizen slaughter, vigilante violence, and racial conflict shows that when societies do go bad, they tend to go extremely bad. Think of the hundreds of sovereign nations that no longer exist due to war and internal strife.

Police, of course, serve a valuable public function. But most police responses come after crimes have already been committed. Less than half of all personal crimes are even reported to police. Moreover, in times of crisis, police are stretched thin. At the time of writing this, 17 percent of the New York Police Department is out sick, and many police departments are not performing arrests or even responding to “minor” crimes.

All this highlights the need to be self-reliant. Ultimately, we are our own last line of defense. We may delegate some of our protection to civil authorities, but the natural right to protect ourselves is inseparable from our humanity.

Gun Owners Aren’t Paranoid, They’re Smart

Some people believe you’re more likely to harm yourself or someone else with a gun than to use it in self-defense, but that isn’t the case. The findings of more than 19 surveys specifically designed to measure the number of defensive gun uses all confirm that defensive uses are vastly more common than criminal uses. A small sampling of these can be viewed on the Active Self-Protection YouTube channel, which has collected several hundred video clips of successful civilian self-defense encounters.

The often-heard charge that gun owners are paranoid and fearful is just naive psychoanalysis unsupported by credible research. Indeed, a recent study has found that gun owners report lower levels of fear and victimization than those who don’t own guns. If anything, there is a lot of irrational fear directed toward firearms as inanimate objects, something famed firearms instructor Jeff Cooper calls “hoplophobia.”

To all the new gun owners out there: Welcome to the Second Amendment community. We’re glad you’ve decided to take the protection of yourself and your loved ones seriously. Get training, be responsible, and be prepared.

Bob, you’ve got some stupid people up there running things.


Fishing and hunting bans extended another month in Washington because of coronavirus

The state of Washington has extended its closure of fishing and hunting seasons through May 4, after reconsidering seasons on Monday.

“We talked with multiple county health officials throughout the state and asked them what their advice would be and they’re telling us that, right now, this is what’s best for our communities,” said the Washington Fish and Wildlife Commission in a statement.

While some people may be able to fish and hunt without interactions with others that could increase the spread of the new coronavirus, that is not the case for many, said Kelly Susewind, director of the agency.

Fish and Wildlife closed recreational fishing in the state on March 27, with a plan to re-evaluate April 6, saying that some boat ramps were crowded and anglers were lining the shores and banks of popular fishing spots.

The extension of the closure means that the popular lowland lakes trout season opener, previously scheduled for April 25, will be postponed.

The concern with hunting season was the travel required to reach hunting areas, with travelers potentially spreading the new coronavirus into new areas with every stop for gas, food or a restroom break.

The spring bear and turkey seasons now are expected to open on May 4, with spring bear seasons lasting until May 31 or June 15, depending on location.

Turkey hunters would have 28 days in the spring season, plus likely a fall season.

Refunds for licenses and permits are available, if hunters take action before opening day.

All camping on state lands, state boat launches and state day-use recreation areas also are closed through May 4 to reduce travel around the state and support social distancing to limit cases of COVID-19.

Gun-grabbers lie – Part Deux


Brady’s Kyleanne Hunter Spreads Misinformation About ATF’s Gun Store Regulation

I am not one to actively jump into confrontation and call someone a liar but this time, things are a little different. After working seven days a week for the past month or so dealing with lots of impatient new gun owners and impatient present gun owners and understocked…well you get the idea.

I woke up Monday morning to read TTAG’s quote of the day in which the Brady Campaign’s Kyleanne Hunter claimed the ATF isn’t doing its oversight job and implied that gun retailers are virtually giving away firearms.

The biggest problem, Hunter said, is that the government’s gun inspection services haven’t been deemed essential on a national basis, which has opened the door for questionable sales.

“We don’t know how gun dealers are acting,” she said. “Groceries are still open but the FDA is still open inspecting the food. Why aren’t agents inspecting the gun stores?”

That’s a steaming pantload of misinformation.

I have been working in the industry for over a decade. I do this stuff day after day, week after week. Kyleanne Hunter is probably not a bad person, but she obviously knows nothing of what she speaks.

Lies, Damn Lies, and Anti-Gun Talking Points

Yes, I will take the time to research, rebut and fisk her asinine comments.

Here’s exactly where her argument goes off the rails. She claimed that ATF isn’t considered essential and that firearm retailers are not being inspected right now.

That’s patently false. I just talked to FFL’s who just got inspected within the last few weeks by ATF personnel. In their stores and remotely.

The ATF may have many of their people working from home, but I am constantly getting answers to emails from them. It’s taking a little longer than usual due to the volume, but I’m getting replies.

I’m also getting ATF folks picking up the phone and returning calls. Granted, I’ve been in the industry long enough to have the cell phone numbers of half my local ATF field office, so I can put that to good use when dealing with complicated customer matters.

Did Professor Hunter talk to anyone at the ATF about their staffing levels and inspection practices? I didn’t think so. Instead, she’s spewing vitriol and misinformation from behind the the walls of the Civilian Disarmament Industrial Complex.

We don’t know how gun dealers are acting.

Hunter slyly implies that during a national emergency, America’s firearms retailers are practically throwing guns out the front door to anyone who shows up (and remains a socially distanced six feet away).

Here’s what’s really happening, Ms. Hunter. Sellers across the country, people just like me, are working every day, putting on our best “STAY SIX FEET AWAY FROM ME AFTER YOU HAND ME YOUR ID” game faces and getting folks the guns and ammunition they need, one 4473 at a time. Just like we always have, but with a few changes.

We background check every regulated transaction and call ATF and ask questions and do our business as usual.

The ATF is most certainly essential and they’re working. Most of them are working from home. And as America’s gun stores can tell you, they’re still inspecting retailers.

Nothing has changed in terms of compliance with federal laws in the past four weeks, no matter what you’d like the media to believe.

Can ATF agents inspect a licensee in person right now? Sure they can. Will they? Probably not, given the circumstances. However, they as the regulatory authority, have the full ability to do inspections just as they always have.

Tomorrow morning I could wake up to a bevy of ATF folks with clipboards and laptops asking to see my books. And if they’re in my store, I’m going to ask them where they’d like to start.

The last ATF inspection I had involved several ATF people – because they literally had to review a mountain of 4473’s and books for years and took about a week for them to make sure we were following all of the federal laws that regulate gun and NFA items in this country.

It’s not worth it for any retailer to risk his federal firearms license by cutting corners during a national emergency. We document every transaction. If we don’t follow the law, it will be discovered during our next inspection.

Professor Hunter seems to think that just because most ATF agents are working from home, licensees are not being inspected. Not true. We’re seeing unprecedented levels of cooperation from regulators and retailers alike. Last week I talked to another dealer who we had sent some firearms to and I asked him how his business was doing. He’s a small home-based kitchen table FFL who mostly did gun shows on the weekends.

With all the gun shows scrubbed, his income from the firearm business dried up and he wasn’t making much money other than doing the occasional transfer. What impressed me was the way he worked with ATF to complete his inspection last month.

Instead of ATF going to his home and opening up all of his records and running through everything line by line, they used technology to their advantage. Electronic A&D software generates a printout/spreadsheet of inventory and sales, all of which can be emailed over to the ATF for them to run through on their laptops at home.

Why’d they do it that way? Easy. This home-based FFL has kids that aren’t in school and a spouse who’s working from home. That’s a sticky wicket to navigate even without the threat of infectious disease.

In closing, the Brady Campaign’s Kyleanne Hunter Professor Hunter is absolutely WRONG about ATF oversight of gun retailers.

Idris Abdus-Salaam.
Not to be light about it, but anyone not make a guess on motive?


3 victims, suspect identified in stabbing at Pilot

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WVLT) — The Tennessee Bureau of Investigation is investigating a stabbing and an officer involved shooting incident after Knoxville gas station employees and a suspect were killed Tuesday morning.

TBI identified the three deceased victims as 57-year-old Joyce Whaley, 51-year-old Patricia Denise Nibbe and 41-year-old Nettie R. Spencer. The deceased suspect was identified as 33-year-old Idris Abdus-Salaam, a North Carolina truck driver,

Three Pilot employees are dead and one customer injured after a stabbing and an officer-involved shooting at an East Knox County Pilot truck stop.

According to the TBI, the Knox County Sheriff’s Office received a report of the incident at the Strawberry Plains Pike location around 7 am on Tuesday. Upon arrival officers observed at least one person with stab wounds and a man identified by witnesses as the suspect armed with a knife in the Pilot parking lot.

According to officials, officers confronted the suspect and when he refused to drop the weapon, one of the officers fired shots, striking the man. …

Four female victims were stabbed, the three employees were pronounced dead at the scene and the fourth who was a customer was transported to a local hospital. The status of her condition is unknown.

Pilot CEO Jimmy Haslam released a statement regarding the incident.

Today is a difficult day for the Pilot Company family. We are devastated to confirm the loss of three team members and the injury of a guest after an act of violence at our Strawberry Plains, Tennessee, location this morning. It is with heavy hearts that we extend our deepest sympathy to the families and loved ones of the victims. We are providing support and counseling to the families and our team. We are working closely with local authorities. Please keep these families in your thoughts and prayers.”

Just because this new bug has lots of attention being paid to it, doesn’t mean that everything else simply stopped in place.


AFRICOM kills senior terrorist leader in Somalia as airstrikes intensify

STUTTGART, Germany — A senior al-Shabab leader who played a key role in plotting deadly attacks throughout East Africa has been killed in an airstrike in Somalia, U.S. Africa Command said Tuesday.

Yusuf Jiis was one of three al-Shabab members killed in the April 2 airstrike, AFRICOM said. The strike was one of a flurry of attacks in Somalia in recent days.

Jiis was “violent, ruthless, and responsible for the loss of many innocent lives,” AFRICOM commander Gen. Stephen Townsend said in a statement. “His removal makes Somalia and neighboring countries safer.”

AFRICOM has launched six airstrikes in Somalia since April 2, including one on Monday in which five terrorists were killed, it said.

AFRICOM said no civilians were killed in Monday’s strike on Jilib, around 230 miles south of the capital, Mogadishu, but it is investigating reports that allege there were civilian casualties.

“As with any allegation of civilian casualties U.S. Africa Command receives and reviews any information it has about the incident, including any relevant information provided by third parties,” it said.

AFRICOM announced last week that it will begin issuing quarterly reports on the outcomes of its investigations into civilian casualty claims as a way to boost transparency.

Senior Hezbollah commander found dead

Senior Hezbollah counterintelligence official Muhammad Ali Yunis has reportedly been killed in southern Lebanon.

The body of Yunis, who closely collaborated with Hezbollah’s ally Iran, was discovered over the weekend inside a car where he had been shot and stabbed, according to Haaretz. Hezbollah announced that he was killed on Saturday.

Hezbollah has not accused Israel or any other state entity of killing Yunis, although the commander was reportedly tasked with tracking potential Israeli or foreign agents. Lebanese security sources indicate that a suspect has been arrested, although further details are not yet clear.

Yunis was reportedly a “close associate” of Iranian Gen. Qassem Soleimani, who was killed by the United States in a targeted airstrike in Baghdad in January.

“The information provided by Hezbollah suggests that the assassination of Younis was carried out by the Israeli Mossad and its agents,” Janoubia, a Lebanese news website, reported, according to the Jerusalem Post.

Hezbollah is closely affiliated with Iran, which has supplied it with funding and with weapons. The group, which is designated as a terrorist organization by the U.S. and other countries, has carried out rocket attacks against Israel.

‘Prepping’ doesn’t mean hoarding. It means being proactive enough to do what you can so you’ll have almost all you need on hand.


Supply Chain Disruptions in the Firearms Industry.

There’s a wonderful video of economist Milton Friedman (no relation) discussing how no single person makes a pencil. His point was to show that demand for a product causes people all over the world to perform seemingly unrelated tasks that result in a seemingly simple and inexpensive product being made. The same is true of pretty much everything relating to firearms, optics, accessories and most every product you use.

Between private conversations with firearm, ammunition and optic manufacturers over the past two weeks, along with public information disseminated by major gunmakers, I am fairly certain a major disruption in the supply chain for those products and likely many more is coming, and coming soon.

There is no gun manufacturer that makes every single part or raw material that goes into their finished products. While I can’t say for certain, I’d wager this is true of almost every consumer good on the planet. For example, no gun company makes the steel they use to make barrels or the raw polymer used to injection mold frames—they purchase those materials from third parties.

Moreover, many manufacturers use OEM sourcing to provide significant parts of their finished products, and the overwhelming majority buy at least some component parts like springs from outside sources. Therefore, while firearm manufacturing may be declared “essential” in many states currently under stay-at-home orders to combat the COVID-19 pandemic, unless every part of the supply chain is deemed essential, at some point the supply of parts will run dry and it will be impossible to finish assembly of the final product.

The same is true of ammunition, optics, holsters, slings—literally everything you might need for your guns. While ammunition manufacturing may be allowed to continue because it is essential for personal and national security, is the recycling of lead from used car batteries considered essential in every state? What about the mining and refining of copper or the production of cardboard needed for boxing the finished ammo? That’s just scratching the surface of ammo manufacturing.

Holster makers, whether they use leather, nylon, Kydex (a polymer) or some combination thereof, face similar obstacles. I’m not aware of a holster maker that operates its own cattle ranch, slaughterhouse and tannery, for example.

We have already seen notices from Kimber and Remington that, owing to their businesses being declared non-essential in New York, their factories in Alabama lack certain parts to continue manufacturing. Even if New York comes to its senses and declares the respective factories in Yonkers and Ilion essential, some products will almost certainly remain impossible to complete because a spring maker in Florida or a chemical plant in New Jersey that makes coolant required to run CNC machines might be considered non-essential in those states.

Kimber’s President and COO, Greg Grogan, explained the situation quite clearly: “Just as many U.S. manufacturers are currently experiencing, Kimber’s external supply chain is undergoing challenges. Most of our suppliers are still operational but reduced employee attendance and delays in their own supply chains are causing disruptions. Kimber is substantially vertically integrated; therefore, we are much more reliant on our own factories for part fabrication rather than our external supply chain. However, having 98 percent of the components required to assemble and ship a firearm doesn’t get it done. That’s the reality at this unprecedented time.”

Remington has offered to retool its Ilion, NY, facility to make ventilators, which is a great example of gun makers again helping to keep people safe. Of course, that also means the famed factory won’t be turning out guns or gun parts.

I spoke with several other manufacturers about supply-chain concerns. Heckler & Koch USA told me that it is currently running its Columbus, GA, plant, but with fewer staff than normal to maintain social distancing requirements, which, according to Marketing Director Bill Dermody, “doesn’t maximize production capacity.”

The company is also closely monitoring developments in Germany, where its parent company is located and where many of the parts that go into its guns are made; disruptions in manufacturing or supply chains in Europe could affect production in the U.S.

Zev Technologies is also still operating and churning out significant numbers of guns, but it has had to constantly monitor and, in some cases, modify its supply chain owing to circumstances affecting its suppliers. According to the company’s VP of Marketing and Business Development, Dave Roberts, “Something that used to take one week to make is now taking two weeks, but everything is still being made.”

Hornady planned for ammunition sales to increase in 2020, according to Senior Communications Manager Neal Emery. “Overall, we were fortunate to recognize things early and get six months of important materials and products while we could. That’s everything from cardboard to printer ink to raw materials,” he said. “Demand spiked really fast this time. Faster than previous increases in demand over the recent years. We’ve done what we can to produce as much as possible while dealing with the hurdles the virus has placed in front of us.”

The big concern right now is that when any part of the supply chain is closed because of illness or attempts to curtail the spread of COVID-19, the downstream effects could be significant. When any single part of the supply chain shuts down, the disruption that causes will eventually result in the inability to build even those products deemed essential by the government.

Hopefully, most gun, ammunition and accessory manufacturers had enough raw materials and parts on hand to last them through however long it takes to resolve this crisis, minimizing any disruptions. Even more, let us hope the crisis passes as quickly as possible so lives can be saved, the country and the planet can get back to work and the disruptions to everyone’s world will cease.

China’s Long Tentacles Extend Deep Into American Media.

The companies that own the major news networks, NBC, ABC, and CBS, all do significant business in China. On the print side, top U.S. newspapers like the Washington Post and New York Times have been criticized for running paid China Daily inserts. What they were paid for these inserts is still unknown.

By contrast, conservative news companies are much less involved in China. Conservative radio giant Salem, whose attempt to buy Tribune several years ago provoked an enormous freakout from media reporters over consolidation, is all-American. And Fox, after several troubled attempts to break into the Chinese market—including sending a News Corp team to help build People’s Daily a website—has mostly given up, after selling its Asia-Pacific operations to Disney over the last two years.

Disney owns ABC and has a park in Shanghai. It also owns ESPN, which was criticized for its coverage of China’s retaliation against the NBA earlier this year over one team owner’s support of the Hong Kong protests. But other than ABC, Disney is relatively uninvolved in news.

Comcast, on the other hand, has a much larger footprint in the U.S. media landscape, between NBC News, CNBC, and MSNBC. The company’s role in fostering cultural exchange is truly historic: they’ve brought to millions of American homes a customer service experience akin to a utility provider in a communist country, and have invested billions to bring “Minion Land” and a Harry Potter village to Beijing, with the help of a state-owned investment vehicle.

What might the Chinese government do if it were displeased with something that ran on MSNBC? Perhaps they’d have a tense conversation with their partners at 30 Rockefeller Plaza about the forthcoming slate of movie releases in China. Or it might be worse, given their decision to cut off all NBA games to retaliate against one team owner.

But evidently China is pleased with their partnership so far, and no NBC journalists had their residency permits pulled earlier this month. A March 10 post on the New York consulate’s website touted a recent meeting with Comcast execs:

Comcast Corporation is not only the participator of the increasingly close cultural exchanges, but also the contributor and beneficiary of deeper economic exchanges between China and the US. The NBC and the Universal Studios Theme Park in Beijing are witnesses of the in-depth development of Sino-US economic and trade relations and increasingly close cultural exchanges.

Consul General Huang Ping made a point of discussing China’s response to the coronavirus, as well as news coverage in the U.S.: “China’s prevention and control practices have earned valuable time and experience for other countries. …We hope that the NBC and other U.S. media will objectively and fairly report China’s efforts to control the epidemic.”

San Francisco Was the First Major City To Ban Plastic Bags. Now It’s Banning Reusable Bags To Combat Coronavirus.

The world really has turned upside down. In 2007 San Francisco became the first large city in the country to ban single-use plastic bags. Now, as part of its effort to combat the spread of COVID-19, the city is banning the reusable tote bags it’s spent over a decade promoting.

Last week, the San Francisco Department of Health published an update to its guidelines for the city’s already strict shelter-in-place order. These new guidelines include social distancing protocols that so-called “essential” businesses must follow when applicable.

Included in the protocol section on preventing unnecessary contact is a directive for businesses to prohibit customers from bringing their own bags, mugs, or other reusable items from home.

As SFGate notes, the updated guidance does not address the status of the city’s existing plastic bag ordinance, which bans the distribution of non-compostable single-use plastic bags, and requires stores to charge ten cents for each compostable, paper, or reusable bag a customer uses. That fee is set to increase to 25 cents in July 2020……

John Tierney argued in CityJournal recently that reusable bags have the potential to become contaminated with bacteria and have been known to transmit viruses. Early studies show that COVID-19 can also survive on plastic surfaces for up to three days.

That suggests reusable bags, which are often made of plastic, might create additional risks for grocery store customers and staff. If a person brings a reusable bag from a home where someone is sick, any clerk who handles that bag could end up getting infected. And if that clerk is already sick, a bag that doesn’t immediately get tossed in the trash could end up infecting the next person who comes into contact with it.

However, the CDC had downplayed the risks that people will pick up COVID-19 from surfaces, saying that it is much more likely to get the virus from another person. Two epidemiologists who spoke with Slate about grocery store best practices in the time of coronavirus were also dismissive of the idea that reusable bags created additional risks.

The fact that we’re still in the dark about how best to prevent the spread of coronavirus is actually a good reason to not have bag bans of any kind, reusable or single-use…………

TR opined to ‘speak softly and carry a big stick’. Well we know DT simply carries the big stick.


India allows limited exports of anti-malaria drug after Trump warns of retaliation

India, the world’s main supplier of generic drugs, said on Tuesday it will allow limited exports of the anti-malaria drug hydroxychloroquine that U.S. President Donald Trump has touted as a potential weapon in the fight against the coronavirus.

The Indian government had put a hold on exports of hydroxychloroquine as well as on the pain reliever, paracetamol, saying stocks were depleting because of the hit to global supply chains after the coronavirus emerged in China late last year.

But Trump spoke to Prime Minister Narendra Modi over the weekend seeking supplies and on Monday said India may face retaliation if it didn’t withdraw the ban on exports.

India’s neighbours, including Nepal, have also sought the anti-malaria drug.

“It has been decided that India would licence paracetamol and HCQ in appropriate quantities to all our neighbouring countries who are dependent on our capabilities,” said Indian foreign ministry spokesman Anurag Srivastava.

“We will also be supplying these essential drugs to some nations who have been particularly badly affected by the pandemic,” he said.