The U.S. and Royal Navy once virtually eliminated pirates from the high seas. They hanged pirates and they went away. They gave up the practice and piracy returned.


2 YEARS? Well, it took the goobernor long enough.

‘We Righted a Wrong’: Virginia Governor Pardons Father Whose Daughter Was Sexually Assaulted at School

Virginia governor Glenn Youngkin has pardoned a father, Scott Smith, who was convicted of disorderly conduct for protesting a school-board meeting after his daughter was sexually assaulted by a male wearing a skirt in a girls’ bathroom.

“I spoke with Mr. Smith on Friday, and I had the privilege of telling Mr. Smith that I will pardon him, and we did that on Friday,” Youngkin told Fox News Sunday. “We righted a wrong. He should’ve never been prosecuted here. This was a dad standing up for his daughter.”

“His daughter had been sexually assaulted in the bathroom of a school, and no one was doing anything about it,” the Republican governor added before asserting that the school’s superintendent had “covered it up.”

In August 2021, Smith denounced Loudoun County educational administrators for failing to protect his daughter. Smith was confronted by law enforcement and forcibly detained at the time, sustaining injuries to his face and mouth. The following month, the concerned father was arrested and later convicted of two criminal counts.

“What happened to me can never happen to another American again, and it was kind of a bittersweet moment for me to accept this pardon,” Smith told a local ABC News affiliate from his home in Leesburg, Va., on Sunday.

“I think it’s pretty clear and convincing to the public that what happened to me that day should have never happened,” the father said.


An official statement released by the governor’s office on Sunday echoed Smith’s concerns and the need for greater parental oversight of schools.

America’s Largest Power Grid Issues Emergency Alert: ‘Prepare Generators’

America’s largest electric grid operator has declared an emergency amid high temperatures and issued an alert warning the public to “prepare generators.”

The emergency alert was issued across the East Coast and Midwest.

On Friday, PJM Interconnection LLC, which serves 13 states, declared another Energy Emergency Alert Level 1.

The alert was the second in a week as fears of an electrical grid failure mount.

Excessive heat advisories and warnings cover a number of areas across those states—from Illinois to New Jersey.

A map updated by the National Weather Service (NWS) on Friday shows that heat advisories and warnings inundate large swaths of where PJM Interconnection serves.

The agency has suggested that more emergency alerts may follow.

The NWS suggests that further heatwaves throughout this week could trigger more emergency alerts.

“Dangerous heat peaks in the Northeast, Mid-Atlantic, and Midwest today and Saturday before a cold front provides these regions with a welcomed return of cooler and more comfortable temperatures Sunday,” said the NWS on its website on Friday.


Mysterious Chinese COVID Lab Uncovered in City of Reedley CA
Code enforcement check uncovers illegal lab making COVID-19 and pregnancy test kits, bacterial and viral agents and 900 white mice

Why would a COVID lab run by a shady Chinese company be operating in Reedley, CA in the central San Joaquin Valley? The lab, which was supposed to be an empty building, was discovered by Reedley city code enforcement officers when they saw a garden hose attached to the building and investigated.

Darren Fraser at the MidValley Times reported earlier this week that the building has been illegally operated since October 2022 by Wang Zhaolin of Prestige Biotech, and the lab was used to produce COVID-19 tests and pregnancy tests.

City of Reedley officials called in the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the FBI, the State Department of Toxic Substances Control (DTSC), the State Department of Health, the California Department of Public Health (CDPH) and the Fresno County Department of Public Health (FCDPH).

“Reedley officials and personnel from CDPH and FCDPH executed a warrant on March 16 to inspect the warehouse at 850 I Street,” MidValley Times reported. “According to a declaration from Humero Prado, Assistant Director of Fresno County Public Health, which was filed in superior court, investigators discovered that one room of the warehouse was used to produce COVID-19 and pregnancy tests. In other rooms, investigators found blood, tissue and other bodily fluid samples. They also found thousands of vials that contained unlabeled fluids.”

And they found 900 genetically engineered mice, engineered to catch and carry COVID-19, living in “inhumane” conditions. 773 of the mice had to be euthanized, and officials found another 178 mice already dead.

We have a few questions:

Why was a Chinese company making COVID-19 tests in California?

Where were these tests to be used? California public health agencies? Medical groups and hospitals?

Is the California Department of Public Health involved?

Who authorized this lab?

What does the Newsom administration know about this?

Mid Valley Times further reports:

“From May 2 through May 4, the CDC’s Division of Select Agents and Toxins inspected 850 I Street. Court documents confirm the CDC found potentially infectious agents at the location. These included both bacterial and viral agents, including: chlamydia, E. Coli, streptococcus pneumonia, hepatitis B and C, herpes 1 and 5 and rubella. The CDC also found samples of malaria.”

“Court documents identify Xiuquin Yao as the alleged president of Prestige. Neither Reedley nor FCDPH was able to obtain from Yao any substantive information regarding Prestige or why infectious agents and mice were being stored at 850 I Street other than to say that the company was developing diagnostic testing kits.”

“Court documents include copies of an email exchange Prado conducted with David He, who identified himself as a representative of Prestige, beginning May 31 and continuing through June 13. Over the course of numerous emails, Prado repeatedly asks He to provide documentation regarding licensed medical waste disposal, Prestige’s reasons for storing infectious agents and how the company will respond to the biological abatement orders handed down by FCDPH.”

“They (Prestige) completely avoided the questions,” Prado said. “This individual (He) was either unaware or was intentionally trying to mislead us.”

As a start, the Globe made Public records requests to the City of Reedly and the Fresno County Department of Public Health for information and communications between the all of the agencies, as well as any documents and materials found at the illegal lab location. Read the entire article at

As we reported in February 2021 about the thousands of inconclusive test results coming out of Gov. Gavin Newsom’s $100 million COVID-19 testing lab with the $1.7 billion contract with PerkinElmer, “Is anything about the COVID-19 virus true, or is this the biggest political manipulation this country has ever seen?”

The Globe will report back on this bizarre story.

11Th Circuit Grants En Banc Hearing for Florida’s Young Adult Purchase Gun Ban
A lawsuit challenging Florida’s law banning rifle and shotgun purchases by adults 18 to 20 years of age is set to be heard by the full 11th Circuit Court of Appeals.

A lawsuit challenging Florida’s law banning rifle and shotgun purchases by adults 18 to 20 years of age is set to be heard by the full 11th Circuit Court of Appeals. On March 9, a three-judge panel of the 11th Circuit Court had upheld Florida’s under-21 gun purchase ban. But on July 16, the court vacated that decision and announced that it would take up the legal battle en banc, meaning the full court will soon hear arguments concerning the law.

The case, National Rifle Association v. Bondi, challenges the law that was hastily passed and then signed into law by then-Gov. Rick Scott following a tragic mass murder at a school in Parkland, Florida. The NRA filed the lawsuit shortly after the law was passed. The National Shooting Sports Foundation (NSSF) has opposed the law from the time it was first being discussed and filed an amicus brief supporting the most recent challenge to the law, according to Mark Oliva, NSSF managing director of public affairs.

“Florida’s law banning the sale of firearms for adults under the age of 21 is fundamentally flawed,” Oliva said in an exclusive interview with Firearms News. “Every American at the age of 18 is fully vested in all of their civil liberties, including their right granted to them by their Creator to keep and bear arms. That is not a right for Florida’s government to withhold.”

Oliva said that laws curtailing the other enumerated rights of 18- to 20-year-olds would almost certainly be considered unconstitutional. Yet for some reason courts often find Second Amendment rights not quite so important.

“Banning the rights of free speech, free exercise of religion or free assembly wouldn’t be tolerated yet this law relegated the Second Amendment to a second-class right,” he said. “That is Constitutionally unsound. Additionally, the answer to concerns that a minor’s criminal history prohibiting firearm possession would not be included in the background check was addressed in the Bipartisan Safer Communities Act. This law was wrong from the start. It only disenfranchises law-abiding adults from exercising the full spectrum of their rights.”

From the time the law passed, NRA’s Institute for Legislative Action has consistently pointed out the fallacy of the law.

“There is no question that 18- to 20-year-olds are adults in the eyes of the law and the Constitution,” NRA-ILA wrote in an action alert after a federal judge first begrudgingly upheld the law in 2021. “To deny those younger adults their rights because of the actions of criminals is nothing less than political discrimination and it is inconsistent with the Heller decision by the U.S. Supreme Court.”

According to the new standard under Bruen, when determining the constitutionality of a firearms law, the courts now must first determine if “the Second Amendment’s plain text covers [the] individual’s conduct” the government hopes to restrict. If it does, “The government must then justify its regulation by demonstrating that it is consistent with the Nation’s historical tradition of firearm regulation.”

If the government fails to meet this burden, then the challenged law cannot stand. The ban on 18- to 20-year-old adults likely runs afoul of both aspects of the standard. The date has not yet been set for oral arguments to begin in the case.

Once you realize that to these people “democracy” means “rule by Democrats,” it all makes sense.


Merrick Garland, no doubt one of the worst political hacks ever to hold the position of Attorney General, has sworn that U.S. Attorney David Weiss was in charge of the criminal investigation of Hunter Biden and made all the charging decisions. Whistleblowers have denied that claim, and have said that Garland’s Department of Justice interfered with, and essentially deep-sixed, the investigation, so that Hunter got off with a ridiculous slap on the wrist, and was back attending a state dinner at the White House a day or two later.

That is America’s two-tier system of justice in action.

But it gets worse. Gary Shapley is the IRS employee who is the key whistleblower on the fake Hunter investigation. His boss at the IRS was Darrell Waldon. This email is from Shapley to Michael Batdorf, who is with the IRS’s Criminal Investigation division, with a copy to Waldon. It describes a meeting that apparently included David Weiss:

The key language:“Weiss stated that he is not the deciding person on whether charges are filed. I believe this to be a huge problem–inconsistent with DOJ position and Merrick Garland testimony.”

Shapley asked Waldon to “comment if I miss something.” Waldon’s reply:

This exchange prompts two questions:

1) Is the evidence against Joe Biden piling up so fast that he may be unable to finish his term, as the Democrats have planned?

2) Is there now enough evidence to begin impeachment proceedings against Merrick Garland?

Who Is Running This Coordinated Campaign To Delegitimize The Supreme Court?

MOLLIE HEMINGWAY: It’s obviously not just an effort by the media, but a larger effort by the left to delegitimize the Supreme Court. They feel this is the one institution that they haven’t captured, they’re upset that some decisions have not gone their way and they’re trying to bully.

What’s interesting about these stories is they sort of allege something nefarious without explaining what the nefarious thing is, and so there’s no crime involved. They’ll say we wish that the rules were different so that he would have had to disclose this thing that he didn’t have to disclose according to the rules. I’m very interested in who’s organizing this concerted effort. You’ve got multiple media companies, it’s all a very well-laid-out PR strategy, that would be that would good for the media to look into, who’s running this organized effort to take on the court?…

You have justices on the left who have done all sorts of things that actually violated ethics rules. Like Ruth Bader Ginsburg signing her opinion and donating it for a pro-abortion fundraiser, which is completely — you’re not supposed to be involved in that kind of political activity. Probably he understands that the media are willing to go after the Thomases in particular, and have been for decades, and so one’s even alleging there was something wrong here, there was something that needed to be disclosed. But it’s just part of this coordinated campaign that people should be very leery of.

Sure would be nice compared to some of the law school grads with crap-for-brains when it comes to civil rights, I’ve run across recently.

Shaping a better judiciary through firearms instruction in law schools

The dust from the Illinois “Assault Weapon” and “Large Capacity” magazine ban remains unsettled. As Cam wrote recently, the Seventh Circuit took actions to keep the bans in place while legal challenges continue. Frank Easterbrook, the judge whose decision kept the bans in place, was also in the anti-Rights majority in some other big Second Amendment cases from recent history, namely, McDonald v. Chicago and Friedman v. Highland Park.

There are many anti-Second Amendment judges out there, both liberal and nominally conservative, whose judicial musings are an academic version of, “I support the Second Amendment, BUT…,” while there aren’t many judges who would insist on protecting the Bill of Rights in the face of persistent political and media pressure. Two pro-Rights judges whose names come to mind are U.S. District Court Judge Stephen P. McGlynn (S.D. IL), and Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals Judge Lawrence VanDyke.

What sets these judges apart from your average anti-Second Amendment judges? Look no further than a transcript and an opinion from cases they have heard:

Judge McGlynn in Barnett v. Raoul:

THE COURT: […] So here’s a pistol with a protruding grip. Now suppose you have — many people who are called upon to defend themselves are elderly. They’re people who [have] disabilities. And suppose if they hold a pistol with one hand, because of early stages of Parkinson’s or something, they’re shaky. But with that, they’re able to stabilize it more and it makes it safer for them to use and more accurate for them to use. Would that not be a fair assessment, at least for someone that might be suffering with that disability?

MR. WELLS: So, Your Honor, I — with respect to — again, the particular features, we’re not here today because there are –

THE COURT: I’m here today because of that. I’m really looking at — it looks like all kinds of safety features are made illegal by this statute in an effort to make every possible gun that’s out there, most guns out there, get you tripped up on it. The thumb hole — I mean, the thumb stock, that doesn’t make the bullets any more lethal. It doesn’t make the gunfire any faster, but it makes it easier for the user to aim it and control the weapon, does it not?

The same could be said — you know, even the arm brace, you know, if you have an elderly person that wants to use the handgun, but again, maybe they have diabetic neuropathy […] the arm brace doesn’t make the gunfire any faster or the bullets impact at a higher velocity. […]

Judge VanDyke in Duncan v. Bonta:

Until only a few years ago, if you wanted a “micro-compact” firearm for self-defense (of the type that serves little or no military usage), you were generally limited to a six to eight-round magazine capacity. For example, the KelTec P3AT came with a six-round magazine, as did the Ruger LCP, Glock 43, Kimber Solo, and Walther PPK (of James Bond fame). […] Not too long ago, it was basically impossible to find a lightweight, micro-compact firearm even capable of holding 10 rounds in its magazine.

Then, in 2019, Sig Sauer released the P365, which took the self-defense market by storm because suddenly law- abiding citizens could have the same size micro-compact firearm, but now carrying 12 or 15 rounds in its magazine.

As evident from the above, these judges know and understand guns. They can see through the fallacies of these laws. This is a seeming rarity in the judiciary. I am willing to bet that if most judges opened their mouths to talk about guns in front of a camera, they would sound exactly like anti-Second Amendment legislators who, wallowing in their ignorance, blabber about “.30-caliber magazine clips” (archived), heat-seeking meat-cooking bullets (archived), one-time use magazines (archived), or “the shoulder thing that goes up.” (archived)

Law schools are pipelines into the judiciary. The less ignorance on firearms there is in the judiciary, the lower the chance of abusive laws surviving judicial review. The strategy of the firearms community, especially instructors, should include serious outreach to law school students. Advertise your (ideally free) services in law schools. Organize a group outing to the gun range for students. There are Federalist Society chapters in law schools around the country. Ask them for help with your outreach. (Shameless Plug: there’s more in my book.)

Rooting out gun ignorance is a long-term investment. Law school students are typically in their early 20s, and it may take them another 2–3 decades to get appointed to the judiciary. But the results will be there down the line.

Freedom takes hard work. If we all sit back and don’t put in the effort to nurture it, our children and grandchildren won’t have it. If you’re a firearms instructor reading this, please start outreach to law schools near you. If you’re not a firearms instructor, consider becoming one. Every student’s mind you fortify from ignorance is another safeguard for our liberty.

Ryan Busse Can’t Seem to Decide Which Side of the California ‘Assault Weapons’ Ban Case He’s Arguing For

The State acknowledges that Mr. [Ryan] Busse offers no historical testimony, but argues that he addresses several issues still relevant under Bruen. The State says Mr. Busse’s testimony is relevant to whether the firearms at issue are covered by the plain text of the Second Amendment. State’s Opp. at 9. But as established above, that is an open-and-shut question. And while Mr. Busse includes some discussion of the features of so-called “assault weapons” he does not opine on whether those features represent a “dramatic technological change” that would allow the State to engage in the “more nuanced approach.” 

The State also exposes its shocking ignorance about the very firearms it regulates when it attempts to equate only caliber with power, while suggesting both of those are apparently unrelated to velocity. Every child in this country at some point learns Newton’s second law, which is that force equals mass times acceleration. The caliber of a bullet pertains to its mass (though is not totally determinative of it, as .223 and .22LR have similar calibers but very different projectile weights), and the speed at which a particular mass moves determines how forcefully it impacts the intended target.

It is not Plaintiffs’ “view” that .223 Remington is one of the weaker centerfire cartridges. It is an indisputable fact that it is. That is why, as Plaintiffs showed in their motion, a handful of states actually banned .223 for deer hunting out of fear it was not powerful enough to reliably kill a deer, unlike far more powerful common centerfire rifle rounds like .308. (Virginia argued that their caliber regulation is necessary because the use of rifles of a caliber less than .23 to dispatch deer would result in an unacceptable number of crippled wounded and/or lost deer.). 

Mr. Busse knows all of this. On his Twitter account on July 5, 2022, he explained that “the typical hunting gun fires a much larger bullet (might be 200 grains or more) some at similarly [to .223] fast speeds. Those rifles are technically MUCH more powerful than an AR15.” Just this week, on April 12, 2023, Mr. Busse similarly tweeted that “The AR15 does not fire particularly high-power rifle rounds when compared to single rounds of most hunting rifles. Single .223/5.56 cartridges of the AR15 are only fractionally ‘as powerful’ as a cartridge like the .30-06.” Perhaps Plaintiffs should have retained Mr. Busse to rebut Mr. Busse.

Given his knowledge, his effort to deceive this Court by comparing the centerfire .223 round to the far weaker rimfire .22LR, a much slower and smaller round typically used for hunting small game or low-recoil target shooting, demonstrates Busse’s unreliability as an expert witness. 

— Plaintiffs’ reply to defendants’ opposition to motions to exclude expert testimony in Rupp v. Bonta, challenging California’s “assault weapons” ban


Take a Seat at the Second Amendment Table!
Want to be respected for your firearms knowledge? There’s no shortcut—just put in the time!

Americans own guns for many reasons: hunting, recreational and competitive shooting, collecting, self-defense and personal protection, among others. But the most complete and thorough answer is, “Because we can!” We all deserve a “seat at the table” when it comes to gun ownership and gun rights.

Historically, men have dominated the market when it comes to firearm ownership, training and even writing about guns. Thus it would stand to reason that men have traditionally occupied the most number of seats at the table. Generally speaking, this is because men have owned more firearms, taken more training, and go to the range more often than women. But wait, do not give up hope! The Second Amendment, written by our framers to guarantee Americans’ ability to protect themselves from tyranny, and from those who seek to do them harm, is for everyone.

Rest assured, the “table” is getting larger—much larger! As we continually report on this site, women make up the fastest growing demographic of gun owners. But because you deserve a seat at the table, does not necessarily mean you are going to get one! It takes more than pulling out the proverbial chair and just sitting down. As with all subject-matter expertise, it takes work to become proficient in any topic. It takes research, dedication, training and practice. Firearms are no different. Unfortunately, we live in a world today where people equate watching YouTube videos with becoming proficient or an “expert” in any topic. There is no shortcut to excelling in any given activity. You have to put in your time.

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Nashville murderer identifies as Audrey Hale
Account noted on as using pronouns “he/him”.

But wait, so it’s a weirdo trans whatever, this means the timeframe it will take to go down the memory hole by the MSM will be measured in hours. I suspect Wednesday at the latest.

Formerly Audrey Hale, Nashville Christian grade school shooter was a transgender Samantha Hyde, 28.
Covenant School Shooting leaves 3 children, 3 adults dead, active shooter suspect identified as 28-year-old Samantha Hyde, of Nashville, TN shoot dead by police

Samantha Hyde Death – Police say 28-year-old Samantha Hyde, of Nashville, Tennessee has passed away after she was shot multiple times by officers. Samantha Hyde died after she arrived at a Christian school armed with a rifle and opened fire, killing six people. The deadly incident left three children and three adults dead on Monday. The suspected shooter was fatally shot by police at Covenant School in the city’s Green Hills neighborhood, authorities said. Officials have not published the victims’ identities or ages, but all three people who were killed worked at the school.

Nashville shooter is “Audrey Hale”, a biological female that identifies as “He/Him” on their LinkedIn. Authorities believe the transgender shooter previously attended the Christian school which means, of course, they deserved it
reports identify the Nashville shooter as “Samantha Hyde” a biological female that identifies as “He/Him” on their LinkedIn. Authorities believe the transgender shooter previously attended the Christian school. The Instagram account “Sam.hydeurkids” has been deleted, but Will be memory-holed as it doesn’t fit the agenda
The gunman was identified as a 28-year-old white woman from Nashville, and she was armed with “at least” two assault weapons and a handgun, according to police. On Monday afternoon, Nashville Police Chief John Drake stated that the three youngsters had been identified and their families had been informed. “For now, I’m not going to mention the ages, other than to say that seeing this and the kids as they were being escorted out of the facility literally moved me to tears,” Drake stated. In the aftermath of the shooting, officials had previously built a reunification facility nearby, where pupils from the school were taken.
According to Drake, police’s early investigation shows that the shooter was once a student at the school. He had no idea when she might have attended. According to Don Aaron, a spokesperson for the Metropolitan Nashville Police Department, officers entered the first story of the school building and began clearing it when they heard gunfire on the second level. When the officers moved upstairs and saw the gunman firing, they “engaged” her. He claimed that two of the five responding police officers fatally shot her.
The shooter entered Covenant School through a side entrance and moved from the first to second floors, “shooting many bullets,” according to Aaron. President Joe Biden addressed the attack on Monday afternoon during a broadcast address. “It’s sick,” he admitted. “It breaks my heart. “The greatest nightmare of a family.” Biden stated that the administration is “watching the situation very closely” before urging Congress to adopt his assault weapons ban, as he did following the January mass shooting in Monterey Park, California. “We must do more to prevent gun violence,” he added. “It’s tearing our communities apart and ripping at the very spirit of our country,” Biden concluded. “Our children deserve better.” “We stand, all of us, in prayer with Nashville.”


‘A perfect storm for the whole food system right now’: One of the world’s largest fertilizer companies warns that every country—even those in Europe—is facing a food crisis

The Ukraine war upended the global economy in many ways. Energy markets have been among the most affected, with declining Russian oil and natural gas exports to the West sparking a domino effect of fuel crises worldwide. But the war has also warped another critical facet of the global economy: food.
Prior to the war, Russia and Ukraine were global breadbaskets as top producers and exporters of wheat, sunflower seeds, and barley. The fighting ended up aggravating hunger and food crises in low-income countries that are dependent on imports. But both Russia and Ukraine are also key cogs in the global fertilizer industry, and the war has triggered a shortage of the critical commodity that few people consider but is nevertheless essential to global food security.
Much as Russian President Vladimir Putin leveraged the world’s reliance on his country’s fossil fuels to weaponize energy supplies during the war, he is doing something very similar with fertilizer and food, Svein Tore Holsether, CEO of Norwegian chemical company Yara International, among the world’s largest fertilizer producers and suppliers, told the Financial Times in an interview published Thursday.
Putin’s energy gambit, which sent fossil fuel prices soaring and left Europe on the brink of recession last year, has so far not gone as expected, with a warm winter working against him and Europe able to buy natural gas from elsewhere. But Holsether warned the world’s reliance on Russia for fertilizer threatens more disruption of food supply, adding to existing challenges of logistics bottlenecks and climate change.
“If you look at the role that we have allowed Russia to have in global food supply, we depend on them. How did that happen? What kind of weapon is that? And Putin is weaponizing food,” Holsether said.
“It is sort of a perfect storm for the whole food system right now: very challenging in Europe, of course, with higher prices; even worse in other parts of the world where a human being dies every four seconds as a result of hunger,” he added.

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Depends on what the purpose was. Control the virus, or control the people

The COVID lockdowns were all for naught.

How different it feels this time around. Broadcasters are lustily cheering anti-lockdown protesters in China. Members of Congress offer unqualified support. President Joe Biden, although more guarded, is sympathetic.

No Western politician, as far as I can see, is insulting the protesters. They are not dismissed as selfish or sociopathic, nor as dupes of conspiracy theories. Sen. James Lankford (R-OK) captured the mood: “To the people of China — we hear you and we stand with you as you fight for your freedom.”

Broadcasters and columnists who spent 2020 calling anti-lockdowners kooks and criminals are now uncomplicatedly applauding their Chinese counterparts. They see ordinary people standing up against an authoritarian government the anti-COVID policies of which were crushing liberty.

So, what changed? Perhaps pundits tell themselves that the disease is less virulent now, or that vaccination has altered the balance of risk, or that, in some other way, Beijing’s crackdown is less proportionate than those of 2020. But none of these explanations stacks up.

Yes, the coronavirus became less lethal. All viruses that spread through human contact eventually become less lethal because they have an evolved tendency to want to keep their hosts up and active and therefore more infectious. For this to happen, they require a critical mass. Enough people need to be incapacitated or killed by the original version to give milder strains an advantage. And, yes, the vaccines helped, too.

But the trade-offs are essentially the same in China today as they were three years ago — coronavirus deaths versus other deaths. The current unrest was sparked by a fire in Xinjiang, which was allowed to become needlessly deadly because the authorities were following COVID protocols. In other words, they were elevating COVID above other forms of harm.

Most countries did the same in 2020 with, as we now see, disastrous results. The lockdowns did not just cause an economic meltdown from which we will take years to recover. They also failed on their own terms. They killed more people than they saved.

Guess which developed country had the lowest excess mortality between 2020 and 2022. Go on, have a guess. That’s right. Sweden, which refused to close shops or schools or to impose a mask mandate, saw cumulative excess deaths rise by 6.8%, the lowest figure in the OECD. By way of comparison, the equivalent figures were 18% in Australia, 24.5% in the U.K., and 54.1% in the U.S.

At this stage, various authoritarians, hypochondriacs and mask fetishists trot out bizarre arguments about Sweden having a low population density, as if Swedes were evenly spaced across their birch forests rather than living mainly in cities comparable to ours. What is striking about this argument is not so much its dishonesty (in March 2020, lockdowners claimed that Sweden faced total catastrophe, not that it might end up with a slightly higher mortality rate than Finland ) as its desperation.

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Oath of Office for CongressCritters
I, (name), do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic; that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same; that I take this obligation freely, without any mental reservation or purpose of evasion; and that I will well and faithfully discharge the duties of the office on which I am about to enter. [So help me God.]