Tuesday, April 24, 2018

Will healthcare bankrupt U.S.?

[HEAL Alabama (Healthy Eating, Active Living) is a nonprofit, 501 (c) (3) organization based in Alabama whose mission is to measurably improve children’s health and reverse the growing epidemic of childhood obesity.]

From: Rob Shattuck <rdshattuck@gmail.com>
Date: Mon, Apr 23, 2018 at 3:56 PM
Subject: Will healthcare bankrupt the United States?
To: healmystate@gmail.com

Dear H.E.A.L.,

For the past two years, our country has lived with one political side hellbent to "repeal and replace" Obamacare, the other political side trying to stand athwart that, and Trump and the Republicans doing piecemeal dismantling of Obamacare.

This leaves the healthcare system a mess in 2018, with no sign that our broken, polarized Congress has any capacity to do its job for the American people regarding healthcare.

Further, this is in the context of a looming national healthcare crisis growing out of, among other things, obesity, diabetes and the increased number of more old people who are living longer.

The country's current financial duress in the healthcare domain is only going to grow much greater in the coming years.

How well Congress and the Federal government, and how well state legislatures and state governments, will be able to get their acts together and manage the ticking healthcare time bomb is uncertain. There is reason for a lack of confidence.

I am not in any position of authority and I have no healthcare policy role, public or private.

Nonetheless, in connection with the 2017 special Senate election in Alabama, I undertook to try to engage the candidates, academics, and representatives from the healthcare industry, etc., to have public discussion of their views about what should be done regarding health care reform. You may learn more about what I tried to do at http://al6thcongdist-ihaveuntiljan13.blogspot.com/2017/06/health-care-symposium.html.

This effort I made in 2017 went nowhere.

H.E.A.L. is trying to make a significant, long range contribution on the healthcare front in Alabama. The health benefits and the healthcare costs savings to be achieved from H.E.A.L.'s programs require sustained active participation by parents, children, teachers and others, and are being only very slowly realized.

It is probably hard to get elected government officials to incorporate, in their campaign platforms and in their policies, a strong call on the people that the people need to alter their ways and habits that affect their health. If a politician harks too much on that, the voters may not vote for him or her, and hence the politicians and elected officials may not do strongly worded messaging to the people about what they need to do about their health, as H.E.A.L. would like to see done.

My reason for this email to H.E.A.L. is that I wish to resurrect in 2018 the effort I made in 2017 to engage the candidates, academics, and representatives from the healthcare industry, etc., to have public discussion of their views about what should be done regarding health care reform.

I see from H.E.A.L.'s listings of staff, Board, advisors, partners and sponsors that H.E.A.L. has many contacts in Alabama government, universities and industry related to healthcare. While it may be wishful thinking, these contacts might be very supportive of the healthcare symposium idea I tried to get going in 2017 and be helpful in getting a healthcare symposium sponsored and organized this year.

If this is so, and names can be provided to me of persons willing to help out, I would be most appreciative.

Thank you for whatever help you can provide me on this.

Rob Shattuck

Sunday, April 15, 2018

AG candidates' issues

Below are the "issues" statements or other material from AG candidates' websites.

Steve Marshall
Opioid crisis
Forging a path forward to address the opioid epidemic in Alabama has been a hallmark of my first year in office. Last summer, Governor Kay Ivey appointed me as co-chair of her Alabama Opioid Overdose & Addiction Council. After six months of in-depth research and discussion by the Council, we reported our recommendations to Governor Ivey. Now, we are getting to work on the implementation of those recommendations.
As the Council’s work highlights, a multi-faceted problem requires creative and diverse solutions. The partnership we have established between law enforcement, mental health, and public health is foundational, but this alliance must be expanded to include both the faith and education communities.
Through my position as the Chief Law Enforcement Officer of this state, it is my unique responsibility to ensure we are effectively dealing with the trafficking of both pharmaceuticals and illegal drugs. We are ramping up our ability to combat this trafficking through increased coordination and data-sharing with federal partners and providing new resources to our local partners through our new cybercrime lab. Because much of the trafficking of the most dangerous opioids--fentanyl and Carfentanil--occur online, our new lab is a critical tool in this fight.

Illegal immigration is a growing problem for our state. It is the government’s first responsibility to enforce the law and ensure the safety of our citizens. Stopping the flow of illegal immigrants through our borders is the first step in achieving that goal. I am also committed to the prosecution of illegal immigrants who commit crimes in Alabama.
In my first year in office, I have taken these steps to combat illegal immigration:
  1. Fought for President Trump’s travel ban designed to protect all Americans from the influx of immigrants from countries that pose a security risk to the U.S.
  2. Joined President Trump’s effort to put an end to sanctuary cities
  3. Demanded an end to Obama’s executive amnesty and insisted that the rule of law be upheld.
Federal Overreach
Our Founders knew that an out-of-control federal government would be the enemy of freedom. That’s why the Constitution gives “few and defined” powers to the federal government and reserves for the States “all the objects which...concern the lives, liberties, and properties of the people…” This balance of power, federalism, was greatly disrupted during the Obama Administration but with a new Administration in place, we have an opportunity to reclaim our state sovereignty.
Alabama has been uniquely affected by federal overreach on issues affecting private property. I am currently leading a battle in the U.S. Supreme Court against a federal regulation that would give the government power to use any private land that the federal government deemed necessary to protect an endangered species. In the process of this lawsuit, we have also worked successfully with the Trump Administration to get these burdensome rules rolled back.
I agree with the late Justice Scalia, “it won’t work if we don’t believe in federalism.”

Violent Crime
Violent crime in Alabama is at a 20-year high. In fact, data shows us that a violent crime is committed every 21 minutes across our state. That’s why I launched my “Initiative on Violent Crime” with the slogan “Reclaim. Restore. Revive.” I am determined to reclaim our neighborhoods from the scourge of violent crime, restore the rule of law, and ultimately, see these communities revived.
We are accomplishing these goals through targeting our worst-hit areas, establishing strategic partnerships with federal, state, and local law enforcement, renewing investments in crime-fighting resources and increasing training opportunities for those on the front lines.
We are also listening to the needs of victims of violent crime. As a result, we advocated for and secured passage of the Fair Justice Act to ensure that capital murderers are limited in their ability to file endless frivolous appeals that cause families to relive their horror again and again, while losing faith in the justice system.
We are having great success and are dedicated to winning this fight. With our friend and partner, Attorney General Jeff Sessions, at the helm of our federal crime-fighting agencies and a career prosecutor leading the Alabama Attorney General’s Office, criminals should be on notice. We will not tolerate this menace to our citizens.

Human Trafficking
Not only is human trafficking a global tragedy, it is heartbreakingly present even in our own state of Alabama. It is hard for us to fathom that such a vile practice as slavery exists in our midst. Traffickers target those who are most vulnerable, using threats and torture to wear their victims down and render them powerless to seek help. I stand ready to prosecute these cases and see this horrible crime punished. I am also fighting to ensure that those in law enforcement have the training and resources that they need to deal with these horrific crimes. Together we can save victims, one at a time, and reduce the terrible suffering caused by trafficking.

2nd Amendment
I took an oath to uphold and defend the Constitution and to vigilantly protect the rights of the people, including the Second Amendment. Our Second Amendment rights are constantly under siege from the liberals and their footholds in federal agencies. I have demonstrated my commitment to protect the rights of gun owners in federal and state courts and to push back on unnecessary restrictions on gun manufacturers. I will continue to be a champion of the Second Amendment on behalf of all Alabamians.

Cracking down on government corruption is vital to public confidence and the welfare of our our state. I have worked to bring more transparency to government by building on the Alabama Ethics Act. We need honest people to serve and we must close loopholes that would allow for corrupt individuals to profit from their government service. It is my highest priority to ensure that those who serve the people of Alabama do so with the utmost integrity.

Standing up for Life
We must speak for those who cannot speak for themselves--we must fight for the unborn. I have a career-long record of fighting for life in the courts and in the legislature. One of the biggest victories in my professional career has been drafting and advocating for the Brody Act—a law that makes it possible to prosecute offenders for two crimes if they kill or injure an unborn child during an attack on the unborn child’s mother. After that law passed, I became the first prosecutor to secure a death sentence (for a man who had murdered his pregnant wife) under the Brody Act. Amazingly, when this landmark case was on appeal to the Alabama Supreme Court, I had the privilege of defending that conviction in my role as Attorney General.
I have also fought for and won First Amendment protections for pro-life speech, defended Alabama’s law on parental consent for abortions, supported other states’ laws that would prohibit late-term and discriminatory abortions and battled the ACLU to ban the gruesome practice of dismemberment abortions.

Alice Martin
2nd Amendment
I am a strong supporter of the Second Amendment and our right to bear arms. I’ll fight against any state or federal legislation that seeks to undo or preempt Alabama’s open and concealed-carry laws.
As a federal prosecutor my office prosecuted hundreds of federal firearm violations with ATF and local law enforcement. This reduced violent crime, which is now on the rise. I’ll work to enforce current laws – not add new restrictions to law abiding Alabamians – to keep guns out of the hands of terrorists, criminals and the mentally ill.
As a lifelong gun owner, hunter and NRA member, I’ll fight any move by liberal Democrats and Republicans to limit our rights to own a gun and defend our families.

Corruption Ends Here
I have focused much of my 20-year career as a state and federal prosecutor on fighting corruption in government. As United States Attorney for 31 counties of north Alabama, I formed the North Alabama Public Corruption Task Force with former Alabama AG Bill Pryor and obtained 140 federal corruption convictions and was named a “Top 10 Prosecutor in the U. S.” by Corporate Fraud Reporter.
As Chief Deputy Attorney General for Alabama from 2015-2017, I worked on the prosecution team that prosecuted Speaker Mike Hubbard, as well as led the grand jury investigation into former Governor Robert Bentley. I increased resources to prosecute public corruption in the Alabama Attorney General’s Office by more than 200%. If elected to serve as your Attorney General I will continue that work to follow the facts and hold corrupt government employees and officials accountable to their oaths of office.
Corruption creates an unlevel playing field for law abiding businesses and is costly to taxpayers. I will work to clarify Alabama’s Ethics Law and hold entities accountable to the Alabama Open Records Act because sunshine is a disinfectant. Public service is not about private gain. Integrity and ethical behavior matters and no one is above the law.

Stop Illegal Immigration and Sanctuary cities
I stand with President Trump as a strong supporter of enforcing our immigration laws! The U.S. is a nation of immigrants and a nation of laws designed to protect our borders and our citizens. I oppose sanctuary city policies that ignore immigration laws and release criminal aliens back into a community. This liberal policy has illegally released thousands of criminals into American communities. It puts law-abiding citizens and undocumented immigrants at risk.
I will fight against any movement of a city or county in Alabama to become a sanctuary jurisdiction, and that risk your safety by becoming one.

Opioid Crisis
Fact: In 2017, 60,000 Americans died from drug overdoses and two-thirds were linked to opioids. Two deaths a day occur in Alabama due to an overdose. Alabama has the highest number of opioid prescriptions per person than any other state!
Almost everyone in Alabama knows someone whose family has been impacted by opioid addiction or an overdose. As a prosecutor and nurse I know we cannot prosecute our way out of this crisis. It will require a multi-discipline approach of prevention through education, medication-assisted treatment, and law enforcement.
Research shows that 40% of people who take opioids for more than 30 days become addicted. I’m proud to have successfully advocated for mandatory controlled substance prescribing education for physicians starting January 1, 2018, and mandatory checks that trigger  the Alabama Prescription Drug Monitoring Program database in order to combat doctor shopping and drug diversion.
If we do not make a positive impact now, we can expect an increase in ‘pills to needles’ abuse. Heroin addiction will continue to rise as well because the DEA links 80% of heroin addiction to prescription drug abuse. Fentanyl deaths will continue to rise. There were 247 drug overdoses in Jefferson County, Alabama alone in 2016, an increase of 12% over 2015. The trend in this public health issue is alarming and touches people of all ages, but especially people in their 30-50s, which yields a lot of ‘collateral damage’ with the number of children impacted.

Pro- Life
I oppose abortion. Life begins at conception and should be protected. I am committed to protecting the rights of unborn children except in cases of rape, incest or threat to the life of the mother.
As a mother of three daughters and a nurse, I care about the health of the unborn baby and the mother. I support women’s safety through education and funding of community health centers, so they have real choices and can avoid unwanted pregnancies.
As Attorney General I would support and defend the Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act, to prohibit abortion after 20 weeks. I will fight liberal attempts to allow abortion on demand and fight to repeal the Hyde Amendment, which bars federal funding of abortion.

Federalist – States’ Rights
As Attorney General, I will fight to protect our States’ rights, under the Tenth Amendment from federal government overreach. This includes fighting for our religious liberties that have been under constant attack from liberals and out –of- state groups. We cannot allow big government policies and the liberal agenda to supersede the laws that Alabama lawmakers have put in place and which reflect our values.
It is the responsibility of the state to enforce the Constitution to manage the federal government. While serving as Alabama’ Chief Deputy Attorney General in 2016, we fought and won an injunction against Obama’s transgender bathroom mandate that would have required Alabama schools to allow students access to restrooms and locker rooms based on their gender “identity” rather than their sex, or we would have lost federal funding. We must push back against these liberal agenda items that seek to destroy the moral fiber of our country.
“The Constitution is not an instrument for the government to restrain the people, it is an instrument for the people to restrain the government – lest it come to dominate our lives and interests”.
-Patrick Henry

Stop Human Trafficking
Fact: Human trafficking is the second most profitable illegal activity in the world and the superhighways – I-20 and I-65 – run through Alabama making it a target rich environment for this form of modern day slavery.
I have prosecuted sex trafficking cases and I know it is happening to children and adults here in Alabama. In the past 10 years, over 377 victims have been identified where the use of force, fraud or coercion to get labor or commercial sex act has occurred.
I will work with state, local and federal law enforcement officials to provide training and prosecution to combat human trafficking. I will work to form an alliance with schools and private businesses to increase awareness of the issue and to prevent and detect trafficking along our interstate highway corridors.

Chris Christie
As Attorney General, Chris will work to protect the people of Alabama. Chris defended our most vulnerable seniors when the federal government sued a hospice provider because patients weren’t dying fast enough according to a federal “expert.”
Chris will increase consumer protection and take on big corporations that take advantage of Alabamians. When insider deals ripped off Alabama state employees’ supplemental retirement funds, Chris filed a case that brought justice and full compensation to the employees in the retirement plan.
Chris will also be a leader on behalf of victims’ rights. As an attorney, he’s represented and won for victims of fraud. For example, Chris helped an elderly, indigent woman recover the money stolen by a phony contractor who she had paid to fix her roof. Likewise, Chris will stand up for the victims of payday lenders and work with the legislature to put a stop to predatory lending practices in Alabama.

Chris is committed to protecting and cultivating our next generation. Chris knows every child is an investment and he will fight to support and protect our youth, making the internet safer for children and teens by protecting them from predators.

Chess Bedsole
Republican lawyer and former criminal court judge, Chess Bedsole spent the last couple of years working with President Donald Trump and U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions, first to secure the White House and then serving as senior counsel to the incoming Department of Justice. During this time, Chess worked to rewrite Obama executive orders and implement the policies of Trump and Sessions. His focus included securing the border, taking unnecessary regulations off the backs of our military, removing barriers to the 2nd amendment freedoms of gun owners and protecting the right to life.
A former criminal court judge in North Alabama, Chess has a record of swift justice. He supported law enforcement efforts to fight drug sales and worked with local charities and churches to help victims of domestic violence. He also cut costs to taxpayers by requiring work or school of young, able-bodied, nonviolent offenders.

Chess is running for Attorney General to aggressively lower violent crime in our cities, cut illegal drug sales in the state, empower our law enforcement community with more resources and less red tape and to restore integrity to the office

Troy King

Joseph Siegelman
I'm here for the people of Alabama because I'm one of you, and my campaign is about bringing the Office of the Attorney General, and all of our government, back home to the people of this State where it belongs..

Wednesday, February 21, 2018

Can the two sides talk?

Situation of two sides not talking
The ability of the two political sides to talk to each other is declining towards zero.

The political and media spokespersons for the two sides speak only to their own sides. The spokespersons slant and misrepresent facts and characterizations as validates their side's positions. The listeners listen only to their side's facts (or purported facts) and their side's' extreme interpretations and characterizations.

The situation has deteriorated so that there is ostensibly genuine belief by many on each side that their facts (or purported facts) are true, and contradictory facts genuinely believed by many on the other side are false. There is widespread unwillingness to consider information that would establish that a fact believed to be true is in fact not true. Beliefs in contradictory facts have become unalterable in a pervasive way.

The purpose of political conversation is to address problems and formulate solutions and courses of action. Such conversation cannot proceed without agreed facts. When there are unalterable beliefs in contradictory facts, conversation stops in the face of there being no agreed facts. As a result there is widespread non-conversation between the two sides.

The spokespersons are a major contributing factor to the inability of the listeners on the two sides to converse with the other side. It is unclear the extent to which the spokespersons themselves genuinely believe in their respective contradictory facts or the extent to which the spokespersons  know they are purveying falsehoods and extreme characterizations which are not "fair and balanced".To the extent they know they are doing the latter, the spokespersons would appear to intend for the listeners on the two sides not to be able to talk to the other side.

Regardless of whether the spokespersons are knowing and intentionally culpable or they are stupid in their beliefs, the effect is the same, that is, to render their listeners unable to talk to the other side.

The inability of the two sides to talk to one another needs to be judged for its consequences.

In the absence of political conversation, problems cannot be properly addressed and formulating solutions and courses of action cannot be accomplished.

The two sides not talking to each other heightens polarization in the country and hyper partisanship in Congress, making Congress dysfunctional and unable to act.

Causes of the situation
One cause of the situation is human nature that has an affinity for the stimulation and exhilaration of conflict, participating in conflict, and identifying with one's "team" in the conflict. This needs sides in opposition to each other. This aspect of human nature gets fulfilled in the culture war and political polarization that is going on in the country, and that many in the society seem to desire.

Talking with the other side can lessen conflict. Not talking to the other side keeps conflict going. Thus there is reason the two political sides not to talk to each other.

Not all the citizens desire conflict to the same degree. The extremes desire the conflict more, and the extremes are more in control of the political activity on the two sides, and their not talking to each other is dominant.

Second, it is probably the case that the political leaders of the two sides advantage themselves personally by there being a divided, polarized electorate, and these political leaders and spokespersons foment division, including by speaking to their followers in the one sided ways described above. The more they do that, the more they are elevated and empowered by their listeners who desire conflict.

On the other hand, political leaders who want to lessen division and wish to speak moderately are sidelined.

The media spokespersons also are a contributing factor that grows out of the above affinity that human beings have for the stimulation and exhilaration of conflict. The media is at bottom a commercial enterprise that depends on audience, conflict attracts greater audience, and so the media and their spokespersons pick sides and purvey one sided messaging to their respective audiences in the way described above that keeps conflict stirred and gains audience. The owners of the media  profit from the division and polarization in the electorate, and the owners pay hundreds of thousands of dollars, even millions, to the anchors and hosts on the owners' political news shows.

Information is coming to light that other countries which are adversaries of the United States are employing "active measures" to incrase the political polarization in the United States and endeavor to manipulate the same to the advantage of such other countries.

Can anything be done?
The collective good of the country is not well served by the two sides not being able to talk to each other.

The forces of human nature, and of personal political interests and media commercial interests being promoted by political warfare, are potent impediments to altering the situation of the two sides not talking to each other.

At a minimum, the causes of the situation should be publicized, and the culpable perpetrators (the political and media spokespersons on the two sides who purvey the one sided messaging) need to be called out. They need to called out either for their stupidity if they believe what they say, or be forced to acknowledge they do not believe what they say but they say it nonetheless to further their personal interests and not for the good of the country.

All TV political talk shows, and their anchors and hosts, are not equally culpable in fomenting division and polarization. They should be judged comparatively, those shows, anchors and hosts who have more egregious practices should be harshly called out.

Also people need to think more about the "active measures' of other countries who are adversaries of the United States and are endeavoring to increase and manipulate to their advantage the political warfare in the United States. The spokespersons for the two political sides need to forge a joint recognition of the threat and harm to the country and join hands to defend against the "active measures" programs of the other countries.

Sunday, February 11, 2018

Let's talk guns

[2/14/18 Scroll down for survey that AL law enforcement is being asked to respond to]

There have been horrific shootings going on in the United States for decades.

There have been untold efforts to have conversations about more effective gun control.

According to Wikipedia information, gun homicides in the United States peaked at about 14,000 in 1993. Gun homicides declined to about 8000 in 2001, and in 2013 there were 11,208 gun homicides. Wikipedia says, "Compared to 22 other high-income nations, the U.S. gun-related murder rate is 25 times higher."

Decades of shootings have passed. There continues a regular onslaught on the TV news of more shootings, perhaps more frequently, and sobbing relatives and friends of victims. There are the especially painful killings of school children. There are also domestic violence and workplace shootings. There are scared police who go out to protect the citizens, who don't know what they may be encountering, and who shoot guilty and innocent persons as a result of hyper vigilance that the police may be shot at, and there are the police who themselves are killed in their efforts to protect the citizens.

Possibly a tide is turning, and more and more Americans are saying, please get rid of the guns. I don't want a gun, and this is too much to bear.

Possibly the conversations about gun control are getting more serious.

At the moment, there is no reason to think that the United States is going to reduce gun homicides without much stricter gun control than there is currently. Further, the prospects of increased gun control seem poor at the moment.

So, maybe more Americans want more conversation about gun control.

The reasons for guns would seem to be:
1. Defense of one's own person and property;
2. Resistance against tyrannical government;
3. Sporting pleasure; and
4. Psychological affinities and satisfactions that many Americans have from owning guns.

Let's put to the side for the moment reason number 2 of defense against a tyrannical government.

On reason number 1, defense of one's own person and property, if guns were outlawed, it is reasonable to believe that people would feel much safer and would think they don't need guns to protect their person and property. There would be much more effective policing for protecting citizens if every police call out was not suffused with fear of police being shot. Other advanced countries have increased safety of one's own person and property with gun restrictions.

Collectively, Americans need to decide whether their persons and property are safer in the current circumstances or whether they would be and would feel safer with strict gun control laws.

That leaves reasons 3 and 4. Reasons 3 could be accommodated under a regime of strict gun control laws. Reason 4 also might be accommodated.

The tide may be turning in favor of tight gun control. The tide may be so turning that an amendment to the Second Amendment could get adopted if that was needed to get sufficiently tight gun control.

Here's a proposal: Amend the Second Amendment so individual states could pass gun control restrictions as they chose, and no guns could be brought into the state that would violate the restrictions.

Those persons for whom gun ownership was a paramount source of happiness and well being could move to and congregate in states that had no gun restrictions.

Those for whom gun ownership was unimportant and who thought they would be safer where guns were restricted could move to states with tight gun controls.

Whether a state had tight gun controls or not could affect company decisions about where they wanted to be located. States with lax gun control laws could suffer economically because companies would not locate their facilities in those states in the belief that their employees preferred states with tighter gun controls.

Let that play out as it may, and let people make their choices about how important gun ownership was to them and which states they decided to live in.

That would seem to be a fair compromise.

Update 2/14/18
Survey of AL Law Enforcement re Police One March 2013 survey of what police officers think about gun control

It would be appreciated if offices and personnel in Alabama law enforcement would review the below March 2013 survey by Police One and answer the following three questions:

1. Are you aware of anything happening in the country that would lead you to think there is going to be a reduction of gun homicides to a much lower level than 8000 to 14,000 level of the past 20 years (say down to 3000 or below)?

2. If the Second Amendment was amended and individual States were permitted to ban guns, do you think States banning guns (or having extremely tight restrictions) could achieve much lower levels of gun homicides than they have had during the past 20 years?

3. Do you think law enforcement and safety would be much better in a State in which guns were banned (or which had extremely tight restrictions)?

PoliceOne's Gun Control Survey: 11 key lessons from officers' perspectives

Never before has such a comprehensive survey of law enforcement officers’ opinions on gun control, gun violence, and gun rights been conducted
Apr 8, 2013
In March, PoliceOne conducted the most comprehensive survey ever of American law enforcement officers’ opinions on the topic gripping the nation's attention in recent weeks: gun control.
More than 15,000 verified law enforcement professionals took part in the survey, which aimed to bring together the thoughts and opinions of the only professional group devoted to limiting and defeating gun violence as part of their sworn responsibility.

Totaling just shy of 30 questions, the survey allowed officers across the United States to share their perspectives on issues spanning from gun control and gun violence to gun rights.

Top Line Takeaways
Breaking down the results, it's important to note that 70 percent of respondents are field-level law enforcers — those who are face-to-face in the fight against violent crime on a daily basis — not office-bound, non-sworn administrators or perpetually-campaigning elected officials.
1.) Virtually all respondents (95 percent) say that a federal ban on manufacture and sale of ammunition magazines that hold more than 10 rounds would not reduce violent crime.

2.) The majority of respondents — 71 percent — say a federal ban on the manufacture and sale of some semi-automatics would have no effect on reducing violent crime. However, more than 20 percent say any ban would actually have a negative effect on reducing violent crime. Just over 7 percent took the opposite stance, saying they believe a ban would have a moderate to significant effect.  
3.) About 85 percent of officers say the passage of the White House’s currently proposed legislation would have a zero or negative effect on their safety, with just over 10 percent saying it would have a moderate or significantly positive effect.
4.) Seventy percent of respondents say they have a favorable or very favorable opinion of some law enforcement leaders’ public statements that they would not enforce more restrictive gun laws in their jurisdictions. Similarly, more than 61 percent said they would refuse to enforce such laws if they themselves were Chief or Sheriff.
5.) More than 28 percent of officers say having more permissive concealed carry policies for civilians would help most in preventing large scale shootings in public, followed by more aggressive institutionalization for mentally ill persons (about 19 percent) and more armed guards/paid security personnel (about 15 percent). See enlarged image
6.) The overwhelming majority (almost 90 percent) of officers believe that casualties would be decreased if armed citizens were present at the onset of an active-shooter incident.
7.) More than 80 percent of respondents support arming school teachers and administrators who willingly volunteer to train with firearms and carry one in the course of the job.
8.) More than four in five respondents (81 percent) say that gun-buyback programs are ineffective in reducing gun violence.
9.) More than half of respondents feel that increased punishment for obviously illegal gun sales could have a positive impact on reducing gun violence.
10.) When asked whether citizens should be required to complete a safety training class before being allowed to buy a gun, about 43 percent of officers say it should not be required. About 42 percent say it should be required for all weapons, with the remainder favoring training classes for certain weapons. 
11.) While some officers say gun violence in the United States stems from violent movies and video games (14 percent), early release and short sentencing for violent offenders (14 percent) and poor identification/treatments of mentally-ill individuals (10 percent), the majority (38 percent) blame a decline in parenting and family values.
Bottom Line Conclusions
Quite clearly, the majority of officers polled oppose the theories brought forth by gun-control advocates who claim that proposed restrictions on weapon capabilities and production would reduce crime.
In fact, many officers responding to this survey seem to feel that those controls will negatively affect their ability to fight violent criminals.
Contrary to what the mainstream media and certain politicians would have us believe, police overwhelmingly favor an armed citizenry, would like to see more guns in the hands of responsible people, and are skeptical of any greater restrictions placed on gun purchase, ownership, or accessibility.
The officers patrolling America’s streets have a deeply-vested interest — and perhaps the most relevant interest — in making sure that decisions related to controlling, monitoring, restricting, as well as supporting and/or prohibiting an armed populace are wise and effective. With this survey, their voice has been heard.

About the author
Doug Wyllie is senior contributor for PoliceOne, providing police training content on a wide range of topics and trends affecting the law enforcement community.Doug hosts the PoliceOne's Policing Matters podcast, and is the host for PoliceOne Video interviews.Doug is the 2014 Western Publishing Association “Maggie Award” winner for Best Regularly Featured Digital Edition Column, and has authored more than 1,000 articles and tactical tips. Doug is a member of International Law Enforcement Educators and Trainers Association (ILEETA), an Associate Member of the California Peace Officers’ Association (CPOA), and a member of the Public Safety Writers Association (PSWA).Contact Doug at doug.wyllie@policeone.com.

Contacting Police Departments

I live in Mountain Brook. Per the below email, I have requested the Mountain Brook Police Department to hold a citizen seminar about what police think is needed to reduce gun violence. Others in Alabama should make similar requests to their police departments.

From: Rob Shattuck <rdshattuck@gmail.com>
Date: Thu, Feb 15, 2018 at 7:55 AM
Subject: Request for citizen seminar re reducing gun violence
To: policedept@mtnbrook.org
Cc: barlowd@mtnbrook.k12.al.us, hooda@mtnbrook.k12.al.us, claytond@mtnbrook.k12.al.us, chamber@mtnbrookchamber.org
Dear Sir,
I am a Mountain Brook resident.
I would like to request that the Police Department hold a citizen seminar in which the Police Department discusses its views about what the Department thinks is necessary for the country to reduce its gun violence.
I am aware of a 2013 Police One survey of what police think about what will reduce gun violence, and a seminar might take that survey as a starting point.
I have incorporated the Police One survey at the following blog link of mine: http://al6thcongdist-ihaveuntiljan13.blogspot.com/2018/02/lets-talk-guns.html.
Please let me know whether the Police Department will schedule a seminar as I have requested.
Thank you.
Rob Shattuck

Sunday, January 28, 2018

Joint town hall script

This lays out a script for a joint town hall of Rep. Gary Palmer and Rep. Terri Sewell, which script concerns the immigration issue.

The motivation of the script is to create conversational engagement of Rep. Palmer and Rep. Sewell in a way that overcomes barriers to their talking about and agreeing on a compromise between the extremes of stopping all immigration and having "open borders."  The script involves saying things that are usually not said, in order to achieve clarity that the immigration impasse is not what is wanted by the large majority of the citizens. With such clarity, the will of the large majority of the people to have something in the middle may prevail.

On the matter of immigration, below is a suggested list of things that Rep. Palmer and Rep. Sewell need to say, including things which are usually not said.

1. Demographic trends are such that whites will cease to be a majority in the country, probably within the next 25 to 35 years. There are whites for whom this is a very bothersome thought.

2. Different people have different preferences, including the degrees to which they will choose to associate with persons of the same religion, race, ethnicity, and/or social and economic class.

3. There are some people who adamantly want to stop all immigration, and there are other people who adamantly want "open borders."

4. Of the people who are "adamant" there needs to be separated out the politicians who are "adamant" for the strictly political reasons to get votes (or prevent the opponent from getting votes), be in elected office, and gain the power of elected office. In the immigration context, there are potentially votes to be gotten from the Hispanic community by favoring increased immigration and paths to citizenship and the creation of new voters.

5. Putting aside the politicians, the people who adamantly want to stop all immigration are expressing that they have a high degree of preference to be with and associate with persons of the same religion, race, ethnicity, and/or social and economic class. Put in other terms, some people desire to delay the time when whites will cease to be a majority in the United States, and stopping all immigration can help with that.

6. Putting aside the politicians, the motivation of those who adamantly want open borders is an expression of strong "one world" beliefs that the world will be a better place if there are open borders.

7. With all the things affecting people's lives and their goals and desires, a large majority of people, in thinking about immigration and thinking about all the other things important to them, likely think they are not very adamant one way or the other on immigration and can fairly tolerate almost any compromise in the middle between stopping all immigration and having open borders. The problem for this large majority of the people is that the politicians and the small minority of the people who are adamant on the two sides have control of the politics and the political decision making. The politicians and the "adamant" people foment much "sturm and drang" about immigration, create Congressional impasse, and prevent the large majority of the people from getting a compromise that they prefer to the impasse that currently exists on immigration.  The small minority who are adamant, plus the politicians and the news media, should not be allowed to prevent compromise from happening.

8. The large majority understand there are possible consequences and trade offs in how immigration (including illegal immigration) is worked out. The large majority understand that immigrants (including illegal immigrants) may be a source of cheap labor and make some goods and services cheaper, may take away jobs from other citizens, may provide skill benefits for the American economy and also impose burdens, and may commit crimes. The large majority do not believe the possible consequences and trade offs justify Congressional impasse and inability to reach a comprehensive immigration reform law.

9. The large majority of the people need "politicians" to lead them who are not the above "politicians" on the two sides who use immigration for their own political purposes and who foment sturm and drang for their respective political advantages. The large majority need to reject such politicians and have a way to show they reject such politicians.

For those in the 6th and 7th Congressional districts, the foregoing should be sought to be done by  getting Rep. Gary Palmer and Rep. Terri Sewell to hold a joint town hall in which they are called on to affirm, or not affirm, the matters listed above about immigration, and Rep. Palmer and Rep. Sewell need to declare themselves either (i) that they use immigration for political purposes and they are for the "sturm and drang" that fulfills what the small minority of people want, or (ii) that they eschew using immigration to get votes from the extreme elements, they oppose "sturm and drang" on immigration, and they will get to compromise as is desired by the large majority, which compromise they will jointly recommend to the large majority.

Thursday, January 25, 2018

Larry Nassar and AAG election

The Larry Nassar case prompts important questions for the candidates for Alabama Attorney General to answer.

I. General
The questions are in the context of the mechanisms that society has to try to  to protect its members from wrongdoings of others in the society.

The mechanisms include the law for punishing the wrongdoer with incarceration and monetary fines and also making the wrongdoer liable to the victim for loss caused. Such punishments and liabilities provide justice that, if there is a loss to the victim, the wrongdoer should pay for it, and also retributive justice. The punishments and liabilities further serve a deterrence purpose to deter future wrongdoing by others. Outside of the law, society uses religious and moral instruction and social condemnation and shaming of wrongdoing to prevent wrongdoing from happening and to fulfill retribution.

The Alabama Attorney General has an important role in shaping and implementing the societal mechanisms aimed against wrongdoing.

There are differing ideas about what is "just" in particular cases and will work best for deterrence purposes.

It is appropriate for candidates for Alabama Attorney General to spell out their views for consideration by the voters.

Several aspects of the mechanisms aimed against wrongdoing are especially deserving of comment by the candidates and educating voters. These include that:

1. There are degrees of intentional, negligent and "innocent" wrongdoing.

2. Some harms are susceptible of objective monetary quantification; other harms are not.

3. There are varying degrees of societal/moral outrage as to particular cases of wrongdoing and these affect the quantum of punishments and liabilities that get imposed on the wrongdoer under the law.

4. Sometimes the wrongdoer receives a benefit from the wrongdoing; sometimes not. Sometimes the victim has been a contributing factor in the harm received by the victim.

5. Where corporate wrongdoing is involved, there are officers and employees who plan and implement the wrongful corporate acts, and also there are stockholders and other officers and employees who don't know about and are not involved in the wrongful corporate acts. Fines and liabilities imposed on corporations are ultimately borne by stockholders, employees and customers in the form of reduced dividends, reduced wages and/or increased prices.

5. Citizens may be victims and also may be on the "wrongdoer" side, and citizens have an interest that the mechanisms have a "fair and balanced" structure.

6. Wrongdoing may also get punished by social condemnation, shaming, and job termination, which happen outside the law.

7. The concept of deterrence calls for consideration of how the threat of fines and liabilities will deter the doing of wrongful acts, and particularly whether corporate officers and employees who plan and carry out corporate wrongful acts will be deterred by fines and liabilities imposed on the corporation that are not borne at all by such officers and employees.

Putting all the foregoing together is complicated.

II. Basic questions
While it is complicated, there are some basic questions that can be posed, and the Larry Nassar case is an excellent example for using to pose the questions.

Nassar is an intentional wrongdoer. He received benefits from his wrongdoing The harms to his victims are not susceptible of objective monetary quantification. Nassar's wrongdoing has provoked a very high level of societal/moral outrage. Nassar has been criminally prosecuted. The societal/moral outrage has been reflected in Nassar's sentencing punishment. Nassar's victims may bring a civil lawsuit against him to get monetary damages for the harms Nassar did to them. Nassar may have very little in the way of personal assets to pay his victims, and a civil lawsuit against Nassar for monetary damages may not be worthwhile.

Beyond Nassar, the gymnastics association and its officers, Michigan State University and its officials, and independent coaching programs and facilities are being looked at for applying society's mechanism for protecting its citizens from wrongdoing.

The high level of societal/moral outrage is resulting in significant "punishments" being received. Officers of the gymnastics association have resigned, and the President of MSU has resigned. This has not been pursuant to criminal or civil actions brought against them, but as a result of the extremely high level of social/moral outrage at Nassar's wrongdoing. How much knowledge and culpability these persons actually had has not been subjected to the rigors of judicial application of the law, and may never get subjected to that. While there may not be judicial application of the law, MSU has its own internal administrative processes and standards for investigating and passing judgment about knowledge and culpability.

Ultimately one or more of the persons who have resigned may have a great deal of "innocence" and be collateral victims of Nassar's intentional wrongdoing.

Civil lawsuits seeking large monetary damages against the officers of the association and University may or may not happen. Likely those officers don't have assets that would much satisfy large monetary damages the victims would seek.

To satisfy a large monetary liability, MSU is a good candidate for a civil lawsuit. The gymnastics association may have a sizable bank account, or may not.

Financial benefits that MSU received from Nassar are appropriate for consideration of what fines and liabilities should be imposed on MSU. Liabilities and fines in excess of the financial benefits received by MSU are legitimately viewed as being imposed on "innocent" parties, such as students, faculty and funders of MSU.

Here are three significant questions for candidates for Alabama Attorney General:

1. Should an Attorney General advocate that punishments be pursuant to law and should an Attorney General endeavor to damp down societal/moral outrage because unfair punishments may result outside the law?

2. Should an Attorney General advocate for the law to have legal standards for culpability for officials, officers and employees in situations where there is wrongdoing by a corporation or other entity such as MSU and the gymnastics organization, and advocate the bringing of legal cases as appropriate against those persons, with attendant punishments of them such as fines?

3. Should an Attorney General advocate that a prerequisite for holding a corporation or other entity liable for wrongdoing be that officers and employees who planned and carried out the wrongful corporate acts be held individually liable under the law for their participation in the wrongful corporate acts, with the caveat that such prerequisite should not apply to the extent the entity received benefits from the wrongdoing and that benefit passed through to the parties who will bear the burden of the liability?  This is on the theory that deterrence is mainly effective when punishments are imposed on the individuals who intentionally (or negligently) participated in the wrongful corporate acts.

Saturday, January 13, 2018

"Fixing" Alabama legislature

My focus is on "fixing" Congress.

I don't follow the Alabama legislature.

I don't what people's views are about whether the Alabama legislature needs "fixing," or, if so, what should be done to fix it.

The Alabama House of Representatives has passed a bill calling for an Article V convention of states for proposing a constitutional amendment to impose term limits on Congress. This evidences that the Alabama House thinks Congress needs "fixing."

Does the Alabama House think anything needs fixing about itself?

It seems appropriate to inquire of incumbents and candidates running for the Alabama House and the Alabama Senate this year what they think about whether Alabama legislature needs "fixing."