Thursday, December 3, 2015

San Bernardino shooting renews calls for gun control, and the issue of global warming breaks down on political lines

 * ... SAN BERNARDINO: The horrific shootings in San Bernardino have triggered renewed calls for gun control, but the practical reality is something entirely different. There are approximately 300 million handguns, rifles and shotguns in private homes throughout the country, and our desire for personal
protection seems to know no bounds. Did you know that 37 percent of Americans own at least one weapon? And frankly, that statistic seems low to me. On Black Friday, for example, the government reported a record 185,000 background checks were conducted on firearm sales. And with the rise of domestic and Islamic terrorism on U.S. soil, you can bet that trend will continue.

 * ... CLIMATE CHANGE: This should come as no surprise but the extent to which people believe in climate change breaks down along political lines. According to a recent poll of by the Public Policy Institute of California, "while 79 percent of California Democrats say global climate change is a very serious problem, fewer independents (55 percent) share this view and just 21 percent of Republicans agree. Indeed, 35 percent of Republicans say global climate change is not a problem. At least half of residents across regions say global climate change is a very serious problem. Across racial/ethnic groups, blacks (71 percent), Asians (66 percent), and Latinos (63 percent) are more likely than whites (51 percent) to say so."

 * ... GUARDIAN SERIES: If you haven't read the series by the London newspaper The Guardian on officer-involved shootings, you should. It found, among other things, that Kern County leads the nation in fatal officer-involved shootings on a per capita basis. Other counties in the top 10 - San Bernardino, Riverside, Clark County, Nevada and Oklahoma County - share a lot in common with Kern: high crime rates, rampant methamphetamine use, poverty and high unemployment. Does that excuse law enforcement in the use of excessive force? Certainly not, but it does point out that our street officers often patrol in bad neighborhoods where bad things happen. The Guardian series is rolling out over the next month, and is recommended reading.

 * ... SPOTTED ON TWITTER: "What if dogs bring the ball back because they think you enjoy throwing it?"

 * ... BAD FORM: Shame on whoever unceremoniously dumped a filthy mattress in a downtown alley the other day. The city offers bulk items pick up, and the dump is a short drive away, but some folks prefer to let someone else deal with their mess.

 * ... FIRST FRIDAY: The December First Friday has a lot in store for tonight, including several new art exhibits. Over at Metro Galleries, artist Alberto Herrera has a new show of 48 paintings. Herrera is know for his colorful almost Picasso like paintings. At the  Ice House Framing and Gifts, Aliza McCracken will be signing her new book or inspirational art and poetry. The 19th and Eye ArtWalk continues to grow each month, this time over 50 local artists will be showing their works. It all happens in the downtown Arts District from 5 p.m. to 9 p.m.

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