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A not so cheerful report

A List Of 33 Things We Know About The Coming Food Shortages
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BY TYLER DURDEN
SATURDAY, SEP 10, 2022 – 07:30 AM

Authored by Michael Snyder via The Economic Collapse blog,

Things are far worse than you are being told.  Over the past few months, I have been carefully documenting facts that show that global food production is going to be way down in 2022.  Unfortunately, most people out there don’t seem to understand that the food that isn’t being grown in 2022 won’t be on our store shelves in 2023.  We are potentially facing an absolutely unprecedented worldwide food crisis next year, but the vast majority of the population doesn’t seem very alarmed about this.  So I would encourage you to help me get this warning out by sharing this list with as many people as you possibly can.  As you will see below, we now have so many data points that it is impossible to deny what is coming. 

The following is a list of 33 things we know about the coming food shortages…

#1 The hard red winter wheat crop in the United States this year “was the smallest since 1963”.  But in 1963, there were only 182 million people living in this nation.  Today, our population has grown to 329 million.

#2 It is being projected that the rice harvest in California will be “half what it would be in a normal year”.

#3 The U.S. tomato harvest will come in at just 10.5 million tons in 2022.  That is over a million tons lower than a normal year.

#4 This will be the worst U.S. corn harvest in at least a decade.

#5 Year-to-date shipments of carrots in the United States are down 45 percent.

#6 Year-to-date shipments of sweet corn in the United States are down 20 percent.

#7 Year-to-date shipments of sweet potatoes in the United States are down 13 percent.

#8 Year-to-date shipments of celery in the United States are down 11 percent.

#9 Total peach production in the U.S. is down 15 percent from last year.

#10 Almost three-fourths of all U.S. farmers say that this year’s drought is hurting their harvests.

#11 Thanks to the endless drought, the total number of cattle in Oregon is down 41 percent.

#12 Thanks to the endless drought, the total number of cattle in New Mexico is down 43 percent.

#13 Thanks to the endless drought, the total number of cattle in Texas is down 50 percent.

#14 One beef producer in Oklahoma is now predicting that ground beef “could eventually top $50 per pound”.

#15 At least 40 percent of the United States has been suffering from drought conditions for 101  consecutive weeks.

#16 Overall, this is the worst multi-year megadrought in the United States in 1,200 years.

#17 Europe is currently experiencing the worst drought that it has seen in 500 years.  In some parts of central Europe, river levels have fallen so low that “hunger stones” are being revealed for the first time in centuries.

#18 Corn production for the entire EU could be down by as much as one-fifth in 2022.

#19 We are being warned that there will be crop losses in France of up to 35 percent.

#20 It is being projected that crop losses in some areas of the UK could be as high as 50 percent.

#21 It is being reported that there will be crop losses “of up to 50 percent” in some parts of Germany.

#22 Some farmers in Italy have already lost “up to 80% of their harvest”.

#23 Agricultural production in Somalia will be down about 80 percent this year.

#24 In eastern Africa, the endless drought has already resulted in the deaths of at least seven million animals.

#25 In China, they are facing the worst drought that they have ever experienced in recorded history.

#26 India normally accounts for 40 percent of the global rice trade, but we are being warned that production in that country will be way down in 2022 due to “considerable rainfall deficits in key rice producing states”.

#27 A third of the entire nation of Pakistan was under water after recent floods absolutely devastated that nation, and agricultural areas were hit particularly hard.  As a result, the vast majority of the crops in the country have been “washed away”

It has also been estimated that roughly 65 per cent of the country’s food basket — particularly crops like rice, cotton, wheat and onion — have been washed away.

Pakistan Foreign Minister Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari, in an interview to CGTN earlier this week, offered an even starker outlook by saying that “about 80 to 90 per cent” of the country’s crops have been damaged by the floods.

#28 The prices of some fertilizers have tripled since 2021, while the prices of some other fertilizers have actually quadrupled.

#29 One payment company is reporting that the number of Americans using their app to take out short-term loans for groceries has risen by 95 percent.

#30 Demand at U.S. food banks is now even worse than it was during the height of the COVID pandemic.

#31 The World Health Organization is telling us that millions of people in Africa are now potentially facing a very real possibility of starving to death.

#32 According to the World Food Program, 828 million people around the world go to bed hungry each night.  Needless to say, that number will soon be much higher.

#33 UN Secretary General António Guterres has publicly stated that he believes that it is likely that there will be “multiple famines” in 2023.

As global food supplies get tighter and tighter, so will the risk of civil unrest.

In fact, this has already been happening

The risk of civil unrest has surged this year in more than half of the world’s countries, signaling a coming period of heightened global instability fueled by inflation, war, and shortages of essentials, a new analysis says.

According to Verisk Maplecroft, a UK-based risk consulting and intelligence firm, 101 of the 198 countries tracked on its Civil Unrest Index saw an increase in their risk of civil unrest between the second and third quarters of this year.

In recent weeks, we have seen absolutely massive protests in cities all over the planet.

But conditions aren’t even that bad yet.

So what will things be like in 2023 when it finally becomes exceedingly clear that there simply will not be enough food for everyone?

Wealthy countries will have the resources to buy up much of what is available on the market, and that means that many poor countries will deeply suffer.

If everything that you have read in this article sounds familiar, that is because we have been warned for years that such conditions were coming.

In 2023, there will be famines and civil unrest all over the globe.

This is not a drill.  An extremely serious global food crisis has already begun, and I would encourage you to get prepared for what is ahead while you still can.

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All About Guns Cops Grumpy's hall of Shame Some Scary thoughts

Weaponizing the Bureaucracy: Who Will Protect Us from the Government’s Standing Army? BY JOHN WHITEHEAD

Bullets ammunition ordinance

“A standing military force, with an overgrown Executive will not long be safe companions to liberty.”
-James Madison

 

The IRS has stockpiled 4,500 guns and five million rounds of ammunition in recent years, including 621 shotguns, 539 long-barrel rifles, and 15 submachine guns.

The Veterans Administration (VA) purchased 11 million rounds of ammunition (equivalent to 2,800 rounds for each of their officers), along with camouflage uniforms, riot helmets and shields, specialized image enhancement devices, and tactical lighting.

The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) acquired 4 million rounds of ammunition, in addition to 1,300 guns, including five submachine guns and 189 automatic firearms, for its Office of Inspector General.

According to an in-depth report on “The Militarization of the U.S. Executive Agencies,” the Social Security Administration secured 800,000 rounds of ammunition for their special agents, as well as armor and guns.

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) owns 600 guns. And the Smithsonian now employs 620-armed “special agents.”

This is how it begins.

We have what the founders feared most: a “standing” or permanent army on American soil.

This de facto standing army is made up of weaponized, militarized, civilian forces which look like, dress like, and act like the military; are armed with guns, ammunition, and military-style equipment; are authorized to make arrests; and are trained in military tactics.

Mind you, this de facto standing army of bureaucratic, administrative, non-military, paper-pushing, non-traditional law enforcement agencies may look and act like the military, but they are not the military.

Rather, they are foot soldiers of the police state’s standing army, and they are growing in number at an alarming rate.

According to the Wall Street Journal, the number of federal agents armed with guns, ammunition, and military-style equipment, authorized to make arrests, and trained in military tactics has nearly tripled over the past several decades.

There are now more bureaucratic (non-military) government agents armed with weapons than U.S. Marines. As Adam Andrzejewski writes for Forbes, “the federal government has become one never-ending gun show.”

While Americans have to jump through an increasing number of hoops in order to own a gun, federal agencies have been placing orders for hundreds of millions of rounds of hollow point bullets and military gear. Among the agencies being supplied with night-vision equipment, body armor, hollow-point bullets, shotguns, drones, assault rifles, and LP gas cannons are the Smithsonian, U.S. Mint, Health and Human Services, IRS, FDA, Small Business Administration, Social Security Administration, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, Education Department, Energy Department, Bureau of Engraving and Printing and an assortment of public universities.

Add in the Biden Administration’s plans to grow the nation’s police forces by 100,000 more cops and swell the ranks of the IRS by 87,000 new employees (some of whom will have arrest-and-firearm authority), and you’ve got a nation in the throes of martial law.

The militarization of America’s police forces in recent decades has merely sped up the timeline by which the nation is transformed into an authoritarian regime.

What began with the militarization of the police in the 1980s during the government’s war on drugs has snowballed into a full-fledged integration of military weaponry, technology, and tactics into police protocol. To our detriment, local police—clad in jackboots, helmets, and shields and wielding batons, pepper spray, stun guns, and assault rifles—have increasingly come to resemble occupying forces in our communities.

As Andrew Becker and G.W. Schulz report, more than $34 billion in federal government grants made available to local police agencies in the wake of 9/11 “ha[ve] fueled a rapid, broad transformation of police operations… across the country. More than ever before, police rely on quasi-military tactics and equipment… [P]olice departments around the U.S. have transformed into small army-like forces.”

This standing army has been imposed on the American people in clear violation of the spirit—if not the letter of the law—of the Posse Comitatus Act, which restricts the government’s ability to use the U.S. military as a police force.

A standing army—something that propelled the early colonists into revolution—strips the American people of any vestige of freedom.

It was for this reason that those who established America vested control of the military in a civilian government with a civilian commander-in-chief. They did not want a military government ruled by force.

Rather, they opted for a republic bound by the rule of law: the U.S. Constitution.

Unfortunately, with the Constitution under constant attack, the military’s power, influence, and authority have grown dramatically. Even the Posse Comitatus Act, which makes it a crime for the government to use the military to carry out arrests, searches, seizure of evidence, and other activities normally handled by a civilian police force, has been greatly weakened by exemptions allowing troops to deploy domestically and arrest civilians in the wake of alleged terrorist acts.

The increasing militarization of the police, the use of sophisticated weaponry against Americans, and the government’s increasing tendency to employ military personnel domestically have all but eviscerated historic prohibitions such as the Posse Comitatus Act.

Indeed, there are a growing number of exceptions to which Posse Comitatus does not apply. These exceptions serve to further acclimate the nation to the sight and sounds of military personnel on American soil and the imposition of martial law.

Now we find ourselves struggling to retain some semblance of freedom in the face of administrative, police, and law enforcement agencies that look and act like the military with little to no regard for the Fourth Amendment, laws such as the NDAA that allow the military to arrest and indefinitely detain American citizens, and military drills that acclimate the American people to the sight of armored tanks in the streets, military encampments in cities, and combat aircraft patrolling overhead.

The menace of a national police force—a.k.a. a standing army—vested with the power to completely disregard the Constitution cannot be overstated, nor can its danger be ignored.

Historically, the establishment of a national police force accelerates a nation’s transformation into a police state, serving as the fundamental and final building block for every totalitarian regime that has ever wreaked havoc on humanity.

Then again, for all intents and perhaps, the American police state is already governed by martial law: Battlefield tactics. Militarized police. Riot and camouflage gear. Armored vehicles. Mass arrests. Pepper spray. Tear gas. Batons. Strip searches. Drones. Less-than-lethal weapons unleashed with deadly force. Rubber bullets. Water cannons. Concussion grenades. Intimidation tactics. Brute force. Laws conveniently discarded when it suits the government’s purpose.

This is what martial law looks like, when a government disregards constitutional freedoms and imposes its will through military force, only this is martial law without any government body having to declare it.

The ease with which Americans are prepared to welcome boots on the ground, regional lockdowns, routine invasions of their privacy, and the dismantling of every constitutional right intended to serve as a bulwark against government abuses is beyond unnerving.

We are sliding fast down a slippery slope to a Constitution-free America.

This quasi-state of martial law has been helped along by government policies and court rulings that have made it easier for the police to shoot unarmed citizens, for law enforcement agencies to seize cash and other valuable private property under the guise of asset forfeiture, for military weapons and tactics to be deployed on American soil, for government agencies to carry out round-the-clock surveillance, for legislatures to render otherwise lawful activities as extremist if they appear to be anti-government, for profit-driven private prisons to lock up greater numbers of Americans, for homes to be raided and searched under the pretext of national security, for American citizens to be labeled terrorists and stripped of their rights merely on the say-so of a government bureaucrat, and for pre-crime tactics to be adopted nationwide that strip Americans of the right to be assumed innocent until proven guilty and creates a suspect society in which we are all guilty until proven otherwise.

All of these assaults on the constitutional framework of the nation have been sold to the public as necessary for national security.

Time and again, the public has fallen for the ploy hook, line, and sinker

We’re being reeled in, folks, and you know what happens when we get to the end of that line?

As I make clear in my book Battlefield America: The War on the American People and in its fictional counterpart The Erik Blair Diaries, we’ll be cleaned, gutted, and strung up.

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All About Guns Some Scary thoughts

The Remote Control Assassination of Mohsen Fakhrizadeh: Beware the Killer Robots by WILL DABBS

This big teddy bear of a guy was actually Iran’s chief nuclear bomb maker.

Mohsen Fakhrizadeh was an Iranian scientist born in 1958 in Qom, Iran. After the Iranian Revolution in 1979, he joined the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC). In 1987 he earned his BS in nuclear physics from Shahid Beheshti University in Tehran. Literally translated Shahid Beheshti supposedly means “Martyr Paradise.” I would find it a bit unsettling to attend “Martyr Paradise University” myself. If nothing else I doubt it was much of a party school. He later earned a Ph.D. in nuclear radiation and cosmic rays.

The Iranians seem absolutely rabid to join the nuclear club. Given their unfettered institutional antipathy toward Israel, the Israelis find this prospect justifiably unsettling.

Fakhrizadeh technically taught physics at the Imam Hossein University. However, in 2007 the CIA announced that this was simply a cover story. Apparently, Mohsen Fakhrizadeh was actually scrambling madly to build a nuclear bomb.

Mohsen Fakhrizadeh was the public face of the Iranian nuclear program.

The AMAD Project ran from 1989 until 2003 and was suspected of being the cover for an Iranian nuclear weapon program. The Iranian government denied its existence, but keep in mind that these are some sneaky rascals. Fakhrizadeh subsequently founded the Organization of Defensive Innovation and Research (SPND). I have no idea how they got that acronym out of that name. I don’t read Farsi. Fakhrizadeh was SPND’s director from 2008 until 2011.

One can only speculate as to how fascinating this technical conference might have been.

Fakhrizadeh also chaired FEDAT, the Field for the Expansion of Development of Advanced Technology. That acronym I can understand. I’m pleased to see that the creation of bizarre acronyms is not solely an American disease. While the Iranian government has claimed throughout that their nuclear program is entirely peaceful, apparently somebody else felt otherwise. This all came to a head one fateful day in November of 2020.

The Attack

This is Qasem Soleimani. Perhaps it’s just me, but I think this guy looks like the Devil.

Fakhrizadeh was a strategic national asset for Iran, and everybody involved knew that there were forces at play in both the US and Israel who felt that the world might be better off without him. Donald Trump came to a similar conclusion about Qasem Soleimani and blew him straight to hell. Soleimani was known locally as “The Shadow Commander” due to his propensity to skulk about killing people, equipping terrorists, and generally fomenting chaos. Good riddance.

This part of the Middle East is literally forever at war. Truly, it never ever stops.

In the year leading up to November 20, 2020, tensions escalated between Iran and the US as well as Iran and Israel. There were rumors of a pending assassination attempt, but these reports got lost in the mind-boggling clutter that is intelligence gathering in the Information Age. There has been some fairly impressive retrospective self-flagellation in Iran as a result.

The Fakhrizadeh hit was undeniably elegant in its execution. Somebody really outdid themselves on this one.

Fakhrizadeh’s security team begged him not to travel. However, he had an important meeting and claimed he also needed to lecture his students. He was traveling on a rural road in his Nissan Teana near Absard between Tehran and his weekend villa. His Nissan was part of a three-vehicle convoy. He had eleven trained security operatives in tow and sat alongside his wife. Along a deserted stretch of road, the little convoy approached a Nissan truck parked on the shoulder. During a subsequent debriefing, the security forces claimed it looked like the pickup truck was carrying a load of wood.

Ewww…gross.

The attack lasted less than three minutes. Fakhrizadeh was shot a total of thirteen times from a range of 150 yards. His chief security officer purportedly threw himself on top of the Iranian scientist and caught four rounds for his trouble. Fakhrizadeh’s wife was sitting some ten inches away and was unharmed. Apparently, Fakhrizadeh was hit, climbed out of the car, and was then cut to pieces. The gun clearly tracked him as he moved. Once the attack was complete the Nissan pickup truck simply exploded.

The intrinsic precision of the Fakhrizadeh attack was just incredible.

In the immediate aftermath, the Iranian government spun an elaborate yarn about multiple attackers and a suicide bomb. They claimed that three bodyguards died while either three or four of the attackers were killed. They even dredged up a few witnesses who corroborated part of the story, claiming that the suicide bomber lingered on for a bit after the blast before succumbing to his injuries. Apparently, all of that was made up.

The Fakhrizadeh killing proved that it’s a brave new world out there.

The Fars News Agency later reported that Fakhrizadeh had actually been killed by some kind of killer robot. They stated that a remotely-controlled machinegun linked to Israel by satellite and utilizing both Artificial Intelligence and facial recognition had identified Fakhrizadeh and gunned him down. A subsequent article in The Jewish Chronicle quoted unnamed intelligence sources claiming that the attack was indeed the work of the Israeli Mossad using a remote-controlled automatic weapon. Holy crap.

The Fakhrizadeh assassination reflected a remarkable degree of sophistication.

The article went on to state that the entire system weighed about a ton and was smuggled into Iran in small components before being assembled and deployed. They asserted that it was Fakhrizadeh’s predictability in going to his villa every Friday that ultimately killed him. The operation purportedly involved some twenty individuals between Mossad operators and disaffected Iranian resistance fighters. The Chronicle article claimed that there were actually operatives onsite but that the explosive destruction of the gun was adequate to cover their escape. We’ll likely never really know the details.

The Iranians claimed that their favorite nuclear bomb scientist also developed their own home-grown COVID vaccine. While that is some sweet sentiment, I remain skeptical. Conjuring life-saving vaccines and building atomic weapons require some very different skillsets.

After his untimely death, the Iranians even announced that this Ph.D. physicist with a specialty in nuclear radiation and cosmic rays was actually the primary force behind the Iranian COVID-19 test and vaccine. Iran’s Defense Minister Amir Hatami went so far as to say that Fakhrizadeh had made “great strides in the field of developing COVID-19 vaccine.” He added that the center led by Fakhrizadeh went through the first phase of clinical human trials in the field of developing corona vaccine and “did great things for our dear people.” I struggle to believe that, however. The Iranian government lies a lot.

Modern life is complicated. Getting really good at something requires some degree of specialization.

I’m no scientist myself, but in my experience, nuclear physicists do not develop vaccines. Those are two very different disciplines. It would be like having an auto mechanic regulate your cardiac medications or your plumber cook your meals. Once again, consider the source.

The Weapon

I thought The Jackal was a simply epic movie. If you haven’t seen it give it a watch. You’ll thank me later.

The 1997 thriller The Jackal starred Bruce Willis, Richard Gere, and Jack Black and orbited around a shadowy international assassin who used a remote-controlled machinegun to try to take out a high-value target. This was one of Jack Black’s first major roles. Though the critics were not kind to the film, I thought it was awesome. At the time it seemed fairly far-fetched. Nowadays it appears technology has caught up with the filmmaker’s vision.

The CROWS is a tactical game-changer. This nifty trinket allows the US warfighter to run his primary weapon system from under cover. However, it is no great technological leap to let Snuffy run that same gun from the comfort of his living room.

The CROWS (Common Remotely Operated Weapon System) is a fixture on US military vehicles operating downrange today. The CROWS will host a variety of automatic weapons and allows the operator to deliver effective fires while under armor. Whether it is an Mk19 automatic grenade launcher, an M240 GPMG, or a Ma Deuce .50-caliber machinegun, the CROWS allows more accurate fire while keeping the friendly operator safe.

The Talon from Paradigm SRP is a drop-in remotely-operated precision weapon mount.

The Talon gyrostabilized weapon mount from Paradigm SRP takes things one step farther. The Talon compensates for movement to provide a stable and accurate firing platform even from a maneuvering vehicle. The mount accepts a variety of conventional rifles and machineguns and has an effective range in excess of 700 meters. The Talon was originally designed to operate off of helicopters, though it is comparably at home on ground or maritime mounts as well.

The assassination of Mohsen Fakhrizadeh may seem a small thing in a geopolitical sense. It isn’t. This remote killing signals a sea change in covert direct action operations. The mind boggles as to where this technology could take us.

As soon as mounts like the Talon could be operated wirelessly they could be managed from anywhere in the world. A system like the Talon could be placed in an ambush position and left for a protracted period of time before a target or vehicle came within range. Solar cells could even free you from battery constraints. Powerful long-distance cameras allow the host weapon to be accurately and precisely targeted.

I’m fairly certain this improvised killer robot began life as some little kid’s Power Wheels ride-on toy.

Remotely operated weapons are actually becoming more and more common in the internecine conflicts that seem to define the Middle East and elsewhere. I couldn’t find any specific references to the weapon system used in the Fakhrizadeh hit beyond that it might have been built around a modified FN MAG gun. However, I did find images of a wide variety of improvised remote-controlled gun stations.

Behold, the tasteless DIY skateboard of death.
You need not have particularly mad tech skills to improvise one of these things out of stuff you can order off of Amazon.
A disposable gun, a little scrap steel, a cellular camera, and some servos are really all you need to build your own killer robot at home.
Teleoperated weapon systems are the wave of the future in the exploding field of remote control assassination. It’s clearly a growth industry.

The current term is “teleoperated weapon systems,” and they are rapidly becoming commonplace. Several companies make commercial versions like the Paradigm SRP Talon and Smart-Shooter Smash Hopper. However, the most impressive to me are the homebuilt improvised DIY versions. The ready availability of inexpensive servos, immensely capable high-resolution cameras, and widespread cell coverage make improvising these things ever easier. Anyone with an Internet connection and a credit card can track down the components.

Wow. Just wow. What a waste.

I found references to improvised mounts using SVD Dragunov sniper rifles, FN FALs, PKM light machineguns, MG74 LMGs, and AKM rifles. All that is required is to construct a gimbaling mount, equip it with a remotely accessible video camera, and rig a solenoid to the trigger assembly. Surplus rifles can be used to build these things up on the cheap. The most compelling example I found came out of Syria and was built around a WW2-era MP44 assault rifle.

The WW2-vintage German MP44 is the gift that keeps on giving. Apparently, folks are still killing each other with these things even today in Syria.

Syrian rebels purportedly captured around 5,000 of these vintage weapons from Syrian government stocks. A friend who has been over there recently tells me that these classic guns sell for between $25 and $50 apiece. However, he said magazines are rare and 7.92x33mm ammunition is all but nonexistent. Suffice to say that transferable examples on this side of the pond are quite a bit spendier.

Ruminations

The assassination of Mohsen Fakhrizadeh was indeed a setback for the Iranian nuclear program.

Whoever carried this out covered their tracks beautifully. Without a literal and figurative smoking gun, Iran cannot retaliate without risking a massive international outcry. Meanwhile, Mohsen Fakhrizadeh remains quite very dead.

Iranian honor guards are such snappy dressers. I’m particularly digging the spiffy white disco boots.

It is only a matter of time before the Iranians do indeed complete an operational nuclear weapon. It may yet take a while, but the fateful day is coming when Iran joins the rarefied ranks of nuclear-capable nations. Let us hope that when that time comes cooler heads prevail and the Iranians do not opt to exercise their sparkly new plaything. If recent events are any indicator, however, the Israelis, or whoever it was that actually ganked Mohsen Fakhrizadeh, will be thoroughly prepared come what may. Lord help us all.

Personally, I suspect the Iranians are using their nuclear weapons program primarily to wrest concessions out of the West. Nobody in their right mind would want to touch off one of these puppies in Israel given the inevitable and overwhelming retaliatory carnage that would invariably ensue. However, the Iranians have a long and illustrious history of being institutionally out of their minds. We live in such fascinating times.
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Some Scary thoughts

Some Red Hot Gospel there!

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All About Guns Some Red Hot Gospel there! Some Scary thoughts

What ever you say Lady!

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Cops Some Scary thoughts

“They could’ve been shot; they could’ve been killed”

Officers waited for backup during Texas school shooting because ‘they could’ve been shot’: lieutenant

A Texas state police official said officers outside the Uvalde school where a gunman slaughtered 19 fourth-graders and two teachers Tuesday waited for backup to engage the shooter because they feared “they could’ve been shot.”

 

Texas Department of Public Safety Lt. Chris Olivarez said in a Thursday interview with CNN that the first few officers who entered Robb Elementary School after 18-year-old shooter Salvador Ramos were met with gunfire and retreated to avoid being shot and killed.

“At that point, if they pursued it any further — not knowing where the suspect was at — they could’ve been shot; they could’ve been killed and, at that point, that gunman would have the opportunity to kill other people inside that school,” Olivarez told host Wolf Blitzer.

Local and state police outside Robb Elementary School waited for a specialized US Border Patrol tactical team to arrive and take out Ramos nearly an hour after he began his killing spree.

Ramos had locked the door of the classroom where he killed all 21 victims, and officers weren’t able to get inside until a school staff member gave them a key, the Associated Press had reported.

UVALDE, TX - MAY 24: Law enforcement work the scene after a mass shooting at Robb Elementary School where 19 people, including 18 children, were killed on May 24, 2022 in Uvalde, Texas. The suspected gunman, identified as 18-year-old Salvador Ramos, was reportedly killed by law enforcement.
Texas Department of Public Safety Lt. Chris Olivarez said responding officers waited to enter the school out of concern they’d be shot by Salvador Ramos.
Jordan VonderhaarGetty Images
Law enforcement, and other first responders, gather outside Robb Elementary School following a shooting, Tuesday, May 24, 2022, in Uvalde, Texas.
Ramos was killed by a specialized US Border Patrol tactical team about an hour after his killing spree began.
AP/Dario Lopez-Mills
People react outside the Ssgt Willie de Leon Civic Center, where students had been transported from Robb Elementary School after a shooting, in Uvalde, Texas, U.S. May 24, 2022.
Parents were frantically begging officers to enter the school building and save the children before the tactical team arrived.
REUTERS/Marco Bello
Crosses with the names of Tuesday's shooting victims are placed outside Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, Texas, Thursday, May 26, 2022.
Ramos killed 21 children and teachers before he was stopped by law enforcement.
AP/Jae C. Hong

Olivarez said the officers were able to contain the gunman inside the classroom so that he was unable to kill more people throughout the school building.

Dozens of parents arrived at the school while Ramos was still inside and begged officers waiting outside to charge the building.

Some parents suggested going into the school building themselves, videos from the scene show.

The latest from the Texas school shooting

One mother yelled at an officer, “You’re scared of getting shot? I’ll go in without a vest — I will!”

Another mom of two did just that. After breaking away from the crowd, she jumped the school fence, entered the building and ran out with her two kids.

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Some Scary thoughts

‘The Ant And The Grasshopper’ (Some seriously scary thoughts here!)


OLD VERSION

The ant works hard in the withering heat all summer long, building his house and laying up supplies for the winter.

The grasshopper thinks the ant is a fool and laughs and dances and plays the summer away.

Come winter, the ant is warm and well-fed.
The grasshopper has no food or shelter, so he dies out in the cold.

MORAL OF THE OLD STORY

Be responsible for yourself!

————————————————-

MODERN VERSION

The ant works hard in the withering heat and the rain all summer long, building his house and laying up supplies for the winter.

The grasshopper thinks the ant is a fool and laughs and dances and plays the summer away.

Come winter, the shivering grasshopper calls a press conference and demands to know why the ant should be allowed to be warm and well-fed while he is cold and starving.

CBS, NBC, PBS, CNN, and ABC show up to provide pictures of the shivering grasshopper next to a video of the ant in his comfortable home with a table filled with food. America is stunned by the sharp contrast.

How can this be, that in a country of such wealth, this poor grasshopper is allowed to suffer so?

Kermit the Frog appears on Oprah with the grasshopper and everybody cries when they sing, ‘It’s Not Easy Being Green’.

Occupy the Anthill stages a demonstration in front of the ant’s house where the news stations film the Black Lives Matter group singing, We shall overcome.

Then, Reverend Al Sharpton, has the group kneel down to pray for the grasshopper while he damns the ants. He later appears on MSNBC to complain that rich people do not care.

Former President Obama condemns the ant and blames Donald Trump, President Bush 43, President Bush 41, President Reagan, Christopher Columbus, and the Pope for the grasshopper’s plight.

Nancy Pelosi & Chuck Schumer exclaim in an interview on The View that the ant has gotten rich off the back of the grasshopper, and both call for an immediate tax hike on the ant to make him pay his fair share.

Finally, the EEOC drafts the Economic Equity & Anti-Grasshopper Act retroactive to the beginning of the summer.

The ant is fined for failing to hire a proportionate number of green bugs and, having; nothing left to pay his retroactive taxes, his home is confiscated by the Government Green Czar, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and given to the grasshopper.

The story ends as we see the grasshopper and his free-loading friends finishing up the last bits of the ant’s food while the government house he is in, which, as you recall, just happens to be the ant’s old house, crumbles around them because the grasshopper doesn’t maintain it.

The ant has disappeared in the snow, never to be seen again.

The grasshopper is found dead in a drug-related incident, and the house, now abandoned, is taken over by a gang of spiders who terrorize the ramshackle, once prosperous and peaceful, neighborhood.

The entire Nation collapses bringing the rest of the free world with it.

MORAL OF THE STORY:

Be careful how you vote in 2022….I believe that you are an ant, not a grasshopper!

Pass this on to other ants.

Categories
All About Guns Anti Civil Rights ideas & "Friends" Cops Some Scary thoughts

AI may be searching you for guns the next time you go out in public by Steven Zeitchik

When Peter George saw news of the racially motivated mass-shooting at the Tops supermarket in Buffalo last weekend, he had a thought he’s often had after such tragedies.

AI may be searching you for guns the next time you go out in public

© Evolv TechnologyAI may be searching you for guns the next time you go out in public

“Could our system have stopped it?” he said. “I don’t know. But I think we could democratize security so that someone planning on hurting people can’t easily go into an unsuspecting place.”

George is chief executive of Evolv Technology, an AI-based system meant to flag weapons, “democratizing security” so that weapons can be kept out of public places without elaborate checkpoints. As U.S. gun violence like the kind seen in Buffalo increases — firearms sales reached record heights in 2020 and 2021 while the Gun Violence Archive reports 198 mass shootings since January — Evolv has become increasingly popular, used at schools, stadiums, stores and other gathering spots.

To its supporters, the system is a more effective and less obtrusive alternative to the age-old metal detector, making events both safer and more pleasant to attend. To its critics, however, Evolv’s effectiveness has hardly been proved. And it opens up a Pandora’s box of ethical issues in which convenience is paid for with RoboCop surveillance.

“The idea of a kinder, gentler metal detector is a nice solution in theory to these terrible shootings,” said Jay Stanley, senior policy analyst for the American Civil Liberties Union’s project on speech, privacy, and technology. “But do we really want to create more ways for security to invade our privacy? Do we want to turn every shopping mall or Little League game into an airport?”

Evolv machines use “active sensing” — a light-emission technique that also underpins radar and lidar — to create images. Then it applies AI to examine them. Data scientists at the Waltham, Mass., company have created “signatures” (basically, visual blueprints) and trained the AI to compare them to the scanner images.

Executives say the result is a smart system that can “spot” a weapon without anyone needing to stop and empty their pockets in a beeping machine. When the system identifies a suspicious item from a group of people flowing through, it draws an orange box around it on a live video feed of the person entering. It’s only then that a security guard, watching on a nearby tablet, will approach for more screening.

Dan Donovan, a veteran security consultant who rents Evolv’s systems out to clients for events, says that by allowing guards to focus on fewer threats, it avoids the fatigue metal-detector operators can feel. Like other consultants, he notes no system probably would have stopped the Buffalo shooter, who began firing in the parking lot.

Consumers can expect to see Evolv a lot more. Sports franchises like the Tennessee Titans and Carolina Panthers now use it; so do the New York Mets and Columbus Crew. The Super Bowl at SoFi Stadium in February deployed for an outside perimeter. In New York City, public arts institutions such as the Lincoln Center are trying it. So is a municipal hospital. (NYC Mayor Eric Adams has touted it as a potential subway security measure, but tight spaces and underground signal interference make that less plausible.)

North Carolina’s Charlotte-Mecklenburg school system, with 150,000 students, has also licensed Evolv. Theme parks are excited, too — all 27 Six Flags parks across the country now use it. Evolv has now conducted 250 million scans to date, it says., up from 100 million in September.

George believes accuracy and lack of friction make Evolv compelling. “No one wants a prison or an airport everywhere they go, which is what you have with a dumb analogue metal detector,” he said. “And the cost of doing nothing is going up by the day.”

The company, which went public last year, has raised at least $400 million, with diverse figures including Jeb Bush, Bill Gates, Peyton Manning and Andre Agassi investing. (The space is growing, with a system from Italian rival CEIA also gaining popularity.) Relying primarily on the four-year subscriptions it sells, Evolv more than doubled its revenue in the first quarter to $8.7 million compared to 2021, though also more than doubled its losses, to $18.2 million.

Retails stores are an appealing use case, George said, because people want to feel safe shopping but don’t want to be stopped and checked every time they walk in to buy some groceries. (About 60 people can be scanned every minute, Evolv says.) George said that when the system was installed at an Atlanta-area mall, Lenox Square, in January, it caught 57 guns in the first four hours.

Overall, George said, at least 15,000 guns were flagged by Evolv in the first quarter of 2022. (These numbers are not publicly vetted.)

But IPVM, a security-industry trade publication, concluded after a review that Evolv has “fundamental technological limitations in differentiating benign objects from actual weapons.” One issue, IPVM said, citing its examination of the company, is that some metallic objects confuse the AI, including particularly the ruggedly designed Google Chromebook.

IPVM says Evolv has not provided sufficient data. The publication also says the company will not engage with it due to its inquiries; it says the firm has even asked it to stop reporting on Evolv in the name of public safety.

In a statement to The Washington Post regarding the conflict, Evolv said: “We believe that publishing a blueprint of any security screening technology is irresponsible and makes the public less safe by providing unnecessary insights to those who may try to use the information to cause harm.”

Alan Cowen, a former Google scientist and AI expert, says he’d also worry about “adversarial examples,” in which bad actors learn how to circumvent the AI — say, by putting tape around a gun handle — as well as a delay in figuring this out because Evolv won’t flag it.

Some techno-ethicists say accuracy is only one fear.

“If it can reduce false positives while still catching the real positives, that seems like a benefit,” said Jamais Cascio, the author and founder of Open the Future, an organization examining technology’s consequences. “My concern is what happens when it moves beyond looking for weapons at a concert — when someone decides to add all kinds of inputs on the person being scanned, or if we enter a protest and a government agency can now use the system to track and log us. We know what a metal detector can and can’t tell us. We have no idea how this can be used.”

George says that no data is applied to a scanning subject and no information captured or catalogued. As for accuracy, he acknowledges the Chromebook has been an issue but says the algorithm is being improved. He suggests students might simply come to realize they need to hold them up on their way in to school, a small price to pay. “Why shouldn’t there be a system where kids can learn safely and also enter without breaking stride?” he asked.

Whether that will be possible in large districts like Charlotte-Mecklenberg, though, remains to be seen. Requests for comment from the police department overseeing the district’s security were not returned.

Several Evolv clients The Post spoke to say they’re happy with the system.

“We went from 30 metal-detector lines to four lanes, and we’re not stopping people for every cellphone or house key,” said Jason Freeman, Six Flags’ vice president of security, safety, health and environmental. He said overall stops have gone from 32 percent to 15 percent, with the great majority still not considered threats. The idea is not just to catch more weapons; it’s to waste less time on everything else.

Mark Heiser, venue director for the Denver Performing Arts Complex, says the system is light years ahead of the metal detector. “We’d never go back,” he said.

Heiser cited fewer alarms for items like pen knives — “which is good, because it allows us to focus on [the more destructive weapons].” And, he noted, a lot of audience members feel freer walking in.

But Stanley of the ACLU remains unconvinced.

“Devices being more subtle is a good thing. But they can also be more insidious or even just annoying,” he said. “You’re going to have a lot of people shocked an umbrella tucked inside a coat pocket is suddenly leading to an encounter with a security guard.”

Categories
All About Guns Some Scary thoughts War

I can just see some Geek thinking of this professionally too!

Categories
Some Scary thoughts

The Man with a very tall hat might be let loose again! Putin Really May Break the Nuclear Taboo in Ukraine It seems unthinkable, but American leaders’ failure to think about it heightens the risk it will happen. By Peggy Noonan

The Soviets detonate their first atomic bomb in Kazakhstan, Aug. 29, 1949.

PHOTO: BRIDGEMAN IMAGES

Sometimes a thing keeps nagging around your brain and though you’ve said it before you have to say it again. We factor in but do not sufficiently appreciate the real possibility of nuclear-weapon use by Russia in Ukraine. This is the key and crucial historic possibility in the drama, and it really could come to pass.

And once it starts, it doesn’t stop. Once the taboo that has held since 1945 is broken, it’s broken. The door has been pushed open and we step through to the new age. We don’t want to step into that age.

The war is in its third month. Diplomatic solutions are less likely than ever; war crimes and atrocities have hardened the Ukrainians, and in any case they’re winning and the world is on their side. British intelligence this week reported Russia has lost around 15,000 troops, 2,000 armored vehicles and 60 aircraft. The ground invasion force has lost an estimated 25% of its combat strength. Russia is grinding through a disaster.

We aren’t worried enough about Russian nuclear use in part because we imagine such a thing as huge missiles with huge warheads launched from another continent and speeding through space. We think: That won’t happen! It has never happened! But the more likely use would be not of big strategic nuclear weapons but smaller tactical ones on the battlefield. Such weapons have a shorter range and carry lower-yield warheads. America and Russia have rough parity in the number of strategic nuclear weapons, but Russia has an estimated 10 times as many tactical nuclear weapons as the U.S. and delivery systems that range from artillery shells to aircraft.

Why would Vladimir Putin use tactical nuclear weapons? Why would he make such a madman move?

To change the story. To shock and destabilize his adversaries. To scare the people of North Atlantic Treaty Organization countries so they’ll force their leaders to back away. To remind the world—and Russians—that he does have military power. To avoid a massive and public military defeat. To win.

Mr. Putin talks about nuclear weapons a lot. He did it again Wednesday: In a meeting with politicians in St. Petersburg, he said if anyone intervenes in Ukraine and “creates unacceptable threats for us that are strategic in nature,” the Russian response will be “lightning fast.” He said: “We have all the tools for this that no one else can boast of having. We won’t boast about it, we’ll use them, if needed.”

He’s talked like this since the invasion. It’s a tactic: He’s trying to scare everybody. That doesn’t mean the threat is empty.

There are signs the Russians are deliberately creating a historical paper trail, as if to say they warned us. On Monday Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said the risk of nuclear conflict is “serious” and “should not be underestimated.” Earlier, Anatoly Antonov, Russia’s ambassador to Washington, sent a formal diplomatic note to the U.S. saying it was inflaming the conflict. The Washington Post got a copy. It said shipments of the “most sensitive” weapons systems to Ukraine were “adding fuel” to the conflict and could bring “unpredictable consequences.”

The U.S. at the same time has become rhetorically bolder. This month President Biden referred to Mr. Putin as a war criminal. In March Mr. Biden called for regime change; the White House walked it back. This week Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin told reporters the U.S. aim in Ukraine: “We want to see Russia weakened to the degree it can’t do the kinds of things it’s done in Ukraine.” The original American aim was to protect Ukraine’s sovereignty and independence. Has the U.S. strategy changed, or has its officials’ talk simply become looser? What larger strategic vision is the administration acting on?

In my experience with American diplomats, they are aware of but don’t always grasp the full implications of their opponents’ histories. Mr. Putin was a KGB spy who in 1991 saw the Soviet system in which he’d risen crash all around him. He called the fall of the Soviet Union a catastrophe because it left his country weakened, humiliated and stripped of dominance and hegemony in Eastern Europe. He is a walking, talking cauldron of resentments, which he deploys for maximum manipulation. He isn’t secretive about his grievances. In his 2007 speech to the Munich Security Conference he accused the U.S. of arrogance, hypocrisy and having created a “unipolar world” with “one center of authority, one center of force, one center of decision making,” headed by “one master, one sovereign.” As for NATO, “we have the right to ask: Against whom is this expansion intended?”

Antagonism to the West has been the central intellectual organizing principle of his life. America is an object of his life’s obsession.

So let me make an argument for my anxieties: For this man, Russia can’t lose to the West. Ukraine isn’t the Mideast, a side show; it is the main event. I read him as someone who will do anything not to lose.