Saturday, May 28, 2022

Serhii Plokhy, Atoms and Ashes

At Amazon, Serhii Plokhy, Atoms and Ashes: A Global History of Nuclear Disasters.




School District Police Captain's 'Wrong Decision' Likely Left More Children Dead (VIDEO)

It's so heartbreaking. 

They stood in the hallway for more than an hour, in a situation where literally every second counts. It's no wonder there're calls for *less* gun control after this heinous attack, as folks are rightly saying you cannot rely on the police to save your life; you have to protect yourself, be armed. 

As CNN reports, "The Uvalde School District police chief is Pedro 'Pete' Arredondo."

And at the Los Angeles Times, "Police delays may have deprived Texas schoolchildren of lifesaving care, experts say":

UVALDE, Texas — As the nation struggles to comprehend the horrors that unfolded Tuesday inside Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, Texas, one of the biggest unanswered questions is whether anyone could have been saved.

Authorities have left the public with more questions than answers about the mass shooting that left 21 dead, and their timeline has shifted multiple times. At least 17 children were hospitalized with injuries, though it’s unclear how many of those survived.

The latest update provided Friday by the Texas Department of Public Safety found that more than an hour elapsed between the time the shooter entered the school at 11:33 a.m. and the time law enforcement officers breached a locked classroom and killed him at 12:50 p.m.

According to the timeline provided by authorities, a person called 911 from inside Room 112, one of the classrooms where the shooting occurred, at 12:16 p.m. and said there were “eight to nine students alive.”

Though it is not yet known whether those students were ultimately among the victims, the injured or the survivors, police and medical experts said that in most instances, the sooner a patient can get some form of medical attention, the better the chances at pulling through.

According to Dr. Demetrios Demetriades, a professor of surgery and director of trauma at Los Angeles County-USC Medical Center, the mortality rate of a patient increases by about 10% for every 10 minutes of delayed bleeding control.

L.A. County-USC’s chief of trauma, Dr. Kenji Inaba, said similarly that “bleeding remains the No. 1 preventable cause of death after ballistic injury,” though he said he could not comment on the law enforcement tactics used in Uvalde or the medical care provided at the scene.

“After sustaining a ballistic injury, every second counts, and as soon as it is feasible to do so, victims should be triaged, have any obvious bleeding stopped, and then be transported to the nearest trauma center for definitive care,” he said.

Dr. Marc Eckstein, professor of emergency medicine and chief of the EMS Division at USC, said, “The longer it takes to evacuate patients from the hot zone, the worse their outcome is going to be.”

“When you have a place like [Uvalde] where your nearest Level 1 trauma center, San Antonio, is 80 miles away, the responsibility of law enforcement is to simultaneously try to neutralize the shooter and evacuate the workers and the kids and teachers as quickly as possible,” Eckstein said. “That was a lesson learned in Columbine, and a lesson that wasn’t learned in the Pulse nightclub shooting [in Orlando, Fla.], where patients who were potentially viable bled to death.”

Still, Eckstein said, he didn’t want to give grieving families the sense that their loved ones might have survived had authorities responded differently, particularly since so much depends on the location and type of injury.

The AR-15-type of rifle used in the shooting causes “devastating injuries to the body,” Eckstein said, not because of the size of the rounds but because their high velocity generates immense kinetic energy.

“And then on top of that, you have children,” he said. “The fatality rate of a child getting hit by a round like this is going to be much higher than an adult, and it’s going to be higher than a typical round from a handgun.”

The mother of 8-year-old survivor Adam Pennington said Friday she was troubled by the new timeline released by law enforcement.

“When you’re on scene, you should listen to your gut,” said Laura Pennington, 33. “I think everybody was very afraid and confused, and that causes problems. But there should be a set protocol for all of these situations.”

Pennington, who is also a substitute teacher in the district, said her brother-in-law was among those who rushed to the school to help but were kept outside by law enforcement even as officers refused to enter...

Thursday, May 26, 2022

Joanne Samuel Goldblum and Colleen Shaddox, Broke in America

At Amazon, Joanne Samuel Goldblum and Colleen Shaddox, Broke in America: Seeing, Understanding, and Ending US Poverty.




'Dog Days Are Over'

It's Florence + the Machine.


The Real Reason America Doesn't Have Gun Control (VIDEO)

From Ronald Brownstein, at the Atlantic, "The basic rules of American democracy provide a veto over national policy to a minority of the states":

After each of the repeated mass shootings that now provide a tragic backbeat to American life, the same doomed dance of legislation quickly begins. As the outraged demands for action are inevitably derailed in Congress, disappointed gun-control advocates, and perplexed ordinary citizens, point their fingers at the influence of the National Rifle Association or the intransigent opposition of congressional Republicans. Those are both legitimate factors, but the stalemate over gun-control legislation since Bill Clinton’s first presidential term ultimately rests on a much deeper problem: the growing crisis of majority rule in American politics.

Polls are clear that while Americans don’t believe gun control would solve all of the problems associated with gun violence, a commanding majority supports the central priorities of gun-control advocates, including universal background checks and an assault-weapons ban. Yet despite this overwhelming consensus, it’s highly unlikely that the massacre of at least 19 schoolchildren and two adults in Uvalde, Texas, yesterday, or President Joe Biden’s emotional plea for action last night, will result in legislative action.

That’s because gun control is one of many issues in which majority opinion in the nation runs into the brick wall of a Senate rule—the filibuster—that provides a veto over national policy to a minority of the states, most of them small, largely rural, preponderantly white, and dominated by Republicans.

The disproportionate influence of small states has come to shape the competition for national power in America. Democrats have won the popular vote in seven of the past eight presidential elections, something no party had done since the formation of the modern party system in 1828. Yet Republicans have controlled the White House after three of those elections instead of one, twice winning the Electoral College while losing the popular vote. The Senate imbalance has been even more striking. According to calculations by Lee Drutman, a senior fellow in the political-reform program at New America, a center-left think tank, Senate Republicans have represented a majority of the U.S. population for only two years since 1980, if you assign half of each state’s population to each of its senators. But largely because of its commanding hold on smaller states, the GOP has controlled the Senate majority for 22 of those 42 years.

The practical implications of these imbalances were dramatized by the last full-scale Senate debate over gun control. After the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting in Connecticut, the Senate in 2013 voted on a measure backed by President Barack Obama to impose background checks on all gun sales. Again assigning half of each state’s population to each of its senators, the 54 senators who supported the bill (plus then–Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, who opposed it only for procedural reasons) represented 194 million Americans. The remaining senators who opposed the bill represented 118 million people. But because of the Senate’s filibuster rule, which requires the backing of 60 senators to move legislation to a vote, the 118 million prevailed.

That impassable opposition reflects the GOP’s reliance on the places and voters most deeply devoted to gun culture...

More at the link.

And my response to Brownstein here: