Monday, October 27, 2014

Law Enforcement Officers Killed & Assaulted

While the shooting of citizens by law enforcement officers is still controversial, the alarming new trend seems to be the killing of law enforcement officers by terrorists.  The Federal Bureau of Investigation tracks these types of events and produces an annual statistical publication called Law Enforcement Officers Killed & Assaulted:

The report also includes statistics on officers accidentally killed and federal officers killed and assaulted.  According to the most recent statistics, in 2012 almost as many officers died from accidents as from "felonious incidents."  On the classic cop show Hill Street Blues Sgt. Esterhaus used to tell his colleagues, "Let's be careful out there."  Given today's climate, let's be *extra* careful out there.

Monday, October 20, 2014

Midterm Elections

Even if you've been living in a cave, you likely know that the midterm elections are coming up on November 4.  If you haven't yet made up your mind about who to vote for, the Project Vote Smart site may be very helpful:

It's not a government site.  It's run by a nonprofit organization and provides nonpartisan information about "40,000 Politicians" running for offices from the national down to the local level.  After selecting a person you can find biographical information, facts about that person's positions and voting record, and even information about their campaign funding.  With a brief bit of research you can be prepared to elect the person you feel will best represent you and your cave-dwelling neighbors. 

(And for the folks in Louisiana, here's a link to the Public Affairs Research Council Guide to the 2014 Constitutional Amendments: )

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Justifiable Homicide by Law Enforcement

Protests about the shooting of an unarmed teenager in Missouri by a police officer are still ongoing.  Other controversial shootings by law enforcement officers have happened more recently.  Statistics on the number of people who are shot and killed by law enforcement each year are available in the Federal Bureau of Investigation's annual publication Crime in the United States.

The title of the table is "Justifiable Homicide," so the FBI, at least, is convinced that every case is "justifiable."  The folks in Missouri don't seem to agree.  (But, of course, Missouri is the "Show Me" state.)

Monday, October 6, 2014


First off, in the wise words of The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, "Don't panic!"  The African outbreak of Ebola has resulted in one travel-related case being diagnosed in the U.S. and a few other American patients being flown to the U.S. for treatment, but according to this site from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, your risk of getting the disease is relatively low unless you're a healthcare worker or a close family member of an infected person:

In general, if you can avoid making contact with the blood or other bodily fluids of an infected person, you should be fine.  It's flu season, so you should be avoiding sick people and washing your hands frequently anyway.  May the hand sanitizer be with you!