Will Texas Church Shooting Lessons Get Church of Jesus Christ (LDS) To Rethink Deadly Policy?

This past Sunday, two congregants were killed in Texas by an armed loser. The reason the death toll was limited to two victims is thanks to an armed worshiper (serving as volunteer security) quickly killing the shooter as he was preparing to target his next victim(s). Lives were certainly saved by the concealed carrier’s actions.

This would not have happened in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints as members are prohibited from effective armed defense. It should serve as a stark warning.

This is how stark of a warning: Two innocent people were killed within six seconds despite having armed security volunteers who responded after two shots. The killer only shot twice before being taken down. It shows that in a shooting casualties are a virtual certainty despite rapid response, precisely because responses take time and the attacker frequently has the advantage of surprise. What would the toll have looked like after twelve seconds, thirty seconds…for law enforcement to respond…

Now think of this at a church with a gun ban policy directing members to run, hide and do their best while they wait for law enforcement to respond. The death toll would have been much higher. No wonder I called the Church of Jesus Christ’s guidelines “inadequate” a few months ago. That was charitable then. Given that the church has still not made any effort to even have those guidelines read over the pulpit, woefully inadequate would be an understatement.

The church’s current policy is deadly and will only serve to exponentially increase effective response time and, therefore, innocent casualties. I again call on their public affairs and attorneys to rescind this lethal policy and respect the lives of lay members.

That said, there are still lessons to be learned from the Texas shooting. Start by reviewing and practicing the resources here. As noted above, they won’t stop casualties, there will still be plenty. Prepare for that. Below, is an analysis of the Texas shooting. It includes video of the shooting (Warning: if you are squeamish about such things, don’t watch the video). The analysis is very good and will help you think through the lessons for us (constant vigilance, shooting response plan in place, preparation, trauma kits, training etc., etc.):

Addendum: Orthodox Jews certainly aren’t fooling around after the NYC Hanukkah stabbing.

UPDATE: This recent Fox13 report may also help in terms of resources (it also notes the Church of Jesus Christ’s lack of preparation): ‘Shift in paradigm’: Utah self-defense trainer says shooting at Texas church shows preparation can save lives

The Utah Swamp Sneers, Calls Citizens “Fringes” For Daring To Oppose Them

LaVarr Webb is one of Utah’s biggest political insiders or, more colloquially, swamp critters. His swamp besties like Gov. Gary Herbert quickly ramrodded a sweeping tax overhaul catering to corporate cronies and jacked up food and gas taxes without bothering to get buy in from citizens. Citizens revolted and have began collecting a signatures for a citizen referendum to veto the legislation and telling them to start over with maybe a modicum of vetting and, you know, respect for common citizens buying into the process and proposals.

This, of course, does not sit well with LaVarr Webb (two Rs, two Bs) because, dangit, he and his buddies know better than the unwashed masses. So the best thing to do is to pen a condescending fit which takes a page out of Hillary’s “deplorables” playbook and calls nonpartisan citizens groups “fringe”. Ironically enough, Lavarr’s own group found that 68% of Utahns oppose their tax reform. That’s some fringe.

See, the gubernatorial candidates and the “fringe” just don’t seem to get that our entrenched elites simply know what is best for us and shouldn’t feel forced to consult with those affected by decisions that are “best for the state”. After all, government and big business are numero uno since citizens are really just a “reservoir of funds” for political elites, they simply ought to know their place and be grateful for their benevolent overlords.

Who knows, LaVarr may just have indigestion that citizen volunteers are running the referendum. If they would just bring in some high priced professional consultants (especially those with repetitive letters in their name) then it could be the ‘spoonful of sugar that makes the medicine go down’ and remove the “fringe” stench from the initiative.

People are tired of the condescension from on high. We’re tired of unread ‘critical’ bills passed without being read and the only way to ‘know what is in the bill is to pass it’.

We aren’t just “a reservoir” created to provide a stable funding source for government during economic downturns while we suffer. Is government suffering somehow superior to individual suffering during economic hard times? Citizens should cut and sacrifice but, by golly, tax their food so they can’t weasel out of paying for grandiose government programs increasingly geared to socialize costs while privatizing profits for corporate cronies (*cough* Salt Lake Chamber of Commerce *cough*)?

Those issues are why the reform should be vetoed and sent back to the drawing board for transparent debate and measured consideration. Who knows, we may all end up agreeing with much of what was in the current legislation but we have every right to be consulted and respected rather than being lorded over by pseudo-oracles.

If you feel fringey and would like to sign the referendum, you can look at: Utah2019tax.com or the Utah 2019 Tax Referendum Facebook Group.

Utah’s Toxic Mix: Individual Rights Take Back Seat To Politically Connected Organizations

I was recently sent an article from the Church of Jesus Christ regarding some legislation they are supporting. The byline states “The bill preserves religious freedom…” but that is a half truth. The whole article is actually riddled with this distortion in statements like ” All religious persons should be free to live, work or serve their community in ways that are consistent with their faith.” This implies the legislation protects “persons”. It doesn’t. Just like the church-supported 2015 Utah law*, the bill protects organizations not individuals. Churches are protected, members are not. You are left in the cold.

Odder still, the church is pushing more of its functions to individuals and is on a path for further home-centered church activities. This church-supported legislation appears to undermine what they’re doing as families take more religious/church responsibilities yet don’t appear to be granted the same protections granted to religious organizations. As mom-and-pop bakeries, florists, and reception centers can attest, you are a target.

Meanwhile, look at the Utah tax reform fiasco. Here are a couple of articles to get you up to speed:
Questions that legislators were asked to address before voting on tax reform (Note: this links to a homepage and not a specific post, it may move)
Tax Reform Special Legislative Session: Review & Observations

Traditional US order and foundations are being turned on their on their head. Rather than government being the protector of individual rights, individuals are treated as government’s servants (even called a “reservoir of funds” during the tax reform hearings) and government now serves big business/organizations. People are increasingly at the bottom of consideration. Individual freedom is virtually scorned by those in power.

A further manifestation of this are the actions of Utah’s insular elite as they fight to maintain control. That’s not to say the elites are bad people. They do a lot of good but then enact policies that create the problems and undermine others. They are blindsided by angry opposition yet continue to press various schemes on people to socialize costs and selectively privatize the benefits while turning a blind eye to the effects on individuals who pay those costs – they are convinced ‘they know what’s best for the rest’. This ignorance and arrogance becomes “a toxic mix” bad for them and for society.

While I’m not trusting of polls, it is telling that a poll conducted by one of the “Utah oligarch’s” own front organizations found that people ranked aiding business and expanding government intervention schemes dead last in their priorities.

The lack of respect of individual rights, selective protections and focus on favored groups needs to end. It’s bad for all of us.

*Background note: This isn’t the first time the church has exempted itself from laws everyone else is subject to. They also did so with immigration law back in 2005.

Time To Change: Conservatives Blowing It On Government and Education Sectors

I recently read this article:

How to Cope With Your Prof’s Left-wing Bias

The article deals with university professors but the problem is seen at virtually all levels of the educations system. However, how did we get here? How did we get to the point that conservatives, libertarians, and even moderates, have to basically hide and/or pretend to be liberal to be able to get through school?

Realistically, it’s out own fault. For decades we’ve told our kids how awful government and education systems are and to avoid them (instead of getting in there and fixing them). So guess what, our kids listened. Meanwhile, all the liberal kids took those jobs. We’ve basically ceded the ground to liberals/progressives in those fields and look how it’s turned out.

Rather, we need to acknowledge the serious problems of the education/indoctrination system and incredibly dangerous deep state AND encourage ourselves and our kids to consider getting in there an being the voice of reason to balance debate (actually have debate and free thought). Yes, it will be tough to get in and rough (you’ll be considered a pariah) requiring significant patience and forethought/strategy. However, it should be quite evident that continuing to cede these career fields to oppressive progressives and social justice warriors is just not an option.

We need to quit just bashing education and government employment and get in these fields to help fix the destruction that has been wrought.

Utah Legislative Tax Reform Task Force Thumbs Nose At Citizens, Opts For Corporate Socialism And Gives Delta Airlines Tax Gift

I got this in my email but am linking to the website as it should be read in full: Voters say no to 33% gas tax increase. Tax Task Force says tough—you’re going to pay it.

On November 6, 2018, Utah voters resoundingly said No! when asked if they would support a 10 cent per gallon increase in the gas tax—65% No (689,254 votes), 35% Yes (363,878 votes).  So, what does the Tax Restructuring and Equalization Task Force do? They ignore the vote of the citizens and include a “temporary” 4.85% state sales tax on a gallon of gasoline in their tax reform proposal.

A state sales tax on gasoline would raise the price of a gallon of gas by 9.7 cents—based on the July wholesale price of $2.00 per gallon in the Rocky Mountain Region. The total state sales tax on a gallon of gas will go from 30 cents to 39.7 cents—a 33% tax increase and on January 1,2020 that will increase to 40.8 cents per gallon since the legislature has already built in an automatic increase in the existing per gallon gas tax.

This type of tax is regressive and hits the middle class and low income folks proportionally harder (see the original article for details). This is on top of raising the food tax (also very regressive) and they plan on also taxing shipping/handling charges on every order.  Then there’s this:

Furthermore, in keeping with its penchant for using the tax code to reward Utah’s wealthiest citizens and to help big businesses socialize their costs while privatizing their profits, aviation fuel will continue to be taxed at between 2.5 cents per gallon and 9 cents per gallon. The 2.5 cents per gallon rate on federally certificated air carriers (SLC Airport) has been in place for 18 years but legislators are in no hurry to increase that tax. The estimated value of the aviation tax exemption is in the range of $180 million.

That means Delta Airlines etc. retain a sweat heart deal on taxes as do folks with private aircraft. So we’ll be hiking taxes on everyone else and subsidize corporate giants.  It’s no surprise that the Salt Lake Chamber of Commerce and their front groups instigated many of these ‘tax reforms’. Really ‘socializing cost while privatizing profits’ is effectively corporate socialism and the Salt Lake Chamber is a avid mentor of this socialism. No wonder taxpayers are now just seen, not as individuals and humans but as a “reservoir of funds” by these guys. Enough already.

I don’t have time to go into any more detail – please click the link at the top of this post and read the whole thing. Full disclosure: the author is my father.

Church of Jesus Christ (LDS) Public Affairs Coming To Terms With Lethal Anti-Gun Policy?

About a month ago, I put up a post continuing a years-long documentation of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saint’s steps on an unrealistic, deadly policy. The policy also resulted in some members pushing back. This week, it looks like they maybe starting to think of the consequences of public affairs’ political correctness patty-cake. The church is now acknowledging the threat of active shooters:

Updated Security Guidelines for Church Meetings and Events

The update includes a baby step (like a newborn baby step) forward. They now acknowledge the threat and provided some very basic (and, frankly, inadequate) guidance in the above document…in the very last page:

Run. Flee immediately if a safe path is available. Move quickly to the safest exit and away from the building to a safe location. Exit quietly, without drawing the attention of the assailant. Adults are to ensure all children are supervised and accounted for. Do not return to the building or to an office or classroom for personal items. Do not carry anything that could be mistaken for a weapon by responding law enforcement.

Hide. If you are unable to escape safely, hide out of sight of the assailant’s view. If possible, close, lock, and barricade the doors to the classrooms, offices, or other rooms where you are hiding. Turn out the lights, silence mobile phones, and keep low to the floor and away from windows. If there is an exchange of gunfire between law enforcement and the assailant, everyone in the building is to stay in their barricaded rooms until instructed otherwise by law enforcement.

Fight. As a last resort, if there is no time to run or hide, fight back against the assailant. Use
anything available as a weapon, and fight to stop the assailant. If others are present, organize to defend yourselves.

Unfortunately, none of this was read over the pulpit and likely virtually no one knows about it. The media reported on it briefly but there appears to be no plan to provide training or actual security to lay members (not even to get this into the hands of members). Here’s the biggest irony highlighting the double standard from the “Fight” section:

…Use anything available as a weapon…

Great. After they take lay member’s best means of defense and prohibit weapons, they say to…use a weapon. Riiight.

Meanwhile, higher church officials will continue to enjoy armed security details. This sure looks like members are being “divided into classes” with some worthy of armed protection and others not.

Finally, start with the above guidelines and please review and practice the resources here.

Compare/Contrast: Wildlife Biologists and Teacher Unions

I was browsing job announcements a week or so ago and one caught my eye: the state is looking for a wildlife biologist. Well over a decade ago, I worked as a wildlife biologist. It didn’t pay much but I loved the job and had to move on as we expanded our family. Work was no picnic; you had long hours in bad weather conditions (especially when caring for animals) and had expansive duties (vehicle and equipment maintenance, chemical management, computer systems administration etc. etc.) but we enjoyed the work despite often eating overtime (we frequently didn’t have a budget to pay overtime, so we wouldn’t claim it).

Any way back to the job posting. I was shocked when I saw the pay for the job: $16.31 an hour. In all these years the pay has barely budged – it has only increased about 8.7%. That certainly doesn’t keep up with inflation over all that time. Wildlife biologist jobs are highly competitive – you need a minimum of a Bachelor of Science degree plus several years of experience (in the job announcement they want five years direct experience, it used to be only two). Often the Bachelor’s degree isn’t enough and you need the Master’s degree for an entry-level position…earning $16.30/hr. It’s so competitive that I remember being beat out by a PhD for such an entry level job!

As I said, despite very tight finances, I loved the job but I have no idea how anyone can do it now – especially with the housing bubble we see now. They don’t give you a vehicle outside of work duties and they no longer let your family come out with you during field surveys etc. (hopefully that has changed but I doubt the liability lawyers will allow it – it was one of the few benefits that helped compensate for the lack of compensation). No one has taken notice of this and I bet the jobs are highly competitive. I suppose biologist still scrape by (more so now then ever) and find happiness in the job. When I was in, people didn’t complain as we all knew the low pay when we were earning our degree and gaining experience – we just found happiness in the job and if pay wasn’t enough, I moved on without begrudging anyone.

Compare that to the teachers’ lobby. Politicians cater to them, they have a huge political machine and they certainly don’t go unnoticed. I hear constant complaining and protests (plus strike threats). Yet they come out of school and get a $40k/year job but work 9.5 months for it. It would be nice if someone would take notice of the biologists who knowingly go into a low paying, competitive field and don’t gripe constantly about what they knew they were getting into.