Welcome to onfocus—a weblog by Paul Bausch where I post recommended links, my photos, and occasional thoughts. Subscribe here if you like RSS.
Your Local Epidemiologist
"During the 1960s, for example, it seemed impossible to change tobacco use. The tobacco industry had one of the strongest lobbies in history, smoking was part of our every day lives, and people were addicted. But it needed to change. We were getting more and more evidence that tobacco causes lung cancer, and we started unpacking the dangers of second-hand smoking. So we treated it like a public health issue. And we did this not by banning tobacco, but through a consistent and coordinated effort of approaching the public health problem from multiple angles."
Such a great point. We should address gun violence as a public health problem.
New York Times
"The carnage has renewed a decades-old debate about how to end the horror of U.S. school shootings, with many Texas political leaders once again calling for heightened school security measures. But others, pointing to devastation even on campuses that have invested heavily in security, said that such a singular focus could not stop a committed killer with access to weapons — and that such efforts might actually provide a false sense of safety in the absence of gun control regulations and more robust investments in mental health."
I’m tired of Republican talking points about "hardening" schools and militarizing police forces. We have already done those things and they do not work. Removing military assault weapons from civilians is something new we need to try.
Washington Post
"The rise of services that connect strangers through private messaging has strained the conventional “see something, say something” mantra repeated in the decades since the Columbine High School massacre and other attacks, according to social media researchers. And when strangers do suspect something is wrong, they may feel they have limited ways to respond beyond filing a user report into a corporate abyss."
Centralized social media without strong moderation was a big mistake. The advertising industry needs to force reforms but I’m not optimistic.
CNN
"Robbins, who said she lives in California and only ever interacted with Ramos online, told CNN she reported him to Yubo several times and blocked his account, but continued seeing him in livestreams making lewd comments."
We need both online and physical world consequences for threatening behavior online. Services allowing people to repeatedly make threats of physical harm is unethical but it is the status quo for online media.
Washington Post
"The findings of nearly 300 pages include shocking new details about specific abuse cases and shine a light on how denominational leaders for decades actively resisted calls for abuse prevention and reform."
Decades of family values.
prospect.org
"The Senate leadership barely even pretended to try to force their hands by scheduling a vote. Instead, senators are reportedly going on their Memorial Day recess. It’s a broken, worthless institution."
Definitely feeling this.
The Atlantic
"Our kids are compromised anyway because of COVID. We’ve got kids who are struggling with anxiety at a rate that is pretty significant. So this is just another layer of something terrible. So really trying to validate, like, 'You guys have had to manage so much, and so much has been asked of you. I would be surprised if you weren’t worried, if you weren’t anxious. I’m not asking you not to be. What I am asking is that you have ways to cope with that so that you are not hurting yourself or others.'"
This advice is helpful. Also the fact that we need this article shows America is not working.
Science
"One argument used to justify continued gun ownership is that mass shootings are often the result of shooters with severe mental illness. No doubt that mental health is a factor. But the rates of mental illness in the United States are similar to those in other countries where mass shootings rarely occur. It’s access to guns that is the problem."
We can also work on both gun access and mental health at the same time.
AP News
"But the vote failed along party lines, raising fresh doubts about the possibility of robust debate, let alone eventual compromise, on gun safety measures. The final vote was 47-47, short of the 60 needed to take up the bill. All Republicans voted against it."
This is just your regular reminder to never vote for a Republican even if you'd like to have a beer with them personally. And you shouldn't have a beer with them either. Shun the death cult.
New York Times
"State legislatures hold a unique position in the country’s democratic apparatus, wielding a constitutionally mandated power to set the “times, places and manner of holding elections.” Cheered on by Mr. Trump as he eyes another run for the White House in 2024, many state legislators have shown they see that power as license to exert greater control over the outcome of elections."
Yet another lever that ensures minority rule in a democracy.
Ground Truths
"The real number of cases is likely at least 500,000 per day, far greater than any of the US prior waves except Omicron. The bunk that cases are not important is preposterous. They are infections that beget more cases, they beget Long Covid, they beget sickness, hospitalizations and deaths. They are also the underpinning of new variants."
The pandemic is not over.
Pawprints
"Ultimately, all the evidence suggests that Justice Alito is not the even-tempered judge he presented to the Senate in 2005. He’s not a person concerned with hearing and weighing all the arguments. He’s the fervent conservative activist who applied to Ronald Reagan’s DOJ and wrote the words set out below, and he always has been. Justice Alito told the truth seeking that DOJ position, and he lied to get the Supreme Court seat he now holds."
All of the Supreme Court justices who rule in favor of criminalizing abortion will have lied in their senate confirmations. When they do they should be impeached.
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