Here is the short cut to the full COVID report for Monday.

Two countries headed in opposite directions:

The USA versus last Monday: cases down 15% and fatalities down 46%. That’s nearly identical to the Sunday rate of change.

Brazil was again #1 in the world in total COVID fatalities, beating the USA by an enormous margin (1,114 to 788) despite having only 2/3 of the USA’s population.

452 thoughts on “COVID update

  1. Greg Abbott . . . whatta guy. With such rank incompetence and disregard for human life, I fully expect him to be near the front of the 2024 GOP Presidential Sweepstakes.

    1. Look, disregard for human life, yeah, but incompetence? I doubt it. Roughly half the GOP, especially pols, sense which way the wind’s blowing, trim their sails accordingly. Many of the grass roots jumped on that bandwagon up to 4 years ago because tax cuts were high on their wish list. To the well-off, soaring stock indexes signal their chunk of the econ is doing fine. Did you fail to notice how heavily Trump weighted that?

      Yes, thanks to a lot of brainwashed chumps, the conservative base of Trump cultists are the lion’s share of the GOP. Those like Cruz who voted against rubber-stamping the electors on Jan 6 as well as the majority of the House GOP who voted not to impeach, are taking advantage of Trump’s support, but see him for the animal he is. That, I’m sure, is how they look at it.

      There’s one additional angle that goes unremarked about the “irrational”, “incompetent” moves of GOP governors & other actors. They’re aware the GOP’s steady line since Reagan that govt can’t work was a big lie. Sucker Dems thinking everyone shared at least the goals, compromised over & over. With the outcome that their well-meant do-gooding always wound up being half-measures. The rank & file quickly learned that the left’s approach was more symbolic than effective.

      The GOP is scared as hell about the prospect that Dems will be effective & get due credit. That Keynes econ will be proven right. Even the timing of these seemingly counterproductive actions suggests it: It’s a last-ditch attempt to sabotage the pandemic recovery for fear the econ might then rebound.

      Dems are finally starting to get it that compromise with bad faith actors takes the power out of their punches. But their misconception remains: What Dems see as everyone’s interest, including self-interest, is only their opinion. Albeit widely shared within their own bubble. Not everyone everywhere shares Dem goals & beliefs as universal. Not even when it comes to democracy itself & the principle of “one person, one vote”.

      1. There was a time when I would have seen your view as overly cynical and not giving enough credit to the good-faith beliefs of thoughtful Republicans.

        Yeah… not so much any more. I think you’re right on the money, or at least a lot more right than wrong. The Republicans seem to be locked into a situation where they constantly have to lie blatantly to their constituents to stay in power, and by necessity have to cultivate a constituency of suckers and rubes.

        To some extent this aspect has always been there, because one of the things Republican politicians and large donors believe is that taxes are too high on rich people, and this is not a popular belief among the American population. Not even close. So they constantly have to do this bait and switch where they rile people up with cultural grievances to get power, then use that power to enrich the wealthy.

        These last few years have been a painful process of scales falling from my eyes and truly understanding how many charlatans and flim-flammers are in the leadership class of the Republican party, and how many idiots and loons there are in this country.

        1. I agree with Don, and especially with his third paragraph. And I have been through the same awakening about Republican’s and many other American “conservatives”.

          I disagree with some of what MikeP says about Republicans trimming their sails because of what he himself points out: “thanks to a lot of brainwashed chumps, the conservative base of Trump cultists are the lion’s share of the GOP.” This seems to me to make it impossible for the GOP to move toward the political center or even common decency.

          Their ability to remain a significant force in American politics will rely on their ability to get people to believe lies. That is very dangerous for America; the attempted coup at the Capitol on 1/6 shows that.

          1. Shoot, Roger. It seems to me you’re often a bubble off of plumb.

            trim one’s sails: Modify one’s stand, adapt to circumstances, as in His advisers told him to trim his sails before he alienated voters and bungled the election completely. This metaphoric expression alludes to adjusting a ship’s sails to take full advantage of prevailing winds. [Late 1700s]

            That is, trimming their sails doesn’t mean pulling back or them being brainwashed too. They remain unmoved, but egg on the mythos that the base already believes in.

            Did you hear the hoary old joke about the Smart Pills? Patient goes to psych doc complaining about feeling dumb, doc gives Smart Pills. Patient complains again, not getting any smarter.

            “And you know what, these pills look a lot like rabbit droppings.”
            Doc: “See? Now you’re getting smart!”

            You bet, that’s exactly what I’m saying: It’s very dangerous for us!

            And it isn’t “impossible” for them to move to the center. They have zero interest in sharing ground with the left or even with moderates. Sure, they played the game that way as long as it meant they could water down every single one of the left’s attempts at good governance. Now the burden of proof’s on the other foot already & they can just coast. Are you well & truly out of bed yet, Roger? Or are you still asleep at the switch?

        2. Your last paragraph describes the feeling of many educated people who love America. Pre-Trump, we thought that the far-right extremists were a tiny coterie of lunatics, and that Republican politicians were often honorable people with conservative positions, ala Barry Goldwater.

          That Goldwater/Johnson election is a good demonstration of the way things once were. The conservative Goldwater was a principled man who spoke with complete candor and was always willing to admit when he was wrong. The liberal Johnson was a slimy, lyin’, schemin’ bully who seemed to possess the lowest possible level of character that the American presidency could ever descend to (until a certain orange-faced fellow appeared on the scene).

          Goldwater and JFK were such good friends that they were planning to tour the country together and do a series of mutually respectful whistle-stop debates in the Lincoln-Douglas manner. Of course, Kennedy’s death scotched that snake, and the mutual respect was replaced by Johnson’s famous commercials portraying Goldwater as a maniac with a happy finger on the nuclear trigger.

          So it goes. The Republicans once had the high ground on character. The Democrats once had a firm grasp on the votes of the blue-collar workers. Things change. I get that. But what I don’t get is how I was willing to vote for a Republican for President as recently as 1988, and still respected guys like John McCain and Mitt Romney during a period that was just days in the past. How did that party turn from “conservative” to “evil” so quickly. How did that group of lunatics, a group that seemed like a tiny portion of the population, turn out to be somewhere between 35 and 40% of the electorate? How could their national leaders turn out to be so dishonest and corrupt?

          I suppose Trump really is some kind of messiah. Apparently he freed a lot of closet racists and fascists to come out into the open, and even to take pride in their ignorance, and in so doing he forced Republican politicians to follow him, because if they do not, they will face primary challenges from those who do.

          Not just challenges. Defeats.

          What scares me is that the Democrats may not be able to stem that ultra-right tide. They have the path – just be the party of common sense – but they are facing the same types of pressure from their own nutbag wing. This creates a dilemma that they may not be able to solve. They can embrace notions like slavery reparations, and therefore lose general elections by energizing the opposition and alienating the moderates; or they can come out against such ideas and lose general elections by alienating important parts of their own constituency, and therefore failing to turn out their own base. They face a future of hemming and hawing and dodging such questions. Can they do that forever?

          After this latest stimulus check, I’m almost ready to become a Republican. They are sending $2800 checks to couples making $149,000 per year. They are sending ME a $1400 check because I’m retired and in theory I have virtually no income (they don’t look at net worth). Hey, no problem. I will accept the money, but I will only use it stimulate the economy of Italy and Portugal.

          As somebody pointed out, they see a sick patient and are operating on him with a chainsaw instead of a scalpel. Sure, let’s get money to the people that need it. Bar and restaurant owners are devastated by COVID. Many unemployed people can’t get jobs because of COVID, and therefore can’t pay their monthly expenses. By all means, get money to people who need it for food and shelter. But let’s ease up on sending it to people who will use it to take an extra vacation.

          And as for tacking a minimum wage increase onto a COVID bill. Gimme a break. If you want to raise the minimum wage, create a bill for that purpose and debate it through, while studying all the repercussions. What will happen to all the middle-class people who own franchise fast-feeders and convenience stores, and will suddenly have expenses greater than their gross profits? Will you offer them some assistance? Because if you do not, they will fold, and then all those $15-per-hour jobs will be replaced by no jobs at all, and a trip back to the unemployment office. If you don’t plan to assist those small businesses, then maybe you need to raise the minimum wage gradually rather than instantly, so the small businesses can raise their prices gradually enough to keep their customers, and thus keep everyone employed in the long run. Or maybe you have to get the money elsewhere. I’m sure there are many other repercussions from a sudden, drastic increase in the minimum wage.

          Don’t get me wrong. I believe that every worker who busts his butt 40 hours per week should get enough compensation to allow for a decent place to house and feed his or her family, while still allowing him/her to set aside some money for entertainment as well as some savings for retirement and their kids’ education. That should be the goal of every developed and civilized society. But we have to think about where that money is coming from. If you tax the rich, or even the upper middle class to provide that money, I’m completely OK with it. Lower the withholding taxes and income taxes to zero on people making less than, let’s say, $40,000 a year, so that when they make $40,000, they actually have $40,000 to spend. Make up for that by raising the corresponding taxes (and other taxes) on rich people and large corporations. OK by me.

          But if you just force that poor schmuck running a 7-Eleven to go out of business because his labor line suddenly doubles, you aren’t helping anyone in the long run.

          1. I agree with some of what Uncle Scoopy says. There I things I don’t want to agree with, but I am willing to concede that he is significantly smarter and better informed than I am.

            I might suggest that the handouts of $1,400 and $2,800 to people who don’t need them that he mentions pale in comparison to the billions handed out by the Republicans to corporations in Covid relief, let alone the handouts to the rich in the Trump-era tax cut, but that may be a point that can be refuted too.

            Also, MikeP talks too fast for me to really grasp his posts, so I am not going to say anything more about them now.

          2. Republicanism works on low level knee jerks anecdotal emotions. Almost ready to vote against people getting checks when Trump JUST dropped the corporate tax rate 15% funneling millions so executives could use the breaks on tax buybacks, raise the price of their own compensation stock, and cash out in droves?

            The real problem is, we’re just a stupid tribalism species doomed to extinction because people can’t see beyond their nose with quick anecdotal responses based on ‘fairness’ of the economy.

            You’ll get 10 times the anger at someone proven to rip off the government for an undeserving small stipend than you will the systemic manipulation of trillions by the small group of people who own half the world’s wealth. Those who utilize their power and greed to steal more wealth and power through manipulation of the legal system, politics, technology, and carefully crafted intellectual property constructs that allow them to steal from others.

            But well, since people aren’t actually in the board rooms to SEE it, or spend the time on longform journalism as the very least – or research papers or books to see how it’s done – they don’t care. They care more about 144 characters and a kneejerk reaction to a 10 second GIF than the truth.

            Of all the bullshit I’ve never understood, IF this supposed ‘welfare socialist state’ existed – then why do the hell do the rich KEEP GETTING RICHER? Wouldn’t the bottom anchor most of the wealth, and not the top for the biggest differential in human history?

            A simple concept, but humanity is doomed to never learn it, or put the time in to understand how and why it happens. Why do that when you can sit on your ass and turn on FOX News and hear some white supremacist propaganda artist making eight figures a year yell at you about Dr Seuss?

          3. Thanks for that, Sir Scoopy. You are making commonsense errors. The same errors as right-wing economists who base everything they believe on theory. The kind of theory promulgated famously by Uncle Milty. Which he cleverly made very convincing by crafted stories (i.e., concocted anecdotes). Whereas left-wing economics is heavily invested in looking at real data. We are, after all, now living in the age of Big Data. So right-leaners consequently are indirectly relying on stories, while us sort-of-southpaws are taking our cues indirectly from facts.

            Thus, we have Matt Lewis, a mainstream media Bill DeeCee type, like Frum, Brooks, Kristol, Will, Stevens, well, there’s a long list on Wikipedia of anti-Trump conservatives specific to the 2020 cycle. He was mad as hell at Biden for promising inclusiveness & then throwing in that $15 min wage. I have 2 rebuttals to him. 1st, Matt thinks raising wages costs jobs & that’s the effect of min wage. Because he gets his facts from respected conservative experts.

            But the theory behind that hot take is Econ 101, not professional econ. In real life, the truth is more complicated, as it always is. But as it turns out, there’s lots of data on this & the reality just happens to be rather close to the left’s wishful thinking about it. Sure, downsides are possible, but that figure of $15 is actually in the not yet too dangerous range, where any negatives are likely to be mild, unlikely severe. In short, expected value of job loss is 0, or extremely close to. This is not theory. It’s fact.

            My 2nd rebuttal is broader. The reason the left’s experts are so data-driven is that’s a misnomer. They’re economists. Economics is almost another word for libertarian. They start to the right & only lessons from the real world shift them gradually to the left of center. The majority of “lefty” economists seldom venture too far in that direction. It’s just that they seem to be contradicting everything conservatives fervently believe practically 100% of the time. As many lefty econs are putting it nowadays, the facts have a liberal bias.

            And so it is with means-testing. Common sense turns out to be wrong. Economists have looked carefully at the costs & benefits. Take Soc Sec for example. Not means tested. There are caps on both how much you put in & how much you can get back out, in fact how much you get as a function of both input & age. None of that requires you to report either income or assets. Now, as it turns out, there are 2 big downsides to such detailed reporting.

            1) Administration. It takes a lot of bureaucracy to stay on top of that mass of data. Need I say more than “IRS”? 2) The burden is more manageable the greater your means. This inevitably leads to the folks you cut out being precisely those with the greatest need. Like, people whose income was too low to file didn’t get their universal flat dole from the CARES act. That was the fault of the income cap routinely supported by both left & right, but most fervently by the left. The difference now is that so-called “lefty” economists happen to have the ear of Dem pols including our POTUS at the moment. Guess what, all good conservatives still listen to their long-trusted experts, unaware that facts on the ground prove them so full of crap all these decades.

            Now, to your point that what the hell’s a wage policy doing in a disaster relief bill? OK, lessee, which side was it who raised the issue that pandemic countermeasures were killing the economy? Mostly, lefties have been shy about their emergency aid being confused with mere economic stimulus. This situation is not really comparable, after all, to what caused 2008’s recession. But the truth is, the recovery’s success will be seen in two ways: the pandemic stats you’re tracking; and the breadth & depth of the economic rebound. Seemingly irrelevant tack-ons like a min wage rise are actually pretty easy to implement & not costly, at least in terms of govt spending. It turns out min wage laws are essentially self-enforced by employers. The intended effect, that is also likely to occur, is more equitable splitting of the recovery pie. Better still, this is a “redistribution” that takes place *before* taxes. We make the economy itself do the adjustment naturally instead of taking away hard-earned income arbitrarily just so we can give it back in entitlements, to the “taker” class.

            Don’t get me wrong, there are job shifts (mostly lateral from one to another type at a similar wage level). But really quite modest, compared to the disastrous, evil picture typically envisioned by conservatives. The data economists do look not just at the bottom of the wage scale, either. They also looked for knock-on effects on wages & job loss at all wage levels. Even though $15 seems so big (over double what it is now) — it’s been artificially suppressed for years while the job market has actually been creeping up with inflation as the min wage stagnated — a big portion of that rise has the effect of simply reinstating the cost of living adjustments that normally would’ve been done had it not been for the obscene politics at play.

            To recap, paying you a windfall you don’t deserve SAVES MONEY, making the program cheaper to run & costing less to taxpayers than administering the exact same dole program but cheating you of your ill-gotten gains. And at the same time, it’s FAIRER where it matters most. Economics at govt scale is no place for amateurs. You’re well-meaning, but let’s face it, just as bad as your average, much-derided liberal. OBTW, “if you don’t plan to assist those small businesses…” WTF?

            Why the hell else do you think the tab ran up to that whopping figure? Exactly to factor in that kind of knock-on needs. There’s relief targeted to businesses big & small, to local & state govts, because they have more limited revenues & the most-harmed, neediest folks depend more on local programs than so-called “entitlements” (aside from the direct dole). There’s one other great thing that happens when money manages to get to poorer people: They spend it. You (and I), OTOH, can afford to just add it to your (my) savings acct or what-you(I)-will. The reason rich people’s money doesn’t trickle down is they don’t spend it. They don’t even hire more workers or raise wages. Because you don’t add plant or labor to create demand. You satisfy the demand you project. Since our economy is mostly driven by consumer demand, shoving excess money to business & the wealthy gets redirected to other purposes that turn out not to stimulate the economy. The term of art economists call such other purposes is “savings”. I don’t know econ half as well as Adam Tondowsky but I don’t think he’s straightened out either me or anyone else’s misconceptions half as much as we need straightening out, so somebody’s gotta try & fill in that gap. So I’m nominating myself. 🙂

          4. OK, Roger makes a good enough pt. Tho arguably it’s a little bit whatabout-ish. Indy makes a number of pts I also agree with.

            I mostly agree with our Uncle Scoopy’s pts, too. But he’s showing a common tendency, that conservatives tend to suffer from to an even greater extent, of getting the wrong sign. In some cases due to a minor misconception about a deceptively simple-seeming but actually technical & significant pt. That in fact propels them headlong into that sign reversal. Sorry, I really don’t mean to sound so dismissive. But I look at it the way I do, because that’s the way I think I know what I’m doing, and it just turns out that I can’t see it your way. If I’m wrong, Mea Culpa. Mea Maxima Culpa.

  2. Wow. I don’t see anything dated after February 9. I guess we got tired of talking about Covid.

    I hope Tanner is all right.

    1. Some of it is caused by an easing of the post-Christmas spike. Think of the first two weeks, approx Jan 9-22, not as a sudden downward turn, but rather as a return to the (already quite high) pre-Christmas levels.

      The decline since then is presumably related to vaccinations, or at least I have no alternate or supplementary explanation at the moment.

    2. No, still too soon to see vax effects. It’s social. Vax in CA is going very slowly. Supply shortages.

      Think about it. Surge on top of surge didn’t happen. People had thought they were experienced–savvy. Thought they could pull it off. Break the rules safely. The surge proved them wrong. They were chastened. At least, those who believed. Which is most of us. They backed off. Got careful again.

      I’m seeing lotta double masks in my county. That’s new. Cases cut in half. Precipitous drop in positivity–2 whole tiers. Widespread to substantial to moderate in 2-3 weeks.

  3. The US: “Wisconsin pharmacist who destroyed more than 500 vaccine doses believes Earth is flat, FBI says” Only in the US.

    1. Stuff it. You have your own collection of flaming loonies and fascists.
      Does the name Geert Wilders ring a bell? And even the beloved Queen Juliana had a wackola obsession with extraterrestrials and reincarnation.

      1. Can’t we all just agree that everyone is garbage (excepting, of course, commenters on this website, who are models of probity) and Covid just sets fire to them?

      2. Bill, the irredeemable awfulness of the United States is Tanner’s personal flat earth theory. Rational arguments about that are not going to get anywhere with him. That is why I approve of your telling him to stuff it.

        After granting that he is a model of probity, as Nature Mom suggests, of course.

      3. Everyone’s right, here. Especially Nature Mom. Yes, there are bad things anywhere. Wherever there’s relative freedom, there are outliers.

        But whatabout whatever Tanner’s country is a deflection. Misdirection is always the goal of any of the related rhetorical tactics, including the one where it happens to be holding up a mirror back at the accuser.

        I mean, the U.S. has problems right now. They’re big problems, not small ones. As far as I’m concerned, I couldn’t care less about the problems in Europe or China. Well, I do care. But if America stays the way it is now, that’s the ballgame. If the Dems don’t get rid of the filibuster, little good gets done in the next 2 years. In the meantime, the GOP across the country keeps up the good work of rigging voting rules. So the GOP takes back the Senate. Then democracy dies in darkness. Ha ha. I just mean, it dies.

        So, don’t stuff it, Tanner. Make anyone here who’s a blind flag-waver sick of your anti-American negativity.

        1. Tanner is suggesting the USA is the worst place on earth. We are pointing out others that have the same issues. That does not seem like whataboutism to me. But if you feel America is the worst, feel free to actually make that case.

          1. Didn’t mean it to smell like that. My point is that there’s one (or, to your point, three) horse’s ass in any crowd. Probably some astonishingly cool people too, but they rarely make the news. This shouldn’t be generalized to an entire country, or its population.

  4. According to NBC news article posted to on Sunday: “Protesters torch Covid test center in Holland on first day of curfew”.

    A) I am sorry to hear this is a problem in a place like the Netherlands.

    B) I await Tanner’s explanation of how this shows the US is awful.

    1. Per the GF, nothing yet in Haarlem where she lives but it’s been nasty in A-Dam. Whole thing started in a spot called Urk – which has now displaced Bergen op Zoom as my favorite Dutch place name.

  5. I’d like to add 2 updates with slightly softer takes on the new variants than my last. Afterward, if you’ll please forgive a couple of digressions tying off loose ends from closed threads.

    Troubling pattern of CoV mutants

    South Africa mutation may weaken effect of vaccines

    The term of art is antibody resistance. Anyway, it seems the thrust is, we might need to reformulate our vaccines to mop up hopefully smaller “aftershock” epidemics a few months later. IOW, 1 or more added rounds of shots.

    2. At the end of the Vox article there’s a typo “arm’s race”. My feeling is this sort of slip was rare in the heyday of print, but is all too commonplace now. In a direct quote, a speaker can’t misspell words. The reporter is to blame. In a like vein, MidCon deserves a Mrs. Malaprop Medal for his contributions to humor: “eutopia”, gotta say that’s good; and “both sides of the isle”. Gilligan’s, I presume.

    3. What bugs me about “unlikeable” is it’s passive aggressive. “X is unlikeable” isn’t the same as “I don’t like X”. This diff is insidious. The latter is mutual — just between us. X can say “I don’t like you either.” This isn’t a claim, really. Veracity isn’t in doubt. No evidence is called for. It stands at face value.

    But how do you counter the claim that you’re unlikeable? That’s an opinion, not a fact. But it’s unfair. The opiner has shed the onus. “Hey, I’m just the messenger.” The burden of proof falls on the receiver. Who’s placed on their heels. Forced to make a case in their own defense not to their accuser but relative to bystanders. In short, this move is dirty pool.

    4. About that rioter shot by a cop. The blame lies not with that officer. Security forces were outnumbered & unprepared — without nonlethal means. Individual cops didn’t know who was still in harm’s way nor whether any of the rioters might be armed.

    WaPo: Rioter shot dead in the act of Capitol B&E

    Rioter shot to death climbing thru smashed window

    Includes an eyewitness account by a Republican house member.

    1. MyKep, thanks for making all these good points. I do have a question about your point 4 – are people saying that the woman who was shot dead in the January 6 insurrection should not have been shot? I hadn’t heard that, and I am surprised.

      1. Yes&no. In ripples. No, AFAICT, most people aren’t saying not a “clean shooting”. Cop did his job. In the moment. Made a call. Like a ref. But yes, she should be alive. She should never have been there.

        Defenses should’ve been prepared. Nonlethal means should precede deadly force. The crowd should’ve been held at bay. Out beyond a wider perimeter. Intel should’ve been heeded. Then there’s the incitement. Gullible people were baited. Mis-led. By lies.

        In a wide angle lens, armed cops shouldn’t be our catchall problem-solvers. In gun training it’s said, never point a gun at a living thing unless you truly intend to kill it. (Set aside drug darts.) Cops should be a last resort. As enlightened minds say rightly of soldiers.

        If we can’t deal with a good citizen like Ashli Babbitt — who IMO was nuts — short of killing them, then arguably a “free country” is not possible.

        1. I agree, Ms. Babbitt should not have been able to get to where she was in a position to need to be shot. That is because of Trump and his appointees, IMO. They deliberately refused to mobilize against the rioters.

          As for your third paragraph, I further agree that armed cops should not be where so many problems get dumped. That is what “defunding the police” is REALLY about. Unfortunately, that label was a godsend to the right.

          Finally, per your last point, I think in a free country it is not practical to prevent people from committing suicide. Some people do that by forcing others to kill them in self defense.

          Changes there will await improvements in funding for mental health care and improvements in psychological science (or non-lethal weapons?), but it is hard to see how it can be stopped entirely in a way consistent with personal liberty.

          1. Yup. To amplify rather than disagree, gun-control advocates argue misleadingly in that statistically, the serious reason to have fewer guns in circulation isn’t violence but suicide prevention. Especially handguns. That’s the means of choice for most males. Any delay in doing the deed is often enough to halt the decision.

          2. Add: Another maxim we’re taught is there’s no such thing as an unloaded gun. Except for a brief moment after you’ve actually looked & know for a fact that the chamber, barrel & magazine are all empty.

          3. No, it’s that they don’t *stress* suicide. They talk about accidents & assault. Both of which are just blips compared to suicide. Often they don’t even *mention* suicide. Because suicide isn’t polarizing. It lacks the emotional/political juice they want to drive the issue with.

          4. BTW, I’d point out the distinction between “in that” in my original sentence & just a naked “that”.

          5. M: “arguably a “free country” is not possible.”

            R: “In a free country it is not practical to prevent people from committing suicide. Some people do that by forcing others to kill them in self defense.”

            1) That doesn’t rebut my claim. There’s no such thing as a free country. It’s an aspiration. My position contra extremists is that given we have conflicting aspirations, we can never get there. It’s good to have these aspirations. But realistic expectations will let us improve. Progress in our good directions is the most we should expect. We should appreciate what we’ve achieved. Not only bemoan our shortcomings.

            2) I had just talked about that very thing. That reducing guns in homes would in fact prevent suicides. Not all. But some. Your attempt to move the goalposts on me was well-meaning but if you think about it, my point was we obsess over the pathological cases, disregarding their rarity.

            Sure, it might’ve been much better had I been able to propose a way to reduce “suicide by cop” incidents to 0. Had I offered that & we did cut that to 0, that would still be far less impact than the reduction in boring suicides by more conventional means that gun control could do for us. But here, right here, we’ve just illustrated why that’s such a hard case to make. We can’t keep our eye on the ball.

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