Tag Archives: bullshit

Political Correctness in Coroners’ Courts

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Filed under New Zealand, Random Grumps & Raves, Rights and Responsibility, The Demise of Democracy and Freedom
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The NZ Herald reports here that a coroner has recommended that a licence should be needed to hire nail guns – a move labeled an overreaction by DIYers.

William McLay, 56, was found dead in his Kapiti Coast home by police in March 2009.  He had hired a Ramset nail gun from Hire Equip two days before his death.

In July 2012, Coroner Ian Smith concluded that Mr McLay, who was unemployed and had a history of anxiety and depression, committed suicide.  The coroner has recommended to the Government that people who want to a hire nail guns be required to produce a licence to operate such equipment.

He noted that he had dealt with other cases involving the tools.

Now, Coroners inquests in New Zealand are inquisitorial; they are fact-finding exercises.  They establish cause of death, and if the coroner finds that there is something we could change that would significantly reduce the likelihood of similar occurrences without other undesirable consequences, he or she may make a recommendation.  In this case, Mr McLay killed himself with the nail gun.  A gun, eh?!  Guns are deadly, says Ian Smith. All guns should be licensed and heavily restricted.  After all, just look at what happened here.  Nail guns can be hired freely, and William McLay took advantage of that, hired a nail gun and committed suicide with it.  Obviously the only remedy is to introduce yet another restriction, yet another control, yet another compliance cost, to the nanny/school-marm state!  It is the only politically correct thing to do.  Right?

If we followed Ian Smith’s recommendation and  legislated to require licensing of all nail gun users, what consequences would we expect?

  • Well, it would inconvenience DIYers, who would either face the compliance cost of obtaining a licence, or would no longer have the option of hiring a nail gun for their larger projects.
  • For some, lacking the nail gun option might prevent them altogether from doing all but the smallest DIY projects.
  • It would increase the work-load of the licensing examiners and bureaucrats, thus increasing their numbers, inflating the compliance  costs and possibly forcing increases in taxes and rates.

What consequence should we not expect?

Any reduction in our suicide rates.  It might, just might, reduce the likelihood of the  choice  of a  nail gun as  a suicide method, but would  not prevent the seriously depressed from ending it all.  There  were other avenues open to McLay.

In fact, if the coroner  recommended restricting access to ropes, cutlery, power tools of all sorts, streams, rivers, oceans, all bridges more than one metre above the surface, gas heaters, razor  blades, rat poison, motor vehicles,  ladders, petrol, LPG, pool chlorine  and anything remotely capable of causing death, it wouldn’t make a blind bit of difference to the suicide rate.

It would merely make our lives even more difficult and costly than the nanny and school-marm state zealots  have so far succeeded in achieving.

 

TV Sets and Global Warming – a Ground-breaking Study

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Filed under Global Warming, Things to Consider
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Climate scientists have developed new models which plot natural oceanic temperature cycles, solar activity, and cathode-ray-tube (CRT) television household penetration against average global temperatures over time.  They show a surprising an unexpected result.  The recent unprecedented change in climate appears to be closely related to the number of cathode ray television sets in use.

At the beginning of the second world war, there were only about 8000 sets in use.  By 1949, there were over 3,602,872 in the US alone, and by 1959 accumulated sales in the US totalled more than 67 million.  Sales continued through the 70s and 80s at over 10 million sets per year.  As the global economy flourished, the trend was replicated all over the developing world.  The studies showed that the globe warmed more and more rapidly, matching the rising numbers of TV sets, until around the turn of the millennium, when it paused for ten years, and now appears to be in decline.

Interestingly, the models hind-cast the temperature variations since 1950 with astonishing accuracy. And critically, when the CRT penetration is removed from the models, we cannot explain those temperature variations.  There is no other acceptable conclusion, no other factor that can achieve the match with temperature variations.

Ah, I hear you object, China and India, the new Asian super-economies, are booming.  The number of TV sets sold is sky-rocketing again.  If Global Warming has ceased, how could it possibly be related to TV sets?  Right now, the number of sets in use in the world is 1416338245.

Pay attention!  TV technology has undergone a sea change.  The cathode-ray tube is out.  In the twenty-first century, flat-screen TFT and LED screens have taken over.  These do not emit the same radiation as the older, earth-warming monsters that sat in the corner of the room and heated our planet.  And as the old CRT screens sputter, distort and die, they are being replaced by the new, green, tree-hugging, polar-bear-loving flatties.  We are saved!

Earlier climate models achieved a reasonable match using global CO2 atmospheric variations, enough to give cause to speculate that the reason for the rise might be CO2.  But only to speculate.  CO2 concentrations are still rising at an increasing rate, but the global temperature since 2000, initially flat, is now declining.

And that, dear readers, should be the end of the argument.  I defy you to show me that this little analysis is any less robust or scientific than all of the scientific reports used by the IPCC, Al Gore, the EU or Skeptical Science.  The data behind my reasoning shows a closer match to world temperature fluctuations than any of the computer models used by NASA, GISS or UEA.

Trust the science on this.  Using our model, we can predict with 98.73% certainty that the temperature will decline for the next thirty years to at least the same level as it was in 1970.  More likely it will be even lower, as by 2040 there will be very few CRTs still in use.

What’s that?  You want to examine my data?  You have a confounded cheek.  It’s commercially sensitive and the TV companies have placed it under an embargo.

And I didn’t archive it, and seem to have lost it.

A Judge who thinks NZ Murderers don’t really mean it

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Filed under Random Grumps & Raves
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On Tuesday 8 March 2011, Justice Joseph Williams sentenced Rikki Leigh Scott Ngatai-Check, 23, to life imprisonment, with a minimum non-parole period of 17 years, for kicking a two-year old toddler to death for wetting his pants.  Seventeen years before he can even apply for parole.  That’s pretty strong these days, when our penal systems are organised on the precept that all criminals are basically good guys, who need only TLC and rehabilitation to set them right, in spite of our appalling rate of criminal recidivism.

The sentence is deservedly strong.  Here is the shocking sequence of events, transcribed from the NZ Herald report:

The murderer was in charge of the little boy, who slept on the couch while Ngatai-Check spotted cannabis with a friend.  The boy woke up wet.

Ngatai-Check spun the child around, slamming him into a coffee table.  The impact broke the child’s ribs, causing internal bleeding.  The caring killer took the wounded boy to the toilet and left him there, while he went to the bedroom to play video games.

Five or ten minutes later, the boy came into the bedroom, trailing toilet paper.  Ngatai-Check sat up and planted a roundhouse style kick in the boy’s stomach, tearing internal tissue.  Then he kicked him again, ramming him against the wardrobe door.  This time the impact split the boy’s pancreas.

Ngatai-Check then took the boy to hospital, where he died.

One might expect the judge’s words to be at least as strong as the sentence.  One would be wrong.  This is what Justice Joseph Williams said:

“You did a monstrous thing, but I do not think you are a monster.  No one says you intended to kill Karl”.

Noting that Ngatai-Check had no previous history of violent behaviour, the judge said the stress of his hidden relationship was possibly made worse on the day because “you probably didn’t want baby Karl dumped on you again and just wanted to chill out”.  Moreover, Justice Williams said beatings from a stepfather when he was young had taught Ngatai-Check that children should “harden up”.  The judge noted further that in later years Ngatai-Check had been in the shadows of the Wanganui drug and gang scene, which normalised brutality. There, “violence is not just OK, it is downright cool”.

But the judge said there were “sadly too many cases like this”, in which adults abused the trust of vulnerable children – some much worse than Ngatai-Check’s.  He also stressed that the mandatory 17-year non-parole period was introduced by Parliament as a reminder that “these little people are at our mercy. We can so easily kill them”.

In NZ, murder means unlawful deliberate homicide.  Intent must be established to the satisfaction of the jury for a murder conviction to be obtained.  Yet here we have a sentencing judge who states that the killer, poor little Rikki Ngatai-Check, did not intend the killing, that he is a victim of his upbringing and gang lifestyle, wanted nothing more sinister than to chill out, and is receiving the heavy sentence only because an act of parliament made it mandatory!

What on earth is the judge thinking of?  All I can offer is a very astute quote from a Daily Telegraph blog posting by a British journalist, James Delingpole:

“We no longer understand or value our civilisation; indeed many of us feel rather embarrassed about it. We have been taught to view all our great historical achievements through a filter of post-colonial guilt; we have learned the weasel art of cultural relativism where, in their own special way, cultures that practise female circumcision and bury homosexuals under walls are just as vibrant, valid and meaningful as the one that gave us Michelangelo, penicillin and the splitting of the atom; we’ve been persuaded that elitism and authority are undesirable”.

Judges like Williams may be part of the reason that Parliament found it necessary to impose a seventeen-year minimum parole period for child-murderers.  I am sad that it was necessary, but glad they did so.  Frankly, I wish they would do so for all murders.