A few things caught my eye in recent days.
Like this report, which shows that more Americans have been killed by guns since 1968 than all the wars we've participated in combined.
The numbers look like this: About 1.17 million people have died in combat since the founding of the U.S. About 1.49 million have died of a gunshot since 1968.
America has some 33,000 gun deaths annually. Most are suicides. Homicides account for 11,000.
Other troubling stats: There have been at least 1,042 mass shootings since Sandy Hook. On average, there is more than one mass shooting per day in America. Since the Aug. 9, 2014, police shooting of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri, police have killed at least 1,112 people, the majority by gunshots. And police are more likely to be killed in states with high rates of gun ownership.
I know folks love their guns, but this is getting more than kinda nuts. Especially when so many nuts have guns.
Then there were the stats about who is buying property in the Islands. Not surprisingly, it's a lot of folks from the mainland and other countries. Because who else can afford a house that costs, on average, over $500,000?
On Kauai, local buyers (and by that is meant residents, not “locals” per se) accounted for just 54.5% of sales. On Maui, it's even lower — 48%.
Not surprisingly, the state's highest home prices were found in Hanalei, where the real estate market has been given a big boost from the highly lucrative vacation rental trade. Unless there's a massive tsunami, which is likely at some point, that area has been forever lost to locals.
More than 38 percent of mainland homebuyers were from California, followed by 10.5 percent from Texas and 8.5 percent from Washington state.
And what's the first thing folks do when they get their piece of “paradise?” They feel compelled to “save it” from something (other than themselves, of course) and thus give money and support to misguided causes and the politicians who advance them.
Let's face it. Local culture is fading. And that's sad, because it's as distinct as many of the plants and animals — also endangered — that make Hawaii unique.
Finally, Jan TenBruggencate had an interesting post yesterday on the link between fear, unfounded allegations and denial. Though he uses climate change as an example, we've certainly seen it at work with biotech crops and pesticides. As Jan wrote:
The Michigan State folks conducted a study that gave a large group of people positive messages about resolving climate change, and negative messages about denying it exists.
The negative messages resonated. The positive ones didn’t.
The researchers found that the positive messages didn’t change anybody’s mind, and the negative message significantly weakened support for climate action.
People getting the negative message were more apt to doubt the existence of climate change. And that applied to both conservatives and liberals.
Which is why we keep seeing the anti-GMO/anti-ag groups delivering a relentless stream of negative messages. They intentionally sow “seeds of doubt.” And they're so blatant about it that they actually hosted a conference entitled “Seeds of Doubt” to convey this ominous — but ultimately false — message:
Use of genetically modified organisms (GMOs) in the US is quickly becoming one of the most dangerous and dramatic health threats ever to affect our planet.
Nope, you don't need to bother with facts and evidence when you're plying the timeworn trade of sensationalism and fear.
Or as Jan aptly noted:
Fear and allegations of conspiracies are powerful tools—if you can use them and still sleep at night.