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Despite What Biden Says, Guns Factor In Only A Small Percentage Of Violent Crimes

Despite What Biden Says, Guns Factor In Only A Small Percentage Of Violent Crimes

Authored by John R. Lott Jr. via RealClearInvestigations (emphasis ours),

In response to sharp increases in violent crime, President Biden stressed again last.

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Despite What Biden Says, Guns Factor In Only A Small Percentage Of Violent Crimes

Authored by John R. Lott Jr. via RealClearInvestigations (emphasis ours),

In response to sharp increases in violent crime, President Biden stressed again last week that his administration is focused on “stemming the flow of firearms used to commit violent crimes.” But critics warn that this “guns first” approach ignores a basic fact—about 92% of violent crimes in America do not involve firearms.

Although firearms were used in about 74% of homicides in 2019, they comprise less than 9% of violent crimes in America.

The vast majority of violent offenses—including robberies, rapes and other sex crimes—almost always involve other weapons or no weapons at all.

Consider Chicago, which has become a national symbol of violent crime. While shootings have increased by about 11% this year, the number of murders has decreased slightly in 2021—to 382 as of July 11 compared to 387 for the same time period last year. The dramatic increase Chicago is experiencing is in sex crimes—a 23% rise (1,068 as of July 11 compared with 868 during the same period in 2020).

Police investigate the scene in which police opened fire during an arrest near 109 S Kilpatrick in West Garfield Park in Chicago, Ill., on July 9, 2021. (Anthony Vazquez/Chicago Sun-Times via AP)

In New York City, murders through the same period have dropped by 36.4% compared to last year. But robberies are up by 18%, rapes by 9%, and other sex crimes by 35%—all of which do not usually involve guns, sex crimes rarely so. This year murders make up 0.3% of felonies.

Even if gun crime were to rise dramatically, experts point out that it would still be a small fraction of overall violent crime.

The National Crime Victimization Survey, in the latest year available (2019), shows that there were 5,440,680 rapes, robberies, and aggravated assaults and 16,425 murders. Firearms were used in 440,830 incidents for rapes, robberies, and aggravated assaults (Table 25) and 10,258 murders. Adding those numbers up, 8.27% of violent crime incidents involved firearms. The percentage has stayed virtually the same for decades. For example, in 2000, it was 8.5%. In 2010, it was 9% (Table 4). Nor do most gun crimes end in murder: just 2% do.

The gulf between Democrats and Republicans on this is large. While Democrats are continuing to push for restrictions on police authority, Republican states are responding by giving police more power to do their job.

Nevertheless, Biden and other Democrats argue that lax gun control, which allows gun trafficking, is responsible for the increase in violent crime. The Biden administration’s focus on gun crimes is seen in the titles the White House put on Biden’s talks in April, June and last week: “Remarks by President Biden on Gun Violence Prevention,” “Remarks by President Biden and Attorney General Garland on Gun Crime Prevention Strategy,” and “Remarks by President Biden Discussing His Administration’s Comprehensive Strategy to Reduce Gun Crimes.”

President Joe Biden speaks on gun crime prevention measures as Attorney General Merrick Garland looks on at the White House in Washington, on June 23, 2021. (Kevin Dietsch/Getty Images)

In three speeches on crime, Biden mentioned “gun” or “firearm” 148 times. The term “weapon,” sometimes in connection with “assault weapon,” is used another 21 times. By contrast, when not directly discussing guns, he mentioned the words “crime,” “violence,” or “violent” about half as often—89 times.

Unmentioned by the president as factors in the violent crime increase were last year’s widespread unrest over the George Floyd murder and the dislocations of the pandemic, including mass layoffs, youths kept out of schools and, notably, the early release of many convicts from infection-prone prisons. Against this backdrop, some scholars question the president’s focus on gun laws.

“What change in gun control laws in 2020 could possibly explain the increase in violent crime over the last year?” asked Carl Moody, an economist who specializes in studying crime at the College of William & Mary, in an interview with RealClearInvestigations. “Why did violent crime increase now, rather than two or three or four years ago?” he asked rhetorically.

The White House did not respond to a request for comment.

Republicans, such as former Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker, point more generally to law enforcement. They argue that in many urban areas, more than half of prison inmates have been released on account of the pandemic and the releases are continuing. Bail reforms allow those accused of crime to remain on the streets. In some places, police have been ordered to stand down and their budgets cut. Prosecutors in many major urban areas have refused to prosecute violent criminals.

The Los Angeles Police Protective League, the union that represents rank-and-file officers, released a statement late last year criticizing Los Angeles County’s then newly elected District Attorney George Gascón’s pledge (since fulfilled) to reduce criminal sentences and eliminate cash bail for misdemeanors. “As homicides, shooting victims and shots fired into occupied homes soar in Los Angeles,” the union wrote, “it’s disturbing that Gascón’s first act in office is to explore every avenue possible to release from jail those responsible for this bloodshed.”

Gascón’s office did not respond to a request for comment.

Police officers patrol in their car in Los Angeles, Calif., on Nov. 1, 2020. (Chris Delmas/AFP via Getty Images)

In contrast with Republicans, Biden mentioned policing just four times in his three addresses. He did so once in connection with “red flag” gun laws, and three times boasted that the American Rescue Plan passed earlier this year by Congress provided funds to hire “more police officers, more nurses, more counselors, more social workers.” However, the bill did not require that local governments spend any of the $350 billion they received on law enforcement.

Moody told RealClearInvestigations that the president’s emphasis on violent crime is “understandable if only because of how heavily concentrated murders are in the country.” Over 50% of the murders take place in just 2% of the counties (60 of the 3,140 counties, the 60 making up 27.5% of the population), and even within those counties most murders occur within 10-block areas. These are overwhelmingly gang-related murders. They are surely important, but don’t touch the lives of most Americans. Fifty-four percent of counties have no murders and another 15% have one.

This article was written by John R. Lott Jr for RealClearInvestigations.

Tyler Durden Fri, 07/23/2021 - 22:20

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Potential COVID-19 Treatment Found in Llama Antibodies

The need to uncover effective COVID-19 treatments remains imperative, as case counts remain steady eighteen months into the pandemic. Recent findings point to unique antibodies produced by llamas—nanobodies—as a promising treatment. The small, stable,…

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A significant milestone in the COVID-19 pandemic was crossed this week. The number of deaths in the United States due to COVID-19—more than 675,000—has surpassed the number of deaths that occurred during the 1918 flu pandemic. In addition, there are still roughly 150,000 new cases every day. Eighteen months into the pandemic, the need for effective treatments against COVID-19 remains as great as ever.

One possible treatment, neutralizing single domain antibodies (nanobodies), has significant potential. The unique antibody produced by llamas is small, stable, and could possibly be administered as a nasal spray—an important characteristic as the antibody treatments currently in use require administration by infusion in the hospital. Now, new research shows that nanobodies can effectively target the SARS-CoV-2 virus.

The team from the Rosalind Franklin Institute found that short chains of the molecules, which can be produced in large quantities, showed “potent therapeutic efficacy in the Syrian hamster model of COVID-19 and separately, effective prophylaxis.”

This work is published in Nature Communications in the paper, “A potent SARS-CoV-2 neutralizing nanobody shows therapeutic efficacy in the Syrian golden hamster model of COVID-19.

The nanobodies, which bind tightly to the SARS-CoV-2 virus, neutralizing it in cell culture, could provide a cheaper and easier to use alternative to human antibodies taken from patients who have recovered from COVID-19.

“Nanobodies have a number of advantages over human antibodies,” said Ray Owens, PhD, head of protein production at the Rosalind Franklin Institute. “They are cheaper to produce and can be delivered directly to the airways through a nebulizer or nasal spray, so can be self-administered at home rather than needing an injection. This could have benefits in terms of ease of use by patients but it also gets the treatment directly to the site of infection in the respiratory tract.”

Credit: Rosalind Franklin Institute

The research team was able to generate the nanobodies by injecting a portion of the SARS-CoV-2 spike protein into a llama called Fifi, who is part of the antibody production facility at the University of Reading. They were able to purify four nanobodies capable of binding to SARS-CoV-2. Four nanobodies (C5, H3, C1, F2) engineered as homotrimers had pmolar affinity for the receptor-binding domain (RBD) of the SARS-CoV-2 spike protein. Crystal structures showed that C5 and H3 overlap the ACE2 epitope, while C1 and F2 bind to a different epitope.

Regarding their effectiveness against variants, the C1, H3, and C5 nanobodies all neutralized the Victoria strain, and the highly transmissible Alpha (B.1.1.7 first identified in Kent, U.K.) strain. In addition, C1 neutralizes the Beta (B.1.35, first identified in South Africa).

When one of the nanobody chains was administered to hamsters infected with SARS-CoV-2, the animals showed a marked reduction in disease, losing far less weight after seven days than those who remained untreated. Hamsters that received the nanobody treatment also had a lower viral load in their lungs and airways after seven days than untreated animals.

“Because we can see every atom of the nanobody bound to the spike, we understand what makes these agents so special,” said James Naismith, PhD, director of the Rosalind Franklin Institute. If successful and approved, nanobodies could provide an important treatment around the world as they are easier to produce than human antibodies and don’t need to be stored in cold storage facilities, added Naismith.

“Having medications that can treat the virus,” noted Naismith, “is still going to be very important, particularly as not all of the world is being vaccinated at the same speed and there remains a risk of new variants capable of bypassing vaccine immunity emerging.”

The researchers also hope the nanobody technology they have developed could form a so-called “platform technology” that can be rapidly adapted to fight other diseases.

The post Potential COVID-19 Treatment Found in Llama Antibodies appeared first on GEN - Genetic Engineering and Biotechnology News.

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China Syndrome? Is Evergrande A Symptom Of Deeper Malaise

China Syndrome? Is Evergrande A Symptom Of Deeper Malaise

Authored by Bill Blain via MorningPorridge.com,

“If that’s true, we are very close to the China Syndrome ”

Evergrande’s imminent default is rocking markets – but few believe…

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China Syndrome? Is Evergrande A Symptom Of Deeper Malaise

Authored by Bill Blain via MorningPorridge.com,

“If that’s true, we are very close to the China Syndrome ”

Evergrande’s imminent default is rocking markets – but few believe the collapse of a Chinese property developer could trigger a global financial crisis. What if Evergrande is just a symptom of a deeper malaise within the Chinese economy and its political/business structures? Maybe there is more at stake than we realise? What if Emperor Xi decides he needs a distraction?

Amid this week's market turbulence, and the overnight headlines, Evergrande dominates thinking this morning. The early headlines say the risk is “easing”. Don’t be fooled. S&P are on the wires saying it’s on the brink of default and is unlikely to get govt support. It’s Asia’s largest junk-bond issuer. Anyone for the last few choc-ices then?

The market view on the coming Evergrande “event” is mixed. Some analysts are dismissing it as an internal “China event”, others reckon there may be some systemic risk but one Government can easily address. There is some speculation about “lessons” to be learnt… There are even China supporters who reckon its proof of robust China capitalism – the right to fail is a positive!

I’ve got a darker perspective.

The massive shifts we’ve seen in China’s political/business public persona over the past few years have been variously ascribed: a reaction to Trump’s protectionism, China taking its place as a leading nation, Xi flexing his military muscle, and now a clampdown on divisive wealthy businesses to promote common prosperity.

What if Evergrande is just a symptom of something much deeper?

That that last 30-years of runaway Chinese growth has resulted in a deepening internal crisis, one that we barely perceive in the west? What if the excesses that have spawned Evergrande and the illusion every Chinese can afford luxury flats and a western standard of living is about to implode? Crashing oriental minor chords!

The looming Chinese property debacle will be fascinating, but it many respects will be similar and yet very different to the multiple market unwinds we’ve seen in the west. How it plays out will have all kinds of implications for growth, speculation and how global investors perceive China in the future. Folk are variously describing it as China’s Lehman Brothers, or the next “Minsky Moment” when speculation ends with a sharp jab of reality to the kidneys.

I’m thinking back to a story I read a few years ago about the Shanghai Auto-fair pre-pandemic. Evergrande New Electric Vehicles had the largest stand and was showing off 11 different EVs. Not one of these were actually available to buy – they were all models of as-yet unproduced cars. The company was valued at billions and yet never sold a single vehicle. This morning, it’s just another worthless business Evergrande is trying to flog. (See this story on Bloomberg TV: China’s Zombie EV Makers.)

The market is asking itself a host of questions about Evergrande’s collapse: How bad will its tsunami of Chinese contagion deluge global markets? When it’s going to happen? What knock-on effects will cascade through markets?

Perhaps the most important question is: Who will be exposed “swimming naked” when the Evergrande tide goes out? Who will be left with the biggest losses? As the company is definitely bust, these losses rather depend on just how China’s authorities respond.

Step back and think about it a moment – try putting these in context:

  • Fundamentally all business is about identifying a consumer need and filling it.

  • Fundamentally, greedy businessmen tend to get carried away because the political-financial system enables them.

  • Fundamentally, it’s just another burst bubble and who cleans up the mess.

  • In Evergrande’s case a thousand flowers of capitalism with Chinese characteristics grew into an unsustainable business – fundamentally no different from debt-fuelled sub-prime mortgages, or CDOs cubed, in the West.

The big difference this time is its China! China has done things… differently. The path China pursued in its recovery and growth since 1980 has not been without… consequences.

Thus far we’ve praised China for its spectacular growth and the creation of valuable companies under the red banner of Chinese capitalism. It is going to be “interesting” to see how the subsequent mess is cleared out. Questions about Moral Hazard are going to be shockingly simple – Government has made it abundantly clear that any wrongdoing by company executives will be punished in the harshest possible way.

More importantly, Chinese politics and business works on a very different playing field to the west. Forget the rule of law or the T&C’s of Evergrande bonds. It easy to dismiss and characterise the way Chinese business works as institutionalised systemic corruption – but it’s a system Ancient Roman Emperors would recognise as a patron/client relationship. Emperor Xi’s clients and his princelings will continue to benefit from his patronage in return for their support at his court, and will be protected in a meltdown. The system Xi presides over will have little motivation to intervene to protect western investors who find themselves caught in the Evergrande fiasco.

Where Xi will have to take notice is outside the rich, wealthy princeling cadre which increasingly owns and runs China. There will be massive implications for wealth/inequality among the Chinese people from a property collapse. With a third of Chinese GDP dependent on the property sector, (and about 4 million jobs at Evergrande), the collapse of one of the biggest players, and the likelihood others will follow is much more than just a systemic risk.

Property is a key metric in the aspirations to wealth of the rising Chinese middle classes. The same smaller Chinese investors and savers will likely prove the largest losers from the property investment schemes they were sucked into. These real losses will rise if hidden bank exposures trigger a domestic banking crisis – which apparently isn’t likely (meaning it is..). There are reports of investor protests in key China cities – putting pressure on the govt to act to mitigate personal losses.

Xi’s clampdown on big tech is painted as the Party’s programme to engineer a more socially-equal economy. He has pinned the blame for rising inequality on “corrupt” business practices and has his cadre’s waving books on Xi thought, mouthing slogans about “common prosperity” and “frugality”. These are going to look increasingly hollow if the middle classes bear the coming Evergrande pain, and the Party Princelings continue to prosper.

The really big risk in China is not that Evergrande is going to default – it’s much bigger. If the Party is seen to fail in its promise to deliver wealth, jobs and prosperity for the masses – then that is very serious. China’s host of failed EV companies, an economy still reliant on exporting other nations tech, and a massively overvalued property sector (that the masses still equate with prosperity) all suggest a much less solid economy than the Party promotes.

If the illusion of a strong economy is unravelling – who knows what happens next, but in Ancient Rome the answer would be simple… Blame someone else, and invade..

This could get very “interesting…” and not in a good way.

Tyler Durden Wed, 09/22/2021 - 08:45

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White House Reporters Have Launched ‘Formal Objection’ About Biden Refusing To Answer Questions

White House Reporters Have Launched ‘Formal Objection’ About Biden Refusing To Answer Questions

Authored by Steve Watson via Summit News,

CBS News reported Tuesday that the press pool of White House reporters have launched a formal objection

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White House Reporters Have Launched 'Formal Objection' About Biden Refusing To Answer Questions

Authored by Steve Watson via Summit News,

CBS News reported Tuesday that the press pool of White House reporters have launched a formal objection over the fact that Joe Biden refuses to answer any questions, with reporters routinely being yelled down and physically pushed away by Biden’s handlers.

The revelation came after an embarrassing scene in the Oval Office with British Prime Minister Boris Johnson answering questions, but Biden not being allowed to by aides.

Watch:

Johnson took the three questions from British reporters

CBS reporter Ed O’Keefe said that “Johnson took 3 questions. White House aides shouted down U.S. attempts to ask questions. I asked Biden about southern border and we couldn’t decipher what he said.”

CBS radio correspondent Steve Portnoy later reported that “The entire editorial component of the US pool went immediately into Jen Psaki’s office to register a formal complaint that no American reporters were recognized for questions in the president’s Oval Office.”

Portnoy, also president of the White House Correspondents Association, added that the complaint also extended to the fact “that wranglers loudly shouted over the president as he seemed to give an answer to Ed O’Keefe’s question about the situation at the Southern Border. Biden’s answer could not be heard over the shouting.”

“Psaki was unaware that the incident has occurred and suggested that she was not  in a position to offer an immediate solution,” Portnoy continued, adding “Your pooler requested a press conference. Psaki suggested the president takes questions several times a week.”

In addition, National Review notes that after Biden’s UN speech yesterday, French reporter Kethevane Gorjestani “was asked by a very startled Australian reporter whether WH wranglers were always so strict about ushering the pool out without questions.”

The pathetic display is a continuation of the way Biden’s handlers have been acting since even before he took office, shooing away reporters, giving Biden strict instructions on who he can take questions from, and even muting his mic when he goes off script.

A week ago, Republican Senator James Risch demanded to know who is in charge of controlling when the President is allowed to be heard, noting during a Senate hearing that “This is a puppeteer act, if you would, and we need to know who’s in charge and who is making the decisions.”

“Somebody in the White House has authority to press the button and stop the president, cut off the president’s speaking ability and sound. Who is that person?” Risch asked.

Tweeting out the video, leftists insisted the claims were ‘bizarre,’ ‘ridiculous’ and ‘absurd’:

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Tyler Durden Wed, 09/22/2021 - 10:15

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