Tag: safety

Can We Trust Anyone?


Over a lifetime, the question of trust comes up almost from the moment we are born. Trust is implicit in honorable relationships, in our putting our lives in the hands of others, in taking risks in partnership with others, in simply trying out new things. Unless we came from highly dysfunctional families, our parents tended to us in ways that helped us feel safe in the world. They did their best to feed us and clothe us, to make sure we picked up our rooms and wiped off our muddy feet before we came into the house. We followed their direction because we trusted them to care for us, and they in turn learned to trust us.

In the larger world when we were small children, we were told to look both ways before we crossed the street; the drivers couldn’t be trusted to see our miniature bodies as we stepped into their paths. We were told to honor our teachers who were entrusted to educate us and socialize us with our peers; we learned to trust them when they helped us with our homework or relied on us to complete a classroom chore.

Bubble-Wrapped Americans: How the US Became Obsessed with Physical and Emotional Safety


Bubble-Wrapped Americans: How the U.S. Became Obsessed with Physical and Emotional Safety“In America we say if anyone gets hurt, we will ban it for everyone everywhere for all time. And before we know it, everything is banned.” — Professor Jonathan Haidt

It’s a common refrain: We have bubble-wrapped the world. Americans in particular are obsessed with “safety.” The simplest way to get any law passed in America, be it a zoning law or a sweeping reform of the intelligence community, is to invoke a simple sentence: “A kid might get hurt.”

Almost no one is opposed to reasonable efforts at making the world a safer place. But the operating word here is “reasonable.” Banning lawn darts, for example, rather than just telling people that they can be dangerous when used by unsupervised children, is a perfect example of a craving for safety gone too far.

Freedom Begins with the First Step


Has anyone had hesitation about going outside during this lockdown? Do you feel as if you are starting an uncertain journey each time, with unclear risks and uncertain potential outcomes?

Do you feel crazy or foolish for feeling that way?

Well, we are about to venture out, my husband and I. Some of you know that we’re in the high-risk category (over 70) and my husband has a lung condition. He isn’t afraid, but he also doesn’t want to do “something stupid.” Six weeks ago, I started grocery shopping on my own, which was no big deal. (We enjoyed doing it together on the weekend.) But then about four weeks ago, we decided to have our groceries delivered; we rationalized that, on balance, it worked pretty well with easy, short-term delivery dates. That we occasionally received the wrong product or didn’t get what we wanted could be explained away. Besides, it was the safest way to go.

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 We are enjoying better-than-Chamber-of-Commerce weather in the Valley of the Sun. Chamber of Commerce weather is the sort of day that photographers seek for picture postcards. In Arizona, that means blue skies and sun over the golf resorts, the sort of day being sold to tourists from cold, grey, snowy climes. But, if you know […]

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Coronavirus Advice from the World of Laboratory Safety


My job is laboratory safety. I work with a wild range of various labs that have a cornucopia of crazy chemicals and a plethora of pathogens. I take part in over 100 laboratory inspections per year, along with responding to questions and acting as an in-house consultant for my institution. There is a surprising amount of you can use from the laboratory safety world in normal life where you make crispy garlic bread rather than CRISPR/Cas9 lentivirus vectors.

Wash Your Hands

There is a reason people mention handwashing as part of nCoV-2019 preparedness, and it is a recurring theme in all of our safety courses. Washing your hands thoroughly is a reliable way to remove pathogens and toxic chemicals. Disinfectant handwashes are not needed — a good scrubbing will physically remove far more contaminants than a disinfectant will kill. I actually prefer a good industrial hand cleaner (STOKO Solopol is a personal favorite) after cleaning or using the bathroom. Scrubbing your hands is actually less harmful to non-harmful bacteria on your skin, as they typically are adapted to stick tightly to your skin’s micro-scale environment. I’ve never heard from someone practically involved in safety you does not recommend handwashing.

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Nothing good happens after midnight. This quote has been attributed to various sports team coaches, probably because they all have said this on many occasions to their players. College and professional athletes, especially young men, think themselves bullet-proof, and chase the next thrill, pushing boundaries. These same athletes got to their elevated status through enormous […]

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Memorial Day Weekend “To Do” List


You have been bombarded with messages about sales, specials, and entertainment opportunities for this weekend. Please add the following items at the top of your list for the weekend, slipping the big sale a little ways down the page.

If you have not seen the HBO movie Taking Chance (included in Amazon Prime, available elsewhere), watch it. Have a box of tissues or a couple hankies handy. If you had other entertainment plans, watch this trailer, and reassess your priorities for the weekend:

Hillsdale College, Shooting Guns, and More

From left to right: Sheila Brey, instructor; Gena Grant, event coordinator; Shannan Chada, instructor; and Sheila Hoekstra, lead instructor

Trust me: if you love to shoot pistols, trap, skeet, archery, 3-D archery, and sporting clays, you must check out Hillsdale College! I’ve been here for just under a week, and I have grown in so many ways. It’s so satisfying to visit a college that is so deeply committed to the Constitution and is preparing our young people for the future; to be with people who share my values and where I’m supported in practicing Judaism; and where I have excellent instructors who have improved my shooting skills dramatically.

Quote of the Day – Safety


A ship is safe in harbor, but that is not what ships are built for – John Augustus Shedd

Today society puts emphasis on safety, in my opinion undue emphasis. We all have a finite span on Earth, regardless of how safe we are. Ultimately we will be judged by what we accomplish in that span. Risk is part of life. We can use our talents, taking risks or we can bury them in the garden, where they will be safe. All total safely can assure is sterility.

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The Dodo bird was prevalent on an isolated island that was a safe space from many predators. When European explorers discovered this rather good natured, plump, and flightless bird it was in no way prepared for what was to come. The poor, hapless bird didn’t know enough to protect itself (nor was it very capable […]

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Here is an excerpt from today’s “Daily Shot” e-mail by Fred Cole. This is a solid and timely safety message and deserves wide dissemination: Oh no! Halloween! We’re told every year that Halloween is a time for danger, especially for children. We need to be terrified[ricochet.us2.list-manage1.com] of sex offenders on the prowl! Parents need to […]

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What’s In A Name?


quote-know-the-enemy-and-know-yourself-in-a-hundred-battles-you-will-never-be-defeated-sun-tzu-310915Over at The Corner, Jim Talent has a terrific post on the Democrats’ willful blindness regarding the ongoing threat of Islamic terrorism:

It’s hard to overcome any problem in your life if you refuse to recognize essential elements of the problem; in fact, one of the first objects of psychotherapists is to get their patients to face the real issues that are disabling them. It’s even harder to win a war if you won’t permit yourself to recognize whom you’re fighting — and not only because, as a practical matter, you have to know your enemy to properly assess his plans and tactics

Until the Democrats realize that our enemies mean what they say and say what they mean, they can’t be taken seriously on national security. In ISIS’s own words, the real reason they are attacking us isn’t because of global warming, Gitmo, a YouTube video, or the designated hitter rule. ISIS is attacking us because we exist, and because our values are different than theirs.

Guns Don’t Kill Children … Swimming Pools and Cars Do.


shutterstock_216525253This piece from Reason is a good primer on the lack of a market for “smart-guns,” and covers both the technical challenges in making them and — more interestingly — the lack of demand for them. Is this because gun owners are callous, child-hating fanatics? No: it’s just that firearms don’t kill that many kids.

Inspired by the piece, I took a gander through some of the CDC data for fatal injuries to children between the ages of 0 and 14 years in the United States between 2004 and 2010 (the most recent period listed). Here are some relevant data for the an average year during that period:

  • 6,327 children were killed through injury (all causes, both intentional and non-intentional).
  • 1,890 were killed through unintentional cars accidents (30 percent of total).
  • 749 were killed by unintentional drowning (12 percent of total).
  • 45 were killed by unintentional use of firearms (less than 1 percent of total).
    • 378 were killed by all uses of firearms (6 percent of total). This would include all child suicides and homicides, as well as accidents.

(It should go without saying — though I’ll say it regardless — that every one of those deaths is a tragedy and that I can only imagine what the parents must be going through.)

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I just stumbled onto a deal for a table saw and I’m wondering if I’ll be satisfied with it. I currently have a Grizzly 10″, 3HP cabinet saw. I’ve used it for 15 years and am quite satisfied with its performance. Safety is another matter. Despite being a slow learner, I have figured out that […]

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Pay Attention to What You’re Paying Attention To


shutterstock_216207001There’s been a tremendous increase in firearms ownership in America in the past few years. From concern over the availability of firearms under this political climate to the threat of active shooters, Americans are arming themselves more and more as of late.

Arming yourself with a gun, however, is an optional checkpoint on the road to personal security. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: A firearm is not a talisman against evil, it requires a skilled and determined operator to be effective. If you’ve decided that a gun should be a part of your personal security inside and outside the home, get the training you need to safely own and/or carry your gun, and then get some more. After all, no one ever survived a gunfight thinking “Wow, did I ever overtrain for that!”

Before buying a gun, however, consider all the other things in your lifestyle that might be points of vulnerability in your life. Using a firearm to defend your life should be, in the words of Massad Ayoob, only in the gravest extreme*. If it’s possible to avoid a situation where a gun is needed, do so first, last, and foremost.

Lessons from Paris


shutterstock_207060784“Si vis pacem, para bellum.”Vegetius

As the world recoils in horror from the atrocities carried out on the streets of Paris Friday night, we’re beginning to realize that this is a calamity we’ve seen before: The attacks on the theater, nightclub, soccer stadium, and shopping mall are almost exact copies of earlier attacks in Mumbai and Nairobi, and we’ve seen smaller versions of these kind of attacks on American soil at Fort Hood and in Garland, TX; Ottawa, Canada; and during the Boston Marathon. There is no such thing as “rules of engagement” for radical Islamic militants: In this global war on terror, we are all behind enemy lines. We have met the enemy, and they are among us.

There are two possible responses to the dispersed threat of Islamic terrorism: Increased surveillance and security in the hopes that you’ll catch terrorists in the same net you use to corral regular citizens, or an empowered, aware citizenry that can stop an attack dead in its tracks. I prefer the second option myself, not only because it works, but it errs on the side of freedom, and that’s always a good thing.

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I read a story in the LA Times (I don’t know how I got there) arguing the case of the electric car, and saying it would be a bad idea to spend lots of money on high speed mass transit (correct) because the autonomous vehicle will be everywhere before they could be completed (wrong). It’s […]

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