All that money spent on red light cameras to stop people running lights apparently didn't improve safety

Some simple economics here.  From the Wall Street Journal:
The Chicago Tribune delivered the “first-ever scientific study” of the nation’s biggest camera program. Researchers commissioned by the paper found little or no safety benefit: Mid-intersection “T-bones” declined, but rear-end collisions sharply increased as drivers slammed on the brakes to avoid a ticket. Most damning, the Trib cited the city’s “long-standing reliance on using the lowest possible yellow light time” to maximize revenues even at the cost of encouraging more accidents. . . .
Apparently, the message is getting out as the company that have made these cameras are slowly exiting the business.
With Redflex losing money in North America, its Australian parent company recently instructed him to “de-risk the business” by diversifying into electronic toll-taking and traffic management. Nonetheless Mr. Saunders remains keen to rescue the reputation of photo enforcement, even if that seems like a Hail Mary at this point. . . .


Nine recent defensive gun uses by homeowners

A very quick news story search turned up these nine cases.

UPDATED CASES: Perkin, Illinois homeowner shoots a man who was trying to break into his home shortly after midnight (December 31, 2014):

. . .  The homeowner called police about 12:20 a.m. to report an unknown man was trying to get into his house through the back door. Officers found no one at that time.
“The scene was checked thoroughly” for signs of an attempted break-in or other damage to the garage and property, Eeten said. None was found.
About 20 minutes later, the woman in the home called 911. Eeten said he understood that the homeowner shot the purported prowler while she still was on the phone.
The wounded man ran “but didn’t get very far,” Eeten said. . . .
Memphis, Tennessee homeowner kills home invader who forced way into home (December 24, 2014):
. . . Officers responded to a home in the 2300 block of Devoy at about 6:20 p.m. Tuesday, where they saw 22-year-old Nico Carlisle with multiple gunshot wounds lying at the front door. Officials pronounced Carlisle dead at the scene. 
Investigators say Carlisle and another man knocked on the door, then forced their way inside when a woman answered the door. Carlisle then put a gun to the woman’s neck. 
The homeowner grabbed a handgun before going to investigate the commotion, and fired multiple shots at the men, hitting Carlisle. . . . 
The TV news segment makes it clear that the homeowner will not be charged in this case.

Original stories

Oklahoma City Pastor kills man who breaks into his home (December 22, 2014):

. . . The pastor's son called 911 around 3:15 Saturday afternoon and told dispatchers someone broke into their home in the 2400 block of Moulton Dive and his father shot them. . . .
According to the church's web site, Vineyard has been a pastor at Windsor Hills since 2007. The church is known as a staunch supporter of gun rights and has faced criticism for training youth to use firearms. 
A warning on Vineyard's front door that reads “Nothing on this property is worth your life” seemed to send a clear message to anyone questioning his conviction. . . . 
“If somebody is in the residence like that, they feel threatened they or their family feel threatened, they do have the right to defend themselves,” explained Sgt. Jennifer Wardlow, with the Oklahoma City Police Department. . . .
Jefferson County homeowner kills intruder inside his rural home (December 12, 2014):
. . . The shooting happened in the 26300 block of Clear View Drive about 8:30 a.m. near Rockland Community Church and Ralston Elementary School, north of Genesee.
The identities of the homeowner and the intruder were not immediately released. Both were adult men, the sheriff’s office said. It’s unclear how the intruder forced his way into the home.
A Sheriff’s Office spokesman said preliminary the case could fall under the “Make my Day” law. He added the homeowner ran to a neighbor’s house after the shooting and 911 was called from there. . . .
Hardinsburg, Indiana homeowner shoots man who breaks through front door at 1 AM (November 25, 2014):
. . . It was just after 1 a.m. when, according to Indiana State Police Sgt. Philip Hensley, a masked man carrying a knife broke into a Hardinsburg home . . . 
Two brothers, Barry and Terah Frost heard the commotion.  They moved their 86-year-old mother into a bedroom to protect her and went downstairs to investigate.  They found only the broken front door police say Jacob Grimes, 23, of Paoli, had forced his way in." 
The brothers got some tools out, a flashlight, a drill. They're gonna fix the door. Barry goes to open the cellar door and he looks down and sees feet," Hensley said. 
He says Grimes, armed with a knife began attacking Barry Frost, punching him repeatedly.  Grimes was on top of Barry when Terah shot him in the back three times with a handgun.  Hensley says under Indiana law the men acted within their rights."He's already attacked one homeowner. What's to say he's not going to take the knife and attempt to kill all three residents?" he said, adding the situation was "a tragedy." 
Police say the homeowners and the suspect did not know each other and they did not live close either.  The suspect, Jacob Grimes, would have had to travel 16 miles from where he lived in Paoli to the home police say he broke into.  Police are still investigating how he chose that home and how he got there, but they say, it appears to be random. . . .
Meonominee, Michigan homeowner defends himself again three men, kills one (November 14, 2014):

. . . According to the Eagle Herald out of Marinette - Menominee he is 19-year-old Hayden Gagnon of Pulaski. 
Police say Gagnon was shot by the home's owner. Two other men, Matthew Franjose and Thomas Hartman, both of Green Bay, were arrested in connection with the case. 
The homeowner does not face charges. . . 
Colorado Springs woman shoots to death man trying to break into her home (November 2, 2014):
. . . Police received a call just after midnight about a burglary in progress with shots fired. When officers arrived, they found a man with a gunshot wound.  Eduardo Gonzalez-Ortiz, 32, died at the hospital.
"She said she just heard some crashing, and got up and saw that this guy was climbing through her window," said homeowner Linda Orist of her tenant.
Orist said her tenant was upset and shaken up but was relived she was OK.
"She was upset that she had to kill someone to protect herself," said Orist.
Orist said the man initially tried to get in through the back door. When he was unsuccessful, Orist said he broke a window with a brick and tried to climb in.
"She warned him that she had a gun and to go away but he, I don't know, for whatever reason, he kept coming, and she shot a warning shot into the wall and he kept coming so she had to shoot him twice," said Orist. . . .
Gainesville, Texas homeowner fatally shoots man who broke into his home at 2 AM (October 28, 2014):
. . . the home invasion happened inside a home in the 1100 block of Hillcrest Boulevard about 2 A.M. The suspect is identified as 20-year-old Dakota Ray Huckaby of Gainesville.
Belva McClinton with Gainesville police says the homeowner told officers over the phone he had shot the intruder.
"Officers did arrive on scene and located a male laying in the backyard of the residence," said McClinton. "He succumbed to his injuries, so they did not transport from the scene."
Family members at the residence didn't wish to speak to the media, but they told us that the homeowner is the father of a 9-year-old boy, and he made the choice he felt necessary to protect his household--a decision that locals say they understand. . . .
Sarasota, Florida homeowner shoots armed man who breaks into home at 6 AM (October 21, 2014):

A father says he was forced to shoot and kill a burglar in order to protect himself and his son Tuesday morning.  The Sarasota County Sheriff's Office said the intruder, identified as Calvin Yoder, broke into their home in the 2100 block of Ernie Shank Court just before 6 a.m.  
Homeowner Christopher Bane called 911 to report the break-in. He said he was home alone with his 11-year-old son when he heard the intruder, so he grabbed his gun and walked out to confront him.   
As he did so, deputies said Yoder fired shots his way. Bane fired back, and during the hallway shootout, Yoder was killed."Apparently the homeowner has been a victim of burglary recently, and so he was on alert. He was on edge," said Sarasota County Sheriff's Spokesperson Wendy Rose. "And as soon as he heard glass breaking, he armed himself to protect himself and his 11-year-old child, who was in the home." . . .
Lumberton, NC grandfather uses gun to stop armed rapist who was attacking teen granddaughter (October 21, 2014):
A grandfather shot back and is believed to have killed a suspect in a home-invasion and attempted rape of his teen granddaughter on Monday night, Robeson County Sheriff's officials said. 
The grandfather was also shot – but  he also managed to shoot the 2 other suspects in the home-invasion and attempted rape, said Maj. Anthony Thompson with the Robeson County Sheriff's Office. 
The incident started around 10 pm at a house on Yedda Road in Lumberton on Monday night when someone knocked on the home of the grandfather, his wife and their 19-year-old granddaughter, according to the sheriff's office. 
Two of three men – all wearing black clothes, ski masks and gloves -- stormed into the house and demanded money, officials said. . . .
Omaha, Nebraska homeowner shoots, kills intruder (September 8, 2014):
 . . . Police were still on the scene in the Woodbridge Neighborhood hours after being called around 9 a.m.Police said the homeowner, Larry Rohatsch, told them he went to answer the front door after someone rang the doorbell and a man was standing inside the home. That’s when the homeowner opened fire, police said.
A neighbor said the intruder kicked in the homeowner’s door. . . .
The homeowner’s 4-year-old daughter was also home at the time of the shooting, police said. . . .
"I think everyone should have a gun and be ready to defend themselves, and if someone's in your house, I think you have every right to defend your home and your loved ones and shoot them if you have to," [neighbor Ann Gray] said.
In the last 6 months, six burglaries have been reported in the neighborhood and the neighborhood just to the west of 78th Street. . . . 
80-year-old homeowner kills intruder and scares off accomplish 
A Long Beach homeowner has no regrets after shooting and killing a woman who said she was pregnant after he got into a confrontation with her and another man who were ransacking his sprawling home.
Tom Greer, an 80-year-old retiree, arrived to his upscale Bixby Knolls neighborhood Tuesday night to find a couple in the middle of a late-night break-in.
"When I went in there, they tackled me," Greer told NBC4 Wednesday. "Both of them jumped up on top of me."The intruders, a man and woman, may have underestimated Greer, he said, as they ransacked his safe and yanked the door open right in front of him.The intruders threw Greer to the ground, but they didn't know he'd gotten his .22-caliber Smith and Wesson revolver. . . .



With all the attacks on the Koch brothers during the midterm election, please note: "Big Democrat donors outspend GOP by 3-to-1"

From the Pittsburgh Tribune:
For as often as Democrats attack conservative billionaires Charles and David Koch for heavy spending on politics, it's the liberal-minded who shelled out the most cash on the just-completed midterm elections.  
At least, that is, among those groups that must disclose what they raise and spend.
Among the top 100 individual donors to political groups, more than half gave primarily to Democrats or their allies. Among groups that funneled more than $100,000 to allies, the top of the list tilted overwhelmingly toward Democrats — a group favoring the GOP doesn't appear on the list until No. 14.  
The two biggest super PACs of 2014? Senate Majority PAC and House Majority PAC — both backing Democrats.  
In all, the top 10 individual donors to outside groups injected almost $128 million into this year's elections. Democratic-leaning groups collected $91 million of it.  
Among the 183 groups that wrote checks of $100,000 or more to another group, Democrats had a 3-to-1 cash advantage. . . .  Not a single Republican-leaning group cracked the top 10 list of those transferring money to others.  
Overall, for the campaign season that just ended, donors who gave more than $1 million sent roughly 60 cents of every dollar to liberal groups. Among the 10 biggest donors, Democrats outspent Republicans by an almost 3-to-1 margin.  
They're total hypocrites when it comes to this subject,” said Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus. “They've made a living off campaign talking points when, in reality, they've been raking in more money from millionaire donors than Republicans for quite a while.”  . . .
Note that the list of donors that the Associated Press study provides doesn't include all the money that Michael Bloomberg gave to promote gun control efforts that went overwhelmingly to help Democrats.

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A couple of notes on the recent spate of conflicts between police and blacks

Eric Garner case: Garner didn't die from suffocation.  He suffered a heart attack and later died at the hospital.  He was pronounced dead about an hour after the arrest.

People who have assaulted police officers in NYC are let go.
The City University’s refusal to act against an adjunct professor caught on video resisting arrest and assaulting a police lieutenant during an anti-cop protest becomes more absurd by the day. 
Other employers are tougher in the face of criminality. Chancellor James Milliken can see for himself by comparing CUNY’s stance regarding Eric Linsker with the decisiveness shown in two similarly recorded assaults. 
The lieutenant saw Linsker as he was about to heave a garbage can from Brooklyn Bridge walkway onto demonstrators and cops below. Linsker had already hurled two cans, according to the NYPD. He struggled with the lieutenant, throwing at least one punch, the video shows. 
CUNY is keeping Linsker in the classroom at full pay, while his union argues that he has “not yet been found guilty.” 
Meanwhile, a second of the bridge cop beaters, Robert Murray, is an organizer for 32BJ SEIU. His employer — a union — saw Murray swing away on the same video and suspended him without pay, explaining that it “does not under any circumstance condone violence of any kind, including against police officers.” 

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The mess in Berkeley, Missouri: Politician feeds racial anger against police and then finds that his city faces riots

Never mind that the mayor of Berkeley, Missouri and most of the police force is black.  The shooting by a white police officer of an 18-year-old black man who police said pointed a gun at the officer has generated two nights of violent demonstrations with looting.
The mayor of Berkeley, a St. Louis suburb, called for calm on Wednesday following violent protests that erupted one day after a suburban St. Louis police officer shot a black 18-year-old who police said pointed a gun at the officer at a gas station. 
Scuffles had broken out early Wednesday between police officers and a vocal crowd of several hundred people who taunted the officers at the scene. One officer was injured after he was stuck with a brick and police reported several small explosives being used by protesters. There were four arrests. . . .
More on the violence is given here.
Four people were arrested for assaulting cops, police said.
You have to love this mayor when he says: "The Police Did Not Initiate This Like Ferguson." The mayor claims that there is no comparison between Antonio Martin's shooting and that of Michael Brown, but it is comments such as this that only feed on the notion that Michael Brown was some innocent individual and adds .
I can assure you that did not happen last night, OK.  We had a policeman responding to a call protecting the residents of the City of Berkeley and the call came through the dispatch office in reference to this young man was shoplifting. . . .
So far, the two cases seem extremely similar.  Indeed, if anything, Michael Brown's actions were worse as he threatened the store clerk with violence.
When the officer came there, the video shows that the deceased pointed a gun that has been recovered, at the officer, and I think that the officer because he stumbled might have saved his life.  Because when he stumbled and had a chance to fire and take the young man's life . . .
The big difference here is really only that there was video tape.  But the rest is very similar: in both cases the officers' lives were threatened and they acted to protect themselves.

The problem here is that the mayor of Berkeley feeds on the feelings that create these riots and then he can't control them when the rioters turn on his city.

Of course, NYC mayor de Blasio has found that his calls for no demonstrations until the funeral of the two officers who were killed is ignored.
More than 1,000 anti-cop protesters defied Mayor de Blasio and flooded Manhattan Tuesday evening, marching through the Fifth Avenue shopping district before heading uptown.“The mayor says stop that, we say f–k that!” the mob chanted at one point. 
Other slogans were of the sort that Hizzoner has denounced as “hateful” and “inappropriate” in the wake of Saturday’s assassinations of two city cops
NYPD, KKK, how many kids did you kill today?” the protesters shouted. 
The demonstrators, some carry­ing a banner that read “Stop Racist Police Terror,” started marching south from 59th Street on the sidewalks, but later blocked traffic on Fifth and Madison Avenues. . . .
Of course, comparing the NYPD to the KKK should draw a rebuke from the mayor.

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Is Obama's decision to label only female reporters as "nice" sexist?

It is always possible that a random calling of reporters could result in only women being called (video here), though if the number of reporters were equally divided between men and women, say 50 reporters, and he then picks 8 women, the odds of that happening are just 0.2%.  But the more bothersome is that he prefaced his decision to call on only women by noting that he was only going to call on reporters who were on the White House's "nice" list.  My question is this: Is it sexist for Obama to only classify female reporters as "nice"?  Does Obama view female reporters as more docile than male reporters?  Does Obama view female reporters as more supportive of Democrats?

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Concealed carry permit holder stops mall robbery by three teen robbers

From WDTN in Dayton, Ohio about an attempted robbery on Monday, December 22nd:
. . . According to police, three juvenile males from Middletown approached two adult males outside the Dayton Mall around 10:00 a.m. Saturday. They say one of the juveniles produced a gun and demanded merchandise from the adult males. Police say one of the males, who had a valid concealed carry weapon permit, pulled out a gun of his own and shot the teen who had the gun. That teen, identified as Jawaad Jabbar, 16, died from a single gunshot wound. . . . 
Police say the two groups did not know each other and the only motive known is that of aggravated robbery to gain control of another’s property. 
Sgt. Jay Phares said the teen didn’t make it to the mall in time to get in line for the shoes.  “This was a random act of ‘I want something that person has and I’m going to take it from them by any means’,” said Sgt. Phares. 
Two juveniles with the victim are in juvenile detention.  They are not charged pending further investigation.  Police are investigating whether they too had weapons. . . .


St. Louis: Jewelry Store Owner Uses Gun to stop three armed men

Here is a dramatic story from the St. Louis Post-Dispatch:
. . . Police said there were three men, and that they had entered Robinson Jewelry Co. at 6497 Chippewa Street to rob the store. One man, wearing military fatigues with his face uncovered, waited to be buzzed in, Leyshock said. When he did, he jumped the counter with his arm covering his face. The men were armed with two handguns and a rifle, and one of them smashed a display case, he said. 
But the owner somehow escaped from the store, fired his own gun outside, and the men fled. They didn’t escape with any jewelry, police said. 
“With the shots fired, they didn’t want to stick around to see what else he was selling,” Leyshock said. 
Police said it was not clear if any of the suspects had been shot. Blood was found in the car, but a suspect may have been cut by the shattered display case, Leyshock said. . . . .
Thanks to Tony Troglio for the link. 


The Friends and Family of slain NYC Police Officer Ramos blast Mayor De Blasio

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