Arrest & Charge These Scumbags Already

There was a killing recently in Brunswick, Georgia. It’s BS. And everyone seems to be is covering for the killer.

Black man running through Brunswick neighborhood shot, killed
No one disputes that the son of a former Brunswick District Attorney’s Office investigator shot and killed Ahmaud Arbery, but he was not charged because he claimed he was acting within the scope of a citizen’s arrest.

Travis McMichael has avoided charges not because he was making a valid citizen’s arrest. He was not charged because he’s connected to the good ol’ boy network. His father, Greg McMichael, an accomplice in the murder, is a former District Attorney investigator.

911 transcript:

McMichael: “I’m out here at Satilla Shores and there’s a black man running down the street.”

911 dispatcher: “I just need to know what he was doing wrong, was he just on the premises and not supposed to be?”

McMichael: “And he’s been caught on the camera a bunch before at night. It’s an ongoing thing out here.”

Even when asked directly, McMichael did not articulate any actual offense, no probable cause for an arrest, citizen’s or police.

According to the police report, McMichael was calling called for his son, Travis, who “grabbed his shotgun because they didn’t know if the male was armed or not.”

Police said the elder McMichael armed himself with his .357 handgun…

Planning with aforethought, they armed themselves. Without probable cause.

…and the two followed Arbery for two blocks before, according to the report…

They unnecessarily — without probable cause — followed the victim, placing themselves in their perceived danger.

McMichael shouted: “Stop, stop we want to talk to you.” They pulled up next to him and police said the former investigator’s son “exited the truck with a shotgun.”

Travis McMichael initiated the encounter, aggressively approaching the victim with a weapon.

McMichael told police Arbery then “violently attacked his son, and the two men started fighting over the shotgun…

No. An “attack” would have been Arbery approaching McMichael and initiating aggression. McMichael presented himself as a reasonably viewed armed threat. Arbery, if we even believe this account, defended himself.

If some stranger pulled up to me in a truck, shouting, then jumped out and came at me with a shotgun, I’ll sure as hell defend myself. And I won’t be unarmed.

In fact, I recall an incident several years ago. I was in the Air Force, TDY to Wright-Pat, and on an odd shift. For exercise, I went on walks through the surrounding neighborhood. One evening, a car pulled up. A man addressed me politely, identifying himself as a police officer. He and his partner got out of the vehicle without drawn weapons. They politely explained there had been burglaries in the area, and politely asked me a few reasonable questions to determine that I was not connected to them. They left. I went back to my hotel. No shouting, no guns drawn, no shooting. That’s not what these killers did.

Travis McMichael fired two shots, killing Arbery. Police said the McMichaels rolled Arbery over to see if he a weapon before. No weapon was found.

I’ve yet to see a photo of the shotgun, or any statement of make and model. Statistically, it’s most likely to be a pump-action shotgun. This suggests that Travis McMichael shot unarmed victim Arbery at near-contact range with a shotgun (i.e.- massive damage), racked the slide, aimed, and fired a second time. At an unarmed man, in an encounter he initiated himself.

All this because Arbery had been seen regularly jogging through the neighborhood, “a bunch before.” Without having witnessed Arbery commit a crime, they assumed he had burglarized someone else’s under-construction house. They weren’t even the alleged victims of that crime.

Without probable cause, they decided to pursue Arbery, armed themselves, got into a vehicle, chased down an unarmed man, and shot him to death.

Anyone not in the good ol’ boy network would have been arrested, charged with first degree murder, and have bond set in the multiple $100Ks.

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A Prediction: “Social Distancing” Was Pointless

Or so I’ve been maintaining. I based that on the Diamond Princess case where 17.1% of the ship population tested positive, but more than half were asymptomatic. Only 7 people died, 1.1% of the cases.

Back when Worldometer was still reporting mild vs. serious/critical cases numbers, only about 5% were serious. (Added: They’re still reporting it on the world page: 3% “Serious or Critical”.)

On April 22, there were 717,008 active US cases, but only 58,173 hospitalizations (8.1% of active cases), and 15,341 in ICU (2.1%). For the vast majority of people it’s no big deal.* Apparently most of those who test positive are asymptomatic (see Diamond Princess) or have the equivalent of a mild cold.

I also noted how quickly known/tested cases were popping up well away from known, large COVID-19 clusters.

To me, all that implied that the virus was already widespread well before the first known cases. Before lockdowns started.

I have some data to support that, now that researchers are doing antibody testing (checking to see if a person was exposed and developed an immune reaction).

  • Massachusetts: 30% of people with no symptoms tested positive. Admittedly, it was a small sample: 200.
  • Santa Clara County, California: Between 2.5% and 4.2%. “These prevalence estimates represent a range between 48,000 and 81,000 people infected in Santa Clara County by early April, 50 (to) 85-fold more than the number of confirmed cases.” They sampled more than 3,000 people.
  • Los Angeles County: 4.1%, “suggesting the rate of infection may be 40 times higher than the number of confirmed cases.” 863 samples.
  • And then there’s New York state. They tested around 3,000 people in 19 counties. 13.9%.
  • Added, 4/26/2020: Miami-Dade: 6% test positive for antibodies; “about 165,000 estimated infections”.

Show of hands: Who believes that all those people went through the roughly 4-5 week process of contracting COVID-19, getting “sick” (asymptomatic or mild), developing antibodies, and got better all since lockdowns started? New York only locked down March 20.

I strongly suspect that the lockdowns did not even “flatten the curve.” They happened too late.

Fortunately, there’s a way to test whether or not I’m correct. Georgia’s Governor Kemp is lifting most lockdown restrictions effective tomorrow. If I am wrong, and the curve was flattened, then in about two weeks — call it May 8 — the state should see a large surge in new cases and hospitalizations. (The delay is the incubation period.)

If I am correct, then we may see a minor bump in a continuing downward trend. Watch here. You can ridicule me and say, “I toldja so,” or congratulate me, as the case may be.

Added: One more data point; USS Theodore Roosevelt. The Navy tested 100% of the crew. A few tests are pending, but of the 4,938 completed:

  • 4,098 negative
  • 840 positive
  • 9 sailors had been hospitalized
  • 1 sailor in ICU
  • 1 death

17% tested positive (hey, like Diamond Princess), and 1% of the infected needed hospitalization. 0.1% died. Although I’ll note that active duty Navy personnel are younger and healthier, in general, than the large number of retirees (i.e.- more vulnerable due to age) on the Diamond Princess, so fewer deaths on the Roosevelt are unsurprising.

Added, 5/1/2020: New data point supporting my theory: No COVID-19 Spike from Wisconsin’s In-Person Voting

Added, 5/1/2020: And another. That’s out of 890 workers so far. More than 40% of the workforce at Tyson Foods pork-processing plant in Indiana has tested positive for coronavirus, NBC News reports.

Added, 5/16/2010: Yet another data point supporting my theory that SARS-CoV-2 was already widespread much earlier than has been generally recognized.

Antibody testing places earliest Ohio coronavirus case in early January
The earliest coronavirus cases in Ohio now date back to January, indicating COVID-19 might have been in the state and spreading here earlier than initially thought.

Six people have reported feeling ill in January – as early as Jan. 7 – according to Ohio Department of Health data released Sunday. Few details about the patients were available Monday.

That’s two weeks earlier than what had been believed to be the first US case on January 21, and more than eight weeks prior to what had been thought to be Ohio’s first case.


* Yes, I know it’s really a big deal for that comparatively small number of vulnerable folks who cases do go bad. Those vulnerable people should minimize human contact, just as they should in flu season. For the exact same reason.

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[UPDATED] Official COVID-19 Numbers Are Not Trustworthy

I ran across an interesting report about COVID-19 testing in Florida, which led me down a troubling rabbit hole.

UF researcher created test that’s being used to find hidden COVID-19 patients
Lednicky created a coronavirus test four years ago, now that same test is being used to identify the virus in older people that are not showing any symptoms.

That one sentence jumped out at me. A four year-old test is being used to diagnose COVID-19? A virus strain that only appeared late last year?

I wrote to both the reporter and Dr. Lednicky, asking for clarification. Maybe he took a an old test and modified (yes, he did; see below) it to be SARS-CoV-2 (the name of the virus responsible for the disease named COVID-19) specific.

I received an automated response from Lednicky which contained a link with some intrguing information.

For this [four year-old bat virus] study, Lednicky developed two tests: one for alphacoronaviruses, the other for betacoronaviruses. (See EPI Explainer.) The tests were specifically designed to detect bat coronaviruses, and did not detect common human coronaviruses. By studying viruses shed in the bats’ feces, the team found evidence that the bats carried a new alphacoronavirus, but did not find evidence of a new betacoronavirus.

“I put it in my freezer, and forgot about it,” Lednicky says of the test. “It sat there for the last few years. But it turns out it’s 100 percent compatible for this new virus. And the reason it works so well is because this new coronavirus likely came from bats too.”

(See important update below; it’s a better test than the news report suggested.) That test is a generic betacoronavirus test. SARS-CoV-2 is a betacoronavirus; one of at least eleven known betacoronaviruses. A positive could be COVID-19, but it could as easily — or more likely — be one of the other viruses in that genus.

But if you’re betacorona-positive, it’s automatically COVID-19. Because.

WHO and the CDC seem to have a strong interest in driving COVID-19 reported cases as high as possible. There is now an ICD-10 code for “COVID-19 death” when the victim was not diagnosed with COVID-19 and did not test positive, or if you got smeared by a Mack truck, but a post mortem test showed COVID-19. We’ve already seen a case in Georgia where the coroner — before autopsy — made a preliminary call that cause of death was pulmonary embolism due to surgical complications, but the state classified as COVID-19. Before the autopsy. Because.

New York City retroactively reclassified weeks’ worth of deaths as COVID-19, without any supporting evidence other than let’s get higher numbers to panic people.


Added: As seen elsewhere…
covid death


All this brings — as I write — COVID-19 deaths to an alleged 42,518, with IHME “predicting” as many as 60,308 deaths by August. That’s fewer than the CDC estimates for the current flu season.

Just how specific to SARS-CoV-2 are any of the screening tests being used across the country? The PCR genetic test version should be specific (but only works when the body’s viral load is high enough to generate a testable sample; testing too early or too late will give a false negative). But are the others being used as broad as Lednicky’s test being used in Florida?

Between generic “testing” and fake classifications, I have absolutely zero confidence is the total reported cases and fatalities for COVID-19.

Update: When I reached out to Dr. Lednicky, I received an automated reply:

Dear colleagues,

I am working every last minute possible per day on the COVID-19 outbreak, and have been receiving an overwhelming amount of email. I am only able to respond to the most urgent messages (>16,000 unread emails today), and the same holds true for phone calls. Thank you for your understanding.

Knowing what he’s busy with, I thought that would be the end of it. So imagine my surprise when I got a personal response with an explanation of his test. I won’t bother you with the technical details (which he explained quite well for a layman of my level of knowledge — i.e.-low). The gist of it is that what Dr. Lednicky is working with is based on the four year-old test, but is modified to make it more sensitive to SARS-CoV-2 specifically. Also, the original test was specifically designed not to detect known human betacoronavirues.

Those two factors make a positive test much more likely to be COVID-19, but could still test positive for some other bat virus (but exposure to those is less likely than COVID-19 in the US just now). Basically, this is a good way to field a COVID-19 probable test in a very short time.

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What the he… ?

Hadn’t looked at my blog stats for a while.

What the hell? April 15 had 2,024 hits. Most days, I top out at a few dozen, maybe a hundred. If I recall correctly, my previous all time high was 901.

Ah, it looks like some 1,600 of those came from this column at TTAG (idiot judge ruling ARs are machineguns). And they went to Remedial Practical Civics 100, Lesson 4: “A hunting we will go!”; in which we discover “HANSOBs.”

To D.W. : Thanks. My email to you bounced as spam.

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COVID-19: Another Look

So… per the utterly fucked IHME COVID-19 model, preferred by totalitarians everywhere, we need 85,955 hospital beds today.

Reality says: 51,669

Model ICU: 17,853

Reality: 13,535

Model ventilators: 15,436

Reality: 5,982

By the way, the US new cases peak date… was April 3. Nine days ago. You’d think we’d hear more about that. I guess new cases dropping doesn’t induce sufficient fear in the masses.

Added: Thought I’d include some Georgia comparison numbers for today, for in-state readers.

Model hospital beds needed: 3,648
Reality: 2,491

Model deaths per day: 56
Reality: 5

Model total dead: 552
Reality: 433

Added Again: Pulmonary Embolism due to surgical complications = “COVID-19”

How the hell does a death get classified as COVID-19 when the coroner says it isn’t? That, folks, is what’s driving the coronavirus numbers.

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IHME Model: Stephen King has been fired

The IHME COVID-19 model, notorious for “projecting” disease stats that look more like an apocalypse model than reality, has been adjusted once again. This time, though, instead of “fixing” it to make hindcasts even worse, they actually revised it such that numbers are now into the merely exaggerated.

I first noticed the model’s issues when examining March 31 “projections.” I chose that date because it had become the present, and thus a useful test of the model’s accuracy.

It failed. It’s death projections weren’t too bad, but the hospital beds needed numbers were insane.

Then:

3/31 projected beds: 95,581

3/31 actual beds: 38,743

For giggles, earlier this month (April) they revised the model and the 3/31 prediction (a hindcast, mind you) became…

107,638

With this latest, post-Stephen King, revision, 3/31 now hindcasts 41,070 beds needed vs. the actual 38,743 that I estimated. That’s much more reasonable.

The total projected deaths looks more like what I expect, too: 60,415.

Don’t get me wrong. For those that do get COVID-19 and go sour, it’s bad. Very bad. But that’s also true of the seasonal flu (which has already killed more people than COVID-19 is projected to kill). And the people who are particularly vulnerable to SARS-CoV-2 are the same people particularly vulnerable to the flu.

COVID-19 looks less like what most people see as a pandemic, and more like an extended “flu” season (yes, I know influenza and corona viruses aren’t the same thing).

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IHME Model Revisited

So how’s that IHME COVID-19 model doing today? When last we looked, it appeared to be run by Stephen King

For April 5, it projected:

  • Beds: 179,267 (126,649-225,921)
  • Deaths per Day: 1,529 (1,228-1,790)
  • Total Deaths: 9,893 (9,023-10,646)

Reality says:

  • Beds: 37,589*
  • Deaths per Day: 1,030
  • Total Deaths: 9,536

* I’ve estimated that using Georgia’s 19.3% of cases needing hospitalization. I applied that figure to US total cases (333,173), then subtracted the 17,177 recovered cases and 9,536 dead, neither of which need hospitalization for COVID-19 anymore.

DPD comes in almost 200 fewer than the low end of IHME’s range, but nearly 500 below the mean, which they’ve inflated by about 50%. Total deaths predicted is still high, but the range includes reality.

But beds are pure science fiction (there’s nothing scientific about that). They projected 4.77 times as many beds as appear to be in use. On this planet/spacetime continuum, at any rate.

Amusingly, they tweaked the model since my last reality-check. They had “predicted” that 95,581 beds would be needed on March 31. Now it claims we needed 107,638 (90,119-122,430) beds that day. With hindcasting getting worse, I have zero confidence in forecasting.

Holy shit, guys. If you’re going to change your model, change it to get closer to reality, not farther.

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