The “Texas Sharpshooter”


Welcome back to the Scuttlebutt: 


So, the Title: “Texas sharpshooter” doesn’t actually refer to Charles Whitman, the Texas Clocktower shooter, who killed his mother, and wife, then went on to kill 14 more people and wound 32 using a bolt action rifle with a three-round magazine, although he will be mentioned again later in this little article.


It refers to the “Logical Fallacy” by that name.  Hubspot defines this fallacy as follows: This fallacy gets its colorful name from an anecdote about a Texan who fires his gun at a barn wall and then proceeds to paint a target around the closest cluster of bullet holes. He then points at the bullet-riddled target as evidence of his expert marksmanship.


Speakers who rely on the Texas sharpshooter fallacy tend to cherry-pick data clusters based on a predetermined conclusion. Instead of letting a full spectrum of evidence lead them to a logical conclusion, they find patterns and correlations in support of their goals and ignore evidence that contradicts them or suggests the clusters weren’t actually statistically significant.


I really wanted to do an article on something Sci-fi geeky this week, like the new Star Trek TV show, or the New Dr. Strange, or something, but sadly this was not to be, because there are morons and the insane in the world, and one seems to feed off the other.  Then there are the Svengalis of the world, that use any crisis, any disaster, to further their agenda, and when those three intersect and show up on my radar, well, I just naturally get my back up, and feel the need to call this shit out.


But before I take a deeper dive into the latest bullshit from the NYT and the “Anti-Defamation League” I need to clear the air on something else.


My own home state Washington, and 15 other states, just screwed you over.  And you didn’t even get a kiss.  Oh, I hear you, yeah, you in the back: “what the hell are you babbling about now old man?”


This: So the US postal service, which has been running at a deficit for decades, who is not actually a part of the government, (look, it’s weird) is being sued by the states, because it didn’t choose to “fully review the option of using electrical vehicles” before cutting a contract for replacing about 165,000 vehicles that it uses to get the mail out.  


Now first off; Have you ever driven past a post office after hours, or before the start of the delivery day?  Seen how many vehicles are in the lot waiting to go?  


Would you like to imagine how much it would cost to put in enough electrical service into each post office to charge all of those suckers if they were electric???  Hint, you would probably blow the $6 billion over ten years that the contract for new vehicles spent, just on building charging stations at the 34,233 post offices in the nation.  After all, that’s only a little over $175,000 per P.O. and it costs about $6,000 per charging station installation according to “” so you’re looking at 29 charging stations per P.O. to hit the $6 billion mark.  If we assume that only the 165,000 vehicles this contract is for becoming electric, and each one needs a charging station… 


That’s “only” $990 million for the charging station installation, so you might get in under a billion, though I doubt it.  Still, OK, let’s say you got that down, and let’s ignore the cost of the electricity, because nationwide it’s probably a wash, compared to the gas and the cost of getting rid of the tanks, the mitigation required, and so on… BUT now you’re out one of your six billion, and you don’t even have the vehicles yet!  Electric vehicles still cost more to purchase than gas jobs, sorry Governor Inslee but that’s just a fact.  


In short, there’s NO WAY that you’re going to get the same number of vehicles and get them running for the same cost, and this is ignoring the fact that while in town delivery might actually be a place where EV tech is a valid option, there’s a SHIT LOAD of the nation where it’s just NOT.  Where the mail delivery vehicle operates over 500 miles a day. Max vehicle range for an electric car right now is about 350 miles. So now you are into more delivery guys, more delivery vehicles, and so on…


But that’s not the worst of this in my eyes.  Here’s the thing.  Let us say that states win on this.  OK the P.O. has to void out the contract, which means they’ll pay a penalty, they’ll pay their legal fees, they’ll pay the state’s legal fees (millions in each case) they’ll probably get a penalty fee, and then they’ll still have to buy all the cars, and after a FULL evaluation, will probably STILL go gasoline… just having spent a lot more money that they don’t have.  Guess who does have that money? Look to your wallet folks, it’s coming out of your wallet, especially when the Post Office says to congress “we’re broke again because the states sued us. You got a choice, slide us some money, or watch us fold.”


Alternatively, if the P.O. wins, the states will end up paying the post office’s legal fees, and their own, and… Oh, guess who’s going to be paying that bill? That’s right, look in your wallet again.


Any time the government sues the government, “we the people” get the shaft.


OK, now on to the “Main Event.”


David Leonhardt (NYT) is at it again.


Oh, he’s not alone, this time he’s using data provided by the “Anti-Defamation League,” that well known truly fair and unbiased arbiter of all that is good and fair in the world.  This is where the “logical fallacy” part comes in.  See the ADL has come up with this magical number of 450 US murders that were “committed by political extremists.”  (all of this, of course, is in the wake of the shooting in Buffalo, and is an opportunity to “Wave the bloody shirt.”  Sadly, they never even wait until the blood is dried.)


Now before we even get into the conclusion these fine folks come to, let’s look at the numbers they’re using. 450 murders in a decade.  Remember the definition of the fallacy?  “Cherry-picking data clusters based on a predetermined conclusion?”  There were more than 21,000 murders in this country in the latest year on record. (CDC and FBI data for 2020) There were 38 “mass shootings” in 2020, 43 in 2021, and 30 so far this year.  


NOTE, this doesn’t count things like the black supremacist that ran his sports utility vehicle through a parade killing seven and injuring 60, because it wasn’t done with a gun.  It doesn’t count the black supremacist that opened fire in the Subways of NYC earlier this year, because he didn’t kill anyone (due to sucking at shooting, not due to lack of trying.)  They also didn’t count the Chinese on Taiwanese shooting the same day.  


Why didn’t they count those you ask?  Well, according to the ADL “the precise explanation for any one attack can be murky, involving a mixture of ideology, mental illness, gun access and more. In the immediate aftermath of an attack, people are sometimes too quick to claim a direct cause and effect.”  Yet, claiming “direct cause and effect” is exactly what they’re doing, when it suits them!  


They go on to “libsplain” (Hey, if “mansplain” is a word, so is libsplain!) that: “Right-wing violence is endemic to being right-wing, and that really, you can’t be a Republican without being a violent hate-filled monster or at least hauling the mail for those that are,” that being a racist, and believing in something they’re calling “replacement theory” a “radical conspiracy theory” that those evil bastards on FOX news spout.  


Now it’s funny that the shooter in buffalo specifically called out FOX news as an evil part of the conspiracy against white people, in his manifesto, but we’re supposed to ignore that.  It’s also sort of ironic that the NYT has been harping for a couple of years now that “the changing demographics mean that white males will be a voiceless minority within fifteen years.” and that’s good, but believing in this “replacement theory” is evil… 


They also run their position from the “known revealed truth” that being a racist or a white supremacist automatically makes you a conservative republican. From the ADL article: “All but three of the 29 murders (90%) documented in this report had ties to forms of right-wing extremism, including white supremacy, anti-government extremism of several types, right-wing conspiracy theory adherents and toxic masculinity adherents.” The problem with that, first, it’s a self-eating ice cream cone. “We say that white supremacy is right-wing, so right-wingers are the people doing the violence.” The second problem is that the manifestos these insane little fuckers keep leaving don’t support the right-wing claim.  This most recent one claims to be a “Moderate Leftist Authoritarian Ecowarrior” in his manifesto posted just before the crime.  Then you get into the “sovereign citizen” insanity which they also label as “right-wing.”  I’ve dealt with those morons as a cop, and folks, they are SOOO far out there you need the Hubble just to see their ass.  Right-wing they are not.  Look, I could play the same game and call the ADL left-wing terrorist sympathizers, but I’ll refrain.


The issue is this: The NYT is going on record as claiming that “The Buffalo killings are an extreme expression of a worldview that has become increasingly central to the identity of the Republican Party.” (This version enables you to evade their paywall.)  in one day, they have 8 different “leader” articles about how Republicans are the party of hate and need to be silenced.
Free speech for me, but you shut the fuck up, they explain.


Their system failed.  The most gun adverse system in the nation (or second behind CA) let an eighteen-year-old mentally ill individual go, after dealing with him in high school for violent threats.  In a state where “red flag” laws are the law of the land, no one stopped this sick little fucker from buying a gun.  He was committed to a mental hospital, yet no one did the paperwork to deny him the right to get a rifle… and now there are ten people dead, and they want to tie it to republicans, and to the gun.  


Oh, by the way, remember that Texas clock tower shooter I mentioned at the start?  He was a democrat too. Semiautomatic wasn’t needed, a standard-issue magazine with 20 rounds or thirty rounds wasn’t needed, he did it all with a three-round magazine bolt action rifle as you find in every hunting camp in America.  Remember the guy in WI that plowed into the parade? He did it with a Ford.  


Last weekend, there were 104 Americans shot dead in the streets.  I don’t know how many were killed with a knife, or a club or beat to death, but based on the statistical averages, at least 300.  Yes, you’re three times as likely to be killed by some other means than by being shot. Are they any less dead because it wasn’t a “hate crime?’ If in fact it wasn’t, and really how do you kill someone except out of hate? 


The issue is not the type of firearm, it’s not the magazine capacity, it’s not even the fact that it’s a firearm, and it’s surely not what flavor of politics the killer claims or espouses.  The issue is mental health and criminal behavior.  As long as we are letting the crazies and the crooks run the streets, we’re going to have dead people.


Take care, watch your six, 
Until next time I remain,
Yours in service.
William Lehman.


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