Note – this is a longer than normal report. I’m getting lots of calls, emails, texts and messages asking about taking a LTC class, about where to get pepper spray, and what we should be doing about coronavirus. See below.
LTC/OC/STB ON SUNDAY, MARCH 29 AT KR TRAINING
Get three certifications in one day – this is a unique way to learn emergency and self defense skills in an efficient setting:
License to Carry – This is the course you will need to obtain your Texas License to Carry.
Pepper Spray Essentials – There are times where you need something more than a forceful word but something less than lethal force to stop a threat. More self defense experts are regularly carrying pepper spray (OC) as part of their self defense plan. For those who are not inclined to carry a firearm or work in environments where it’s not permissible, OC spray should be a part of their plan. Come learn what sprays work best and how to use them. You will get an opportunity to use inert (no OC) training canisters as part of the class. Please note: You will not be sprayed with pepper spray in this course.
Stop the Bleed – we lose over 30,000 people a year in the U.S. due to external loss of blood. It is the number one cause of preventable death from trauma in the U.S. The Stop the Bleed class will teach you how to use pressure bandages, tourniquets, and hemostatic gauze to reduce bleeding and increase the chances of survival.
It's rare these three classes are offered in one location on the same day. This is a great opportunity to get a lot of safety training in a very short period of time. Sign up for all of them or just the ones you need.
VIOLENT JANUARY IN AUSTIN COMES TO A CLOSE
What a month. From KVUE:
Earlier this month, an APD study showed that gun violence is on the rise in Austin. Just a few days later, Austin Police Chief Brian Manley stated while Austin is still the fifth safest major city when it comes to violent crime, "We are seeing changes, we are seeing increases in violent crime." A week later, Manley said there isn't an easy explanation for the spike in crime for January but police are paying attention to it.
That APD study on gun violence mentioned above?
According to the report, gun use in the city’s most serious crimes – murder, rape, robbery and aggravated assault – went from 631 in 2014 to 996 in 2018, a 57.8% increase.
The report noted that violent crime increased overall during that period, but that one in five serious crimes involved a gun in 2014, compared to one in four in 2018.
Interestingly, APD seems to be blaming many of you for this increase in violent crime:
But the report also noted that the number of stolen guns was 4,241 during that five-year period and that the number of cases increased from 2014 to 2018. Analysts think many of those guns were used to carry out crimes in other parts of the city.
This seems to be a tacit admission by APD that despite the incessant complaints from former Austin PD chief Art Acevedo, more gun laws won’t keep criminals from buying guns.
What should we be doing in response to this trend?
1. Light up your Austin City Council member. Tell them:
a. Crime is out of control.
b. Fund our professional responders to ensure we have more police, fire fighters, and EMS medics.
c. Fund these responders so they can have adequate equipment.
2. Carry your gun, individual first aid kit (IFAK – tourniquet, chest seals, hemostatic gauze), OC spray and other safety devices when out and about.
3. Practice good situational awareness. Look around your car via side and rear view mirrors before getting out. Pay attention in parking lots. Call 911 when you see something suspicious.
4. Get training. From me or anyone else who regularly takes continuing education from other reputable trainers.
5. Get involved in your community. Find a charity that resonates with you that is going good work to improve the lives of our more vulnerable citizens. Mobile Loaves and Fishes, Central Texas Food Bank, various animal shelters….there are a lot of great organizations that need you and your generous contributions. Don’t be that guy (or gal) who sits at home, watches the news, and complains that the nebulous “they” should be fixing this unless you are actively taking a hand to improve the community. Our civic organizations need people like YOU – people who believe in the right of self defense, who believe we all have a role to play to help others, and who believe our current predicament is solved best not by politicians but by ordinary citizens helping others.
ECONOMIC CONCERNS BECOMING MORE VISIBLE
In other news, I regularly have a number of people tell me:
• There are no problems in the economy
• We will not have another financial crisis
• Everything is fine
We thought the same thing in 2006. And yet there is some concerning data out there. Consider this:
CNBC: 1 in 3 American workers run out of money before payday “About 31% of respondents earning over $100,000 also regularly experience a budget shortfall before payday….Almost half of working Americans surveyed by Salary Finance, 48%, say they don’t have any money specifically set aside for emergencies.”
Yahoo Finance: Household Debt Exceeds $14 Trillion for First Time “Total U.S. household debt rose by $601 billion in the fourth quarter from a year earlier, or 1.4%, surpassing $14 trillion for the first time….. That’s $1.5 trillion above the previous peak in the third quarter of 2008….Almost 5% of auto loans are 90 days of more delinquent. This is the highest percentage since the third quarter of 2011.,,,,Credit card delinquencies rose to 8.36% an 18-month high.”
Wall Street Journal: Credit-Card Debt in America Rises to Record 930 Billion “Total credit-card balances increased by $46 billion to $930 billion, well above the previous peak seen before the 2008 financial crisis….The proportion of credit-card debt in serious delinquency, meaning payments were late by 90 days or more, rose to 5.32% in the fourth quarter, the highest level in almost eight years, from 5.16% in the third quarter. The serious-delinquency rate for borrowers from 18 to 29 years old rose to 9.36%, the highest level since the fourth quarter of 2010, from 8.91%.”
The Hill: Fed chief issues stark warning to Congress on deficits “Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell called on Congress to reduce the U.S. federal budget deficit to ensure the central bank could adequately respond to a financial crisis or recession….With rates well below the historic average of 5 percent, some economists fear that interest rates are currently too low for a swift rate cut to stave off a recession. That would likely boost pressure on Congress to pass a massive stimulus bill akin to the 2009 measure enacted by former President Obama.”
MSN: Might lack ammo to combat next recession “Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell came close to acknowledging that the central bank may not have the firepower to fight the next recession and called on Congress to get ready to help.”
Please do not let this escape your attention. I know the stock market is roaring right now and unemployment is at record lows. That’s great for a lot of people…the problem is that we are becoming overextended again. We know how that ended in 2008.
If you thought we’d have another financial crisis, what would you start doing to prepare for it? Do those things. I am. Which includes:
• Saving more
• Spending less
• Paying off debts
• Devising a plan on what to do with my investments should things turn south
• Having more cash in your emergency fund
We cannot have extremely low interest rates and high employment forever. The stock market will roll over eventually. What is your plan for that?
WHAT I AM DOING ABOUT THE COVID ONE NINER
First things first – the Coronavirus has a new name, effective tonight: COVID-19, according to NPR. I’ll be calling it “COVID One-Niner.” You should feel free to call it whatever you’d like.
In any event, COVID One-Niner is getting a lot of attention from a lot of smart people. Despite their best efforts to be politically correct and alarm people without alarming people, these experts are saying things like:
VIRUSES LIKE CORONAVIRUS CAN WREAK MORE 'HAVOC' THAN A TERRORIST ATTACK AND MUST BE ADDRESSED NOW, HEALTH OFFICIAL WARNS – Newsweek
Coronavirus Expert Warns 60% of Earth’s Population Could Get It – The Guardian
U.S. Officials Worried About Chinese Control of American Drug Supply – NBC News.
Forget Coronavirus – World Isn’t Ready for Next Global Outbreak – Bloomberg
Here are my takeaways:
• The numbers from China are highly, highly suspect. There are many more people infected than we know.
• This disease has the potential to spread rapidly to a lot of people. There are now concerns in Hong Kong that it spreads through the plumbing system.
• The lethality rate of this disease is around 2 percent. That was the same rate as the Spanish Flu of 1918. While that rate sounds low, if a lot of people get it, 2 percent of a lot of people could be a significant number.
• For the 98 percent of people who don’t die of it, their illness creates intense demand on medical resources.
• The secondary and tertiary effects of the virus – the disruptions to the economy and society - will be felt everywhere. See this article from this afternoon in the LA Times - Coronavirus outbreak spurs hoarding in Asia.
“In Taiwan, Hong Kong and Singapore, shoppers are stockpiling toilet paper, hand sanitizers, rice, instant noodles, cured meats, sanitary napkins and other products as fears over the new strain of coronavirus from China continue to ripple across Asia….On Friday evening, supermarkets in Taipei put out their usual stocks of toilet paper, stacked floor-to-ceiling in brick-sized packets stuffed into bags decorated with colorful cartoon characters. By Monday, just barren racks — and bewildered shoppers — were left.”
• We are due another large pandemic. The last “big” one was 1918. COVID One-Niner may or may not be it.
What I am doing about it:
• Here’s what I posted a couple of weeks ago. I continue to do these things. (Stop reading right now….click on that link….there’s a lot of info there for you to consider.)
• Hibiclens. Get some. Don’t need to use it now, but you may need to in the future. Available on Amazon.
• Get more non-latex gloves. Extremely long shelf life and still available. Cheap to buy in quantity.
• Plan to stock up on more masks when the prices come out of the stratosphere. There’s much debate over whether non-sick people need to be buying and/or wearing masks. It won’t hurt to wear one, and if you have someone in your house who is sick, make them put one on to keep their cooties to themselves. You may want to place your order even before prices come down. Having a few N95 masks isn’t a bad idea.
I am no infectious disease expert. But this seems to be alarming a lot of people who are.
LONG TERM WEATHER OUTLOOK
The Climatic Prediction Center expects us to see above averages chances for a warmer than normal spring and summer. Their precipitation outlook for those months show that we should expect equal chances for average rainfall.
Wildfire risk remains a concern, especially in Central Texas.
Texas Drought Monitor shows much of the state in varying levels of drought. This week’s rain will hopefully make a significant dent in that.
Needless to say, there’s a lot going on right now. Take steps now to mitigate the risk.
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