As a constitutional conservative, I believe that the Second Amendment is at the heart of all of our other God-given rights. As a gun owner with a CCW, I consider it my responsibility to be well-trained on the use of my firearms, and to be well-educated on the history and significance of the Second Amendment. I recently had an experience that reinforced both areas: I took a 4-day Defensive Handgun course at Front Sight Firearms Training Institute outside Pahrump, NV.
Front Sight is on 550 acres of desert land about a 25-minute drive from the center of Pahrump. They have about 50 different ranges, and teach handgun, rifle, and shotgun courses focused on defensive use. They teach somewhere between 30,000 to 50,000 students per year.
Taking a course at Front Sight is no vacation. Desert conditions vary from extremely hot to cold, wet, and windy. This was my second course at Front Sight, and just like the first experience, I found all of the staff professional, courteous, and friendly.
We had about 400 people taking different classes that week, and I was pleasantly surprised at the demographic makeup of the students. Yes, there were a bunch of us who were in our 50s and 60s, but there were maybe 20+ teenagers including a 12-year old boy, and maybe another 60 or more people in their 20s and 30s. And there were some people in their 80s. I estimate that around 40% of the students were female. There were a lot of families.
Out of the gate, head trainer Brad Ackman emphasized that the purpose of the training was to enable the students to be able to recognize threats, avoid confrontations if possible, and if violence was inevitable, to know how to stop the threat. That was the theme throughout the training.
We were all divided into groups of 35-40 people and assigned a particular range with its own set of instructors. Our group of students had two police officers from Cincinnati, at least one teenager, and a woman who appeared to be in her 80s, so it was quite a mix. Our head instructor was a woman from Minnesota who was a bartender in her regular job. We also had 2 instructors with significant firearms training experience. The cool thing about this training is that all the instructors demonstrated their shooting skills prior to having us begin our training. They were all amazingly accurate and fast.
The first day was focused on basics: safe handling of our guns, loading and unloading, and using our holsters. The instructors kept a close eye on all of us, and taught us with professionalism and with humor. After our afternoon on the range, we went back to the classroom and were treated to a discussion on the Second Amendment from Rick Green, a former Texas congressman who now teaches the Constitution and trains young people full time. It was crystal clear that the founders of our nation regarded the Second Amendment as a God given right that was critically important to defending our liberty.
The next two days built on the foundation from the first day, as we began to shoot from 3, 5, 7, 10, and 15 yards, but we also learned how to quickly clear malfunctions and reload. On the third day, time-pressure for shooting and clearing malfunctions was added, and we also went through a house-clearing simulation which got the adrenaline pumping. On the last day, the morning was devoted to practicing for our timed skills test, followed by the actual skills test before lunch. Only those who were very fast and accurate were able to take more advanced courses, which I estimate only about 8-9 people achieved. I wasn’t in that group, but my scores were definitely better than the last time I took the course. After lunch, we had more drills and exercises that were simulation based, requiring more advanced decision making under pressure, including hostage situations. I estimate that during the course, we pulled the trigger on our handguns about 1,500 times, of which perhaps 475 were live rounds.
I highly recommend that all Second Amendment supporters who are gun owners, especially those with CCWs, make the time for this intense mental and physical training.
Those of us in the greater Reno area might forget that Washoe County, while only 40 miles at its widest, extends some 200 miles to the north. Up there, beyond the Black Rock Desert, Washoe County shares a border with Lake County, Oregon. Population, around 8,000. Lake County is very large and very republican, with almost 80% of the vote in 2020 going for President Trump. Surrounding counties are similar in size, population density and political leaning.
Something interesting is going on in Lake County, and in the surrounding rural areas. They are trying to become a part of Idaho. https://www.greateridaho.org/ If successful, Washoe County will end up sharing a border not with Oregon, but with a conservative mega-state nearly the size of Texas, extending from the Pacific Ocean to Yellowstone National Park, and from the Sacramento River Valley to the US/Canada Border. That’s a lot of Freedom, right on our doorstep.
2016 Electoral Heat Map and Notional Outline of Greater Idaho
Skeptics and detractors abound. We’ve all seen this before, I know. The State of Jefferson movement comes to mind. This effort, however, might have some legs to it – the battles are already being fought, and the inches are already being won. In November 2020, enough signatures had been collected in four Oregon counties to put on the ballot a measure to compel their county commissions to discuss the idea. Two of these measures, in Union and Jefferson Counties, passed – the others failed by a small margin. Earlier this week, proponents of the effort briefed a joint committee of the Idaho State Legislature, and in May, just weeks from now, five more Oregon counties, including our neighbors in Lake County, will vote on similar measures. With the relatively low population in each of these counties, the strong conservative base, and the continued leftward drift of Portland-dominated Oregon politics, we can expect many of these efforts will be successful.
It’s not unreasonable to go where you are treated best. Our friends to the north are trying to take their land and their counties with them. Keep a close eye on these local Oregon elections next month, learn more at https://www.greateridaho.org/.
Trivia: it looks to me like Washoe County is bordered by 12 other counties. I have yet to find another county that shares a border with that many other counties; most others are bordered by four to seven other counties. Can you find any counties that share a border with 12 or more other counties? United States – Counties – MapChart
Washoe County Republican Party Repudiates Purported Facts and Actions of the NVGOP Resolution
Reno, NV – The Washoe County Republican Party (WCRP), Executive Committee voted on Tuesday to repudiate the purported facts and actions of the NVGOP Resolution. The resolution’s intent was to censure Secretary of State Barbara Cegavske. It was presented at the State Central Committee meeting on Saturday, April 10, 2021, in response to what the State Party deemed lack of action on the part of Secretary Cegavske, regarding alleged voter fraud.
In making the announcement WCRP Chairman Michael Kadenacy stated, “the Secretary of State was given no previous notice of the move to censure and strip her of party membership and therefore was not present at this meeting to tell her side of the story. That the State Party leadership made presentations regarding the purported evidence of voter fraud with no opportunity for a prepared rebuttal by the Secretary of State, is an affront to any semblance of Due Process.”
Barbara Cegavske is a former state legislator who termed out as an assembly woman and a senator. She currently is the only Republican to hold a state constitutional office. With a Democrat Governor and Democrat controlled legislature she is at their mercy to abide by laws passed and signed by them.
In closing his statement Chairman Kadenacy also said, “If our goal is to win elections in this next cycle, I fail to see the value of the State Party attacking the sole Republican Constitutional Officer.”
The Nevada GOP issued a statement recently that they found evidence of 122,918 fraudulent votes. I did some research of my own and I found quite a different story which Nevada Republicans deserve to hear.
The NVGOP identified 42,284 duplicate votes purportedly using three data points. When I ran a data query using the same three data points, I came up with 3,058 potential duplicate votes. That is 39,226 less duplicate votes than they reported. I believe they actually used only two data points, last name, and DOB, to obtain the 42,284 duplicate votes.
Additionally, they stated that 31,643 votes were flagged for “ID Required”. However, there is no data to suggest these “flagged” voters actually voted. I identified only 171 voters that were “flagged” that actually voted. If you deduct the 171 actual “flagged” voters who voted from the 31,643 “flagged only” votes, the number is 31, 472. If you deduct the adjusted numbers of 39,226 and 31,472 (70,698), there remains 52,220 potential fraudulent votes.
In order to verify the remaining 52,220 votes in question further data and legwork would be required to substantiate fraud.
My conclusion is the claim of 122,918 fraudulent votes is likely an overstatement. The 52,220 may be fraudulent but a verification would need to be completed through further investigation.
Note: The data team for the Washoe County Republican Party verified the numbers presented in this article are accurate.
Last week marked the one-year anniversary of Governor Sisolak’s 30-day shutdown to flatten the curve. As we know, this was followed by a series of stay-at-home orders, park closures, mask mandates and a host of other restrictions through executive orders. Today, a year later, many businesses are still forced to operate at 50% capacity. Starting May 1, the Governor has announced that he may allow local governments to determine the gathering and capacity sizes.
Let’s review the genesis of these restrictions. We were told the restrictions were for two weeks…. Just two weeks. Then it was to flatten the curve. Then it was about hospital capacity. Then it was about deaths. Now it is about cases. Stay home, save lives said the bumper sticker. It’s the science, claimed the networks. While the goal posts have consistently shifted, the impact has been the same: High unemployment, where Nevada sits at 8.1% and is now tied for 6th in the country.
The question is, was it all worth the sacrifice? Did Nevada save lives with these restrictions? Let us look at the data to see if shutdowns made a difference. The United States has a population of around 333 million based on the most recent estimates. There have been 507,227 COVID deaths as of March 6th. That calculates to 1.55 COVID deaths per 1000 population. Nevada, which has had significant restrictions, has a greater than average death rate at 1.66 COVID deaths per 1000 population. Compare that with Florida and Texas where the businesses have been mostly open. Florida’s COVID deaths per 1000 population is 1.37 and Texas clocks in at 1.62, better than Nevada in both cases. As we look across all states, the data is mixed at best, and there is no significant difference in mortality rates between states which shutdown and states which did not. Given that information, what is the rationale to continue with restrictions which cripple the economy?
Nevada’s mandate to partially or fully shutdown businesses completely ignores the more detailed data that has been available for quite some time. We can all understand a panic-induced shutdown in March 2020 when we did not have enough data to draw conclusions. Starting last fall, however, we had plenty of data presenting solid patterns which should have been informing our decisions. For instance, let’s review the school closures. The under-18 years-old population in the US is around 75 million. Total COVID deaths in that age group across the entire nation stands at 216. That is under three deaths in a million. Explain to me again why we closed our schools? Now, let’s discuss business closures. The national COVID mortality rate for the working age population, under-65, is 0.00039. Does the mortality rate of 0.00039 warrant a government mandated shutdown? I recognize that individual circumstances may vary, and if one considers his/her risk to be high, he/she should be allowed to stay home and no one should lose their job as a consequence. (Note: Data in the above two paragraphs come from US Census Bureau and Centers for Disease Control)
One final point: In addition to ravaging Nevada’s economy, Nevada has also squandered a precious opportunity to attract businesses exiting California. Businesses moving out of California are skipping clear over Reno/Sparks and moving straight to places like Salt Lake City, which is #1 in the nation in population growth, clocking in at a whopping 12.3% growth since last April (Source: LinkedIn).
With strong executive leadership and utilization of data, Nevada could have kept schools and businesses open with minimal restrictions, created a positive business environment, captured exiting California businesses, gained high paying jobs, and broadened its tax base. While we have lost a good chunk of that opportunity, let’s at least try to salvage what’s left. Let businesses decide on whether to stay open and let the employees and customers decide if they feel comfortable returning. Let us end the broad government mandated restrictions, open Nevada, and let people live their lives. It’s long overdue!
Sam Kumar is a guest writer and former Chairman for the Washoe County Republican Party.
In recent policy debates, current income trends and disparities among Americans have been a major concern. Courtesy of economist John Mauldin and River Financial, a comprehensive set of data and charts is now available to shed new light on the subject.
The most notable point raised by people about income disparities is that, adjusted for inflation, incomes of high earners have increased rapidly over the last half-century while those of middle- and lower-income folks have increased slowly or even stagnated. Or, the rich get richer and the poor get poorer.
There are two problems with this account. First, it conveniently focuses on the last half-century and ignores the trend before 1971. Indeed, the income share of the top one percent of earners relative to that of the bottom 90 percent rose greatly from 1971 to the Great Recession to a level it maintains today. That is, the total incomes of the top one percent as a group today is nearly 75 percent of the total income of the bottom 90 percent group.
Fifty years ago, however, the top one percent made just over 40 percent of what the bottom 90 percent did. Moreover, the high point before 1971 for the highest one percent was reached at the end of the Roaring 20s – at the same relative level as today. The very rich were very damaged by the Great Depression of the 1930s and World War II (WWII). After the war, their incomes rose somewhat slower than income for “The Rest of Us” until the 1970s.
So, the analyses covering only the last 50 years are not reflective of longer American history. Thus, they’re not very convincing for claims that policy or the economic system is broke. That’s not to say the current trend doesn’t indicate problems or legitimate concerns, just that it’s an incomplete and unrepresentative snapshot.
The second problem with this trend account is even more notable. Namely, the income measures include only income and not the effect of taxes and government transfers (e.g., food stamps and tax credits).
When the incomes series are modified to incorporate these effects of government, the overall distribution of total incomes (i.e, including taxes and transfers) are roughly the same as in 1971, or perhaps slightly more equal. Beginning in the 1980s, the inequality in the total incomes rose, as it did in the following two decades. After the Great Recession, however, incomes became more equal.
In sum, the basic claim about the rich and poor is false.
When we don’t adjust for taxes and transfers, the following data and trends remain.
First, wages rose in line with the gross domestic product (GDP) per person after WWII to the early 1970s – a condition we think of as being normal. However, from 1972 to 2017, productivity gains far outran workers’ compensation. The phenomenon causing this trend was that capital equipment and new innovations and inventions (technology) began to claim more of firms’ earnings. And returns to capital and from inventions and innovations accrue to the wealthy and high-income folks.
Also, incomes of Black people relative to White people after WWII rose rapidly until the early 1970s. From then until now, that gap has been closed at a much slower rate.
From the end of WWII, median incomes of women in the workforce grew slightly slower than the economy until the Great Recession. Income of men, however, rose with economic growth until the early 1970s. After that, they flat-lined up to the present day.
Overall, people’s income gains after WWII were shared widely among income classes. But since the early 1970s, the income gains have accrued much more to higher income classes than to middle and lower classes.
Further, costs of some goods and services, especially housing, have risen much faster than others and the overall measures of inflation.
Monetary inflation and deflation kept prices generally comparable from America’s founding until World War I, the income tax and the Federal Reserve. Since then, and especially after 1971, inflation has driven price levels ridiculously high.
Finally, U.S. government debt held at reasonable levels, with upward excursions after wars, until the end of the 20th Century. It has been sky-rocketing since then, especially in recent years.
Ron Knecht has served Nevadans as state controller, a higher education regent, economist, college teacher and legislator. Contact him at RonKnecht@aol.com.