Friday, December 21, 2012
As a Christian Attorney, I find that living out faith sometimes puts you at odds with the world’s systems. Hobby Lobby, a Christian company, has learned that too. In fact, they might be fined up to 1.3 million a day until they capitulate and compromise what they believe!
The 10th Circuit Court of Appeals will not stop the Obama Care rules and egregious daily fines that will hit the private company if they do not violate their faith by covering abortion-causing drugs. The Christian owners say this is an unconstitutional mandate that infringes their right to earn a living while remaining true to their faith.
Hobby Lobby is pro-life, and simply refuses to pay for the morning-after pill, an abortion-causing drug. In the Courts’ ruling, they found that the mandate will not "substantially burden" Hobby Lobby’s religious freedom.
This will now go to the U.S. Supreme Court, if they accept the case. There are at least forty others heading that way. But, they will not rule on the greater issue of the mandate, they will only rule on a temporary reprieve for Hobby Lobby.
Hobby Lobby has over 13,000 full-time employees in more than 500 locations, including Memphis.
They are known for full-page ads proclaiming Jesus’ birth at Christmas and His resurrection at Easter, and being closed on Sunday, as is a similar Christian company, Chic-Fil-A. This is the statement of purpose Hobby Lobby openly publishes on their website:
Statement of Purpose: In order to effectively serve our owners, employees, and customers the Board of Directors is committed to:
Honoring the Lord in all we do by operating the company in a manner consistent with Biblical principles.
Offering our customers an exceptional selection and value.
Serving our employees and their families by establishing a work environment and company policies that build character, strengthen individuals, and nurture families.
Providing a return on the owners' investment, sharing the Lord's blessings with our employees, and investing in our community.
We believe that it is by God's grace and provision that Hobby Lobby has endured. He has been faithful in the past, and we trust Him for our future.
I hate to see our government, however well intended, run roughshod over sincerely held beliefs of Christian organizations like this. And, it never seems to be against those of other faiths like Islam, but only against Christians. As for me, I am cheering on Hobby Lobby and Chic-Fil-A—we need more born-again job creators in this country who stand up for what they believe! Lets hope the Supreme Court agrees.
Friday, November 30, 2012
MTYHS ABOUT MEDICAL MALPRACTICE CLAIMS
MYTH: Even if the number of medical malpractice cases is really going down, the ones that are left are still frivolous cases that cost millions of dollars.
FACT: According to NCSC the median award in medical malpractice cases is $400,000, as compared with $19,840 in other personal injury cases. But the NCSC also found that “damage awards are generally proportionate to the severity of the injury,” because medical malpractice cases tend to involve severe injuries. For instance, 22 percent of medical malpractice cases involve the death of the patient, as opposed to just three percent in other types of cases. Nor are these cases, severe injury or not, frivolous. In 2006, researchers at the Harvard School of Public Health announced the results of a study showing that most negligence claims involve medical error and serious injury, and concluded “portraits of a malpractice system that is stricken with frivolous litigation are overblown.” The researchers found that few claims were without merit, and those that were generally did not receive any money. Most negligence claims were meritorious, with 97 percent of claims involving medical injury and 80 percent involving physical injuries resulting in major disability or death. Few claims where there was not error were ever paid. Even Victor Schwartz, one of the biggest proponents of capping damages admitted, “There is no question that it is very rare that frivolous suits are brought against doctors. They are too expensive to bring.” [National Center for State Courts; New England Journal of Medicine; Los Angeles Times]
Friday, October 26, 2012
IS YOUR FAMILY SAFE FROM STORMS?
As an injury lawyer, and a family man who sees tragedies every day, I try to help to prevent injuries, car accidents and even unnecessary insurance claims. Some of you may find yourself traveling through storm-prone areas, or have beloved relatives and friends who do. You might want to share, or forward this article to them.
If you are indoors, as the storms approach:
Put your cars in the garage to protect form hail and debris.
Get inside, and account for everyone and keep them close.
Keep shoes or boots with laces snugly tied on everyone's feet.
Move to an inside room, bathroom, storm shelter or basement.
Keep your wallet, cash, credit cards and identification in your pockets.
Have a battery-powered radio, flashlights and charged cell phones with you.
Storms need not level your home to hurt you, many folks are injured by flying glass, boards and debris. Stay away from windows: If it is a minor storm there is nothing to see; if it's bad, you can't see at all.
Be aware that sky lights will often break in a hail storm or from thrown debris.
Avoid using electrical appliances, bath tubs or showers should your house be struck by lightning.
Unplug computers and nicer electronics to protect from power surges.
If you are outdoors on foot, and taken unaware by a storm:
Cover your head to protect it from hail impacts, and seek inside shelter anywhere you can, even in someone's car.
Trees are not true protection: they are just lighting rods and shed limbs onto you without warning.
If the storm impacts while you are driving:
Admit you are caught, as you cannot outrun it, so just look for a safer place to stop driving.
A highway overpass, the inside of any open garage, a gas station, or even a car wash will do.
Do not stop closely on the edge of the highway unless you have to, as other drivers may drive into the rear of you trying to follow brake lights.
Do not stop on a bridge or a very low area.
The windshield may not blow entirely out, but side windows often do.
The main idea in the car is to protect your eyes, so if possible, just lay face down in the back seat.
Cover the eyes of any children in the car with a jacket or even your body.
There is a wealth of storm information, including handy disaster preparedness supply lists that can be accessed through www.ready.gov.
No one plans to fail, they just fail to plan.
Wednesday, October 17, 2012
DAYCARE RULES TO PREVENT INJURIES
A recent case of a severe injury to a child at a daycare center I am handling underscores the importance of following the rules and regulations of Tennessee that are designed to prevent serious daycare injuries to children.
The law states that, “Children must have adult supervision at all times.”
The supervision required at a preschool or daycare center is very specific:
“Children six weeks of age through two (2) years of age shall be within sight and sound of an adult at all times.”
It requires that there be an adult/child ratio of 1:4 in cases of caring for infants 6 weeks to 15 months, and 1:6 for toddlers 12 months to 30 months. The ratio for 2 year olds is 1:7 and it increases to 1:9 for three year olds.
“Children three (3) years through five (5) years of age shall be safely protected by an adult in close proximity and not distracted by other tasks.”
“Children six (6) years through nine (9) years of age shall be protected by an adult who adjusts restrictions appropriately for different ages and abilities.”
“When infants are cared for in a center with older children, they shall not be grouped with children three years of age and over, and a separate area shall be provided for them.”
It has been my experience that many daycare owners are wonderful, caring people who love nurturing children. However, we parents know it only takes an instant for a child to be hurt severely in a daycare center.
Proper supervision is the very best solution to ensure safety of children in a daycare center.
On weeks like Spring Break or Fall Break, the chance of injuries intensifies as school age kids, who are out of class, are often dropped off at their little brother or sister’s daycare center.
No one cares for a child like a parent can, but you can help make sure your daycare center is up to code with a few questions. “How many children are you expecting today?” “Which helpers are here today?”
Playground equipment is another problem, as it quickly can fall into disrepair. Developmental appropriate playground equipment is important, as there should be a toddler swings for the younger children, as they can easily topple out of typical sling type swings.
Here are some of the equipment rules:
“All indoor and outdoor equipment shall be well made and safe. There shall be no dangerous angles, no sharp edges, splinters, nails sticking out, no open S-hooks or pinch points within children’s reach. Damaged equipment shall be repaired or removed from the room or playground immediately. Equipment shall be kept clean by washing frequently with soap and water. There shall be developmentally-appropriate equipment and furnishings for each age group in attendance. Individual lockers, separate hooks and shelves or other containers, placed at children’s reaching level, shall be provided for the belongings of each child, infant - preschool. In infant/toddler rooms, equipment and space shall be provided for climbing, crawling, and pulling without the restraint of playpens or cribs.”
Daycare injuries like fractures, choking, burns, auto accidents and being left in a hot bus or van can be prevented.
If these tragedies occur, seek the advice of an experienced daycare injury attorney.
Thursday, October 11, 2012
DON’T GET SUED OVER HALLOWEEN
The time for “Trick or Treat” is nearing. It is a fun time of year, when we hear the knocking of little goblins and princesses.
But, the knock on the door that no one wants is the sheriff, serving you with a civil summons regarding someone being injured on your property. Since I have handled many premises liability injury claims, I want to make sure you never have to have a child hurt at your home.
These simple steps can help make sure your home is safe and assure your little visitors have a great time.
1. Lighting: Proper lighting shows hazards and indicates preferred walkways. It may be spookier to have it darkened, but you are better off with all available lights turned on. Pay special attention to your side yards that lead to your neighbors’ homes.
2. Pathways: Make sure that you have clear pathways to your door. It is important to recognize that kids will not return to the street after every trick or treat. Instead, they will likely walk to the neighbor’s home through your side yard.
3. Yards: Holes in the yard are invisible at night and should be filled in and leveled off.
4. Steps: Those older steps have that loose railing are a trap. Picture a disabled grandmother moving on your property and you night notice hazards that you missed at first.
5. Cords: Electrical cords, even orange ones, are hard to see at night. Try not to have them in positions to have to be crossed.
6. Saplings: If you have recently put in young tree, the strings that hold it up are known trip hazards. If they must be used, tie yellow caution tape on each string in multiple locations. This handy tape is available at local hardware and home improvement stores.
7. Obstacles: Spider webs, tunnels and so forth are really fun, but dangerous. Avoid anything that would trip a guest. Likewise, any string that hits an adult at neck level is a hazard.
You will probably never have a claim from an injury at your home, but if you do, everything you have done to assure safety will matter. Have a happy and safe holiday.
SPEED AND HIGHWAY SAFETY
As an injury lawyer that sees the results of horrific accidents every day, I understand the connection between speed and safety.
At just 60 miles per hour, you are traveling a surprising 88 feet per second! That is why many who cause accidents testify in my depositions, “I just never saw him!” That can be truthful. They looked, but he was not there yet when they looked.
Speed limits are back in the news again. Texas will have a speed limit of 85 mph for a rural toll highway between Austin and San Antonio.
The famously unpopular change to 55 mph (the “double nickel”) happened way back in 1973. Up until then, most speedometers had a red line at 70 mph, if they had one at all.
If you have had a car with an 85 mph speedometer, you can thank the government. In 1979, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) required speedometers to have special emphasis on the number 55 and a maximum speed of 85 mph. That has since gone by the wayside, much like the 55 mph speed limit.
Are there any states with No speed limits? There were. Montana had a non-numeric "reasonable and prudent" speed limit during the daytime on most rural roads. The phrase "reasonable and prudent" is found in the language of most state speed laws. This allows prosecution under non-ideal conditions such as rain or snow when the speed limit would be imprudently fast.
In 1996, a Montana patrolman gave a speeding ticket to a man doing 85 mph and he was convicted. On appeal at the Montana Supreme Court, the Court reversed the conviction; it held that a law requiring drivers to drive at a non-numerical "reasonable and proper" speed "is so vague that it violates the Due Process Clause ... of the Montana Constitution". In 1999, as a result of that decision, the Montana Legislature established a speed limit of 75 mph.
Over in Germany, the autobahn has sections without any speed limit. Actually, the accident rate is consistently lower than other super highway systems, including the United States Interstates.
But on the autobahn in Germany, it is actually illegal to run out of gas.
Thus, we fine you for going too fast, and the Germans fine you for going too slow. Drive safely!
LAWYERS ALMOST HIT BOTTOM
In my over 16 years as an injury lawyer, I have heard every lawyer joke there is at least 50 times. Some of these are funny, but often the pointed humor is found wrapped in a grain of truth.
Every so often, the Gallup Poll people seek peoples’ opinion on the most respected professions. Not surprisingly, the overwhelming majority of folks admire: Nurses (81%); Military Officers (73%); Pharmacists (71%); Teachers (67%) and Doctors (66%).
Who are the least respected? Washington Lobbyists, Car Salesmen and Congressmen round out the lowest rung of the respect ladder. But we don’t tell “lobbyist jokes” much, do we? Lawyers are certainly close to the bottom. Only 17% hold attorneys in high esteem. While 47% put them in the middle at “Average, a whopping 35% place members of the bar squarely at “low or very low.”
Why are lawyers not more respected?
Could it be the ads? I don’t do TV ads, but the high-volume injury law firms do. Some are downright silly, and almost all are annoying.
Is it any wonder the word “greedy” seems to go naturally in front of the words “trial lawyers.” We hear all about the “hot coffee case” and we never hear about the facts of many tragic cases that do so much good.
For example, have heard this story? A three-year old little girl leaned out of the passenger’s side window on a Ford pick up truck, and accidentally hit the “rocker” style switch, causing the strong power window to close, and killing her, before the parents could save her.
Manufacturers were well aware of the risks of rocker switches inadvertently closing if a child leaned on one (in 2004, seven children died in the span of three months) and even installed safer “pull-up” switches in the cars they offered to foreign markets. But it took lawyers and litigation for manufacturers to install safer switches herein America.
Other safety improvements include life-saving repairs to vehicle gas tanks, seat belts, side impact design, roof strength, tires, electronic stability control, door latches, air bags, power windows and seats. All brought to you by your friendly, neighborhood trial lawyer.
TENNESSEE UNINSURED AMONG WORST
If I told you that you had a 1 in 4 chance of winning $100,000.00, would it get your attention?
I though it might. What if it was reversed, and you had a 1 in 4 chance of loosing $100,000.00?
In Tennessee, it is now estimated that a full 24% (almost 1 in 4) drivers are Uninsured. How can this be? Liability insurance is mandatory now, right?
True. But that has not fixed the problem, and the bad economy has just made it even worse. We are the third worse in the whole nation!
Elizabeth A. Sprinkel, senior vice president of the Insurance Research Council, stated, “Despite laws in many states requiring drivers to maintain insurance, about one in seven motorists [across the U.S.] remain uninsured. This forces responsible drivers who carry insurance to bear the burden of paying for injuries caused by drivers who carry no insurance at all.”
In 2009, the five states with the highest uninsured driver estimates were Mississippi (28%), New Mexico (26%), Tennessee (24%), Oklahoma (24 percent), and Florida (24%). The five states with the lowest uninsured driver estimates were Massachusetts (4.5%), Maine (4.5%), New York (5%), Pennsylvania (7%), and Vermont (7%).
Is it any wonder I harp repeatedly on the importance of your carrying as much Uninsured Motorists (UM) coverage as you can afford? It is a very cheap part of your policy, and you DO need it. Let no one tell you differently. You need it. Your parents need it. Your children who are driving need it.
So, what about the loss of a $100,000.00 I mentioned?
This kind of thing really happens: Man steals car in car jacking, and speeds away. He blows down Highway 51 at almost 80 mph and hits a car sitting at a stoplight, knocking her car down an embankment. He manages to travel on long enough to hit yet another car, running her off the road.
Ladies in each car came to me individually to represent them for their injuries against the reckless driver. However, their results were not equal. We obtained a settlement of $100,000.00 for the first lady through her own UM insurance.
I could not represent the other lady, who was also severely hurt. Why? She had no UM coverage. She lost $100,000.00.
Please look at your insurance card right now, and make sure that it has “UM” or “UIM” on it. If not, buy it. If so, make sure you carry more than just the minimum of $25,000.00. That does not go very far when just the helicopter ride is over $10,000.00. And do not be afraid to use it, as state law protects you from being punished by your insurance company for it. Drive safely!
Monday, September 10, 2012
FIVE TIPS ON TEACHING YOUR KIDS TO DRIVE
Teaching your kids to drive safely may be one of the most important lessons you ever pass onto them. I do nothing but injury law, so I see injuries from car and truck accidents literally every single day. Driving is the most dangerous thing we do, much more so than flying or even tornadoes and earthquakes. In fact, traffic accidents kill more than all natural disasters combined. Here are five critical things to stress with your kids.
1. SLOW DOWN!
Between the ages of 16 – 24, you know that insurance is outrageous. This is because this period is the most dangerous time for drivers, though boys are twice as likely to die by accident than females. It is risky behavior, like texting, speeding, and illegal passing that kills. Tell them any risky moves seen by anyone, and the car will be sold. Then do it. You are the parent, not the friend!
2. NOT EVEN A SIP!
For drivers 21 - 44 alcohol plays a role in almost 50% of all fatalities! Tell them, not only are you likely to kill a friend drinking and driving, but you also get a felony conviction, never get to own guns or vote, you have to go to jail and your family likely loses their house. All that for a beer or a buzz, is just crazy!
3. WEAR SAFETY BELTS!
There is really no excuse for leaving the driveway unrestrained. Almost 70% of people who die in vehicles are not properly wearing safety restraints. Set the example. They won’t drive without their music, and they should not drive without their belts. No exceptions. (You too, Mom and Dad).
4. DON’T OVERCORRECT!
This is critical. Go to a safe place and let them feel how long it really takes to go from highway speed to a stop. It might surprise them. Let them put two wheels on the gravel shoulder and just hold. The sudden sound of gravel will often cause them to jerk left violently and lose control. Steady controlled movement will put them safely back on the asphalt. Do it until they do not panic anymore. It is sadly better to hit an animal than to wreck, so cover that, too.
5. LOOK TWICE!
It is not enough to “look both ways.” They must do that, but twice! Motorcycles are much harder to see, and even cars can seem to hide. Many people who hit and injure my clients say they “never saw” our car. They did not see it, because they did not look twice. Safe motoring!
Wednesday, August 22, 2012
There are folks who compile intersections with the most injury auto accidents. Here is a list that is often pointed to. How close do you live to these?
Summer Avenue and Sycamore View Road in Memphis
Winchester Road and Riverdale Road in Memphis
Winchester Road and Mendenhall Road in Memphis
Winchester Road and Kirby Parkway in Memphis
Winchester Road and Hickory Hill Road in Memphis
State Line Road and Riverdale Road in Memphis
Hacks Cross Road and Lowrance Road (near Bill Morris Parkway) in Memphis
Houston Levee Road and Walnut Grove Road in Cordova
Houston Levee Road and Macon Road in Cordova
Macon Road and Collierville-Arlington Road in Collierville
I would add the following:
Austin Peay and Covington Pike/Singleton in front of Methodist North in Memphis.
Germantown Road at Trinity in Memphis.
Watkins at U.S. Highway 51 in Frayser.
385 Paul Barrett Parkway at U.S. Highway 51 in Millington, Tn.
Where would you add?
FOUR WAYS TO MAKE YOURSELF SCAM-PROOF
Would you like to have a super power that makes it virtually impossible for someone to trick you out of your hard-earned money?
Here are four secrets that are absolutely like kryptonite to scammers.
1. Say, “I am not buying today,” and mean it. Walk away from high-pressure sellers who tell you that you must make a decision right away. You and I have made our worst decisions when we are in a hurry and under heavy sales pressure. Never make a decision in those conditions! Getting second and third opinions, along with extra time and advice from others, will usually stop the high pressure sales guys and they will move on to scam an easier victim. My mother gets rid of high pressure folks easily because she says, “Just talk to my son, David, he’s the attorney.” Whether it is a used car salesman, a timeshare hawker, an air conditioning repairman, or a financial services representative, move slowly and do not agree to anything you do not understand or feel pressure to do. “Where there is no guidance, a people falls, but in an abundance of counselors there is safety.” Proverbs 11:4. When it comes to business and motorcycles, speed hurts.
2. Realize “You can’t get something for nothing.” Ignore letters or emails that ask you to help transfer money into your bank account from Nigeria or to wire money out of the country. You did not win a Canadian lottery you cant’ recall even entering. If it seems too good to be true, it is! Never pay money upfront to get a loan or win a lottery or sweepstakes. Real places never require you to send money to them. Don’t cash checks you get in the mail along with a letter or call that tells you you’ve won an unexpected prize. The checks are fakes. We should not even want something that is a get rich quick gimmick. “Wealth from get-rich-quick schemes quickly disappears; wealth from hard work grows over time.” Proverbs 13:11. When it comes to scams, greedy folks are often both the victims and the scammers.
3. “Don’t tell anyone your business.” Never, ever give your social security number, passwords, date of birth, bank account or credit card information to those who call, or email you. If someone calls “from your bank” or a credit card company seeking this information, hang up and call them at a number you already have that you know is correct. You will find that both your bank and your credit card company know all those secret things about you, and a lot more, and will not be calling to get that information from you. “Discretion will protect you, and understanding will guard you.” Proverbs 2:11. When it comes to personal information, loose lips sink ships.
4. “Don’t promise away tomorrow.” Scammers are not always out to do you harm. Some just always see you as a payday. Someone in your own family may be a black hole that just absorbs money. They are always broke, and always behind on something that it is just critical. I notice it is always someone else’s fault: the car repair guy, the baby’s doctor or the mean landlord who won’t cut them a break. They just need someone to co-sign a loan, and all their problems will disappear. Besides, they will say, they will pay it back. Please never co-sign a loan that you are not willing and able to easily pay in full without a hint of repayment. “It is poor judgment to co-sign a friend’s note, to become responsible for a neighbor’s debts.” Proverbs 17:18. When it comes to co-signing, there is always a reason that they need your good credit.
These four secrets, grounded in the Good Book, will keep you from being such an easy victim. For more tips, see my website.
Monday, August 13, 2012
LEGAL MISTAKES YOU MIGHT BE MAKING
In speaking to churches and civic groups, I hear and see mistakes that regular folks are making that can hurt their family.
1. Carrying “Only Liability” is a BIG MISTAKE. I know that auto insurance is expensive, and UM is not legally required, but always make sure you have plenty of Uninsured Motorists (UM) Coverage. Even on your old cars, or the bike you hardly ever ride. UM covers you, your family or passengers from injuries caused by unknown, uninsured, or underinsured at fault drivers. These type of drivers cause many more crashes than others, and are often drunk drivers. You get to select the amount to insure you and your family for, and it is NOT expensive compared to what you may get. I recommend at least $100,000 worth.
2. Buying things as “investments” that are not worth it. While there are examples of people having some success with the following items, most folks I talk to really regret buying investments that do not usually appreciate in value. These often include timeshares, whole life insurance, universal life insurance and many popular collectables.
3. Co-signing. If you are asked to co-sign a loan, you might be flattered. Another way to look at it is this: No one trusts them enough to loan them money, so instead your home, assets and good name will be risked so they can get something that cannot earn themselves. Consider the following verses:
a. Proverbs 17:18: One who lacks sense gives a pledge and puts up security in the presence of his neighbor.
b. Proverbs 22:26-27: Be not one of those who give pledges, who put up security for debts. If you have nothing with which to pay, why should your bed be taken from under you?
c. Proverbs 6:1-35: My son, if you have put up security for your neighbor, have given your pledge for a stranger, if you are snared in the words of your mouth, caught in the words of your mouth, then do this, my son, and save yourself, for you have come into the hand of your neighbor: go, hasten, and plead urgently with your neighbor. Give your eyes no sleep and your eyelids no slumber; save yourself like a gazelle from the hand of the hunter, like a bird from the hand of the fowler. ...
4. Fearful or hasty decisions. While it is not technically a legal mistake, making decisions from a place of fear or in a hurry is almost always a bad call. Fear is what makes people often pay too much for a “new” car because they are afraid of a “used” one. Being in a hurry is what high-pressure sales guys rely on to make you sign a deal fast. The old saying- “Think long, think wrong” is itself – Wrong! Be the person who takes advice, and seeks wisdom before you make a decision. Be the person who gets a second or even a third opinion. Whether it is surgery, a new air conditioner or a car repair, get more advice.
These mistakes can be very expensive. Seek counsel and move slowly. A wise man will hear and increase in learning, and a man of understanding will acquire wise counsel. ~Proverbs 1:5.
Thursday, August 2, 2012
NOT ENOUGH GUNS?
The Aurora, Colorado shooting was beyond tragic. It was barbaric. It was an evil act by an evil man who plotted for maximum loss of life. He even booby-trapped his apartment with over 30 explosives.
It reminds us all of other U.S. mass shootings in recent years that include:
2011: U.S. Rep. Gabrielle Giffords and eighteen other people were shot in a parking lot near Tucson, Arizona. Six of those shot died and the shooter found insane.
2009: The Army says 13 people were killed and 30 wounded in a shooting rampage at its Fort Hood base in Texas.
2007: 32 people were killed at Virginia Tech before the shooter killed himself in the deadliest mass shooting in modern U.S. history.
2006: A 32 year old, shot five girls fatally at an Amish School, and then killed himself. The Amish quickly forgave his family.
1999: Students just 18, and 17, opened fire at Columbine High School in Littleton, Colorado, killing 13 and wounding 26 others before committing suicide.
1998: Shockingly, an 11, and 13 year old, killed four girls and a teacher at a Jonesboro, Arkansas, middle school. 10 others were wounded in the shooting.
1991: A man, in Luby's Cafeteria in Texas, killed 22 people, wounding 20 more.
We all want to stop these, so Congress again looks at tougher gun laws. A Federal “Assault Weapon Ban” was in effect from 1994 to 2004. It banned high capacity magazines, (a spring loaded metal box that hold bullets that anyone can make) in an effort to curb shootings. In the shootings above, the only one even using an assault rifle was The Aurora shooting, and that was only after he used a shotgun.
Where gun control exists, such as Chicago which has a murder rate higher than Mexico City, only law-abiding citizen are disarmed. Criminals do not obey laws. This seems to be new information to some. Insane people who intend suicide and want to take people with them will even rig 30 explosives, which are also banned.
But here is one thing in common: With only the exception of Tucson, every public shooting in the U.S. in which more than three people have been killed since at least 1950 has occurred in a place where citizens are not allowed to carry their own firearms.
In fact, Switzerland issues firearms to all adults, and the rate of gun crime is too low to report. This is why people do not rob police departments and gun shops very often. The argument that lot of armed people will just cause a shootout is invalid if the only alternative is that innocent people are slain like helpless cattle.
I wish an armed, trained concealed-carry permit holder had violated theater policy and had used his prohibited handgun to stop the shooter that night in Aurora. Don’t you?
If so, then you may agree that the problem is not a lack of gun laws, but a lack of gun owners.
Thursday, July 26, 2012
SMALL BUSINESS AND JOBS
President Obama recently got himself in hot water with a lot of hard-working business owners when he said, “If you’ve got a business, you didn’t build that. Somebody else made that happen.”
Conservatives pounced on this statement as being arrogant and patronizing toward the risk-takers that actually employ others and create jobs.
Liberals claim the quote is out of context, and point out that we are all mutually helped by teachers, roads, infrastructure, firefighters and the invention of the Internet.
As a small business man myself, I have heard a lot of about jobs and small businesses in this long election cycle we have all had to endure. Here are some things that you might surprise you about small businesses. They may not be so small. A business under 500 employees usually qualifies.
A staggering 99.7 percent of all employer firms are small, paying 44 percent of total U.S. private payroll, and employing half of all private sector employees! Half! That is about 60 million jobs.
Maybe even more significantly, they generated 65 percent of net new jobs over the past 17 years, from 1993-2009. That is 9.8 million new jobs.
Small businesses are the ones that take risks. Just look at the rate of failure. Only a quarter stay in business 15 years or more. And, the majority of small businesses are started with owner’s own cash, bank loans and credit cards.
So, yes, we all drive on roads contracted for by the government. However, they were paid for tax dollars from people like me, and you. Further, they were built by private businesses simply under contract from the government. The Internet was invented by the military, which is funded by our tax dollars. Firefighters, who are true heroes along with our soldiers and police, are paid with tax dollars.
Remember, the government cannot give you anything it does not first take from someone else.
The current administration wants to raise taxes on business owners with incomes over $250,000.00. However, we should all recognize that precious few folks with incomes under that number could provide many jobs.
Job creators are certainly struggling and lack confidence to hire you and your neighbors. We are in crisis of confidence and both sides blame each other.
We cannot tax out way to prosperity, we must grow there.
Tuesday, July 10, 2012
YOU GOT FIRED FOR THAT?
With jobs as hard to come by as they are, getting fired is a serious blow. I represent injured workers and car accident victims, and losing their job is something they all fear. But, people are only fired for really good reasons, right?
Consider these reported cases:
On July 2, 2012, near Miami Beach, a young lifeguard was assigned a portion of the city beach. He heard a commotion, and saw a man in trouble. He ran to help, and radioed his boss to cover his section. The lifeguard saved the drowning man.
Then he was fired.
Fired because he left his assigned beach zone to save a life!
Two other lifeguards protested, claiming they would have done the same thing.
Then they were fired.
Three of the remaining lifeguards resigned in protest. A total of six jobs lost.
The public outcry was so huge, that the young hero, Mr. Lopez, was actually presented a key to the city. The management company also offered him his job back, which he politely declined.
Surely, getting fired for doing the right thing is rare. Maybe it is not.
Consider the Detroit worker who found a dangerous loaded handgun in weeds while on the job. He kept it safe, figuring a policeman would soon drive by, and he could turn it in. After work, having seen no cops, he drove it to the police department himself. He wanted to get it off the streets. The police discovered the gun had been stolen years earlier, and praised his efforts.
Then he was fired.
Fired only two years from retirement after 23 years on the same job! He had broken a policy by having a gun at work. Really?
In Ann Arbor, Michigan, a shoplifter was running out of the Whole Foods store, when a former US Marine employee caught up to him in the parking lot. The employee eventually caught him and, attempting a citizens’ arrest, held the suspect for police as they were on the way. What loyalty! But then his boss, the manager, came and ordered that the thug must be released. The thief ran off into the night.
Then he was fired.
Fired on Christmas Eve, no less. You see, Whole Foods has a policy against “touching” a customer.
Was a man who was stealing really a “customer?” I thought customers actually paid for the items they take out.
In the Whole Foods case, one could argue that no one was in danger when the employee chased him down. Surely, if customers were in danger, it would be a different result, right? Wrong!
A Wal-Mart shoplifter had one employee up against a break room wall, with a gun at his back. The gunman reportedly threatened the other three employees in the small room, but they were having none of it. They sprang into action, and wrestled the gun away from the crazed bandit, and held him for police.
Police officers told them they had done everything right.
Then they were fired.
All four of them were fired.
Wal-Mart claimed they broke a company policy by putting their fellow workers and customers at risk. Wal-Mart seemed unable to grasp that letting a desperate criminal armed with a gun lose in their store might put a person or two at risk. And what about the man with the gun at his back? Seems like he was at risk!
As it turns out, the thug was a convicted felon, who cannot legally own a firearm and would certainly not want to be caught with one. He also had many warrants out for his arrest, so he was probably very desperate. The gun, in fact, was loaded, and had a live round chambered to shoot.
Company policies were created to teach people what is right, and to protect the customers and the company. I can understand why employees are not encouraged to chase down thieves outside the store, but some of these are indefensible among those with any common sense.
Maybe common sense itself was fired?
It sure is rare these days.
Sunday, July 1, 2012
Independence day in America is July 4. It is a day of fireworks, picnics and grilling out. Having recently visited Independence Hall in Philadelphia I was struck anew just how brave these few flawed founding fathers were. Standing up to the largest empire that existed. Troops were on the ground, and more were on the way. The battles would have to be fought here. If you host a battle, home field advantage is often overshadowed by the awful inevitable destruction. I just visited Arlington national cemetery. There are rows of white tombstones are far as you can see. Did you know that belonged to Robert E Lee originally? Anyway, those soldiers died for you and for me. For freedom. It occurred to me as I visit our national Capitol that few if any Americans would actually read the Declaration of Independence on this day. Doesn't sound like fun? How bout this? Have amazing stars explain and than read you -- or really perform-- this great document that we hardly have lived up to yet. Interested? Is it worth it to you? If so, gather round and watch 15 minutes. (That is 1/4 of an American Idol episode) http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jYyttEu_NLU&feature=youtube_gdata_player Enjoy. Happy fourth of July
Thursday, June 21, 2012
THE TRUTH ABOUT CREDIT SCORES
Credit Scores have become more important in the last few years. Increasingly, companies rely upon them for new roles:
Car Insurance: What does good credit have to do with safe driving? It is probably “risk-aversion.” Those with poor credit scores are thought of as being risky for loans. It may well be that they constitute riskier drivers as well.
Getting Hired: It seems oddly backward at first. If you have poor credit because you are out of money, you might be the hardest working candidate that could be hired. But, chances are, a poor credit score might just keep you from getting a call back for that second interview. Employers who use this information will get your permission to check your credit during the interview process.
Renting: You already know that credit scores affect your ability to get a home loan, but harmful information might also tank your rental application on that great apartment you wanted.
Credit Decisions: Instant decisions can be made with in store promotions and credit cards, as well as other kinds of loans.
There are only five elements of the “FICO” score, and surprisingly, the amount of money you have in the bank is NOT one of them! Seriously, you could have a basement full of gold, ten million in the bank and own most of Poplar Avenue and still not be approved for $1,000 store credit card at Sears!
Here, in order, are the magic five factors:
1. History of Your Payments: A full 35% of your score is determined by whether you make regular and timely payments.
2. Debt Portion Used: 30% of the score has to do with what part of open credit you have that you use. If you only use about a quarter or less of all your available credit, you are understandably seen as a good risk.
Alternatively, if you are maxed-out consistently, you are a much riskier bet, and get a lower score.
3. Years of Credit History: 15% of your score is determined by the length of time that your accounts have been open and used. Thus, even if you have never missed a payment or been late, you cannot have an ideal credit score until you have had credit for several years.
4. New Credit Opened: 10% of a total credit score is subject to recently opened credit. It makes one appear less stable to run up a lot of debt in a short time. (I guess that would hurt our government’s score, huh?)
5. Credit Mixture: The last 10% considers the multiple types of debt you use. For instance, having a house note and credit card will count much more than just a card.
In summary, reliable long-term debt-users get good scores. However, it should be pointed out that a good score means you have probably paid bucket-loads of interest at some point. For instance, on a 30-year mortgage, more monthly interest than principal is paid till around year 19 in most cases.
If you are a great credit risk with a high score, you can likely be relied upon to pay lots more interest over time.
If you want to see your credit reports for free, you are entitled to one from each bureau every 12 months. However, the scores themselves are not free. But, be careful, there is only one government-approved site to use. Do not fall for others that claim to be “Free.” The official free site is www.AnnualCreditReport.com.
But, be careful. As we learn in Proverbs 22:7, “The rich rule over the poor, and the borrower is servant to the lender.”