COVID-19 Day 85: The Band and Album Name

I posted the mugshots of the 4 officers accused in the murder/manslaughter of George Floyd. I asked “Name the band? Name the album?” on Social Media. The following is cover art from what resulted:

©Album Design T. DelMundo
©Album Design T. DelMundo
©Album Design T. DelMundo
©Album Design T. DelMundo
©Album Design T. DelMundo
©Album Design T. DelMundo

COVID-19 Day 84: Gun store picked clean after looting.

“I’ve never seen anything like it,” said distressed gun store owner Matt Brady, “This mob came in and cleaned everything off the shelves. They even took the stuff I had in back.”

A long-time customer said in disgust, “It’s a shame. I came in today to pick up some ammo but now, to see this… all they have left is some expensive-ass 500 S&W.”

Mr. Brady added, “To the mob of folks that came in today, your orders will be ready for pick-up in 3 days after mandatory background checks.”


That’s my attempt at an Onion or Babylon Bee article. The truth is that gun sales surged 80% in the month of May compared to last year, this despite many state’s gun stores shut-down due to COVID-19 regulation. And this was BEFORE the George Floyd riots. Many new gun owners’ fears of unrest due to the pandemic were borne out after violence and looting that erupted nationwide. Two arguments often leveled against defenders of the 2nd Amendment were definitively invalidated.

One, the ‘militia’ in the 2nd Amendment referred only to the Army. When State and City law enforcement appeared in riot gear and then National Guard showed up to support them, many leftists on social media were quick to protest alarm against ‘totalitarian force’, though seemingly ob of their own hypocrisy. The framers of the Bill of Rights wrote the 2nd amendment to define the individual’s rights to firearms to defend themselves against a tyrannical government.

Second, private citizens don’t need firearms when they have police to protect them. Small business owners in many cities desperately called 911 when looters attacked and their stores. In those cities, the local police forces were overwhelmed and unable to respond. In some cases, police simply told people to stop calling, or their calls were never answered, or citizens were told that officers were unavailable to assist them and to run or defend themselves as best they could.

I’ve now lived through 3 major city riots, one after a hurricane and two sparked by police brutality. That’s why I’ve chosen to own firearms and train to use them. There’s an old saying, “When seconds count, the police are just minutes away.” But in a riot, the police may never come.


SOURCES
https://www.nytimes.com/2020/05/31/us/minneapolis-protests-business-looting.html

https://www.kiro7.com/news/local/bellevue-police-remind-residents-not-call-911-report-looting/ULAAPGMAQNHOZCNSSZ3CLK3XG4/

COVID-19 Day 83: Black Screens Matter

Yesterday was “Black Tuesday”. Many quietly changing their social media profile pics to solid black or posting blank rectangles on their social media posts to voice their solidarity to protests against the death of George Floyd.

CNN recently posted an article warning against this practice explaining “posting a blank black image with a bunch of tags clogs up critical channels of information and updates.” If you read between the lines CNN basically admits that it doesn’t want people to do this because it crowds out CNN’s “news”. Black screens don’t outrage people enough to click and share. Black screens do not promote rage bait. No clicks to CNN means no money for CNN and they wouldn’t want that.

So please, continue to post blank screens or any positive images other than CNN, and be sure to include the hashtags #blacklivesmatter and #CNN

CNN says it doesn’t want to see this. Good.

COVID-19 Day 82: Your narrative shapes your perspective on the Lincoln Memorial Protests.

In an unusual scene, National Guard troops were posted to the Lincoln Memorial and other national landmarks in Washington D.C., after some monuments in the Great Mall were vandalized over the weekend. Protest over George Floy’d death turned violent as protestors near the White House clashed with D.C. police.

What is interesting is how this same scene has been depicted by the media. Almost all news outlets and social media have posted the photo on the left, taken by Martha Raditz which has enraged many on social media.

But that same scene photographed from a different angle shows a less than intimidating group of guardsmen on the steps, far outnumbered by the crowd of peaceful protesters who had gathered. The soldiers weren’t even armed or carrying defensive riot shields. Hardly alarming and therefore hardly newsworthy because it doesn’t outrage you then it’s not baiting you enough to click. 



As were these images from Washington and around the country today.


The protests today were peaceful and when the protestors left, so did the troops. The National Guard was literally there to ‘guard’ a national monument, to keep it from looking like this scene from Tom Clancy’s The Division 2. Coincidentally or prophetically, that game tells the story of a nation brought to collapse after a global pandemic. Let’s hope life doesn’t imitate art.

© Ubisoft Tom Clancy’s the Division

SOURCES
https://thehill.com/homenews/administration/500824-troops-guard-steps-of-lincoln-memorial-amid-protest

https://twitter.com/NationalMallNPS/status/1267124873085804544

https://www.marketwatch.com/story/military-show-of-force-at-lincoln-memorial-draws-outrage-online-2020-06-02

COVID-19 DAY 81: The Scariest Thing Last Halloween May Have Been COVID.

People have been alarmed by the “new strains” of COVID-19 being discovered around the world. Part of this confusion is due to the somewhat subjective use of the term “strain” which applies to any genetic variation or subtype of a virus. These variations can cause a change in a virus’ lethality or infectiousness or as is more often the case, no discernible change at all. In fact, because genetic mutations occur constantly as a virus replicates in the human body, a single individual could theoretically develop different strains of a virus within their own course of an infection.

There were some early theories circulated that the reason why some people experience only mild symptoms vs life-threatening symptoms could be due to differences in strains. The strain found in NYC was traced to Italy and both regions had the highest number of deaths in the world. Unfortunately, this theory falls apart because the Italian strain was the same strain that infected Germany and Noway which had very few deaths.

There is only one virus that causes COVID-19, SARS-CoV-2. There are 2-8 easily detectable strains of SARS2 which has helped researchers trace the geographic path of the pandemic, starting in Wuhan China and spreading to Europe, South East Asia, and North America and from there to other parts of the world. From each of these 8 regional strains, hundreds of different variations have been identified by more detailed genetic sampling.

Mutations happen naturally in the process of viral replication and geneticists have learned that this randomness happens at a regular rate over time. By determining how often mutations occur, a ‘molecular clock’ can be calibrated for any organism. Running back the molecular clock from the various SARS2 samples from around the world, they were able to estimate that the original strain of SARS2 could have appeared as early as October 2019. So yes, it’s possible that the flu you had back in December could have been COVID-19. It didn’t even have to be a bad case of flu, as some COVID-19 systems are as mild as a cold or allergy. Only a serum antibody test can determine for sure.

Molecular clocks can help us turn back time to the start of the pandemic. What they can’t do is tell us how the pandemic started. And unfortunately we can’t turn back time to stop it.


SOURCES

https://medium.com/@tomdelmundo/covid-19-day-38-the-mutant-threat-is-overblown-1110bcabe533

https://www.scmp.com/news/china/science/article/3079678/coronavirus-mutation-threatens-race-develop-vaccine

https://nextstrain.org/ncov/global

COVID-19 Day 80: Sunday Meme

COVID-19 Day 79: False Flags and Mistaken Identities in Minneapolis Riots

At the start of the George Floyd Minneapolis riots, a white man dressed, unlike other protesters, in an all-black ANTIFA-like outfit, professional gas mask, and umbrella, broke the windows of AutoZone car parts store which was later looted and burned. This incident was caught on video as other protesters attempted to stop him, and he eventually fled on foot. What followed was a rumor storm that claimed the Umbrella-Man was a St. Paul Police officer conducting a false-flag tactic to provoke the protestors to violence. 

My cursory investigation into this shocking allegation casts doubt on its voracity and accuracy. The incident was captured on livestream video of one of the protesters during the Minneaplolis riots on May 28. A group of protesters were gathered around a shopping center next to an AutoZone store. 

A tweet of the video shared by small-time Twitch streamer SeanXSolo (@Seanxsolo) shows a white man dressed all in black ANTIFA-style casual tactical wear, carrying an umbrella and wearing a +$250 professional (not military) grade North 7600 gas mask. This individual proceeds to break the windows of an AutoZone store near protesters. He walks away after being challenged by some protesters for breaking the windows (some of whom he threatens for following him). He doesn’t have friends or family among the protesters and walks off alone. The AutoZone would later be looted and burned down.   

The Twitter account of Toronto based dancer Dimensional Creature (@jcpearce18) responded to SeanXSolo by retweeted the video with additional footage with the comment, “That’s a Cop!!!” from a Serbian Twitter user Luka Duvnjak (@Luka_Duvnjak)

https://twitter.com/Luka_Duvnjak?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw%7Ctwcamp%5Etweetembed%7Ctwterm%5E1266175181153763329&ref_url=https%3A%2F%2Fglobintel.com%2Fusa%2Fjacob-pederson-st-paul-police-bio-wiki-age-ex-wife-idd-as-vandalizer-in-the-autozone%2F

Twitter user Dylan Park (@dyllyp) a New York based film and commercial director, tweeted that his ‘close friend’ Megan sent him phone screen grabs of a TXT conversation she was having with a friend she identifies as “Jake’s Ex-Wife”. He would later identify the man as Officer Jacob Pederson of the St. Paul Police Department. 

Strangely I have not been able to confirm that there is any police officer in the St. Paul Police Department named Jacob Peterson. Nor that the police officer in the photo is he. It should be noted that the identity of this woman claiming to be his Ex-wife has not been confirmed, nor that Officer Pederson has an ex-wife. The St. Paul Police Department flatly denies that the gas-masked man in the video is one of their officers.

Post for @dyllyp identifying the gas-masked man

The TXT conversation between Megan and The Ex brings up some questions. How is this woman able to identify her gloves from a low-res photo that looks like any black gloves? Why would her Ex-husband use her gloves and not his own, assuming they have the same size hands? Why does she own a +$250 gas mask? Why would her Ex be in possession of her gloves and gas mask? Why would a police officer buy or use a gas mask that was incompatible with his police issued gas mask? Why would she mention ‘tactical boots’ as identifying him, when so many people wear tactical boots?

If this woman really is the Ex-Wife of an Officer Pederson, who calls him ‘a psycho’, then there is a strong possibility she would be inclined to want to embarrass him. She is as yet unwilling to positively identify herself to the public so there is no way to confirm if she has any alterer motives. Or if @dyllyp or any of the twitter users are doing anything more than publicly speculating. 

But to bolster his claims @dyllyp posted some photoshopped images of this police officer’s face and superimposing it into the masked suspects gas mask. While some consider this proof of his identity, I call this into question with my own photoshop images of various white guys in this virtual lineup. 

Virtual lineup of the AutoZone Umbrella-Man

A recent study found that 45%-60% of Twitter Accounts discussing and encouraging ‘Reopen America’ protests are bots. It’s not unreasonable to assume that these same bots are also retweeting and amplifying divisive tweets and rumors about the George Floyd killing and encouraging violent protests and rioting. And it’s also possible these bots or fake accounts are amplifying or encouraging these rumors about Officer Pederson being the Umbrella-Man are attempts to fan the flames of outrage and sow distrust of both the protestors and the government’s motives.

In a strange coincidence, when you Google ‘Jacob Pederson’ a number of white guys came up who bear a passing similarity to each other. If the Ex-Wife of a Jake Pederson is real, could she not be mistaking her ex-husband for any of these other Pederson’s? My little retouching exercise shows how easily we can be fooled when so little of a face is visible. We see what we want to see. But maybe I’m just being racist and thinking all white guys look alike. 

All Pederson’s look like white guys in gas masks.


SOURCES

Honeywell North 7600 Gas Mask https://amzn.to/3gBQY8T

https://www.cs.cmu.edu/news/nearly-half-twitter-accounts-discussing-%E2%80%98reopening-america%E2%80%99-may-be-bots?mod=article_inline