My friend Howard disagrees with my contention that government buying and federal pressure is the reason for the ammo shortages in America. In fact, he sent me a very long emails about this:
“I’m amazed how frequently you don’t listen to your own core principles. For example, if everything’s a business model, then why can’t you see that who profits is the main way to see who is causing a situation?
Thursday, you repeated the completely spurious conspiracy theory (not once, but twice!) that Obama and the supposedly anti-gun crowd have engineered an ammunition shortage. Complete bull shit, to put it mildly.
Who profits? If every deranged and even the sane gun nuts are frightened into buying mass quantities of ammunition, the same way they bought guns from a bogus fear of shortages and seizures during the first four years of the ONLY ADMINISTRATION TO EXPAND GUN RIGHTS IN OVER 50 YEARS, then the manufacturers and right wing fund raisers make out like bandits, which they are.
1) Plant fear of what might happen that will create shortages or even outright banning.
2) Schedule a plant shutdown or other temporary supply chain interruption.
3) Release tons of mainstream media press with video shots of empty shelves.
4) Double the price of the product, all the while selling more units.
Rinse and repeat. In this great book of modern archeology, an Arizona U team went to a number of landfills and studied the layers of garbage. One fascinating thing they found was a huge spike in discarded beef that happened right around the time (newspapers of the time providing temporal markers) of the Great Beef Shortage of the late 70s.
Turns out people did so much panic buying when they heard the news of shortages that they couldn’t reasonably consume all the beef they bought, so ended up throwing it away.
Now think about this — during the same time that the number of households owning guns has declined from 40% to 30% of the population, the number of guns owned by those households has more than doubled, the prices have skyrocketed, and Smith and Wesson have reported ten times the profits per year. Yet you glibly blame the “gun-grabbing liberals”…
Sucker. If you aren’t part of the solution…yada yada….”
Sorry, no sale! And that’s the point: no sales. The economics of ammo run out like this:
XXX price times YYY rounds equals initial sales figures before mass ammo buys and federal however they do it.
Today we’re at XXXXX prices times ZERO which means NO SALES.
So I’m sorry, I’ve talked to too many people who are down at ZERO purchases to swallow the assertion that prices are high to squeeze additional profits out of the market.
Read my lips:
NO SALES! Zero times whatever price is still ZERO!
Just this morning a reader sent me a note:
“This offer on bulk .22 ammo just crossed my desk. It might solve your supply issue….”
By the time I got there – in minutes – guess what?
Small quantity of cheap foreign ammo gone!
So the math is not there and yes, I’ll cling to my claim that the gun-grabbing liberals have become the ammo-grabbering while “talking-a-good game” liberals.
But the math is still unassailable: Zero sales times whatever price you care to pay is still zero revenue. There ain’t no right-wing conspiracy but there is federal purchase orders for over a billion worth, so who you gonna believe? Liberal claims or government P.O.s?
So if you are in retail, maybe run a pawn of sporting goods story, and actually can run some sales figures, please send them along because I’m sure my phone will ring this morning in a few minutes with Howard telling me I’m wrong and there’s no arbiter like units and price data…so send it along and help bail me out here because this is ridiculous.
A couple of readers were kind enough to send me offers to sell a block of .22 but I’m going to decline. Arranging such a purchase could be characterized in lots of unsavory ways (by equally unsavories) because of how regs can be interpreted, so I will practice throwing rocks instead and keep us all out of trouble with the Offishul Department of Whatever.
One of Howard’s other points with me was he’s still biting on the global warming herring, telling me about the hottest July ever.
OK, sure for the US, but my friend Claus in Tanzania offers:
“Regarding global cooling: I’ve not run the numbers here, but weather this (African) winter here in Dar is much colder than last year and people who were born here say it is unusually cold. And that’s on sea level and just 6° South of the equator – 22° – 24° C. “
So weather patterns are changing, but it still may not be the end of the World. Good related discussion can be found here.
The old statistics joke still holds: A statistician is a man who puts one foot in a fire and one in a block of ice and swears “On average, I’m comfortable!”
Disagreements between friends come down to facts…so I’m in the collect more facts mode now.
With When We’re ’64
A little more than 60-years ago, my mom and I were walking home from the grocery store where we’d walked (about five blocks) to pick up this and that in the way of food. Grocery stores were more widely dispersed, back then since most people still walked places to get food.
As we walked by a large brick home that had recently been built, a woman appeared with young boy at her side, and she and my mom got to talking.
This woman and her husband were new to that part of town and one thing led to another. The mom was a hairdresser by trade and my mom was of the stay-at-home sort, so before long, my mom was “babysitting” (more properly child care, these days) and the young boy and I became fast friends.
Over the past 60 years, we’ve shared all kinds of adventures, including riding our bikes impossibly long distances (50-miles in a day was nearly impossible on old-style bikes) and we were chased by a hatchet-wielding hobo.
We also both sort of fell into ham radio around age 13 and we’ve kept in touch some of the time that way, over the years. Still do…and still in Morse code.
The nuts don’t fall too far from the tree, turns out. Our sons, like us, are off on “life trajectories” similar to our own. His son was in the top of his class at Air Force Academy and again in his masters out of MIT. He’s another up and coming officer planning to be a test pilot.
My son, on the other hand, hasn’t settled down into finishing his “papers” yet, following the old man’s style of “Let’s do some “doing” first and paper it later. So he’s the EMT, epidemiologist tech who jumps out of airplanes to keep life interesting…60-some jumps and climbing.
Tracks of the boys are interesting echoes of their dad’s footsteps. Since our sons have never met, they’ve missed the bonding that comes from almost burning down a church (when one of our camps made as kids) set off a brush fire in a vacant lot next door to it. Of the special bonding that comes from dropping a waterproof cherry bomb into a sewer to see what happens.
We did lots of other things to keep life “interesting.” Building hot air balloons out of plastic laundry bags and sending them aloft with M-80s on about 10-minutes of time fuse, for example. The sound when these went off was inspiring.
It was still possible in the late 1950’s and early 60’s to go through a Huckleberry Finn stage because life didn’t yet include political correctness training or learning that such antics would (50-some years after the fact) be categorized as terrorism.
That’s what boys did back then, if curious and smart. They tried stuff out, pushed limits, explored…crazy stuff, often enough, but we got to know our way around the world through a lot of “doing”. Maybe aided at times by an older brother of his, who had mastered model airplanes, perfected building “smoke bombs” and who later became an accomplished mechanics, hunter, and reloader…
Having done lots of dumb-kid things, I think it taught us a lot of respect for the “real deals” in life.
So first item of business this morning is a round of congratulations to my life-long pal Major R. J. Carter, US Army Retd. 64 years today and still rolling strong despite hanging around with a nerdowell for 60 of those.
And an old Beetles song for our wives is likely in order, too. Someone oughta do an update of that for, oh, 84 or 94 next.
Speaking of family and people and such, an email from hyper-allergic daughter Denise is important:
“Dad! A little girl died two days ago from peanut allergy. In her dad’s arms at camp. He was a doctor and he gave her 3 epipens before she stopped breathing! She died anyway because this disease is a merciless killer.
Could you please share my video on your website, spread allergy awareness, and save some lives? Please? PEOPLE ARE DYING. I could be next.
I’m trying to get the word out about this important research study…”
My own allergy to peanuts seems to have gotten worse over the years and when Elaine and I were in New York recently, I had to use a couple of puffs on my inhaler because some bozos behind us on the train behind us opened up a bag a peanuts and were crunching away.
As a “peanut-sensitive” can you please ask next time you open up a bag of nuts in an enclosed public place? “Any allergic to peanuts?” would be nice. Stuff can kill and most people don’t think about that..
More from readers on my vitamin-taking:
“Good selection of supplements, I agree! You might consider adding Lysine (lie seen, ha ha) to your regimen; C and Lysine are the original heart formula of Linus Pauling in rather large quantities. I’m fairly sure addition of it to my mother’s regimen at the age of 94 extended her life for several years, I actually listened to her heart before and after my sister and I started it….”
Consider it done…And reader Bill wonders:
“Hey George, what about coq10 something you talked about in at least one of your pieces?”
I take a CoQ-10 every other day, or so. There are some that I toss in when I am feeling less than 110%: Another gram of C, CoQ10, and don’t tell anyone this, but sometimes even colloidal silver when I’m coming down with something. Haven’t come down with anything in a long time, though…but shhh!!! This is NOT medical advice. Go talk to your doctor.
OK, off to a busy weekend of site work…so hopefully, you’ll still find UrbanSurvival intact Monday morning for our next update. Bring friends…
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This weekend, reader CJ in Connecticut (who sadly missed out meet-up back there in June) has a very well thought-out question about how economics works…so we will dig into that. Then we’ll ponder how comparative risk between assets classes may be starting to come loose from its moorings…and the ice cream Saturday…er…sundae will be considering how to invest in the Ganzfeld. Before going there, however, a twinge of Gestalt from our usual quick survey of this morning’s headlines. You’ll want to pay close attention this morning because we’re going to use the news to do some ad hoc “Event scoring” as a way to intuit the future and make better investment decisions…as we arrive at another system of handicapping the future on our way to the $2-dollar options window…
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