Friday, January 13, 2017

Ancient Dread: The Lizard City


Noting that I have no reflection in the pool, I see I have lost the deep tan and returned to my normal skin tone. Intuition tells us that we ‘shouldn’t’ leave w/o finding out what caused the loss and that they are w/ our goal. Concentrating, we can feel the direction of where they are. We notice a shadow watching us. Moving towards it, it flees into the jungle. Roughly the same direction as the pull. We follow, clearing a path.

During a pause, Rod prays to the Dragons for guidance. She hears that we are on a primal plane, dedicated to the hunt therefore we should act as hunters do. Ackdor picks up a trail, boots, avg. height, and follows it. Eventually we find a cave. The tracks lead into it. The tracks are the same size as each member of the group. We decide to follow, lighting torches for those whose eyes are deficient.

The opening is about 25’. The darkness seems to swallow us like a liquid pool of black. Our natural abilities to see in the dark do not work. Ackdor takes the light gem and steps inside. No light or sound transfers through the wall. The darkness does seem to move away from the light. We move inside. Our voices are muffled by the darkness. We are not leaving tracks nor does my gem of direction yet work.

Coming upon a wall, we discover paintings of a reptilian nature. Rod recognizes them as Pith, the Snake God of the Southern Jungle Pantheon. Ackdor disappears as we walk ahead. I move to follow him. Blinding light greets me. As the rest of the party follows, we are back in the jungle. A rushing sound in the distance. Tracks are on the ground. The Pull has also returned, towards the rushing sound. A river, quite wide. The Pull is upriver. Eventually stone structures are visible in the distance. Closer we get, it is a city, peopled, so to speak, w/ a reptilian race, identical to the ones we saw on the cave wall. There seems to be two different species, tall/stocky and shorter/slender. We cross the river, wishing to avoid a confrontation.

Of course, shortly beyond where we cross, the jungle clears to more city. We hear Elvish being spoken. Settling in until night, we decide to try and make a run through the city in the dark. Muffling our feet w/ my old cloak, we move through the city as silently as possible, crossing the river once again to head towards the ‘Pull’. A large step pyramid and complex, likely dedicated to Pith. We make it to the courtyard w/o incident. The cobblestones are smooth and well fitting. Pillars line the sides. Several guards are between us and the steps of the temple. I quietly move along the pillars to triangulate. A guard smells me out. He dies w/ an arrow through the throat. I call the rest of the group forward. They encounter another guard. Echo imitates the voice of some locals but he comes closer and draws a weapon. Ackdor and Echo quickly dispatch him.

There are guards on the steps and the walls are too smooth to climb. I levitate up w/ the ropes and the group climbs. A wandering guard notices the blood of one of the other guards. Two arrows drop him. We need to move quickly up the rest of the ziggurat. The last step I make up to find a grappling hook strike me in the neck. Melina heals me quickly but I am unable to speak.

The bodies are discovered and a general alarm sounds. Time to fight.

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Wednesday, January 11, 2017

WISQARS vs UCR: The Numberings

So the Brady's put out this little bit of trite:
Senator Jeff Sessions has repeatedly voted against expanding lifesaving Brady background checks. He has been a champion of the evil PLCAA law that strips gun violence victims of their day in court. And during his time representing Alabama in the Senate, gun homicides have risen 29 percent in his home state.
So I hop over to the Alabama UCR and 'Disaster Center' and note that while there was a little bit of difference between the two, both showed a decrease in overall homicides since '97 when Sessions was first elected. Neither, however, showed 'gun homicides' separately.

So where did the Brady's get their info from?  I figure it's from the 'GunPolicy' site, their usual source, and they utilize the CDC's WISQARS.

Note the differences in the UCR compared to WISQARS on 'Homicides'.
2011: 311 to 392
2012: 325 to 405
2013: 342 to 417
2014: 270 to 374
2015: 353 to 473

and it goes all the way back actually showing an increase in homicides from '99 (the year WISQARS started and two years after Sessions took office, near the end of a drop in homicides from their peak years earlier).  A difference of 20-30% higher numbers than the state and FBI provide. Not a small error.

So whom to believe?

Update: Discrepancy likely found. Medical examiners determine 'Homicide' as " the death of a person comes at the hand of another person."  iow including justifiable, police, and accidental whereas the UCR's use the definition of "violent acts subject to criminal prosecution"  . The exact reason the CPD tries to redefine them as 'accidents' etc because fewer people use the CDC numbers.

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