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Three Everyday Carry Accessories To Add To Your Keychain — Up To 25 Percent Off

Keychains are… well, keychains. You don’t think much about ‘em, really. They hold your keys in place, they slip into your pocket without notice, they serve their role and you go about your day.

But that’s selling the keychain short. That constant traveling companion can offer so much more than life as a simple key sherpa. We thought long and hard about this at The National Memo Store and we’ve come up with some ideas – all accompanied with big discounts, of course – that may make you rethink exactly what your keychain could and should be.

Key Safe

Why should a keychain simply hold keys? Key Safe says it doesn’t have to. Just hook this tough steel cylinder to your ring and you’ve got a safe, secure compartment to store cash, medication, sentimental things — basically, any small object you want to keep a constant eye on. It’s waterproof and it comes in sleek black or stainless steel varieties.

Buy now: Key Safe is 10% off the $19.95 MSRP right now, for only $17.95.

Beta-QR Quick Release Keychain Flashlight

Another perfect accessory for the wannabe Boy Scout who endeavors to be ready for anything. This aluminum casing keychain LED flashlight is several times more powerful than a much bigger D-cell-driven Mag-Lite — yet runs off a standard AAA battery and clips effortlessly to your ring. When you’re ready to use it, it’s got a quick release feature to quickly detach it from the ring — not to mention high color rendering light that throws back maximum color visibility without natural daylight. Did we mention it’s also super-small?

Buy now: Quit fumbling around the dark with this bad boy, now also 10 percent off at $52.99.

Orbitkey 2.0 with Multitool

Save the key swarms for the janitor. Step up to a more refined, more functional keychain with this stylish key organizer. The Orbitkey 2.0 holds up to 7 keys efficiently with a canvas and leather build that looks as cool as it is sturdy and durable. Best of all, it comes with a multi-tool that serves as a bottle opener, box cutter, hex wrench, screwdriver and file. Ruthless functionality within an economy of space… what more could you ask for?

Buy now: With this limited time deal, the Orbitkey is available now for only $34.90, a 25% discount.

For a limited time, you can use code BYESUMMER for an additional 15% off these great deals and more. Shop our summer blowout sale here. (Thru September 4th.)

This sponsored post is brought to you by StackCommerce.  

Study Illuminates The Way Cops Die In The Line Of Duty

Slow down, buckle up and take special care around fighting family members.

Sounds like wisdom a parent might bestow. But, in layman’s terms, those are the recommendations of a new study of law enforcement deaths while on duty.

In short, police will be more likely to return home safely after their shifts if more of them wear seat belts, take more care when racing to high-priority calls, wear their issued body armor and remember that calls involving domestic disturbances are often the most dangerous.

The release of the report by the U.S. Justice Department is well timed. It provides a striking counterbalance to a lot of rhetoric of late that aims to compel the public to choose sides between protecting blue lives and black lives — as if we can’t do both.

The report, “Deadly Calls and Fatal Encounters,” was being finalized as the nation reeled from the July ambush murders of five police officers in Dallas, followed by three more officers shot and killed by yet another deranged man in Baton Rouge, La.

Those murders understandably piqued fears for the lives of law enforcement. But some advocates of “law and order” have overreached, falsely accusing the Black Lives Matter movement of stoking violence against police.

There are tensions between citizens and police in low-income communities across the nation where homicide rates are high and police presence is heavy. But they have existed for years. That’s the point. The protests – even the most outrageous ones that brought vandalism, looting and police lines being pelted with bottles and rocks — weren’t the result of one incident. They are the result of cumulative outrage.

And it’s patently unfair to decide that the many voices involved in the Black Lives Matter movement — and they are widely varied — can be blamed for all of the dangers to law enforcement.

The report illustrates that many of the fatal dangers for police are not easily categorized. The report emphasizes that “no call is routine,” and complacency can result in an officer’s death. But there is much that can be done to alleviate their risks.

Analyzing 684 deaths of officers between 2010 and 2014, the report dug deep into the circumstances, finding parallels in the types of calls, what information was available to officers and how they responded.

Traffic accidents took the most police lives by far, accounting for 272 deaths. When police officers were shot and killed, most often it was in dealing with a domestic dispute. Often police officers died when answering calls alone, not waiting for backup or when pertinent information about the suspect being armed was not relayed to them. That finding calls for better training, coordination with dispatch operators and changes to the ways information is disseminated by radio, tablets and computers in patrol cars.

Ninety-one officers were killed while responding to a call for service, such as 911. Forty-one died in self-initiated calls, including cases where an officer made an investigatory traffic stop. An additional 134 officers were shot while not responding to a call. Those deaths included officers being ambushed in unprovoked attacks and those killed while serving a warrant, during tactical operations or while doing follow-up investigations.

Interestingly, semi-automatic weapons aren’t the firearms that most often take officer’s lives. In 71 percent of the cases studied, the officers died by a handgun. That makes sense. Handguns are popular in many an American home, which relates back to the domestic disturbance-related deaths. Yet in 21 percent of the deaths studied, officers were shot by high-powered rifles, leading to recommendations for body armor and possibly ballistic panels for patrol cars.

When it comes to shootings of police officers or by them, we’re increasingly being fed polarizing narratives: the police as prejudiced and above the law vs. the police as heroes with targets on their backs.

Reality is much more complex, and to come to grips with it we need access to the facts. Better data exist for cases in which officers killed in the line of duty than for cases of officers shooting civilians. The FBI is the clearinghouse for the latter cases, but law enforcement agencies don’t always report up the line.

As much as people like to argue that their feelings and perspectives matter, facts will bring us together to solve the problems of police violence. Better data, and reports that take the time to drill down into those data, are necessary. It’s the only way to spot problems and correct them.

After all, the goal of a civil society ought to be for citizen and officer to return safely to their homes at night.

(Mary Sanchez is an opinion-page columnist for The Kansas City Star. Readers may write to her at: Kansas City Star, 1729 Grand Blvd., Kansas City, Mo. 64108-1413, or via e-mail at

Photo: A Dallas police sergeant wears a mourning band on his badge during a prayer vigil in a park following the multiple police shooting in Dallas. REUTERS/Carlo Allegri

TSA Finds 20 Percent More Guns In Carry-On Bags In 2015, And Most Are Loaded

By Hugo Martin, Los Angeles Times (TNS)

Airport security screeners in the U.S. found a record high number of firearms in carry-on bags last year, and most of them were loaded, officials said.

The Transportation Security Administration said it found 2,653 firearms, 20 percent more than in 2014, and that 83 percent of them contained ammunition.

The agency suggested that the increase may be the result of better search techniques by airport screeners, although a moderate uptick in the number of travelers also may have contributed.

“The transport of firearms by commercial air in carry-on bags represents a threat to the safety and security of air travelers,” TSA Administrator Peter V. Neffenger said. “Through increased training in detection methods, our officers are becoming more adept at intercepting these prohibited items.”

Firearms were discovered in carry-ons at 236 airports last year, the TSA said. Those with the most were:

—Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport, with 153 firearms found

—Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport, with 144

—Houston George Bush Intercontinental Airport, with 100

—Denver International Airport, with 90

—Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport, with 73

All weapons, including guns, knives and ammunition, as well as inert bombs and realistic props made to look like firearms, are prohibited in carry-on bags on commercial planes.

Travelers who bring firearms to an airport checkpoint can face criminal charges and fines.

The TSA said it screened 708 million passengers in 2015, up about 6 percent from the previous year.

©2016 Los Angeles Times. Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.

Photo: A man walks past an exhibit booth for firearms manufacturer Sig Sauer at the International Association of Chiefs of Police conference in Chicago, Illinois, October 26, 2015.     REUTERS/Jim Young 

Schools Get Tested On Their Earthquake Safety, With Kids’ Help

By Sandi Doughton, The Seattle Times (TNS)

YELM, Wash. — On the count of three, a scrum of six-graders flung themselves in the air, landing with a thud that vibrated the ground under their feet.

Nearby, their classmates huddled around a computer, watching jagged tracings scroll across the screen as sensors picked up shaking from the mini-earthquake at Lackamas Elementary School last week.

Surrounded by boisterous 11- and 12-year-olds, geologist Recep Cakir explained that he and his crew are measuring the way seismic waves move through the soil to estimate how hard the ground will shake in future earthquakes.

The work is part of a pilot project, which also includes building inspections, to determine how well several Thurston County schools will stand up to a major quake.

With a $45,000 grant from the Federal Emergency Management Agency and volunteer assistance from structural engineers, the project is evaluating the seismic safety of 15 schools in three districts. But the bigger goal is to develop a standard process that could be applied to schools across the state, said John Schelling, of Washington’s Emergency Management Division.

“The time is right to look at the state of the science and really assess how vulnerable one of our most precious assets is — our kids,” he said.

Over the past 25 years, scientists have discovered that the Pacific Northwest is subject to megaquakes and tsunamis from the offshore fault called the Cascadia Subduction Zone, as well as powerful, shallow quakes on faults under Seattle, Everett, Tacoma and other cities.

But many of the state’s schools predate modern building codes that take those hazards into account.

Using a FEMA model and an estimate of the mix of building types across the state, the Office of the Superintendent of Public Instruction calculated a magnitude-9 Cascadia quake could hypothetically cause more than $4 billion in damages and loss of services at school facilities, kill 117 students and staff and injure more than 3,000.

A similar analysis by FEMA estimates half the schools in Washington’s I-5 corridor would suffer medium to high damage.

But no one knows really knows how widespread the risk is — or which schools are in the greatest peril.

“Washington is really the only state on the West Coast that hasn’t completed a detailed, comprehensive assessment of all school facilities,” Schelling said.

California first started evaluating and upgrading schools in the 1930s. British Columbia made seismic safety a priority a decade ago, and has spent $2.2 billion to strengthen high-risk schools.

Earlier this year, Oregon’s state Legislature earmarked $300 million to retrofit schools and other critical facilities, spurred by a survey that found 1,100 school buildings potentially at a high or very high risk of collapse in a major quake.

“I think it’s pretty safe to say it’s a similar story in Washington,” said Cale Ash of Degenkolb Engineers, who’s helping coordinate the pilot project and donating time to inspect school buildings. “The two states have similar ages of construction.”

In Washington, the seismic safety of schools is primarily the province of school districts. Thanks to voter-approved levies, Seattle has retrofitted the majority of its older school buildings and several projects are in the works. But in less-affluent districts like Aberdeen, where a previous survey identified seven schools and administrative facilities at high risk of collapse, there’s little money to pay for upgrades.

Many districts haven’t evaluated the seismic safety of their schools. The state Legislature also failed to act on recommendations from the Washington State Seismic Safety Committee to fund a statewide survey.

OSPI recently analyzed earthquake, flood and other natural hazards confronting schools across the state. Among its findings is that 32 schools and school facilities sit in the likely path of a Cascadia tsunami. But only 25 of the state’s 295 school districts have signed on for more-detailed analysis of the threats they face.

“It’s important to get a baseline assessment of where we are statewide, so we can understand how pervasive the problems are and give districts good information so they can set priorities,” Schelling said.

During the pilot project in Thurston County, engineers are inspecting each school, looking for structural weaknesses and hazards like bookshelves that aren’t bolted to the wall. Those observations will be combined with the data Cakir and his team are gathering on how solid — or shaky — the ground is at each site.

A report on the pilot project, which covers schools in the Yelm, North Thurston and Tumwater school districts, is expected in February.

Expanding the survey program across the state would cost about $13 million and take about eight years, said Tim Walsh, chief hazards geologist for the Washington Department of Natural Resources. The agency also employs Cakir and his team, and is overseeing their seismic surveys.

©2015 The Seattle Times. Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.

Photo: Sixth-grade students at Lackamas Elementary School in Yelm, Wash., recently helped researchers measure the way seismic waves move through soil by literally jumping into the work. (Ellen M. Banner/Seattle Times/TNS)