The Great White Hopes

As the New York Times notes,

When the nation’s long-running war against drugs was defined by the crack epidemic and based in poor, predominantly black urban areas, the public response was defined by zero tolerance and stiff prison sentences.

But as that denizen of drug days said,

The times they are a changing.

What could be the cause of this? [Read more…]

Missing the Point with Gun Control

“[K]illing sprees are specifically targeted to generate the most fear and uncertainty from the public, because the more fear and uncertainty they generate, the more attention they get. They then use all of the attention as a platform to promote themselves or whatever complaints they may have against society. It’s the Columbine formula. It works. And as Eric Harris pointed out in his journal, it’s not about the guns. It’s about the television. The films. The fame. The revolution.”

If only liberals were smart enough to understand this, we could perhaps start working on some real solutions, instead of just shouting at one another.

“Take away his weapon! Take away the ability to have a gun!” As if there are no other weapons in the world. Put aside the fact the guns are never going to disappear, and people who do these things don’t care about gun control laws. If someone wants to kill someone, they will use whatever they can find to effectuate it. Even in nations with stricter gun control than the United States.

Take away the guns, and force someone to use a knife, like the guys in China who killed 50 people in a knife attack. Or the other attacks in China, and Japan, where guns were not able to be obtained, but where that didn’t stop mentally-ill people from mass attacks resulting in multiple deaths. (Such knife attacks happen in the United States, also.)

Better yet, let’s take one of these guys who aren’t stupid – which is more of them than any of us wants to admit – and stop him from getting a gun, with a trigger that must be pulled for each death meted out, and force him to poison a water supply, or cafeteria food, or…something else that works better than a bullet.

Or, we could start trying to figure out something that doesn’t focus our attention on changing the Constitution, and working to attack a problem that doesn’t exist, and isn’t the cause of the deaths we correctly abhor.

“[T]he wrong sarcastic word at the airport and you can be held in jail for days.” Because we don’t know how to tell the difference between someone who really has a problem, and someone who cracks a joke.

So let’s go after one of the weapons. Because you can’t kill a lot of people without a gun. Just ask these five Canadian students. Oh, you can’t: they’re dead. Stabbed to death in a mass stabbing by a single crazy guy.

But if we take away that one weapon, we will solve all the problems. Or if we find that one person who acts strangely that one time, we might avert World Annihilation.

Sorry, that’s not the problem.

And when you think it is, you’re missing the point.

Not everyone who says strange things will kill people. And those who will kill people won’t be stopped because you prevented someone who wouldn’t kill people from being able to get a gun.

But thinking is hard, so I completely understand why you do what you do, why you say what you say.

And it’s why I think you’re an idiot, on this issue, and I stand against you.

An Amorphous Mass of Ill Legality

It might seem, since so many of my posts start by referring to Scott Greenfield’s blog posts, that I’m an acolyte, or that his stuff is all I ever read. Not true. But he’s posting up to two or three posts per day, on any given day, and on the east coast (so he’s posted them usually before I get to my computer), so at least one is going to get me thinking.

So it is with a post he wrote July 19.

Actually, I’ve been thinking about something for awhile, and trying to figure out how to communicate what I’m thinking. In pondering Scott’s post about FedEx and the feds, what happened there began to adhere to what I was already thinking, and the title of my post popped into my head.

This is usually a signal to me that I’m at least almost ready to write.

We shall see.  [Read more…]

A Culture of Control

Some months ago, as part of my morning reading ritual, I ran across “The Ghost Rapes of Bolivia.”

The Bolivian story begins with a perhaps requisite, under the circumstances, nod to evil:

For a while, the residents of Manitoba Colony thought demons were raping the town’s women. There was no other explanation.

Around that same time, over at Simple Justice, a Scott Greenfield article posed the question: “why do car chases have to end in a barrage of bullets?” And then took a different tack from the Bolivians:

[S]pare me the comments about how all cops are evil and murderous. It’s just not helpful.

Despite these differences, the answer to the question posed in the latter story is found in the former.

[Read more…]

And Then They Came For Me

Though my post title invokes the memory of pastor Martin Niemöller’s famous quotation, I’m not going to repeat it here. Sadly, to do so is to descend into the trite.

Yet the quotation – deeply considered – analogically explicates an important point about how the criminal justice system in my neck of the woods works. In fact, it’s pretty much how things work almost everywhere I look within the United States.

[Read more…]

All You Care About Is Money

This morning, I received a phone call from the jail. Some poor guy is “between a rock and a hard place,” in that he’s been locked up for allegedly committing a crime – a physical assault on another person.

And he needs help.

Well, that’s what I’m here for, right?  [Read more…]

Dieting with Dignity

In my short lifetime (they’re all short, when it comes down to it), I was taught that eating eggs was bad for you.

Then it wasn’t.

I was taught that you should eat a low-fat, low-carbohydrate diet to live a healthy lifestyle. Protein only. Eat like a caveman.

Then I was taught that you shouldn’t do that.

Lucky Strike – a popular brand of cigarettes when I was a kid – once ran an ad offering themselves up as a dietary aid.

Lucky Strike Diet

Lucky Strike Diet

For some people, it actually works, although it’s usually the chemotherapy that does it.

The upshot of this is that during my lifetime, a lot of things were bad for you before they weren’t – although sometimes they were good for you, before they weren’t. [Read more…]

Celebrating the Fourth

In a way, it is fitting that July 4th is the big celebration of American – United States – freedom. As notes:

July 4, 1776 wasn’t the day that the Continental Congress decided to declare independence (they did that on July 2, 1776).

It wasn’t the day we started the American Revolution either (that had happened back in April 1775).

And it wasn’t the day Thomas Jefferson wrote the first draft of the Declaration of Independence (that was in June 1776). Or the date on which the Declaration was delivered to Great Britain (that didn’t happen until November 1776). Or the date it was signed (that was August 2, 1776).

[Read more…]

Insuring That All Lives Matter

Yes, that’s insuring, and not, ensuring, although I believe one can lead to the other.

And I didn’t use any hashtag in the title here because, although I know about the #BlackLivesMatter vs. #AllLivesMatter controversy, I’m not weighing in on that.

Rather, I’m going to accept, without arguing, that it’s not a bad thing for every person involved when police encounter ordinary citizens that both the officers and the citizen make it home alive. If you want to argue it, head on over to Twitter, and hashtag your heart out. (Or you could comment below, and I’ll razz you, or maybe just ignore you.)

I’m also going to recognize the fact that real police reform imposed by concerned citizens like myself is probably not going to be possible, where by “reform,” we mean “let’s try to convince police officers to quit killing us.” They’re not going to stop just because we ask them, whether nicely, or with more of our own force, and that’s that. As far as they’re concerned, we just need to STFU.

[Read more…]

It’s All In How You Define Things

Two articles in the May 21, 2015 Daily Journal out of San Francisco – yeah, I’m behind; I’m also reading out of order – make me wonder at the novel approaches of government when it comes to dealing with corruption, abuse, and the lack of basic human decency on the part of our dear leaders.

In the old days, they would stick their heads – or maybe ours – in the sand, in the hopes that no one would see what was happening. With the advent of the new cameras-everywhere society, something a little more inventive has been required.

[Read more…]