I Don’t Mind if YOU Don’t Feel Responsible Enough…

…I just mind if you decide that I must be just like YOU.

Longtime reader Ryan Gill (aka “Montieth”) emailed me yesterday for a link to an older post, and today I noticed a visitor in Sitemeter from a location I didn’t recognize. Turns out it was a Livejournal post. I visited the site, and found a post that I think is very interesting, coming as it does, from “the other side” as it were. Titled Why I Do Not Own A Gun, let me excerpt a bit from the piece, and follow up with some of my favorites from the comments to it:

A lot of my friends have the gun terror – they’ve never fired a weapon, and guns terrify them. They not only refuse to have one in the house, but they don’t want to see anyone holding a gun. I get the impression that to them, guns are kind of like landmines – even if you’re just holding one by the barrel, it could go off and kill everyone in the room at any time. And for them, the idea that someone would keep a miniature Death Star in the house is evidence of purest insanity.

But me? I think guns are simply a tool that can be used for good or evil. I think that having a gun in the house is a choice that people should be allowed to make – it’s not always a wise choice, but like smoking and drinking and drugs, as long as there are laws to force people to do it responsibly, I have no issues with it.

I’m just smart enough to know myself. If I bought a gun, I’d buy a damned fine weapon, and it wouldn’t just sit in the closet in a safety case; I’d have to take it out and look at it a lot, and I’d dress up in my Matrix trenchcoat and pose with it, and I’d probably be dumb enough to go out in the backyard and see what the hell it did when I shot a tree. Give me long enough, and I’d accidentally shoot someone while experimenting to see what the gun could do, maybe with a bad richocet, and then look phenomenally stupid when the cops showed up.

I am not responsible enough to own a gun. And that is why I do not have one.

The comment fury may now commence.

And it did, to the tune of over 400 comments. I can’t read them all tonight, but I read quite a few. Here are some gems, and (of course) my comments:

Seems fair and sensible to me – but then I live on the other side of the pond.

Thanks for staying there!

I’m glad I live in a country where private guns are illegal, because I don’t trust myself with a gun. (I worry I’d end up taking pot shots at the local kiddie gangs out of my window when they kept me awake AGAIN.) And if I don’t trust myself, I damn well don’t trust anyone else.

But you trust your government with guns? Again, thanks for staying wherever it is you are.

Actually I’m right there with you on this. I started a sword collection a few years back (amazingly it’s more than just *gasp* katanas!) and toyed with the idea of starting a gun collection as well. I knew though that I probably wouldn’t have the responsibility and intelligence it takes to safely own them.

What else don’t you have the “responsibility and intelligence” to “safely” own? Can we trust you with those swords? Kitchen knives? Play-doh?

I have a full-fledged case of Northeast gun terror and am proud of it. Then again as I get older I become more pacifistic. I get queasy at the concept of killing imaginary NPCs in role-playing games. I just don’t like pain and suffering for anyone. Period.

But if you hear someone breaking into your home, will you call the police – who will come with guns to investigate the incident and mark your chalk outline because the person who assaulted you didn’t have a pacifistic streak? Do you trust those men and women with guns simply because they draw a government paycheck?

Personal repsonsibilty is why my boyfiend doesn’t own anything that could be used as a weapon… between his eliteism and his temper it would be too dangerous– I dont want him in prision beceause he snapped due to the cashiers incompetance for example. (But YOU LIVE WITH HIM???)

However, although I think that tighter laws in America should be the next step, getting rid of guns altogether I feel should be the last. You can regulate all you like, but you never know who will commit a crime, only who has. And as long as you can’t stop people from having guns because they’re irresponsible (not everybody has the same sense as you to leave well alone) or stupid- they’ve a huge risk waiting to happen. (But we’re not supposed to believe that each successive “next step” is leading to that last one – “getting rid of guns altogether.” We’re told that it’s paranoid to believe that.)

Thats my view from blighty.

But of course! You’re from the land where they’ve neutered 90%+ of the nation and made the populace totally dependent on the government for everything. Take the guns away from everyone! Disarm the victim class!

Hrm, I don’t know. Outlawing guns seems to have worked pretty well for the UK, and this is coming from someone who was born in the South to a family of card-carrying NRA members. It’s amazing how few people feel the need to own guns when they can’t buy them when they buy their groceries.

Here’s the obviously ignorant speaking from his lack of information. Uh, they banned handguns in the UK and firearm crime went up. A LOT. “Outlawing guns” didn’t “work pretty well.”

But most people don’t realize this. The problem is, most of us who support the right to arms don’t understand that the majority of the population lacks basic data like this. That population believes what the media tells them. They have no interest in looking for themselves. Ignorance rules.

There’s a deep, rich vein to mine in that one post and comment thread, but let me finish with this true gem:

I shot a gun once. I didn’t like it. They’re not for me. I’m not sure if I could ever be comfortable with one in my home.

That said, one of my good friends is a hunting/survival kinda dude. Lives on lots of wild open land, hunts deer and pretty much anything else he can, grows his own veggies and owns *many* guns. I spend the night at his house a couple times a month when he throws a party. He is *very* responsible with his guns and never once have I felt uncomfortable being around him or the guns. (Excepting perhaps when I actually *shot* it that one time.)

Truth be known, should civilization start falling apart, I’d probably high-tail it out to his place asap as the safest place I could go. So, you know, even if I *personally* am uncomfortable around them, buddy you better believe I’m happy that other people aren’t like me.

My question: What makes you think he’ll let you stay?

Honestly, if someone believes, for whatever reason, that he or she should not own a gun I think they really ought not own a gun. This is America. Freedom means the ability to choose “no,” too. But I think Eric S. Raymond was on to something when he wrote in Ethics from the Barrel of a Gun:

(T)he bearing of arms functions not merely as an assertion of power but as a fierce and redemptive discipline. When sudden death hangs inches from your right hand, you become much more careful, more mindful, and much more peaceful in your heart — because you know that if you are thoughtless or sloppy in your actions or succumb to bad temper, people will die.
Too many of us have come to believe ourselves incapable of this discipline. We fall prey to the sick belief that we are all psychopaths or incompetents under the skin. We have been taught to imagine ourselves armed only as villains, doomed to succumb to our own worst nature and kill a loved one in a moment of carelessness or rage. Or to end our days holed up in a mall listening to police bullhorns as some SWAT sniper draws a bead…
But it’s not so. To believe this is to ignore the actual statistics and generative patterns of weapons crimes. Virtually never, writes criminologist Don B. Kates, are murderers the ordinary, law-abiding people against whom gun bans are aimed. Almost without exception, murderers are extreme aberrants with lifelong histories of crime, substance abuse, psychopathology, mental retardation and/or irrational violence against those around them, as well as other hazardous behavior, e.g., automobile and gun accidents.
To believe one is incompetent to bear arms is, therefore, to live in corroding and almost always needless fear of the self — in fact, to affirm oneself a moral coward. A state further from the dignity of a free man would be rather hard to imagine. It is as a way of exorcising this demon, of reclaiming for ourselves the dignity and courage and ethical self-confidence of free (wo)men that the bearing of personal arms, is, ultimately, most important.
This is the final ethical lesson of bearing arms: that right choices are possible, and the ordinary judgement of ordinary (wo)men is sufficient to make them.
We can, truly, embrace our power and our responsibility to make life-or-death decisions, rather than fearing both. We can accept our ultimate responsibility for our own actions. We can know (not just intellectually, but in the sinew of experience) that we are fit to choose.
And not only can we — we must. The Founding Fathers of the United States understood why. If we fail this test, we fail not only in private virtue but consequently in our capacity to make public choices. Rudderless, lacking an earned and grounded faith in ourselves, we can only drift — increasingly helpless to summon even the will to resist predators and tyrants (let alone the capability to do so).

I think Eric is absolutely correct.

As the subquote at the top of this blog says, “I don’t just want gun rights… I want individual liberty, a culture of self-reliance….I want the whole bloody thing.”

Oh, and I bought myself another gun today. A nice used Ruger GP100, 4″ with the “Target Grey” finish. I’m taking another new shooter to the range this weekend, and wanted something suitable for him to try. At least, that was the excuse I used to convince myself to whip out the plastic this afternoon.

UPDATE: Upon request, here’s the best image I’ve found of a GP100 in the “Target Grey” finish, and a regular stainless one to compare it to:

Other People’s Words

I’ve been collecting quotes to a Word file for the last few years. Any time I stumble across something I like, I copy it to that file. It’s 61 pages long at present.

Since I haven’t felt much like writing long, involved essays recently, and since I was perusing that file tonight I thought I’d post a selection from the list for your reading enjoyment. Without further ado, other people’s words:

Rome remained free for four hundred years and Sparta eight hundred, although their citizens were armed all that time; but many other states that have been disarmed have lost their liberties in less than forty years. — Niccolo Machiavelli, The Art of War, 1521 AD (E. Farneworth translation, pg. 30, 1965)

I suppose I could have blown up a few trucks, put bad food back on the deli counter or accused the military of nerve-gassing deserters and kept my journalistic integrity throughout. But I realized early on, it is easier to sleep at night if you can say at every step that you reported the truth as you knew it. — Matt Drudge

One of the common failings among honorable people is a failure to appreciate how thoroughly dishonorable some other people can be, and how dangerous it is to trust them. — Thomas Sowell

The world is filled with violence. Because criminals carry guns, we decent law-abiding citizens should also have guns. Otherwise they will win and the decent people will lose. — James Earl Jones

The truly and deliberately evil men are in a very small minority; it is the appeaser who unleashes them on mankind; it is the appeaser’s intellectual abdication that invites them to take over. When a culture’s dominant trend is geared to irrationality, the thugs win over the appeasers. When intellectual leaders fail to foster the best in the mixed, uninformed, vacillating characters of people at large, the thugs are sure to bring out the worst. When the ablest men turn into cowards, the average men turn into brutes. — Ayn Rand, Altruism as Appeasement

Avoid the legal nets
That entangled Bernie Goetz,
Just shout “Help! Help! Police!”
Like Kitty Genovese…


I do believe that where there is a choice only between cowardice and violence I would advise violence. — Mohandas Gandhi

The ruling class doesn’t care about public safety. Having made it very difficult for States and localities to police themselves, having left ordinary citizens with no choice but to protect themselves as best they can, they now try to take our guns away. In fact they blame us and our guns for crime. This is so wrong that it cannot be an honest mistake. — former U.S. Sen. Malcolm Wallop (R-Wy.)

No government, of its own motion, will increase its own weakness, for that would mean to acquiesce in its own destruction … governments, whatever their pretensions otherwise, try to preserve themselves by holding the individual down … Government itself, indeed, may be reasonably defined as a conspiracy against him. Its one permanent aim, whatever its form, is to hobble him sufficiently to maintain itself. — Henry Louis Mencken

Many politicians are in the habit of laying it down as a self-evident proposition, that no people ought to be free till they are fit to use their freedom. The maxim is worthy of the fool in the old story, who resolved not to go into the water till he had learned to swim. If men are to wait for liberty till they become wise and good in slavery, they may indeed wait forever. — Lord Thomas Macaulay

To take from one, because it is thought his own industry and that of his fathers has acquired too much, in order to spare to others, who, or whose fathers, have not exercised equal industry and skill, is to violate arbitrarily the first principle of association, the guarantee to everyone the free exercise of his industry and the fruits acquired by it. –Thomas Jefferson

If everyone in America had been tied to a chair and forced to watch the debate Clockwork-Orange style, we’d all realize that the Senate is just a holding tank for people whose self-regard and cretinous reasoning is matched only by their demonstrable contempt for the idiots they think will lap this crap up. -– James Lileks

…people will sometimes do stupid or evil things with their freedom. But without their freedom, they will seldom do great things. So by protecting society against one, you also deprive it of the other. The Armed Liberal

Liberty lies in the hearts of men and women. When it dies there, no constitution, no law, no court can save it. — Justice Learned Hand

“On every question of construction (of the Constitution) let us carry ourselves back to the time when the Constitution was adopted, recollect the spirit manifested in the debates, and instead of trying what meaning may be squeezed out of the text, or invented against it, conform to the probable one in which it was passed.” –Thomas Jefferson, letter to William Johnson, June 12, 1823, The Complete Jefferson, p. 322

Do not separate text from historical background. If you do, you will have perverted and subverted the Constitution, which can only end in a distorted, bastardized form of illegitimate government. — James Madison

The Constitution is a written instrument. As such, its meaning does not alter. That which it meant when it was adopted, it means now. — South Carolina v. US, 199 U.S. 437, 448 (1905)

Day by day, case by case, [the Supreme Court] is busy designing a Constitution for a country I do not recognize. — Antonin Scalia

As an individual, I believe, very strongly, that handguns should be banned and that there should be stringent, effective control of other firearms. However, as a judge, I know full well that the question of whether handguns can be sold is a political one, not an issue of products liability law, and that this is a matter for the legislatures, not the courts. The unconventional theories advanced in this case (and others) are totally without merit, a misuse of products liability laws. — Judge Buchmeyer, Patterson v. Gesellschaft, 1206 F.Supp. 1206, 1216 (N.D. Tex. 1985)

Perhaps the most accurate conclusion one can reach with any confidence is that the core meaning of the Second Amendment is a populist / republican / federalism one: Its central object is to arm ‘We the People’ so that ordinary citizens can participate in the collective defense of their community and their state. But it does so not through directly protecting a right on the part of states or other collectivities, assertable by them against the federal government, to arm the populace as they see fit. Rather the amendment achieves its central purpose by assuring that the federal government may not disarm individual citizens without some unusually strong justification consistent with the authority of the states to organize their own militias. That assurance in turn is provided through recognizing a right (admittedly of uncertain scope) on the part of individuals to possess and use firearms in the defense of themselves and their homes — not a right to hunt for game, quite clearly, and certainly not a right to employ firearms to commit aggressive acts against other persons — a right that directly limits action by Congress or by the Executive Branch and may well, in addition, be among the privileges or immunities of United States citizens protected by §1 of the Fourteenth Amendment against state or local government action. — Laurence Tribe, American Constitutional Law 902 n. 221 (2000)

Personally, I’m interested in keeping other people from building Utopia, because the more you believe you can create heaven on earth the more likely you are to set up guillotines in the public square to hasten the process. — James Lileks

Basically, I figure guns are like gays: They seem a lot more sinister and threatening until you get to know a few; and once you have one in the house, you can get downright defensive about them. — Teresa Nielsen Hayden

The Republic will endure as long as the ideals and principles of the Founders remain dominant in the hearts of the people. — James Russell Lowe

The American Republic will endure, until politicians realize they can bribe the people with their own money. — Alexis de Tocqueville

When any government, or any church for that matter, undertakes to say to its subjects, This you may not read, this you must not see, this you are forbidden to know, the end result is tyranny and oppression no matter how holy the motives. — Robert A. Heinlein

To understand the workings of American politics, you have to understand this fundamental law: Conservatives think liberals are stupid. Liberals think conservatives are evil. — Charles Krauthammer, The Washington Post, Friday, July 26, 2002; Page A33

If you don’t have enough hair on your ass to tell your child “NO!” when he’s doing wrong, or to bust his ass when he needs it, you are not a parent. You are a piss-poor gardener growing a wild weed. — Rob Smith, the Acidman

Prohibition was introduced as a fraud; it has been nursed as a fraud.
It is wrapped in the livery of Heaven, but it comes to serve the devil.
It comes to regulate by law our appetites and our daily lives.
It comes to tear down liberty and build up fanaticism, hypocrisy, and intolerance. It comes to confiscate by legislative decree the property of many of our fellow citizens. It comes to send spies, detectives, and informers into our homes; to have us arrested and carried before courts and condemned to fines and imprisonments. It comes to dissipate the sunlight of happiness, peace, and prosperity in which we are now living and to fill our land with alienations, estrangements, and bitterness.
It comes to bring us evil – only evil – and that continually. Let us rise in our might as one and overwhelm it with such indignation that we shall never hear of it again as long as grass grows and water runs.” — Roger Q. Mills, 1887

Tex’s first law of government: The inevitable failure of legislation will be seen as a justification for even more legislation. — Tex (obviously, but I don’t know where I found it.)

The opinion of the press corps tends toward consensus because of an astonishing uniformity of viewpoint. Certain types of people want to become journalists, and they carry certain political and cultural opinions. This self-selection is hardened by peer group pressure. No conspiracy is necessary; journalists quite spontaneously think alike. The problem comes because this group-think is by now divorced from the thoughts and attitudes of readers. — Robert L. Bartley, OpinionJournal editor emeritus.

Most of the time we let our government speak for us, but we can speak for ourselves. Each individual voice is very small, but if enough of us commit to something, it is impossible to ignore. We can directly reward friends and directly punish enemies. We don’t need our government’s permission and our government can’t stop us, because though the US government is the most powerful in history and more powerful than any other in the world, we are even more powerful yet and will replace the US government if it tries to do so. That is part of the power we retained, and every two years the government submits itself to us for reapproval. — Steven Den Beste

Here’s a truly American Revolutionary idea. You let me pay for my own health care. In return, I get to eat all day and drink all night if I want to. If I start missing work, fire me. If I commit a crime, imprison me. If I die, bury me. Until then, leave me the hell alone. –- Ravenwood from Ravenwood’s Universe

It makes one look like a savage to say so, but if your house burns down, blows over, or floats away, it’s not the job of the federal government to fix it for you. Charity is one thing, but federal tax dollars coerced at 1040-point from a single working mother of two in Dubuque (and then filtered through a morbidly obese federal agency) to rebuild your bungalow in Destin is not charity, okay? It’s extortion. — Tamara K. from View from the Porch

This is America. Has your neighborhood ever been invaded by state troopers from another state? I will leave when I am dead. Treat me with benign neglect. — Ashton O’Dwyer, New Orleans lawyer in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina.

It stands to reason that self-righteous, inflexible, single-minded, authoritarian true believers are politically organized. Open-minded, flexible, complex, ambiguous, anti-authoritarian people would just as soon be left to mind their own fucking business. — R.U. Sirius, How To Mutate and Take Over The World

The two best anti-poverty programs are work and marriage, and the government withdrew its assistance from any poor person who openly engaged in either of these activities. To put it bluntly, the ‘Great Society’ implemented by the 1960s liberals was one where the government supported poor young women, but only if they never had a job themselves, never got married, and raised their children without a father even contributing to the support or nurture of the family. Unsurprisingly, this experiment turned out to be a massive failure. — Sen. Jim Talent, R-MO

So long as the people do not care to exercise their freedom, those who wish to tyrannize will do so; for tyrants are active and ardent, and will devote themselves in the name of any number of gods, religious and otherwise, to put shackles upon sleeping men. — Voltairine de Cleyre

The EU is built on a fantasy–that men and women can do less and less work, have longer and longer holidays and retire at an earlier age, while having their income, in real terms, and their standard of living increase. And this miracle is to be brought about by the enlightened bureaucratic regulation of every aspect of life. –Paul Johnson, 10.06.03 Forbes Magazine, “Europe’s Utopian Hangover”

Perhaps the biggest mistake an intellectual can make is to try to parlay his one brilliant insight into a unified theory of existence. Ayn Rand made this mistake with Objectivism. Objectivism was useful for thinking in certain limited realms, but Rand sought to apply Objectivist thinking to every aspect of the human experience, including love. The result is a sterile philosophical landscape, extending out of sight in all directions. Tellingly, Rand was unable to live according to her ideals. This is part of what makes Rand so disagreeable; the almost hysterical denial of subjectivity’s inevitable, essential role in our lives. And it makes her not only disagreeable, but wrong. – Dipnut from Isntapundit

When a private entity does not produce the desired results, it is (certain body parts excepted) done away with. But a public entity gets bigger. — P.J. O’Rourke, All the Trouble in the World.

Government subsidies can be critically analyzed according to a simple principle: You are smarter than the government, so when the government pays you to do something you wouldn’t do on your own, it is almost always paying you to do something stupid. — Ibid.

When government does, occasionally, work, it works in an elitist fashion. That is, government is most easily manipulated by people who have money and power already. This is why government benefits usually go to people who don’t need benefits from government. Government may make some environmental improvements, but these will be improvements for rich bird-watchers. And no one in government will remember that when poor people go bird-watching they do it at Kentucky Fried Chicken. — Ibid.

Suppose you were an idiot. And suppose you were a member of Congress. But I repeat myself. –Mark Twain

Liberty’s too precious a thing to be buried in books, Miss Saunders. Men should hold it up in front of them every single day of their lives and say: I’m free to think and to speak. My ancestors couldn’t, I can, and my children will. Boys ought to grow up remembering that. — Jefferson Smith (Jimmy Stewart) in Mr. Smith Goes to Washington

That’s enough for now. Got any of your own to share?

Are New Orleans Police Officers Members of the Violence Policy Center?

I can’t freaking believe this:

5 men arrested as police raid Algiers complex

Bust turns up drugs, powerful assault rifle
Wednesday, July 12, 2006
By Trymaine Lee

Acting on a tip, a New Orleans police SWAT team trapped an attempted murder suspect in Algiers’ Fischer public housing complex and ran into one of the most dangerous weapons on the streets: the Chinese- and Russian-made SKS rifle.

I thought the AK-47 was the “weapon of choice for criminals? Or was it the AR-15? Or the über-powerful Tec-9?

Police arrested Anthony Thomas, 18, who is suspected of gunning down a man in April, as he was hanging out with a group in which another man was carrying the SKS.

If he was “suspected of gunning down a man in April” why was he still on the streets in JULY??

Equipped with a folding bayonet and armor-piercing rounds, the rifle is a cheap and highly effective weapon — the predecessor of the AK-47 — that can blast through engine blocks as easily as it can bones, said Louis Faust, one of nearly 20 NOPD tactical officers who arrested five people, including Thomas.

Right. Armor-piercing ammo. Which is illegal to import since 1994. Of course this officer means body-armor piercing, which any centerfire rifle round will do, as Teddy Kennedy pointed out so long ago, but no matter, these rounds will punch clear through an ENGINE BLOCK!.

Horseshit. .30-06 black tip AP rounds won’t do that. You need a .50!

Police got a tip from an informant about 1 p.m. that Thomas, suspected in an April shooting in the 2300 block of Murl Street in Algiers, was seen with a group of men at Fischer.

The SWAT team crept into a courtyard at the complex in the 2000 block of Leboeuf Street and the men loitering, one brazenly holding the SKS, NOPD Lt. Dwayne Scheuremann said.

The team set upon the group of five, who took off running. Soon, the man with the rifle tossed it along with a stash of crack cocaine, Scheuremann said. Another man in the group ditched a .45 caliber pistol and two bundles of heroin, he said.

All five men were arrested. Thomas, who had a pending warrant, was booked Monday with two counts of illegally carrying a weapon, possession of obliterated serial number, drug possession and resisting an officer.

NOPD did not release the charges for the other four men.

Scheuremann said drug dealers and a weapon like an SKS are a dangerous mix.

Drug dealers and Jennings J-22‘s are a “dangerous mix.” What’s your point?

The SKS sells for as little as $100 in the streets and is highly accurate, Faust said. And the high-caliber ammunition it uses is meant for maximum bodily damage.

I’ve yet to see a “highly accurate” SKS – minute of paper-plate at 100 yards is about the norm, and about $100 is what they sell for in the gun shops. Damn, now I’m going to have to go buy a Yugo SKS, aren’t I? And I don’t even particularly like them.

But wait! There’s more!

Faust said the steel core bullets used in an SKS strike the body then follow bone, so a bullet can “enter your shoulder and come out of your toe.”

The last time I heard such bullshit it came out of the mouth of a commando-wannabe at a gun show. This guy’s a COP! Somebody needs to bitch-slap tactical officer Louis Faust, and somebody else needs to educate reporter Trymaine Lee about firearms.

Ignorance masquerading as knowledge, passed on breathlessly by the mainstream media. This guy hit about every “eeeeeevil gun” talking point. Instead of focusing on the real problem – drug dealers so brazen they’re willing to walk around in the open carrying rifles – the writer tries to make the gun the boogeyman of the piece.

It never ends.

Civility and the Political Divide.

As I point out on the left sidebar there, I live in Tucson – home of the University of Arizona, and until recently the city of residence of Dr. Deborah Frisch, moonbat extraordinare. Her little bout of homicidal threats has produced two local newspaper pieces and inspired a bit of commentary on the only local live talk-radio station, KNST. The morning show host here spent a good five minutes on a soliloquy about the loss of civility over political differences. I’ll admit, I’m a caller to the show from time to time, and I send in emails. Recently the host read a James Lileks piece I sent in that was on topic for the day.

Anyway, after listening to Mr. Parisi expound on the loss of civility, I decided I’d do my typical thing and drop him an essay of my own, complete with links. Rather than waste it on just one recipient, I thought I’d inflict it on share it with my readers:


You spent quite a bit of time commenting on Dr. Deborah Frisch and her rather unhinged behavior. Well, not specifically Dr. Frisch, but the general incivility between the Left and the Right illustrated most graphically by her behavior.

I think I can explain the reason for that incivility.

Let me quote from a blog I read somewhat frequently:

For a very long time, probably since I had my own the-left-is-evil epiphany, I have tried to persuade leftists of my acquaintance of the error of their ways.

http://www.babytrollblog.com/archives/06_07_02/06_07_02.htm#EverMoreFirmly (my emphasis)

That’s pretty typical of a lot of the blogs I read. It is matched by blogs from the Left.

Here’s a quote from a blog that is no longer in existence, but it’s one I’ve used several times on my own blog. It was written by a woman I have met, mother of three, wife of another fairly prominent member of the blogosphere:

The other day our Carpenter’s helper heard me say something along the lines of, “it is difficult to conclude that incompetence is the reason why our public schools have deteriorated. There comes a point where you have to suspect sabotage, or a conspiracy.”

He asked me if I really meant that. I gave him the five minute explanation of John Dewey’s known affiliation with communists, his frequent essays and articles about the wonders of the Soviet education system, and his quote, “You can’t make Socialists out of individualists. Children who know how to think for themselves spoil the harmony of the collective society which is coming where everyone is interdependent.”

I then went on to tell him about how public schools changed at the turn of the last century. That there were others involved in turning Americans from free-thinking individualists to factory drones. I also added that many people probably went along with it because it seemed like a good idea, but there were certainly enough people behind the scenes, who knew that the goal posts had been moved. THAT is a conspiracy.

Yes. There does come that time when you are forced to don the tinfoil hat.

The incompetence excuse only works once. Incompetence this great is impossible to attribute to accident.

The divide has gotten to the point where both sides have concluded that the opposing side isn’t just wrong, it’s evil. On the Left it’s been called “Bush Derangement Syndrome.” You don’t act politely towards evil. You don’t negotiate with evil. You don’t compromise with evil. Your only options are to fight it, or succumb to it.

Now let me quote British doctor and social commenter Theodore Dalrymple from an interview he gave after the publication of his most recent book:

Political correctness is communist propaganda writ small. In my study of communist societies, I came to the conclusion that the purpose of communist propaganda was not to persuade or convince, nor to inform, but to humiliate; and therefore, the less it corresponded to reality the better. When people are forced to remain silent when they are being told the most obvious lies, or even worse when they are forced to repeat the lies themselves, they lose once and for all their sense of probity. To assent to obvious lies is to co-operate with evil, and in some small way to become evil oneself. One’s standing to resist anything is thus eroded, and even destroyed. A society of emasculated liars is easy to control. I think if you examine political correctness, it has the same effect and is intended to.

http://www.frontpagemag.com/Articles/ReadArticle.asp?ID=19293 (again, my emphasis)

I don’t believe that everyone on the Left side of the spectrum is evil. (And I certainly don’t believe that everyone, or even most on the Right side of the spectrum is good.) But I do believe that what the leadership of the Left pursues certainly is evil, whether they consciously realize it or not, and they are thus guilty by association. This puts me, and many like me, in a quandary – how do you determine who is and who isn’t actually evil? Who can you reason with, and who must you dismiss? And who must you actively try to defeat?

I sent you an email a couple of days ago with a link to Peggy Noonan’s “A Separate Peace.” I hope you took the time to read her essay. When a significant portion of the population becomes convinced that another significant portion is actively evil, (and vice-versa) then her “tough history coming” is probably an understatement. One ends up in the position of “Neca eos omnes. Deus suos agnoset” – “Kill them all. God will know his own.”

This goes for both sides. There is no middle.

You state that your personal political position leans to the Right, but it’s evident from listening to you each day that you have not concluded that, for example, someone like Dr. Frisch is evil. She’s nuts, you think, but not evil. But if she’s inflicting herself on her students like UW-Madison instructor and 9/11 conspiracy theorist Kevin Barret is, isn’t that evil? Worse, both Frisch and Barret have very vocal defenders, and not just a few. We have people in this country – more and more of them – who hate it, and what it stands for. And they’re all on the Left side of the political spectrum.

James Lileks – the author whose piece you read on the air a couple of weeks back – just last night dissected a column by LA Times “humorist” Joel Stein. Stein’s piece attempts to be tongue-in-cheek about how he felt when he discovered someone planted an American flag in his lawn. Stein’s column is here:


Lileks’ piece (the Stein fisking is the lower half) is here:


At least read the Lileks piece. Is Stein evil? Or is his rejection of an American flag on his property the result of decades of exposure to people like Dr. Frisch, Kevin Barrett, and the disciples of John Dewey? He certainly seems to believe that the United States is evil, though he professes to love it. It is people like Stein who draw moral equivalence between jihadists torturing, physically mutilating and beheading prisoners and U.S. soldiers humiliating prisoners at Guantanamo, who don’t condemn people who strap bombs to themselves and blow up innocent women and children, but who do refuse to acknowledge that the U.S. charges its soldiers who are suspected of committing crimes against the Iraqi population. No, to them AMERICA is evil, and they are not. (Stein once wrote a column declaring that, since he didn’t support the mission, he couldn’t really support the troops. That piece is no longer freely available at the LATimes site, but it attracted much attention at the time.) Can he be reasoned with? Would civility help at all?

You can decry the loss of civility, but I do not see how it is possible or even desirable to be civil with people who hold such beliefs, unless it’s for diplomatic reasons, where “diplomacy” is defined – as the saying goes – as murmuring ‘nice doggie!’ while reaching for a stick.

I don’t want “tough history,” but something’s going to happen, civility can’t stop it, and it isn’t going to be pretty.

I don’t know if it’ll accomplish anything, but I feel better for writing it.

UPDATE: Lileks has something to say on the topic of civility in today’s (7/17) Bleat. An excerpt:

As I have said before, to no effect, I don’t believe that people who disagree with me are BAD and EVIL and want the country DESTROYED. (Which is why it’s always amusing when the courtesy is not returned. The other day at the park I had a mild little conversation with a nice woman wearing a black rubber bracelet that said I DIDN’T VOTE 4 BUSH, just in case the matter came up at this childrens’ birthday party; the moment she discovered I would be voting against Mike Hatch for governor – a man she didn’t particularly like – the temperature dropped 95 degrees, and she excused herself. Because people like me are RUINING MINNESOTA, I guess, and what’s worse is that we’re doing it intentionally. With foreknowledge of the disastrous consequences, which we want.) I think there are ideas that have unfortunate consequences, but for the most part they’re held by people who believe they will have fortunate outcomes. I’m sure most people who read this site who disagree with me have the same opinion. We want the best, and the struggle to find agreement is only fruitful if we respect each other’s motives. You don’t have to respect the arguments, of course, but you have to respect the speaker, right up until the moment when they confirm your suspicions and reveal themselves as an utter diq. After that, well, have fun. (Some people in the public sphere come conveniently pre-revealed, which makes them fair game.)

It’s the second half of today’s column. Read the whole thing.

Child Abuse!

(Via Zendo Deb):

12 Year Old Points Gun at Burglars; Group Takes Off

July 11, 2006 08:58 AM
An accused group of thugs were thwarted by a 12-year old with a gun. It happened in Greenville (SC) when police say five masked men stormed into a house and started beating up the child’s father.

FOX Carolina’s Jamie Guirola reports, Try and picture it. A 12 year old walks into the living room, sees his mother frantically protecting the baby, and several strangers attacking his father. The 12 year old rushes out of the living room, but comes back pointing a gun at the five suspects. As of Monday night, all but one are in jail.

These are the alleged home invaders without their masks. The youngest barely seventeen, the oldest just 20. George Dickert didn’t have time to think about their ages when he tells us they broke into his home and tried to rob his family.

George Dickert/Victim: “F*$# you! That’s what I was thinking.”

Sunday night, George says, one of the suspects in the group followed him into his house after he smoked a cigarette. He tells us the man pulled out a gun, threatening him. When George reached for a different gun in self-defense, a fight broke out.

George: “I work five days a week and my wife works six days a week. We’re an honest couple. We do what we have to do to make a living and some idiot decided he wanted what I had.”

When the struggle started, police say, two other men came into the house and started beating on George. That’s when George’s 12 year old son made the move credited with scaring the accused thugs out of the house, and stopping the burglary without even firing the gun.’

Or having it taken away from him! Imagine that!

George: “He did what he had to do to protect his family last night. And a 12 year old child should never have to go through that. Even if he does know what to do, he should not have to do that.”

Police later found these four near George’s home sweating and breathing heavily. Something George hopes they’ll do again if they’re convicted and sentenced to the max.

George: “…And I will press and push and do whatever it takes to make sure every individual in it gets it.”

Police aren’t releasing details about the fifth person they’re looking for. George says he has five guns in the house. His taught his son how to use each of them.

Good for him. And he’s right, his son should not have had to do what he did, but I’m glad he was able. Of course the Brady Bunch probably considers teaching his boy about guns to be a form of child abuse they’d like to see ended. After all, twelve year old boys aren’t supposed to possess firearms. Or airguns. Or rubber band guns.

As far as I’m aware, in the UK – gun control utopia, according to the gun grabbers gun control proponents er, gun safety organizations – it’s illegal for a child to have access to a gun. “Safe storage” and all, you know. In England Mr. Dickert would be looking at jail time, his collection of five firearms would already have been confiscated, and his license to own them would have been revoked.

It’s simple “common sense” legislation like this that they want to force down our throats here.

Now, on a different topic, let me illustrate “media bias.” This was a Fox News story. It’s from a decent sized city – Greenville SC has a population of about 56,000. Myrtle Beach, SC has about four times the population. The George Dickert story has one (1) hit on Google – apparently the local Fox News affiliate is the only source to have posted it to the web. Granted, it’s only been one day.

On July 7, a 12 year old boy in Myrtle Beach shot his 10 year old best friend with a .22 rifle, apparently with intent. He’s been charged with murder. Google has links to ten (10) stories on the incident. One is from a paper in North Carolina, one from Florida and one from Pennsylvania. All of the papers in question belong to The McClatchy Company, which owns five (5) newspapers in South Carolina: The State, The Sun News, The Herald, The Beaufort Gazette, and The Island Packet. The story was on Page 1 below the fold in today’s Sun News. They own papers in fifteen (15) other states. Do you think they’ll pick up the story of George Dickert’s son and spread it around the East coast?

Nah, me either.

Do you think the story of Zachary Haymon will be one told by the Brady Bunch?

I’ll be watching.

Down the Memory Hole!.

The University of Arizona didn’t let any dust settle after Dr. Deborah Frisch’s resignation. Here’s the U of A’s faculty registry just yesterday:

And here it is today:

Yer outtathere!

Been Following the Saga of Psych(o) Prof. Deborah Frisch?

Someone needs to give her this shirt:

As Jeff Goldstein put it so succinctly:

When I’m done with you, Deb, you’re going to be an internet verb.


One of my associates, an employee of the U of A that shall remain nameless said:

I can tell you one thing, she’s not a tenured professor. I’m pulling up that she’s “adjunct” faculty. Hell, I can be appointed adjunct. No tenured professor ever quit. And further looking at the Psychology Department lists her as “instructor”. So she’s nothing. About one step higher than a TA. Most likely a PhD not able to get any tenure track position. (BINGO! But poor Deb believes it was a case of sexual discrimination, and not that the University recognized a lunatic when they saw one. HUGE surprise.)

But you’re correct, she’s a moonbat, and a nasty one. If she used any UA resource to make her threats, and she most certainly did (acct, office PC, UA network), she’s in violation of Code of Conduct for staff. I’d have gone with complaints simultaneously to UAPD, Dept Head, and Provost.

If you don’t follow up, she will escape to land a position elsewhere. The dept head will try to blow the complaint off, saying she’s gone. You need to get a letter of apology and make enough stink so that she never gets a recommendation from UA for future position applications.

Dr. Frisch states she’s going back to Oregon.

Hopefully the only position she’ll be able to find there will involve fast-food merchandising. And even that will put her in too close proximity to young minds, as far as I’m concerned.

Another Armed Citizen Resists

New (to me) blog discovery Pink Flamingo Bar and Grill that I pointed to Friday has a link to another outstanding story of armed self-defense:

Senior with pacemaker fights off intruders

Fight, die or give in.

Faced with those choices, a 61-year-old West Bloomfield man parried away a shotgun barrel as it fired, forcing a buckshot load of lead over his shoulder. The township man then drew his own handgun and shot an intruder inside his garage in the 4800 block of Trailview at 3 a.m. July 4.

“I love this guy,” said West Bloomfield Lt. Tim Diamond. “He made a move on the gun with his arm in a sling. That’s a guy with cojones.”

Apparently Lt. Diamond hasn’t gotten the “I’m the only one professional enough” memo.

The resident’s arm was in a sling because a pacemaker was installed in his chest the week before. Despite all that, his bullet struck the intruder. But the resident, who owns a bar in Detroit, soon found out there were actually three would-be robbers waiting for him when he returned home from work. A struggle ensued with the resident trying to fend off two of the intruders. The suspects eventually got control of both the handgun and the shotgun.

Yes, the defender had his gun wrestled from him. But…

“It was a calamity of errors,” said Diamond. “There could have been two people killed.”

Shot and bleeding profusely, one suspect needed medical attention fast so all three fled taking the guns with them.

They ran off. Empty-handed. After one had been wounded.

Would they have done that had he not resisted? Or would he now be dead?

Two men dropped off a man with a bullet wound at the emergency room of Providence Hospital in Southfield later that morning.

Coincidentally, a West Bloomfield police officer was sitting in the same emergency room. The attempted robbery victim complained of chest pains and also suffered a cut finger so police took him to Providence. The resident identified a man walking into the emergency room as the same person who tried to rob him a short time before.

“Providence Hospital” eh? Aptly named.

Police weren’t able to question the suspect as medical staff whisked him off for several hours of emergency surgery. His family hired an attorney by the time the anesthesia wore off and police didn’t interview him that day.

Why am I not surprised? I’m sure this will be another incident of where an innocent yoot “didn’t deserve” to get shot – he was making such progress at “getting his life back together.” Or something. Everyone will be shocked, shocked to learn that he could be involved in something like an armed robbery! Despite a rap sheet as long as his arm.

Police later identified additional suspects through hospital videotapes and telephone records. Arrested and arraigned in connection with the crime were:

– Eric Lewis, 17, of Detroit, who was arraigned in his hospital bed Thursday on four felony charges including assault with intent to rob while armed and assault with intent to murder. Both charges carry possible life sentences. A magistrate set bond at $250,000 and Lewis is still in the hospital under police guard.

Another “child shooting victim” statistic for the Brady Bunch! Mr. Lewis is still a minor!

It’s all the gun’s fault.

– James Gipson, 17, of Southfield was charged with assault with intent to rob while armed. Gipson was arraigned in 48th District Court Thursday and bond was set at $250,000.

Ditto. It’s a wonder the eeeevil gun didn’t shoot him too!

Police have identified and are looking for a third suspect. Both stood mute at arraignment and not guilty pleas were entered. Both face preliminary exams later this month.

Diamond said the township resident did not know Lewis nor Gipson. Investigators don’t believe it was a random robbery attempt, however.

“They were waiting for him to come from home,” said Diamond. “It was planned all the way.” Not so much as a penny was stolen.

And nobody died. Least of all, the intended victim.

And that’s the way it ought to be.

Michigan’s “Castle Doctrine” bill has been sent to the Governor to be signed. Without it, the resident would be required to retreat, rather than defend. (How is a 61 year-old man with recent pacemaker surgery supposed to retreat from three healthy young men intent on robbing him?) As it stands, since the bill was not law at the time of the incident, he runs the risk of a civil suit for shooting that poor, innocent yoot.

Michigan has had “shall-issue” concealed-carry legislation on the books for just over six years now. The Brady Bunch objected to Michigan’s adopting “shall-issue” law, but six years onward, “this insult to caring Michigan citizens” hasn’t been unnoticed (by the criminals), and it hasn’t been forgotten by the citizens who availed themselves of it.

Three years into the program, even the police admitted that things hadn’t changed much:

Three years ago, a heated debate was raging about Michigan’s plan to make it easier to get concealed weapons permits.

One side said more guns would make society safer from violent crime while the other said making concealed weapons permits easier to obtain was surely a recipe for disaster.
Three years later, neither prediction has come true.
Law enforcement officers and local officials say Michigan’s streets are no safer – or more dangerous – than they were three years ago when the law went into effect. But there have been no major incidents involving people with the permits. No accidental discharges. No murders. No anarchy.
“It’s basically been a big ho-hum,” said Joe Oberlee, who teaches a firearms class required of those seeking the permits. “The state has sure collected a lot of extra money, though.”

And what politician doesn’t like that? Things hadn’t changed much, but for those who had jumped through the hoops and gotten a permit, and then had need of it, things have changed a lot. Three years further on, and a 61 year-old man gets to use his handgun to defend himself, rather than being another chalk outline and crime statistic.

It’s Not Much, but Nerf™land Pushes Back

A couple of weeks ago I wrote about schools in England that were banning the paper airplane because of fears of student injury, another school that had removed its swingset because it “faced the sun” and they were concerned about kids blinding themselves, and other similar idiocy.

Well, it looks like somebody over there has had enough, and they’re not alone. Wendy McElroy, proprietor of ifeminist.com and a Fox News columnist, has written a piece about a book recently published there:

New Book Revives Lost Notions of Boyhood

The Dangerous Book for Boys by the British brothers Conn and Hal Iggulden is a practical manual that returns boys to the wonder and almost lost world of tree houses and pirate flags. It celebrates the art of teaching an old mutt new tricks and accepts skinned knees as an acceptable risk for running through fields with the same dog yapping along.

As of July 3, The Dangerous Book is the number one seller on Amazon UK and it is holding steady at about 7,000 on Amazon in the U.S., where it was published on June 5. The Australian News reports that the book “has made it to the top five of…Amazon [Australia], after just a week.”

Those results make publishers take notice. But social commentators are also reacting with both applause and condemnation.

Condemnation arises because The Dangerous Book breaks the dominant and politically correct stereotype for children’s books. It presents boys as being deeply different than girls in terms of their interests and pursuits. Although it is highly probable that bookstores will sell the book to girls who then will go on to practice skimming stones, nevertheless the genders are separated within the book’s pages.

Read the whole thing. Wendy isn’t your typical feminist.

An interesting note, Clayton Cramer (not a fan of Amazon.com) reports that Amazon here in the U.S. no longer lists The Dangerous Book for Boys on its website. The excuse is beyond lame.

Other media sources have responded to The Dangerous Book, for example this op-ed from the The Sunday Times, June 17:

Every so often the lofty minarets of publishing find themselves shaken by a seismic crack from down below. The sound — deeply liberating in the age of the pre-digested blockbuster — is that of the book-buying public spontaneously making its presence felt: one of those infrequent but hugely intriguing instances of word-of-mouth buzz picking up on some hitherto under-publicised item and sending it storming up the bestseller list without the people who administer the book trade really noticing.

The latest example of this encouraging trend is a work entitled The Dangerous Book For Boys by the brothers Conn and Hal Iggulden — Conn is a well-known historical novelist — which was overlooked by the literary editors and the three-for-two promotions but is currently number one on the Amazon chart.

Undoubtedly it is being bought not only by boys but by their fathers as a splendidly politically incorrect guide to both boyhood and fatherhood.

Got up in gilt and scarlet covers, stoutly hardbacked and looking for all the world like a juvenile Christmas present from around the time of King Edward VII’s coronation, The Dangerous Book For Boys declares its intent from the opening page.

“In this age of video games and mobile phones there must still be a place for knots, tree houses and stories of incredible courage,” the authors maintain. “Men and boys today are the same as they always were, and interested in the same things . . . We hope in years to come that this will be a book to dig out of the attic and give to a couple of kids staring at a pile of wood and wondering what to do with it.”

I liked this part particularly:

Clearly, over the next few months The Dangerous Book For Boys, however misleading the promise of its title, is set to play a bumper role in Taylor family life.

Behind its success lurk some shrewd cultural deductions that, here in the bright dawn of the technology-driven 21st century, hardly ever occur to people down at the sharp end of the child-rearing process.

The most obvious is the absolute feebleness of what gets taught in schools these days.


The drawback to the Iggulden project, of course, is that it is completely opposed to practically every development (and developer) currently at work in the British educational process. Not many modern curriculums, after all, feature lists of British kings and queens, troop deployments at Balaclava and the nature of the pluperfect tense.

On the practical side, it goes without saying that the average headmaster would probably have a fit if anyone suggested that his male pupils ought, for the purpose of drawing them closer to their fathers, be taught how to gut a rabbit.

He (or she) would probably be deeply disturbed, too, by the sight of the Oxford historian Niall Ferguson — quoted by the Igguldens — summarising the achievements of the British Empire (downsides are mentioned too) or a list of recommended reading that includes the original James Bond books and the Flashman novels of George MacDonald Fraser.

Even Al-Guardian can’t be too negative about the book:

The book is beautifully accomplished, from its instructions about hunting and cooking a rabbit to its diagrams explaining how to wrap a parcel in brown paper and string. (“Not a very ‘dangerous’ activity, it’s true, but … extremely satisfying.”) But does the chord it has struck also reveal the stubborn prevalence of some rather foolish and deluded fantasy vision of British boyhood? Of a past less noble and less real than it may seem in hindsight, a past which those books and comics that inspired this one would have us believe?

I suppose the answer is mostly yes. I’m old enough to have grown up in a time when the sorts of virtues championed here – wholesome curiosity, diligent teamwork, pluck and decency – still enjoyed some currency, especially in schools and in the cub scouts. However, while boys of my generation enjoyed a freedom to roam and to construct bows and arrows and to play football until dusk, those good-egg moral virtues were often scarce in reality. Boys who were not “hard” or sporty got picked on by boys who were, just as happens now. Bob Cherry, the brave and hearty hero from the Billy Bunter series, was very much a fictional character.

Is this book, then, purely romantic? That’s quite a tricky one to call. I’m wondering why it is called “dangerous”. Does the choice of adjective simply express that hankering after a time when parents were less fearful about their children? Or is it some sort of a comment being made to the effect that it is dangerous these days to insist that boys are totally different creatures from girls? A chapter called The British Empire (1497-1997) repays careful rereading. It’s all battles and rebellions and good intentions that didn’t always work out, but were still good intentions anyway. It is hard to see this as anything other than a conservative reading of the imperial centuries, which makes me inclined to see The Dangerous Book for Boys and its popularity as of a piece with a modern lament about the loss of an old gender order under which a chap knew what a chap was meant to do and the world was a happier place.

I don’t believe it ever was that simple, and pining for it will do none of us much good. Yet there remains much that is admirable here. Some more advice from Sir Frederick Treves: “Don’t swagger. The boy who swaggers – like a man who swaggers – has little else that he can do … It is the empty tin that rattles most. Be honest. Be loyal. Be kind. Remember that the hardest thing to acquire is the faculty of being unselfish. As a quality it is one of the finest attributes of manliness.” Not much to quarrel with there.

The June 13 Telegraph story on the book is equally interesting. Note the opening:

A book of old-fashioned, adventurous pastimes for lads and dads has become a surprise bestseller. Christopher Middleton watched his 11-year-old son transformed into a Middle Earth warrior

It’s amazing that The Dangerous Book For Boys ever got published, really, given the deeply unfashionable connotations surrounding two out of the five words in the title (the ones that aren’t “The”, “Book” and “For”).

The very thought of an educational volume that sets out both to exclude a specific gender and to promote activities with questionable health and safety implications is enough to bring the ultimate condemnation that the world of mealy-mouthdom has to offer – that of being “inappropriate”.

It’s not like Political Correctness is going unnoticed in England, as natural as breathing air. They’re apparently choking on it, too.

Is this a backlash against Political Correctness? Undoubtedly. Does it signal the beginning of a popular movement against it? I doubt, but I can hope. British doctor and writer Theodore Dalrymple, author of several books and numerous essays on the decline of British society, said this in an interview with FrontPage magazine after the publication of his book Our Culture, What’s Left of it: The Mandarins and the Masses:

Political correctness is communist propaganda writ small. In my study of communist societies, I came to the conclusion that the purpose of communist propaganda was not to persuade or convince, nor to inform, but to humiliate; and therefore, the less it corresponded to reality the better. When people are forced to remain silent when they are being told the most obvious lies, or even worse when they are forced to repeat the lies themselves, they lose once and for all their sense of probity. To assent to obvious lies is to co-operate with evil, and in some small way to become evil oneself. One’s standing to resist anything is thus eroded, and even destroyed. A society of emasculated liars is easy to control. I think if you examine political correctness, it has the same effect and is intended to.

And I think he’s absolutely correct.

It’s past time for a backlash against it, both here and most especially in England. The Dangerous Book for Boys isn’t much, but it’s a start, and it’s aimed at exactly the right target.