More Truth in Fiction

I recently picked up Larry Correia’s latest, Swords of Exodus and I started reading it tonight.  I’m only a short way into the book, but this passage struck me:

I’ve lived in every shit hole on Earth, and they’re all the same. It pisses me off to see the same thing creeping in here. There are always assholes who want to hurt the regular people, and then along come the control freaks who want to capitalize on fear of the scary assholes to control the regular people. The scary assholes just don’t care, so repeat, repeat, repeat. Government’s like a ratchet, and it just keeps on cranking down. This isn’t the country I grew up in anymore. People got too scared of the assholes so now the ratchet’s getting real tight. People think they’re trading chaos for order, but they’re just trading normal human evil for the really dangerous organized kind of evil, the kind that simply does not give a shit. Only bureaucrats can give you true evil.


I Know it’s Fiction, But . . .

…sometimes there’s truth in there.

One of the few television shows I watch with any regularity is ABC’s Castle.  I started watching it because the title character is played by Nathan Fillion, Firefly‘s Malcolm Reynolds.  I like the guy.  Turns out, it’s an entertaining show – and I still like the guy.

Anyway, for whatever reason – solar storm, falling stock market, Newt winning South Carolina, my DVR screwed up and didn’t record part of the latest episode, so I went to the ABC website to watch it there.

Where I discovered that one of the characters – Det. Ryan – has his own blog.

Oh how cute.

Except the latest post on that blog caught my attention: Ryan on his Glock. Let me excerpt:

It’s 22.04 ounces unloaded, add another 9.87 when it’s got all the rounds in there. It’s got a synthetic polymer frame to cut down on wear and tear – still sets off a metal detector though, don’t worry. 17 round capacity, 7.32 inches long, 5.43 inches high and with 5.5 pounds of pressure to the trigger it can change from a symbol of authority, to the last thing someone sees in this life.

Straighforward, technical. Interesting. Next paragraph:

Now imagine that strapped to your hip. It’s not comfortable. I see people on the subway shifting around, trying to keep their keys from digging into their leg and I think they have no idea how bad it can be. Of course, I wouldn’t have it any other way. Every time my Glock digs into my side, every time my hand bumps into it, heck, every time it makes my pants sag, I’m reminded of what it means. Its weight on my hip is a reminder of the weight I have on my shoulders. The city of New York has entrusted me with the right to take the life of another.

My emphasis.

No. No it hasn’t. But honestly, that attitude I think explains a lot of things. It explains why places like New York refuse to allow their citizens to exercise their right to arms. It explains why individual members of police departments all across the country, and some full departments do the things that Radley Balko writes about on a daily basis.

They think that by carrying a firearm they’ve been given a right to kill.

No, they’ve been entrusted with the power to kill only in the defense of self or others. But if they believe they have the right to kill, well…

Chained dog lunges at you? Kill it. You have the right.

Want to beat up an old man? Hey, you have the right to kill him! Why not?

There has been story after story of individual officers, SWAT teams, and groups of cops dealing out violence, often lethal, without sufficient cause. Part of it, I think, is the belief that the gun, the badge and the uniform confer upon them the right to kill. If you’ve got that, anything less than lethal must be OK too, right?

Read the rest of the piece. When the author starts talking about bullying, I just stopped reading. Today the bullies wear uniforms, badges and guns.

Update: Like these Connecticut cops.

Here’s another, via Uncle.

More Truth in Fiction

This time from Ian Banks’ Matter:

“Perhaps it is different for humans, dear prince,” she said, sounding sad, “but we have found that the underdisciplined child will bump up against life eventually and learn their lesson that way – albeit all the harder for their parents’ earlier lack of courage and concern. The overdisciplined child lives all its life in a self-made cage, or bursts from it so wild and profligate with untutored energy they harm all about them, and always themselves. We prefer to underdiscipline, reckoning it better in the long drift, though it may seem harsher at the time.”

“To do nothing is always easy.” Ferbin did not try to keep the bitterness out of his voice.

“To do nothing when you are so tempted to do something and entirely have the means to do so, is harder. It grows easier only when you know you do nothing for the active betterment of others.”

I was reminded by this passage of a quote from an earlier piece, I Guess I’m Not… HUMAN. Former Representative Adam Putnam has said,

Government does only two things well: nothing, and overreact.

In current times government has been likened to a parent to the people, with the Republicans being the “daddy party” and the Democrats being the “mommy party,” but as someone else said:

This guy is our uncle and that’s as close as I want the fucker.

I don’t need the government to be my big brother, my parent, my nanny, or my caretaker. It needs to maintain public services (roads, etc.), maintain foreign relations and the military, keep the states from squabbling, and stay the fuck out of my life.

Perhaps someday our putative “leaders” will learn enough to do nothing, rather than overreact.

(Who am I kidding?)

Truth in Fiction

Back in 2004 Oh John Ringo No and Linda Evans published a Sci-Fi novel written in Keith Laumer’s Bolo universe. For those not acquainted, a Bolo is a self-aware armored fighting machine. By the time the protagonist of this novel, a Bolo Mk. XX, designation SOL-0045, nicknamed “Sonny” is introduced, Bolos have been manufactured for about 900 years. This one in particular is 115 years old, and a veteran of many battles.

Artificial intelligence systems have advanced greatly, but the Mk. XX is not designed to operate with complete autonomy. It is designed to have a human commander responsible for strategic decisions and tactical override. Sonny is quite large – on the order of sixteen thousand tons, and armed with the kind of firepower you’d expect from something with the mass of a battleship.

But that’s beside the point here. The précis of the novel, The Road to Damascus is:

When a ruthless political regime seizes power on a world struggling to recover from alien invasion, a former war hero finds herself leading a desperate band of freedom fighters. Kafari Khrustinova, who fought Deng infantry from farmhouses and barns, finds herself struggling to free her homeworld from an unholy political alliance, headed by the charismatic and ambitious Vittori Santorini, which has seduced her young daughter with its propaganda and subverted the planet’s Bolo, using the war machine to crush all political opposition. To free her homeworld, Kafari must somehow cripple or kill the Bolo she once called friend. Unit SOL-0045, “Sonny,” is a Mark XX Bolo, self-aware and intelligent. When Sonny’s human commander is forced off-world, Sonny tries to navigate his way through ambiguous moral and legal issues, sinking into deep confusion and electronic misery. He eventually faces a dark night of the soul, with no guarantee that he will understand-let alone make-the right decision.

I’m reading it now. I came across a few paragraphs last night that I felt the need to share, editing only those parts specific to the world of the book, because as far as I’m concerned it applies right here, right now:

(The party) is composed of two tiers. The lower tier produces many outspoken members who make their demands known to the upper tier. The lower tier is derived from the inner-city population that serves as the base of the party. The lower tier’s members are generally educated in public school systems and if they aspire to advanced training, they are educated in facilities provided by the state. This wing constitutes the majority of (the party’s) membership, but contributes little or nothing to party theory or platform. It votes the party line and is rewarded with cash payments, subsidized housing, subsidized education, and occasional preferential employment in government positions. The lower tier provides only a handful of clearly token individuals allowed to serve in high offices.

The upper tier, which includes most of the party’s management, virtually all the appointed and elected government officials, and all of the party’s decision-makers, is drawn exclusively from suburban areas where wealth is a fundamental criterion for admittance as a resident. These party members are generally educated at private schools and attend private colleges. They are not affected by food-rationing schemes, income caps or taxation laws, as the legislation drafted and passed by members of their social group inevitably contains loopholes that effectively shelter their income and render them immune from unpleasant statues that restrict the lives of lower-tier party members and all nonparty citizens.

(The party) leadership recognizes that in return for supporting a seemingly populist agenda, they can obtain all the votes they require to remain in power. Even the most cursory analysis of their actions and attitudes, however, indicates that they are not populists but, in fact, are strong antipopulists who actively despise their voting base. This….is proven by their efforts to reduce public educational systems to a level most grade-school children (in other countries) have surpassed, with the excuse that this curriculum is all that the students can handle. They have made the inner-city population base totally dependent on the government, which they control.

I’m by no means a fan of Pat Buchanan, but I think he was absolutely correct when he said:

Our two parties have become nothing but two wings of the same bird of prey.

Quote of the Week

I’ve been reading Orson Scott Card’s Shadow of the Giant, the fourth (I think) book in the Shadow series that he wrote as a sequel to the Ender’s Game series. If you’re not familiar with them, I strongly recommend Ender’s Game. You can skip Xenocide and Speaker for the Dead, if you’d like, and jump directly to Ender’s Shadow and its sequels. I find Card to be a hit-and-miss author, my personal tastes I suppose, but these books are quite good and I think everyone should read Ender’s Game.

Anyway, reading through Shadow of the Giant I came across two passages quite close together that resonated with me, all spoken by one of the main characters, Peter Wiggin:

(America) was a nation created out of nothing – nothing but a set of ideals that they never measured up to. Now and then they had great leaders, but usually nothing but political hacks, and I mean right from the start. Washington was great, but Adams was paranoid and lazy, and Jefferson was as vile a scheming politician as a nation has ever been cursed with.

America shaped itself with institutions so strong that it could survive corruption, stupidity, vanity, ambition, recklessness, and even insanity in its chief executive.

Islam has never learned how to be a religion. It’s a tyranny by its very nature. Until it learns to let the door swing both ways, and permit Muslims to decide not to be Muslims without penalty, then the world has no choice but to fight against it in order to be free.

Just thought I’d share.