And Then I Popped Him One


I grew up reading Rex Stout books (And all sorts of mysteries, ranging from cozies to the hard stuff. Because my dad read them.)

It wasn’t till older kid started reading them recently, and I started reading him through his eyes (After he told me, “Society sure has changed!”) that I went and looked at them through … well… new eyes.

Yes, a lot of the changes were for the better. What he was talking to me about was how some things seemed so expensive/upscale in those books, but to us are the merest common place. (I don’t even remember what.) But then I went in with fresh eyes and noticed tons of things. Guys and girls would flirt in public and often on first meeting. Yes, yes, the SJW’s would tell us we’re all so much better now, but our interactions, I’d guess would seem rather bloodless to them.

But the thing I noticed the most was interpersonal violence between males. I’d noticed the same when reading For Us The Living.

Popping a guy one for saying something funny about your girl was perfectly normal. In fact, men could punch each other out and then arrive at an uneasy truth, and sometimes even progress to friends.

If those books are an accurate representation – and I have no reason to believe they aren’t – two guys engaging in fisticuffs was a perfectly normal scene.

Ah, but we’re so much better now, aren’t we? We’re so civilized. If some guy punched another guy for being rude to his girl, why, he could be taken in for assault. And if the girl is a ninny she’d leave the guy too, for icky, horrid violence, or something.

This is better, right?

You know – I’m not sure.

I mean generally the trend in society has been towards less interpersonal violence. If one is to believe memoirs and first hand accounts, getting a duel in the middle of an Elizabethan street was not all that odd. And though other things went into it (like the fact that they could no longer do inter-domain war) duels were such a popular er… pastime that the king had to make edicts against them in the France of the Musketeers.

This might be a symptom of us taming ourselves, as time goes on. We pick for people more likely to do well in a tightly packed society, perhaps.

But at the same time, it seems very long to have come in less than 100 years, from fisticuffs in the street to people being unwilling to speak out against someone else who is doing something heinous.

And we know part of this is not natural. Part of this is the enforcement of the laws on assault, the tightening of the mesh of anti-male behavior, the de-legitimization of the code of chivalry that had obtained in Western Civilization since the troubadors.

Man is no longer allowed to fight for his honor or his maiden fair, even with words or fists. Instead…

Instead we have lawyers. And girls are insulted if someone defends them. And it all rests on the law and government, and little nuisances get magnified to major issues.

Note that this change has greatly taken power out of the lower classes – as in those who can’t afford lawyers – rendering them in effect powerless and emasculated by the “upper classes.”

I suspect, though I have no proof, it has also increased the level of thug behavior to shooting, because, well, just punching someone’s lights out isn’t acceptable.

This has rendered some movies and behaviors completely opaque to today’s teens.

And since the school is teaching them things like not fighting back because all violence is bad even (particularly?) self defense, and to run screaming to the principal instead… the feeling I have is that we’re creating a nation of snitches.

My parents had a simple rule. Yes, you were absolutely allowed to come and tell them if someone was doing something wrong. But then you were a snitch, and you got the same punishment the other kid got. So you’d better be very sure that you couldn’t deal with it yourself and that it was important enough to tell.

To this day I’m thoroughly unrepentant for giving the beating of her life to the girl who threatened to tell my friend’s parents that my friend had failed her dictation again. (My friend was severely dyslexic.) Because in my eyes there was nothing – nothing – more repugnant than the sticky-sweet girls who would simper to the adults that so and so was doing bad things, and could the adults stop it, now?

I can’t help but feel that’s what this change in the standards of interpersonal violence (particularly between males) has done. It took the power out of the individual hands (and fists) and put it in the hands of authorities, to whom you have to debase yourself by snitching. And then you have to wait till they make it all right.

It’s not, you know, that people are less prone to fighting and disagreement. It’s not that people hold fewer grudges. You see them on internet forums pouring out the crazed venom of people who tell themselves they’re too civilized to hit a fellow human.

It’s just that the power of solving disputes quickly (and often physically) has been taken out of the hands of individuals and delegated to the state and, for the very rich, to lawsuits for personal injury.

Reading Rex Stout reminded me how much simpler and more egalitarian it would often be to just pop someone one – right in the nose.

When the king of France forbid his noblemen from dueling it was to concentrate power in his hands. If they could not deal with their own problems, they’d have to come to him.

It seems we’re all French noblemen now.


374 thoughts on “And Then I Popped Him One

  1. Even 30 years ago it was perfectly acceptable to “take it outside”. And after the fight was over it wasn’t unusual for the winner to take the loser back inside and buy him a drink because “you look like you could use one”. Pecking orders were established and respect was given. And the pecking orders weren’t necessarily that the winner was boss. If you tackled a guy twice your size for being an ass and got your butt handed to you you still earned respect, possibly more than he did. If you kept tackling the bear every time he stepped out of line and losing you eventually got your point across. The willingness to stand for what was right even though everyone knew you would lose was respected. We live in a sadder lesser world

    1. Look at Shonen Jump. That probably isn’t purely borrowed from prior generations of Manga artists/writers. It has some popularity among US youngsters.

      Given that, and a comment I saw once on the internet, I wonder.

      I’m older than modern US youth, and younger than some of the people here. I’m also reclusive enough to miss all sorts of things that may be kept quiet and age segregated.

      I dunno.

    2. Learning HOW to tackle the bear [when] he stepped out of line on something important … I’m thinking that was the point (or a point) of fisticuffs over issues of honor. Judgement of when to begin, the ability to choose to get hurt when needed, the ability to stop … all of them things needed if social contracts are to be preserved by ordinary people.
      Why is it good for ordinary people, rather than ‘professionals’ to do this? Because it’s done in a social environment – you get immediate feedback from the crowd as to whether you right or the bear was right in this situation. A democratic way of achieving nuances in the application of social contracts that the law achieves only slowly and often rather poorly. [From the unpublished paper, “Interpersonal violence as a social good”]

  2. Yep, back in 1988 when I was in Junior High, this one kid (he was a part of a group we called “dirts” because “they didn’t qualify as full-on dirt-bags”) decided he was going to make a crack about my mom, whom he did not know. Naturally I jumped him. We scuffled for a little bit, he got some pops in, I got some pops in, the teacher that was outside broke it up and we got hauled into the principal’s office.

    Where he proceeded to apologize, I proceeded to invite him over for pizza, and THEN the principal pulled us in and gave us both detention.

    We’re not close, but I am still friends with the guy, and we occasionally hung out throughout Junior High and High School. It’s not gone by any means, but it’s fading rapidly from the population centers outward. (Tell a farm boy he shouldn’t pop the guy who just mocked his girlfriend and he’d probably look at you like a two-headed calf. Even now.)

  3. But we’re all so much more civilized now. ;o)

    Of course, I wonder about the possibility that with all this civilization being thrust at us, and the stifling of that urge to slap the crap out of someone who desperately needs it, that we’re actually becoming more violent – a big blow out resulting in serious injury and/or death rather than the occasional burst resulting in a black eye here or there.

    Thanks for giving me something to think about this morning. Get’s the brain working.

    1. …we’re actually becoming more violent…

      This is the hypothesis I’m worried about – when you dampen down all the low to moderate level violence that previously acted as a pressure relief, you make it more likely that the next outburst to pop up will be a highly violent one, such as the LA riots.

      And with no skills built up over time in post fisticuffs resolution, we’re more likely to end up with the Montagues and the Capulets than all one big happy family of man.

      Trying to substitute for individual violence with public spectacle pseudo violence such as pro sports does not seem to work either, given the mass violence outbreaks after home teams win or lose, and note these riot-because-our-team-[won/lost] things did not happen back when the individual male violence permissibility threshold was not set to zero.

      1. This is the hypothesis I’m worried about – when you dampen down all the low to moderate level violence that previously acted as a pressure relief, you make it more likely that the next outburst to pop up will be a highly violent one, such as the LA riots.

        Kills the feedback mechanism.

        It’s not just needing to burn off violence– it’s that violence gives something, and if the highest levels are seen as low cost… well, it’s a deformation of the idea of restraint, where you restrain yourself so much that it “tells” someone that they can go ever further.

        1. Now that’s an interesting systems analysis point – by damping the feedback mechanisms until the calling-out-the-National-Guard level is reached, society is creating a feedback mismatch, and that is a perfect way to make a system unstable and encourage system self-disassembly.

          Gee, I wonder who would want that?

          1. You really want a list of the usual suspects?

            How about aliens? Maybe elves?

            This is just a jest. And only a jest

            1. It’s the Trilateral commission working with the aliens that kidnapped Elvis. My cousin’s buddy’s sister’s ex who lives in the trailer-park swears he saw them. With Elvis.

        2. It’s a benefit/cost analysis problem. If I’m going to get the same punishment for popping him one in the nose as I am if I wait in the alley for him with a baseball bat and break his arms and legs, why should I pop him one in the nose and risk him hitting me back?

          1. Or wait in the alley with a knife or gun and lower that risk still further. After all, it’s not like I’ll actually get the death penalty; heck, with the proper sob story and lawyering I might not even serve time.

  4. I think I’ve mentioned the fight my son got into at the end of last school year a time or two. What I didn’t mention was why my son refused to tell teachers about the kid picking on him.

    Early in sixth grade, another student kicked my son in the butt. It may have been playfully intended, but it wasn’t taken that way. My son reported the kid like a good little student. The kid was disciplined. When he returned to class the next day, he began harassing my son about why he told. Every time my son tried to open his locker, this kid slammed it shut and continued the harassment. Rob then stuck his finger through the door as he opened it. Surely the other kid would know it was over, right?

    Nope. Little punk tried to take Rob’s fingers off.

    The school notified me, and I was furious. I spent a good bit of time berating the school over this. After all, were they stupid? They wanted kids to tell, but were they really dumb enough to not expect something like this would happen? Really?

    The school resource officer (school cop) apparently didn’t press any charges. Whatever.

    Well, now my son refuses to tell about harassment. It’s not worth it. Someone crosses the line with him, he knocks them back over it. (Now that we’re lifting weights, I suspect it’s about to get worse for the other guys) The school will call, tell me Rob didn’t do things the way that would prefer, and I actually laugh at them. Do they really think there’s some incentive to follow their idiotic procedures?

    The more we wussify this country, the more I want to go back in time.

      1. Yep. And the school resource officer did have a chat with my son after the fight.

        Of course, where was he the months my son was being tormented?

        It’s funny, because his English teacher had her contract not get renewed this past year. She appealed it, and since I was one of the parents who complained about her, I got to testify. Her attorney brought up Rob’s fight, and a comment I made on Facebook about it.

        “Did you say that you didn’t want your son to be a victim?”

        I looked at him and said, “Yes, I did.”

        It’s pretty sad when you realize that his reason for asking that question was because he thought it would discredit me in the eyes of the tribunal. Not wanting your child to be a victim is something some think is a bad thing?

        For the record, that teacher is sending out resumes right about now. 😀

        1. Even back in the 80’s we’d be able to get into a fight with someone else at school and come out mostly on good terms. But they were already trying to bring in weird ‘conflict resolution’ measures. Being told the proper way to stand up to a bully was to tell him about your feelings was not convincing. And with a fight you got out of school for a week.

          1. Yeah, I got a lot of that. I remember when they started transitioning away from “stand up to a bully” to “tell a teacher”.

            And do what? When the guy tormenting me was one of the best high school basketball players in the entire nation? Yeah…figure the odds.

            The only reason none of them took it any further than taunts and throwing stuff was (as I learned just a couple of weeks ago) that they knew I wouldn’t back down and they’d have a fight on their hands. They never gave me enough of a reason to throw down was all.

            In hindsight, I really wish they had. I might have had a different view of high school.

        2. ” … his reason for asking that question was because he thought it would discredit me …”

          That is really weird. It sounds like some word in there doesn’t mean what he thinks it means … glad you got the loser booted anyway.

          1. Yep.

            I’m sorry, but when my son is bringing home 90’s in ever class but hers, where he was constantly barely passing, at some point you’ve got to ask what the problem is. It’s not my son’s intelligence or his work ethic, obviously.

          1. Only if you consider it a good thing to live in a perpetual state of high school and are willing to risk having your family murdered by the ones that don’t learn. This system works because there are outside bigger authorities.

            1. Wyrdbard,

              You mean the like the authority that T.L.’s kid went to in the first place. The one that just made it worse?

              Or do you mean try to find an Authority over that Authority, and if that new authorty does nothing or makes it worse, what then? Is this going to be a turtles all the way down situation, or is there an ultimate authority?

              In the US we believe there is an ultimate  authority called, “We the People.”

              And a Hunderd years ago we understood this. We didn’t run to the authorities. We popped the guy ourselves.

              And, threatening my family will not cow me, it just will bring down biblical levels of pain onto your head. 

              There is only two strategies that work with bullies. Pointed out to me by Rory Miller.

              “1) Not being interesting enough to be targeted in the first place or
              2) Being too expensive to victimize”

              (From:  )

              Read the whole article then read this:


              Note: This last would have been my answer to Paul Drake question about me asked to Eamon on the previous post, because how we learn to deal with ‘bullies’ as a kid will be how we deal with them as adults. Most of you are worried about how you deal with bullies on the playground or at the offices. I’m worried about bullies that grow up to be Dictators (El Presidente for Life) with a platform to bully and kill millions. Small ball vs large ball. Rouge individuals… how about Rouge States? And whom do we think has the potintual to do the most damage to society?

              T.L. Was just trying to point out it’s all inter conected.
              As always My2Cents

              1. Most of you are worried about how you deal with bullies on the playground or at the offices. I’m worried about bullies that grow up to be Dictators…


                If this is how you characterize most of us, you’re not paying very close attention.

                1. Eamon,

                  Most is probably going to far, but a lot of people will complain about the excess of the State, while in the next breath say we needed it and give it the power to hurt you all in the name of Safety. Do it for your family. Like the state can magicaly protect my family. (P.S. Most murders are commited by people you know.) And further more someone that takes enough of a disliking of me to threaten my family or try to kill them or me. (A State solution is restraining orders, all that is a notice to the authorites to know who to look for if you are killed.)

                  And another thing if some is ataking me while my family is around, my Defending myself did not put them in danger they are slready in put indanger by the assault. And my option to retreat is even less. As I more like to have to stand my ground to let my family escape.

                  1. Josh,

                    I appreciate your passion on this, truly. But I’ve got too many unanswered points laying about the comments and neither of us is going to convince the other.

                    I think I’ve laid out my concerns clearly, and demonstrated the basis for my thinking.

                    If I haven’t, here or elsewhere, somebody ought take a swing with the cluebat so I can adjust course!

                    Anyroad, I think we’ve bounced enough electrons around on the subject so I’m going to move on.

                    Have a grand day.

                    1. Eamon,

                      Sorry! I’ve got to many people make similar points to adress everyones individually. You have made your points clear, this is why those times that I have responded, to anyone, it has been in an overarching style of my phylisophy on this as to adress as many counter points as possible.

                      Sorry again if I am failing, myself, to repisent my side in a coherent manner.

                      You too take care.

                  2. Most murders are commited by people you know

                    Shockingly, in a system that strongly counteracts random murders, most people have met the person who kills them at least once! (This would include a cashier who is shot during a hold-up at the 7/11 near where his murderer lives.) And that’s of solved murders.
                    And this shows that random killings are naturally not a problem?

                    That a system as it is currently established is not perfect does not mean that no system at all is thus BETTER; “turn down the music” is not the same as “turn it off and destroy the boombox.”

                    1. Foxfier,

                      “Shockingly, in a system that strongly counteracts random murders…”

                      There is no such thing as random murders. There is always some internal logic or justification behind the initiation of violence. Though the targets might be chosen at random (which makes it harder not easer to stop.) the initiation of force has some logic behind it even if on the outside we don’t understand what it is or would agree with it if we did. 

                       And I would agree with the sentiment  expressed in your reply if the State didn’t encourage the moral hazard of I do not need to learn to deal with those whom might use violence against me; i.e., “That is not my responsibility to do so. It’s the states responsibility to protect me?”  In the language of addiction specialists the State can be considered or has become an enabling force that allows the bad behavior to occur.

                      We no long feel the need to reach out and pop some one for bad behavior, because we feel that it is no longer our responsibility to do so.

                      We are most often killed by the people we know not because we come into contact with most, but these are the people that might come to feel they have a reason to kill us.

                      Most of the other violence is done by bad people doing bad thing to other bad people in bad places.

                      At the very end of the Violence Scale are Process Predator and Emotionally Disturbed People (EDP’s) and your likely hood of running into one of these people is… well lets put it this way you have a better chance of winning the lottery.

                      Process Predators are those the goal is the process of hurting you.

                      EDP’s are living in a world you can’t see.

                    2. Please lets preserve random as a useful word. Haphazard but not random as observed.

                      Notice that random is really hard to achieve. Folks have done monte carlo modeling with radioactive decay. I’d be interested but astounded to find a killer of anything but cats to use a random mechanism.

              2. Actually, no, like the ones at my school where the lessons took because a decent percent of the authority figures actually responded reasonably (note, it was far from perfect). Without the authority figures we get the hellions running rampant and doing whatever we want. If you’re smaller and naturally less capable (not necessarily the same) you put your safety in the benevolence of those who are larger and/or more capable whether they are people like our hostess, who is of good intent, or the people she’s thumping. If you want enough of those people around you need to provide a structure for it. Or the petty little schoolyard problems escalate to real crimes on one hand, and sociopathic destruction of others’ minds on another. And what are you going to do about it? Oh? Shoot him? He’s got a brother, cousin, whatever… and we’re right back at the escalation. And who’s going to stop it? You? You’re advocating perpetuating it.

                We agree that rogue states are made of rogue individuals. That’s why we have checks and balances. We the people are one of those balances. ONE OF. When there is nothing but another individual to hold others in check, you wind up with the kind of free for all you see in the worst high schools. Not something you want to base a society on. Different problems than we have right now and not nearly so easily handled if you want everything to stay at the individual level. You get the upper hand for a while, then someone else comes along who’s stronger than you and beats you down. That’s why people organize and codify laws and codes of conduct. Organized leadership is one of the checks and balances on the depravity of which individuals are capable. The individuals are one of the checks and balances on the depravities of which the organized leadership is capable. BOTH are required for a healthy society.

                As for the ‘bilblical level of suffering’ you intend to inflict on those who threaten you and yours… you forget in your perfect society, they can do the same and you can’t count on being the biggest, baddest, meanest, most capable guy around. There’s always someone who can pull one over on you. There’s always someone better, sneakier, more malicious, stronger, or luckier. Heaven help you when you get too old to take all of them on, because in that society you’ll need all the help you can get. They’ll use your values against you, your restraint, your code. And if you don’t have a code or values or honor, you just became them and started destroying your own beloved system.

                As a side note, I don’t recommend my personal way of dealing with bullies to anyone as it only works if you’re not trying. They don’t know what to do if you find them pathetically amusing rather than threatening, but it’s also no where near foolproof. The look on their faces when they start some variant of ‘I’m going to beat the crap out of you’ and you say ‘No, you wont’ and just brush past them as if they’re not a threat is quite priceless. I’ve dealt with my own share of bullies even with a very solid school. I didn’t realize I’d been bullied until nearly a decade later. I didn’t consider myself bullied or pushed around. The ones who tried were irritating, pathetic little creeps in my head. I haven’t heard of anyone else pulling it off quite my way.

                1. Wyrdbard,

                  “Oh? Shoot him? He’s got a brother, cousin, whatever… and we’re right back at the escalation. And who’s going to stop it? You? You’re advocating perpetuating it.”

                  The assumption in your argument is that the cousin, brother of other Family member is as irrational and only deals with their problems with violence/force as well.

                  According to you it a benevolent state that stops the escalation. Because the cousin or other family member is not going to blame you for calling the cops who then had to shoot the guy to stop him from acting out.

                  And another thing I actualy advocate starting at the bottom of the Force scale, not the top. You talk it out first and try to come to an agreement. But if someone is trying to kill you…

                  You advocate starting at the Top by using the nucular option of the State. 

                  To the argument that there are weaker people and the only way to protect them is by having a State. 

                  Something I wrote:

                  Weak / Strong

                  There are Strong and Weak people in this world. I’m talking in ability and skills, i.e., we all have our strengths and weakness. 

                  One side believes that we should help the weaker among us become stronger.  This way they can compete and hold their own. 

                  The other side believes we should place limits on and weaken the strong, so that they can’t take advantage of those weaker than them.

                  One side weakens the whole, and the other side strengthens the whole.

                  Wyrdbard which side do you think you advocating.

                  AC society as a matter of nesesity would not and could not tolerate bullies or tyrants. Starting by teach kids that it’s not OK to use physical for to get what you want, but it is ok to use physicsl force to defend yourself.

                  You would by nesesity have to be vigilent in stopping bullies from growing followers and the infrastructure (infrastructure that a State provided in an abundance) to become tyrants.

                  We used to do this with bulling behavior on reflex, you stept out of line, crossed a boundary,  we gave you a little pop to put you back in line.

                   The different levels of violence from “Violence: A Writers Guide” by Rory Miller: Nice, Manipulative, Assertive, Aggressive, Assaultive and Murderous, and remember people feel justified using the level of violonce they most often use themselves, and those at the next level up are the ones acting out. (read the book if you don’t know what I’m talking about.)

                  We nolonger teach are young how to opperate in a violent world. As a result very few people operate comfortable at the uper levels of Violence. People are no longer comfortable operating at the assaltive level of violence – The your out of line so I gave you a corrective pop or even “the do this or I well pop you”, let alone the do this or I will kill you level you seem to think everyone will use.

                  The end result of all othis is we no longer know how to set boundaries and enforce them, because we have lived so long in a society (this changed about a hundred yours a go with progressives pushing turn to the government they will protect you and take care of you. There were no safety nets, other than the ones we provided for ourselves. Charities, net eggs or rainy day funds. These last two who has them, or is that the states job… end of aside.) that says that violence is bad only bad people use violence; that it’s not your job to defend yourself but the states. The peoples are starting to believe that State should have this monopoly on force that it claims to have. You hear even on the Conservative side in the belief in reasonable gun control.

                  Here is a news flash. The only way to stop bad people from doing bad things is for good people to standup and stop them, because by the time the State gets involved in’s already to late.

                  Something I learned in the Navy as a Firefighter as a member of “The at See Fire Party” is that we were not the first responders the first responders should be the ones that descoverd the problem and then started to deal with it, and then they call for back up. You don’t just sit back and do nothing because you called for the “professionals” believing that if is their responsibility not yours. Damage Control on a boat is everyones responsibility. Why because how long can you swim for?

                  This goes for calling EMS and the police too. The ones we call First responders are often just the ones that show up in time to clean up the mess, because the incident is already over by the time they get there.

                  I could almost get behind or stand living under an old School Constitutional Republic if it wasn’t for the fact that I would have to speend a great deal of my time fighting it so as it doesn’t become the behemoth that it will become (See todays US Government.). I would reather just live without the state and deal with the little pety tyrants that pop up instead of the Monster ones You have to deal with at the State Level.

                  You can point all you want to 3rd world shitholes that don’t as a culture  that respect Life, Liberty and Property as to why Anarchy will not work, but you fail to point out those cultures don’t work under States either.

                  For an AC sosiety to work the culture of the Society at it’s very core would have to hold sacrite the the right to life, liberty and property, and that it can not, should not be violated by anyone, that includes any organizing bodies institutions that develops (that you have been calling States).

                  But doesn’t the US value, Life, Liberty and Property? We say we do while allowing the State to do it all the time in the name of security.

                  As to your bully tactic it worked, because you went off scripted* than left the scene before the bully realized, shifted mental gears into, “I should beat you up for laughing at me.”

                  Yep, as you pointed out it’s a gamble, that requires them not to be as violent as you are implying them to be. Are people as violent and prone to using it to get what they want or they not. 


                  Follow the link at the ended for when the tactic goes wrong.

                  Books forth reading on Violence.

                  “Violence: A Writers guide” “Facing Violence” “Scaling Force” “Conflict Communications*” “In the name of Self-Defense”

                  There is some much bad info and myth built up around Violence that we base a lot of how we deal with violence that get’s us dead or in a JAM. And a lot of it is perpetuated in the fiction we read.

                  As always My2Cents

                  1. Correction:

                    But doesn’t the US value, Life, Liberty and Property? We say we do while allowing the State to do it violate them all the time in the name of security.

                    1. Josh, the State values many things, many of which are in conflict. It is unwisely simplistic to argue that State infringements of some rights in support of others means the State does not value those others.

                      A moment’s reflection ought prove to you that there are balances required, such as Freedom of Religion not permitting human sacrifice (except symbolically.) Your ownership of your property does not entitle you to maintain it as a garbage strewn morass. As for Life — you can and should forfeit yours when you abuse your rights to endanger the lives of others.

                      In the end, the State is merely a rough balancer of rights amongst its constituents. Failure to recognize this in pursuit of an idealized Anarcho-Capitalist State is to chase a will-o’-the-wisp, with the consequences that customarily entails.

                    2. I’ve gotten to the point of not bothering to debate him. He’ll never understand what we’re talking about.

                    3. Paul,

                      It’s not that I don’t understand your position it’s that I believe your belief in the State as the only way to insure every ones rights equally is incorrect and inaccurate. 

                      I’m of the same mind as Frédéric Bastiat when he said, “Government is the great fiction through which everybody endeavors to live at the expense of everybody else.”


                    4. No, Josh, it is obvious from your arguments that you do not understand the positions taken by those disagreeing with you. Citing Bastiat is no more persuasive to us than would be our citing Reagan to you.

                      You have beaten your argument to death and beyond and need to walk away from its stinking carcass.

                    5. RES,

                      1) You engaged me in this conversation.

                      2) This bog that you live near was it like that before or after you bought your place, because if it was like that before…

                      3) If the condition of their property is actually effecting your health then you might have a case of him harming you.

                      “Do you not recognize that neighbors might reasonably object to having to spend the cost of a scenery-blocking barrier because of your refusal to maintain your property in a manner consistent with the neighborhood?

                      Do you not understand that he might find  it unreasonable that you demand that he spend time and money fixing his place up when you aren’t willing to spend money on your own property. Why should he incur all the expense?

                      If you all bought land in a swamp and he just not keeping up with the improvements of everyone else has made I would tell everyone else to piss off, too. (Weren’t we all bitch not to long ago about the Fascist HOA’s not to long ago?)

                      “Do you perceive no risk of a ploy by which a group might deliberately act to drive down property values in an area in order to buy the properties cheaply?”

                      So we Haven’t even asked him why he’s not keeping up his property. Maybe he’s old and unable to manage. Maybe the neighborly thing to do in that case would be to send over some of the neighborhood kids to help with the up keep, free of charge if he on a limited budget?

                      No what we do is just demand everyone live as we think they should live.

                      If you have the right to tell me how to live my life, do I have the same right to tell you how to live yours, and do you really want me to have that right?

                      Endangering the lives of others is acting recklessly; is it not?

                      There is no cost to the community untill harm has actually been caused.

                      I believe that if someone is harm by someone acting recklessly throw the book at them. They should be held responsible for any harm they actualy caused not any might have been or could possible occurs.

                      Should we outlaw mountain climbing? Those stupid campers & climbers risk the lives of the rescuers  everytime they get themselves trapped in a snowstorm.

                      Take care, this will be my last words on this subject for at lest a week.

                    6. Josh, I don’t know whether you are being deliberately obtuse or are simply incapable of understanding arguments posed by others, but your responses include multiple contortions of arguments. Rather than address points made you have tended to address points as you wish they had been made, all the while avoiding the actual issue raised. That is childish and chickensh–.

                      I see the following argument and cannot believe you to be serious:

                      Endangering the lives of others is acting recklessly; is it not?

                      There is no cost to the community untill harm has actually been caused.

                      I believe that if someone is harm by someone acting recklessly throw the book at them.

                      Endangering others and acting recklessly are not equivalent, and your willingness to use them interchangeably as suits your argument is intellectually dishonest. See: square =/= rectangle.

                      There is indeed cost to the community prior to actual harm being done. Ducking your un-aimed bullets is a cost. Having to maintain a hyper watchful eye out for the crazy s.o.b. is a cost.

                      Finally, who throws what book in your stateless society? Who restrains the angry lynch mob forming when your recklessly fired bullets finally do cause harm? Failure to recognize such incidental consequences of your positions is why your presumed anarcho-capitalist ideal is out of your reach.

                    7. RES,

                      I’m only posting this because you asked question of me and made statements about my character. 

                      “Rather than address points made you have tended to address points as you wish they had been made, all the while avoiding the actual issue raised.”

                      The problem I have with your conclusions is not in the logic that produced them, but in the underling assumptions used. This why I’m address the points brought up from my point of view; as I believed the world to be. Not as you believed the world to be. I can not argue from your point of view as often your logic is sound. Where I see there error is in your and other fundimental understanding of man: natural law.

                      As I see it your and others arguments boil down to that, we need a state to protect us and to act as a buffer between us (or as you put it a balancer of rights), because if not, we will devolved into savages and will resort to killing to get what we want, because that is just human nature (IYO).

                      If  we are unable to self-govern your logic and conclusions are sound. To a point, because “”Sometimes it is said that man cannot be trusted with the government of himself. Can he, then, be trusted with the government of others? Or have we found angels in the form of kings to govern him? Let history answer this question.” –Thomas Jefferson: 1st Inaugural, 1801″ You and others seem to me to be saying we are not able to govern ourselves, but some how we gain this ability when organize and form a state? How? How are “We the People to keep the State in check. Because the State is us and has our flaws. If “We the People” will use any gains in authority to lord it over those around us (as you postulate), then the State is a pretty big stick to do this with. If we can’t even stop the petty strong men from victimizing us,  (then I put forth) we sure as hell will not be able to stop the juggernaut of the State?

                      Now onto:

                      “Endangering others and acting recklessly are not equivalent,”

                      Then you might not have wanted to use an example of Reckless Driving (Speeding), drinking and Driving, both reckless activities. And these activities are not necessarily endangering anyone, in and of themselves. They must be done in the presence of others. But criminal law doesn’t make that distinction. 

                      The reason I asked this question, “Endangering the lives of others is acting recklessly; is it not?” Was my clumsy attempt to get you to make counter point of “but not all acts of recklessness endanger anyone,” and  you did, kind of. Acting reclessly is an action. Endangering is a possible result. But it wasn’t tied back to your original examples. 

                      “There is no cost to the community untill harm has actually been caused.” is what I said.

                      Harm as in actual ill effect or danger, not phisical damage. I should have been clearer on this. 

                      “There is indeed cost to the community prior to actual harm being done. Ducking your un-aimed bullets is a cost. Having to maintain a hyper watchful eye out for the crazy s.o.b. is a cost.”

                      What you are describing is harm to Liberty and you are correct it is cause for action, but only if it actually effects the liberty of others. If I want to drive out to the middle of the salt flats get drunk a drive recklessly that’s my business. Should I be locked up for DWI as a public safety hazerd? The State Criminal Code (Criminal Law) makes no distiction. It up to the Cops called to the scene.

                      “Finally, who throws what book* in your stateless society?”

                      You asking this question shows a great lack of understand violence dynamics, the logic behind violence and Self-Defense Law.

                      The people actually involved should take responsibility to stop the individual. If someone is endangering your child, loved one or general group that you are in, say at a school, by waving a gun around wouldn’t you stop them? In an AC society you are most likely armed. If you feel that it’s safe to do so, you draw your weapon placing it at the ready, you tell him to place the gun on the ground and back away slowly. If you don’t feel it safe to give warning, the danger is immediate or he refuse to drop the weapon you shoot him.

                      This isn’t even AC society specific it’s standard Self-Defense Law. You could call the police, but they don’t have any magical or special abilities that you youself can’t learn. They’re going to do exactly what you could have done, and remember the national average responce time for a priority 911?call is around 7 mins.

                      “Who restrains the angry lynch mob forming when your recklessly fired bullets finally do cause harm?”

                      This assumes it wouldn’t be justified to do so, lynch ‘me’ that is. The citizens don’t have the stones to stop me, but they are going to act after the fact to lynch me. Also, as I’m armed the mob would most likely have to kill me before they get a chance to lynch me. So if you are going to have to kill me anyways, you might want to do it before a I harm someone.

                      This is sad as I run into this learned helplessness all the time, this subconscious reflex that has been drummed into us to turn to some authority to solve our disputes. That we are not qualified or can not become qualified to solve our own problems.

                      And it starts when we teach our kids to turn to adults (authority figures) to solve all their problems. Instead of teaching them to try to solve them by themselves first, if they can’t then ask for help.

                      Note: The metaphorical book in questions is on Customary Law.

                    8. RES,

                      P.S. So, in a way you and everyone that believes we can not Live in an AC society are correct, because as long as we in society believe that we needed some authority over us to solve our problems and disputes. 

                      We will!

                      And those leaders being as flawed as we are will not make any better decisions than we would.

                    9. John Locke:
                      To understand political power right, and derive it from its original, we must consider, what state all men are naturally in, and that is, a state of perfect freedom to order their actions, and dispose of their possessions and persons, as they think fit, within the bounds of the law of nature, without asking leave, or depending upon the will of any other man. A state also of equality, wherein all the power and jurisdiction is reciprocal, no one having more than another; there being nothing more evident, than that creatures of the same species and rank, promiscuously born to all the same advantages of nature, and the use of the same faculties, should also be equal one amongst another without subordination or subjection, unless the lord and master of them all should, by any manifest declaration of his will, set one above another, and confer on him, by an evident and clear appointment, an undoubted right to dominion and sovereignty.


                      This freedom from absolute, arbitrary power, is so necessary to, and closely joined with a man’s preservation, that he cannot part with it, but by what forfeits his preservation and life together: for a man, not having the power of his own life, cannot, by compact, or his own consent, enslave himself to any one, nor put himself under the absolute, arbitrary power of another, to take away his life, when he pleases. No body can give more power than he has himself; and he that cannot take away his own life, cannot give another power over it.


                      Man being born, as has been proved, with a title to perfect freedom, and an uncontrolled enjoyment of all the rights and privileges of the law of nature, equally with any other man, or number of men in the world, hath by nature a power, not only to preserve his property, that is, his life, liberty and estate, against the injuries and attempts of other men; but to judge of, and punish the breaches of that law in others, as he is persuaded the offence deserves, even with death itself, in crimes where the heinousness of the fact, in his opinion, requires it. But because no political society can be, nor subsist, without having in itself the power to preserve the property, and in order thereunto, punish the offences of all those of that society; there, and there only is political society, where every one of the members hath quitted this natural power, resigned it up into the hands of the community in all cases that exclude him not from appealing for protection to the law established by it. And thus all private judgment of every particular member being excluded, the community comes to be umpire, by settled standing rules, indifferent, and the same to all parties; and by men having authority from the community, for the execution of those rules, decides all the differences that may happen between any members of that society concerning any matter of right; and punishes those offences which any member hath committed against the society, with such penalties as the law has established: whereby it is easy to discern, who are, and who are not, in political society together. Those who are united into one body, and have a common established law and judicature to appeal to, with authority to decide controversies between them, and punish offenders, are in civil society one with another: but those who have no such common appeal, I mean on earth, are still in the state of nature, each being, where there is no other, judge for himself, and executioner; which is, as I have before shewed it, the perfect state of nature.

                      And thus the common-wealth comes by a power to set down what punishment shall belong to the several transgressions which they think worthy of it, committed amongst the members of that society, (which is the power of making laws) as well as it has the power to punish any injury done unto any of its members, by any one that is not of it, (which is the power of war and peace;) and all this for the preservation of the property of all the members of that society, as far as is possible. But though every man who has entered into civil society, and is become a member of any commonwealth, has thereby quitted his power to punish offences, against the law of nature, in prosecution of his own private judgment, yet with the judgment of offences, which he has given up to the legislative in all cases, where he can appeal to the magistrate, he has given a right to the common-wealth to employ his force, for the execution of the judgments of the common-wealth, whenever he shall be called to it; which indeed are his own judgments, they being made by himself, or his representative. And herein we have the original of the legislative and executive power of civil society, which is to judge by standing laws, how far offences are to be punished, when committed within the common-wealth; and also to determine, by occasional judgments founded on the present circumstances of the fact, how far injuries from without are to be vindicated; and in both these to employ all the force of all the members, when there shall be need.

                      END QUOTE

                      Or, as expressed more succinctly:
                      We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights that among these are life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness That to secure these rights, governments are instituted among men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, That whenever any form of government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the right of the people to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their safety and happiness.

                      So yes, we believe that Anarcho-Capitalism is insufficient to protect our inalienable rights, that is will inequitably fall into one or another form of tyranny and that your advocacy of that social organization fails to recognize and ward off the attendant risks. To too many of us your plan includes the infamous Step #2: A miracle happens. Unlike Arthur Dent, few of us are inclined to throw ourselves over that particular cliff in hope we miss the ground. Your advocacy of Anarcho-Capitalism relies too heavily on the kindness of strangers.

                    10. RES,

                      Your advocacy of Anarcho-Capitalism relies too heavily on the kindness of strangers.

                      And your belief the State even with arguably the greatist form of Government yet devised, relies too heavily on polititions fearing “We the Poeple.”

                      A change of perspective:

                      I like think of it as a return to the understanding that in an armed society kindness and politness is the safest course of action. That being a bully or tyrant has the effect and inherent danger of pissing people off that will try to put holes in you.

                    11. RES,

                      If “We” could keep the role of State from expanding beyond it’s legitimate role as expressed by Locke or Bastiat I would be OK with that, but I’m just at the point that I feel this is an impossibility, just as you feel that living without a State to insure our rights and administer the law is an impossibility.

                      Something I wrote:

                      Saturday, June 18, 2011

                      Stuck in the middle and What do we really believe?

                      I’m about as much of a Libertarian as you can get. I want as small and as unintrusive a government as possible.
                      So I’m stuck between two opposing forces that want to run my life. The left wants to tell me how to spend my money, and the right wants to tell me how to live my life. Both feel I’m to stupid to figure this out for myself and that the government needs to force me to do the right thing. 
                      I don’t believe a government should be involved in any type of social safety net that this allows us to become bad lazy to not have to think about or plan for the future. Why should we the government will take care of us. We no longer feel the need to take personal responsibility for our lives the government will do that for us.
                      Used to be that if we fell down our family, our church or a local charity was there to help us pick ourselves back up so we could stand on our own two feet. That is if we even bothered to ask for help. 
                      We used to have a pride in our ability to pick ourselves up and start over. We didn’t need no stinking help. We could stand on our own two feet. Our forefathers would of been ashamed of how far we have fallen. How we can’t get off the government crack that is our “entitlement” system. This system that slaved ourselves to.

                      You can not be truly free if you rely on other to take care of you.

                      On to the other side there our those who feel they have the right to tell me how to live my life and who I can love. This is the one that is a little more insidious of the two, because they cloak what they want as doing it for my own good or trying to save my soul. Who can argue against that. They just have the best intentions, but what do they say about the road to hell. To me this is just more bad lazy think. If you can’t win over people in the court of public opinion, just enact legislation that will force them to act as you wish.

                      Now to the second part of the title. If we, and say we because I have side with the right, because our stated beliefs line up the most. If we say we believe in personal liberty and small government, why do we grow the power of government and restrict choice when it gets us something we want?

                      So again I ask, what do we really believe?

                      This lead to questioning if both sides abuse State power can anyone betrusted with it. “We the People” seem to be a poor check against it’s abuses. (Or as you might think of it my current madness.)

                      Oh well… We both believe in the Core Values we just disagree on the best way to insure them.

                      Author Dent didn’t deliberately throw himself off a cliff. It happened quite by accident, and he was pleasantly surprised when he found out that he had missed.


                    12. RES,

                      “A moment’s reflection ought prove to you that there are balances required,…”</blockquote

                      Yes, and I haven't argued otherwise. Only that the state is a poor keeper of the balance and to easily corrupted to be so. 

                      “…such as Freedom of Religion not permitting human sacrifice (except symbolically.)”

                      “Of liberty I would say that, in the whole plenitude of its extent, it is unobstructed action according to our will. But rightful liberty is unobstructed action according to our will within limits drawn around us by the equal rights of others. I do not add “within the limits of the law,” because law is often but the tyrant’s will, and always so when it violates the right of an individual.”

                      – Thomas Jefferson

                      Yep, My right to freedom of expression doesn’t trump your right to life.

                      “Your ownership of your property does not entitle you to maintain it as a garbage strewn morass.”

                      Who gets to determine what is and isn’t  “Garbage”, but besides that if the sight of my property offends, people are free to build a wall on their property and they’re free to move. The comunity is also free to not do busines with them. 

                      “As for Life — you can and should forfeit yours when you abuse your rights to endanger the lives of others.”

                      This one is troubling, by this standard I loose my right to life by just acting recklessly. I don’t even have to cause actual harm, just the posibility that I could cause harm I lose my right to Life. This I my view doesn’t help make your case that the State is… —>

                      “In the end, the State is merely a rough balancer of rights amongst its constituents.”

                      Now on to this:

                      “Failure to recognize this in pursuit of an idealized Anarcho-Capitalist State is to chase a will-o’-the-wisp, with the consequences that customarily entails.”

                      “With the consequence that customarily entails.” Is this to emply that I might be wasting my time tilting at windmills? Time to break into song…


                    13. Clarifying:
                      A garbage strewn morass constitutes a danger to the health and safety of neighbors. I did not say unkempt lawn; I employed garbage in its commonly understood sense which includes unconsumed foodstuffs and used morass for a reason. If your property presents a breeding ground for rats, poisonous snakes and vermin of all sorts. Does your right to your property allow you to significantly diminish the market value of your neighbors’ properties?

                      Do you assert a right to reduce neighboring home values on the order of 20 – 30%, a reasonable estimate of the effect of a slum next door? Do you not recognize that neighbors might reasonably object to having to spend the cost of a scenery-blocking barrier because of your refusal to maintain your property in a manner consistent with the neighborhood?

                      Do you perceive no risk of a ploy by which a group might deliberately act to drive down property values in an area in order to buy the properties cheaply?

                      by this standard I loose my right to life by just acting recklessly.

                      So you see no costs imposed on the community if you regularly drive while intoxicated or on hallucinogenic drugs? There is no basis for complaint about your firing your handgun without taking trouble to aim, so long as you are unsuccessful at hitting any of the neighborhood pets or children?

                      I did not say “acting recklessly” and your restatement of my phrase — endanger the lives of others — suggests an inability to argue in good faith.

                      I do not think you are fighting windmills, Windmills, unlike your AC fever dream, actually exist. I think you are shoveling the sort of thing commonly employed in raising mushroom.

                      I also think you are bordering on trolling, pushing an argument far past the point of anything reasonable and in spite of the nigh universal disdain displayed by the other commenters here. I doubt you have anything new to add to your arguments and strongly suggest you drop the subject.

                2. With regards to anarchy vs. the State, I would like to point out that the point of Sarah’s post is that our “snitch on the kid” school system has caused even worse violence than it has prevented.

                  I think it was John Taylor Gatto that pointed out that our school system is practically designed to create a sort-of “Sun Court” where the students are all competing for the attention of the teacher, much like the noblemen of France competing for the attention of the King.

                  French noblemen, indeed!

              3. 2) Being too expensive to victimize

                There is a third, a variation of the second, where social pressure is brought to bear. This requires that the larger group decides to ostracize those who bully. A member of that larger group, on behalf of the whole, may have to offer to confront the bully physically. Still, if it is clear to the bully that the group is going to back the representative up in an actual fight it may not be necessary to fight. In the end the one who bullies might be left with a small following, but even that would shrink as there would be little profit in such allegiance.

                This only works if the great majority of the people involved are willing to work together. So it is likely that the best first line is be able to handle bullies by oneself, or with the help of a few trusted friends.

                Which, in part, deals with the question about adult bullies. Experience indicates that you really cannot make others behave like responsible adults. (More or less can be done to encourage it, and at the moment this country seems to be doing a great deal in this country to outright discourage it.) If we cannot make the people who surround us be responsible grown-up what makes you think that we can bring this about with the rest of the nations?

                And this is, in part, why I support a strong well-trained and equipped military. ‘What!’ you say, ‘What has that got to do with it?’ Easy the idea is to have a strong enough military backing you up that only the craziest of crazies would take you on. And when that occasion extra crazy does, which, sadly, in this world will happen, you will be ready.

                Oh, and I would point out it is also why I don’t really support sanctions. Really. Great theory, everyone gets together and says to the county that is ‘misbehaving’ we won’t trade X,Y,and Z with you. But, to work, it requires that you get just about every country in the world to cooperate, and when, if ever, has that happened?

                1. CACS,

                  Interesting. I adressed your major points in my response to Wyrdbard before I even read you reply.


                2. Then you have the other version of that, where a group of the victimized decide they have had enough and do something. This happened with my aunt’s friends, who decided they had had enough of the neighborhood bully and ganged up on him one day, tied him to a telephone pole, piled sticks around his feet and legs, and if I remember the story right, were about to set him on fire when an adult intervened.

    1. The school resource officer (school cop) apparently didn’t press any charges.

      That’s where the problem came in.

      The school set up a situation where they remove the kids’ ability to defend themselves– and then they refuse to take it to the next level.
      Like a mall that puts “No Guns Allowed” signs up, and then has insufficient security that’s armed with a radio.

      1. Very much so. Even when I was in school, they did a bit of this. They tried to prevent anyone from “acting” and treated everyone in a fight equally.

        Basically, it looks an awful lot like they’re trying to condition generations to roll over and take whatever is dished out, despite the fact that the real world doesn’t necessarily work like that.

        1. There have been several small news stories where 19 year old men behave like a standard school bully… and are then sent to jail, because they’re in the real world.

            1. I recall a cause celebre a while back about two punks whose lawyer was trying to get them off on the grounds that their “crime” was nothing worse than what they’d been getting their wrists slapped for doing prior to turning sixteen, and it was unjust to punish them harshly merely because they had passed an arbitrarily designated age.

              It didn’t get far, and you’ll notice it isn’t being attempted as a defense again.

              1. Yeah, and for good reason.

                Punish the kids for what they do as kids, so they get the idea that sooner or later, the punishment is gonna get worse.

    2. This is where you made a mistake. The _school_is equally guilty of the “assault, with injury.” They, and the bully learned nothing. I would file assault charges against the bully, and conspiracy charges against the school officials. Then, I would follow up with _civil_ suits (in small claims) against both, for damages. These are “actions” that they understand. It makes the school, the bully (and his family) look bad. They don’t get “PC party points, for being politically correct.”

      1. Tried to press charges. The school police department informed me that charges could only be filed if the intend was to injure due to the age of the little bastard.

        However, the school itself did punish the kid again (this time with suspension, IIRC) and moved him out of my son’s class so it would never happen again. The school itself did as much as they could.

        The school PD? Useless, but that might also have been how loudly I railed against forming them in the first place. 😉

  5. I’ve related a few times the violence I grew up with – race related for a lot of the part, actually. How dare this little Asian kid fight back?! If it wasn’t a schoolyard brawl, I’d get ambushed on the way home from school, and darned if I didn’t give as good as I got! There was some bleeding involved, and interestingly nobody ever went for my eyes – glasses, after all.

    But you know what? After about a year worth of scraps and fights, the kids I was always fighting suddenly all decided I wasn’t a limp noodle. They started hanging out with me sometimes, and discovered that I knew what snacks were cheap, delicious and the most bang for your marks, and where to buy the latest Nintendo games fastest and earliest.

    The true test of that acceptance came when one day, some of the local high schoolers spotted me and recognized me from my now notorious description. Imagine getting approached by a bunch of teenaged German guys who’d heard of the Asian kid who never backed down from a fight, wanting to see the proof of it for themselves. The kids I fought with were able to get them to leave me alone, saying ‘she’s not weak, like the others. She’s scared of nothing. She’s one of us now.’ The next group that came along though, weren’t willing to be convinced, and the kids I used to fight against fought with me. Afterward, we all trooped over to my house, got our scrapes and ripped up clothes patched up, and had pizza, cola and ice cream. And the teenagers didn’t bother us since, since word spread about it.

    I look at how kids and teenagers are like now, and as rough as my childhood was, I look back on that time and notice… how much cleaner it was. There were punch ups and fisticuffs, and… that was it. Adults would only step in if the fight looked like it was getting too out of hand – but we were expected to sort it out ourselves.

    1. One of my grad school associates had been the “Asian kid with glasses.” Then he found a boxing gym. He’s still Asian, still wears glasses (or contacts) but no body messes with him.

      1. When I was in school back in the stone ages it was a commonly held belief that if you struck someone wearing glasses in the face the cops would come and arrest you. Don’t know how it started and if it had any basis in fact, but it was what we all knew to be true.

        1. Well, I TOLD him to remove his glasses. He didn’t. So when I knocked him out and his glasses went flying, his parents tried to get us to pay. Bah. I had witnesses. HE (leader of the communist youth group in the school) started it. It wasn’t the first time he started it. He hid behind his glasses.
          After that he gave me no trouble. OTOH I met him two years after I was married. He’d quit the communist party (which was hard. Third generation red diaper) and was working for as far right a party as he could find. He credited me with it. He told me he had such a crush on me. Eh. Men are weird, and boys twice so.
          Oh, and pity the poor bastard. Our all-girl school had just opened to boys, so his parents (SJWs) put him in. Our graduating class was 2000 girls, two boys, and he was the only straight one.

          1. Men are weird, and boys twice so.

            Like girls aren’t? Back in junior high/middle school I noticed that many of the girls developed strange ways of expressing their interest in a boy.

            Example: One would chase the object of her interest around the classroom, all the while swinging her shoulder bag by the chain straps trying to hit him in the head with it. Left to myself I would have concluded that she found him an object of extreme revulsion. Yet others in the class realized that she LIKED! him. In the end I had to conclude that this made a kind of twisted sense.

            1. A woman I dated in high school posted some photos from our 6th grade yearbook recently.

              She mentioned that she’d had the *biggest* crush on me back then, and had actually fought another girl over who got to be my girlfriend (6th or 7th grade). This came as quite a surprise to me – I’d been quite certain that neither had been much interested in me at the time, and when I finally *did* ask her out years later I was amazed that she said “yes”.

              This mutual obtuseness is probably just as well . . . none of us were really ready for any kind of real relationship at the time. And I’m quite happy that I ended up with my wife a decade later. But it would have done wonders for my self-confidence at the time if I’d known what was going on behind the scenes.

              1. Oh, I am frankly amazed at the things people tell me about how they viewed me in high school, given that I thought I was one of the most put-upon people around (I wasn’t, but I didn’t have any perspective back then), and that none of the girls would be interested in me.

        2. Not everywhere. I had a lot of glasses broken at recess, in grade school. Temporary repairs – original nerd-look – pretty common.

        3. Don’t know how it started and if it had any basis in fact, but it was what we all knew to be true.

          Not sure about in your area, but in mine breaking several hundred dollar’s (modern) worth of material and possibly blinding someone would not only get you sent to jail, but might get you up on attempted murder and criminal vandalism, all else being equal.

          1. When I was growing up, I was the one with glasses (well for a few years, got contacts about freshman year). But the commonly held assumption was you break a guys glasses and your parents were going to have to pay for them, and they were going to take that payment out of your hide.

            1. In my era, it was more ‘If you did something permanent, expect the police to get involved, and THEN you were going to be in serious trouble, first with the cops, then the law, THEN your parents.’

              The little Middle-Eastern/North African thugs I had to deal with going to school in Paris had no such restraint. One of them thought it’d be great fun to try spray paint my glasses and I pulled a box cutter on them, at which point they called me crazy and overreactive (Gee, sound like a usual leftist refrain to you?). And refused to let them out of my sight, walking backward till we got out to the main street. Incidents like those were WHY I carried things like that on me.

              1. Seems a measured, reasonable response to me. Too bad you didn’t gut the little bastards like so many fish.

                1. My objective was to survive the year, then go back home to the Philippines and go to college, leaving these wastes of space to their junior-high-school thuggery.

                  The last time I was attacked was on the last day of school. This guy half again as tall as me and as heavy as three or four of me put together shoved me down a flight of stairs, to prove to his two friends that he was putting ‘the little bitch in her place.’ (He wanted to borrow my walkman, I said sorry, no I’m about to go home. Saying know was enough for him to try kill me.) Except the moment he shoved me down the stairs, I curled up and rolled with the fall, landed at the bottom of the flight, slipped out of my backpack and rushed back up the stairs and used my momentum to punch him in the face so hard, he went flying through the fire-guard doors and into the hallway behind them. At the time, I was (still am) 4’8″ and probably 80 pounds soaking wet. This guy wasn’t in my class, wasn’t in my year level. I didn’t know him, and he looked like any of the big fat kids at school with that dusty Caucasian skin that some light-skinned Middle-Easterners have, and dirty blond-brown curly hair.

                  That fight ended with me slashing his face open, biting through that guy’s hand because he was trying to reach for my neck, and five fully grown adults – both male and female being dragged along behind me as they tried very hard to hold me back (and were failing) because I was out to kill the sonofabitch who thought it was okay to try murder me for no reason. I’d ‘gone cold’ at the time, and was speaking all the while in a calm, reasonable tone with the adults trying to tell me it was wrong to do what I was doing (while hanging off, I kid you not, off my arms, shoulders, waist and one leg) and being pulled by this tiny slip of an Asian. I don’t remember what it was that the principal said that convinced me to stop advancing. I remember how shocked and terrified they were, how they were telling me not to murder (I said I was going to make sure that the guy would not try to follow me home, because only a coward would attack someone smaller than himself, thus I expected no honor in his behavior.) I don’t remember what they said to get me to stop moving forward, but they let go of me after they convinced me to drop the sharp object in my hand, and were terrified enough to leave space around me. The administrators screamed at me for a while, which I tuned out, my mother and a family friend came to pick me up and when I got home I told them about how many people were failing to restrain me. Afterward I went on a date, and my date had no idea I’d been in a fight and only found out about it when he came to visit my home the next day.

                  As for police involvement, all I know is they called up my father at the embassy, and he invited them to come and see me, so they would know who they should press charges against. They said it wasn’t necessary and they were sorry for having taken his valuable time, the boy who assaulted me and his family were illegals from Morroco and would be dealt with as is proper.

                  1. I’m very sorry you were thwarted in your righteous quest to dispose of the stain on the underwear of humanity. Better luck next time. Such persons cannot be reformed or saved, you can only remove them before anyone else gets hurt.

                    1. Frankly, the area where that school is located is now a ‘Zones Urbaines Sensibles’.

                      The 20’eme of Paris, particularly. I’m surprised at the takeover of Belleville though – Belleville is pretty much Chinatown, and as far as the Chinese crime syndicates went, they were quiet and were ‘internally focused’, for lack of better term. For reference, I lived in Rue de Charonne, in the 9’eme, in the stretch of road between the metro stop Charonne on the Metro Line 9, and the Alexandre Dumas station on the Line 2, and lived in walking distance to the Pere Lachaise Cemetary.

                      For all the bad memories I had of school in Paris, I’d return to that city for two reasons on a visit: the museums, and the food available on that little stretch of road. There’s a little sandwiche greque shop run by a set of Turkish brothers that have THE best slovakis I’ve tasted in the world – served with their own homemade bread, not a store-bought flatbread or a limp wrap, no! These are chewy loaves perfectly made to match juicy, soft mutton slow roasted to mouth-melting tenderness, seasoned by whole mild white peppers that have been inserted into the layers of meat, seasoning it as the peppers roast, then melt… A boucherie with the best rotisserie chicken I’ve EVER tasted (and have not yet to this day been able to duplicate. I’ve come close, but my memory says ‘not yet’) and a boulangerie that not only has delicious bread, but also the oh so delightful gianduja marjolaine cake. (There’s a few other good bakeries on that road – one has delightful rustic artisan breads and a cafe with it, and another near the train station that has the most buttery, flakiest, lightest elephant ears biscuits.) On Wednesday and on the weekend there’s an open air market at the Alexandre Dumas station – or at least there used to be- that sells vegetables, fruits, and meats (including, on occasion, a stall that sells horse meat – yum…) I don’t know if they’re still there, but there was a pair of Pakistani brothers who had the best prices for fruit, and if you bought a kilo or more, they’d add a handful extra, or a few pieces of fruit extra. (For my father, they’d reserve the best Israeli clementines, because we’d buy them by the crate!)

                      Ah, I’m hungry now…. Sorry for the memory-wander.

                  2. This is getting a little weird, because in my original shorts that I’m re-working into a novel, there is Mimi Woo, a tiny young asian woman, who also ended up in a bad neighborhood in Paris, and ended up killing her attackers with no memory of the event.

                    Although in her case, it was because she has a power that she’s not fully aware of yet.

                    1. Heh, well, it doesn’t have to be just me it resembles. I’m sure you’ve heard or known of other tough/scary/indomitable/strong/insertadjectiveofadmirationhere little Asian women. Or women full stop. We tend to build characters out of people we encounter, I reckon. I used to get regaled by tales of big tough military men meekly obeying the ‘little wife’ they were married to (either by currently/former enlisted folks, or people who lived near such homes.) Sometimes the ‘little wife’ would be Asian, and described in varying ways to be forces to be reckoned with.

                    2. In one of the Lord Peter novels, we have Lord Peter meeting a soldier he had served with. The former soldier tells Lord Peter about a tough NCO they both knew who had gotten married. While the wife was English, she was smaller than the former NCO and was bossing him around. [Big Grin]

                    3. That sounds entertaining.
                      Remember, adventure is someone else in a great deal of trouble a long way away.

    2. Around the time I started getting picked on in middle school, you’d have 40 kids stomping on one other. With big heavy work boots. Basically, it’s a turkey shoot for the the picked on. Ironically, it’s usually the actual victim who is suspended.

        1. The modern rule of “no retaliation,” intended as a “no escalation” principle typically translates in practice as “first shot free.”

          That this should have been easily foreseeable by anyone with actual experience of children’s dynamics is a whole different topic for conversation.

  6. For some reason the phrase “Boot to the head” was running through my mind the whole time I read that… can’t imagine why…

      1. I think this is a different one than the ones I’ve seen before. That was great.

        1. From the Youtube comments, it seems that this was a group of real martial artists who loved the original Frantics skit and decided to put on their own version.

  7. My first serious at school fight was in 6th grade. There was a weaselly little loud mouth named Jimmy who gave me a hard time all year long. Last week of school he taunted me and leaned in close to say it in my face. I planted one on his nose with everything I had. Knocked him back flat on his butt which surprised even me. The kid had to wear a white shirt that day and it looked like I had killed him.
    It wasn’t until after I was out of high school that my mom told me the teacher told her she was happy it wasn’t worse. She’d been watching him harass me all year and I wouldn’t a word. She was just happy I didn’t keep hitting him.

  8. I wasn’t bothered much– but when some of the older girls started to rag on my younger sisters, I would step in… for some reason I would get a crazy look in my face which would scare the girls. I was always quite reasonable in tone and manner. These girls would find anyone who was by themselves and hurt them. It was going on for years and they were getting worse. I did a few things that scared the be-jesus out of them (no hitting, but I used the power of twenty against one– lol) so I got a reputation for being quiet and mean.

  9. I suspect that in the truly lower class ghettoes (I would say workign class except that many of the people there aren’t actually working) there’s still some of this violence. But they don’t let it out of the ghetto because for the most part they know they’ll get in trouble when they do. Except for when there’s a good excuse for a riot going on. This means of course that when the lower classes decide to “remonstrate with their betters”, their betters have to run away and hide behind a policeman or escalate it to guns because they don’t have the knowledge to defend themselves by hand.

    I think there’s a related issue which is that we have pretty much forbidden corporal punishment for children. Now I know perfectly well that there were people who belted the kids but I’m also sure most of did not. I’m pretty sure that for most of us a clout around the ear or similar when we did something bad was a great way to be taught to NOT do that. In a way that being sent to ones room, deprived of desert or whatever, isn’t.

    I’m sure there are benefits from the lack of violence but I’m not sure that we haven’t gone a bit too far.

    1. I mostly dislike the reputed violence in the inner parts of the big cities. However, Americans have historically been fairly rough and violent. I wonder how they stack up against certain historical American populations. I also wonder if the current populations are a reservoir of useful tendencies going into the future.

  10. Back in high school three (four? I don’t remember) football players would stand on either side of the hallway and shove any student who came through. Every day meant running a gauntlet right outside the school offices. The second time that I saw them doing it I handed my backpack to a friend and told him, “wait here.” They pushed me, I took a swing at one of them. Ended up face down with three 200 pound boys on top of me and my arm pinned behind my back, but after that they left me alone.

    Sometimes you fight. Not because you want to or because you enjoy it, but because you have to.

      1. It’s also the key lesson that’s lost on both sides of the bully divide when we try so hard to eliminate violence.

      2. I like to say that bullies exist whether you want them to or not. When you’re ten they’re taking your lunch money, when you’re 50 they’re sending armored divisions across national borders…

    1. Guys like that is why I seriously started lifting weights in 7th grade. By the time I was a freshman I was way too strong for them to mess with.

    2. If any of us would have done something like that in school, our coach would have kicked us off the team in a heartbeat.

      My high school years were 1960-64, in the deep South. There were fights, but they were usually one-on-one, and soon settled. “I’ll meet you behind the gym” was the usual taunt.

      I taught my daughter to defend herself if she was assaulted. I also beat into her head (metaphorically) that she wasn’t EVER to start a fight, but she shouldn’t ever walk away from one, either. I got at least a half-dozen calls a year from the principal from her high school about her fighting. The principal and I had a long talk after the second or third call. His calls changed dramatically after that discussion, from “You need to teach your daughter not to fight” to “She did it again. Thought you should know.”

  11. Some time back I was obliged to overhear a lawyer lecturing some students on mediation, arbitration, and litigation as means of conflict resolution. What jumped out at me is that his speech overlooked that there was a fourth option, knife fights, that the options were in competition, and making some unduly burdensome promotes the others.

    Collusion is probably too strong a word for what I suspect happened. I think lawyers, including in that those with Law degrees, like judges and some politicians, have effectively made a collective attempt to coopt influence over more of society’s disputes and decisions. I’d guess with the effect of providing work for a higher per capita rate of lawyers.

    I think that Lawyers, Judges and Politicians have also made decision making under their purview more complicated, causing a tendency for decisions take longer.

    I think there is a failure to understand that this has a limit, that if they make it too burdensome to use their dispute resolution, people will have an incentive to go outside.

    Even I, who still have some conviction towards ‘rule of laws, not men’, am finding myself feeling more sympathy towards ‘If I live, I will kill you, if I die, I will forgive you’. When things become so complicated and so high stakes that anyone who gets involved should be a lawyer, or have a lawyer with appropriate specialty, or face a lot of risk, it feels like it becomes a rule influenced by one’s personal connections to lawyers.

    1. Strikes me that making a lawyer who’s only real job ever was as a community organizer the Commander in Chief of the greatest military force on Earth may not have been the wisest of decisions.
      It do explain a lot though, don’t it.

      1. And a self-confessed failure at being a community organizer, to boot.

        He’s awfully charismatic, though. He can speechify really good, as long as he’s got a well-fed teleprompter. Without that – he’s got the stench of flop sweat all over him.

    2. I’d guess with the effect of providing work for a higher per capita rate of lawyers.

      Don’t attribute to greed what is probably merely perspective, outlook or constitution.

      The sort to become lawyers are *good* at the things one needs to be good at to resolve conflict with words, that is to say reading, reading comprehension, low(ish) time preference, a good grasp on their emotions (in the sense of not getting mad beyond rational control) and an ability to manipulate words.

      People with high time preference, fast reflexes and a sharp knife might very well chose a different way of resolving their problems than a 18 month long law suit. However they are also more likely to be catastrophically wrong. For example, you find a man standing over your half naked and bleeding daughter in the woods. You do the stabby stabby routine with Mr. Cold Steel, because that’s what fathers DO to men who render their daughter half naked and bloody, only to find out he’s the one who chased her attackers away.

      Oops. Now the lawyers get involved in YOUR prostate exam.

      I suspect that (like lots of other things) there’s many causes involved in the lessening of violence in our society, including such things as lower lead exposure as children, a mandatory public education system that teaches (in a backwards way) other conflict resolution options etc.

      And yes, I do think we lose something when don’t let boys fight. Getting punched in the face a few times is good for learning limits and that you CAN get punched in the face and keep going.

  12. “An armed society is a polite society.”
    I think the near-psychotic over-reactions to things people say online is because of internet anonymity. You can’t track somebody down to make them suffer the consequences of what they said. They’re snipers. They create an identity, fire off a mad comment, and then disappear into the smoke. In Real Life you can’t do that. Not as easily, anyway.
    My own high school violence experience was… odd. My personal bully had two or three orcs that hung around him to do his bidding. One morning, after about a month of nonsense, one of the orcs showed up next to my locker and informed me that the Big Bad had something nasty in store for me. I guess I was supposed to stew about it all day so they could watch and revel in my fear. I’d finally had enough. I had been practicing the whole “do not respond to violence” creed that sensei had drilled into us up to then but it was obviously not working. So I told the orc to relay a message to his boss: leave me alone or I’ll snap your neck. Never heard a peep from any of them again. I’ve always thought it was the phrasing that did it — “snap his neck” rather than the more pedestrian “break his neck”. So strange.

  13. There is a dumb radio anti-bullying spot from the NEA. It repeats the phrase “In my school” and has responsible adults promising to do something when bullying is reported to them.

    I just shake my head every time I hear it. So full of social justice and so bereft of actual benefit.

    1. Years ago in grade school The Daughter was having problems and told the teacher. She told me when it kept going on and I went to the teacher. The teacher told that, ‘Bullying stops by third grade.’

      At the time I simply surprised at the teacher’s ignorance and expressed my doubt based on my own school experience. Now I would not be so nice. I would probably reply that if bullying stops, then what is happening must be harassment and assault, so it must be time to call in the police.

      1. Most of them managed to turn into reasonable facsimiles of human beings by tenth grade.


        1. A lot more of the do when you slam them up against a locker a couple times and send them home for christmas break with a black eye.

          No, I **NEVER** did anything like that.

          1. Brick walls work better. Which side gets contact depends on how badly they pissed you off.

          2. My eight grade year, a “bully” decided he wanted to “prove” I was really a coward. So, we agreed to a “fight” after school. I was in the process of breaking his leg, when someone kicked me in the head to make me “let go.” Never had any problems after that.

      2. In general, Education majors are, with some minor exceptions (usually in some “_-studies program), the dumbest people on any college campus. They often make student-athletes look brilliant by comparison. This is, to some degree, because reasonably smart people cannot take the unmitigated bullshit that forms the basis of the Education major.

        Efforts to reform the public school system have persistently failed to produce results. I suspect that this is because ether failed to make it illegal to employ an Education major in any school system.

          1. Was she stacked?

            (Ducks and runs)

            Seriously, why did you bail. I’ve known several would-be teachers who bailed because of the pervasive bullshit.

            1. Two reasons: 1) within those three days I realized how much bullshit I’d have to put up with–basically they had my whole 4 years planned out for me to the class, with very few electives and 2) I realized quickly that I wasn’t going to be able to teach what I desired–critical thinking and an understanding of the world (keep in mind I started College after 4 years in the military) but rather I would be teaching the approved American History and Civics.

              1. The point of modern teacher education is to eliminate variation amongst teachers. The role of the teacher is to facilitate student absorption of approved educational pablum materials as prescribed by departments of public instruction.

            2. I’ve known several would-be teachers who bailed because of the pervasive bullshit.

              Add me to the list. I took up an education course and finished it, but I told my mom my chances of being hired to teach to have kids learn, as opposed to indoctrinate, were zero, that wasn’t even taking into account language issues (imagine trying to teach history, but not having the terminology to teach it in a certain language, because that’s the language you’re supposed to teach it in, no ifs, buts or maybes. Now extend that impossibility to trying to teach math, chemistry, physics, law, even physical education, and you have the clusterfuck that is Philippine education for the past nearly 2 decades. Some schools have begun rejecting the ‘Filipino Only’ policy and advertise “We are an English Speaking Campus.”)

              1. I, as well, dropped the education part of my degree after weathering two semesters of “education” courses. I began to subscribe to the theory that the last thing those in charge wanted was a bunch of kids who could both construct and dissect an argument.

                1. The reason why I came to the conclusion that education was no longer the kind that meant ‘learning something’ was because, for some reason left unexplained and incomprehensible, was in the middle of an English lesson where I had to struggle explaining what adverbs were to a class that coudn’t understand me once I started talking in non-pidgin-English the lesson for the next day dropped them headfirst into ‘How to read a map.’ It had nothing to do with the lesson or the short story I had to use to help ‘illustrate’ the lesson, but was dropped there as part of the curriculum that had been sold to the Department of Education as ‘more efficient and inclusive of basic necessary knowledge.’

                  Now, in defense of my students, they weren’t stupid – but severely crippled by what passed for an education then.

                  1. Ma’am, that is crazier than an outhouse rat. No one can learn that way. I weep for those poor students.

                2. I have an education degree in Portugal (well, not really, but I had the education elective added to my other courses. Mostly because my parents pushed hard in that direction thinking that teaching is a “beautiful profession for a lady” — my great aunt was the village school marm. Not by the time I hit school. She died when I was 4. She left me her glasses. Kind of a passing on of the torch. I promptly played with them and broke them. Eh.). When I became pregnant with Robert (it was a fraught pregnancy) I’d been accepted for a masters at UNCC, which would have allowed me to teach.Then I got pregnant, we moved, and I got a look at the materials you had to read/study for a masters in education. Yeh gods and fishes. I’ve not gone back since.

        1. You’d think they’d have a better memory of last time, and whose heads ended up rolling

          Though it couldn’t happen to a more deserving group of effete snobs.

  14. “I can’t help but feel that’s what this change in the standards of interpersonal violence (particularly between males) has done. It took the power out of the individual hands (and fists) and put it in the hands of authorities, to whom you have to debase yourself by snitching.”

    I sympathize with the value being placed on personal responsibility here, but I can’t help but note that this does unfortunately overlook one of the key elements of bullying or abuse: the fact that often there is no power in the individuals being targeted — they simply don’t have the physical strength or endurance, or the necessary mental toughness, aggression or quick-wittedness to give as good as they get, which is often part of why those particular individuals get targeted in the first place — and going to the authorities (even on someone else’s behalf, for some children with mental issues) is the only option if you want something intolerable or unendurable to stop. People who miss being able to fight tend not to be those prone to losing those fights; Conan could afford to grumble disapprovingly of the “rudeness” of civilized men because as a brawny Cimmerian barbarian he was far likelier to be the skull-splitter than the skull-splittee, as a general thing.

    (This applies even to non-physical conflicts; in the wonderful movie Shadowlands, a biopic of C.S. Lewis, there is an exchange between Joy Gresham and Lewis in their first meeting that has always stuck with me — Joy warns Lewis that she is not going to yield meekly to his opinions if she disagrees, and Lewis says blithely, “Not to worry; I like a good fight.” Joy then looks at him shrewdly and asks, “Maybe so, but when was the last time you lost?”)

    And part of the reason people delegitimized casual social violence in this way was the recognition that in real life, not everybody who gets into the habit of responding to impudence with force can be counted on to limit it to “acceptable” targets or “reasonable” degrees. The heroes of pulp mysteries, who will gladly pop a guy one for a sarcastic remark about their girl but would never (at least with a closed fist) hit their girl themselves for similar bad-mouthery later, can’t really be taken as representative, I think.

    1. The heroes of pulp mysteries, who will gladly pop a guy one for a sarcastic remark about their girl but would never (at least with a closed fist) hit their girl themselves for similar bad-mouthery later, can’t really be taken as representative, I think.

      Back in the 1960s my parents were walking to a football game at the University of Missouri. They were walking through the fraternity area when one of the boys, if I recall the story correctly, wolf-whistled at my mother from the front porch of the house where several of them had congregated.

      My father walked to the steps of the building and informed them that if there was not an apology forth coming he’d lay into them singly or en-mass until satisfaction was forthcoming.

      He got an apology. According to the story the lad was a little shamefaced about it.

      Now, my father probably would have (eventually) gotten beaten. He was strong, fast, borderline sociopathic and hardened to violence, but taking on 20+ frat boys in the prime of their life is a bit much of one man.

      But back then we had different notions of propriety. The boy who’d whistled *knew* he did wrong, but was being a boy.

      I don’t know everything about my parents relationship, but I know this–my father *NEVER* deliberately hit my mother, and if he ever yelled at her in anger I never heard it (he was a loud and passionate person, and she was deaf in one ear, so sometimes voices got raised but it wasn’t the sort of
      “violent” disagreement). When she filed for divorce after 34 years of marriage he was shocked and humiliated and broken. He couldn’t understand–he’d never hit her, never insulted her, always did the best he could by her.

      So yeah, maybe those kind of men weren’t representative, but I was raised by one, and most of the men my father introduced me to at least aspired to live like that even if they couldn’t.

      It’s better to have high standards and fail to reach them than to have low standards and live down to them.

      1. Your father sounds like an admirable man, and I applaud him. But do you understand the difficulty one might have with the idea of saying, “Because some good men can be trusted to use violence ‘responsibly’ — i.e. only on fit and fair opponents who have visibly offended common codes of courtesy, not just pricked one’s personal ego issues — we will therefore make the use of violence culturally acceptable for all men”?

        Whether it is better to try for high standards and fail than to settle for lower standards that can be met depends a lot on the consequences and costs of that failure, and who pays those costs. I will freely admit to my own self-interest here — a society in which the winning opinion is settled not by the merit of an idea, nor even by the volume of a megaphone, but by the breadth of one’s shoulders and the willingness to swing one’s fists is a society in which I personally will be profoundly disadvantaged (being considerably smaller than average, with slower reflexes, a naturally diffident temperament, and myopic to boot). But I don’t think I am alone or even a minority in being in that situation.

        1. I’d like to point out no correlation is proven between inter-male violence and abuse of women. That’s the sort of link like “women getting beaten on superbowl Sunday” that sounds RIGHT to liberals, but has no correlation.

          1. It depends on which group of men you’re looking at and which time and place. If you look at Victorian England middle- or upper-class men, there may well be no correlation, partly because if you are taught to regard violence as a test of courage and women as people who need protecting from it you will be disinclined out of sheer social self-interest to publicly put yourself into the category of “people to be protected against”. If you look at gang culture in modern Chicago and Detroit, or any given lower-class poverty- or crime-riddled area (like, say, Whitechapel in that very same Victorian England), there very much *is* a correlation, and not an accidental one.

            The problem I foresee with wistful reminiscing on “remember when we could just pop somebody one?” is that if we are drifting in any direction at all it is much more towards Whitechapel/Detroit, and I think fighting that drift rather than going with it is the more sensible course right now.

              1. They may not be inherently linked in the sense that the presence of one is a guarantee of the other — and certainly it is true that the absence of one does not prove the absence of the other — but they’re far from totally disconnected, and I suspect they’re more easily combined than separated — especially if what legitimizes the violence is the experience of “dishonour” or “disrespect.” Much of Middle Eastern Arabic culture, both pre- and post-Islamic, is based on that public honour/shame dynamic, and culturally sanctioned violence against both women and other men for offending it is very co-morbid there.

                Correlation is not causation, but it is very seldom purely coincidence, either.

                    1. Me too. It’s going up on the board the next time someone comes in with a breathless meta-study about, oh, drinking diet soda as a teenager causes osteoporosis 60 years later.

                  1. LOL! I, too, have saved that web-site. Also sent it on to The Daughter, who I expect will enjoy it immensely. Thank you.

                    To the same point – I have read that there is a correlation between the temperature in New York City and the infant death rate in Bombay.

                  2. I like that website as well.

                    Having said that, nearing the end of the first page (I haven’t yet gone further) I began to have a desire to see a graph or two that has a very high correlation but have completely different graphs. (Which is another reason why correlation not imply causation: linear correlation might be perfect, but if one of the data sets isn’t linear, funny things can happen!)

                1. I think you’re wrong. Chivalry was designed to CONTROL the violence, which is all you can ever do, and channel it to protective ways. Now, the streaks of sh*te will abuse their wives when they’re bested in the field of manliness — but they will anyway. And do.

            1. ” If you look at gang culture in modern Chicago and Detroit, or any given lower-class poverty- or crime-riddled area (like, say, Whitechapel in that very same Victorian England), there very much *is* a correlation, and not an accidental one.”

              Link? You may be right, it sounds right in gang culture, but by personal observance I can tell you that the common misconception of ‘white trash’ men beating their wives all the time, is just that, a misconception. From my personal observance violence against women in ‘white trash culture’ is MUCH lower than violence against women in the supposedly more civilized ‘white collar culture.’ When you the things you know are obviously misrepresented in the mass media representations, it makes one (or should) leery of believing the representations of things you don’t. So if you say “I have lived in the gang culture of Detroit, and violence against women is much more common than in West Suburbia where I live now,” I’ll accept that. Otherwise I would like to see some data to back up what I believe are baseless assertions.

        2. When the values of kind of step-over-the-line-&-you’ll regret-it interpersonal violence and of chivalry are BOTH present in society, then the men who choose the first will tend to enforce the second. IOW, it depends on just what “responsibly” means, in detail.

        3. What are your high standards?

          My standard is to use violence as a last resort but at the same time I am willing to resort to violence if necessary. I do know how to hurt people and it tempers how quickly I will escalate a situation.

          1. In this case, the prohibitively high standard is “We shall legitimize, by both law and cultural approval, the use of low levels of violence (‘low’ meaning here ‘does not cause serious injury’) between individual male adults as a method of punishment or objection, subject to evaluation of the fitness of those involved to endure such violence.” The lower standard is, “We shall legitimize by law only those uses of violence necessary to defend one’s life, or for the police only those uses necessary to restrain or stop criminal actors or suspects.”

            The former has the advantages of tradition and the capacity for emotional catharsis, but requires a level of cultural cohesion and behavioural patterns that probably no longer obtains and may no longer be possible. The latter is blunter and drearier, but has the advantage of being legally and practically feasible.

            1. Not a bad summary, and comprehensive of the experiences of several posters regarding bullying.

              I think part of the difficulty in the lower standard arises from the blunt tool of government and the inability to fairly adjudicate low-level conflict. It’s unlikely anybody will go to court over crass comments offered in public. So the conflict goes unresolved. The offender is emboldened and the offended are frustrated in their impotent anger.

              Leaving bullying aside, as it’s a different case extending from different origins and in need of different remedies (related, but different), a certain degree of interpersonal opposition is inevitable.

              The ability to establish negative reinforcement, up to a socially tolerated level, for interpersonal infractions serves to strengthen the social fabric. The government cannot reasonably address negative reinforcement for such minor infractions, their solutions are too broad and too extreme.

              Social disapprobation is the effective mechanism, and (particularly in males) this is often effected with a certain low level violence. It establishes a certain level of seriousness in the proceedings.

              But, you’re right, this requires a cultural cohesion and behavioral patterns that are no longer consistently present. And this, I believe, is our host’s point, that we have lost something important in social interaction and the assumption of the .gov of resolution does not benefit us.

              To touch back on the issue of bullies, I stood between bullies and their targets on more than one occasion in school. I suffered for it, from time to time, as did they. But I did it*. Even then, I assumed a certain risk of punishment.

              Now? I’d likely suffer more punishment than the original aggressor. That does not improve the situation of the bullied.

              *I had been bullied in my time, and saw no reason to let stand what I so hated.

    2. A major part of the change in the way we express violence, and the amount of violence we experience, is the destruction of the old codes of chivalry and the way we treat each other. I’m sure my dad would have disowned me if I’d ever struck a woman, even if she deserved it. It just wasn’t done. At the same time, most males would rise to stop someone else striking a woman. That’s mostly gone now, killed by the Left’s war on anything having even a whiff of a relationship to religion or the traditional family. “Feminism” is another attack on the old moral code — “I don’t need you to protect me” is as false as “we don’t need men in our lives”. The destruction of marriage and all the social ramifications of it will come back to bite us, “and the gods of the copybook headings” will visit us once more.

    3. I sympathize with the value being placed on personal responsibility here, but I can’t help but note that this does unfortunately overlook one of the key elements of bullying or abuse: the fact that often there is no power in the individuals being targeted — they simply don’t have the physical strength or endurance, or the necessary mental toughness, aggression or quick-wittedness to give as good as they get, which is often part of why those particular individuals get targeted in the first place — and going to the authorities (even on someone else’s behalf, for some children with mental issues) is the only option if you want something intolerable or unendurable to stop.

      Partly this is because right now, those using this sort of force are the ones that would have abused the old system while those who hold to the intent of the system submit to the new. (Even if it’s with grumbles.)

      That said, I had a cousin-in-law that use to love talking to me. I thought it was because I was willing to talk for hours and argue without badfeelings.

      As I found out when I got enough material that I started winning those disagreements, it was because he felt like he won most of the time.

    4. But by removing that option at the school level, you remove the method for young people, primarily males, to learn the physical repercussions of both fighting and bullying, at a time when they are far less likely to be able to do enough damage with their hands to amount to anything more than a few bruises and maybe a bloody nose or split lip. You also remove the possibility that someone will stand up for a smaller, weaker classmate, for fear of being suspended for doing what is normally considered a positive thing, that is to say, protecting someone.

      1. It also acclimates the youth to bend the knee to authority. Authority as defined by anyone who can bring more force to bear. As the constitution is now defunct authority rests solely on the guns of an uniformed gang.

  15. I thought it would make life simpler if ever adult in America was issued a chit that allowed them to slap 1 (one) other adult with an open hand once a year. Non-transferable and no retaliation except slapping back if you hadn’t used your chit. If you didn’t use yours during a year, you couldn’t roll it over.

  16. I remember when the Charlie Bronson pot boiler Death Wish came out. First in s long series of sequels, each one more gratuitously violent than the last. Great fun. For those who missed it, a man’s wife is killed and his daughter raped by a gang of dirtbags so he retaliates with violence, duh. What struck me at the time was the theme in the movie that this was somehow an unusual reaction. First time that particular concept had come to my attention, but since then seems to be more or less the law of the land. At least it’s what authority figures preach. They of course can and will resort to lethal violence themselves by means of cops or soldiers, but can’t encourage the same from we common folk.

    1. In one of his essays, C. S. Lewis talks about an implied bargain between the State and individuals.

      The State promises to bring Law-Breakers to Justice and individuals promise to not engage in violence against those who “do them wrong”.

      Part of the benefit, originally, for the individual is that a given person may be “out matched” by those who “did them wrong”.

      So Justice is better served by the “powerful” state dealing with the criminals rather than a weaker individual having to deal with a more stronger criminal.

      Unfortunately (as Lewis talked about), the State isn’t keeping their part of the bargain (ie by letting off criminals easy) but insists that individuals don’t engage in violence against the criminals in revenge.

      Of course, we’ve seen that “even acting in self-defense” is frowned on by many “Powers That Be”.

    2. Vigilante justice is the human norm. We managed to largely stamp it out a few generations back because of a Justice System that was trusted to administer justice.
      Nowadays, only a fool trusts the justice system to dispense justice, and we’re reverting to mean.
      But the one crime the justice system remains keen on harshly punishing, is undermining the existence of the current justice system.

      1. Bergman’s “The Virgin Spring,” both movies called “Last House on the Left,” and the movie called “Chaos” are all based on a 13th-century incident in Sweden. The modern American versions of the story are more shocking because we are shocked at the idea of parents slaughtering the people who killed and raped their daughter. In the Bergman version, the parents would have to go to the lord, which could take two days of walking, and the killers would be long gone. They had to take care of themselves, and render justice themselves, which the lord and his men would understand in a few months when they were finally told about the incident. There are bits in the “Last House” movies that are puzzling because they are left over from the original, and display the rules of late Medieval times: a few hours after the parents have discovered their daughter’s body, the killers go to the daughter’s parents home and ask for shelter for the night, and dinner, and at dinner, the parents see that the girl member of the gang was wearing a handmade necklace that had been missing from their daughter’s body. The parents HAD to let these strangers in; the laws of hospitality.

      2. Thus, a few cops (known personally and at one remove) have said, in essence: If you have to defend yourself against a home invader, then 1) don’t just wound them, because they’ll come back and sue you or at least confuse the case, and 2) if they’ end up even partway outside the house, drag them in so there’s no doubt about whether it was an invasion. I.e. even cops don’t trust the justice system to deliver justice in the most critical instances.

        1. 3) Don’t talk to the media, and don’t let your husband talk to the media, even if he’s in his 80s and suffered a nasty beating by criminals who had robbed your house so often that they were slowed down by hiding the safe key.

        2. Cops can often give bad advice. Don’t touch the body. Dragging it around could be construed as tampering with evidence or obstruction of justice. A zealous prosecutor running for election may have no compunctions about ruining your life to further his/her goals.

          I’m told a justified self-defense case can run $10-15,000, even if you’re not charged. But what is your liberty and property worth?

            1. The “Shoot, shovel & shut up” plan is not statistically a good one when there are people involved. 😛

              1. Really? Where are you getting those stats? Seems to me the ‘successful’ instances wouldn’t show up in the stats, since by definition no one would know about them.

                1. Maybe so, maybe no one would know.

                  Seems to me that on the one hand we do know about most every unsuccessful attempts more or less by definition. That gives an idea of the count for unsuccessful attempts. And on the other hand most every successful attempt would eventually give rise to a missing person report. That gives at least an approximate upper bound for successful attempts.

                  Based on those numbers I don’t plan to bet on shoot shovel and shut up as the dominant strategy in most of the United States. I have observed one example of success for a shoot and walk away strategy.

                  Certainly in some times and places shoot shovel and shut up works as vigilante justice for some values of justice and for some values of injustice. Ask the ghost of Jimmy Hoffa.

                  That is a conspiracy of silence – omerta – among friends and family combined with a don’t snitch attitude has worked for both sides in urban and rural jungles alike.

    3. When he was asked by Johnny Carson how a magazine could quote him saying he really would murder to avenge his family, Charles Bronson looked him in the eye and said, “Because the quote is accurate. I really could, and I would.” There was a little silence then because you believed Bronson.

      “since then seems to be more or less the law of the land”

      As has been observed here and there, now and then law often displays a balance while justice has a sword. Personally I don’t know an operational definition of justice – TANJIT

      Seems to me that among children in the process of growing up people must learn by play and practice a lesson after John Stewart Mill to avoid the decayed and degraded state of moral and patriotic feeling which thinks that nothing is worth a war….. As long as justice and injustice have not terminated their ever-renewing fight for ascendancy in the affairs of mankind, human beings must be willing, when need is, to do battle for the one against the other. And equally must learn to shake hands and share a drink or remain forever childish.

      Hmm maybe I’ll find more than I expected in the Musketeers series?

  17. Despite what I said above, I do think that the West’s move away from duels as a means of dispute resolution was an unqualified good thing for society. Duels often left both people (who were usually members of the wealthier and influential classes) dead. They rarely solved any major problem. And they created a lot of social unrest. (Often why rulers outlawed them; they got sick of young men killing each other in the streets and creating feuds between families). Not to mention that duels are the hallmark of savages, not of civilized men. They prize skill at killing over argument, and chance over deliberation. Moving disputes into the courts meant moving them into the world of (in theory) reasoned argument and logic, not emotions and a steady sword-hand.

        1. “Assault weapons” (scary looking semiautomatic rifles) just aren’t a very common means of assault.

          Handguns are used to commit murder much more often than either hands and feet or rifles.

          1. Quite right, according the FBI Murder Statistics for 2011, grabbed on a quick net search:

            Handguns: 6220
            Rifles: 323
            Shotguns: 356
            Other guns: 93 (what, cannon?)
            Type not stated: 1587 (distributed by the percentage above, that would mean 80% are handguns and the rifle/shotgun numbers might go to ~400 each)
            Knives and cutting implements: 1694
            Blunt Objects (hammers, clubs): 496
            Personal weapons (hands, feet, etc): 796

            So, statistically, hammers and clubs are just as dangerous as those Evil Assault Weapons. Hands and feet are twice as dangerous. And knives are 4x as dangerous (though, looking at the knife-vs-handgun stats it does appear that Indiana Jones made the right call in the first movie. Amazingly, Hollywood got it right!)

            Of course, they’d love to ban handguns, too. And they could make a statistically stronger case. But they know that more people can envision defending themselves with handguns (100+ times as common as ALL firearms murders, according to the same FBI stats), so demonizing “assault rifles” allows them to slice off a little liberty at a time.

            1. Handguns are notably inferior weapons when compared to any sort of long arm, rifle, or shotgun. They do however have two very useful features that help explain why they are the most common firearm used both in crimes and in self defense. They are both more portable and concealable thus much more likely to be available when needed. The portability is mainly why US law enforcement all carry them when on duty. The lack of utility is why every patrol officer has at least a shotgun and these days likely a carbine as well in their patrol vehicle.

              1. You use the weapon you have. And – as you point out – the handgun on your belt is more likely to be there than the shotgun in the locked rack when the fecal matter hits the rotary air mover.

                The stats often show “deaths” (including legitimate defense shootings and suicides), too. I’d expect that a *lot* of the rifle and shotgun stats fall into one of those categories. Much more likely that a home owner has a rifle or shotgun than someone who might worry about concealment or just easy portability.

                And I’ve always felt that there was a fundamental dishonesty about blaming *any* weapon for suicide; very few suicides are spur-of-the-moment, and most people who commit suicide decide they want to die *first* then look for a means of accomplishing it.

                Lack of a firearm doesn’t seem to stop would-be suicides who use carbon monoxide in a car, leaping from a bridge or in front of a train, hanging themselves. But they always get folded into “firearms deaths”. Maybe we should urge car exhaust, bridge, train, and rope control?

            2. Legend say: Ford was quite ill the day it was shot. It was supposed to be a big staged fight. He just wasn’t up to it. Ford suggested that he simply pull his gun, shoot the attacker and get it done. Spielberg agreed.

              1. I think it’s more than legend. I believe Ford has confirmed it. Mind you, if not true, it’s still a good story. [Smile]

        2. When I took the classroom training for my Texas CHL renewal 3 years ago, someone in the class made the statement that someone trying to punch you wasn’t justification for response with deadly force.

          Before the instructor could say a word, I turned to him and said “Bullshit. As long as bludgeoned to death by hands and / or feet appears in the Cause of Death on coroner’s reports, deadly force is absolutely justified.”

          The instructor looked at me and said “Exactly.”

    1. I’d guess that lethal duels were the exception and most went to first blood. How many people here have seen the movie “The Duelists”?

      There’s something to be said for a good old non-lethal sword fight. In the medieval club I used to belong to we used real but blunted weapons. A person was expected to recognize and acknowledge when they had been hit and accept the blow. If a person started acknowledging fewer hits someone would challenge him and show him the error of his ways by hitting the offender just a bit harder then necessary and if needed somewhere not covered by as much armor. A few well placed bruises later and the issue generally went away. There were also other types of challenges such as singing, cooking, sewing, whatever we could imagine.

      It was kind of like going out back of the barracks in the military, a form of non-official counseling. Problem noticed, corrective action applied, behavior adjusted, end of problem.

      Today, too many problems are left to fester and instead of lancing the boil early with a little discomfort the issue is left to a point where there is a major problem and some kind of over the top response happens. There is no relief valve to relieve the pressure so it’s operate as if everything is “normal” or blow the seals. How many school shootings may have been avoided if the kids had been taught to take it out back or challenge someone to a competition to settle an issue? And not all issues need be resolved by fisticuffs, different groups may use different types of “fights”…. as long as there is some sort of competition with a winner and a loser.

      1. Actually “first blood” was considered unmanly. If you were going to fight, you fought until someone was unable to fight anymore, which usually meant death.

          1. weirdly, mostly it wasn’t. Look, yeah, okay, infections were dangerous and horrifying, but we know from the skeletons of pre modern men that they survived things WE wouldn’t without anti-biotics. remember the infant mortality rate. The ones who survived must have been more survivy (totally a word) than us.

            1. No, we don’t. We know that SOME of them survived things that would have killed SOME of us.

              Thomas Jefferson bragged — bragged — that a child born in the USA was as likely as not to live to his eighteenth birthday.

              1. Again, high childhoood and infant mortality. Look, again, I’m going to point out people lived with infections that would kill us. REALLY it wasn’t “get pricked die.” Sure, some did. But people in general? If they had, they’d have gone around wrapped in cotton, Mary, think about it.

                1. Sarah, YOU think about it. They would have died of starvation if they had gone around wrapped in cotton. They had to risk it. But we have too many records of people actually getting pricked and dying.

                  1. And we have more than enough records of people getting pricked and NOT dying.

                    1. Enough to say what? That first blood could not be lethal? All I need is one counter-example to refute that, but what you need is an invariable rule.

                    2. The thing is that I think our viruses and bacteria are MORE virulent since antibiotics, for the simple reason that “catch it and die” means the illness doesn’t become ENDEMIC.

                    3. And interestingly enough, first blood not being lethal isn’t what anybody’s arguing. First blood not being necessarily lethal is. Depending on the weapon, that’s true. One of the reasons duelling fell so distinctly out of favor with the development of the rapier and then especially the small sword was punctures that passed completely through the torso. Easy to close; hard to heal. Of course, before that, they dueled with longswords (hand and a half or bastard: same weapon). At no time has combat – ritual or otherwise – been safe for the combatants. Fists are considered deadly force when determining self-defense. Sticks are extremely easy to wound with, and even kill with. The various evolutions in weapon technology have made it easier for the untrained to kill someone, as that’s their purpose. Still and all, there are easier ways of setting matters of honor than sabers at dawn.

                2. There’s an interesting phenomenon called “survivor bias”, in which we tend to mistake what works by looking only at the successes and not at the failures. One famous example was Abraham Wald, who in WW2 pointed out that when engineers looked at the bombers who’d come back from battle, they saw lots of bullet holes in the wings, body and tail gunner areas, and naturally concluded that those areas should be better armoured. Wald corrected them by noting that the fact those bombers came *back* with those holes proved that they didn’t need the armour there; they needed to armour the areas where the planes that *didn’t* come back were getting hit.

                  I think it might apply here as well. If you want to look at how a society manages when interpersonal violence is widely accepted, don’t ask the people who have the fortitude to engage in it more or less freely, or the people who benefited from having the option; ask the people who avoid it because they can’t, or who suffered because other people exercised that option on them.

                3. We need to take into consideration that modern antibiotics and other drugs do not “cure” disease. What they do is weaken bacteria to the point that the body’s natural defenses can overcome them and the patients cures themselves. Then there are vaccinations in which the vaccines simply ramp up your body’s resistance to a particular virus.
                  The best example I can think of is that we know of no disease with a 100% mortality rate. Some people always survive with or without treatment.
                  On a related note, there is currently no cure for Ebola. There is however a known treatment. You provide the victim with critical care, and IV for fluids, nourishment, and antibiotics to stave off secondary infections. Early data suggests that it at least reduces the mortality rate from the 90% seen in Africa to more like 50%. Still far too high, but one of the reasons the two infected US medical personnel were brought back home.

                  1. Not to truly dispute you, but I’ve thought about this for a long time – I’ve only ever read about ONE person who survived rabies,and that was because he got a full-fledged blood replacement. Is there something I’m not seeing here?

                    1. Someone else survived — I watched this on TV — by being put into a comma till it ran its course. That method, now in use, still has only something like 10% survival rate, but it’s SOMETHING.

                    2. Nobody who types as baldly as do I ought challenge feight so boldly, but …

                      I would think it would have been more effective to have put him in a semi-colon or even a parentheses.

                      And yes, medical comas are not uncommon treatment, though not often called for.

                    3. Won’t argue, and by the way always feel free to dispute my ramblings. Rabies is at the very least the outlier at the tail end of a bell curve distribution of infectious diseases. Of course if it had a more efficient and effective vector we wouldn’t be having this discussion as the human race would have died off long ago.

                    4. Heh. Or at the very least, there would be a new population bottleneck consisting of those who actually ARE resistant to it.

                  2. “The best example I can think of is that we know of no disease with a 100% mortality rate. Some people always survive with or without treatment.”

                    Without treatment, rabies. I thought African sleeping sickness was also in this category, but Wikipedia says that it’s only always fatal if caused by Trypanosoma brucei rhodesiense (one of the two trypanosomes which can cause it), and merely almost always fatal if caused by Trypanosoma brucei gambienese (which causes 98% of cases).

            2. Actually, there was this fella names Silver in the early 1600’s that decried the use of rapiers in duels in England at that time. The rapier was killing many more of the duelists than were being killed in sword duels.

              Rapier wounds were thrust wounds. Infections were deadly, and so was internal bleeding.

              Most sword wounds were cuts, some of them fairly shallow. Survival rates for these were much higher………

              Silver also believed the sword was a better weapon for a duel than a rapier. I won’t go there…….

              1. Consider as well that a known treatment for a slashing wound was a hot iron and cauterization. Not practical for a puncture wound.

        1. Not completely off topic, but a friend that grew up in Argentina said where he grew up people would settle disputes with machetes. Two men would walk into the jungle and one would walk out. Granted this was probably 40+ years ago.

          1. My mom worked in the asparagus fields when she was in college during the summer until two guys did a similar thing with the razor knives used for that.

          2. Years ago, I worked with a Romanian who had been a world-class fencer. There was a family tradition of swordsmanship, and dueling – most notably, he told me that just prior to WW2 his uncle had fought another officer over a woman. Killed his man, too.

            He called himself “old and slow” (mid 40s, at the time) but the one time we attended a university fencing practice together (visiting the coach, an old friend of his) he was asked to fence the most promising member of the team – way, way, better than *I’d* ever been, but a little too sure of herself in her coach’s eyes. But polite – she didn’t visibly roll her eyes when her coach asked if she’d fence the old guy, as a favor.

            It was educational – Radu just planted himself (no back or forth footwork), barely moved, but somehow every attack made on him missed by tiny amounts. Every so often, he’d reach out lazily and tap her. The match finished 5 to 0 in his favor. When they took their masks off she was drenched with sweat while he was still cool. Why not? He’d hardly been moving. We left as she was asking her coach “Who IS this guy?”

            I’m pretty sure that dueling (except for the German-student variety which is rough and painful but seldom really dangerous) has died out in most of Europe. But, apparently, some of the training traditions linger. As we were driving away he told me that if he could have started training her at the “right age” (8 or so) she could have been “really good”.

              1. I told Radu that if he ever challenged me to a duel I’d specify pistols. Or Nerf balls.

                1. Abe Lincoln once reputedly responded to a duel challenge from a shorter man by opting for blacksmith hammers in six feet of river.

                  1. I always considered that to be punking out. Have the courage of your convictions or don’t but do not be a punk. Not surprising coming from the American Caesar.

                    1. I long thought of it as allowing an over-matched opponent a face-saving excuse to withdraw.` There is little reason to doubt that Lincoln, having choice of weapons, would have handily beaten his challenger. Nor is there reason to suggest Lincoln, a champion wrestler, was a physical coward.

                      As for being “the American Caesar” — leave us not open that particular can of worms (again!) in this forum. No act of his justified the South throwing a hissy and declaring war on the Federal government. Calling Lincoln names for his response ignores the provocation as thoroughly as deploring Israel’s missile strikes on Gazan baby formula factories.

                    2. Seems to me Lincoln lacked elements of command when he wrestled to settle things as a captain of militia – maybe not but not a technique to take to the well very many times.

                    3. It really depends on whether what you’re being challenged on was something you considered worth dying over. If your Op4 is just being a prick (or is one of those seriously good fighters who works to put people in a position to force a duel and kill them), then forcing them to fight your fight is good idea (see the Artillery Duel in the Baroque Cycle).

                  2. a Creole Gentleman (when it meant a combo of French Fop, and Spanish Hidalgo) sent his Second to challenge a Capt. Harvey to a duel (over the matter of a woman, of course). The Captain, when asked as to his choice of weapons, silently walked back into his home, came back out with a whale harpoon, and then pitched it at a tree cleaving it in half.
                    The Creole Gentleman decided he really wasn’t all that insulted and he’d let bygones be bygones.
                    Harvey LA. the suburb of N.O. is named after the Capt.

          3. In the Philippines you’ll still hear about blood vendettas where the end goal is the total extinction of your declared enemy clan/family/line. It’s even called ‘to empty the lineage’, roughly translating ubosan ng lahi. Generally it applies to the males of the family, but there are probably some who didn’t adhere to that…

      2. “The Duellists” is one of my favorite films. Great fun if for no other reason that watching the film’s costumer have to deal with the rapidly changing uniform styles of Napoleonic era cavalrymen.

          1. It’s very, very good. Based on the Joseph Conrad novel in which a young soldier “insults” another without meaning to, and the “offended” party challenges him to one duel after another for years, through the Napoleonic era, with the commanding officers in exasperation making time for duels in the middle of attacks and retreats.

            1. The true story: the “offended” didn’t like the message the “insulter” was ordered to deliver. It was 30 duels over 20 years.

      3. Even in the musketeers, there’s the scene where the other duelists force the musketeers to tell them their true names, and they warn “then I’ll have to kill you.”
        Yes, the excuse given by the king was that the nobility were killing each other in great numbers. This was not actually precisely true. You figure it.

      4. Heiderberg was probably the last spot in Europe that allowed duels, and they may have been restricted to the university. There were weird rules that prevented death but guaranteed facial scars, the origin of the phrase “Heidelberg dueling scar.” Twain witness such a duel, and wrote about it in “A Tramp Abroad.”

        1. The Burschenschaften still duel, albeit under a different name. You not longer brag about the scars, but the tradition and unofficial rank are still alive. They even have a website now. *shakes head* And they say Americans are strange?

        2. Blunt tipped swords with blades sharpened for only two or three inches past the tip. Thick padding and head equipment that protected the eyes and throat while leaving the cheeks exposed.
          But then ritual scaring is not uncommon in many cultures. Even ours if you include tats and piercings.

      5. I think a lot of school problems could be solved if we brought the people involved in bullying or fighting into the school, given boxing gloves and a mouth guard, and let them fight it out under adult supervision.

        I’ve only been involved in one fight where I felt both guilt and remorse in having engaged in it. It was one of those “let’s you and him fight” kind of things — the person that challenged me was put up to it by someone who was too cowardly to fight for himself. The guy that fought me and I became good friends after the fight, even though I did kind of pound him. The coward that put him up to it finally stepped across the line (he was a liar, a barracks thief, and an obnoxious braggart who was more or less useless for anything – worked in the legal office (!)) and ended up with a bad conduct discharge.

        1. I missed school the day the gym coach had the school bully stripped to his jock strap and everyone else in class got to pelt him with acorns … big ones with very sharp little points. The lakeside park was a few blocks from high school and we played softball there. There are old oaks that shed acorns about 3/4″ by 1 inch or so. He got caught rifling them at people.
          The welts were impressive.
          The other thing coach would do was call one of my two wrestling champion cousins to give a good twisting to anyone caught doing illegal holds when we were wrestling in gym class, but my cousins were allowed to do ALL the illegal high pain moves, as long as they didn’t sprain, break, or dislocate.
          Yes, same bully got that treatment once too, but that was the year he was in a different class than I.
          Apparently he never took these lessons to heart. I’m told he was killed in prison while serving for rape.

        2. My dad talked of how when he was in high school at least some of the teachers solution to bullying or fighting was to take the offenders in the gym, have them put the gloves on and settle it while under official boxing rules. Nowadays I wonder how many schools even have boxing gloves on premises.

          1. About as many as have rifles for the marksmanship team or shotguns for competitive skeet shooting

            1. While we did have a rifle team at my HS the rifles were not kept on school grounds, but at the rifle club (range). I did keep bricks of 22 lr in my locker, but this was against regulations. On the other hand I didn’t run my mouth about it, and really when you had practice after school and before I was old enough to drive I had to ride the bus to school, where was I supposed to keep my ammo?

              1. Its sad to think that kids these days don’t have the opportunity to feel the joy of plinking.

    2. It kept the twits busy, their population under control, and taught them temperance (or death). So it’s not like dueling was all bad.

      Also, I’d very much have liked to see Mr. Palin face some of his wife’s most venomous critics with a sword in hand.

      1. So would I have done, but the problem there is that we are effectively saying, “We deem it not only acceptable but admirable that the penalty incurred for speech that displeases us should be injury and even death.” Is that really the society we want to live in?

        Besides, the problem with bringing a sword to an insult-fight is that the next person will bring a gun to a sword fight. Violence, like entropy, tends to escalate.

          1. Oh, b*llshit. No, seriously. I grew up where this code of honor still applied, at least in elementary. Were there vicious and strong? Sure. But there were an equal number of vicious and will keep those b*stards in check.
            Centralizing the response in the hands of people who are attracted by authority and the uniform, and making the response to SOCIAL OFFENSES the same as response to crimes, THAT means the vicious and strong. As we’re seeing as police militarizes.

            1. That is a lie. I myself lived in a school where the vicious and strong had free reign to assault.

              Just because YOU were lucky doesn’t mean you get to act as if my school doesn’t exist.

              1. The problem in the US–at least as I experienced it, and from what I’ve seen of other kids in other schools–is that the administration of those schools are more than happy to enforce the social hierarchies. Bullies from the appropriate classes are free to pick on those below them WHO ARE NOT SUPPOSED TO FIGHT BACK.

                In fact when I started fighting back the Bright Spark who was our principle at the time (Muriel Battle, PhD in something relating to children’s education) couldn’t understand why if I’d taken it for a couple months, why I couldn’t continue to take the bullying (BTW, 8th grade, well past 3rd). That the Boy I abused was from a higher position in the social hierarchy was, I’m sure part of it.

                In the US we have, since at least the 1970s, been trying to get kids NOT to fight back, and let “the state” (through their minions, the school administrators) handle it. This is in part because these socialist phuqs think EVERYTHING should be administered by the state, it’s just a world-view, not a diabolical plan.

                This is the disconnect you’re seeing.

                1. So without that a kindergardener can magically fight off a fifth-grader?

                  I’m not making that up.

                  1. We’ve already established that it’s not perfect, but, to turn your statement from above around, just because it happened to YOU doesn’t mean it is the norm.

                    1. Happened to me, too– sort of. The guy who dragged me off the swing to beat on was going through 6th for the second or third time– can’t remember– and I think I was a first grader.

                      I was going to be expelled because I kicked him, while because he was a known problem– sorry, had known problems– was going to have a note sent home.

                      Was I supposed to hope and pray that one of his gang would get guilt pangs?

              2. I’ll call you on that. If the vicious and strong had free reign to assault, that is BECAUSE the vicious and will keep those b*stards in check have been hobbled.

                I’m not saying your school didn’t exist, I’m saying your school is an example of the problem.

            2. You were in a strong shared culture.

              Look at the terrorists using injured children and disabled folks to blow the Israelis up for an example of what happens when there is not a shared notion of what is acceptable.

              1. I was going to say, “not the same; what we’re seeing there is societies with different mores in violently close proximity,” but I’m not sure that’s not what we’re seeing here, either. When immigrants don’t do as Sarah and assimilate (at least after a generation or so (you’re weird, Ma)) but instead band together in enclaves of the Olde Worlde – whichever one that happens to be – then things get mighty interesting. And to shift phase a bit, this is what is actually happening in the schools, where the so-called leadership is enforcing the “rules” as they see fit, instead of as they are written. Or writing whatever the smell they feel like, to the detriment of the students. Adult and child are radically different cultures, after all.

                1. There’s also the whole (whatever that word is in german, something like storm-wind, starts with a Z) that Alinsky personifies– deliberately taking the existing system and perverting it for your advantage.

                  There is an entire subculture of bad actors poisoning the well, rather than a few isolated blankers.

                1. Pretty sure Israel doesn’t have the same culture as the terrorists, or Israel would be a LOT bigger. And have fewer neighbors.

                    1. Sadly true, if only because they’ve killed everyone else. I just try to avoid picking fights by pointing it out when I don’t need do. 😀

                    2. *shrug* With some folks, they never realize they started one. How would you feel if something that looked like a doormat stood up and kicked you back?

                    3. Surprised certainly, but I do my best not to step on anyone. Speak softly and carry a .45 is the way for me.

            3. Yes, when I was a kid, bullying and other such problems were settled on the playground with fists, and the teachers looked the other way. And they were permanently settled, usually. As a teacher, I continued to support this philosophy….also, NO snitching.

                1. …solutions ain’t always pretty.

                  This one drives the rationalists and the tender-hearts both batty. And yet — it’s consistently true.

                  I’m fond of the rational, neat and clean solutions, myself. I just know they’re ineffective and pointless.

                  What’s worse, they create far worse circumstances than the direct, violent and ugly ones.

                  Maybe you could tag these posts: Humanity, we ain’t always pretty.

              1. the most severe beating I saw administered was on the class bully I mentioned elsewhere. He decided in his pea-brain that he could beat a particular kid and because he was sorta buds with the kid’s older brother, who was noted for being very easy going, that it’d be overlooked or something. The older brother was also the biggest kid in our class. I know both playground monitors and several teachers watched the beating and stood by doing nothing but making sure someone didn’t get killed. One of the teachers , I think would not have stopped it even if he thought maybe death was possible (even in 6th grade the bully had shown he was going to be a waste of oxygen). Also, the bully had no black eyes, and a slight bloody nose … I think from falling, because he never got hit in the face. Every other place on the other hand must have been bruise over bruise.

        1. Good Lord — NO. That’s where we’re going in the absence of people taking things in their own hands. Have you not noticed? Once we’re not allowed to slap a twit, we now have restrictions on speech codes, because they’re “hurtful.” The tend result of that IS a society where the penalty for offending someone is death. The state has no middle gears. Human beings usually do. Were there excesses? Oh, sure. But it wasn’t all excess. As someone pointed out, most individuals are decent. Not perfect, but decent.

        2. We deem it not only acceptable, but admirable, that those who are attacked, be able to attack in turn.

          The injury and possible death should only happen after a time of deliberation and a chance to publicly retract the insult, of course.
          But if you’ve permanently damaged someone’s life, I see no reason why your own life shouldn’t be damaged in turn.

          1. What? If I invent a better mousetrap and put the old mousetrap manufacturer out of work, I have permanently damaged his life. So I should be given a chance to recant?

            Especially since truth is seldom a defense in these systems.

            1. You haven’t damaged him, you’ve given him an opportunity to improve his product or his production methods, or to find a new line of work.

              Stabbing him in gut is damaging him.

              1. Given that this is talking about justice in the hands of the offended, what does it matter what YOU think of it?

                1. Because it is those outside the conflict who judge the actions. And assign penalties, both social and physical.

                  Your hypothetical is ridiculous.

        1. If they broadcast it on pay per view, it would be a novel way to finance the campaign

    3. All it’s done is transfer power from those who fight with physical means, to those who fight with words.
      Those skilled (or possessing a larger megaphone) launch their attacks unceasingly and with little fear of retribution.

      1. Words and money when it comes to the courts. I know of more then a few people that have given into something in court because they were fighting a company that could drag it out. The “it’s cheaper to settle then fight to prove I’m right”.

        1. Also a travesty of justice (though fully within the realm of jurisprudence, and it’s important to remember the difference) and what usually happens.

        2. Actually, my first political blog, my partner and I settled a lawsuit out of court. I maintain I did nothing wrong, but since the other guy had an attorney friend who was doing the lawsuit for free and we had to pay our lawyer…well, what were we gonna do?

    4. “Duels often left both people (who were usually members of the wealthier and influential classes) dead.”

      So there was, as such no down side…..

  18. I’ve done my fair share of smacking schoolyard bullies first and then dragging their sorry asses to the principal myself. I agree that sometimes a good punch applied in a timely manner can prevent a lot of trouble down the line. I also agree that the perpetual pearl-clutchers take zero tolerance too far.

    However. Let’s not forget the downside to times past and cultures other where violence was a much more prevalent and accepted means of social interaction. A society that permitted dueling was very polite, no doubt –if you were a bad dueler. The good duelers could be as rude as they liked, and abuse the power their skills gave them. Moreover, you didn’t have a lot of options if you were challenged and didn’t want to fight. Turn it down, and you would be called a coward and your friends would drop you and society shun you. Current policy may overcorrect, but let’s not overcorrect the other direction.

    1. Agree. It goes tenfold when “Justice” depends on the wronged party taking action against the “criminal”. The criminal may be better at violence (and/or have more allies) than the wronged party.

          1. Mary? I’m going to go way out of line here and suggest that this website is a website by a Fantasy writer, and much of what you see written on the comments is meant in fun. As in, fitting into a fantasy. Having read a few of your posts on this, it appears that your history has had a much different outcome than most of those contributing.

            But, they’re having fun. As far out of line as I am right now, might I suggest leaving the cold water alone? Let them {us} have their fun with their memories?

            1. I’d say she’s more of a scifi writer, if I was going to classify it at all, and Mary has been here for quite some time.

              I’d suggest you’re misidentifying the parts that are meant as fun, and some of us are actually interested in getting to the roots of the differences.

              Being someone whose physical defenses are pretty much limited to pulling a gun, this is not much of a joking matter to me.

              1. Our esteemed hostess is a very talented storyteller with a wide ranging imagination. So far I have read science fiction, urban fantasies, cozy mysteries, historical mysteries, historical/biographical romance…and I believe there is historical fantasy as well, but I haven’t read that yet.

              2. Yeah, I’m sure you’re right. On the classification and the rest of it. Color me the alarmist.

                1. I’m not fantasizing and I’m not a fantasist. I’m just tired of the “conflict resolution” school of social interaction. It really doesn’t do anything but put power in the hands of the “authorities.” And while authorities might be needed for serious situations where real injury occurs, they have no business in MOST childhood scuffles. Yes, Mary’s situation was unfortunate, but it was NOT what I was talking about and it’s also already corrupted by our “give peace a chance” school culture.

                2. Sturgeon’s law levels, you’d be right.

                  Great thing about here is, it’s possible to be wrong and it gets shrugged off….

                  1. I’d like to thank the two of you for the gentle corrections.

                    I find myself in a bit of an embarrassing spot. Once upon a time I was a bit of an internet personality. About seven years ago I had a stroke, a lot of the wires and connections in my head got misconnected. My ability to interact online went out the door. In fact interacting period became difficult.

                    About three years ago now, I got involved with some very good people and their writing project. I got bit by the bug. My vocabulary started coming back…….etc….

                    So today, I know that I need to relearn how to interact, particularly online. If I’m going to write, I need to have an online presence, etc.

                    Thank you…….

                    1. This is THE place to be if you’ve got trouble interacting!

                      Lots of rough personalities and butting heads, but no hard feelings in the long run. *Wood elf voice* Unless you bring them here with you.
                      *pats troll-bat*

                      Best wishes for your continuing recovery.

                    2. In case I wasn’t clear the first time– most anywhere else, your reaction would be 100% right. If I didn’t know Mary, and our Hostess, for values of online knowing, I’d probably even agree.
                      They WERE getting kind of hot, and it’s best to error on the side of the person whose livingroom you’re in.
                      But the discussion’s value is respected here. Part of what keeps folks coming back.

  19. A long time ago my youngest aunt explained to me why my grandfather considered the pistol the devil’s right hand.
    He was born in the late teen’s.
    He had his own farm, and while he was not a hunter, had a couple of “let’s go see what’s got the hens stirred up” aids: shotgun, rifle, and pistol.
    The pistol was stolen from his cabinet, where it was kept with the rest of the firearms. This would have been sometime during the late thirties or early forties.
    He rode with the law until it had been recovered from a local ne’er do well; he did not rest until then.
    He was concerned that it would be used to harm or rob.
    He did not just call the cops and file a report.
    This happened a mere two hours from Chicago, not in some wild hinterland west of the Mississippi.
    He sold that pistol and never bought another, banned them from his house.
    I have yet to meet anyone younger than my parents who would agree with the basic premises that drove his actions in this case. It was his firearm, therefore his responsibility. The law is but an extension of the people, the police/sheriff/constable are hired to help the people, not replace them. I have met any number of folks his age who take this for granted; they wouldn’t know how to explain it.
    Personal liberty carries a heavy responsibility; many folks do not care for it.
    This story has come to mind more and more as I read the work here and elsewhere these last ten years or so.
    To your point, we have abrogated personal and societal responsibility to the folks who are all too happy to have it.

  20. couple of things to add.
    1. There are aprox twice as many lawyers as cops in the US and just about as many social workers as cops.
    2. Kids are NOT taught how to fight. because their parents either never learned themselves, or their parents know all to well and are afraid to pass that instruction on. Oh, you taught your kid how to fight, you former infantry grunt, that means your a despicable parent and provides justification for us to come into your home and counsel your kids, provide safety plans and reporting plans and conflict avoidance plans and threaten you with taking your kids away because of your regressive anti-social behavior which means your raising your children to be mal-adjusted anti-social individuals themselves instead of conforming to current social norms and part of their cohort group.

    1. Most of the lawyers in the US are working in areas other than criminal law, or even the sort of civil law that gets them into court. Most of them are in the corporate/compliance world. While in some areas this is bad, in many cases it’s just an issue of the complexity of the modern world.

      If we want to live in an America where the Federal Government is bound only to a minor degree of involvement, and the states and local jurisdictions can evolve legislation to their needs and understandings then you wind up with a VERY, VERY complex legal environment where what is illegal in (for example Colorado) might very well be mandatory in California.

      Yeah, I know you laugh, but look at something simple like rain barrels/water catchment. In many parts of Colorado a home owner doesn’t have water rights on their land, and so rain barrels or other forms of rain catchment are illegal.

      In many parts of California they should be (but aren’t) *required* to have some sort of catchment system for watering their lawns and gardens (more of a “if you don’t have natural ground cover you need to have some sort of catchment system…”) If one is making and selling water catchment systems it behooves one to have a lawyer who can handle the legal intricacies in various jurisdictions.

      1. As we recently did a short-term diversion pipe for the condenser for our A/C, and I’ve seen how much water goes down it when it’s running full-bore (as much as a gallon an hour), I’m a little appalled that they don’t have water catchment systems for A/C systems in California. Seriously, distilled water FROM THE AIR, maybe five gallons a day (which is important when you get no rain at all for five months.) Heck, with a clean pipe system, you could drink the stuff. (I wouldn’t recommend doing that for an old system, though; the reason for our temporary diversion is that the old pipe is clogged by thirty years of damp-based muck.)

  21. I’ve noticed that most instructors on personal self-defense say, use your elbow, knee, foot side of the hand, even forhead before you try hitting some jerk with your fist, don’t hit him with your fist anywhere but his belly. The human hand clenched up is a lousy weapon with which to attack someone, which may be precisely why it became established in the US and British Isles as the weapon with which to settle serious social disagreements. Limited the amount of damage one combatant could do to the other.

    1. From personal experience, your knuckles will feel like you broke them if you hit someone hard in the face…..

      1. The face ain’t bad, the forehead however…*rubs hand that and feels knots where every bone across the back of the hand between wrist and knuckles was broken*

    2. A punch to the side of the neck works well too, whereas a chop might do too much damage. I had to coldcock a drunk friend once. The punch took him down without focusing enough force in a small enough area to cause real damage.

      Not that I knew that; just blind dumb luck.

      1. I suspect you hit the Brachial Plexus. Anything else in that area wouldn’t cause him to drop fast without long term injury.

    3. I’ve seen it claimed that boxing gloves have increased long-term injuries for boxers due to removing the constraints that the fighters would have for worry of breaking their fingers.

        1. I’ve been good through the years of removing the tools from hands of monkeys, often without realizing I was actually doing so. I got into a screaming match with a guy holding a deadblow plastic hammer, and when we split up and I walked away, I had his hammer and only then did either of us realize it. He turn quite ashen when I tossed it onto someone else’s workbench. I do not think that is my best plan though. It has just happened.
          But use what is at hand, though sometime what’s at hand is the hand.
          I prefer to be able to toss little bits of certain heavy elements at a sufficient speed. Like say speeds of 900 or so feet per second.

          1. Hit with blunt objects in hand is assalt with a deadly weapon.

            Unless your are actually trying to kill the other person do not hit people with things.

            1. oh, if I am hitting you WITH something like a hammer, it is because I ran out of ammo or was caught without the pistol in reach. For lesser needs I find a good choke hold or just a solid grip on the larynx will suffice most of the time

  22. The most realistic punch I’ve ever seen in a movie was in “Mash.” Trapper John (Elliot Gould) is furious at Major Burns (Robert Duvall) and unexpectedly punches him. TJ is still rubbing his right hand and going Ahhhh! Ahhhh! Ahhh! when Burns stands up and threatens to file a complaint. They were surgeons with priceless hands, which made the whole thing even more, intentionally, stupid.

    1. At the end of the scene, Col. Blake says to TJ, “D*** it, I was about to appoint you head of surgery! You knew that! Now I can’t!”

  23. I look at it as taking the power out of the hands of those who are more able to do violence, and into the hands of those who are more likely to be held accountable, as part of a sea-saw of correcting for shared expectations of behavior being destroyed. (Sometimes a willful, open goal, sometimes to “fix” it.)

    The old stores aren’t totally accurate, but they do represent a recognizable sub-group where there wasn’t a lot of authority and there was a shared culture. The guy who “said something” to the other guy’s girl knew he was trespassing; contrast with the habit of some young thugs to bristle and take offense because someone dares to object when they’re acting suspiciously in an area with lots of break-ins, and attempt to beat the “transgressor” to death. (Note: objecting can include being the wrong color in an area, although most of those that have made the news were enforced with guns; example, the two young black guys who stopped to get coffee on the way to work at 7/11 in an area claimed by a Mexican gang. Shot to death at 6am-ish, in Cali.)

    I can’t count on the “make friends” theory– my dad is small, and that was his tactic in school and the Army. Also shared subculture groups, though with enough issues that it was needful for a reason other than because the only recourse a guy who was literally 98 pounds when he was drafted is to kill the big 2#$@#. (Which would also mean he’d have to keep beating people, because he’d be a challenge.)

    I do rely on the “overwhelming response to a threat” tactic, but it doesn’t make for a civil society if I have to pull a gun on someone to keep them from serial harassment.

  24. I find it telling that as the level of acceptable interpersonal violence dropped, so the level of civility in public discourse did as well. The now standard name calling of the left was not nearly so common when it was likely to buy a fat lip.
    This over reliance on authority is antithetical to the formerly desirable quality of independence that made our country great. There is also a bizarre disconnect that using a proxy ( cop) to enforce your will is somehow different than doing it yourself.
    In another discussion we touched on judeo-christian norms being the basis of our society. The casual fistfight was one of the ways these norms were taught to young wolf’s heads outside of their parents sight. Dad might spank you for transgressing social norms, but the man on the street will break your nose. This helped to engrave those lessons from your mother upon the soul (or your facsimile thereof). I think that the little social norms enforced in this way (manners) reinforce the larger social norms (murder/theft).

    BTW the FBI crime statistics reports shows clearly that more murders are achieved with fists/feet than any firearm of any class.

    1. This is not correct.
      2012 FBI UCR say 5.7% of deaths were feet/fists/hands, etc., 69.3% were by firearms of all types.

        1. You’re probably misremembering “more deaths by hands/feet than by rifles” as “than by all firearms“. BIG difference, as the vast majority of firearm killings (whether murders or self-defense) are with pistols.

  25. Looks to me as though much of the back and forth here is a sign of changing times (and different places – the past too is another country) rather than one party being more right than the other.

    Once upon a time a little old man and his little old wife (from the deep south, perhaps that says something) stopped their little old black Cadillac at a North Idaho road house for lunch. Shortly thereafter a motorcycle gang stopped at the same road house. The leader of the biker gang was talking in a loud voice using obscene and vulgar language. The little old man went up to the biker and asked the biker to tone it down there being ladies present. The biker picked up the little old man. The little old man slit the biker’s throat from ear to ear. Witnesses said it was like the biker had suddenly pulled on a bright red T-shirt. The prosecutor said no harm, no foul, the little old man was free to continue on his way with his little old wife. The local paper made a crusade of hounding the prosecutor out of office. Times change faster than some people.

    Perhaps some of it is changing mores with age and experience and group. I’d be very upset with a school child whose first reaction was to gouge eyes. In other circumstances I’d be upset with somebody who was too reluctant to gouge eyes (see Col. Kratman, ESR and others on that).

    Some things that have changed perhaps are dragging the body inside – not so wise to tamper with a crime scene given today’s forensics – it’s a gamble that the forensics will not be used.

    It’s certainly true that circa 50 years ago test scores were pretty evenly spread across the different schools of a given university. These days education majors as a class are scoring much lower than students in any other major at a given university. That says something like GIGO about the product of Schools of Education.

    I’d suggest that one of the major losses with the decline of settling things between the parties is the aspect of settling. My observation is that once upon a time – as mentioned above – it was much more possible to shake and share a drink. Notice that I’m talking long ago and far away.

    Today it seems much more likely for a loser feel dissed by the winner and so to escalate drastically. Likely enough this is associated with honor/shame behavior -where honor has a different meaning than honorable. Being shamed is intolerable and there is no mechanism to shake. This seems to extend from individual to group interactions.

    1. What your past paragraphs describe is called “primal honor,” the honor of reputation and public “face.” Bertram Wyatt-Brown’s “Honor in the Old South,” and several other books describe the system. Dr. Sanity’s post here:
      also applies to “dissing” someone from certain areas. Face and honor are public status, and if everything is based on public status, there’s going to be a lot more fighting when an insult, real or imagined, affects your social position and authority. (Which describes some of what I’ve read about Facespace and Twitter fights, come to think of it.)

  26. Growing up in the 60s, we fought… More than once. And you learned REALLY quick not to hit somebody in the head. More interestingly, by high school most of us had guns in our cars/trucks and NEVER would have thought to go get one. It was go out behind the football field and have it out. You won or lost, and it was over. And I don’t ever remember any ganging up on someone- It was always one on one.

  27. One element of boyhood fisticuffs is its function in physically demanding cultures of determining who is/is not a physical coward. You don’t want to ride the range or go into the trenches with a fella who is afraid to get his nose bloodied. Nor do you want to be with a guy who doesn’t know when (or how) to avoid a fight.

    There was a theory popular a few years back that the heightened code duello was an artifact of herding cultures, where your “wealth” was essentially highly liquid, able to be driven off in a single night. Letting anybody cut your herd or rustle a steer with impunity was an invitation to lose it all. Thus a readiness to fight was necessary notice to others.

    Louis L’Amour regularly made the argument that in the American West, where fortunes were often entrusted on no more than a handshake, allowing oneself to be labeled a liar or a coward was financial suicide.

    The question to address when looking at willingness to fight is: what function does it serve in the broader culture?

  28. Off-topic : My son is working on cover art for me, streaming live, online. It’s a dragon, front and back for a short story. I told him I’d tell my friends so he might get a viewer or two. 🙂 I also told him that none of my writing friends would freak out over a website called “furstream”. (But he said I probably wouldn’t care to go looking around.) He thought he’d keep it up for about another hour.

        1. ‘Tis cool. I’d like to see the finished product when he’s done, if possible.

          1. If nothing else I’ll link it. He usually draws furry animals so I wasn’t sure what a reptile would do. 🙂

    1. Cover’s looking good! (I was watching when I should have been writing copy) So… how soon do I get to see a link to this book in my inbox for the promo post? 😀

      1. It’s a 3,600 word short story. I don’t know that putting it up for even 99 cents would work at that length.

        At this point I’m thinking in terms of printing up a paper booklet as a demo/promo portfolio item for editing and designing and proof that I can use InDesign, and that my kid can also use for his artist portfolio.

          1. And think about going with Kindle Select. That’ll put you in Kindle Unlimited, where people can borrow instead of buy on a grander scale…and you generally make more that way than with actually selling it.

            Hell, I’m thinking about raising the price of my first story to encourage people to borrow instead. 😀

  29. I think of two incidents in my life that illustrate the “pop him one” motif.

    The first was in 5th grade. My parents had been sending my siblings and I to the local Christian school since I was in 3rd grade, and since the school was in a neighboring school district to our home district, we ended up riding a school bus whose other denizens were special ed students going to special classes outside their home district. One of those denizens only real problem was he was a bully, and he decided I would make a good target. He picked on me for months on the bus before deciding to take the first swing at me. He expected me to be a Christian pacifist. Instead, I, who had never had any fighting experience, took to besting him with my clumsy haymaker swings fueled by my dairy upbringing. My brother, 3 years my senior, stayed out of the fight, except to make sure no one else intervened. The bus drive was willing to let the fight go on, until she realized who was winning. I think my parents got to drive us to school for a week after that, but the school didn’t have any problems that I could recall.

    The second was a church event, and I was married. My kids were in the AWANA program, and one of the male leaders suddenly bluntly confronted us about our daughter and issues that we ‘knew all about” even though no one had spoken a word to us, confronted us right in the middle of a busy hallway. He wouldn’t listen to my wife, talked over her, etc., until I finally got in his face and grabbed his lapels and yelled something about “don’t you dare ignore my wife that way.” Amazingly, that led to a fairly good resolution. We had a discussion with the head of the entire program, and came to an amicable apology where each of us rudely apologized to the other one, and was satisfied (a polite apology just wouldn’t work for him — I realized his communication style and matched it). But it almost didn’t work because of an interfering pastoral staff member who tried the whole “counseling” type route and almost derailed the whole thing.

    As an aside comment on the whole idea, my grandmother, the one-room school teacher, always said she preferred conflicts with boys to those with girls. Boys would pop it off and be done, just like they could be in a fight, but with a girl, you never knew where the knife might come from later. They didn’t forget as easily.

    1. The second incidence, and the interfering pastoral staff member, taught us to really dislike the term “conflict avoidance”, which seemed to mean “Putting off conflict until it was too big to be solved easily.”

      1. A perfect example of the classic principle memorialized in the adage An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.

        I note that the cultural change decried by Sarah and others started at about the time the USA started converting to the metric system.


            1. feh. Actually, my mom’s maiden name is DuRoy, a corruption of DuRoi & Grandma’s was Gagnon. There be much french in me background.
              shh, don’t tell anyone

                    1. Lemmee guess … it was a couple thousand years ago, when all Gaul was under Roman control, except for one small village of indomitable Gauls that still held out against the Romans?

        1. A gram of prevention is worth a kilo of cure?

          I would say that correlation is not causation, but there would be a similar root cause.

  30. I’m an Israeli Jew and I would like to relate a story my late grandfather told me.

    He was born about 100 years ago, and when he was a boy, he and his brothers used to get picked on by the local gentile boys.

    His father had a simple rule: When such a thing happened they were not allowed to come home unless they were bruised, bleeding, etc. They had to prove that they stood up and fought.

    Now I see radical Muslims and loony left-wingers hounding Jews in Europe, and all the Jews do is whine to the authorities and the newspapers. They should be defending themselves. When they do so, the police would be much faster with dealing with the thugs who threaten them.

  31. There are advantages to going through life as a controlled sociopath… jist sayin’.

    1. Absolutely. The problem is that you have to start in the womb. Not easy to retrofit.

  32. Will – it can be learned(?) developed(?)… and jsel – that’s pretty much the whole idea, in’t it?

  33. That was monstrous of your parents. They gave you a choice of being beaten up by other children or being punished for asking them to defend you. Parents love nothing more than to see their children being tortured.

    1. Yes, you are absolutely right. Because the third choice, where I took care of the problem on my own totally didn’t exist. I take it YOUR parents set you up to always rely on someone to defend you. Sad that.

  34. There are many proofs that a violent imposition of justice is still administered; cheered, even. Let’s remember 9/11 and flight 93. Most of the comments and the OP are school centered. Though workplaces are nearly universal in their rejection of a good old fashioned apportionment of justice by thrashing.

  35. In some ways, this brings to mind the blood feuds of Medieval Iceland as described in the sagas. I remember reading how one of the sagas described one feud where the heads of two clans would pass the same bag of gold back and forth each time a killing occurred, as it went back and forth. I cannot remember the details, or how the situation was ultimately resolved…but it makes me wonder to what degree even a family feud can prevent further violence…

    What’s particularly interesting is that even though these sagas talked about some rather bloody feuds, there is evidence that violence in Medieval Iceland at the time was surprisingly peaceful. Apparently, the anarchy of Iceland broke down when a handful of families managed to purchase most of the chieftanships (which, in part, was due to a conversion to Christianity, and the chieftan priests collecting tithing), and feuds dissolved into a civil war. Although this civil war had a lower violent death rate than modern United States (as best as could be figured out), it was enough for Iceland to call on Norway to rule them–and, ironically enough, they discovered that they didn’t like being ruled by a king after all.

    I really wish I could study these sagas further. I also wish I could figure out how these death-rates were determined (since we’re talking about a Medieval society). Nonetheless, this also makes me wonder to what degree even feuds might deflate overall tendencies to violence.

    (Having said that, I also understand that feuds can make violence significantly worse: I remember a documentary describing how the British, in an attempt to sow chaos during the Revolutionary War, successfully fanned the flames of the feuds in the South, and even the British soldiers were surprised at how bloody it got!)

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