Straining the Quality of Mercy – a Blast From The Past Post December 2012

We live in very odd times.  A conversation with a friend who has a Pit bull dog, yesterday, led to his saying casually of course he couldn’t have a pit bull in Denver.  I was aware of this, but had never given it any thought.  Mostly I come across it on Craigslist as people who MUST move to Denver are getting rid of their dogs so they can move.

And here we come to my experience with the dogs.  Like everyone else – though this happens mostly on TV it leaks to real life as well – I’ve seen pit bulls tied in front of houses I wouldn’t approach anyway – though the last time that happened was seven years ago when I got lost walking the kids back from middle school, so it might be a trend that’s passing away.

Yes, those pit bulls look like terrible dangers and generally scary.  But then the houses the dogs were tied in front of looked scary too, an indicative of the people who lived there.

Then there are the Pit bulls I still meet.  The office I rented at the end had only one other office rented, which means I didn’t feel very safe.  Perhaps the people in the front office didn’t either, because the owner brought in his Pit bull, who was a sweet, slobbery dog, very well behaved.  Other Pits I meet while walking or at stores, are exceptionally well behaved.

This is, of course, because they’re high dominance dogs, naturally.  And if you are a responsible owner who has a high dominance dog, you TRAIN that dog until it’s one of the best mannered creatures around and far safer in public than most humans.

Yes, of course if you are stupid and you get a Pit and raise it the way most people seem to raise their kids – by indulging their every whim and never setting limits or consequences, you’ll end up with a feral beast.  People who raise their kids that way do too – and yes, I know a lot of the left thinks the solution for this is to outlaw kids.  But people who raise their animals – or kids – that way would only be safe with stuffed dolls.

(Yes, I know Pits were bred to fight.  So were your ancestors.  Take a powder.)

This connected in my brain with the whole outrage over the Connecticut shootings and how we absolutely, imperatively must outlaw private ownership of guns because… shuddup, do it for the children.

As though criminals care whether something they do is illegal or not, and as though crazy people can’t come up with other ways to cause massive damage: less survivable ways.  Need one remind everyone that the first World Trade Center bombing was achieved by fertilizer?

Perhaps they intend to outlaw manure?  (Maybe that’s the aim of the Carbon Laws.)

Yes, guns are horribly dangerous.  They’re not the only thing that’s horribly dangerous, though.  I know several gun owners who could arm entire small countries, and when I visit them I feel SAFER there because I know if SOMEONE unsafe were to attack for whatever reason or none at all, they have the armament to protect us.

Forbidding the owning of guns doesn’t ban the danger because the danger is always in the human mind.  We’re a curious monkey, and some of the things we’re curious about are very, very dangerous.  As Terry Pratchett put it, if you put a button in the most distant cave in the world and painted a sign to put next to it saying “Pressing this button will end the world” the paint wouldn’t have time to dry before someone pushed it.  Worse, they’d push it not to destroy the world, but to see what it would do.

And yes, I know of the several bans to keep people from eating/playing with/drinking whatever they want, but the one that totally makes my jaw drop is forbidding all peanut products in schools and planes because of people’s allergies.  Yes, I’ve heard that just being in a room with peanuts can start the allergy.  Can I say bullhockey?  People with that violent an allergy wouldn’t be able to be on a plane, period – people like us travel with nuts.  We have to, because it’s the only portable thing we can eat on a plane.  Sometimes they’re peanuts.  We have yet to kill anyone.  And since the airlines do not search everyone for peanuts, I’m going to assume this is bullhockey.  Because if peanuts ANYWHERE on the plane were that dangerous, they would search people.

Yes, I can see where rubbing peanuts on someone might be an issue.  I’ve known people that allergic.  BUT most people are allergic to EATING peanuts.  So… we’re banning peanuts in public because… some people might not be able to help themselves and might gobble down stuff that could kill them?  Um…  As someone who can’t eat carbs, in the few flights that have lunch (usually bread-stuff) or snacks (pretzels) this affects me adversely.  Note, however, that I don’t fall, helpless-victim like on the pretzels or bread, because they’re in the same space with me.

And no, banning peanut butter from schools isn’t justified because these are kids.  These kids are in school.  That means by definition they are house-broken and capable of following instructions.  “Don’t eat that because it will kill you” should be a hard and fast one.  I mean, when I was a kid we were turned out to play outdoors at three or four, and there were a list of things we couldn’t do because they WOULD kill us (like run out in front of cars.  Drink bleach, etc.)  Weirdly all of us failed to DO those things just because we could.  (Yes, there are mentally handicapped children in the schools, but those have assigned teacher-aides, so the point is moot.)

What these three cases have in common is a curious mental confusion about what is what and where responsibility lays.

And some of this was part of the great liberal project (real liberals, the kind I identify with) started in the seventeenth century.  In a time of swift and sudden penalties, that took no extenuating circumstances into account, and which were unimaginably harsher than we can think of (torture being a normal method for extracting confessions for such crimes as pickpocketing) real liberals brought in a more nuanced justice and a weighing in of causes and consequences.  If someone steals a loaf of bread for his starving children, it’s not in any way the same crime as stealing a horse to resell in the next village.  (Okay, some judges took that into account, in England at least, but it was a big on the discretion and didn’t always happen.)

The problem is that what real liberals started, insane liberals finished.  The end game of this project in law can be seen all over Europe where murderers are condemned to some time in jail (in Portugal it was less than ten years at one point.  We used to joke about dragging the people I wanted to off to Portugal, because I was willing to pay that penalty) because there’s always “extenuating circumstances” and where even in safe neighborhoods like my parents’ people live in fear of criminals breaking in.

Here the end run of that system by and large was the seventies – at least in criminal law – and we’ve been walking it back to some extent ever since.

On the other hand, the same thinking has gone from the law to everyday life.  No one is responsible for anything, because there’s always explanations and reasons and “I couldn’t help myself.”

In many cases this is even true – probably.  I am forever in shock by how many of my kids’ classmates seem to be well… feral.  No one ever bothered to teach them to control their impulses or to think rationally about what they have and what they need and how to get there.

The end result is minds that confuse feelings with thoughts (the corollary of “if it feels good, do it” turns out to be “if it doesn’t feel good don’t do it” even if the momentary discomfort is needed for future happiness.) wants with needs and who can see nothing further than instant gratification.

I submit to you NOTHING can make society – or the world – safe for those people.  In the end they either learn otherwise (painfully) or they die.  On the way they cause untold misery.  BUT the more you try to protect them from the induced stupidity of their own upbringing, the more misery you cause to people how had nothing to do with it.

Worse, you place the blame on the wrong THINGS – or animals – and not where it belongs: in the people who choose to use the things or animals to create harm  (or choose to do nothing and let animals cause harm.)

We want to excuse everyone and think everyone good at heart… and maybe this is true to an extent.  Everyone certainly has good potential.  But those that choose to do good can also do harm.  And yes, sometimes they can do harm without meaning to – but it’s still their choice.

When you remove that, you’re putting the blame on things and creatures who can’t choose.  And you’re restricting the choices of everyone.

To absolve the guilty you must ALWAYS blame the innocent, even if it’s innocent THINGS.  And that mis-placing of blame will always result not just in curtailed liberty, but in greater pain for everyone in the long run and in a society that rolls over and begs for tyrants to save it from itself.

The monkey mind that chooses to press the button that says “end the world” can also choose NOT to do it.  But for that, it must be able to think through causes and consequences.  And to be taught that, we must start by putting the blame where it belongs.  And we must understand that mercy, like all other admirable qualities, has dark twins called indulgence and misplaced blame.  Even virtues aren’t free and we must always be aware of their costs.  TANSTAAFL.

361 thoughts on “Straining the Quality of Mercy – a Blast From The Past Post December 2012

    1. OK, hold it. Do you mean a gun WITHOUT ammunition? Because otherwise I must respectfully disagree with you.

      Now, mind, I support the 2nd Amendment, which as I read it means that ordinary citizens should have legal access to any weapon that can be carried and USED by a single person. I’m willing to “compromise” on crew served weapons, and I think that covers the “oh, you want people to own atom bombs” argument (which I always thought was fatuous). But a gun is dangerous. That is, more or less, it’s entire POINT. If it wasn’t more dangerous than a rock, we would still be hunting and setting can feuds with rocks.

        1. But a gun is more dangerous than a rock because it takes less skill and less luck to kill with one. A feather in the right hands can kill you. But the right hands are rarer.

          And, yes, all guns should be assumed to be loaded, just as all Liberal Professors should be assumed to be mad. It cuts way down on the damage they can do before anyone is aware of the situation.

            1. Yes. Most people look at a gun and think “Hey! That could kill someone!” Most people don’t look at a car and think “Hey! One second of someone not paying attention at the completely wrong time and that could kill someone!”
              Aren’t the statistics for auto deaths and gun deaths about on a par with each other? Or was just DUI deaths and gun deaths (and that including guns for suicide).

              1. Someone needs to do some research on this (I don’t have time right now, as I’m waiting for someone to pick me up) but I’m pretty sure that there are WAY more deaths by automobile each year than there are by gun — or knife or poison or strangling or….all forms of murder in this country put together.

                1. I don’t have the statistics handy, but you’re kind of right and kind of wrong. There are gun DEATHS and gun HOMICIDES. The majority of gun deaths are suicide. The figures vary from year to year, but it’s always over sixty percent. Add in accidents and it’s usually closer to like sixty-five percent. (I did a paper on this awhile back. I don’t have my sources handy.)

                  Gun deaths always come out to less than car deaths, but it used to be popular for the lefties that guns killed almost as many people as die in car accidents every year. That includes the aforementioned suicides and accidents.
                  Now, as far as your argument, gun MURDERS are only about a third of the total (actually a big higher like 35-38%) and those don’t even come CLOSE to the amount of people killed in car wrecks. But lefties only use “nuance” when it suits their argument and so they never bring it up.

                  As for your point about ALL murders: My research focused on guns. I honestly have no clue about that.

          1. “But a gun is more dangerous than a rock because it takes less skill and less luck to kill with one.”

            This is incorrect, actually. The Left (among whom you are clearly not included) likes to noise this about as an excuse to ban guns because they are “more” dangerous.

            The truth is that anybody bigger than you are can kill you quite handily. With their boots, if need be. What a gun does is level the playing field so smaller men and especially women are now equal to the hulking brutes of this world.

            Lefties hate level playing fields.

            1. The answer to the Lefties isn’t “Guns aren’t dangerous” but “take your impulse to ban everything dangerous and please pound it down a rathole. Dangerous tools make non-dangerous people dangerous enough to defend themselves. We are not children, and you are not our parents.”

              1. Guns don’t kill people. **I** kill people (evil grin). And Statist Josh would be well-advised to remember that many readers of this blog have killed people. Thus, our experience is NOT to be trifled with. . .

                1. And Statist Josh would be well-advised to remember that many readers of this blog have killed people. Thus, our experience is NOT to be trifled with. . .


                  What’s that about?

                  1. It’s about that we have some expertise on the use and handling of weapons.

                    As opposed to someone who believes that a weapon, of and by itself, is the danger, and not the operator of said weapon.

                2. I notice you’re not differentiating between those of us who’ve A) killed personally, those who’ve B) killed with indiscriminate weapons, and those who’ve simply C) ARRANGED for somebody to die.

                  Or, in this crowd, D) All of the above.

              2. The same stick that can dig up root vegetables can be smashed over someone’s head. Just about any tool can be weaponized.

                On the other hand, a major difference is that guns take away some of the overwhelming physical advantage that men tend to have against women.

                1. Oh, yeah. In a world of sword and sorcery, if I have a heroine without the sorcery, what she does is whine and cower and look harmless until the villain comes over to grab her arm and leave her an opening for a sneak stabbing. What choice does she have?

            2. Their point seems to be, mostly, that guns make killing easy enough that people may kill (or, to them, WILL) when suitably pissed off in the middle of an argument. And that does happen. When we are talking about something that could happen, it will always happen to somebody sooner or later, or to several somebodies every year if there is big enough a pool of people involved. So yes, undoubtedly there are dead people who would still be alive and whose killer would not have become a murderer if there hadn’t been a gun around that particular day.

              And the other big argument is of course those few kids who find an unsecured gun and manage to kill themselves or a playmate when then playing with it. I think there may be a case or two most years. I have looked at this, but it was some years back. Pretty rare, anyway.

              The main problem: they seem to be able to see _only_ those cases, and extrapolate solely from them. They seem to be unable to consider the other end of this, good ways to use guns. I suppose they assume that the times when somebody who is not an official uses a gun responsibly that is the exception or just dumb luck. The funny part (well, sort of) is this other assumption that if that person carrying that scary, scary thing which creates all these bad impulses in the carrier is wearing some sort of uniform like outfit, or at least a badge, they suddenly turn reliable. I suppose they think that individuals can be trained like Pavlov’s dogs to the point where they react the same way to the same stimulus every time and police training means just that (and when the training fails, and a cop kills some kid with a toy gun, then that means that they need more training or different type of training).

              1. Their point seems to be, mostly, that guns make killing easy enough that people may kill (or, to them, WILL) when suitably pissed off in the middle of an argument.

                The main problem: they seem to be able to see _only_ those cases, and extrapolate solely from them. They seem to be unable to consider the other end of this, good ways to use guns.

                They also ignore those cases where someone is pissed off enough to easily kill because of their inherent abilities, but does not because they know that just because everyone LOOKS smaller and weaker than them doesn’t mean anything.

          2. On the other hand, it’s a lot easier to throw MANY rocks.

            I’ve seen a woman post online annually about how ghastly the Kent State deaths were, without the slightness consciousness that the protesters were throwing rocks and could have killed the guardsmen

              1. and Palestinian wastes of oxygen hurl rocks with a sling, and I’ve seen them use a sling to hurl a Molotov Cocktail. A slinged rock will kill … see some kid named David and some bloke named Goliath

            1. The thing that annoys ME about the Kent State narrative is the convenient way the hand wringers never mention that the night before the protesters had SET FIRE to the ROTC building and then interfered with firefighters on the scene. So the Protesters had introduced lethal force to the equation, albeit in a way that showed they had not idea what the F*CK they were doing. But a building sized fire is not under anyone’s control, and once the protesters had shown they were stupid an willful enough to set dangerous fires that protest HAD to be SHUT DOWN.

            2. Right after Kent State John Campbell wrote an editorial for Analog where he told the story of a baseball player out for a hike along a railroad right of way. He was attacked by a bear. Guy was a pitcher and there were all these lovely baseball sized rocks there as track ballast.
              The bear lost.

              1. When I was in high school I did a paper on Kent State. My conclusion after doing all the research was quite simple: Don’t throw rocks at people with guns.
                My (extremely liberal) American History teacher wasn’t amused.

                1. The thing is, the Libs keep coming back to the sending in of the Guard. That wasn’t their only option. They COULD have sent in the Ohio State Police. Who, at the time, were blue collar guys with scant patience with little pinkos. They’d have waded in with billy clubs and probably klled more. The Guard was sent in inthe (sadly vain) hope that the protesters would recognize that the presence of those uniforms meant that playtime, with paytime’s soft rules, was over.

                  1. “The Guard was sent in the (sadly vain) hope that the protesters would recognize that the presence of those uniforms meant that playtime, with playtime’s soft rules, was over.”

                    “Experience keeps a dear School, but Fools will learn at no other.”

                2. One of Niven’s laws – don’t stand next to people who are annoying people with guns.

                  I’m inclined to agree strongly with Donald Hamilton’s exposition on Kent State

                  He even goes so far as to approve of the parents who avenge the deaths of their children in a Kent State–type fiasco by killing the incompetent officers who shot into an unarmed crowd of students.

                  But notice what makes them incompetent to Matt Helm is hitting innocent bystanders rather than taking a knee or sitting position – one of the African white hunters was known for sitting to take a charge, he wasn’t going anyplace and placing the shot well was a must – with aimed fire. Apparently portions of the Guard had earlier threatened the crowd with aimed fire from a kneeling position but the shooters were all standing and fired from a standing position. There have been much later analysis of casual pictures and sound recordings and the actual course of events remains undetermined AFAIK.

                  I wrote in another discussion elsewhere

                  Anybody else who was in almost total agreement with Matt Helm and the other characters created by Donald Hamilton on the subject of the Kent State shootings? Sort of reminds me of the old story – “My boy is so sensitive – if he misbehaves just punish the boy next to him he’ll get the message” Assuming arguendo that shooting was justified, seems to me nothing justified shooting wildly. Still I find it easier to blame the folks who sent the Guard and especially sent those members of the Guard- Anybody ever have an explanation for the picture which appears to show the slide retracted on the 1911 which was reported never fired?

                  My understanding and I wasn’t there but I did have a friend who was is that there was a strong town gown issue as the Guard were lower economic class forced into the Guard in part by lack of student deferment prospects (made moot by the draft lottery but the mutual antipathy was reportedly very real and very strong)

                  1. The core issue is still the fire. Once the ROTC building was ablaze, the “protest” was a riot (I gather that a lot of property damage had been don win town already, but certainly AFTER the fire). The fault lies with the little fools who thought setting a building ablaze was clever.

                    Did the authorities who sent in the Guard make that decision because of the fire? Don’t know. They did what they SHOULD have done; they moved to close down a riot that threatened innocent lives. Could they have done so without putting student lives at risk? Those lives were ALREADY at risk; an imbecile who will torch one building will torch another and sooner or later he is going to get lucky/unlucky and the fires is going to jump buildings, or blow a gas main, or something comparably lethal.

                    And as I pointed out before; they COULD have sent in the State Police, which would have probably been worse.

                    Anybody still on campus by that time was a dolt. All four should have been made Darwin Award winners emeritus.

                    Proposal; We are entirely too tolerant of fire as a “symbol of protest” in this country. Fire is dangerous. Playing with fire in the middle of a protest crowd is doubtless lots of fun, but that wee haven’t YET been treated to the sight of a protester wrapped in the flaming remains of a (usually petroleum based fabric, and therefore melting and sticky) burning flag merely means that God looks down benevolently on fools.

                    We shouldn’t ban flag burning, per se. We should treat flag burners (and cross burners and effigy burners) exactly the way we would treat picnickers who had built a campfire in a public place without the necessary permits. Get a permit, or get a ticket, or jail time.

                    I gather that this tactic is commonly used with the Klan; think how annoyed the Perpetually Petulant Protesters would be to be treated like the KKK.

                    1. I disagree. No plans to debate or dispute just one post to avoid an imputation that silence gives assent.

                      The American flag makes an impression; All the more in a setting like Bastogne or the Arizona. There are a couple of very neatly folded flags encased in the next room. Part of the mystique is a hangover from Civis Romanus sum which just might attach to hypothetical folks who carry bits of that flag.

                      I remain a free speech absolutist. To the extent the acts can be covered as symbolic speech I give them a free pass. This should not apply to Bill Ayres and his wife. Cutting fire hoses at Kent State may cross the line from symbolic speech to sabotage.

                    2. @Clark E Myers,

                      I am for free speech, with the codicil that whenthe speaker has or should have the expectation that his expression represents an immediate danger to bystanders he may be expected to take appropreate precautions, and ni right of fre speech trumps another’s right to be secure in their property.

                      In short; you may not smash a window as “non-verbal speech” unless kt belongs to you, and you take appropreate precautions against flying glass. You may not EVER attack firehoses being used to extinguish a fire. And if you insist on playing with fire you can be asked to obtain a permit for a fire in a.publc place. HOWEVER the authorities may not deny you that permit if they have granted similar permits to others.

                      You have a right to speak and to publish. You do NOT have a right to an audience or free printing. Your right to speak does not trump obvious concerns for safety. Calling for the overthrow if the State is NOT an immediate danger. But a fire the size of, say, an auto-dealership’s flag certainly is.

                      And whatever the circumstances, you have absolutely NO right to imsist that people pay you any attention; don’t block publc byways and dn’t lay hands on your fellow citizens.

                    3. ” COULD have sent in the State Police, which would have probably been worse.” … maybe. Vs scared, undertrained Guard kids who’d never fired or been fired on in anger, yet were armed with combat rifles? Just after a gunshot-like sound from the direction of the protesters had been heard? (it’s on the tape, I’m told). Very possibly the State Police would have had better discipline, used less lethal weaponry longer; I don’t know.

        2. The right hands will kill you without a rock. No training required. I once forearmed a guy in the chest and broke two of his ribs. Through the pads, on my arm and his ribs.

        3. All guns are always loaded.

          Demonstrably not true.

          Treat all firearms as if they were loaded

          And a rock in the right hands will kill you.

          From my perspective it’s the rock in the wrong hands that would kill me.

        4. Me with a rock won’t kill you, unless you’re cooperating.

          My three year old with a rock won’t kill you, bar some AMAZING coincidences.

          Either of us with a gun? Oh, goodness, yes we can do that. Without you having a chance to kill US in the process.

      1. Well, technically he’s right, in the sense that, by itself without an outside force acting upon it, a gun is no more dangerous than a rock.

        Also, if I may swerve into pedantry, there are numerous rocks–I refer to the sodium group on the periodic table–that are more dangerous, in that state, than a gun.

      2. People, animals because they have volition can be dangerous. Certain conditions in nature, like storms and extremes of temperature can be dangerous.

        But inanimate objects in and of themselves are not dangerous.

        I can leave a loaded weapon on a table with 100% certainty that the gun will not get up and go on a shooting spree.

        1. No, seriously;

          The Liberals view nearly everything as dangerous, and want to restrict nearly everything on that basis, with exceptions for their wonderful selves.


          In reaction, sensible people like yourself assert that objects are not dangerous, with is true when we are talking about the efforts of the Liberal Aristocracy to regulate absolutely the whole world.


          Object are dangerous. The entire world IS dangerous. Being an adult is about weighing the dangers inherent in the environment and deciding which ones are immediate and which ones are potential. And which is the potential ones are of a potential so remote that they can be ignored.

          Guns have a pretty immediate potential. Like a sharp knife, or am white phosphorous match. They need very little energy input to do damage all out of proportion to their size if they were, say , rocks.

          Guns are dangerous. If they weren’t, I repeat, there wouldn’t be a whole lot of point.

          1. I should have said “Guns can be used to kill someone.” So can my shoes, but for guns that’s pretty much their whole purpose other than “having fun shooting at paper targets.” That’s why we SHOULD have them. The killing if needed, not the paper targets.

              1. Better:
                “That is not my choice, they’re the ones that made the choice to put themselves in a situation where I either had to shoot them!”

                1. I think that if somebody were to attack me physically when I haven’t been doing anything beyond maybe talking (unlikely, even that, I avoid face to face arguments) myself what happens after that is their responsibility, and theirs only. Now if the attacker is a police and I was in some country where I could reasonably assume that he does not intend to kill or permanently maim me I probably would not fight back, even if the risk of those always exist. But if it was somebody of whose intentions I have no clue I would, to my best ability.

                  And yes, I’d do that even though in my country there is a reasonably good chance I’d end up in jail if I killed or hurt the attacker badly even when it was clear self defense – but then even clear murderers can get relatively light sentences here. I’d rather risk that than maybe getting killed then and there.

                  And the irony here is that I would probably have a bigger chance of getting out of that kind of scenario without hurting the attacker if we were allowed to carry here because a gun would be something most attackers would probably take seriously. Without that I do look like an easy case. But I am pretty smart, do know something about human physiology, do seem to have the tendency towards going berserk, and I do not think I’d have much problems hurting somebody under those circumstances. So the chances I’d end up hurting an attacker badly instead of just getting stomped myself do exist. (And yes, getting stomped myself is the most likely end result – but if I could overcome the attacker there is no way in hell I’d be able to do it _without_ hurting him badly, with almost any size of person my only chance would be to hurt him right in the beginning as badly as possible).

                  1. I’ve been turning over a snippet in my head:

                    “You fight like a girl!”
                    “Suddenly, completely and with an eye only on winning, with no dancing around and giving warning to someone who’s made it clear they want to hurt me? Yes, I do.”

          2. “Guns are dangerous. If they weren’t, I repeat, there wouldn’t be a whole lot of point.”


            It is true that the dangerousness differences in people tend to be even more important than the dangerousness differences in objects. There are sensible aphorisms close in spirit to that: I like “a gun is not a magic wand” and “it’s hard to miss fast enough to win a gunfight.” But “guns are not dangerous” does not seem sensible at all, and it and its variants drive me up the wall.

            There are lots of dangerous situations that are hard to evaluate properly without the concept of “force multiplier” (that most people have intuitively, but which doesn’t seem to have a nontechnical name). A dangerous person with a gun (and ammo, and a bit of practice/training and tactical sense) is often considerably more dangerous than a dangerous person with a rock or a rope. (That he might be more dangerous with a motor vehicle or just matches and a can of gas doesn’t mean guns aren’t dangerous, it just means cars and gasoline and matches are dangerous too.) In English, one of the main meanings of “dangerous [object]” is “effective force multiplier”, and I can’t think of any other way to express that concept in ordinary English. People seem to be trying to forbid the term “dangerous [object]” without having any other way of expressing the “effective force multiplier” concept, and I gather they think they are being clever or wise, but I don’t see how forbidding expression of that important concept can be anything but foolish.

            (We do also use “dangerous [object]” to refer to things like an unexploded bomb or infectious medical waste, referring to the hazard of unintended harm, not being used as a weapon, but it doesn’t seem to be a terribly dangerous ambiguity, and anyway logically that applies to guns too at least in small part — at least as much as other things we worry about like used aerosol cans — so it doesn’t excuse trying to ban “dangerous” for guns.)

            1. In physics when dealing with energy there is the potential energy of an object then there is kinetic energy.

              You can think of it as what could happen vs what is happening.

              Unlike energy an objects potential to cause harm is dependent on the outside agencies effecting them.

              Danger is an individual persons assessment of someone’s or something’s ability to harm them.

              What my be dangerous for you might be something I deal with everyday. Without context saying something is dangerous is meaning less or too broad as in it will be defined by what ever danger means to the listener.

              I’m now thinking of Hyperbole and a Half’s modified pain scale but remodified for danger.


        2. You’ve never seen what a pack of Glocks and black-painted shotguns will do when left alone by the light of a full moon. Dude, the horror, the horror! 😉

            1. *shudder* Now that’s a nightmare. Never have liked that weapon, not one bit (the Judge, not most .45’s or 410 shotguns).

          1. My Glocks must be defective then, because all they ever do is sit there in the holster, waiting patiently.

            1. Their black rugous metallic carapaces filled with a terrible silence and stillness, refusing to speak with each other, refusing to give you a sign of the terror to come, cocooned in the slick leathery embrace of their burrow….

              Of course, that’s mostly because you don’t give them any Internet access. I think they’re pouting.

              1. Hey, I take at least one of them (or one of their extended family) with me almost everywhere I go, what more do they want?

        3. No, no, no. Guns have mind-control powers. Perfectly normal people suddenly pick them up and are possessed by the urge to shoot up the post office.

          1. Nonsense. It’s the Post Office itself that generates the compulsion for shooting it up. Trust me, I worked summers at the USPS during college. . . . (evil grin)

            1. and those were not the delivery folks, it is the sorters (who have more automation now so the level of stress is less) who were freaking out, and poor management pushed them over the edge. Crappy management is very dangerous too.

              1. The explanation I’ve heard is that you find it very difficult to get fired from the post office. About the only thing that will work is if they have proof you have stolen from the mail, and more than once.

                This means that fired post office workers know that if they look for a job, any employer will know they are thieves. So they cracked.

                1. that is pretty much it on a lot of those who got fired and then “went Postal” but those who still worked there and snapped were the sorters (so I was told by one of those sorters and a walking delivery guy)

          2. Not just the Post Office either; dealing with just about any .gov agency will cause one to begin to fantasize about the need for Thompson submachine guns and large drum magazines (or maybe Uzis for those into the concealment thing).

      3. mine has sat in place for years and still hasn’t gone out on its own and shot someone. even better it is cocked all the time too … until something dangerous picks it up and manipulates it, it is an inert lump

      4. While I would agree that a gun is more dangerous than a rock (of similar size), I don’t agree with your reason for saying it is so. It is more dangerous than a rock because it is easier for an accident to cause serious harm to someone. Thus, “more dangerous”.

        Now, if you want to say it is capable of causing more harm, for the same reasons you cited above, I’ll agree completely.

        1. Oh, yes. The other side of the equation (that of intent): A gun has the ability to make a person more dangerous than will a single rock.

          Still, it’s not the gun that is dangerous in that situation.

      5. Y’know… I know we just had a rather heated exchange, the other day, but in light of some things in my personal life, I really can’t stay angry, or even really remember what got me going. So, my apologies, and though I can’t un-say the things I wrote, I’d like to bury the metaphorical hatchet.

        You have, today, triggered an interesting thought-tree in my mind. What follows is really somewhat your fault, so if the FBI is knocking on your door at some point, well… Them’s the breaks, I guess.

        Whether or not the idea of privately-held nuclear weapons is fatuous, I can’t say. But, as a thought-experiment, it does raise some interesting implications about how you’d arrange foreign policy in a world where that sort of thing wasn’t impossible.

        I imagine that instead of hiring his own Delta Force, H. Ross Perot might have settled his contract dispute with the Iranians by visiting the Iranian embassy here in the US, and casually mentioning that he’d recently acquired a range of nuclear weapons for his personal pleasure, and that, gee… That’s an awfully nice city you have there… Pity if something were to happen to it…

        Or, imagine a situation where the relatives of victims of the Lockerbie bombing all clubbed in together, and bought a small gift for the city of Tripoli, to be delivered aerially. It would suck, though, if it were ever found out that the Libyans were factually innocent in that situation.

        However, it would serve to encourage people not to participate in terrorism or support it. “Achmed, you asshole… You want to send money to al Qaeda? Don’t you remember what happened to Herat, after those idiots blew up those buildings in Kenya? Yeah–That. The Kenyan Red Cross thing? Where they bought the rockets with the nukes with the donations they got, and then nuked Herat? Do you remember that, you moron? Huh? Mohammed, take this fool of a cousin of yours out back, and shoot him. He’s too stupid to live…”.

        Of course, now that I think about it, such a world would likely not have things like embassies and formal relations between nation-states, because the nation-states would mostly not exist. Maybe. Then again, sheer terror might strengthen the damn things. Who knows, though?

        Certainly, non-state actors like al Qaeda would have to be dealt with firmly, because they could get them just as easily. Then again, we might see a sort of mutually-assured destruction system come into being–“Osama, we cannot nuke New York City… If we do, the New York City Chamber of Commerce will get their own weapons, and use them on things we like–Like, Mecca, you fool…”.

        The idea that private citizens might retaliate personally with nukes for terrorist acts against them would certainly put a pause into anyone’s thought processes, unless they were completely insane. And, the completely insane would probably be restrained by their fellows who weren’t, knowing the likely consequences of a 9/11- or Beslan-style attack. A nuclear-capable PTA from the Beslan school district would probably equate to a sudden surfeit of light and heat in Grozny, for example.

        You’d have to have a drastically weaker set of central governments, along with an almost utter abolition of the entire Westphalian idea, but who’s really the beneficiary of those things, anyway? Not the people who’re victims of the states they establish, that’s for sure.

        Suppose nukes were easily available industrial items, and all it took was money. Kinda an interesting idea, if, say… An American Indian tribe decided they’d had enough of being cheated and defrauded by the Bureau of Indian Affairs (which is a truly embarrassing thing, when you look into the details of the mismanagement that’s gone on), and bought hardware on the open market that would enable them to cut through the bureaucracy like a warm knife through melted butter…

        Ah, sweet accountability… The IRS would have to learn to be very, very polite during audits, or there might literally be hell to pay. No doubt, the concentrations of bureaucracy we know now would have to disperse, lest an outraged victim of some governmental idiocy decide to immolate himself and the people at the EPA who were demanding he cease cultivating his most productive acreage because they’d declared it wetland.

        One thing is for certain: People would likely be very, very careful about pissing off anyone with the capability of building or buying one of these things for their own use. Might even be a better world, in some ways–Except for all that pesky fallout stemming from that last argument the neighbors had…

        Decent alt-history storyline, there. Thank you.

        1. Wow… This sucker is way down the tree from where I thought it would go in. The above was addressed at cpschofield’s post up the top, at 7:57.

          Holy carp, but does this software package make responding to these things confusing… I’m starting to understand the low regard people have for WordPress, the more time I spend here.

        2. In Tom Kratman’s Terra Nova novels, his main character arranged for a nuke to hit the capital of the Saudi Arabia counterpart (not the Mecca counterpart).

          The fun part is that nobody knows who was behind the nuking so the Islamics don’t have a target to strike back against *and* there’s a suspicion that the Islamics accidently nuked the city.

          So the Radicals can’t strike back and plenty of Muslims blame them for the nuking. Of course, some Muslims may have gotten the message that somebody hates the Radicals and is willing to hit hard so the Muslims have to slap down the Radicals. [Very Big Evil Grin]

          1. It would be a very different world, where you had to worry about pissing off the people directly, vice negotiating with their government. The government, you can blackmail with “Hey, y’know Baltimore? We might blow it up…”. On the other hand, should you be dealing with a situation where the good citizens of Baltimore themselves had the option of procuring and delivering their own nuclear devices on people they deemed sufficiently threatening…

            Of course, you follow that one down the logic-trail, and it ends with the neighborhood block associations going nuclear and establishing MAD relationships with their adjacent blocks. Just to make sure nobody uses them as a counter in some negotiations, ya see…

            Hell, you might even have a “nuclear escrow” thing built up–You buy a nuke, keep it maintained, and hand it over to a trusted third party: “Hey, if Baltimore vaporizes one morning, figure out who did it, and give them this, will you? Thanks…”.

            Was it Heinlein who originated the phrase “An armed society is a polite society…”? I know he used it, but did he actually come up with it?

            The more I think about it, the more I wonder if our current regime of nation-states might not be an accident of history, and that things could well be very, very different if we still allowed private diplomacy and foreign policy. And, it’s kind of odd, too, that we established such things before we had the justification of WMD being out there. Would a world that had our technology and which lacked the current “sophistication” of our international and national norms be possible, I wonder?

              1. I agree that it probably is. Objectively, is that a good thing? The Westphalian framework certainly has its flaws, but at least we no longer need to worry about the local duke marching over the border into the next kingdom and trying to carve out a chunk of it for himself.

                And, I do think that the main thing that Bush is going to be censured and remembered by history for is the way that he chose to undermine the framework, more than anything else.

                He chose a very indirect strategy after 9/11, either by design or misadventure. That strategy did not hold the parties who were most proximately responsible for the attack directly and openly accountable. He also did not fully enforce the Laws of Land Warfare, in that he oversaw the extension of combatant’s rights to those who were emphatically unlawful combatants. I presume that he did this because he’s a genuinely decent and nice human being, but the unfortunate fact is that the situation called for a complete and utter asshole. How long it is going to be until the piper calls his due, I don’t know, but it will be called, and the primary bill payers are going to be Islamic, if only because their own folly is going to cause them to self-destruct.

                1. I think a good chunk of Bush’s strategy after 9/11 can be laid to the fact that he knew he had a Fifth Column in the Disloyal Opposition and the bureaucracy, and wasn’t willing to deal with it first. Thus, he a) wasn’t willing to expand the war to places he didn’t have an in already in place. Iraq we were already at war with (First Gulf having been paused prematurely by Daddy and Colin Powell via an armistice rather than a surrender), and Afghanistan had Bin Laden there.
                  b)went much easier than he should have on the enemy because the Fifth Column would undercut him.

                  Those hesitant tactics earned him the worst of all worlds.

                  1. Let me throw out what I think was going on:

                    Two things are emphatically clear: One, Pakistan was either involved or had knowledge of the plot. Two, so was someone in the Saudi government.

                    How do I establish those facts? First, know that the Taliban was and is a creature of the ISI, the Inter-Service Intelligence agency of the Pakistani government. Nothing important went on in the Taliban-controlled regions of Afghanistan without the ISI approving of it, or at best, knowing of it. Establishment of that fact is fairly simple–One of the quid-pro-quos that the Taliban demanded of the al Qaeda organization was that before the operation went off, Ahmed Shah Massoud needed to be eliminated. That was done by an al Qaeda team masquerading as a French media team that asked for an interview with him, and then detonated a bomb concealed in their camera. Massoud was killed on September 9, 2001. That didn’t happen accidentally, or without the specific knowledge of the ISI controllers running the Taliban. Ergo, Pakistan’s responsibility for 9/11 is pretty damn clear. There’s a bunch of other stuff that is still classified, but that’s the gist of it.

                    Saudi Arabia’s complicity stems from this–The Saudis had pretty good reason to be very suspicious of any Saudi citizen that followed what was then known as the “Jihadi trail” into Afghanistan. Any young man whose records and passports showed passage to Jordan, Syria and then into Pakistan was flagged as a potential troublemaker, and tracked carefully. 15 of the 19 hijackers on the 11th were Saudi citizens, quite a few of which were confirmed to have been on the Jihadi trail at some point in their lives. One of them falling through the cracks, I could maybe buy. 15 showing up in the US with clean passports and no records to preclude a visa? Not bloody likely. Someone in the Saudi government had to know something was going on, and smooth the way for those young men to get clean new passports. If you were flagged as a Jihadi, you were in a database somewhere in the Saudi government. The fact that these guys were all given those fresh passports, and vetted by the Saudis for the State Department to issue visas? Someone in the Saudi government had to know, period. It may not have been at the level of head of government, but someone fairly high up had to know in order for those things to happen. Bypassing those databases was not something some low-level mole might have been able to do, not for 15 men.

                    So, that being the case, why not go to war against Saudi Arabia and Pakistan? First, we know Bush is a nice guy. He’s an oil man, and he knows precisely what the effect on the world’s oil market would be, if the Saudi oil went away–Which it would, if we did something military in response to 9/11. The effect? Incalculable. Most of the Third world is fed by fertilizer enabled by cheap Saudi crude, and if that went away, mass starvation of millions of people follows, all across Africa and Asia. By the time the dislocation was over with, the death toll could conceivably reach billions, because of the whole “starving people doing stupid stuff” syndrome. Pakistan was an impossibility because the moment we did something there, the Pakis would likely let nukes out into the hands of terrorists, or strike at India. Again, huge death risk, on damn near a continental scale.

                    So, what was left? The indirect approach–First, take the toys away from the ISI, by removing the Taliban from power. I think the hope was that by doing that, the ISI would lose credibility in the shifting sands of the Pakistani government, and then lose power. Past that? I don’t think they really thought that far, other than that they owed the people of Afghanistan a shot at a decent life, so we did what we did, and kinda left things up to them. The ISI responded by recapitulating the Soviet-Afghan War, and by raking off billions from the support contracts for the forces fighting in Afghanistan. When you look at it, we got rolled–The whole 9/11 thing starts to look like a huge con game played on us by the ISI.

                    Going after Iraq was a three-fer. First, Saddam was an ongoing issue, with the Europeans gnawing away at the sanctions regime, and the costs of the aerial blockade eating our budget alive. So, he had to go, along with his financial support for terrorist causes. Second, Bush wanted to punish Saudi Arabia for 9/11 by removing their buffer from Iran, which was Iraq–That was the key reason we didn’t go to Baghdad, back in the ’91 war. The Gulf Arabs and Saudis didn’t want to deal with an Iran that was their next-door neighbor. Third, Bush wanted to destabilize the despotism in the Middle East by planting a real, functional democracy right in the middle. The hope, and it was genuine, was that if the various other Arab and Islamic nations saw Iraq with a functioning democracy, that they would go “Why the hell can’t we have that…?”. Which would profoundly change things across the board.

                    Problem was, Bush started us on a program that required a minimum of fifty years of consistent foreign policy towards the region, much like the containment policies we had towards the Soviet Union. Unfortunately, the ever-to-be-damned Democrats decided to take the opportunity to turn the whole thing into a ploy for short-term political gain, and used both wars against Bush on all sorts of fronts. They blackmailed him to bust the budget (which I think he kinda wanted to do, anyway…) and spent money like water, while using their minions in the media to destroy public support for the war. And, then they got Obama into office, and we’re here where we are. Idiots–Just like with Vietnam, they used the whole thing for cheap political gains, and the repercussions are going to be gargantuan.

                    Looking back, I think that we should have gone the route of building a case against both countries, throwing it out for the world to see, and then doing a pair of swift, punitive expeditionary wars in Pakistan and Saudi Arabia if the governments of those countries didn’t cough up with the guilty parties and cease further such activities. Yeah, in the short term, millions of deaths. But, we don’t have the ability to do a Marshall Plan/NATO level of commitment these days, and the attention span for such things isn’t there. By quite literally killing millions through the second- and third-order effects, however, we’d be saving untold lives in a future where the Westphalian framework is still intact, and WMD attacks by nebulous third parties without consequence on the state sponsors of the attacks.

                    You’re seeing the very first little bits of this new world play out, right now–Or, did you think that the North Korean attack on Sony was some joke? Get used to that, because with the established fear being gone, you’ll see more and more of it. So long as you can hide behind cutouts, we now have a new precedent: You can get away with striking at the King.

                    1. I think your assessment is spot-on, with the exception of ISI.

                      ISI is the intelligence branch of Pakistani government, but they largely run their own show. It would be more correct to say that the Pakistani government has a relationship with ISI.

                      During the Soviet invasion, a lot of Pashtuns from northeast Afghanistan fled to the Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA) in Northwest Pakistan. The Pashtun tribe was on both sides of the border that had been arbitrarily determined by the British decades before, and many of the Afghan Pashtuns married into the Pakistani FATA Pashtun tribes. The Pakistani Army, led largely by ISI, administers the region, and over the years the Army, local government AND ISI developed what is essentially a good ol’ boys’ network for running things in the FATA. After 9/11, ISI had to feign cooperation with the US, but blood is thicker than water, so ISI ended up giving the US what it HAD to once in a while, but only when convenient for the tribes in Pakistan. And since the tribesmen in Pakistan 25-plus years after the Soviet invasion now had family in Afghanistan, that meant that ISI both had reach into Afghanistan and had obligations there. So the Pakistani government has influence with ISI, but if they try to cut off funding, fire everybody, demand that they work straight up with the West, etc., they risk assassination, regional destabilization, pissing off anyone with fingers in the pot in Afghanistan, etc. They’re walking a fine line, AND they’re trying to keep the fundamentalists from gaining too much power in government, let alone getting their hands on nukes.

                      Of course, a lot of the fighters in Afghanistan are funded with money funneled from Saudi Arabian oil sales. So you train leadership and send them into Pakistan, and then they recruit people to fight in Afghanistan by showing up on your doorstep and giving you a choice: you can fight for Allah and make some money, or you can watch your family die, you ignorant farm boy. So many of the so-called fighters are just biding their time and hoping to not get killed by the end of the fighting season.

                      It’s a big mess.

            1. First of all, IMO our “advanced” technology could not have been developed by less sophisticated social organizations.

              As for the current “sophistication” of our international and national norms developing “pre-WMD”, the idea that “war is hell” is very old and the idea that even a victory can be terrible is old.

              Thus, there were always people who looked for ways of preventing conflict while still wanting their group to come out ahead.

              It can be less expensive in lives, materials and gold, if you can convince the “other tribe” not to fight. Sometimes, convincing the “other tribe” not to fight may include “meeting the other tribe” half-way. Which is why diplomacy got started.

              Of course, some people have forgotten that diplomacy can’t work if the “other tribe” doesn’t worry about what happens to them if it fails.

              IE diplomacy only works when both sides want to avoid an expensive fight.

              1. Paul, I’d be very, very wary of the idea that because something happened a certain way here, in our history, that that is thus a universal truth, and that things Must Always Go Thataway…

                I don’t think that that is true. Can’t prove it, but I think that holding that as a precept is a very bad idea. If only because it drastically constrains what we can write about, and still be within the confines of SF… 🙂

                1. I hear you.

                  It may be possible for tribal societies to create high technology but I can’t help but think that some things depend on large scale societies/organizations to be developed.

                  Not necessarily the group doing the actual development but the group may need the resources that a larger society can provide.

                  It’s not to say that restricts what the writers can do but as a reader I feel that the writer has to convince me that his world is possible.

                  After all, could the Professor really have created all the stuff he did on Gilligan’s Island? [Very Big Grin]

            2. I suspect that the observation that an armed society is a,polite one is far fro original,with Heinlein. Robert E. Howard said so,ething similar (barbarians are more polite than civilized men, as a rule, because a civilized man doesn’ t have to worry about getting his skull staved in, or something close), and Kipling refered to the Japanese as havjng “the politeness of a people who have only recently given up the promiscuous wearing of swords” (again, approximately) in FROM SEA TO SEA.

              1. Like get a shot off fast a truefan can retcon Beyond this Horizon to give the saying an armed society is a polite society some validity – but only in a specifically defined context.

                It would I suggest be a major fallacy to find any universal truth. Seems to me to find a politeness rule implies a particular meaning for society. Current more or less failed societies from Somalia and much of Africa to parts of Chicago might well be armed in large part but hardly polite and certainly not polite in proportion to the prevalence of arms. Demands for respect and a death penalty for dissing do not have the same effect as social conventions among geniuses living in an economic utopia.

                Mark Twain (Sam Clemens) suggested that Sir Walter Scott with Ivanhoe and issues of honor and chivalry (SCADIAN stick jocks? ) had much to do with leading the South to war in 1861. Maybe as much as Uncle Tom’s Cabin did with leading the North to war. Smile when you say that may be a polite rebuke among a certain class but hardly all of the society.

          2. It USED to be that a very good aggressive foreign policy would achieve the same thing. “Keep your people in line, or WE’LL keep YOU in line.”

            1. Nod. Eric Flint (who’s far from an “evil” conservative) once commented that one of the problems between the US and the neighboring Indian tribes was that the tribes couldn’t prevent the “young men” from raiding into the US.

              1. David Drake had a similar situation in Hammer’s Slammers “At Any Price”; his elegant solution was to treat the cost of the cattle being killed by his natives as a tax on the ranchers and have it serve as a tax credit for the other taxes.

                1. That works if only cattle or other livestock was stolen but American lives were lost to Indian raids.

                  1. In multiple ways– the way the Japanese acted back before the bombing was shocking because they were civilized, not because nobody had run into it before. Some of the GIs who fought them had parents that remembered it from our tribes.

                  2. Drake dealt with a similar situation late in his Lord of the Isles series. The imposed solution was: it happens. The cat people will themselves deal with any cattle raiding human killing (and eating) young among them. So long as the cat people clean up their own mess Garric will police his own kind. In the alternative the people under Garric/Carus will start eliminating cat people until they are all gone.

              2. YES. The difference between policing and war is that, while policing, you have a cooperative population that has as much interest as you do in getting rid of the bad guys. When they can’t or won’t help you find the bad guys, and the bad guys are blending in, you start having to up the tactical level of response, and to handle loads of detainees that an ordinary judicial system can’t process. That’s why cops will treat residential neighborhoods with kid gloves but will suit up and crack skulls in neighborhoods where the majority of the population hates cops. It doesn’t matter if that neighborhood is a ghetto, a trailer park or a barrio – the cops are going into a war zone, and have to respond accordingly.

        3. Dammit, Gladys, this is the LAST time the neighbors dog craps on our lawn! Where did we put the Davy Crockett your dad gave us as a wedding present?

          Granted that wouldn’t work over the hedge but it paints a picture.

          1. Might not get to that point, though…

            If the neighbor who complained to you about the dog crap on his lawn actually did get a Davy Crockett as a wedding gift, would you not feel a certain, ah… Imperative, shall we say, to treat his issue seriously? And, were he to know that your yacht club had a Poseidon or two sitting down in the basin, would he not be more prone to approach you politely with the issue, in the first place?

            I dunno. People are inherently assholes, so maybe we’d just wind up immolating ourselves in a series of neighborhood watch-level Armageddons.

            One does have to admit, however, that it’s something of an amusing idea, isn’t it?

            1. Considering some of the things neighbors do to neighbors, I don’t know that Davy Crockett/Poseidon would be much different than Hedge Trimmers/Garden Fork. I think it’s a proximity thing and a human thing.

              But yeah, definitely an amusing idea. 🙂

              1. I can see the headlines already.

                And, I just remembered where I got this from–Flippin’ Vernor Vinge, of all people. In one of his stories or books, he’s got a post-apocalyptic US that’s devolved into dozens of little statelets and small polities. The enabling technology was a stasis-field like device called a “bobble”, and the country was pretty anarchic. In the story I’m thinking of, the nation-state of Arizona decides to invade Colorado, or something, and the whole invasion is stopped in its tracks when they get nuked by a survivalist who’s got his compound wired for the bobble-field for safety, and a nuke on a dead man switch–The invaders show up on his doorstep, they trip the field, and the nuke goes off on a deadman switch.

                Cue the Arizonans going “WTF just happened here…?”, and deciding that continued military operations might just be contraindicated.

                I think the protagonist was an employee of a private law enforcement firm, or something? The whole story reminded me very much of L. Neil Smith’s stuff, now that I’m remembering it.

                Man, I need to re-read that again. I wish I could remember the title… I want to say something like “The Peace War”…

                1. Nope, it was “The Ungoverned”, with a sequel, “Marooned in Real Time”.

                  Can’t remember if I kept copies, or not. I guess it’s off to Kindle-land.

                2. The tech sounds like Vernor Vinge’s The Peace War (and its sequel, Marooned in Realtime), but the particular story doesn’t sound familiar. Perhaps he wrote other stories in that universe?

      6. The nuclear weapons claim is like claiming support for the 1st Amendment means you want everyone to have their own communications satellites.

        1. Except that we don’t actually restrict ownership of any form of telecommunications asset. If you want, and you have the money, you can buy one.

          It’s an interesting idea, that WMD might be available to the common man. And, I hate to tell you this, but it is one we’d better get used to: As technology marches on, it simply won’t be that long until you can download what amounts to a recipe for a tactical nuke and then fab the thing up. Right now, the materials would be the issue, but that might not be so hard to overcome, with molecular-scale refining of materials. There are some really scary implications of nanotech, and let’s not even get into the biowar end of things.

          In my more pessimistic moments, this is why I’m pretty sure I know the answer to the Fermi Paradox. It’s not that intelligent life like ours is so rare, out there, it’s that it rarely survives to get off the planet of its birth.

          1. Ladybird’s TV station in Austin never had any competition apply that was actually found to be broadcasting in the public interest. There are some ownership and multi-market restrictions. The money required can be significant. There’s a shortage of geosynchronous slots and frequencies that are rationed mostly but not entirely by the market.

      7. And I must respectfully disagree with you. Guns are not dangerous, they are deadly. On the other hand Ammonium tri-iodide is dangerous, very dangerous. It will blow up if you look at it wrong, a gun will only go off if the trigger is pulled.

        Also, in my long ago concealed carry class, we were taught that 90% of firearm fights are non-fatal. 90% of all knife fights are fatal.

        1. Makes a pretty purple cloud but iodine is hard to buy these days – one more childish pleasure denied

        1. Hey now! Get out of my story files! Shoo, shoo, go on. *closes electronic gate, checks latch* And it’s a hair stick, remember? 😉

          1. <— has attempted to kill someone in self defense with a ballpoint pen, the pencils stuck in my ponytail, and another pen. That was before pulling out the box cutter I'd forgotten I'd had in my pocket. Long story short, someone decided to shove me down a flight of stairs. I could have broken my neck. The guy in question was more than head and shoulders taller than myself, and probably three times my weight. I sent him to the hospital.

                1. I’m a Dad, and I endorse your actions. There aren’t enough upvotes. Hopefully the mouth-breather at least learned to leave you A-L-O-N-E. And I hope the cops gave him what we in in the automotive world call “percussive maintenance.” Or what Hank Jr. calls an “attitude adjustment.”

                    1. If he WAS indeed a member of the Religion Of Peace (TM), then I’m afraid I’m simply going to have to dub you RAAAAAAAAAAAACIST!

                      In all reality, I always figured that the men holding very traditional views about beating their wives in Islam would have zero preparation for handling an educated, liberated, potentially lethal Western gal. They’re used to smacking kittens. He tried to smack a tigress, I guess.
                      Ha ha ha haaaa!

                    2. Yeah, well, considering that I heard the bastard say to his two friends ‘the stupid bitch needed to be put in her place’ as I was picking myself up at the bottom of the flight of stairs kinda helped in shoving me into Sherlock Scan levels of icy berserker rage. They didn’t even notice me sprinting up the stairs till I’d launched a momentum-propelled jodan zuki that sent the thug flying through a pair of heavy fire doors and into the hallway. One thing for sure though, I scared the other two guys with him – both black fellows at least as tall as my attacker – so much that they stayed out of that fight.

                      Speaking about small, fierce and terrifying, did you hear about the little old grandma that went absolutely postal after the Taliban killed her son, a local cop/border guard? She killed 28 in a 7 hour gun fight, and I hear her kill count’s been climbing since.

                    3. Weaker sex? Just makes them far more vicious and underhanded. WAY TO GO!
                      Looks like he was mistaken about which b**** needed to be put in its place.
                      As far as grandma goes, like Louis L’Amour said, never get in a fight with someone who just don’t give a damn.

                  1. That’s one of my favorite combat scenes ever! Matter of fact, I have a steel ball-point pen that I carry whenever I go on an airplane, just in case of feral humans.

    2. A firearm is a power tool, and like any power tool it can cause harm either through mishandling or by evil intention. Either of those requires some human effort of will.
      If as the libs are so prone to say “it’s for the children” why in blue bloody blazes are our school children not being taught age appropriate gun handling and safety at every level of public school?
      There are estimated to be over 300 million firearms in private hands in the US. A concerned parent can obsessively try to shield their child from each and every one of them, or with just a bit of instruction make that child safe.
      Funny how the same parents who demand preteen instruction on birth control methods will recoil in horror at my simple and heartfelt proposal.

      1. In one of the Eve Dallas novels, somebody was murdered with a hand-held power drill. [Wink]

          1. What’s “funny” is that Eve Dallas lives in a world where only certain people can legally carry hand-guns. Even Eve thinks of the irony that guns are banned but murder goes on.

            1. That’s the crux of the problem, isn’t it? Outlawing something doesn’t eliminate it, no matter how many times you scream “ZERO TOLERANCE!”

              My current favorite is the goal of zero highway fatalities. Because people hurtling down the road in two tons of metal should be perfectly safe, even when coming to a sudden stop (say, against a concrete barrier). I guess the answer is to sit at home, doing nothing. After all, even the Internet is a dangerous place. Just ask the trolls.

              1. I have come to the somewhat grumpy conclusion that “zero tolerance” is a government stooge’s way of saying “I know I’ve forfeited the support of the citizenry, so I can’t exercise my judgement, even if I had any.”

            1. I’d argue that the other way ’round. You can kill someone by accident with a gun, but you really have to want ’em dead if you use a drill. There’s also the gruesome level of putting some muscle behind it. In similar manner, you’d think hammer-beating deaths would make the news a little more. Maybe not, since there are more hammer-murders than gun-murders. YMMV.

    3. Quibble: Modern firearms are not dangerous, but there are a lot of older firearms (pre-1960 single action revolvers for example, or some shotguns with weak springs) that actually *can* go off if not stored properly.

      1. Very true, and knowledgeable owners knew of those failings and developed methods around them. For ex. the common practice of loading a Colt six shooter with five and resting the hammer on an empty chamber. Note, current single action revolvers use a transfer bar rather than direct firing pin contact so that practice is no longer necessary.

        1. And not storing your shotgun with a round in the chamber (with the spring still under tension), and etc. etc.

          But it’s the *unknowledgable* owners that cause most of the casualties. Folks who kept a loaded shotgun (round in the chamber) for self-defense &&etc.

          Idiots are dangerous.

          1. Which holds equally true whether the implement in question is a firearm, automobile, home cleaning supplies, common household chemicals, sharp knives, propane, gasoline, and so ad infinitum.

        2. Say rather, “modern” single-action revolvers rather than current. My Uberti, a fine handgun, was manufactured in the 21st century but has the historically authentic fixed firing pin, thus requiring the traditional “hammer down on the empty cylinder” carry.

          Modern single actions like the Ruger, for example, DO use a transfer bar safety, but they are in the minority.\

          Of course, every contemporary double-action revolver I am aware of uses the transfer bar.

      1. Thanks!

        I had already read it. If you found that interesting there is also _Violence a Writers Guide_ by Rory Miller.


  1. Now, with some people’s children, it probably IS a good idea to keep nuts off the plane altogether, because odds are, they’re going to loudly chew the nuts, mouth agape, spittle vapor and nut fragments filling the air around the child at random intervals, before said child runs around licking people, and they’re just good enough that they’ll help someone find out for the first time that they’ve got a nut allergy.

    Yup. FERAL is the problem. Feral humans can’t be trusted with a paper drinking straw and a diaper.

    The sad part is, just like Lucy and Susan Pevensie, sometimes you can’t tell by looking that a bear has gone feral. Hence the need for guns.

      1. If I ever win the lottery, I’m going to start my own airline. It will be called Air Chloroform, there will be a bottle and sponge at the boarding ramp, and the motto will be “If it’s under 12, it’s sleeping.”

        1. My cunning plan is a bond system (no not that kind get your mind out of the gutter.) Parents must post a bond to bring a child on an airplane. Sliding scale, from $2K for an infant to $500 for a teenager. If the little darling behaves, bond is fully refunded. If they act up, bond is forfeit and is used to buy alcoholic beverages or whatever will make the flight easier for the suffering passengers. Repeat offenses result in child being banned from airline until an adult. (The high rate for an infant is because it is cruel to everyone, including the baby, to stick them in a situation they can’t deal with and can’t be explained to them, like “swallow and the pain in your ears will go away”) I have traveled with children who were indeed well-behaved, and I complimented their parents on that fact 😉

          1. +1

            The few times I traveled (on a plane) with my infant boys, I did everything possible to keep them occupied and quiet. As they got older, they never left their seat until I was confident they would walk quickly to the lavatory and return just as quickly when they were finished.

            1. One of my mother’s favorite books from my childhood was THE ANIMAL GARDEN by Ogden Nash. See, we got trapped on a plane that was ledt on the tarmack,for FOUR HOURS, followed by a Miami to Cleveland flight. She only had that one book, and NEITHER OF US GOT BORED WITH IT.

              I was a tiny at the time.

          2. An infant is easy. You nurse them during take-off and landing. It’s the older than infant but not yet vaguely rational stage that’s hard–where they are too old to nurse when there is something interesting going on and too young to follow directions when in discomfort. Roughly six months to eighteen months.
            Though anyone who would take a child through the security checkpoints at airports has, um, issues with controlling their child’s safety. I haven’t flown in a long time because of having children. Amtrak was nice, last time we used it, but with our size of family it’s cheaper to drive.

            1. I HAD to fly with the boys as toddlers. My parents are across the ocean. Most people understood. Only time I met a right dou– er… non-understanding person was on the last leg home from Chicago to Denver after flying for almost 24 hours (every time we fly the cheapest fare is through yet another NORTHERN European capital. So, with layovers it’s 24 hours. Our 1 and a half year old was screaming and crying (in a low tone) the whole way. There wasn’t much we could do. Everything was pushed away with annoyance: food, toys, music. So, the lawyer in front of us, who had decided he must spend the three hours working, kept turning around and yelling for us to “keep that brat quiet.” I have clue zero what he expected us to do. And his yells made the kid scream louder. ONLY time boys misbehaved on a plane. We had EVERYTHING for the trips. Favorite toys, favorite food, we bought stuff to play video/music/audio books which we technically couldn’t afford, but it kept them quiet and the other passengers happy.
              Problem is, SOMETIMES you have to fly with the littles. I try to be understanding to people who do, provided they’re not letting the little darling kick my seat or pull my hair.

              1. About the third time I’d probably have pointed out that every time the idiot felt the need to make that impossible demand, it made things worse.

                1. Nod.

                  While I do crying infants to be “annoying” (not the right word but can’t think of a better one), I do know shouting at the parent and/or the child isn’t helpful.

                  Sadly, the “best” solution I’ve found (moving away from the crying infant) isn’t always possible on an airplane.

                  Of course, I feel for the parent because if the crying bothers them as much as it bothers me, they can’t “move away from the crying infant”. [Sad Smile]

                  1. Imfants I can’t do anything with, but I have a technique for screaming toddlers that works sometimes. I ask them “do you need to be oiled? You squeak!”

                    In the first place this puts them on notice that they are drawing the attention of strangers. They may be enough less secure around strangers that they will quiet. In the second place it gives them something new to think about. Some of them even laugh.

                    1. I’ve been known to say to toddlers “Oh it can’t be that bad” and it sometimes works to quiet them down. [Smile]

                    2. I’ve been known to threaten to sell my kids to the Gypsies. Learned that one from my Dutch grandmother. 😀

                2. Crying kids I can usually deal with; it’s when they move to kicking the seat / throwing things over it…..

                    1. My wife and I just went on a road trip with the kiddoes. We started traveling by some simple rules:
                      1. No more than 8 hours per day on the road.
                      2. Lunch or dinner happens in a restaurant with a play area so the kids can run, holler, scream, jump, etc. for an hour or so about halfway through the day’s trip.
                      3. While on the road, use of the Child Silencing Device (DVD player) is mandatory.
                      This trip went so much more smoothly than other trips I’ve been on. If I was doing intercontinental travel, I’d probably want to just book a passenger ship (if that even exists these days).

                    2. Huh, we do 24 hour + drives to visit family every summer– then again, our “short” trips to Grandmother’s House are six hours, with kids, and my eldest is five so we’ve got a LOT of time for trouble to set in.

                      Our first rule is no screen devices. (which turned out to be a good idea, the one time I broke that rule I found out that the girls get motion sick) Books or lessons are OK.

                      As utterly sappy as it sounds, we mostly just talk. Mommy and daddy are already insane, anyways, and we have books on tape and the radio.

                      Bio beaks as needed, be it for food or waste removal, and they always come with at least fifteen minutes of running around like crazy.

                      In the morning we leave on mommy’s readiness (I think getting up at four to shower and get the car warmed so everyone else can fall back asleep is a wonderful plan, especially since I can double-check everything is loaded) and stop on daddy’s. (ten is an early night)

                      This lets us do the “Hey, that’s interesting enough to stop….” thing. (Even if we’ve only done it once.)

                    3. Collect license plates!

                      Have the children watch for them and make a list. (Some people, I am told, make it competitive. Problem is that there is no way to tell who saw what first. We always did it together.)

                      The younger the kids, the shorter the period of the list. Say one from starting to lunch, then another from lunch to arrival, and vice versa on the way back.

                      When my sisters and I were in our teens, we did one all summer, and at the end we were working out which five states we had not got. (That number did not include Alaska and Hawaii.)

                    4. A game I played with my college room-mate when we were driving from Texas to Wyoming for a summer job involved trying to come up with words that used the letters in license plates. The letters in the words had to be in the same order as the letters on the plates too.

                      Good way to work on vocabulary and spelling, while staving off boredom.

            2. After the whole naked-scanning-or-cavity-search thing started, I informed my wife that my family would not be flying anywhere anymore. I’LL go. If somebody thinks my pasty white Scotch-Irish keester is worth ogling, they’re more than welcome. But as far as my wife and kids? I have some language usually reserved for particularly stupid Privates.

            1. As long as it’s only one airline doing this, so that basically there would be an airline where people could go (presumably paying a premium fare) to avoid such things, it would be OK. If it were ALL the airlines, then bad idea.

              1. That wasn’t the impression I got from the comment.

                Parents must post a bond to bring a child on an airplane. Sliding scale, from $2K for an infant to $500 for a teenager. If the little darling behaves, bond is fully refunded. If they act up, bond is forfeit and is used to buy alcoholic beverages or whatever will make the flight easier for the suffering passengers. Repeat offenses result in child being banned from airline until an adult.

                Flight to Australia at the time cost 2.5 thousand per ticket. I don’t particularly find amusing the notion that just because I have children, I’m expected to pay thousands of dollars extra ‘on the possibility they’ll misbehave’ on a ten to twelve hour flight. And what makes you think that this delightful money-grabbing notion wouldn’t be considered a ‘win-win’ for the airline when practically any noise could be considered unwanted or a disturbance – and that malicious individuals wouldn’t raise a stink just to punish parents? For the record, my kids WERE behaved, but no matter how much they swallowed their ears hurt, and there were some complaints from the pain till they popped about two hours into the flight. I’m fairly sure that SOMEONE would have bitched anyway, given the delightful levels of intolerance I’ve seen from travelers towards the mere existence of children on the flight.

                Housemate told me about how on the last time he got on a plane, a guy in a business suit started bitching about a baby making happy baby noises. As in, started ranting at the mom… from several rows away. Housemate was sitting right next to the kid, and would only hear the occasional soft gurgly giggle. He stood up and told the guy to shut the fuck up, the kid isn’t crying, and there’s no bloody way he could possibly HEAR the kid from several rows away, and stop acting like an even bigger baby than the infant, and the only reason the baby started crying was because ‘you were a giant twatwaffle and made it’s mum cry.’

                1. I considered it a good likelihood because it was in response to a comment which specifically mentioned starting a new airline.

                  OTOH, I’m certainly not going to claim I have certain knowledge what ANY woman is thinking. 🙂

                  1. Yeah, well, this is one of those hot-button rage inducers for me. I was actually about to go to sleep and I saw that, and now it’s three hours later and I’m still awake and angry. Migrating here was nightmarish and mine wasn’t the only family who was treated badly by cranky nonparents who felt that the inconvenience of parents traveling with children through checkpoints, having their multiple bags checked was all because we were such selfish people who couldn’t do the nice thing and NOT BE THERE GETTING IN THE WAY, like stay the fuck at home and never get on a plane with children, if we were really caring people, stupid breeders shoving our brats into their lives. Yes, I really hated being treated like I’m worthless and less than human for choosing to have kids and having to TRAVEL with them! And that doesn’t even get to how bad arriving and having to go through Australian airports was.

                  1. On the way over here, my little boy met another little boy and they spent maybe three of the five or so daylight hours of the flight playing quietly together, chatting like happy little boys. The mother of the little boy had gotten one of the seats right behind the toilet, and at the window, so they had a little ‘room’ cordoned off by her legs, and were sitting on the floor together. An older woman walking past sniffed at us about our being such irresponsible parents and not making our kids behave and instead ‘allowing’ them to act as if the airplane were our living room… and went to complain to the staff.

                    The stewardess who came over saw that the kids were not being a disturbance at all, said what they were doing was okay, and just ignore the old critter because she’d been making them dance attendance to her all flight long with a litany of demands and complaints. Just make sure they strap in if the seatbelt fasten sign goes on.

          3. By 4 years of age my daughter had been to Italy and Australia.

            The trick is to have *plenty* for the child to do, and have a good natured child.

            I will admit the seat was a bit of a mess when she was done, but that was mostly scraps of paper and cracker crumbs.

            1. Some of the best airlines I’ve seen – and very welcoming to families – provide them with little kiddy activity sets. Emirates gave away plastic lunchbox-sized souvenirs that had crayons, coloring books, puzzles, a smally cuddly stuffed animal and a Rubiks cube as well as the usual ‘toothbrush, toothpaste, socks and eye-covers’ set. Philippine Airlines used to do something similar but that changed over the years, though there’s a little kiddy goodie bag with a little coloring book/sketchbook and crayon set and a small puzzle from when we last flew with them.

              Unfortunately, the method of ‘keep the kid occupied’ that worked a treat is more difficult to maintain now that they’re actively SHRINKING the carry-on allowance and size.On the other hand, one of the local airlines has hit on the idea of renting out iPads for $5 per flight.

              1. We always bought our kiddo her own seat, and hence she had her own carryon that was a spare change of clothes or three and *brand new* coloring/activity books with brand new crayons and markers. Plus either a DVD player or a netbook loaded with videos. Yeah, it weighed almost as much as she did, but it’s one carry on per passenger.

                1. Yep. That’s what we did with the kids. At one and a few months, though, Marsh still had issues. Though issues on the last leg is not that bad. He then slept all the way home in the car, and I think for the next ten hours solid. After that, though, no problems. He and Robert viewed airplanes as a chance to listen to audiobooks, talk, draw… normal things. And from about 13 on, they just read. Though Marsh’s idea that what he should do was translate the Iliad all the way from here to NYC and back at 12 was a LITTLE weird. OTOH he didn’t bother anyone. Okay, except me. I sometimes had to listen to how the translation I owned was wrong because…

                2. Yeah, kiddlywinks these days need their own seat. The kids had their own little drag-along carryon, with extra clothes, personal items, and things to pass the time with, like toys, books and such. Youngest had a little backpack that they let slide because the only thing in it was his Tigger stuffed toy, who poked out of the top. Daughter qualified for an adult seat and had adult baggage limits, thank gods. Her ‘purse’ had food for the long waits before boarding – snacky things like packaged cakes and biscuits. Key to not having cranky kids on travel – make sure they’re fed, and entertained. Happily, it was a flight that went on for part of the night so after they ate – I made sure they ate all of their meal, warning both of them that it would be a long while before they got any more food – they curled up together in their seats and went straight to sleep.

                  1. The two flights we’re talking about here averaged 10 or 12 hours each way (D.C.Rome), and 15 hours each way (L.A.Sydney. 19 one way, 13 the other IIRC). No way I’d keep anything but the smallest infant on my lap that long.

                    We did drive from S.F. to STL when kiddo was 9 months old. I changed a diaper in the back of a minivan doing 70 m.p.h while wearing a suit and tie.

      2. Ha ha ha haaaa!

        You know, you’re never going to get ANYWHERE in the military if you try to apply logic and reason to things…

        Oh, sorry, that was a knee-jerk reaction from years of being in the Army. 😀

  2. I, too, see the feral children all around me, and I am forcibly reminded of Kipling’s story “Thrown Away”.


    The edict that children should be allowed to “act naturally” has always filled me with foreboding, and as I grew to adulthood also with rage. It all comes back to the desire of the Progressives to run everything; it isn’t that they don’t approve of rules and limits; it’s that they don’t approve of rules and limits set by anyone else, and not subject to exception by whim (of a Progressive of course). They didn’t approve of society’s rules about sex because those prevented them from shtupping every pretty girl they could talk into spreading her legs. The (Progressive) Professors in our colleges are all for imposing the harshest rules about sex on the male student population, largely (I am convinced) because they think that will leave them an open field. After all it’s OK and Liberating when THEY talk some reluctant coed into mating.

    I’m not sure what the campus Feministas think. I’m not sure they DO think. I am NOT going to jabber about predatory lesbians; I’ve never encountered any, and though I hear about them they tend to recede into the distance, like bigfoot.

    Bottom line; nobody who is free of inhibitions is fit to associate with polite society. And I notice that when society gets impolite, the Progressives are among the ones that whine the most.

    Therefore; Scofield’s Law of Social Interaction; Nobody without inhibitions is fit to be released upon society, so please develop some.

    1. That reminds me of a conversation that I had with my daughter one time. It essentially went:
      “You know, you’re mad at me for putting you in a timeout. But you are going to develop some self-control. You can fight against this as much as you like, but YOU WILL DEVELOP SELF-CONTROL.
      “You know what happens to kids who grow up without any self-control because their parents never sent them to timeout to teach them to think about how to behave and how to lead a happy, successful life? Society ends up giving them a timeout. It’s called PRISON. Sadly, the timeout usually fails to teach them anything at that point.”

      1. And you are, in fact, soft-peddling it. What happens to children who never develop ay self control is that either they are controlled by others (and usually not to their benefit) or they fail to exercise the self control necessary to keep from getting prematurely DEAD.

        1. Yes, definitely toning it down. I didn’t want to SCARE the poor child. But with some kids, you get much better results if you tell them WHY a thing must be done, and I know she’ll fill in those blanks as she gets older.

          1. This is why I’m not a parent. See, I’d think scaring the little house-apes, within reason, is GOOD idea.

            Some years ago, while I was standing in a checkout line, a small boy (knee high) came running up and kicked me right in the ankle. I said “Little boy, don’t do that.”


            “Because I’m not related to you and I don’t care whether you live or die.”

            he went and hid behind his mother, who became irate. I told her “You need to housebreak the little monkey, before somebody shelves him.”

            1. I was sitting in a Pizza Hut, eating sometime in the early 90s, when a couple of little savages started throwing pizza. No one said anything, including momma. Finally, one of them hit me with a piece of topping, and I turned to her and said “if you don’t control your spawn, I’m going to borrow the oven and make a Jeffrey Dahmer special.”

              She waxed indignant and I told her she was lucky I wasn’t calling the cops to have her kids charged with assault and her for contributing to the delinquency of a minor. She left, and everyone else cheered, including the staff, who said it was company policy that they couldn’t say anything.

              1. I’m starting to understand why people would come across restaurants to tell us how wonderful our boys were. They sat, they ate, they made polite conversation. They still do, though the conversation can get to be heavy going with math and stuff.
                It’s because neither mom nor dad would take no guff. So, “please, thank you, thank you kindly, ma’am and sir” are still a part of their interaction with strangers.

                1. I usually just turn to the breeders(can’t call them parents) and suggest that they control their little animals or I’m callingthe dogcatcher.

                1. At the time, ol Jeffrey was pretty fresh in the mind; nowadays I’d probably substitute Hannibal Lecter.

                    1. “Here’s a health to old Alfred T Packer,
                      Greatest Republican alive!
                      There weren’t but six Democrats in Muleshoe County
                      And Alfred T Packer ate five!”

                      Sigh, if only he’d joined the Clean Plate Club then….

            2. Which is why you should be a parent. The world is not a nice place, and kids who don’t know that don’t make it.
              If that were my kid he’d’ve gotten his butt paddled once we were in the van (darned do-gooders who think spankings are child abuse). And you’d have gotten an apology. From me and from him. Because while I may not be able to make my kids do anything, they know quite well that I can make them miserable until they comply.

              1. Yep, there are very few child care problems my parents ever had that could not be solved with either the glare of promised doom, the elbow of reminder, or the quick adjournment outside/to the anteroom/into the bathroom.

                1. My eldest once made the mistake of saying he’d prefer the natural consequences to his infractions than punishments.
                  I made him list the natural consequences to a few infractions. Like not wearing a seat-belt in the car. Playing with fire.
                  Then I pointed out that some of the natural consequences of some infractions are long-term. The natural consequence of not getting an education now is being unemployable in a decade.
                  He didn’t like it. But he’s old enough to comprehend when he’s in a rational mood.
                  I’m pretty sure the natural consequences of kicking a stranger when you’re an adult range from beaten unconscious to dead. The bigger the stranger probably the less fatal the consequences. Petite ladies don’t really have the option of beating grown men up.

                  1. Holly, you might point out to him that one of the little consequences of youthful folly such as not regularly wearing a seatbelt until after 30 is cervical fusion at age 45 and a followup at 54…. which is not fun.

            3. *Snort* My parents felt it perfectly acceptable to drill into our little heads that we would survive better if we learned to obey and do as we’re told. The scenarios my father listed included car accidents, people stampeding like panicked sheep, boats sinking, wild animal attacks, and in case someone decided to rampage with a deadly weapon. And at no point did he pull punches about us ending up very dead if we did the stupid thing.

              End result: three kids turning into three adults who aren’t panicky, dumb sheep.

              Doing the same to my kids.

              1. “This we learned from famous men
                Teaching in our borders,
                Who declared it was best,
                Safest, easiest, and best–
                Expeditious, wise, and best–
                To obey your orders.”


                Of course, that’s from a book all about learning how to BREAK the rules…

            4. My experience is that you try reason and repetition until they’re clearly failing, then you move on to discipline, and then use terror as a last resort. Unfortunately, this takes lots of patience. On the up side, you don’t have to be totally perfect to get good results. You just have to be reasonably consistent and you’ll likely raise someone who’s at least uninterested in actively hurting others.

    2. Someone who says children should “act naturally” clearly hasn’t spent much time around children.

    3. Some kids are feral despite lots of training. The best we poor parents can do sometimes is run them around until they are exhausted.

    4. I’m not sure what the campus Feministas think. I’m not sure they DO think. I am NOT going to jabber about predatory lesbians; I’ve never encountered any, and though I hear about them they tend to recede into the distance, like bigfoot.

      Try the Navy.

      Or some areas of the music scene.

      1. I used to be in an Air Force unit that had only ONE hetero female in it. When on a deployment where they put all the females in one room, she slept with a bayonet under her pillow, and the brawls that went on in those quarters were legendary.

  3. There is a certain mentality out there that thinks it’s justified in wielding power over others. Their vision of what we SHOULD be trumps all objections about freedom.

    1. Yes. There have always been such vermin, and there always will be. They live in a fantasy world where The Great and Good SHOULD rule, for the betterment of all. It’s a nice fantasy, in the sense that Gore is a nice fantasy, but it doesn’t work in the real world. And they keep TRYING it in the real world.

      Aristocrat, rope, lamp port. Some assembly required.

  4. That means by definition they are house-broken and capable of following instructions. “Don’t eat that because it will kill you” should be a hard and fast one.

    I once was in an online discussion about a First Communion that was invalid because the priest had not used a proper communion wafer. The girl had celiac disease. Someone actually tried to defend attacking it on the grounds that it would be nice for her to get the same as everyone else.

    I pointed out that was the story of her life, and singling it out as bad here was insane. No response, of course.

    1. Since communion is valid upon either of the two species, wine was enough. If they wanted to give her something so she wouldn’t stand out, it doesn’t matter. Wine was enough.

      1. You mean grape juice… because it only a valid exception if the power that be decree it so.


        1. You can’t offer grape juice as it is currently sold. You can offer “new wine” — that is grape juice that has yet to ferment, but you can’t pasteurize it or otherwise prevent fermentation.

          1. This is why I’m a Protestant; is the type / condition of grape juice going to prevent the essential miracle?

            1. I once suggested cranberry juice, just so the sour-faced parishioners would have a reason to look grumpy. That was the first and last time I got put on a committee at that place of worship. *looks innocent*

        1. So you make them out of barley, right? Since both were used for making bread in that region and era.

          Such is the stuff Christians argue about. No wonder non-Christians find us weird.

          1. According to tradition, they did not use barley for that meal; I haven’t been able to find anything modern except that the Passover bread is “typically” made of wheat flour.

            Perhaps barley was used for relatively inexpensive day to day bread? Passover is “associated” with the barley harvest, too….

            1. Biblically, “bread” meant wheat or barley, or variants like spelt or rye, so matzohs can be made out of any of those. (Traditionally oats also, though some scholars have doubts about this tradition and oat matzohs are only used by those with real gluten sensitivity. I have no idea whether they would be acceptable for Christian communion. Or, in fact, whether anything but wheat is allowed—what’s the Christian equivalent of CYLOR?)

              The only reason barley or rye matzoh don’t exist is that customers prefer the taste of wheat. (Or think they would; or the bakeries think so and won’t risk the money on other varieties.)

              1. For Catholic, it’s “Fine Wheaten Flour.”

                For other Christian? Uh…. *pulls out a 52 decks of cards* Pick one. Then pick one…..

                1. For my Southern farmer ancestors it was what could they afford; I have a clear memory of my grandparents’ Methodist church using saltine crackers and Welch’s. Somehow, I doubt Jesus cared.

                  “The Sabbath was made for Man, and not Man for the Sabbath”, etc.

                  And I’ve always liked this from Kipling:

                  “How do I know what is greatest,
                  How do I know what is least?
                  That is My Father’s business,”
                  Said Eddi, Wilfrid’s priest.

                  “But — three are gathered together —
                  Listen to me and attend.
                  I bring good news, my brethren!”
                  Said Eddi of Manhood End.

                  And he told the Ox of a Manger
                  And a Stall in Bethlehem,
                  And he spoke to the Ass of a Rider,
                  That rode to Jerusalem.

                  They steamed and dripped in the chancel,
                  They listened and never stirred,
                  While, just as though they were Bishops,
                  Eddi preached them The Word,

            1. The funny part is that this is what younger son has. He gets ANGRY at people putting up trees before the week before Christmas. He yells about it being wrong.
              I gave him this document. He said “this all makes PERFECT sense.”
              Raises eyebrow. The strange is profound in that one.

              1. What’s his standard for “wrong” wrt Christmas tree raising time? I’m not aware of any objective standard regarding the moral or legal status of the timing of tree-trimming…

        1. Just tagging on your thread Mary, no argument intended. The wafer used by Catholics and Protestants is very important to both sects, as it is in Judaism. It is the “hidden portion” of the third cup (Cup of redemption) in Passover and signifies that Christ is present in the service and foretells that he will return. Therefore, it must be unleavened as should be the wine which contains the Spirit (of G-D) If the wine (grape juice or wine) have been tampered with then sin has been introduced and the sacrifice is not acceptable. That is why you have kosher wine. The matzo sold in stores is not kosher either until blesses by a Rabbi. Therefore if the Catholic Priest blesses the unleavened wafer made from a non flour product, it is Roman Catholic Kosher. Sorry to take so much space; but, what we call communion is the very base of our covenant religion with the Cross as G-D’s signature.

          1. Kosher has nothing to do with the food being blessed by a rabbi.

            (The closest you get is that the matzoh used at the seder should ideally be made with conscious intent “I’m making an object with which to perform God’s Commandment”—but it’s the kneaders and bakers that make a statement to this effect every shift, not a rabbi.)

            And the kosher status of wine is a special case yet again: the Pharisee rabbis didn’t want us drinking with y’all heathens.

            1. Isn’t that what kosher is all about? Separating God’s chosen people from the gentiles? [Polite Smile]

              1. The Biblical-level Laws (which animals & fish, how to slaughter them, not mixing meat & milk, etc.) did not come with explanations in the Rule-Book. That might well be part of the reason, though—but for the rabbinically-ordained rules about kosher wine, it is the reason.

            2. They still have to keep the matzoh within specs – no more than 18 min from flour and water touching to done (so it doesn’t have a chance to rise). The big thing about wine, too, is that most winemaking then (and some now), poured libations to idols at the end of the process, which means that the wine had been used in pagan ceremonies. Somewhat frowned upon…

              1. Yup. There was a shocking discovery that the hair used by many Hasidim women in wigs came from India — where it was offered to idols. Rabbis convened to determine whether the prohibition would extend to other things offered to idols besides food.

                1. A slight correction: The prohibition definitely extends to things other than food. The rabbis had to figure out whether the donations of hair in the temple counted as worship—which meant analyzing the tonsure process as closely as any Hindu theologian ever had.

        2. True – and true to both. 😉 I personally made a Lutheran mad by saying that I only go to church (very rarely by the way) for the music. It was like I dissed Christ and the Communion. I had to block him because he aggressively followed me with a couple of rants. So it in my opinion this discussion is interesting… in an academic way.

    2. I’m trying to wrap my head around “proper communion wafer” The Orthodox and Eastern rite use leavened bread in the form of a cube. Was it a special wafer? There are such to persons with certain allergies.

      1. There are special very, very, very low gluten wafers that are acceptable for celiacs, but this particular one was not wheat.

        1. Generally, in the East they use leavened bread, as a sign that Christians aren’t bound by Jewish law anymore. (This includes some Catholic Rites, like Byzantine.) In the West, we use unleavened bread, because Passover. Both East and West seem to agree that it should be “finest wheat,” as used for the Bread of the Presence of God and other Temple purposes. Similarly, both East and West seem to agree that wine = grape wine. (Albeit I don’t know much about the various flavors of Orthodox and other Eastern Christians.)

          Basically, wherever missionaries went, they usually arranged to grow wheat and grapes if at all possible. That’s why there’s a valley in Tibet that used to be a French Catholic mission that has a wonderful little vineyard, even after the Chinese deported the missionaries.

    3. I once was in an online discussion about a First Communion that was invalid because the priest had not used a proper communion wafer.

      My first reaction is that if God can turn a specific kind of wafer into the body of Christ, he can pretty much do it with whatever he wants, and the obstinate insistence on a specific material thing as part of the ritual is a signifier of a mind that is petty, cruel and fixated on the wrong thing .

      My second reaction is “Stop being a f*king twit before I curb stomp your ass”.

      1. Christianity had some very very bad experiences early on with folks who figured the materials for Communion should be changed. First off, it usually meant they were trying to erase all that icky Jewishness, including the OT and most of the Gospels (Marcionites). Second, it usually meant that they were trying to sneak in pagan rites (raisin cakes for the goddess Asherat, bread with milk or cheese for Communion for people trying to turn Mary into some kind of sheep/cow/goat mother goddess etc.), fun with various Gnostic sects using aphrodisiacs and drugs as Communion, etc.

        Latin Rite Catholics have more recently had very bad experiences during the post-Vatican II period, when people kept making honey cakes, chewy throat-choking bread, crumbly loaves (making it all too easy to drop Jesus’ Real Presence on the floor), Graham crackers, or chocolate chip Communion bread. Even when it’s not pagan, it’s just wrong.

        So yes, it’s sad not to be able to receive under one form even if you can receive under the other. But there are a lot of people out there who can’t receive at all. It’s a gift to be able to approach Him under any form whatsoever.

        If you change certain stuff, it doesn’t matter. But if you change things that are defined as essential, pretty soon you’re making it obvious to God (and yourself, and everybody else in church) that you just don’t care about His decrees. And if the priest doesn’t mean to do what the Church means by Communion, it doesn’t happen; it’s just cruddy raisin bread, not Jesus Christ. Christ is not going to beat people over the head if they don’t want to take His Sacraments the way He taught us.

        1. The church that I attended as a child (Our Lady of Lourdes in Columbia, MO) and IIRC the one we went to when we visited STL (Holy Innocents, no longer there) both used at one time or another “unleavened bread” as the host instead of the more normal wafer.

          So the same thing isn’t always used.

          There is a difference between objecting to injecting stuff into the religion that’s not supposed to be there, and being a nit-picking rules lawyer.

          The former makes sense, the latter? Curb-stomp.

          After all, it’s the latter that make up most school boards and HOA councils.

          1. So the same thing isn’t always used.

            That is “the same thing,” from the limited information.

            The problem is that you’re looking at different things than they do when determining if it’s the same thing for validity or not.

            1. No, it’s not.

              One is the *very* thin round, smooth almost plasticy stuff that cracks crisp and clean and has almost no taste.

              The other stuff is a darker brown, about 3 or 4x the thickness and is scored to be broken into 1/4 inch (more or less) squares. It’s also pretty tasty.

              I’m fairly certain the first stuff isn’t historically accurate and is a function of modern processing and distribution. The second is at least occasionally “home made”.

              1. It’s a good thing you are not, counter your apparent beliefs, The One Who Gets To Decide.

                You’ve failed to even attempt to understand what you’re arguing against sufficiently to argue against it; that may make you feel good, but it’s incredibly unhelpful to anyone wishing to promote your view, while helping those you disagree with.

      2. How unChristian of you. St. Paul lays it out in his letters. As with meat sacrificed to idols, if you don’t have scruples, you must respect the people who do, and avoid it anyway.

        1. Hey, Mary, am I dreaming, or was there an early Christian heresy that thought the whole universe was an egg, and that Jesus hatched out of an egg, and that had hard boiled eggs for Communion? It sounds plausible, but I could have just confabulated it, and it’s not showing up on the search engines.

        2. How unChristian of you.

          Yeah, I am.

          if you don’t have scruples, you must respect the people who do, and avoid it anyway.

          I respect people with scruples. I don’t respect d*kheads who insist on some overly-narrow interpretation of the rules.

          I would go so far as to suggest that people with *real* scruples understand when the letter is important and when the spirit is important.

          1. “I respect people with scruples. I don’t respect d*kheads who insist on some overly-narrow interpretation of the rules. ”

            When you’re in a hole, stop digging. Admit that you do not respect people scruples instead of saying it’s only when you decide to call them names that you don’t respect them.

            1. I’m not in a hole, and I’m sorry you can’t understand it.

              When the rule says “Shorts must hit at or below the knee” someone with your kind of scruples sends the poor kid who just hit a growth spurt home, embarrassing them and risking their education. Someone with my kind of scruples lets it slide a bit.

              See the difference?

              Probably not.

          2. I have often found that those with little knowledge of or respect for the letter tend to not understand the spirit very well either.

            (This happens a lot when a complex topic in Jewish Law is summarized in the news—out come a bunch of newly-minted Talmudists to draw astounding inferences from the reporters’ wordings and insist that those who have studied the subject for years are idiots for not having leaped to the same conclusion.)

            1. I’ve often found people who had little respect for either, but liked to use the letter to rule over others.

  5. No one is responsible for anything, because there’s always explanations and reasons and “I couldn’t help myself.”

    We have nice secure institutions for people who can’t control themselves and pose a risk to themselves or others.

    1. If they can’t help themselves, who can? At what point do we tell people “No, really. YOU are responsible for ALL of your actions”?

  6. The end result is minds that confuse feelings with thoughts (the corollary of “if it feels good, do it” turns out to be “if it doesn’t feel good don’t do it” even if the momentary discomfort is needed for future happiness.) wants with needs and who can see nothing further than instant gratification.

    How true.

    This is where the baleful effect of education as mere entertainment makes itself felt. For to develop an interest requires powers of concentration and an ability to tolerate a degree of boredom while the elements of a skill are learned for the sake of a worthwhile end. Few people are attracted naturally by the vagaries of English spelling or by the rules of simple arithmetic, yet they must be mastered if everyday life in an increasingly complex world is to be negotiated successfully. And it is the plain duty of adults, from the standpoint of their superior knowledge and experience of the world, to impart to children what they need to know so that later they may exercise genuine choice. The demagogic equation of all authority, even over the smallest child, with unjustifiable political authoritarianism leads only to personal and social chaos.

    Alas, the age of 20 is not the age at which to learn either to concentrate or to tolerate effort which is in itself not enjoyable. Never having experienced the pleasures of mastering something through disciplined effort, and with minds profoundly influenced by the swiftly moving and superficially exciting images of television, these young adults find that a sustained interest in anything is now beyond them. And in the modern urban world, anyone who cannot concentrate is truly a lost soul, for the only communities in such a world are those which grow up around interests which people hold in common

  7. This is sadly pretty spot on on the law. We have a system that is meant to deter people doing bad things. You steal, you go to jail for this long. You murder, it’s this long. But there are a ton of studies (obviously this is just social science, so take it with a grain of salt) that show that people who commit crimes don’t think about the consequences and decide it’s worth the risk. They don’t think, “I’m going to steal this and if I get caught, I’ll do this time, well I think it’s worth it.” They think, “I’m going to steal this and I won’t get caught.” And then when they do get caught, they blame the system for punishing them, not themselves for doing the crime, or hell, even for being stupid enough to get caught.

    There’s a disconnect in modern America between doing the crime and doing the time. Which completely undermines the deterrence model.

    And I think this goes back to Sarah’s point. There is no accountability these days. If you commit crimes, it’s because you were raised by bad parents who committed crimes and were poor and lived in bad neighborhoods with bad influences because they were poor.

    And I stopped counting (because it got depressing) the number of debates I got into in law school with people who were basically saying the criminal law system is a war on the poor and that’s not fair because the people are poor because of us.

    Well, the poor do commit the bulk of crimes, but the system doesn’t go after them because they’re poor, it goes after them because they hurt other people (I’m not getting into victim-less crimes here). Then they would go to the point that the poor only commit crimes because the system is gamed against them and they are the poor workers whom the wealthy have used as cheap labor and they never had a chance to get above that.

    Which led to me talking with my hands and raising my voice, very ape-like (but I’m a long armed ape, so I’m allowed), and correcting this mistaken point, because most of the people who are the poor committing crimes, the ones we were talking about, don’t have jobs!

    If they did, they’d be the working class poor and not the poor people we were talking about, which is something very different. And then they’d go back to that these people didn’t have jobs because they were never taught skills, didn’t go to good schools, had parents who taught them the system was against them and doing crimes and going to jail was a part of life.

    And it would go in circles for about two hours before we called it quits.

    And they point of my little (long!) tangent here is that even people who have worked their asses off and have been holding themselves to high standards their whole life (as in, people in a difficult grad school) argue that people who commit crimes are not really to blame, and the system is against the poor, and and and. There is this sense all around that accountability for bad actions makes you the bad guy.

    The solution? Hey, don’t look at me, I’m just a heartless lawyer. If holding people accountable for their actions and telling them to stop making excuses makes me the bad guy, I’m okay with that.

    1. …so then they’d bring up how eeeevil corporate America is for not paying a “living wage,” and you’d bring up, “Why should anyone pay a living wage for nonskilled labor?” and they’d reply, “Raaaaaaaaaaaaacism!”

      Yup. Been there.

    2. A large part of the current political landscape depends on insisting that the procreative act is not aimed at procreation. Not, “I’m trying to avoid it,” not “doesn’t always result in,” not anything else– but denies the basic connection between having sex and having a child. She didn’t get pregnant because that’s what sex does, it’s because…. *blame something else*

      Someone– Mary?– mentioned that she’s seen people objecting to reductions of welfare payments as “punishing” women who don’t have “access” to a “male income.”

      Move over into economics, and there are actual respected experts who think you can remove the “bust” from the “boom and bust” cycle. (that is, remove a price drop that comes from a drop in demand)

      Of course there are folks who think that the result of them committing a crime being jail is unfair!

      1. Yup, that was me.

        And yup, the unfair jail:

        Not long ago, a murderer entered my room in the prison shortly after his arrest to seek a prescription for the methadone to which he was addicted. I told him that I would prescribe a reducing dose, and that within a relatively short time my prescription would cease. I would not prescribe a maintenance dose for a man with a life sentence.

        “Yes,” he said, “it’s just my luck to be here on this charge.”

        Luck? He had already served a dozen prison sentences, many of them for violence, and on the night in question had carried a knife with him, which he must have known from experience that he was inclined to use.

        1. Greta: He knocked over another ATM. This time at knife point. He needs your legal advice.

          Fletcher: [picking up phone and shouting] Stop breaking the law, asshole!

          Jim Carrey, Liar Liar

      2. didn’t you go the three rounds against an idiot who thought he could/should remove the bust and that’s why we needed controlled economy, on Facebook? Or was that another of my awesome female friends?

        1. That’s one of my local (ish) buddies. I think she employed the “state the obvious, wait for a decent response, when it becomes obvious one isn’t coming, ignore them” tactic.

    1. Good. Stupidity should be painful. Hopefully some bright spark will be motivated to heat with flaming eco-loon.

      Yes, I am a misanthrope.

      1. Personally, I’m stockpiling unicorn farts to heat my house with. They’re cheap, environmentally friendly, and require no infrastructure.

        Oh, and they make the house smell alternately like a rose garden, or like the homemade biscuits and sausage gravy that I made for dinner last night.

    2. Oh, gods. I feel so sorry for the poor folks who have been bamboozled into relecting these twits. There are lots of poor, nice, Cape Verdian Portuguese in New Bedford who are going to get it in the neck from this.

      I hope that all the Kennedys who went into Politics burn in hell for this.

      1. Cape Verdians are the world’s hardest working people. At least any group of them I’ve ever known. We’re a street away from their neighborhood here in town. My younger son used to play soccer with them. (Which is why the only Portuguese he knew was “kick” “catch” and “Defend.)

        1. When I was a teen, my much older cousin, who had been an Army wife all over the world, told my Parents not to worry about me exploring New Bedford (this was the70’s, mind). “They’re Cape Verdians,” she said, “Sure, he COULD get himself knifed, but he’d really have to work at it.”

      2. I blame the teachers’ unions for delivering a few generations of functionally illiterate voters to much of the Northeast. Enabled by the politicians and the lawyers whose entrails shall be used to grease the treads of Satan’s Brimstone Crawler.

  8. I see that the families of the Sandy Hook victims are suing the company that made the firearm used in the massacre. There is a federal law against that, but they’re basing the suit on the premise that the rifle is a military weapon with no civilian purpose. The weapon in question is a Bushmaster brand AR pattern rifle.
    The thing is, the AR (which stands for Armalite Rifle btw) was first designed as a civilian firearm. A modified version with select fire capabilities among other features was developed which became the military M-16, which in its many variations now holds the record for longest serving US military personal firearm. I say personal as if I recall correctly the Browning .50 has seen even longer service, but that’s a crew served weapon.
    It’s true that in the US you can bring suit against just about anyone for any thing, but if justice still exists this one will suffer a quick and well deserved death. Still, the parent company may decide to settle and make all the relatives rich, and as a side benefit fuel the gun banner’s efforts for further incursions on our gun rights.

    1. The problem is they will have to get around the 2005 Protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms Act, which pretty much rules this out. I think they are trying to sidestep it by suing not because the manufacturer AND the distributor sold the firearm but because they negligently delivered it into a household where a lunatic was living.

      1. Prior to that 2005 protection law the anti gun left managed to sue any number of small marginal gun makers out of business. The entire premise is that if something is legal and not defective there is no basis for suit. This totally crushed the anti gun program to drive all gun makers out of business. Had they succeeded I’m sure the next step would have been to shut down all car makers for their unconscionable selling of deadly weapons to robbers and drunks.
        So then we would all be safe and walk anywhere we wished with no fear of being shot or run over. Kumba Yah.

    2. “The thing is, the AR (which stands for Armalite Rifle btw) was first designed as a civilian firearm. A modified version with select fire capabilities among other features was developed which became the military M-16, which in its many variations now holds the record for longest serving US military personal firearm.”

      Err… No. Just “No”.

      Armalite hired Eugene Stoner after one of the company executives met him on a range in Southern California with a sporting rifle he’d developed on his own. Some of the ideas in that rifle, which stemmed from (speculatively) the Johnson rifles Stoner reputedly handled in the Marines during WWII, later were incorporated into the AR-10 rifle, which was in 7.62mm NATO.The AR-10 was a military rifle pure and simple, right from the beginning. It was meant to compete in the trials that resulted in the M-14, but having been late to those trials and still in development, it was never a serious contender. That rifle was the one Stoner was most closely associated with while working at Armalite (a division of Fairchild, at the time). The AR-15, which was derived from the AR-10, was actually (mostly) adapted to the new 5.56mm cartridge by a man named Jim Sullivan.

      There is really no way you can torture the history to be able to say that the AR-15/M16 family of weapons started out as civilian weapons, unless you’re going to try to say that since they were developed “on speculation” in the beginning, and not as formal military development projects paid for by the government. Fairchild/Armalite always intended for them to be for the purely military market, and it’s actually the case that the civilian-legal semi-automatics were created by Colt as a means of keeping the investment in the tooling to produce the things in operation during lulls in production for military contracts.

      So… No, the AR-series of weapons were not “meant for the civilian market”, ever. If they had been, Fairchild/Armalite would have gone after that market long before they sold the designs and IP to Colt. They did not, unlike the other designs that they created for the civilian market, like the AR-7 (well, at least partially–It was intended as an Air Force survival weapon, but became incredibly popular for civilians) .22 survival rifle and the AR-17 “Golden Gun” 12-gauge shotgun.

    3. The history of the AR 15 corrected above.

      However, virtually all firearms have been military arms. Most hunting rifles are copies of Mauser’s service rifle design. Lever action rifles? Yep, Imperial Russia bought Winchester 95’s by the thousands.

    1. What the hell is with all the strokes, lately? We almost lost Clayton Cramer to a serious one, just recently.

      Seems a little odd, but I guess these guys are getting to the age where that’s not uncommon. It is awfully convenient for some people, though–Cramer’s work was just cited by the Connecticut Supreme Court in the recent decision that knives and batons were covered by the 2nd Amendment. I hope we don’t lose either of them.

      1. I suspect that people with sedentary jobs are more prone to getting blood clots, but I don’t know why Harlan Ellison and Jerry Pournelle would both get strokes in a single year.

        1. While I suspect that you’re right about sedentary jobs, note also that H. Ellison and J. Pournelle are within a year of each other, and at that point in their lives where these things are more common.

      2. Steven den Beste also had one a while before Clayton. Perhaps not as well known these days, but back when he ran USS Clueless, he was one of the intellectual powers of the early Blogosphere, and helped bring us Bill Whittle.

    1. Because the very act of having “stuff” is evidence that they got said stuff by taking it from other, more deserving people. OWS types with iThings, laptops, MP3 players, and the like are excepted, of course, because they need them for the Cause.

      And now I’m off to go wash my hands after typing that.

  9. I really dislike the various American Pit breeds.

    Not because I think they’re dangerous, but because they tend to be what I dislike in dogs: every pit I’ve met is incredibly submissive. So I have an animal that is begging me to tell him it’s OK, the Dominant accepts him, and depending on how they’ve been raised, attempting to be nice will either make them so ecstatic that they wet themselves, or they think I’m about to punish them, and either snap or hide.

    If I manage to get across that I’m not disapproving, they get WAY too intimate. And their owners never freaking control them.

    None of the pits I’ve been around had a strong pack-leader type person, so they’re… well, kind of neurotic. Even the ones that weren’t rescues, who’d at least have a reason. If they were a bit more restrained like the very few UK bull dogs I’ve seen, they’d be OK, for a dog…..

    On the upside and more to the point, check out this PBS poll:

    In case they change it somehow:

    Would you support more restrictions on guns in your state?
    Yes. Increased regulations on firearms are necessary to prevent another tragedy like the shootings at Sandy Hook Elementary. 3.92% (4,021 votes)

    No. Laws like this unnecessarily punish lawful gun owners and will do little to prevent mass shootings. 94.98% (97,427 votes)

    Unsure. It’s important to keep the weapons out of the wrong hands, but this may not be the solution. 1.1% (1,128 votes)
    Total Votes: 102,576

  10. Oddly, on “I couldn’t help myself,” Lileks brought this up today:

    There is an ordinary fellow who’s taking children in North Minneapolis. They find them later, alive. So far, two incidents. The authorities are not saying what the kids experience. Here’s a fellow who needs to be sent to Hell, and everyone would chip in to pay the ferryman. I suspect Charon takes those fellows over at no charge and goes as slowly as possible to exacerbate the dread.

    No doubt some sort of psychological pathology will explain his actions, but I don’t care. I keep coming back to the scene in “M” where Peter Kurten – sorry, Lorre – makes his mad impassioned speech to the gangsters who have cornered him. I CAN’T HELP IT, he screams, and that anguished cry has affected thinking on the matter ever since, I suspect. Of course he could help it. If you can’t help it you snatch a kid with a cop watching.

  11. The Sandy Hook shooting of children was bothersome. The area where the children were was made a “gun free zone.” That means that the law abiding will not have guns in the zone where the children are. But the reason for responsible people to have guns at the school is to try to protect the children. Those who pushed this regulation have the blood of children on their hands.

    1. Yes, they do.

      There’s a very good reason that I take note of how much legal force a “No Gun Zone” sign has in various situations.

      For example, the mall shooting down in Portland…two years ago? Stopped by a guy who knew the “No Gun” sign gave them the right to ask him to leave if they figured out he had one.

      Just went and checked Washington state law, not only can they not ban concealed carry, it takes a city level law to ban open carry.

        1. I know– my cousin was supposed to be at the mall that was shot up.

          The guy who kept the body count so low was not charged– and they were seriously considering it– because they had no legal standing. (If I remember right, the mall ended up officially thanking him. They were only going to charge him to avoid being sued.)

          I was just pointing out that Washington State has a similar law framework, where “No Guns” doesn’t have legal standing for businesses.

          1. I’ve always felt that it’s their business, their rules. But…

            Ya take away my ability to defend myself, and then fail to provide a similar level of security? Or, to take responsibility for doing so? I should be able to sue their asses into non-existence.

            1. Exactly. It is knowing about the guns that upsets them, so as long as you don’t let them know that it’s there, you are being polite to their reasonable authority without giving in to their unreasonable demands.

  12. Current more or less failed societies from Somalia and much of Africa to parts of Chicago might well be armed in large part but hardly polite and certainly not polite in proportion to the prevalence of arms.

    As you said, context. The examples you cite also have a cultural / religious background light years away from the Judeo Christian or even pagan idea that choices carry consequences, which both Howard and Heinlein were raised with. Whether it’s Leftism’s idea that society is responsible, not the individual, or Islam’s “Nothing happens unless it is Allah’s specific will; if Allah hadn’t intended you to shoot him it wouldn’t have happened.” That degree of fatalism is always trouble.

Comments are closed.