Bright Lines

First an apology for being so late.  Tom Knighton sent me a guest post, and Bob sent me one a while back, and I have one from Chris Nuttall, but as I’ve said before, I don’t like giving my guests short shrift by putting them up late.  And I was all set to put up Tom’s post last night, when I suddenly found myself in bed.  I guess it’s like that.

I should explain this was actual abdominal surgery and not entirely laparoscopic.  Which explains the slower recovery.

Also, while I’m now at a point I can survive without percocet  which is good because it makes me feel like I just downed three whiskeys on an empty stomach, I came to the conclusion last night — exhausted and unable to sleep — that I still needed Super Motrim (I always imagine the bottle wearing a little cape!) Mind you, if past experience is a guide, percocet will take a week to work itself out of my system, so until then I’m getting a mini-preview of extreme old age or at least dementia.  The whole “I can put my keys down in an empty room and ten minutes later I can’t find them” thing that the late (great) Terry Pratchett talked about.  This is okay, as it provides amusement for the whole family.  For instance when the bottle of antibiotic went missing last night, I had to confess not only didn’t I know what I’d done with it, but it was equally plausible I’d a) put it somewhere in the house, b) given it to a passing stranger  c) thrown it in the trash d) pitched it from an upstairs window.

Turned out btw that that one wasn’t my fault.  The guys have been pictching in to keep the house running while I’m down, and Older Son is… thorough.  So in cleaning the kitchen, he’d put it with the other medicine bottles.

Anyway, all that behind us, taking the pain killer meant I slept very deeply and very long (since I only took it at midnight) which means I’m late with this.  I’m sorry.

However the digression brings us to today’s post.  You see, percocet (really any opiates for me) does something to my mind that means I do stuff on automatic, stuff I wouldn’t normally consider doing.  On a normal day, no matter how hassled, I wouldn’t have considered whether I might have run out of the front door and given the bottle to a passing stranger.  On percocet?  Totally possible.

It reminds me of the recovery from concussion, a time at which to judge from the record, I not only half finished three novels of which I have no memory (one isn’t half bad, but I had to check that it wasn’t Amanda Green’s.  Our style is similar enough and I didn’t remember writing this at all), no, I also wrote a full medieval romance.  (Yes, yes, I know, but I have to read it to edit, and the whole thought of medieval romance makes my skin itch.  To make things worse it seems to be B & D in the middle ages.  Apparently my suppressed subconscious is kinky as all get out.  Who knew?)

It is a trope in books to say that you won’t do anything in an altered state you wouldn’t do in your normal state.  I have absolutely no clue if that’s true, and I sorta kinda doubt it.


Because while that might be true for normal (what I’d call non-induced) hypnotic states, I do know that these drugs (percocet possibly included) can scramble your brain and put it together again.  And I have a vague memory of Heinlein in more than one book talking about how some drugs could break you and then put you together the way they want you to be together.  Now he was extrapolating to the future, but we are in his future, and … call it a sneaky suspicion.

Older Son has been reading medical journals since he was 10, and he might be able to tell me whether this is true or not, but he was working till the wee hours and I don’t want to wake him.

However, I can tell you, as a writer, there are bright lines you can’t have a character cross.  In other words, while it might be possible to make your character do whatever in an altered state, you can’t do it and keep your readership.  (Though Good Lord, can I imagine a descent to hell story in which I write a character and force him to do what would break him in a situation where he can’t stop himself.  To an extent that’s what Vampire musketeers was supposed to be with the third book the rise to redemption.  Should I ever get my rights to it back, I’ll finish it.  Because descent to hell without redemption is not how I write.  Period.  It’s not what I believe in.)

So?  What does this have to do with the real world?

Oh, a lot of things, as we discuss the “genius” exchange of high ranking enemy for one of our deserters and people say but poor thing, he had PTSD.

First of all, he couldn’t have PTSD unless he came pre-PTSDed or was a bubble boy unable to face reality in any way.  Or to put it another way, hundreds of thousands endured worse and served with honor; if he couldn’t the defect was with him, not his stars.

That said, I know what it’s like to be in life or death situations.  I know what it’s like to be shot at.  You do things you wouldn’t normally do, in ways you wouldn’t even consider normally.  And that’s fine.  It’s not, as all the movies are so fond of portraying a form of madness, and at least for me, in those situations, the “there are lines you can’t cross without breaking” applies.

I have great sympathy for things do in extreme stress, the point at which the animal takes over and you act out of sheer raw need for survival, which sometimes makes you do things you would disapprove of sternly in “real life.”  There is an unending room for dealing with that in fiction.  And if you know any vets, particularly WWII vets, because a lot went on in that war that was never mentioned, and you know the point at which they go very quiet when telling a story, you know they hit one of those places, and the memory is a hard thing to integrate.

In the same way I have great sympathy for Stockholm Syndrome.  It is the reason I forgive a lot of my colleagues when they go on crazy anti-Amazon and “why only traditional publishers are teh awesome” rants.  I spent enough time there that I understand that entire identifying yourself with your tormentors really.  (And yep, always excepting Baen, geesh.)

But there are still bright lines.  There are things that you look at and say “OMG, no.”

Off the top of my head, child murder is one of those.  I don’t really care how crazy you are.  You don’t kill children, period.  And if you do it, you need to either be put away for life or be put down.  (And I must be a curious kind of person, because in my case, I’d prefer to be put down.  I mean, imagine they cured you.  Would you want to live knowing what you’ve done?)

Child rape is another.  People can talk themselves into all sorts of crazy things, but look, I read an article saying pedophilia is not a crime, it’s a condition.  Oh, granted, and of course.  It’s one of the reasons I approve of allowing them to have CGI porn in which no children are harmed.  But the minute they act on it outside their own head, they’ve become a danger to society; they’ve become a predator amid the flock.  So while I think the various sex offender registries are insane (guys can be put on it, by taking a wizz in public and someone seeing them) and while I in general disapprove of government solutions and of “lock them and throw away the key” and while I realize that it’s not a fault of their own, I think anyone with the condition and unable to control him/herself (we’re finding there’s a lot of herselfs, now that the schools are dominated by female teachers.  Who knew?) should be locked up for the good of the society AND THEMSELVES.

Another unforgivable crime, another bright line that can’t be crossed, in my mind, is ingratitude and betrayal.  I can completely understand killing someone in a fight, or someone you’ve had a long dispute with.  I can’t forgive or understand deceiving someone and killing/harming him/her.  Yeah, even animals.  If I lured a tame animal somewhere to kill, I’d never live with myself.  In fact, all forms of child abuse are a form of betrayal, because they don’t expect harm.  And a lot of forms of adult-abuse.  It’s what makes elder-abuse and family crime so horrific.

The thing is, the people who think everything is a condition and we’re all tainted, and no one can ever refrain from doing the most horrific things are partly right.

They’re right to the extent that given enough incentive/stimulus which might include powerful drugs, most of us can do things that cross those bright lines in our mind: things that break us; things we disapprove of.

They’re wrong where they think that everyone will do these at the slightest provocation; that humans are just savages waiting for an opportunity.  Some humans, maybe.  But humans vary and for some of us those lines are so bright we’ll never even experience the temptation unless we’re fundamentally broken already.  And some of us experience temptations but can hold back (one of us, here, behind the eyes at one time thought she’d never reach thirty without killing someone) and do, even when the temptation is overwhelming.

This is called being civilized.  It’s called having bright lines in your head that it takes breaking you to making you cross.

I don’t understand people who don’t know that state exists.  In my mind, they’re jellyfish, formless and spineless, floating on a current of desires and stimulus.  And I don’t even know if it’s true that they can’t control themselves, or if they have become convinced that controlling yourself is undesirable, somehow.

I do know, in either case that such a state of non-control, of free floating impulse and action, is inimical to the state in which humans can live together peaceably.  And since I think that for 99% of the people (i.e. those of normal brain structure) control is possible, I think we have to stop whining about excuses: about triggers and ptsd, about conditions and helplessness.

I don’t mean all of this should be from the realm of law enforcement.  I think society needs to get a grip and stop looking for fuzzy cozy excuses for those who cross the bright lines.  It should also start emphasizing good behaviors.

If you grew up dirt poor, but your parents emphasized books and education you shouldn’t be told you have “white privilege” (particularly if you’re latino or black.)  You should instead be told how lucky you were to have the parents you did, and how much you should carry that on to your kids, as should everyone.  Because learning and education are habits that help keep the inner impulses of the untamed human at bay.

The same with thrift, deferred gratification, and refraining from violence.  They’re all habits and most humans can learn them.

And as for deserting, most military people even those raised by hippies, manage to refrain from it too.

PTSD might be an explanation, but it’s still not an excuse.

For that particular critter, for us, or for our civilization or what’s left of it.

The fuzzy people (well, it works.  Their hygiene is often spotty enough) accuse us of seeing the world in black and white.  This is not true.  I see infinite shades and colors and a lot of things I disapprove of but can forgive and empathize with.  But I also see the bright lines that cannot be crossed without destroying the individual and society itself.

It takes a special kind of blindness to turn all that into a vague fog of shades of grey. And it’s a blindness that kills civilization.

427 responses to “Bright Lines

  1. Side comment (am half-way through the post): Medieval Warfare magazine’s new issue is about treachery and treason.

  2. “They’re wrong where they think that everyone will do these at the slightest provocation; that humans are just savages waiting for an opportunity.”

    More and more my experience is that these people are projecting. That the people that think this are indeed savages wating for an oppertunity. So if someone claims this, beware.

    • The earliest I ever recognized this form of projection was over Gun Control. When they said that they could prevent crimes by making people wait 7-10 days after buying a gun before they could pick it up. The impression was that someone intending to commit a crime would first have to go buy a gun because they didn’t already own one. Which is what they, the gun controllers would have to do.

      I thought upon hearing this “logic”, well, if I already have a gun, what does slowing down my purchase of another gun accomplish? (And later, when they tried to ban “Arsenals” arbitrarily Too Large gun collections, I thought “I only have two hands, so I could use, at a maximum, two guns, so what difference does it make if I own three or thirty?”) But in their minds, by owning a gun, I’ve already committed Step 1 of becoming a murderer, and therefore anything I say can be safely ignored.

      • Patrick Chester

        (And later, when they tried to ban “Arsenals” arbitrarily Too Large gun collections, I thought “I only have two hands, so I could use, at a maximum, two guns, so what difference does it make if I own three or thirty?”)

        Maybe they’re afraid of hyperspace arsenals like that Mila Jovovich movie from about ten years ago? (Ultraviolet?)

        • no, they are dreadfully afraid we might be able to loan a gun to someone that doesn’t have one. Hence why they keep trying to get laws made that say loaning a gun to someone is a ‘transfer’ and ‘requires a background check’ Can’t have those proles spreading their evil ideas about self-defense, can we?

          • You’re overthinking it. They’re simply trying to work their actual goal (banning all guns for everybody but their wonderful selves) into bit sized pieces that somebody might actually fall for. There is no logic to any of it, beyond “well, this will SOIND good to the dolts who we need to vote for it”.

            And I am ever so pleased to note that on balance they are wrong even about that.

  3. Just don’t log onto PBS and check out all of the free episodes of several shows after taking that stuff and waiting to fall asleep. Trippy dreams my friend. Trippy.

    (Side note: David Koch is a major funder for Nova. I was rather tickled to learn this.)

  4. I sometimes womder if the SJWs realize that their policy of finding excuses for not punishing monsters under Law is pushing society toward vigilanism. Not the Wild West™ sort that the gun banners always drag in to any debate, but the real thing, that people on the edges of civilization resort to when the State falls down on the job (or in the case of the SanFranciso Vigilance Committe, was too corrupt).

    • They like the vigilante’s evil twin, The Mob.

      …tried to find a good copy of the Mob Song, and found one someone did one with Jet from Avatar as Gaston.

      Which is a very light-hearted sort of take on the baying for blood that has been coming after every “outrage” that’s hit the news of late.

    • I’ve begun to wonder about that, myself. The organized vigilante committees in places where the law could not or in most cases would not uphold/enforce the law were anything but a crazed lynch mob whistled up on a whim. They were serious and responsible citizens who organized to protect their communities. In Virginia City, Montana, it eventually came out that the county sheriff was the head of a criminal gang robbing travelers. I have a writer friend, Carol Buchanan, who wrote a very interesting novel about the period. She really developed the sense of unease and then outright fear, as some of the local men and women began to put little pieces of knowledge together, and then decided that they had to act,
      Her website is here –

      • Posse Comitatus?

      • BobtheRegisterredFool

        Have I articulated well here my theory of perverse incentives for lawyers? There are some troubling possibilities in combination with their tendency to overlook the ‘knife’ alternative.

        If I’m correct about these forces, and nothing changes, then the response might be a profound cultural change.

        What you describe is a culture which the United States can function with. Currently parts of the culture have changed away from that in one direction, if that drives a hard change in the opposite the result might be incompatible with the United States. ‘If I live, I will kill you, if I die, I forgive you.’

  5. It is a trope in books to say that you won’t do anything in an altered state you wouldn’t do in your normal state. I have absolutely no clue if that’s true, and I sorta kinda doubt it.

    I go much further: it’s an utter pile of crud, unless someone has zero thought in what they do– and I doubt that even the most psychotic thug manages that, not if they’re alive long enough to be known as a psychotic thug.

    I’d guess it’s based on the hypnotism-can’t-make-you-do-something-you’re-totally-opposed-to thing, but even not enough sleep should have serious effects on what you’ll do, simply because your brain isn’t working that well.

    • Free-range Oyster

      Oh my, yes. With my mental health, we’ve found that two of my primary factors are insufficient sleep and low blood sugar. Four hours sleep and skip breakfast and I’ve got the black dog chewing my leg off by noon; two or three days of that and I’m trying not to shred any idiot I encounter with my teeth. Which reminds me, I should grab an early lunch today…

      • I’ve been snagging those snack bars– Something Nature, they come in dry, yogurt bottomed or nut-stuff bottomed.

        The dry ones balance between the “food shouldn’t be punishment” and “so good that I never keep them for emergencies” extremes, and don’t melt.

        • Nature Valley? I personally prefer the yogurt or peanut bottomed ones, but yes the peanut ones left in a pickup or four wheeler in late July tend to become nut soup in foil.

          • I love the yogurt ones!

            Which is why we don’t have them for the “avoid becoming a monster” thing. 😀

            • For blood sugar crashes in adults or children (yay rapid metabolism genes!), Snickers bars are pretty much perfect. The problem is making sure there are still some left when someone desperately needs one.

              • Peanut M&Ms are similarly good, I think.

              • I’ve known two Diabetics who kept Snickers on hand for emergencies. Other things are better for them (fruit juice was one) but the Snickers is faster, and best when the attack whacks you so suddenly you didn’t feel it coming at all. “Dude, if I go into a shock, just unwrap the bar and stuff it in my face, I’ll get the message” (A whole untapped “Eat A Snickers! Your not yourself. line for their silly commercials) so if they had a mild case of shock they got themselves a drink of juice. If they started going catatonic and combative at the same time … force feeding time!

                • Oh. Yeah. our cat DT was diabetic. If she went into low-insuline shock, we had to stuff karo syrup in her mouth.

                  • We used Karo for pancakes when we were kids. Dad got the real Maple, but it was so pricey (things were tight) all we kids got was something sweet. Mom used the Karo too.

                    • Older son has a sensitivity to corn syrup and fructose. We don’t know why. It makes his tongue swell. so even pre-low-carb it was banned in the house. Then we went low carb and people were like (with a ahaha tone) “How come you have Karo on your counter?” “Diabetic cat.”

                    • The corn syrup sensitivity will probably come back. And expand to most corn processed products.

                      *tired smile* I get stupid happy when I find something as simple as soda that I can drink.

                    • I can see the confused looks in my mind’s eye

                    • Oh, and while Dan’s grandparents were alive they’d send us a gallon of Vermont Maple. Given how tight we were at teh time it was one of those cool little luxuries we hoarded.

                    • Evie, I’m lucky in that HEB has sugared version of their store brand soda. I don’t have a corn issue but don’t like the aftertaste it leaves. We also get Mexican Coke (some of the BBQ places I frequent don’t even keep the regular stuff), usually in the Mex section of the stores. Pricey though.

                    • My younger son embarrasses me when we go to a party and they have Mexican Coke. He will literally stuff extras in his pockets. SOOOOO embarrassing.

                    • but Mooom. It’s soooo good!

                    • That boy is an engineer. What’s more he’s a BORN engineer. When they were passing out couth and social graces, that boy was behind the door.

                    • Eamon J. Cole

                      Probably measuring it. Looking for design improvements. Scoping the hinges, admiring the simplicity…

                    • I MUST have real Maple Syrup. I totally can’t stand the Corn Syrup based “Pancake Syrup” that adorns the shelves. I once had some “Grade B” syrup, and that had a wonderful flavor.

                      Real maple syrup, when warmed up, is runny. but they advertise “Pancake Syrup” showing how thick and gooey it is, trying to make a selling point of its failure to imitate the real thing.

                    • I not long ago ran out of my stash of homemade Maple syrup that was made by Mom;s cousin

                    • Growing up we always had homemade syrup, which was basically sugar water and maplene. If we happened to be out of maplene you can substitute vanilla and have vanilla syrup instead. I don’t care for the vanilla as much, it is a little too sweet, but the maplene syrup is really good, and Mauser would like it, because it is thin, and we always served it hot. I was shocked when as a teenager I stayed at a friends house and the heathens used cold syrup (also the first time I had ever had boughten syrup).

                      Now of course I’m lazy and not only buy my syrup, but regularly use it cold.

                    • prefer my syrup slightly cool and a ton of butter mixed into it.

                    • We didn’t usually make syrup, but if we were out, we would make some from water, melted butter, brown sugar, and maybe some vanilla.

                    • I think maybe the conflict is folks tasting “syrup” and thinking it’s all supposed to be maple syrup.

                      Brown sugar syrup sounds much nicer to me, but I don’t even care for “maple” bacon.

                    • Oh yeah, I’ve known people who used straight corn syrup, because they preferred that instead of maple. But straight corn syrup, like vanilla syrup, is a little too sweet for my tastes.

                    • I grew up in New York City and we always had maple syrup. We weren’t that far from Vermont and Quebec.

                    • I’m spotty. Some times it is way too sweet, others I am fine with the ‘tradition’

        • I keep a box of Granola bars in my desk, for when the stomach starts acting up (the ulcer, or GERD, or whichever) and telling me that, not only is it empty, but it’s going to start making my life hell soon.

        • Protein bars are better (especially when you’re nursing). Expensive as heck UNLESS you have something like a Big Lots or Grocery Outlet around. It’s catch-as-catch-can with those places, but I’ve gotten reasonable healthy and mighty tasty bars from those places for as little as 12¢ a bar (more often 3/$1.) I also discovered a maker called Don’t Go Nuts, which is entirely nut-free in its process and equipment for those with trace allergies. (My kids aren’t allergic, but I don’t particularly trust them to have safe practices around their friends yet, so it’s good to have a safe option.) Their Gorilla Granola is much admired in this house when I can get it. (It’s chocolate, so not melt-free, but oh my it’s tasty.)

          • I have a bit of a “bar” addiction. Easy to feed when you can go to Big Lots and get boxes of 12 for $4, so I stock up and have a bin full of around forty or fifty when I can. It lasts a couple of weeks.

          • I used to get these really good (well I thought so, everybody else claimed they had to brace their feet, so the bar didn’t knock them down when it hit their belly) protein bars at grocery outlet, but I haven’t seen them their in a while, and while they tend to have good prices on bars and a couple of other things, many of their prices on other groceries are higher than Winco or even Safeway, so you need to pay attention when shopping there.

            They also occasionally have firesale prices on yogurt or cottage cheese. But I always seem to miss them because I only go grocery shopping every couple of months.

        • William O. B'Livion

          I get these and keep a few in my work backpack:

          I mostly eat them between the Gym and Martial Arts. They have a 6 or 8 month shelf life, and two or three will get you a *long* way if regular meals aren’t available.

  6. For various reasons I have been considering the subject recently.

    There may be things wrong with a given human that were not of their making. For example: they may, as a result of prolonged abuse from an early age, have developed a completely skewed view of how humans relate.

    My heart breaks for them. I can understand that they never had a chance to be normal.

    Does not mean that I think society should let them continue the cycle? Absolutely not. Yes, we have an explanation, but that cannot be allowed to excuse damaging others.

    • Also, explanations for past actions rarely excuse future actions: most humans are capable of changing their own behavior and do so, all the time. Even a sociopath does – he just lacks a motivation to do so in ways that would make him compatible with society, absent being caught / punished by society.
      So common it is that we have words for the process: conviction, remorse, decision, commitment… Thus, it is rare that anyone should get a pass for bad behavior just being a “condition”.
      Bright lines come from having enough imagination to go through the decision/commitment process, with regard to your own future behavior, before you screw up – and reinforcing them as part of “who you are”.

    • This is part of why I see red with the current trend where ‘giving your villian a back story’ actually seems to mean ‘make excuses for them and try and convince the reader they’re not really a villian.’ Frankly this sort of villian works best when his past parallels the heroes and shows how they chose differently and that’s why they are what they are.

  7. I have a friend, (yes, I know) who has been able to walk in a room and lose his keys since high school. He’s a fairly functional individual, just don’t let him put down anything you want back.

  8. Paul (Drak Bibliophile) Howard

    I’ve heard people claiming that “what you say/do in a fit of anger” is your true self “coming out”.

    While there’s an element of truth in that, it’s not the complete truth.

    Oh, those people very rarely apply that standard to themselves.

    They only apply it to other people.

    • Your worst self, maybe.

      I’ve watched, at a distance, the older generation descend into dementia. My nasty, manipulative grandmother got nastier and meaner the worse she got until she died. My kind, gentle great-aunt is still as sweet today as she was in the prime of life (which probably has a heck of a lot to do with why my cousins are keeping her at home) and has now outlived all her siblings. (We assume there was an environmental trigger: Great-grands never had dementia and Great-grandmother lived to 101. All four of their kids did/do.)

      So from that, I think we can make our true selves over. If we practice being nasty to others, then we will be. If we practice being kind, then we will be.

      • Paul (Drak Bibliophile) Howard

        I thank God that when Mom was suffering from dementia that her nicer self came out.

        I sometimes worried that she was getting too passive but I have heard nasty stories about others with dementia.

        • Funny that. A member of our family is entering advanced stages of dementia. For years prior to its onset she had been plagued by constant anxiousness and worry. She is now the happiest I have ever known her.

        • My grandmother went paranoid… I think it isn’t the inner self… but a brain structure problem because there are various cases of mental disease in some of my cousins (i.e. bipolar, schizophrenia, etc)

          • My husband’s grandmother got pretty nasty paranoid. I really don’t think that was a reflection of anything other than brain damage. Her mental decline was pretty tightly linked to her physical decline, so at least there weren’t years of dementia before she died. And thank GOD my sister-in-law is a trained eldercare nurse, so when my MiL was getting overwhelmed, they could hire her so there were two principle caregivers, as well as respite care.

            • BobtheRegisterredFool

              The one I deal with most has some preexisting mental conditions and tendencies, and just seems to be developing a stronger version of the same flavor, so far.

            • Yea – I agree with you.. Her mental decline also went to a catatonic decline… which I think means physical damage and not just mental issues.

      • I’ll just… not speak ill of the dead. Best i can do.

    • It all depends on what you consider your “true” self. Anger, drink, fatigue, things that lower your inhibitions, those put the natural man in charge: the monkey brain, the impulses we share with every other living thing that’s out-fought extinction. Those are part of who we are, yes, and they all have their place in this rough world. Pretending otherwise is madness. The monkey brain, though, – hunger, fear, anger, lust, acquisitiveness, indolence, violence – must be yoked to reason and a higher, I call it divine, nature to make us the sort of people we want and ought to be.

      • Having been around enough drunks over the years for a fair sized sample, I have to wonder if drink really puts forth the impulses that “out-fought extinction.”

  9. Well hey, middle ages B&D doesn’t sound too bad.

    • Sounds itchy. But the whole of the Middle Ages sound itchy.

      • EXACTLY. Which is why I don’ read romances set in the middle ages, much less write them. That is until I get concussion. Apparently.

      • Sex on a beach, sand everywhere… Ouch.

        • My brother’s only advice on my coming of age “Never have sex on a beach.” He was right too.

          • You know, there’s one aspect of relations with third world and traditional cultures in which young, politically correct folk refuse to show respect for traditional, tribal people: keeping it in their pants, anywhere, any time. “Look, all we ask of you visitors is, don’t have sex outdoors. It shows contempt for the nature spirits, and enrages those who have power to harm people.” Hell, no, we’ll do what we want. “Please, don’t fool around in your tents, or use narcotics. We Sherpa have to live with the spirits of the mountains after you leave.” Hell, no, I’ve paid my $60,000, I’ll do what I want.

            • Progs don’t support multiculturalism because they respect other cultures, they just don’t want to be judged.

              • Progs do support multiculturalism. Multiculturalism does not mean accepting the heart of multiple cultures. Rather it is embracing the trappings of various cultures, like ethnic food, clothes, art, music and excuses to party. It is a way they tell others they are superior in their consideration, when most of them know nothing at all about what the actual culture really is. It is also a means that certain advocacy groups use to shame and pressure the progs to keep them in the power mix.

                • Paul (Drak Bibliophile) Howard

                  Chris Nuttall is posting a new story on the Bar that “touches” on multiculturalism. A planet had been discovered with intelligent life (pre-steam engine tech). Due to various factors, the Earth governments can’t agree on “No Contact” (Technically no further contact as there was an unofficial contact in the last book). We first see some multiculturalist British witnessing slavery on the planet. Later they witness the aliens sacrificing one of their own to their gods.

                  It was “fun” to listen on one multiculturalist character trying to say that humans couldn’t “judge” the aliens by human standards (while still wanting to “help” the aliens). Then the character sees the slavery and the sacrifice. [Very Big Evil Grin]

                • A metaphor that I find helpful, for those who are into gaming:
                  Multiculturalism is a DLC where you get different skins and nothing else really changes.

    • Gives Kamas the hairy eyeball. Don’t encourage the inner perv.

    • Christopher M. Chupik

      It’s hard to find medieval romance sexy, considering the hygiene issues.

      • overgrownhobbit

        Tristram and Isolde. L’amor cortese. Every troubadour song ever written: “O vezzosetta e bella, che hai fra tutte il prim’ honor,non mi far morir d’amor, non mi fa, non mi fa, morir d’amor!

        It’s do-able. You just have to find the right sources.

      • People in the Middle Ages often had good Roman or medieval water systems, and very nice bathhouses for bathing often. It was in the Renaissance when water systems tended to collapse.

        • London had a very nice water system in the early Middle Ages, for example, but everybody and their uncle moved to London and a lot of people ignored various dumping and hygiene laws. So after a while, it wasn’t so nice anymore.

          Once the water system wasn’t clean and the bathhouses were mostly frequented by prostitutes, people suddenly didn’t want to drink or bathe in water because it wasn’t healthy. Similarly, most of the folks in the later Middle Ages/Renaissance who were afraid of bad fresh air were living in places with malaria-carrying mosquitoes, or unhealthy levels of air pollution.

          That said, there aren’t a lot of Cretan or Roman romance novels, either, and they had plenty of running water and indoor toilets.

  10. …he couldn’t have PTSD unless he came pre-PTSDed or was a bubble boy unable to face reality in any way.

    Haven’t finished reading the post yet, but that quote brought up something I heard on the radio this morning. Talk about unable to face reality – apparently teenagers are having meltdowns because one of their Boy-Band idols is leaving the band. It’s so bad that CNN created a survival kit for parents, and kids have been posting video of their meltdowns on social media.

    What was that about relativistic carp delivery in yesterday’s post? Where can we get some?

    • Where is the shame? When I cried on my first job I was embarrassed. I mean if this is the worst thing you have ever felt, you have led an incredibly sheltered and lucky life.

      • Shame?

        They’re being encouraged in it– why wouldn’t they do it, if they weren’t already embarrassed by the attention?

        When a behavior is rewarded, you’ll get more of it. And getting on the news is a pretty big reward.

    • Blech. I finally get down to this comment and find out I didn’t close the link tag correctly.

      Bad Wayne! No Donut! 🙂

    • Aeh, it’s nothing new. Kids talked about their meltdowns and went into mourning when bad stuff happened in Victorian novels. They fainted at plays and at Liszt concerts and at concerts of 17th century eunuch opera singers the same way Sixties kids fainted for the Beatles. It’s just Marianne from Sense and Sensibility, reveling in her feelings and living “in alt”.

      Paying it much attention is what’s weird.

  11. physicsgeeky

    it makes me feel like I just downed three whiskeys on an empty stomach

    Still trying to see the downside here.

    • It’s not as much fun.

      • physicsgeeky

        Ah. That was not entirely clear. But I will admit to hating percocet and its side effects.

        • I’m suddenly very glad that aside from one time when I shattered my ankle I’ve had nothing more potent that Norco and that just makes me sleepy if I’m not in pain.

    • “It’s unpleasantly like being drunk.”

      “What’s so bad about being drunk?”

      “You ask a glass of water.”

    • The down side should be obvious — you didn’t get to sip the whiskey to get there.

      • That’s part of it. The other part is that it’s all the bad side of being drunk with none of the good side.

      • physicsgeeky

        And that is why the inhalable alcohol doesn’t appeal to me: you never get to taste the booze. Of course, if you’re drinking PBR, it becomes understandable.

        • In which case you’re inhaling mostly water vapor, anyway. Not sure I really see an upside to that. Well, aside from not having to taste the PBR, of course.

          • what’s PBR?

            • Pabst Butt Rub, AKA Pabst Blue Ribbon beer…..

            • The national equivalent of Texan’s “Pearl in a can.”

              Neither of which is too bad when used in a boilermaker.

              • Or after a sufficient quantity has been consumed. Kinda like the first time I drank a Jolt Cola – 1st drink: “Ugh! This tastes nasty!” After a couple of minutes, second drink: “Aagh. That’s not so bad.” A few minutes later, third drink: “Mmm. You know, this tastes pretty good!” 🙂

              • Or Lone Star…….

            • Pabst Blue Ribbon– it’s a good beer when you’re doing hot work outside and don’t want to get impaired or spend a lot. Basically, what you drink while you’re doing something else.

              Unfortunately, “cheap” means young idiots buy it, and the Hipsters have also latched on to it as an irony thing. Annoys my dad greatly, that’s his preferred sipping beer.

              • Pabst is good beer for boiling brats (bratwurst sausages, not misbehavin’ younglings), and that’s about it.

                • It’s a matter of taste; I like it. Trade you the IPAs for it.

                  • I’ll take the IPAs and you can have the cans of PBR.
                    Though back when, PBR in a keg was rather better then the cans and bottles. Is it still that way?

                    • I don’t drink anymore, so it has been some time since I tested it, but from what I recall PBR on tap was noticeably better, still not comparable to Vitamin R, but better than most of the higher priced canoe beers.

                    • I think it is a freshness thing. The kegs are far fresher. I recall folks back home calling BPR the Red White and Blue Skunk

                    • Much of it has to do with the larger container – you get a much smaller surface area to volume ratio, which means that absorbtion of the container taste is much slower.

                    • PBR bottles were not much better than cans the last time I had any (way way back before it was actually ‘legal’ for me to partake)
                      They were not longnecks … yeah, it’s been a while.

                    • Don’t know– never had it in a keg.

                    • I’ve not had much IPA lately, Got some Shiner Birthday Cake (Chocolate Stout) and a bottle of Raftman Ale. (only slightly stronger than the Shiner at 5.5% alc). but with it getting warmer I’ll be drinking a bit more of it. I do prefer IPA and Blondes for cooking soups. Stouts (not chocolate though) for stews.

                    • Not much for cooking with beer; I prefer either a mild flavor (PBR) or something that’s rich and doesn’t taste like someone was trying to bluff his way out of accidentally doubling the hops and removing the malt.

                      Of course, I enjoy sipping Jaeger– will nurse a shot for an hour, given a chance– so there really is no arguing with taste.

                    • Yeah, I like Oatmeal Stouts, and what, some folks just can’t take them. IPA is hoppy because it preserved the ale on the trip. With Chicken Soup, it adds a nice spice to it for me.

                    • If you like Oatmeal Stouts, have you tried Slow Elk? You practically have to drink it with a spoon, but it is good. Back when I drank my absolute favorite beer was Black Butte Porter. As a general rule I preferred my beers to be about the some color as my coffee… and I despise weak coffee.

                    • I’ll add that to the list of ones to try.
                      The Big HEB has had Black Butte and I plan on trying it some time too.

            • The Other Sean

              Pabst Blue Ribbon beer, I presume.

            • In the circles I used to run in, the legendary bad cheap beer was Miller Genuine Draft, which we called Miller Genuine Bunny Piss.

              • While I would agree it is probably one of the most horrid beers out there, back in high school it was considered a high priced horrid. Much cheaper (and better) alternatives were Animal Beer and Lucky’s.

                • Natural Light was the “favorite” of the how-much-beer-for-$10 crowd when I was in HS and College.

                  • I remember some of that being around back in those days, and then the Ice beers came out, same price and twice the alcohol. Natural was never very popular where I grew up, but occasionally someone would show up with a case. The “highest octane for your buck” beer when I was in HS was 2 11 Steel Reserve, 8.1% and you could buy a case of 22oz bottles for $.99 a bottle.

                    • Got around a whole bunch of Schmidt, when they still made it. Cheaper than soda and fit to drink, can’t beat a deal like that.

                    • They don’t make animal beer any more? When did they quit that?

                    • Sometime in the nineties, I think. Nothing else in that price range is anywhere near as good.

                    • I knew that I had seen the big Schmidt banners around hunting season much more recent than that (and I was in HS in the 90’s, and drank my share of animal beer, then) so I had to check. According to their website they are still making it, and you can find distributors, but possibly they don’t sell it in your area.


                    • I looked into it a while back. They actually quit making it for a time, but it’s back in production. Distribution is still spotty, at least the last I checked

                    • According to the website, the nearest Schmidt is about eight hours away. It’s not THAT good.

              • We almost lost a senior airman in Vietnam who made the mistake of buying three cases of Carling Black Label for the squadron bar. Bad, bad, BAD stuff! Makes PBR or ANYTHING else taste good. The only thing worse was one of the French beers brewed locally (this was back in 1971. I don’t think Carling is around any more).

        • That was my first beer.
          Had I not known there was better, I would never have drunk alcohol again.

    • Ya, around here that is called breakfast.

  12. amiegibbons15

    I’m with ya, and slight tangent rant:

    Something that really bugged me in law school and now in practice is the “the poor criminals can’t help themselves” mentality. It’s not your fault you’re a druggie/thief/rapist because that’s the culture in which you were raised/your brain chemistry/it was done to you as a child. There’s a serious drift away from holding people responsible and teaching them what they did was wrong towards finding reasons to explain away their behavior and trying to treat it.

    Suggestion for a sci-fi book: A society in which nobody is held culpable for their actions, they’re “treated” for whatever condition made them do it, because obviously it’s nobody’s fault when they commit a crime. It’s society’s for making them that way.

    • physicsgeeky

      A society in which nobody is held culpable for their actions

      I think that you just described DC political society today.

    • Isn’t that roughly the message of Clockwork Orange?

    • Christopher M. Chupik

      Isn’t that the society we’re already living in?

    • Beta Colony in the Vorkosiverse

      • Sara the Red

        I was always a bit sorry that, barring the unpleasant circumstances under which Cordelia left Beta Colony, Bujold never further explored the bad side of that society, and instead most of the characters with peripheral ties to it thought it was great. Although I suppose the fact that the major characters who were from/had strong ties to Beta Colony either never returned there (Cordelia) or never permanently stayed there (Miles, Bel Thorne) was telling. And Cordelia seemed to promote the really good bits of her society to her son(s) while leaving the bad stuff behind, so YMMV I suppose.

        • Well, there was Miles’ conversation with Elena in The Warrior’s Apprentice, which alluded to how controlled Beta Colony is.

          • And about how hard they worked on giving Miles a complex about his “interesting” disabilities.

            The weird thing is how enthused the kids in later novels are. Beta Colony doesn’t sound like fun at all in its obsession with mandatory approved sex; and being shipped off to another planet with another language to get deflowered? Ew. From their observed characters, you’d think Droushie’s kids would have told their instructors to go sit and spin, and run off and had their own adventures instead.

            I also think Beta Colony has stuff in the water to keep their citizens from getting on each other’s last nerves and setting off killing sprees, because there are some nasty nasty people who live there.

        • Cordelia’s mental rejoicing that she could have as many kids as she wanted without oversight is also interesting. As well as being able to breathe the air outside.

          • the fun part is that Beta Colony would have a population crash. It’s the sort of society that is now, in the present day, reproducing below replacement, and then they throw in more obstacles to having children.

    • Bottom line, even if it is not their fault, people shouldn’t be allowed to be in a position to do harm to other people.

      I realize that this might open a kettle of worms. I recently heard that (supposedly) some people find applause so very threatening it causes an inability to function? There comes a point where an individual cannot dictate that society protect him/her from everything that might be found harmful or offensive by said individual.

      • Yup. Something that popped up just within the last few days in a women’s organization at a Brit university. We’re on the verge of ending up with a generation that goes fetal the moment someone looks at them cross-eyed.

        • RealityObserver

          Yup, also. I didn’t comment on that site (being that it has switched to a system that requires you have an account on *very* non-secure social media sites). But I do wonder what they would do with me – as my “reptile brain” considers a mob of people waving their hands wildly in the air a potential threat.

        • “… the moment someone looks at them cross-eyed.”
          Or applauds them.

        • Spines of tissue with minds to match. Nobody has to actually look at them cross-eyed. If they think that someone is, has or might. Heck if somebody looks their way. Or somebody shares air space. Whatever.

    • Institutionalize them, then. And prosecute all around them for abuse of a helpless and dependent person for not having institutionalized them up front.

      The real downside is, as C. S. Lewis pointed out, that under this rule, people can suffer enormously disproportionate punishment under the guise of cures. Certainly you would never let anyone out before the cure.

      • Mary, the problem I have with it is the state using vague definitions of madness to incarcerate dissidents: see USSR, Cuba, etc.

        • That’s another down-side, but it does spring from the ability of the state to punish without limit in the guise of forcible cures.

    • BobtheRegisterredFool

      That actually makes sense for the lawyers.

      It is advantageous to a lawyer for other lawyers to have access to a greater amount of work and billable hours. For the same supply of lawyers, it keeps competition from decreasing wages.

      So, for a lawyer, manager of a Bar, Judge, or lawyer-elected-official, there is some incentive to drum up business in general.

      No execution, prohibitively costly execution, and catch and release of chronic offenders ensures an increase in criminal law business per unit population.

      So theories of law or professional ethics which can be used to such ends are useful.

      Such as ‘society tried to persuade them not to offend, they offended anyway, let us try to persuade them again’.

      • amiegibbons15

        Eh, to some extent your theory makes sense, except that most of the people going through the system are poor. Meaning the lawyers this mentality creates more work for are the low paid criminal lawyers with clients that can pay something, just not a lot, or the public defenders. Basically the criminal attorneys in the trenches don’t get much more money for the poor clients going through it if they’re private practice. And the public defenders don’t get extra no matter how many people they represent, more people just means they bust their asses more just to see their idiot clients end up in jail again.

        For the people who can afford good lawyers, i.e. more expensive ones, this mentality usually doesn’t come up. It’s more either they did drugs and big whoop, or they did something horrible and it’s Not acceptable because they had privilege and how dare they commit a crime when they don’t have the excuse of a poor/disadvantaged/bad background.

        • And this is where court appointed lawyers come in, because they get paid by the state, not the client, and the tax base is MUCH larger than the criminal population.

          • Yeah, I didn’t understand her statement that public defenders don’t get extra no matter how many people they represent. Not sure which state she practices in, but the ones I’m familiar with court appointed lawyers get paid per client… and I’ve never seen one where the judge doesn’t tack the court appointed lawyer fee onto the clients fine. Since they are getting paid the same whether they get you off or not, they have no incentive to do any work to actually develop a case before they walk into the courtroom.

          • amiegibbons15

            And those are the Public Defenders (at least in big enough areas, middle of nowhere without a lot of crime won’t always have a PD’s Office.) As in, paid a salary by the state (a tiny one!) no matter how many cases they get. And as a result, terribly overworked.

            As for that second sentence, I’m not so sure about that any more 🙂 Somebody keeps voting certain critters into office.

    • There’s a serious drift away from holding people responsible and teaching them what they did was wrong towards finding reasons to explain away their behavior and trying to treat it.

      Local radio guy is seriously spooked because they’re trying to say the German pilot crashed the plane because he was depressed.

      As the guy said, paraphrasing: “Depression doesn’t make you kill a hundred and fifty people. The problem is a world-view that people don’t matter.

  13. “That said, I know what it’s like to be in life or death situations. I know what it’s like to be shot at. You do things you wouldn’t normally do, in ways you wouldn’t even consider normally.”

    Of course I would consider many of those things, perfectly normal to do in that situation. Everything has to be put in context.

  14. Bergdahl should get death for both counts (articles 85 and 99 of the UCMJ). The only reason they’re not charging him with treason is that it’s too hard to prove without corroborating documents or testimony. Do I think they actually will go for that? Probably not, because all the officers with spines were weeded out in the promotion process and the great purge.

    • In fairness, doing this at all is showing some pretty decent spine.

      The Navy is busy railroading a bunch of people– most recent one I heard of, they sacked a bunch of folks on the Reagan for corruption based on the folks above them requiring them to use a supply contractor that nobody wanted because they’re corrupt.

      It just happens to mostly catch folks who went through the academy, rather than normal college, too; lots of prior enlisted as well.

      • It’s their own fault for being on a ship named after a Republican…

        • I’m working on the Reagan right now. Their Reactor Department is suffering from severe RCI, pretty much from top to bottom. To the point that I’ve started calling it “The Mighty Shortbus.” The paranoid part of me thinks that there are a few progs in Millington who are trying to get the name “Reagan” associated with a reactor accident.

    • Still I was delighted to hear this morning that Bergdahl was being charged with desertion.

  15. They’re wrong where they think that everyone will do these at the slightest provocation; that humans are just savages waiting for an opportunity.

    This is part of that “fundamentally wrong world view” thing I mentioned– that’s backwards. People are savages that are under control. (And the ones that aren’t don’t last.) It’s like confusing a rock that’s been pushed up a hill with one that’s balanced at the top of a hill, waiting to be pushed down.

  16. ” If I lured a tame animal somewhere to kill, I’d never live with myself. ”

    Here we have to differ, I find it “the right thing to do” to pour some grain on the ground so you have a point blank shot (at the proper angle) to a cows forehead, whereas some misguide notion of not “betraying it” by luring it is much more likely to result in a bad angle or sudden movement by the beef causing a non-instantaneous/humane kill.

    • I wasn’t talking (even) of meat animals — though I’d have trouble killing one I had a relationship with — I was talking of cats or dogs, not even yours necessarily.

      • Almost certainly not yours, given what people do to other people’s pets. As to putting down your own animals, while I loathe the concept, I can see it in certain circumstances. Of course, we’re now arguing semantics (which NEVER happens here). Along those lines, if you’re hunting to fill the larder, I have zero problem with using bait. The more food you can procure to feed your family with the lowest energy output should be encouraged, within reason, of course. Just don’t call it “sport.”

        • Yes, but hunting is not of to quote Heinlein”Animals who’ve been encouraged to think of themselves as humans.”

          • Yeah, that’s what bothers me about that report with video I saw a few weeks ago, about these big cats (don’t remember if it was just lions, or if other big cats, too), who were raised as part of a petting zoo as cubs, then put into a park where you could pay to hunt the big cats. The lion would think nothing of seeing men come near, then it gets shot several times, often by someone who wasn’t a very good shot, either.

            • Yes. That’s a big issue.

            • Masty as that is, I find it preferable to the “Oh, we mustn’t even consider any conservation options that don’t involve fighting a losing battle to keep third world brown people from actually using the resources near them” narrative. There’s a man in South Africa who is trying to farm rhino horns; raise rhinos and harvest the horms humanely (it doesn’t have to klll the animal, and they grow back). And the “Nature Lovers” are all HORRIFIED at the idea.

              Yes, people who want to keep big cats are fundamentally nuts. But there are more lions and tigers living in America than there are in Africa and Asia. And people see that as a PROBLEM not an opportunity.

              They oppose zoos. Where do they think tye animals are going to live?

              • There’s a man in South Africa who is trying to farm rhino horns; raise rhinos and harvest the horms humanely (it doesn’t have to klll the animal, and they grow back).

                I was wondering about that–I know that National Geographic had a picture of a rhino bleeding after his horn was cut off, and that’s when I noticed that it looks a lot like the horns on cows. Even in breeds that “don’t have horns,” we have to saw off horns of a couple of cows a year– either because they’re an initial growth and it’s dangerous (for us, the other cows and for the cow herself) or because they’re growing backwards. (which can result in the horn actually growing into the skull, killing the cow)

                Guess it’s one of those “but it looks horrible” things.

                • You can be the one to wipe the now-hornless-but-sore rhino with a styptic stick or alum block to stop the bleeding. I’ll be up that 50′ tall baobab tree shouting encouragement. 🙂

                  • I think a tranq gun and a vehicle capable of reaching MSD before the pachyderm wakes up are bits of equipment essential for the procedure.

                    • Aren’t you still forgetting a pair of brass ones the size of pool balls?

                    • Are we neutering Mr. Rino as well? That doesn’t strike me as wise for an endangered species. Plus, he might find the clanging distracting.

                    • The brass ones are not for the rhino. Tranqs don’t always work, and it could get “interesting”.

                    • wouldn’t it be safer to synthesize chemically rhino powder rather than grinding actual (perilously acquired) rhino horn?

                    • Regardless of how perfect your synthesis is, you’re going to run up against people who think that since it’s not natural, it doesn’t have the mojo. Very similar to the audiophiles with their oxygen free cables.

                  • I’m not even big enough to help manhandle the calves, to heck with that!

                  • Actually, if I remember correctly (and I may not) there’s not reason to cut the horn so close that bleeding and soreness are an issue. Since the market for the horn is for powder, rather than a trophy like a rack of antlers.

                    I have to wonder at the persistence of “Chinese Traditional Medicine”, BTW. Is it just me, ro does it make anyone else wonder just how bad “mainstream health care” is in China?

                    • Didn’t you ever hear about how they lowered their STD rate?

                      They tested everyone, and then executed those with STDs.

                    • In reply to Emily’s query, it’s not just the powdered version that people use. Some of the Arab daggers (Yemeni jambiah) use rhino horn as part of the hilt.

                • If it’s bleeding where the horn was cut from the rhino, then it was cut too deeply. Remember that the horn on a rhino is really just matted hair.

        • Wild dog packs in farm country. If your dog refuses to stay home, and joins in – – you have to do something.

          • Nah, usually whoever’s animals they’re mangling has to do something.

            My mom has followed a lot of dogs home, to be informed– including on one memorable occasion when she pointedly looked at the fresh, muddy paw print on the floor– that the dog hadn’t been outside since the day before.

            A lot of dogs don’t go home again, after she’s followed them home once and she catches them again. But she always does that, at least– one of her dogs was shot on her father’s property because the neighbor thought it looked like one that had harassed his animals, and she won’t do that to anybody else.

            • My brother once broke the tail of a German Shepard that was getting into his rabbit hutches. He claimed he was shooting to kill, and missed. Coming from a man who could light matches with a .22, it was hard to believe, especially after he admitted liking the dog.

              • Had a friend in HS who shot and killed his neighbors German Shepherd the second time it was trying to get into the rabbit hutch. The neighbor called the police. The police gave the neighbor a ticket for having an unleashed dog running around…

                • *shrug* Riding instructor and I shot two of eight dogs that were harassing the horses and alpacas at the barn. The neighbors had been warned twice, I’d checked with the county, and the next time the dogs got into the day paddock, scratch two dogs. The “neighbors” shut up right quick when the deputy pointed out that they should have to pay for our time and for the injuries to the horses and alpaca. (The llamas fought back.)

            • That’s why I said…….”If YOUR dog……

            • Sara the Red

              We used to have trouble with folks in our (very tiny, technically a ghost town) town in Wyoming letting their dogs run around loose. We lost several rabbits, chickens, and turkeys that way–but since it’s illegal to discharge firearms in town, we have to make do with the BB gun. And, back when we had one, complain to the local cop. (Now we have…a part time cop? a temp? Something.) Although it does seem that either the folks who used to let their dogs run loose in packs have either a.) moved away or b.) no longer have the dogs or are finally making them behave. Or possibly some folks ignored the “no shooting guns in town limits” rule and just shot the buggers. And there were a couple of our own outside dogs we had when I was a kid that decided to start killing chickens and had to be put down. I think it’s a different thing when food-animals get involved in the equation.

              (Also: the local deer totally are aware of that ‘no shooting’ law. Which is why, when hunting season starts, the population of town deer triples…)

        • I guess I’ve just been in too many situations where things just don’t work out the way you think they should. My answer to most questions begins with, “It depends…”. Unless my, or someone else’s, life was in danger, I’d never think to shoot or kill my or someone else’s pet. I’d even hesitate to shoot an injured animal that I probably couldn’t help. At the same time, I wouldn’t hesitate a second to shoot a rabid animal, or kill an animal intent on hurting another person, especially a child.

          As for Bergdahl, the only “excuse” I have for him is he probably should never have been allowed in the Army to begin with. I’ve been shot at (and gladly returned fire), and diagnosed with PTSD. It’s only an “excuse” for certain behavior in certain circumstances, not a blanket excuse for whatever a person decides to do. Personally, if Bergdahl’s convicted of desertion, I would proudly take my place in his firing squad, and wouldn’t hesitate a minute in pulling the trigger. I also wouldn’t aim to miss!

          I agree with you, Sarah! Percocet is the pits. Thankfully my pain doctor found something non-narcotic that works just as well, and doesn’t mess my head up. The antibiotics are taking care of the sinus infection, so life is almost back to what I consider “normal”. 8^)

          • I’m so glad to see you here. We’ve missed you.

          • My answer to most questions begins with, “It depends…”

            I think part of it may be a desire to be accurate– I notice most folks have an unstated “in the way I understand your question to most often apply” attached to their answers. I’ve been bitten by it a couple of times, and I’ve been the biter where people assumed that was what I “really” meant.

          • Glad to hear you have finally gotten the right combo of drugs. My wife was doing fair until she had the heart attack, but afterwards, they had to take her off of some of her pain meds because they interacted badly with some of the heart meds, so now she’s back to being in pretty much pain almost every day.

            Strangely, the day after the heart attack, and after the angiogram and stent placement, she had nearly 24 hours where she was almost completely pain free. If only we could figure out WHY.

      • Sara the Red

        Gah, yes. My father had to put down his dog some years ago, because some kids–aided and abetted by at least one of my sibs–teased it to the point that it bit one boy in the groin and he lost a testicle. Unfortunately, the fact that the dog was provoked doesn’t matter much to most, and the family financial situation at the time was such that they couldn’t afford to take the dog to the vet for euthanasia. His story of taking his dog out for one last ride and a run in the woods before shooting him makes my heart break every damn time. I don’t know how he did it. I couldn’t have, that’s for sure. Having held a couple of beloved cats dying of illness and undergoing euthanaisa is bad enough. (And thank goodness for compassionate vet folks who treat the process with kindness and respect even if you, the pet parent, are sitting there sobbing your eyes out…)

        • While it is not generally the choice I care to make, that is for selfish reasons. My cousin had a good point when he told the vet, when refusing to let them euthanize his dog with cancer, “what would you prefer the last thing you seen before you died to be? The person who raised you and fed you, and petted you all your life; holding out a piece of bacon? Or some stranger in a lab coat holding a syringe?”

          • It’s very much a depends-on-the-animal thing, too.

            My dad has had dogs where he had to shoot them (on the bacon theory), that had to be euthanized (could be held and comforted as their pain went away), and that just decided that they were tired, sat on top of their dog house and went to sleep. Working normally one day, they figured out what was going on and got to say good bye, and he just…fell asleep.

            Also some that decided to walk to the sunset; they were getting old and tired, and one day they just left. (No, not in a comforting-falsehood type way, they literally just left.)

            • For me it is a personal thing, if your dog needs to be put down, I can do that and it doesn’t bother me, because I know I can do it more humanely than most vets. If a dog that I raised from a pup needs to be put down, I can do it if I have to, but I’m not going to sleep well that night, and would rather have a vet do it. But if they aren’t in pain, they are more than welcome to laze around here until they pass away in their sleep.

              • Yep. Have had to have two cats put down because they were in pain. Held them each as they got the goodnight shot.

              • It’s when the animal’s in pain and the person “just can’t bear to let them go” that I have to leave the room.

                An animal isn’t a person; when they’re in pain, it’s all they know. I’ve had one or two short moments where all I knew was pain– I wouldn’t inflict that on anything.

                • Sara the Red

                  Yeah. Both the fuzzies we had to have euthanized were horribly sick and suffering. None of us considered for a moment forcing them to “hang on.” And they got to be held and loved as they died. I can’t imagine leaving them alone to be euthanized. It may hurt a lot to hold them as they die, but they know you’re there, and I do think it helps.

    • That’s slaughter, a different situation.

      Maybe your area escaped it, but there’s been a last decade or so surge in people luring pet type animals over for joy killing. My little sister still breaks into tears because they got the baby burro down the road– the lady couldn’t figure out why he was staring out the fence in the field instead of running in to eat. About the only good part of that is it was probably instantaneous; some of the ones my folks have heard of involved mutilating the animals without killing them.

      • Yes. One of our cats was killed that way.

      • Those aren’t people any more merely jackals on two legs. Actually worse than an animal because humans can control themselves. They have reason. Animals don’t.

      • Sara the Red

        That’s…I don’t think I have words for how sick that is.

        I’ve always felt that if a person will torture/abuse/murder and animal, they are more than capable of doing it to another human. There’s a reason that the torture and killing of animals is considered a warning sign for budding serial killers…and yet somehow, folks don’t seem to make similar connections when someone has horrifically abused an animal.

        • That’s…I don’t think I have words for how sick that is.


          folks don’t seem to make similar connections when someone has horrifically abused an animal.

          Too many red herrings. When people will assure you that establishing dominance on a dog is abuse– or keeping your husky outside in 50 degree weather– then it loses its impact.

          • Sara the Red

            Yes. Not unlike the folks who have declared that letting your kid walk to/play at the park alone or even in the front yard alone is abuse…while down the street a toddler is being starved to death.

        • Oh yeah. 30 years ago a . . . two-footed creature . . . broke into a convent in this area and assaulted and murdered an 80+ year old nun. Took the jury 30 seconds to convict and sent him to Old Sparky. He’d been “that kid” when he was younger, and people living near him back then kept their pets indoors at all times unless the owner was with the animal. No one could prove a thing, but cats and dogs kept . . . disappearing.

      • That’s despicable.

  17. Fortunately, there are ways of addressing triggers that are sensible. In these cases, trigger warnings aren’t meant to encourage helplessness or to behave as censors, but to act much as roadsigns that say “Bump ahead” or “Slow, children at play.”

    The most frequent uses of trigger warnings I’ve seen were as a way of informing an audience (students in a classroom, theater-goers who weren’t sure if a particular violent movie was something they could comfortably see or something they’d regret paying $12 for, potential players of a game that involved very dark and violent subject matter), thereby letting people make a more informed choice. (Heck, when something’s rated R for violence, that’s basically doing the same thing trigger warnings are supposed to, which is to inform potential viewers without spoiling them on the storyline.)

    • Yes, but when you have to put in trigger warnings for spiders or small holes, you’ve reached the absurd.

      • Or clapping.

        See my comment a bit up the way.

        • They are women, hear them roar … they can do anything a man can do … except deal with clapping, a male sitting near them, or being at a con with MHI Larry anywhere near it. They need to watch all the episodes of Maude for some tips, methinks.

  18. Betrayal and abuse are some of my emotional hot buttons. I’ve gotten sick to my stomach and stopped reading a book because it included a character perpetrating a betrayal of his SO to an eldritch abomination culminating in- nah, I’m just going to stop there. I actually stopped watching police procedurals (mostly CSI) years ago because there were a cluster of episodes with children as victims or, in one disturbing case, the cold-blooded perpetrator. I couldn’t handle it.
    One other vivid memory: one of my brothers played the part of Renfield in a high school production of Dracula, and played it disturbingly well. Given that he’s one of the sanest of the Oyster Clan, it’s odd how well he portrays madness. Watching him kneeling next to the Count, staring adoringly up at him, and foreseeing half a second before he died what was about to happen… that was the truest moment of horror in that show. It being my brother just made it that much harder to watch. I admired the performance even as I recoiled.

  19. I mean, imagine they cured you. Would you want to live knowing what you’ve done?)

    I seem to recall Rico (Starship Troopers, of course) having the same thought during Basic. Worked for him, too.

    • One very good episode of Babylon 5 involves a gentle monk on the station… who’d been a murderer before his mind-wipe. A member of one of the victims’ families tracks him down and iirc eventually manages to undo the effects of the mind-wipe. But even while the monk remembers, he keeps his new, gentle personality.

      There’s also the episode with Sebastian. And while I don’t want to say anything further to spoil the surprise at the end, he makes it clear that he regrets what he did before he entered service with the Vorlons.

  20. I had to look up percocet to see if it was vicodin. I was wrong. I have had vicodin after outpatient surgery two different times. That stuff puts me down and asleep. Makes my world gray for days after I get off of it. So I somewhat understand. As for giving the drugs away, I was like that when I was on 100 mg of prednisone, 1400 mg of IV cytoxan (every three weeks), and weaker than a newborn kitten. I would walk to the front door, open it and sit down on the curb because I was too weak to go further. I was even too weak to give any thing away. So yes… Please get some sleep and get well. Sadly I don’t write in this condition… I try to go on travels if I am ambulatory enough. It feels like dreams to me.

  21. Eamon J. Cole

    I’m so weary of the PTSD catch-all blather. It’s a specific diagnosis with specific hallmark symptoms. Just because somebody was in the vicinity of an event somebody might call traumatic it doesn’t follow they have PTS, leave aside the disorder question (though a few of the twits proudly proclaiming might want to look into what “disorder” means in this context).

    The anti-clapping ninnies? Desperate for attention. The boy-band BS? Same, and getting it.

    Bergdahl? Fucking deserter and traitor. He is owed no sympathy and I hope the military follows through on the appropriate sentence.

    • That being a firing squad.

    • Exactly, basically real people with PTSD have a defective stress handling mechanism and in them the stress builds to a breaking point where they then collapse in some way or the other. Others have specific reactions to events that throw them back into past experiences. But then so many people appear to want to be mentally damaged it is so odd.

      • My stress handling mechanism finally went into effect a few days ago after months of trying to handle my late-hubby’s estate. I blacked out, came back to myself walking up and down the hallway swearing up a blue streak. My poor dog was walking behind me. I don’t call that PTSD… just that my control over my berserker genes snapped.

        • Seems like a healthy reaction to me. My sister was 10 years older than me, but we were practically twins – most of the time we knew what the other was thinking and could finish each other’s sentences. There have been at least a couple of times I’ve found myself cussing up a storm, out of the clear blue, since her death a few years ago. You’re hurt, angry, and dearly miss someone that you love deeply. It’s a pressure relief valve helping you to stay sane.

          • Thanks – makes me feel better.

            • RealityObserver

              Each of us has a limit to our “emotional processing” power (some higher, some lower, and it can change).

              Having dealt with both of my parent’s estates – and been very close or over the edge for months on end – I can say it does get better; once you are (mostly) done with the external BS.

      • Eamon J. Cole

        But then so many people appear to want to be mentally damaged it is so odd.

        Yeah, I’d rather be bog-standard normal and boring. Where’s the cachet in being broken?

        Yet, they call us odd…

        • I often wonder what it feels like, to be normal.

          • Meh – overrated.

            • Hope you’re right. Otherwise I’m missing out on a lot.

              • Normal is fun for me … of course, I’m the only normal person there is … it’s everyone else who is odd (~_^)

              • Professor Badness

                Actually, I find being mistaken for normal to be extremely annoying. Someone will start a conversation on a “normal” topic (i.e. sports, popular television shows, the latest Oprah book club, etc.), and I have no idea what they are talking about.
                The adverse is when an Odd will come in the bookstore and shyly ask for a lesser known book of geekdom. I have astounded more than a few people when I knew exactly what they were talking about.
                “What’s that? You’re looking for Warhammer/Magic the Gathering/Naruto/Discworld/Howl’s Moving Castle/D&D? Follow me!”
                I had a girl come in with these cute little kitty ears and a tail. I complemented her on them, and she tried to describe what a furry is.
                I stopped her mid stutter and said, “I know what a furry is. Just because I look main stream doesn’t mean that I am.”

                • I had a shirt for a while that said “Online I role play a 7 foot tall talking cow.”

                  It helped, some.

                  Hm, maybe you could get permission to wear a button… “this is my secret identity”?

        • I was with a friend when his meds went off-balance. I hadn’t known he was bipolar, and I didn’t then know what was going on, only that something was very very wrong.

          It’s grateful I am—very grateful indeed—for my mental health, and rather contemptuous of those who would coöpt the sympathy owing to those with actual problems.

          • Eamon J. Cole

            …rather contemptuous of those who would coöpt the sympathy owing to those with actual problems.

            There’s the rub, yeah. Bit of a Munchausen thing going on for ’em. Desperate for an attention that those with actual problems — would rather not have.

            Like you, I’m deeply grateful for my mental status.

      • It’s not so much as a defective stress handling mechanism as it’s stress overload. Your body has normal stress reactions (fight or flight), but you’re not in a situation where either is possible, and you begin to withdraw into yourself, trying to shield yourself from the stress mechanisms. Finally, you reach a point where you react. That reaction may or may not be reasonable – that’s immaterial. Your body and mind can’t take any more, and you react. I’ve seen everything from catatonia to people literally exploding. For most of us, we’re able to control either our level of stress, or our reactions. A few people need extra care. Bergdahl’s reaction is not consistent with PTSD.

    • BobtheRegisterredFool

      I observed something unpleasant once. I read Kratman until it stopped troubling me so much. Now I have an excessive dislike for stupid criticism of Kratman. Big effin’ deal, we are all big boys, and my issues are my problem.

      Some of my older relatives actually had something to be upset about.

      • Eamon J. Cole

        Big effin’ deal, we are all big boys, and my issues are my problem.

        Matches my thoughts. I’ve got issues. I keep ’em in a box, pile stuff on ’em. Occasionally I kick the box. Now and again I blow the d@mn thing up (does no good, but it’s cathartic).

        But it’s my box and nobody else needs to mess with it.

        • My fiance and I will occasionally air out our boxes together, which makes dealing with them easier, but that’s what fiances (and subsequently spouses) are for… to help you deal with the stuff in the box when it threatens to get OUT of the box where it’s not supposed to be.

          • Well, if I wake in the middle of the night with “a bad feeling” Dan will stay awake as long as I need and talk over things till I can go to sleep again.
            I just wish those “bad feelings” weren’t usually followed by disastrous news the next day. (And no, I’m not claiming psychic, just that my subconscious adds things up better than my wake self.)

          • Eamon J. Cole

            Perfectly reasonable utilization of boxes between two consenting and reasonably informed adults. I’m all for it.

            ‘Course, I’m confident I never have to worry about you or your fiance deciding to dump your respective boxes on my unsuspecting head. You’re good people like that.

            If we could just convince everybody else. Particularly those people with cardboard boxes painted up to be all scary and soggy with all the hot air that’s been blown in to them to puff up their importance.

            Yeesh. Why they wanna show it to me?

    • Agreed. It is an insult of the highest order to folks who are trying like all hell to live a normal life when their own bodies are fighting against them. Those I know have been and are good people. They *want* to be normal. And to be treated like normal people. Attention is usually the last thing they want.

      For the deserter, I have no pity. He deserves the full measure of scorn for his actions. Should he *ever* realize the depth of his f-up, may he spend the rest of his life in penance however long or short, for no less will be sufficient.

      • Eamon J. Cole

        Typically how I evaluate the real from the fake.

        Prancing about in the spotlight? Probably fake.

        Desperately shoving it under a rug and stomping on it? You look thirsty, lemme grab you a beer.

        • Yeah, that’s about how I feel about the “I’m being harassed, it’s triggering my PTSD, protect me from the world” chicks. Because, at least for me, the longer I leave it in the closet, and the more I see and read of the world, the smaller that box is getting. It’ll probably go to the grave with me, but it ain’t gonna sit on the front room coffee table by the picture window for the world to see.

          • Eamon J. Cole

            Probably a cramped closet with lots of old junk. Tucked under the broken snowshoes and the roller-skates two sizes too small. The whole thing shoved behind a random box of graded essays from middle school. And lest the thing feel too important, the bulb’s been burned out for a decade…

            Here, have a glass of tea. Hang on a sec, I’ve still got some of the good lemons. I even washed off the excess lipstick.

  22. The executive functions of your brain are largely composed of how you have been programmed, including your self-programming. (And if you don’t like the technical term ‘programming’, then ‘learning’ works just as well.) It’s the executive portion of my brain that keeps me from acting impulsively and purely for temporary self-gratification. It’s also the part that alcohol and other drugs turns off first. So, no, Sarah, you aren’t the sort of person who would write B&D in your normal state, even if you wrote it in your impaired state.

  23. Don’t sweat not running my guest post, but for the record, I don’t care when it runs. Early, late, whatever. I did it up so you wouldn’t have to stress yourself and can recover.

    I need ya healthy. 🙂

  24. check

  25. sabrinachase

    Our animal natures are uncomfortable to contemplate, and the cheats we use to circumvent them can cause other, unforseen consequences. I suspect a lot of agita is caused by subconsciously realizing they *are* artificial constructions, and fear that if examined too closely they will disappear or not work. (And I will not go into excessive detail because if I do I will Offend Everyone, pretty much.)

    We cheated first by figuring out a way to not be lion kibble on the Serengeti. Humans *should* be prey, but we are the apex predator now. Then we cheated by finding a way around the related-to-me tribal limit. Everything that isn’t hardwired has to be transmitted to the next generation by culture. Sometimes the cultural hacks around a hardwired bug are different, and that creates problems when the different cultures meet. Over the millennia, we have found ways to re-route or circumvent sources of conflict. And sometimes, amusingly, we come up with stories to tell ourselves why those things exist that have nothing to do with reality 😉

    We have a cultural taboo against harming children (one I fully subscribe to, by the way.) And the fact that it is a very deep taboo is underlined by the fact even the mother-rapers and father-stabbers in prison will go after child abusers. Our ancestors decided a long time ago that preserving the genetics of the group was just as important as preserving your own, and Americans especially extend that to *any* child. There are far too many examples of cultures even now where that is not the case. When the taboo is broken, it’s pretty clear the cultural software did not get installed right and who knows what else doesn’t work?

    The people who cry “it’s not their fault!” don’t GET it. It doesn’t matter whose fault it is. The broken person needs to be excluded from the rest of the culture, or it all breaks down. I don’t want to be lion kibble.

    • The thing that gets me is that the same people who will cry “It’s not their fault” are almost always ready to support abortion. Now, ok, I understand that they don’t consider the fetus human. I get that. But a grown hairless ape who is a serial murderer because he was horribly abused as a child isn’t human either, in any useful sense of the word. He might have been, under other circumstances, but he isn’t now and barring a really game changing breakthrough in treatment (or a miracle) he ain’t gonna be.

      • “He might have been, under other circumstances,”

        Isn’t that a rebuttal to their “a fetus isn’t human” argument?

        • I’m trying to avoid that particular fight. Personally (and I don’t expect anyone to agree with me exactly) I think that a fetus has the potential to be human. But so does a sperm or an egg, and that way lies madness or at the very least the kind of brutal theocracy likely to kill one hell of a lot of actual humans to “protect” potential ones.

          I think abortion should be legal within some broad limits, probably narrower limits than I would place on it personally … why even LOOK like you are committing infanticide? Why is “Late Term Abortion” so goddamned important to certain segments of the Pro Choice crowd? I think that parental notification laws are inevitable, and wonder why the hell anybody on the Pro Choice side thinks they can fight them. And, watching the spokeswomen and activists on the Pro Choice side I am increasingly of the opinion that I will see Abortion broadly outlawed in my lifetime.

          I support a death penalty, in theory. In practice, I won’t support one again until it is the law of the land that a cop or a prosecutor who suppresses evidence that might have helped a defense case is liable to be placed on trial for attempted murder.

          And in the meanwhile, I support the broadest interpretation of the second amendment, on the grounds that if a man needs killin’, and honest citizens are armed, somebody will see to it.

          • “Why is “Late Term Abortion” so goddamned important to certain segments of the Pro Choice crowd?”

            Because progs only “think” in terms of logical fallacies, so to them the Slippery Slope is real.

            An intellectually honest abortion debate centers on when (human) life begins. Since that question is isomorphic to “what is human?” – a question heads wiser and more foolish than I have been working on for millennia – I doubt it will ever be adequately settled.

            • Which leads us to the position; “What do we want, and how much of it can we reasonably expect to get”. The Pro-Choicers WANT total access to abortion throughout pregnancy. They refuse to see that “Late term Abortion” (or “Partial Birth Abortion” if you prefer, both terms being loaded) is too close to infanticide to stand up over time. They are going to HAVE to agree to something less, because if they don’t the other side will use their stubbornness to sink them. They likewise refuse to see that no decent parent, and veery few of the bad ones, is going to tolerate the idea that a school nurse (who can’t give their daughter Motrin without a prescription and a permission slip) can get their daughter an abortion without telling them. Yes, there are circumstances in which not telling the parents might be a good plan. You can’t sell enough parents on the idea.

              Sooner or later some band of self-righteous Women’s Rights Activists are going to smuggle a pregnant girl over a state line to get her an un-notified abortion, the girl is going to die, and all hell will break loose.

              And the self-righteous twits are going to have the nerve to be surprised.

              • They refuse to see that “Late term Abortion” (or “Partial Birth Abortion” if you prefer, both terms being loaded) is too close to infanticide to stand up over time.

                They’re only loaded in that they are factual descriptions, though clinically vague. One involves a pregnancy after 20 weeks, the other involves What It Says On The Tin.

                If the fetus is, in fact, not a human person– then there shouldn’t be any load, at least in that direction. (If the pro-lifers are equivalent to those who want to call fish “sea kittens,” then they would have grounds to object to clinical accuracy.)

                I refuse to be responsible for the emotional reactions of people who both insist that at some stages (or abilities) humans are non-persons, and yet find a clinical description of what they support allowing to be done to them inflammatory.

                • Well, I personally just decided that the whole issue is so loaded with emotional mine fields that I don’t expect anybody involved to be completely rational. So I’m willing to let both sides rant, to an extent. But the side I favor (If I have to favor anyone) is Pro-Choice, and I think they are committing slow political suicide. The whole third trimester is poison. Whatever it is, it looks like a kid at that point. And opposing parental notification is poison.

                  Maybe, even likely, the lines I choose to draw aren’t the “right” ones. But some things are politically possible, and some are not, regardless of whether they are “right” in the abstract.

                  • At this point second trimester is poison too — we have good imaging and they too look like kids. I think anything past first trimester is insane quibbling to argue it’s not human. But I might be biased, mom DID try to abort me.

                  • And some of them are trying to push it past them. Both NARAL and NOW went to bat against the Born-Alive Infants Protection Act. NARAL backed down, claiming they had somehow been mistaken, but NOW fought down to the last ditch.

              • “Sooner or later some band of self-righteous Women’s Rights Activists are going to smuggle a pregnant girl over a state line to get her an un-notified abortion, the girl is going to die, and all hell will break loose.”

                No, it won’t. Because it’s already happened. And no Hell broke loose. Because it already has. We are so morally dead and cowardly, myself included, that we are not capable of being stirred. Look at what happened in Rotherham. What should have happened is that everyone who heard about it should have been organizing a lynching, including the cops. What actually happened over 10 years is that no more than half a dozen parents got angry enough to even try to do something about it.

                We are already in Hell.

                • Of course that was in England, and we want to be more like Europe, why? I suspect that there are areas in the US where much the same could happen, but locally the locals wouldn’t bother wasting time to go get a rope.

                • Rotherham bothers me. It smells a little too much like the Satanic Daycare Abuse™ panic. If it isn’t a witch hunt then, certainly, some civil servants need to be drawn ans quartered.

                  But my scenario hasn’t happened, yet. It’s come close, but the people getting the girl over a state line were the impregnator and his mother, and the girl lived. The Pro-Choice people had the sense to condemn the whole nasty business. But tye Gossnell case points to where this is going. We’ve actually had Pr-Choice spokespersons defending the PA inspectors for not shutting that abbatoir down because of concern about “access to abortion for poor women”. And the Pro-Life side know a godsend when they see one, and are riding that gift horse as hard as ever they can.

                  When it happens, it WILL be big news. Maybe the Lamestream Media won’t want it to be, but it WILL be anyway because the Pro-Life politicians aren’t going to let it lie.

                  • Rotherham bothers me. It smells a little too much like the Satanic Daycare Abuse™ panic.

                    Different populations; for the culture involved in the SDA panic, it’s out of the blue– for the culture involved in the Rotherham situation, if you eyeball both the middle east and the way young-but-not-infant abuse victims are treated in the US, it’s a lot more believable.

                    Kind of like how folks thought the Nazi atrocities were made up, since junk like that had been tossed at “The Other Side” before.

                    • The thing,is, the allies did accuse the Germans of just about everything during WWI, amd very little of it had any basis, much less was true. So when stories of death camps started circulating, “we’ve heard THAT before” was a totally reasonable reaction.

                      The jackasses who ran things on the allied side in War One have alot to answer for.

                    • Not just a WWI, standard for European warfare. (at minimum)

                • Dead girls don’t get attention– good grief, from memory they didn’t even classify Gosnel’s adult deaths as being related to abortion. A dead girl is a forgotten girl.

                  Forced abortions by the rapist, on a 13 year old begging for help, can’t even get attention when she as an adult talks to congress. (Planned Parenthood hasn’t even been darkened by the lawsuit.)

                  Humans suck.

                • No, it’s because the press won’t report it. We have horrible reporters. Horrible.

              • They still think they control the media and set the culture.

            • My problem with anyone bringing up logical fallacies is that they are not always fallacies.
              Because sometimes the slope is naturally slippery, and sometimes people pour grease on it.
              As a side note, anyone who argues against banning late term/partial birth abortions because it is a step towards banning all abortion has no right to call anyone who opposed Obamacare on the grounds that it was a step on the road to socialism a lunatic.

              • The problem with the Slippery slope is that every action is the first step to some horrible outcome. Increasing government is the first step toward totalitarianism, while cutting government is the first step toward anarchy. It’s not a valid argument because it offers no information.

                Regarding your side note: what in the entire history of progressives leads you to expect logical consistency?

              • My problem with anyone bringing up logical fallacies is that they are not always fallacies.

                The Fallacy Fallacy– “I can assert that you are committing a fallacy, therefore your claim is false…even when up to now formal logic has had nothing to do with the discussion.”
                A behavioral note, folks who pull that tend to get really pissed when you point out that they’re arguing from a base premise.

          • “And, watching the spokeswomen and activists on the Pro Choice side I am increasingly of the opinion that I will see Abortion broadly outlawed in my lifetime.”

            Watching the spokeswomen and activists for Pro Choice is the best argument I know of for post-birth abortions.

            • The best argument I know of for post-birth abortions are a bunch of pillocks I saw a news show about in the 1980’s; adult adoptees who wanted to “force” the government to reveal the records of their birth parents. They called themselves Bastard Nation.

              Now, look. There are lots of organizations where a mother or an adopted child can register, and if the other party is interested and registered a meeting will be arranged. If that hasn’t happened, THERE IS NO GOOD NEWS. Forcing those records open is only going to hurt the birth mother, and that isn’t a good enough reason. Especially since the Government shouldn’t ever be encouraged to go back on its word.

              I think that how this movement should be handled is, we should go to the mother of any child that wants the records forced open, and ask her whether she now regrets not getting an abortion. And if she says yes, then we go back to the child in question and shoot them in the face with a shotgun.

              • Right there with them are the people who want to backtrack on giving their baby up for adoption so the baby could have a better life than they could give them, and taking the kid away from the adoptive parents when the biological parents get on their feet.

            • Like the man said, “he just needed killin”. I prefer the term post-partum abortion myself – makes the idiots stop and think a bit before they explode in self-righteous indignation.

            • The idea of post birth abortions is a terrifying one considered soberly.

              • Don’t want to dive back into finding out if it’s the right country, but I believe it was recently revealed that almost one in five dutch hospital deaths are deliberate– either “assisted” or they sedate the guy and starve/dehydrate him to death. (I can’t remember the euphemism they used.)

                Guess the whole “life unworthy of life” lesson is wearing off. Really bad timing, not that there’s a good time.

          • Professor Badness

            You know, I always bring up a completely separate (yet related) legal issue.
            If it is illegal to kill an endangered bird, is it illegal to destroy the eggs of that bird? What if you destroy them in the egg equivalent of the first trimester? Does it still count as a crime?
            It is illegal to kill a human. If we laid eggs instead of live birth, would we even be having this conversation? Would it matter how far along they were before we smashed the egg?
            My point is, the arguments are irrelevant. It’s all a debate over whether or not someone should have to live with the consequences of their actions.
            (Obviously I feel differently on the subject over victims of rape, incest, etc.)

            • It’s all a debate over whether or not someone should have to live with the consequences of their actions.

              Rather, a question of if someone should be allowed to continue to live in spite of the consequences of another’s actions.

              Which is why so many people blow up over basic biology in this situation.

  26. BobtheRegisterredFool

    Re: things one wouldn’t do, even on drugs

    The right chemicals can have all sorts of significant effects on what one will and will not do.

    Think about really severe mood disorders. Some individuals are on meds that keep them from being suicidal or homicidal. On meds, they wouldn’t do the thing, off and they might.

    Chemistry is chemistry. The brain can be much more delicate than many of us would think.

    And not practicing recreational drug use is one of my bright lines, because of my own baggage.

  27. Re the hurting children thing plus the WWII vets going quiet: The one thing in the otherwise skippable WWII tank movie “Fury”* that worked for me was the bit with the mobilized little hitlerjugend kids attacking the tank column with a Panzerfaust, specifically the effect on the GIs when they had to defend themselves by shooting them. I can see why that would be something I would try to paper over in my memories.

    * Short “Fury” Review: Cool tank scenes, crappy unlikable cardboard characters, and grey goo up to here. I realized a couple weeks after seeing it that the only admirable character in the flick was the tank.

    • At the beginning of the Civil War William T Sherman quite famously suffered a nervous breakdown. I think it’s because he – essentially alone among the elites on both sides – knew what the war was going to cost and, more importantly, what *he* was going to have to do, and it broke him. But he recovered and proceeded to do what was necessary to end the war, as he explained in his letter to Atlanta – IMO one of the better pieces of military philosophy out there. I think it might be a good thing for our military to sit down and formally discuss “combat morality.” When is the horrific thing something you have to do, and when are you using “necessa est” to rationalize a horrific act.

  28. That’s because the tank was the Bolos great grandpappy.

  29. RealityObserver

    Gawd, I hate it when someone puts something where it belongs. Dead serious – I have wasted *so* much time in my life.

    Dead serious here, too. I could write something longer than your post on this – but this is why I consider many (not all) on the Left subhuman. They have eschewed the one and *only* thing that distinguishes them from all other species; the ability to *decide* what they are going to do. Not savages – the most vicious tribes in history still recognize that they decide what they are doing; their decisions just don’t happen to coincide with those that the civilized consider to be the correct ones.

    I have lost count of the number of times I have smacked down homosexual “activists” that justify their lifestyle with references to homosexual behavior in animals. Disregarding the fact that most of that animal behavior is actually dominance establishment – a lot of the same species also “rape”, and many kill (and *eat*) the “children” to force the female into estrus.

    Of course, I *always* am labeled a homophobe when I do this. Their sole justification for their behavior is that it’s “natural.” I get along fine with those who see it my way, who are unfortunately not the loudest ones – that *nobody* has any business in dictating that they may not *decide* what to do in their own bedrooms with other consenting adult(s).

    And I get extremely nasty with those who prohibit someone (of adult years and competence) from making the decision to *not* follow their “natural” desires – they are relegating those who do to perpetual subhuman status.

    • I despise “natural”, in almost all its modern glory. Arsenic is natural. Botulism is natural. Sepsis is natural. For social apes like humans, natural is living naked in trees, picking parasites off your relatives and eating same, and plotting to murder the alpha male, and all his minor children, and rape his women.

      You can keep “Natural”.

    • Being able to resist desires is a defining trait of adulthood, but there should be a reason for resisting them. I (usually) resist the desire to have ice cream for dinner because such a diet is unhealthy. You’re going to need a damned good reason to convince someone to live their entire life without romance.

      On a related note, *I* have no natural desire to have sex with another man. Perhaps the fact that you consider those drives natural should prompt you to ask yourself some difficult personal questions?

  30. Eamon J. Cole


    Which of you dangerous temptresses (pretty sure it was a ress not an er) led me to Lindsey Stirling?

    Been meaning to thank you…

  31. Most abortion advocates don’t mention it, but they’re also willing to go the full Peter Singer route. Kill defective children AFTER they’re born. I remember reading a few years back about an American nurse in China, knowing that Chinese woman had children later in life then American women, and that births to older woman are more likely to be Down’s syndrome kids, asked the Chinese nurses how they dealt with the increasing number of Down’s syndrome kids. After a considerable amount of confusion, one of the Chinese nurses finally figured out what she was talking about, and bluntly informed her those children never left the delivery room. Hence, no problem…

  32. Off the top of my head, child murder is one of those. I don’t really care how crazy you are. You don’t kill children, period. And if you do it, you need to either be put away for life or be put down.

    I’ve been stumbling across a LOT of stories lately where babies were murdered HORRIBLY, just reading news at random. It’s not just me, Aff’s been noticing it more, and it’s been seriously affecting us. Is there a sudden upshot to that? I’ve been having serious, incredibly graphic nightmares and often find myself curled around my baby, sitting in the rocking chair and praying for those poor innocents. I can’t stand it.

    • I hate to say this, but I strongly suspect that these horrible stories have always been with us. They used to get less attention, because we used to live in a world where the media wasn’t trying to get us to watch a news program through a commercial break 24/7. Some animals eat their young, and sadly the kind of upright ape that looks like, but isn’t, a human being is one of them.

      You’re noticing right now because you are baby-focused right now. If you were, for example, thinking a lot about horses, you would be noticing horse stories all over the news.

      So, people aren’t abusing babies any more than they always did. But OTOH they aren’t doing it any less, either.


      Go over and read the Free Range Kids blog; it’ll make you feel a lot better. Lenore Skenazy rightly observes that crime is down. Far down. Farther down than it’s been since the late 1960’s. Statistically, kids are safer than they were when we were kids and wandering all over hell-and-gone without adult supervision.

      • Sara the Red

        Unfortunately, nowadays the odds of you getting investigated by/having your kids taken away by DFS for letting them be “free range” has gone up. At least, depending on where you live…

        A woman we went to church with when I lived in Denver had a neighbor call DFS on her. Because she was letting her five year old play in the yard while she remained indoors. And to make matters worse, DFS actually investigated her, instead of slapping the neighbor upside the head for wasting their time…::facepalm::

        • Oh, don’t get me started on child services stories. I was of the kind of childhood of ‘go out till almost dinnertime, call home if you’re going to be late,’ type and I’m not sure if I can teach my kids how to use public transportation on their own without some idiot calling child services on me. Because, y’know, at SOME point, after you’ve shown them the ropes repeatedly and again, you have to let them have a go on their own. How else are they going to end up street-smart and independent enough to actually grow up these days?

          • The thing is, many areas have rules and policies about children travelling unaccompanied. And a lot of them were put in place long before the helicopter parents became normal, and are quite reasonable. I’ve read several stories where a parent being pestered by CPS was,able to point to existing regs and get the courts to tell CPS to go climb a tree.

            • I’m surprised that CPS didn’t try to find new ways to try take the kids away from the parents then.

              • I’m sure it depends on the judge and the jurisdiction. When my lawyer explained how my older son had probably added 2-4 new bruises just during the time we were in his office, the judge still said that even if we weren’t abusing him, we were still (can’t remember the wording, but it equated to “shitty parents”). And we had to have a social worker visit us once a month for a year.

                • And on the flip side, I’ve read of at least one judge who told tye CPS that if he heard of them pestering a certain family, he would have them jailed for contempt of court.

      • *shakes head* No, they’re getting in the news more right now. I was way more primed for the same reaction she’s having during my last pregnancy– watching/listening to more news, anxious because my husband was away– and only had to turn off the radio once or twice. Even if we remove ISIS junk from the selection, I have to do that every week or so right now, and I’m nowhere near as jumpy as I was last time.

        News does go through fads, though.

        • Yeah, I mean, I was reading the nets for a different topic – the little Frozen short (which I was reminded of when I was walking through Earth Space Dock in Star Trek Online), which lead me to a news site (One of the various iterations of Fox, I think) briefly talking about an artist who did photomanipulation art of ‘What would Elsa and Anna look like as real people.’ Since I like seeing what results, I clicked on that link and enjoyed the article.

          Now usually if I scroll down past the article I’ll see news links related to that topic or movies/entertainment. Nope. Instead, I get links about children and particularly, babies being murdered in various horrific ways, a mom of three being prosecuted for murdering her newborn twins as a teenager, a baby who’d been taken away by child services from her postpartum-psychotic mom being beheaded and dismembered by said mom because the aunt let the mom live with them when the baby was given to her to care for…

          And so on and so forth. It really hasn’t anything to do with my being focused on babies because I have a newbie myself; but more ‘it’s in the news more often now.’ Even Aff’s been seeing more news like it, prompting discussions from him because it’s something he just cannot comprehend, because of it’s sheer illogic, and ‘why?!?!?!’ There’s more reports of it, because when I call my mom over in the Philippines, she’ll relate the news to me because she’s horrified by the extreme cruelty and needs to talk.

          I’ve stopped reading the news because it’s been more upsetting than I have the spare energy to handle.

        • Yes. I keep seeing a lot of mothers killing babies. It wrenches me.

    • It’s more in the news. I recall reading stories in late Victorian-Edwardian US newspapers about baby and infant deaths that were “tragic accidents”, although when you read between the lines . . . And those were the very rare few that actually made the papers. I suspect in some communities such things, when discovered, were dealt with, either with pity or otherwise, very quietly and without bothering the sheriff or other authorities.

      • I know they knew about stuff like what we call post-partum depression, my mom wasn’t left alone with her mom for nearly a year after she was born because folks knew what to look for. (Worked out well, their nearest neighbor was in the hospital for birth at the same time.)

    • It’s not just perspective bias.