Men – and Women — of Iron

*This is where I admit that I have no clue where this post came from.  In my — mild — defense, I am running a low grade fever and have an upper respiratory thing going on.  Con crud, from a con with people from around the world.  And I was very tired when I wrote this last night, even though it wasn’t late.

None of which fully explains the post.

Do I expect conditions to revert to what my mother grew up under?  Frankly even if say Bernie won and we went Venezuela we have a lot of infrastructure that doesn’t disappear magically.  Even in the seventies, in Portugal, with infrastructure severely neglected, the worst we got were cholera epidemics in summer.  And I don’t think ANYONE died, just people got very sick and had to go to the hospital.

Antibiotics are not likely to go away, though they might become scarcer and are becoming less effective.

Do I believe we’re about to revert to a time when half the kids — or three in one — die?  No.

Sure we might get a small pox attack — I’m a bit surprised we haven’t yet given how Russians keep samples “safe — but I suspect it will be contained to an area or a region.  If it isn’t, it makes for an interesting SF novel, since I’m one of the youngest people to have immunity to it.  Maybe my kids have some partial immunity, since I actually had it.  But otherwise, it would be a world of old people and an interesting novel.  But a danger?  I’d rate it possible but unlikely.

There could be other pandemics, perhaps antibiotic resistant, but even those would be a one-shot not the kind of walking with death our ancestors did.

So I have no clue why I wrote this.  I haven’t even re-read the Black Tide novels recently and I haven’t read the anthology yet.

I have in the past written posts — and books — where I felt as though the push were coming from elsewhere.  But this one came from nowhere.  Perhaps the fever and tiredness just set my subconscious free.

I’m not going to remove the post, but I want it said for the record that my awake and slightly less feverish self disagrees with it.

And yes, now you’ve seen everything.*

While I was at TVIW Speaker looked it up for me, and I found that I did have small pox as a toddler, or at least it ravaged through the area at that time.  (I wasn’t sure because the common word for small pox and chicken pox is the same, in Portugal.  There is a name for small pox, but it’s a little odd and not normally used in speech.)  However, the mortality rate — it killed the majority of the kids under 6 (i.e. under vaccination) seemed to indicate small pox.

Weirdly, it occurred when I was two, not three, which means the vivid memories I have are either not real or I was forming clear memories earlier than I thought.

Anyway, it didn’t occur to me growing up because it was just part of the background.  I knew my aunt had lost a daughter my age, I knew the farmer across the street had lost her only daughter.  I have a vivid flash of memory of a funeral with a tiny coffin, carried by hand, and about a dozen relatively young people walking behind.  I have a vague memory I saw that from the window in grandma’s upper floor, as I was starting to recover.

But because I was so young, I had no memory of these children who died as ever being alive, and by the time I met these people they had lost their children long ago. Well, years ago, which when you’re five or six is a long time.

I was born in a time of antibiotics, and while we still had a couple of cholera epidemics when I was a teen, we didn’t experience the child mortality — or even the adult mortality — that were part of my mother’s and grandmother’s lives.

I don’t remember any stories of lost childhood friends from grandmother, but I did from my mom, because she grew up in what could be charitably called a slum.  Her stories of childhood would sometimes end with “he died” or “She died at ten.”  And one of her stories that has remained with me is how a friend of hers died while she was watching him, and she noticed because a fly landed on his open eye.

This came to mind yesterday when a student at a university in California was caught with a tiny pocket knife and, immediately, counseling was offered to those who witnessed it or heard of it and were “traumatized” by it.

Was my mother’s generation traumatized by it?  Was I traumatized by all those empty desks in my elementary school?

Possibly.  My mother more than I.  As I said, I don’t remember any school friends dying.

The question is: are humans supposed to go through life untraumatized? Is there some ideal state of humanity where we never encounter anything unpleasant, are never frustrated, never hurt?

Evolution and history would seem to be screaming back a loud “NO.”  Throughout most of history the idea of someone being traumatized by knowing that someone near them had a really ineffective and small weapon in his pocket — which he’d never used to hurt anyone, or even considered using to hurt anyone — would draw a horse laugh.

ALL of us, even the most protected of the special snowflakes, are descended from war and disease, famine and strife, and an insane amount of work.  Because those were the conditions that led to survival in most of history, and we’re descended from the ones who survived, or at least from the ones who survived long enough to have children.

Unimaginably difficult conditions — for us — are very close.  Parents.  Grandparents.  usually not much further.  Someone went hungry more than two days, and not hungry int he sense that all they had was some ramen, but in the sense they had nothing.  Someone watched children die — their own children — and couldn’t do anything, couldn’t even hope to do anything but pray.

We’ve just been so incredibly wealthy, so incredibly blessed that we forgot the common lot of humanity.  Most of humanity still living today, let alone the humanity of the past, would translate to paradise.

So, are we happy and grateful, confident in our marvelous civilization, settling down to raise fat babies and praise our good fortune?

Oh, no.  We lost all confidence in the Western civilization that brought us this untold prosperity.  We are dissatisfied and complaining that things aren’t PERFECT.  Some whine they can’t buy everything they see on TV.  And a lot talk about the evils of capitalism and pursue some imaginary socialist paradise, because they blame capitalism for everything from the fact they don’t have a purpose in life, to the fact that they’re not as attractive as they wish they could be.

And I wonder.  I wonder if this radical experiment of raising kids without any traumas, any hardship is not the worst thing you could do to kids.

It used to be believed — and it was a popular theory in the sixties and seventies — that if you raised kids with absolutely no hardship they would be perfect; that if you raised kids with no violence they would be peaceful; that if you raised kids with self-esteem and praise, they would be confident and productive.

All of those seem to be wrong.  The girls raised to believe that they are as good as any man and actively lied to about things like upper body strength are not confident.  They grow into women who believe men have near supernatural powers over them.  They scream for safe rooms.  So do all the people raised with no violence and no hardship.  Instead of being able to endure minor shocks, they can’t endure any shock at all.

Those theories have existed a long time, and there was no way to test them.  Oh, sure, rich people didn’t endure the same things as poor people, but even rich people died of stupid things.  Even rich people lost babies and childhood playmates.

In the regency, in the very same social class Jane Austen wrote about, every woman who made her trousseau included two shrouds for infants.  Because they’d lose at least that many, and they had to be prepared in a time when everything, even a shroud, took time sew.

So it was easy to attribute the dysfunctions of upper class kids to “they weren’t perfect yet.”

But now, now that we’re all living better than rich people 50 years ago, we can see the result of people raised without any kind of hardship, any kind of trial, are not strong.

Raised in such an unnatural environment, they are weak and pliable, and afraid of the slightest hardship.

The good news — and good is qualified — is that our unnatural bubble of wealth and mollycoddling will shatter.  What can’t go on won’t and when most of the population can’t function as adults, the gods of the copybook headings are just around the corner.

The question is, can we be like those men and women of iron who survived things we can barely imagine to get us here?

Or are we going to scream for counseling sessions and safe rooms?

Now is the time to start prepping for what’s ahead, and I don’t mean putting cans in the room under the stairs.  I mean preparing yourself, mentally and emotionally.

Read biographies, read about other times and places not like ours, and work to be aware of what really was going on, what life was like back then.

Become aware that you are — even if you’ve struggled — softer and more pampered than most of the mass of humanity.  And that humans are, by nature, scavengers.  Scavengers adapt and survive anything except abundance and ease.  They’re not designed for it.

Prepare now, mentally.

If we get very lucky and we escape the crucible, then we’ll at least be more able to understand the past.

And if we don’t get lucky, we just might survive.

We might.

And we’ll have to be strong, because most of the world isn’t equipped to survive.  Soemone will have to be men and women of iron who carry others on their shoulders.

And that’s whoever is capable of doing so.

We’re the opposite of a hardened population.  Being strong is not just how you survive, it’s how your loved ones will survive.

Sursum corda.  We will survive this.


519 thoughts on “Men – and Women — of Iron

  1. You are so right about the pampered generation, and I am including my own generation.
    When co-workers ask me in the morning how are you I answer (sometimes) with: perfect.
    You can see their eyes pop out, PERFECT?? and I say: yes. I got up from bed this morning, I am well and my wife and children are well. I have a job, house, food on the table. PERFECT.
    You can see the little cogs in their head spinning until they smile and say: Hey, you are right.

    1. I tend to smile and say, “better than I deserve to be.” And most folks laugh, because they expect it to be just one of those things you say- “Hi, how are you?” “Oh, fine, just fine,” whether they are or not. When you think about it, the things that matter are closer than they appear, viewed with the jaundiced eye of normal, everyday life.

      1. How you doing has become the standard greeting these days. I generally respond with, “reasonably well, and how are you today?” That alone sets a lot of folks back as I’ve just turned a pro forma greeting into an interaction. I usually get a “fine” back, and if it’s someone I know I will respond with “but how are you really?” Opens the door to all sorts of interesting conversations.

        1. I say “fair to Midland, and lousy from there to Odessa”, or “I don’t have time to tell you, or you the patience to listen”.

        2. The best Chinese restaurant in the town of Speck, on main street, is run by a tiny Vietnamese born lady and her extended family (which includes a couple of Americans born in Cuba, in the kitchen). She greets everyone who enters much the same- and if they don’t respond quickly enough, asks “How are you anyray?” *chuckle* Sweet as apple pie, and Southern as biscuits and gravy. She’s one of the reasons I eat there so often. The spicy chicken-rice dish that’s always refilled whenever I show up may just be another…

        3. I usually answer “not too bad,” which puts some people off because it’s a glass is half-empty way of looking at things. Must be my Czech ancestry shining through.

          1. I am sick of all these glass half-empty fake pessimists.

            Real pessimists, like me, realize the glass is half poison.

    2. “Pretty good so far. And You?” Because to say otherwise is to tempt Murphy into, oh, mucking with the computer, the projector, my desk, my car, the students, what have you. But I always smile when I say it.

      “Fair to partly cloudy” is another version.

          1. We have been lead to believe it includes at least two additional intersecting curves so round isn’t quite right.

              1. Front mounted radar emplacements

                One Japanese live-action movie had a female cyborg with automatic fire weapons implanted instead of “radar emplacements”. 😈

                1. Then there was the Pink Panther movie where someone (presumably a man dressed like a woman) had long spikes that came out from the centers, which Clouseau only survived because of a giant pretzel he was carrying.

                2. I really want to see the Posleen novels with Daisy in them as an anime… I completely lost it when first reading her transformation into a spaceship.

          2. Eggplant is too a shape! OTOH, working a lot of extra hours and eating my own cooking has kick-started my attempts at becoming less of me.

            1. Oy. Eating my own cooking is what *gave* me this extra bit of weight! Several extra bits. Okay, it’s mostly in the middle, but still. *chuckle*

              I seriously need to trim down the recipe book from [feeds 12] down to [feeds one] or [two] at most…

          3. Ugh. Don’t mention shape to me. I recently had a VERY unpleasant visit with the scale in the doctor’s office. Would consider hanging a photo of myself shirtless, standing in profile, on the refrigerator (and the cabinet doors), except there are other people in the house who need to eat.

            1. “My scale is finally telling me a number under 200 pounds.”
              “What was it telling you before?”
              “One at a time please.”

            2. Aagh. Insufficient caffeine levels.

              I was wondering how I could get pictures of myself standing on the refrigerator and hanging from the cabinets. (Mind you, there are some mildly insane days when I might just do those things…)

                1. Fewer, not Less, dammit. If I’m going to get irritated at people for using their words incorrectly (not you, Reality Observer, just in general), then I should use my own as correctly as I know how.

      1. Usually either “OK so far”, or “vertical, mostly”.

        Either has caused cashiers on occasion to lose count. Sometimes in my favor.

    3. “Surviving” or “Not dead yet”…when question about my pessimism I point out that any morning you wake up above ground is a win.

      1. A friend of mine replies “Not dead yet!” every time I ask how he’s doing. Of course, he has leukemia…

      2. One of my coworkers liked to respond to the “high, how are you?” bit with “Well, I’m still on the right side of the dirt, so I’d say I’m doin’ pretty good!” It was fun watching customers process that one.

    4. Mine is either “outstanding” or “I’m alive!”, both with a big grin.

      If I can manage it– some days, I really need coffee. 😀

      1. ‘Could be better, could be worse’, and sometimes ‘could be riding in a hearse.’

        1. To which all the goths would answer “cool”.

          Actual exchange (although paraphrased a bit) from alt.gothic BITD:

          Him: …and the cop asked me about the coffin in the back.
          Her: Wait, you not only have a hearse but a coffin in the back? That’s it, I renounce my name and will be henceforth known as Gladisbutterfly and refuse all bats but only give rainbows and kittens.
          Him: Well, if you have a hearse you can’t not have a coffin in the back.

    5. 😀 Never ask that of a Finn. You might well get a detailed description of what is actually going on, at least concerning those parts which seem to be going wrong.

      1. My beloved Father, when asked how he was, was known to give this long description of a mythical pain in his body.

        Of course, he only did this to people who knew him well. 😉

      2. Ah yes, I recently was witness to a friend getting a long (15+ minute) description of how the guy no longer needed a catheter and bag, but how painful the surgery to ‘burn’ out his urinary tract was, and a detail description of the progress of his recovery. Considering the fact that this description was given about equally to my friend and his wife, totally unself-conciously; I was struggling not to bust up laughing.

      3. … I suspect my high-school Spanish teacher was a Finn. With an extremely severe case of clinical depressions.

    6. When I was in the Navy, my standard reply was, “Can’t complain. They won’t let me.”

      These days, it’s usually “Not as good as I’d like to be,” or “Pretty good.”

  2. A couple of thing I often think about with regards to this topic. First, I watch my 3 y.o. boy & 5 y.o. girl and think “They are so cute and fun at this age. It’s a shame they won’t remember it.” But really, for most of humanity and history it’s a blessing to have foggy memories of childhood.
    Another thing that I think about, litterally every single time a take a shower, is how bone deep thankful I am to have got water. It’s just representative to me of how blessed my life is as normal middle class Joe in modern America.
    I made a comment to my wife the other day about how important it is to me that our kids have a happy childhood and upbringing. Not conflict free or sheltered, but more good than bad. I want them to know they are loved and protected and prepared for life.
    Of course my wife agreed, but she asked why it was on my mind. My reply was that I want them to remember an America worth fighting for when it becomes their turn to donate, lobby, vote, protest, and if all else fails, fight.

  3. I guess I’m lucky. I grew up in an environment where not having everything you wished for was just a fact of life. You didn’t feel deprived, because no one else you knew had everything they wanted either. You just made do with what you did have and carried on. I tried to teach that to my son, and I think he learned it pretty well. At least he was never troubled by the bears that walked by the house on a regular basis (no, I’m not exaggerating).

    But anyone who would feel “traumatized” by merely knowing that someone nearby had a pocket knife in his possession needs to be given more opportunities for such “traumatization.” The only way to overcome it is to reduce the effect of each instance through long-term desensitization. I for one will be willing to wear a big honking knife on my belt at all times, just to provide them with this benefit.

    1. I’m traumatized by people who are too afraid to carry a knife. If it is not forbidden (Disney World as one example) I am carrying at least one.

      1. Ditto. The other day I had an older student whip out a pocket knife to trim something off a class project (I was minding a study hall). I didn’t blink and neither did the rest of the students.

      2. It’s mildly traumatic to realize I’ve somehow forgotten to re-attach my knife (knives) to my person after exiting places that forbid such (courthouse, etc). I try to keep my useful tools close at hand against need. Most of my EDC really gets used every day, multiple times per day.

      3. I am boggled by how people manage to function without a pocket knife. I can’t remember the last time I didn’t use it multiple times in a day, but I’m pretty sure it would have had to have been sometime when I was sick enough to be bedridden.
        As for Sarah’s comment about people being traumatized and needing counseling because they found out someone was carrying a “really ineffective and small weapon in his pocket”, I have to wonder, were they traumatized because it was a weapon, or because it was ineffective. If they were traumatized because it was ineffective, I could reassure them that the weapon in my pocket would be much more effective at defending myself or others, but if they were traumatized because it was a weapon, I have to wonder how much worse traumatized would they have been to realize that some people carry 357’s in their pocket?

        1. some of these people need to put in a padded room. These whiny little brats should treated as the children they are. No adult would act like they are. Manipulative sociopaths. Crybullies indeed.

            1. I have thought of hanging a nametag off my stethoscope over all the people I have “strangled” with them in trainings.

            2. Me, too. Screwdrivers, bench power supply with handle. pointy pens and pencils, small things for throwing, magazines that can be rolled up, tubes that may or may not contain ICs. (Hey, improvised caltrops! Too bad most people would have shoes on.) Sometimes, hot coffee or tea, as well.

                1. And those “seat cushion flotation devices”make a shield complete with straps proof against any box cutter that isn’t a vibroblade.

            3. Multiple large heavy books, empty CD cases (sharp corners), the drawer knife, assorted power supplies of varying weights and cord lengths, two things that could be pretty good strangle cords, very full 2″ binders (shield or battering weapon), more heavy books and two (empty) cat beds. And pens, pencils, et al.

    1. When I was a kid, almost everybody ()children and adults) carried a pocket knife. It was useful tool.

      1. I need to start carrying my Leatherman again, at least. Arkansas nulled all of its knife laws a few years back, so I can carry anything from a cigar cutter to a Klingon bat’leth if I want.

        A few weeks ago I was at a friend’s house watching him wrestle with one of those impervious plastic blister packs. He held it out to me and said, “Can you open this?”

        “I’m not carrying a l knife either. But I could shoot it for you.”

        “That’s no help. I can do that myself.”

        1. I can’t count how many of my good scissors have been ruined because of packaging. Men do not seem to understand that a good sewing scissors should never be used for cutting open plastic or cardboard.

          They should use a Leatherman or something for that stuff.

          1. I inherited my grandma’s kitchen shears. They were industrial strength. They were a main tool in my handyman’s toolkit for years before they got up and walked off a job site,

            1. That’s what makes it even worse for me. I have a sturdy kitchen shears that I keep in a magnetized holder on the refrigerator!! Does my beloved husband use those, NO! He searches out my Gingher’s, and leaves nasty little scars on the blades opening his packages from Cheaper Than Dirt and Amazon.

                1. Oh, blade bending is what happens to my good knives when they are used instead of a screwdriver. I have at least 15 screwdrivers, but the knives are still used. 😦

              1. Well, this man just pulls out the Bowie. I have the opposite problem with the females in my house – I don’t think we have any decent scissors left, except the pair I keep hidden in one of my desk drawers (they know better than to get into those; they don’t go in for scavenger hunts).

                Although some of those wraps are so thick, I have been tempted to shoot them – if my aim was THAT good, I probably would have once or twice.

          2. I’m left handed, unless they are the cheap kindergarten scissors with “lefty” printed on the blade, scissors don’t work for me. Including good sewing scissors.

            1. I have a brother and sister who are left-handed. Unless you’re saying that left-handed scissors don’t work for you unless they’re the cheap kindergarten ones, check out Lefty’s.

              You can also find left-handed Fiskars at Amazon.

        2. Leatherman. Nastiest, most useless thing ever invented. Awkward. Painful to use. Hurts my hand to grip it. My dad had a saying about things like that which I cannot repeat, but it involves painful placement for the designer.

          1. Depends on the model.

            My dad wore out two of the ones he’s gotten, and gave away two others. Not a big guy, not big hands, but uses them like crazy.

            Basically, buy them like you would a gun you plan to use a lot– go and try the danged thing first!

          2. Leatherman tools have… Issues. The blades are shiite, and the damn things are made very cheaply. What you want in a multi-tool is actually a SwissTool, which has all the virtues of a Leatherman, but with actual Swiss Army (Victorinox type) blades. I swear by mine, and have since I first found them back in the 1990s.

      2. 1) The science fiction book I’m (trying to) write is set in a somewhat-strange high school. You can tell it’s SF because the students are permitted to carry pocket knives.

        2) A number of years ago, I had a bunch of extra cash, so I gave all of the bartenders I knew small Christmas gifts. I gave the men keychain flashlights and the women got little pocket knives. The women were all completely confused – who carries even a tiny little knife? Within a week, every one of them told me how incredibly useful a handy knife could be…

        1. Daddy was of the belief that every young person should be in possession of a Swiss Army knife. He argued that they were a necessity.

          1. My dad too. At some point he got tired of my borrowing his “canivete” and suggested I get my own. (BUT only when he was sure I’d stopped being an utter klutz.)

            1. Visiting my husband’s older brother and family, something goes wrong with the soap dispenser by their sink. Sis-in-law, bless her heart, discovers a need for a screwdriver. I should mention they own their home–them and the bank. Turns out they don’t own a screwdriver. My husband says, “Holly? Do you have yours?” So I pull my multitool out of my purse and hand it over to sis-in-law. Sis-in-law just about dies of shock. What sort of woman carries a multitool? (The sort who has had a fully loaded double stroller lose a wheel at the fair.)

              It’s probably not quite fair to tell this story anymore. She’s gotten back to her more rural roots lately. Why, she just posted pics of herself at the firing range a couple weeks ago!

              This is also why I avoid the courthouse as much as possible. It’s just such a pain having to take this and that and the other out of my purse and find a place to stow them in the car . . .

              1. This is also why I avoid the courthouse as much as possible. It’s just such a pain having to take this and that and the other out of my purse and find a place to stow them in the car . . .

                Tell me about it. It’s bad enough just taking things out of my pockets, just to go in there. I mean, really, a 2″ – bladed knife? Or is it because it also has scissors and a nail file? Or could it be the pull-out tweezers? The tiny little saw?

                1. I got that down to a routine the two years I worked for the County Courthouse (a job that I definitely don’t miss).

                  Probably a good thing – some of those staff meetings…

                  1. I have to shed so many things now that I work for the DOC. I feel almost naked when I walk into my office.

              2. “I carry a smartphone, a Swiss-Army knife, and a gun. What kind of problem do you want solved?” – ESR

              3. It’s just such a pain having to take this and that and the other out of my purse and find a place to stow them in the car . . .

                The poor fellow at our local courthouse had to confiscate the kids’ silverware from the stroller. (Locked up until I checked back out, not stolen.) I’d figured out to leave my knives, various tools, even my crochet stuff and anything that could be a bludgeon…but I didn’t consider the food-kit.

                It’s a three inch long fork, but the “make it really dang simple” rules that he’s held to… poor guy.

                Spoons, amusingly enough, avoided the restriction. I did not ask about sporks since he was already dying of embarrassment.

                Apparently I was the first person to NOT give him crud about it, since I’ve been on guard duty too.

                1. I’ve seen a fork used as an, okay not a deadly weapon, but a weapon to inflict harm.
                  When my uncle was attempting to take my mom’s piece of pie she warned him she would stab him with her fork if he didn’t knock it off. He didn’t believe her, she stuck the fork in his forearm hard enough that it stood there on its own after he jerked back and pulled it out of her hands.

                  Our courthouse routinely has the metal detectors turned off, I recall one day having one of the employees make a comment to be, when I was in the vault (where registered surveys are kept) when I pulled out a pocketknife to sharpen a pencil. I forbore mentioning to her that a few days before that I had forgotten and absentmindedly came into the courthouse and looked something up without first removing my pistol. I didn’t realize this until upon unlocking my truck I reached into the door pocket to grab it, only to realize I was still wearing it.

                  1. *nod*
                    With maybe five minutes of preparation, I could make a weapon that’s at least as dangerous in a bathroom, without getting anybody’s attention…but they’re not worried about stroller-mommies going Rambo, they’re trying to make sure nobody hands their “such a nice boy, he was turning his life around” young thug something that ends up sticking out of a clerk’s jugular.

                  2. Over on Lawdog’s blog he used to refer to the Thanksgiving Forkings (Yes, plural) after multiple domestics on that day.

                  3. Since I have a couple of pounds of orthopedic steel inside, metal detectors are a special trial for me.

                    I had business at the county courthouse a few years ago, which has slid into some dementia zone. They took down the courthouse sign, and the street signs for a couple of blocks around, and chained all the doors shut, and the only entry/exit is by walking across the grass to a former service entrance where they have a metal detector set up.

                    Yeah. Like the Taliban is going to target a cheesy Arkansas county court house…

                    After emptying my pockets and removing my watch and glasses, I stepped through, put my stuff back in place, and walked on into the building with the rotating beacon flashing and the alarm going off. Right in front of about ten cops. I fully expected someone to come running after me, but nobody did…

              4. I live in a small town right between suburban and rural NC. When we moved here, I was utterly charmed to find that the local mommy message board featured a Weekly Prepper Challenge.

                1. Our local newspaper (Idaho) runs a regular prep column.

                  The people who think that rural folks are going to roll right over and give up their preps . . . well, might be they should oughta read the paper.

          2. One of my uncles gave me a knock-off in stainless steel, stamped with the words, “Bombay Dry Gin.” Darned useful tool.

            1. One of my great grandfathers came from England, he ended up as coachman here. My husband gave me an antique coachman’s knife one year in honor, even includes a tool for popping a stone out of a horse’s hoof!

              1. I believe there’s a line of “You know you’re a horse person when…” that is, “You need a screwdriver, so reach for your hoof-pick.”

          3. As was my father. Except by “every young person” he meant boys. He bought one for my ten-year-old nephew but would not permit me to buy one for myself. Girls had no need to be carrying any type of knife. If we needed something cut, we could find scissors or a helpful male.

            Want guess how many knives grown-up Catticus has on her person at the moment? *counts on fingers* Four. My father is absolutely scandalized that he failed to raise a proper young lady. *grins*

              1. Fortunately for me, where my dad taught me that I should rely on men to handle things for me, my maternal grandfather was a career Air Force officer who had grown up in the Irish slums of Boston and had seen combat in WWII. Grandpa knew how the world really worked.

                I fervently believe that I owe my grandfather my life – he ensured that I learned how to fight. Turns out, a lot of men just disappear when they see a girl getting attacked and don’t stick around to “handle things” for her. But Grandpa made sure I learned how to handle things for myself. I miss him.

                1. Those aren’t men, but they can look an awful lot like men otherwise. Reminds me of a funny story, though-

                  Back in my teens, at a trade show Idunrememberwheresville, my friend Sammy and I were goofing off and generally being young idiots down by the creek, getting all sorts of muddy and filthy. Coming back around twilight, we hear panicky feminine sounds: No!, Get away!, etc.

                  Sammy, busts out with “Aw hell no!” and takes off running. Being somewhat curious myself, I’m right there with him. What we saw, though- *shakes head*

                  Having an audience of some couple hundred or so looking at you and laughing and pointing is a humbling experience, let me tell ya. Especially to young men who think they are being all gallant-like. Which the actress and her fellows assured us we *were* being. *chuckle* The play never really did recover after that…

                  1. Well, when people who try and defend other people are subject to arrest and / or being sued into oblivion by the attacker, is it really a surprise?

                    The incentives matter.

                    1. A surprise, no. Disappointing? Yes. If honor and decency are no longer fashionable, or are outright dangerous to hold, they’re no less valuable for that. Should my highly hypothetical wife or daughter get into such a situation, I should hope that there were folks around who rushed to aid anyway, despite the risk. And if I am to hold that hope honestly, it behooves me to act accordingly. It’s a risk I’ll willingly take- and you are absolutely correct, it *is* a risk.

            1. Daddy thought that girls should have them. On one of our visits, he took The Daughter, who was ten, out to buy one. He was totally flummoxed by her refusal. (At ten The Daughter had a healthy respect for sharp edges, was all too aware of her disgraphia, and feared cutting herself.)

              Daddy also thought that girls should master (at least simple) carpentry, plumbing and electrical repair and maintenance. Of course he did grow up during WWII, when women like his mother learned to do many ‘unladylike’ jobs out of necessity.

              1. Apologies, computer involuntarily rebooted, gave a load fail message – the post did not appear as posted – so I recomposed and posted again. I have had coffee, so I can’t use that as an excuse. I think I need to call it a day.

                1. On this – yes. He is also a northeastern progressive intellectual and lawyer. Daddy is quiet human.

              2. If she’s still got those worries, have you considered hitting Sears for a cute little multitool like mine? There *is* a blade on it, but it’s not going to come out on its own, and the can opener works awesome for opening boxes.

                Scissors aren’t going to replace a pair of kids’ safety scissors from the dollar store, much less a good pair, but they function great for most “just cut this one stupid little thing” stuff.


                1. Thanks for the lead. It just might make the a very good gift for her on the next appropriate occasion.

                  Anyone who was born at the time we were on that trip would now be able to drink legally. The Daughter has learned a great deal, by necessity, when she went to language school in Japan and lived on her own. Still, for some reason, one thing she still has trouble doing is breaking an egg.

            2. Daddy thought that girls should have them. On one of our visits, he took The Daughter, who was ten, out to buy one. He was totally flummoxed by her refusal. (At ten The Daughter had a healthy respect for sharp edges, was all too aware of her dis-graphia, and feared cutting herself.)

              Daddy also thought that girls should master (at least simple) carpentry, plumbing and electrical repair and maintenance. Of course he did grow up during WWII, when women like his mother learned to do many ‘unladylike’ jobs out of necessity.

            3. You’re reminding me of that picture of Cedar with the annotations of where the weapons are. I’ve saved that to give to my nephews as a “this is the kind of woman you are looking for” guide.

            4. I only carry two and a Leatherman (knockoff). I don’t feel inadequate at all now.

          4. Depends. My mother went to buy a Swiss Army Knife with a scissors. Ended up buying one without it, and getting fold up scissors. It was the scissors that got the most use.

      3. Ma got Pa a new pocket knife as a present and was shocked that he didn’t care for it. Why? Well, sure just a knife can be useful, but being without a screwdriver was a genuinely strange idea for him. I’m not sure, but I think something on the order of a Swiss Army Knife happened not long after. Possibly as an appreciated, “Alright, so there!”

      4. All us Boy Scouts carried pocket knives when I was in grade school. It was just part of normal life.

          1. Mine had one blade, can opener, screwdriver/bottle cap remover, and an awl. I’ve sharpened all the belly off the blade.

      5. When I stopped carrying a pocket knife (I had found that it wore holes in my pocket really fast after I started a desk job), I felt naked, because I so often had a use for one and didn’t have it to use.

        Fortunately, I found one that is slimline and has rounded ends, so it doesn’t wear the pocket so bad. It’s not as much of a workhorse as what I was always used to, but it will handle most minor jobs.

        1. One place I worked, you could always tell who the IT people were because they all wore Leatherman tools in belt sheaths. Even the management. This despite screechy anti-everything regulations from HR.

            1. During Undergrad it was always a leatherman and a pocket knife plus pencils (Marking on aluminum) and sharpie for anytime I may end up in the shop.

      6. Pretty much my entire family (except my brother) gives me grief about carrying a pocket knife in one pocket and a tactical flashlight in the other…. until they need something cut open or illuminated. Then all of the sudden I become useful. Until I offer to buy them a knife and/or flashlight of their own. Then I go back to being all silly and paranoid again.

        1. I carry one of the little Streamlights that’s about the size of a fat pencil and uses AAAA (four-A) batteries. It’s just an LED on a stick, with a pocket clip.

          Most of my friends are into the fancy “tactical” lights with eleventy zillion candlepower, tactical glass breaker, strobe mode. They make fun of my cheesy little light… but they keep asking to borrow it because their own light is in a drawer somewhere, too big and awkward to carry, while mine is *always* with me.

          It’s also the cat’s meow for lighting up the inside of a rifle barrel…

          1. I absolutlely despise the strobe mode. When was the last time you needed a strobe light? If I need a light to turn on and off rapidly, I never have, but I’m still young, if or when I do I’ll hit the on/off button repeatedly.

          2. I carry a little LED Streamlight as well, believe it or not. Mine’s a “Tactical” model that runs off a pair of CR123 camera batteries, so it’s a mite bigger than yours. Something like 200 lumens and 5k candela on the “high” setting, but still small enough to slip into my pocket. Carry it pretty much everywhere.

          3. You know the joke about how phones are more used as cameras than phones?

            Flashlights. Much, much, MUCH more commonly used as flashlights.

            1. I do have a flashlight app on my phone, though I don’t really use it all that much.

              1. I had one on my Android phone that I downloaded. The iPhone I’m using now has one built-in. I find it surprisingly useful, and handier than carrying a separate flashlight.

                Although, with my recent sciatica diagnosis, I’m starting to empty my pockets and accumulate things in a small fanny pack.

                    1. I’ve carried my wallet in my front pocket for over 30 years, since a chiropractor suggested that it would be a good idea. Until recently, I usually had a comb and a bandanna, sometimes a pen, in my back pockets.

              2. With mine you push up the volume key and it turns on a lovely little LED that’s about twice as bright as those “two double-A batteries” type lights.

                More importantly, it’s always there. 😀

                1. They gave us little candle lanterns to climb the stairs at a castle in Latvia. One candle on uneven stairs in the dark is ridiculous. Trusty iphone lights saved the day,

          4. My keys are hooked to one of those Streamlight Nanos that run on 3 hearing aid batteries, and is about the same size as a pen cap.

      1. Nah, just a standard attempt to crybully someone into doing what they want them to do. It’s a form of attempted control common in children, this throwing of tantrums when they don’t get their way. These people are basically intentionally self-infantilized, refusing to become adult.

        1. These people are basically intentionally self-infantilized, refusing to become adult.

          And the adults who are responsible for them are not only failing to stop this, they are enabling and affirming them.

          1. Unfortunately, there often isn’t an adult responsible for them. Their immediate forebears are also self-infantilized, and the last person in their line who was arguably an adult is long dead.

            1. I call that “third generation feral parenting.” Probably fourth, fifth, or sixth in many cases nowadays.

              I’ve often reflected that in many places you have to get a license to own a dog, but there are no qualifications to be a parent…

              1. I’ve often reflected that in many places you have to get a license to own a dog, but there are no qualifications to be a parent…/I>

                Cough! Cough! Ah, are you proposing governmental licensure for becoming a parent?

                Consider China, where if you get pregnant without permission you will be forced to undergo an abortion. Consider the kind of social science driven requirements will be placed upon those who desire to parent.

                While I am sympathetic with the thought the implications are disastrous.

                1. Bingo. I’ve had that thought myself — “some people really SHOULDN’T be parents” — and it’s entirely true. Some people really shouldn’t. However, trying to actually do anything about it is almost guaranteed to lead to disaster. “Do not call up that which you can not put down” applies to all kinds of abominations, including increased government power.

                  1. Many irresponsible people become parents. On the other hand, there is a technical term for responsible couples who wait for the perfect time to have a baby, childless.

                    1. We’re probably lucky my wife’s rhythm method math was out of phase on our honeymoon. Probably wouldn’t have found a “right time”.

                  2. Speaks to Sarah’s observation on how incredibly wealthy the times we live in truly are.
                    During the vast majority of history the children of people who shouldn’t be parents never managed to reach adulthood. These days our benevolent gubmint steps in and saves them, for certain values of salvation. That same gubmint on the other hand, will through protective services often prevent responsible parents from applying the sort of discipline that would otherwise result in children growing into responsible adults.

                  3. The other problem is that it doesn’t seem to work. After all our state governments forcibly sterilized tens of thousands of people, in the first half of the century.

                2. Not necessarily licensing, but at least some kind of continuing education like “stick the bottle in this end” and “letting them run loose like wild animals is also child abuse.”

                  1. The death of Home Ec courses excluded a lot of good and practical things from the basic education.

                    Mind you, I would have both boys and girls take classes in basic Home Ec, Shop, Car Care and First Aid. We all can use the knowledge and skill to cook a balanced meal from scratch, rewire a lamp, check the spark plugs, clean and bandage a wound.

                    1. My middle school had an elective that divided the school year into thirds — home ec, shop, and computers. Nothing as advanced as some places manage, but it was a nice combination all the same.

                    2. You’re not from Wyoming are you? Mine was two tracks:

                      1. Typing-Wood shop-Metal shop
                      2. Typing-Cooking-Sewing

                      Yeah, it was mostly gender stereotypes but I was friends with a guy in the Home Ec chain and really like both the gals in my shop group.

                  2. They already do that.

                    Mostly, it’s annoying as heck. There’s also a lot of bad advice.

                    I get brightly colored, multicultural letters from the State of Washington with this stuff every 3 to six months until they’re three, and then yearly. I think it stops after 6.

                    1. After 6 years or 6 kids? 🙂

                      Now if they would just stop polluting the radio waves with it.

                  3. The question is whether education will do any good. Quiz teen mothers and you find that their knowledge of contraception is often exhaustive.

                    1. Only if you utterly ignore the failure rates.

                      (Or are stating the very obvious “the act of sex is an attempt to create a pregnancy.” Which, though obvious, is rather controversial.)

                      Sort of like a man only gets a woman pregnant because he wants to; one of the least expensive, fewest side-effect, lowest failure rate forms of birth control for those who insist on having sex is entirely under his control. Vasectomy. It’s even reversible for most methods.

                    2. Let’s try equal treatment under the law before recommending mutilation for males. I don’t have the option to abort.

                    3. But mutilation and long term hormonal experimentation is okey-dokey, because someone else is getting even less equal treatment under the law?

                      That being the child who can be killed for being related to two people who had sex and then changed their mind about accepting the results of baby making?

              2. I’ve often reflected that in many places you have to get a license to own a dog, but there are no qualifications to be a parent…

                My siblings and I often teased our parents that they’d done everything wrong, and just wait until people find out … they’ll take your licenses away!

      2. I still think much of the butthurt some people get over guns, sports cars, dirt bikes, bungee jumping, or jet skis is, “Someone else is having fun, and I’m not!”

            1. Just remember that Mrs. Kravitz was correct about Samantha and her family. 😈

    2. The campus should institute a zero tolerance policy towards knives.

      Especially assault weapon knives… small, easily concealable, serrated edges, and made of materials that won’t trigger a metal detector.

      1. Now…you don’t get to post this without providing clues about where to find this extremely desirable cutlery…

        1. You used to be able to get them with your air-line meals, but I hear that they stopped providing them.

          (This may have changed, it has been some time since I have flown.)

        2. There’s a version of just this knife on Amazon, called “Polyresin Non-Metallic CIA ” Letter Opener ” Serrated Edge Covert Cutter Knife”.

          1. And ordered along with the “often bought together” Fury Tactical 3 Angle Non Metal Knife.

            For my own sake I remembered to order two of each because buying me knives and not buying the knife sl*t I married copies would be very, very bad.

            Hell, first time she came over to my apartment she brought a knife 🙂

            1. Why am I guessing it was not just for protection. (Although the few times when I have met someone from online I was armed.)

              1. This is a family blog, Sir…but, uhm, yeah.

                Then again most of my friends have EMT scissors for “emergencies” as well.

                1. What? She was planning to help with dinner is all.

                  and lol…i’ll stop there before the ‘bad mans’ start coming

                  1. I thought getting a “bad man” was the whole goal around here.

                    I know I brag to her when I get one 🙂

          2. Someone of my acquaintance had a 4 inch nylon bladed knife inside a hairbrush handle. It routinely made it through security before and after 9/11.

            1. “Self defense knife.” Got that two years ago Christmas.

              Biggest problem is that it LOOKS like a cheap hairbrush such as you’d pack for a trip, and I don’t want my kids to play with it.

        3. I’ll leave finding the ceramic and carbon-fiber bladed knives as an exercise to the reader…

          1. Guess I’m just old school.
            The ceramics can be wicked sharp, but the blades are brittle and easily broken. Carbon-fiber make decent thrusting weapons, but can’t take a decent edge worth a darn.
            But then of course stainless is hard to sharpen and carbon steel rusts, so they have yet to develop the perfect blade material.

            1. Diamond-dust sharpeners, Unc. Work wonders. Cheapo stainless steel won’t stay sharp, and yes, ya gotta use oil or silicone on the carbon steel.

              1. I’ve worn out two sets of stones for Lansky knife sharpeners. But with them I can sharpen any knife to a razor edge (serrated knifes only by grinding off the stupid teeth) depending on the quality of the steel and how it used to how well it holds an edge after sharpening. When I used to use an axe every day for work, I would sharpen it every morning until it would shave the hair off my arm, freehand with a bastard file. I always say if you are working with dull tools, you are working too hard.

                1. I always say if you are working with dull tools, you are working too hard.

                  Yes. If you are working with dull tools you are putting yourself at risk.

                1. Now, this might be heresy, but I learned by accident a way to keep them from rusting: Magnetize them. I have a good carbon steel knife I inherited from my father, and it only rusts, if not thoroughly dried, for a short time after being sharpened, then it gets a blackish coating on it, and doesn’t rust any more. This is what happens with a magnetized piece of iron – the black coating is a type of oxide that does not flake off, and it protects the steel from further corrosion (and doesn’t come off very easily; I have only removed it during sharpening the knife).

        4. Well, where I work little plastic knives are free for the taking in the cafeteria.

      2. There are guys who will flake a flint or obsidian knife to your specification. Most of them seem to be hobbyists, and I guess due to lack of demand, they price their products incredibly cheap; the price seems to be more dependent on how pretty the stone is rather than the boggling amount of work they put into it.

      3. Maybe I should take up paleo crafts. An antler handled flint knife would be so cool.

          1. I think I can put you in touch with someone if you like: Dad has/had a friend in the area who did these. I think that gentleman might have passed, but I know he taught a couple apprentices over the years. I’m sure I can get contact information from someone within a couple months at the outside.

          2. I’ve seen them for sale at the Seattle Pike Place Market 😀 I think you could get a small one for around $60.

              1. Dad says any archeology department should be able to put you in contact with someone who has made/is making flint and obsidian knives. Apparently if you are going to study them, you really need to know how to make the different shapes, so a lot of profs and grad students have amateur knapping in their skill-set.

          3. The price will vary a lot depending on what part of the antler you want, even more than the shape of the blade.

            The pretty ones with the… um… part of the antler that attaches to the head for the grip are kind of expensive; the more practical ones that have the tip of the horn as a handle are going to cost a LOT less, and I think they’re more practical.

            Most practical I can’t even find a picture of, on line– that would be part of the middle of the horn, and would involve probably rawhide wrapped at the top and bottom to improve the grip.

            1. The one I want looks similar to a downsized version of the old Army K-Bar knife; one piece, handle and all. I’d probably wrap the handle with rawhide strips or paracord and call it done.

          4. Look up “flintknapping” on Amazon books. I’ve got a copy of the first one in the list. Haven’t tried anything yet, because I’ve got too many hobbies already and insufficient access to flint.

      4. Please do not suggest such things, even sarcastically. You know that somewhere, some SJW is reading that and thinking, “Yes. Exactly. That’s what’s needed. And we should probably get rid of scissors while we’re at it…”

        1. No, no, no. See, that’s the point. You let the SJWs go full-on nutty as quickly as possible, turning up the heat beyond faster than the frog is willing to put up with. That’s the only way to make sure it jumps out of the pot.

          1. Editing fail. Scratch the word “beyond” from that previous comment, as I forgot to take it out while re-wording what I wanted to say.

          2. Decent theory, but I’ve come to the conclusion that I’ve underestimated how much heat the frog can stand (I never in my wildest dreams would have thought it could handle, “Of course biological males have the right to shower with your teen girls, and if you object, you’re a bigot”).

            1. Gender isn’t related to physical things like genes, hormones, or body development unless you’re claiming your trans and have always felt male/female in which case only haters think you should be allowed to do any and everything to change your (non-gender related) physical appearance and chemical makeup to match your feels.

              Okay, now my head hurts.

        2. Zsuzsa, that would be called “England.” For a while Tesco was registering purchases of spoons with the government because someone had been murdered with a spoon.

          1. Well, that’s England. I’ve long since accepted that, though England might have been the cradle of liberty, that kid has long since left the house, and the mother country has vowed to strangle any of the grandchildren who come back for a visit.

        3. But it would be so much fun to sue campus administration for not only allowing, but providing weapons in the cafeteria.

      5. Is that the all-black one with the high capacity cop-killer point and the thing that goes up and won’t set off an airport metal detector?

        1. The assault knives I’m thinking of come in different colors.


    3. I’m still trying to wrap my mind around that one … a teensy little pocket knife.

      I’ve carried a whacking great Swiss Army knife with about twenty blades to it in my handbag at all times for decades because you just never know when you’re going to need a small awl, or a saw blade, or a Phillips head screwdriver. Handy? You bet, but if the Speshul Delicate Widdle Snowflakes ever set eyes on it, they’d be wetting their pants. And if they got a load of the Springfield Armory automatic in the car glove-box, they’d be catatonic, for certain.

      1. Then you have a duty to society to reveal these objects to them occasionally. And by “occasionally” I clearly mean “whenever possible.” 😀

        1. But it’s at least an hour drive to reach the nearest of those Speshul Snowflakes … and even in Austin, they aren’t quite so gutless.

      2. I havv a teensy little picket knife in my desk drawer at home. I keep the honkin’ sharp pocket knifes and the bed-dagger in the bedroom if I’m not using them.

          1. Being stuffed under all the papers in the drawer. And the boxes of pens, and the baggie of pens, and the back up hard drives, and . . .

      3. I use one of the metal lockboxes that lock a cable around the seat frame. A lot of cars, you can rip the plastic latch of a glovebox loose with your bare hands.

        1. I have it either on my person, or tossed in the pocket in the drivers door (depending on vehicle and pistol, some vehicles either don’t have a pocket in the door, or it is too narrow to fit a revolver or doublestack auto if that is what I happen to be carrying that day). Of course I am left handed, so having it in the drivers door is considerably more convenient to me than it would be a right hander. Regardless I certainly wouldn’t want it in a locked box when I might need it.

          1. Unfortunately signs have the backing of law here, and a lot of medical facilities are posted. It’s not like we get much choice as to who our medical providers are… the gun has to stay in the car.

            I’m also left-handed, but it doesn’t matter which side I’m sitting in; most of the IWB/OWB holster issues simply go away when you have a good shoulder rig.

            1. I guess I’m missing something, because I have never drove my vehicle into a medical facility, or for that matter, been to one where you could do so. I can understand having to take your gun off and leaving it in the car, but when I do so, I like it in the door where it is at least readily available if I can manage to make it to my rig. Parking lots are one of the places with the highest incidents of muggings after all.

  4. The question is: are humans supposed to go through life untraumatized?

    Save us from a world of hot house flowers.

  5. ::Crocodile Dundee moment.::

    “You call that a knife?” Taking out his knife. “Now this is a knife.” 😈

    1. To which the reply is the bazaar scene from “Raiders of the Lost Ark.”

      Alas, there’s no quotable dialogue, just the subtext of “oh, give me a break. BANG!”

      1. Chuckle Chuckle

        Oh, the expression on Harrison Ford’s face is from the fact that he had stomach problems and just wanted the movie shooting to end.

        His character was scripted to go “bullwhip against sword” but Ford changed it to go “handgun against sword”. [Very Big Evil Grin]

        1. Notice that two of his most iconic scenes (the other is “I know” from Empire) are do to Ford improving.

          Says quite a bit about him.

        2. The way I heard it, the script called for Ford to disarm the scimitar guy with his bullwhip. Fifty takes later, he still hadn’t made it look good, so on take fifty-one he just tiredly shot the guy. Spielberg knew ad lib gold when he saw it.

          1. As I heard it, you’re both right. He didn’t feel well, and the takes weren’t going well, either. Supposedly, when he made the “Oh, for Pete’s sake” face and pulled his gun and “fired”, bullwhip guy went with it and flopped on the ground.

    2. Prince John: Mummy! He has a knife!
      Queen Eleanor: Of course he has a knife, he always has a knife, we all have knives! It’s 1183 and we’re barbarians!

      1. Congratulations on not being triggered by all this talk of knives, Imperator 😀 And happy upcoming Ides!

          1. Ooh! We shall have a singalong of the Latin song onthe topic, written by the former Papal Latinist! The tune “My Darling Clementine” is involved….

                    1. I dunno… Do you like Worcestershire Sauce?

                      The garum I had before had a very similar flavor, in some ways. I don’t know how authentic it was, but the guy who offered it to me assured me that it was from an authentic Roman recipe. Minus the lead styphnate, that is…

      2. Churchill, in his “The Second World War”, describes the Quebec Conference. There wee the chiefs of state for Britain, Canada, and the United States. There was much of the British Imperial General Staff as well as the American and Canadian senior military officers. There were generals, admirals, marshals, Ministers, Secretaries, and Very Important People.

        It was very hot and crowded, so mere admirals, generals, ministers and their flunkies are ordered out of the main room. Meanwhile, an inventor wheeled in a sample of a material he proposed for the use of “floating islands” or “unsinkable aircraft carriers” in the Atlantic.

        When he mentioned the material was bulletproof, George Marshall unholstered his pistol and took a shot at it, right in front of everyone… about half of whom were armed themselves.

        Out in the hall, VIPs were having fits. “They’re killing each other in there!” But so stern had been the order to stay out, nobody dared open the door to see what the gunshot was about…

  6. I wonder if this radical experiment of raising kids without any traumas, any hardship is not the worst thing you could do to kids.

    Absent real physical and sexual abuses … probably.

    1. Possibly, and note I’m not advocating this, it is worse even than physical and sexual abuses.

  7. “The closer men came to perfecting for themselves a paradise, the more impatient they seemed to become with it, and with themselves as well. They made a garden of pleasure, and became progressively more miserable with it as it grew in richness and power and beauty; for then, perhaps it was easier for them to see that somethingwas missing in the garden, some tree or shrub that would not grow. When the world was in darkness and wretchedness, it could believe in perfection and yearn for it. But when the world became bright with reason and riches, it began to sense the narrowness of the needle s eye, and that rankled for a world no longer willing to believe or yearn. Well, they were going to destroy it again, were they—this garden Earth, civilized and knowing, to be torn apart again that Man might hope again in wretched darkness.”

    –Walter Miller, A Canticle for Leibowitz

  8. Robert Ardrey, a popularizer of science in the 60s, wrote that man is the “bad-weather animal.” As you say, we’re the descendants of scrappy survivors, and no matter how fancy and refined our present lives may be, that inner grit is still there.

  9. When, not if, smallpox is released back into the wild, it won’t be confined to a small area. Western nations can rapidly ramp up vaccine production and distribution for their own use to bring it under control within their borders. With a large part of the world believing the CIA is responsible for spending Aids, and our own liberals willingly going along with such nonsense, it won’t be eliminated again. Sort of like the dirty bomb. We know one is going to be detonated. When and where is the question. And as worrisome as it is for the Norks to have a working nuke bomb and delivery system, the islamocrazies getting one is more so. I don’t think Israel will play one on one bomb exchange. One on them, all theirs are being delivered. We really don’t know how many that is.

      1. Every Moslem capital in the MidEast, Jakarta, Islamabad, Mecca and Moscow for starters. London, Bonn, Paris and,Amsterdam probably should worry, too.

            1. I wouldn’t bother with a nuke on Aswan. A dozen or so cruise missiles time on target across the base of the dam, with another dozen 30 seconds apart aimed at the same center point. Which should be a water wall before the last one arrives.

              1. Uhmmm… Speaking as someone with a bit of knowledge on the issue, you’re not going to do much to that dam with conventional warheads, across the base of the Aswan Dam. And, sure as hell, not with a mere dozen warheads weighing around 450kg, which is the conventional weight for a Tomahawk.

                That is an embankment dam, 980m wide at the base, 40m wide at the top. You might break out the concrete facing material with conventional munitions, but I seriously doubt that you are going to breach it with that method. That’s nearly a kilometer of concrete, earth, and rock to get through, and I’m just not seeing it happen with anything short of a nuke. Period.

                And, that nuke better be placed juuuuust so, or all you’re going to do is scratch the paint, so to speak. We’re talking like, get the circle of total destruction centered on the base of the dam, and make sure it’s big enough that at least a third or more of the dam’s mass goes with it.

                Really big conventional targets don’t just go up the way they do in the movies. That scene from “Force 10 From Navarone”? Utter, complete, and total Hollywood bullshit.

          1. I think a lot really depends on the situation before they start uncanning the sunshine. Should Moscow or other Europeans be trying to defuse the situation, maybe not. If, on the other hand, Moscow is handing over more reloads to the Iranians for their S-300 batteries, and the Israelis feel like the Russians are taking part in the attempted genocide…?

            Yeah, kiss goodbye to Moscow, and probably wherever else the Russians have their nukes pointed, these days.

            Ever since the first time I realized the Israelis had nukes, I’ve had a really strong feeling that the smartest thing the rest of the human race could be doing was to reassure the Jews that pogroms and genocide weren’t ever going to happen to them, ever again. We haven’t done that, so I’m really not wanting to find out just what the hell a future absent Israel is likely to contain. Because, I’m pretty sure that there are going to be a lot less of the rest of us living in that world.

              1. Yes, and no. Carl Sagan “nuclear winter” overhyped? Yes. Destruction of nations, fall of civilization, and so forth? Eminently doable, with nukes. Erase Tel Aviv, and add in a few more, and Israel is gone. Then, Israel decides that they can’t tolerate a world with Islamic states? Or, their enablers? Yeah… Wouldn’t take a lot, and given the state of public health, sanitation, and infrastructure, I think you’d see an awful lot of dead people, along with a bunch of countries that simply aren’t coming back. Egypt, for certain–That one’s simple as all hell. The rest? Drop a nuke at some key and critical points, and they aren’t coming back, either. The only country in the Arab world with enough depth to really persist would probably be Turkey, and that only in the rural areas. Russia? Iran? Mmmm… Too damn centralized in Tehran and/or Moscow.

                Then, add in the Russian response? Say they think they’re being attacked by the US or China… I’m not too happy about betting my health and safety on the likelihood that the Strategic Rocket Force is just going to fail to function, although that might be a low-order possibility.

                The whole world is going to have cause to regret the Israelis getting all jiggy with their nuclear arsenal, of that I’m quite certain. I think it would be really, really smart to read the clues in what they’ve been saying, and do everything to create incentives for them not to break into their hoard–Like, maybe making sure there isn’t a Holocaust II?

                Because, letting Israel get wiped out is how you get widespread thermonuclear war, in my opinion.

                1. I think the opportunities the current administration has frittered away probably guarantee the use of at least some devices. Maybe we’ll collect some data that will let us pursue sounder policy in the future.

    1. I have my doubts that Israel would empty the quiver, but I have no illusions that anyone taking out an Israeli tooth is going to soon be needing dentures. (to mix metaphors clumsily)

      1. Empty the quiver in response to a single nuke, no.

        Empty the quiver in response to an unblocked path between Syrian tanks and Tel Aviv? Yes…they were ready to.

        There has always been a question as to why the Syrian breakthrough, with a clear path to the sea, tried enciriclement in bad terrian instead. I think they were told either by us or by the USSR that Israeli nuclear capable F4s were on the tarmac armed and that as soon as Mier knew the country would fall Syria would as well.

    2. Last time I dabbled in that arena conventional wisdom placed their stockpile at somewhere between 60 and 100 tactical nuclear devices. Given that they are experts at surgical strikes, I’d place their response to any WMD attack on the homeland at something between 5 and 10.

      1. For those who don’t know, a tac nuke is never smaller and often considerably larger that Hiroshima and Nagasaki (this is what I did in the army, many decades ago).

        1. I think you’re both wildly optimistic, at least about there being limits on the Israelis.

          If I had to guess, there’s probably at least one Tsar Bomba-level weapon in their arsenal, and it’s probably going to be what gets used right there at the last, when the Arabs are killing the last few living Jewish women and children in whatever final sanctuary there was that they finally manage to breach. At that point, some Israeli military person is going to go “F**k this restraint BS, I want a hundred lives of theirs for every one of ours…”.

          And, the rest of us are going to be left with a very salutary lesson in why it’s not a good idea to kill God’s chosen people, or give them a cause for a grudge. I don’t know if they’re planning to take the planet with them, but if they are, I really can’t say I blame them.

      2. I had heard that conventioanal wisdom was a Minimum of 100. Personally, looking at the size of Israel, I expect their definition of surgical would be more along the lines of the opposite of decimate. Take out 90% of the potential enemy. Depending on the attacker, and who Israel could reasonably (by their definition of reasonable) expect to ally and support such an attacker, the actual number could vary greatly.

    3. Don’t forget the anti-vaxxers. The last decade and a half saw massive gains in the number of kids vaccinated against diseases, except in the United States, and now the gains are starting to be rolled back in other countries.
      Jenny McCarthy has possibly killed more people than most serial killers.

      1. Two things to keep in mind for that:
        The US had really good rates to start with — there was nowhere to go but down, at least among those being measured– and a lot of the “unvaccinated” stats are not collected to inform, they’re collected to scare.

        There is a massive difference between a kid who has had zero vaccines and whose mother was never vaccinated around his pregnancy because vaccines are scary, a kid with a health issue that means he can’t get some vaccines, a kid who doesn’t have a chicken pox vaccine because of moral objections (fetal stem cell sourced is the only US option; this is fairly common for less serious diseases and is not an invitation to argue it out) and a kid who doesn’t have that year’s flu shot or the HPV shot.

        They’re all out of compliance with the suggested vaccinations, though.

        In fairness, I think the reporting tends towards “is missing any shots for any reason” for health care privacy reasons, either factual or feared.

        1. Enough parents were afraid of the pertussis vaccine here in our school district that we had 28 children out of 120 come down with whooping cough last winter.

          That vaccine is given with Tetanus – which really is necessary out here in a rural area.

          They are not giving any vaccines and are claiming religious reasons.

          1. DTAP.

            My old high school had the same thing happen– lots of trust fund kids (the “vaccines are scary!” ones) and a lot of interaction with illegals *plus* some international travel. (everybody who just shuddered? I’m right there with you)

            Was why I found out that the stats don’t differentiate.

            You can get a tetanus shot separately, and I haven’t heard any talk of how lockjaw isn’t scary, but…

            Yeah, I spend a lot of time worrying when my kids develop coughs. They all honk.

        2. there’s a chicken pox vaccine?

          *looks at his pox scars*

          coulda saved me a lot of trouble…

          1. The US version was patented in ’95, and in the late 90s there were some issues with people who had been vaccinated being hospitalized, as adults, because their resistance wasn’t strong enough to keep them from getting it as an adult. I believe Newsweek covered it in the science section.

            Chicken pox is one of those scary diseases where it’s not much in a child, but is quite serious in an adult. No, I don’t know where the dividing line is, precisely, but people weren’t doing pox parties for fun.

            It’s an attenuated live vaccine, which as probably anybody interested enough to be reading this knows means that it is infecting you with a very weak virus, which is why you can get shingles.

            Web MD says that those who are allowed to have it and have their booster shots have up to a 90% chance to not catch it again, and those who get chicken pox from the vaccine are usually fairly mild, and only one in 50.

            1. I got it at 14 and it was kinda bad, much worse than my younger sister (she brought it home from day care)

              1. I caught it around 40 from my daughter. Wasn’t too bad. Worst was all the teasing from friends and coworkers.

              2. I got it as a kid (probably 8-10) and it wasn’t bad at all. I got shingles as an adult however, NOT FUN.

  10. If you have had small pox, you are really lucky! I had the vaccine for it. I did go through the other childhood diseases,

    I think while those who die from a disease like that are unlucky, those who survive it are much better off than if they had not gone through the disease. This is something the CDC will not address.

      1. Precisely. The classmates I never met, and the parents who were, in retrospect, left shocked by their loss at a time when this was no longer normal. And that extended children’s cemetery with all the candles burning at all saints.

        1. I remember my grandmother talking about her sister who died at nine. I was horrified but she just said it was a part of life at that time. Children died.

          1. My grandmother and her father went to pay their respects to a neighbor (German) whose “crawler baby” had toddled off the porch and into the slop barrel and drowned. Grandma always remembered the old man saying, “Ja. Vas too bad. But vas too young to vork.” It was a loss, but not as much as that of a child who could have done field labor. This would have been 1912-14 or so, in central Texas.

        2. I remember the palpable fear that permeated our small midwestern community every summer during polio season. Then we all got the Salk shot and the parents relaxed a bit. Later our entire town lined up at the grade school to get a blue tinted sugar cube with the Sabin oral vaccine just to be on the safe side.
          In some ways I think the fear of a child being permanently crippled was considered quite literally that infamous fate worse than death.

          1. It’s been some time since if you were in elementary school, it would be unremarkable to have a classmate or three who used crutches and leg braces because of polio.

            I fervently hope that those times, much less worse, don’t return.

          2. I remember the Sabin oral vaccine, just. It would have been early 1960s.

            I was pretty small, and was a little puzzled about why everyone in town was lined up, but it became a little clearer when I was in Jr High School and was reading local newspaper clippings circa 1900 for a history paper. And when I read relatively recent “teen” books from the school library that had characters dealing with polio.

            Big, big, shift in health expectations in a very short time period.

          3. Iron lung. I saw a PBS program about 20 years ago that included an interview with a woman who was still in an iron lung. Her greatest fear was power outages.

          4. My next door neighbor dutifully got her children vaccinated. She ended up in a wheel chair having gotten Polio as an adult two years later. She still could not understand how she could have contracted a ‘childhood disease’.

  11. Do I expect conditions to revert to what my mother grew up under? Frankly even if say Bernie won and we went Venezuela we have a lot of infrastructure that doesn’t disappear magically.

    Politically speaking only, that’s a great part of the problem. Virtually no one in this country has ever experienced genuine privation. Even those with living relatives whose memories go back to the Great Depression mostly regard those times as never-come-again. The reason is that over the past seven decades, even at the toughest times, the great majority of Americans continued to produce what others wanted.

    Supermarket shelves have stayed well stocked, the goods on them eminently affordable. Clothing, if not cheap in absolute terms, has remained affordable in the worst recessions. Shelter? Please! You have to want to be homeless!

    This is not a call for the deliberate embrace of poverty. But as Sarah notes here, there can be no deep understanding of what a true collapse of American civilization would mean among those with neither personal knowledge of real poverty nor the understanding of how intimately linked are the webs of virtue, innovation, and effort that keep us all as safe and well fed as we are. Either we don’t live long enough…or we live too long.

  12. If it isn’t, it makes for an interesting SF novel, since I’m one of the youngest people to have immunity to it.

    Maybe not…I mustered out in 1995 and I remember recruits hitting the boats in the early 90s still getting small pox vaccine as boots if they hadn’t as kids.

      1. They still gave them out around here for several years after I was born, but I don’t have the vaccination scar, because it didn’t take for me. I presume I was immune.

  13. Sure we might get a small pox attack — I’m a bit surprised we haven’t yet given how Russians keep samples “safe”

    What surprises me is that, considering small pox would make an effective biological weapon and we know that strains exist in laboratories, why do we no longer vaccinate against it? I’ve been told that military recruits are still vaccinated, but why not the population-at-large?

    Is there a medical/scientific reason behind no longer vaccinating on a large scale?

    1. Partly expense, and partly that in a safe world (even if the safety is imaginary) the smallpox vaccine is a bit on the dangerous side – it’s imperfect and there can be nasty reactions. So it was dropped not long after is presumed no longer needed. But the disease was so bad that by comparison, the vaccine risk was minimal. When very young, I had the vaccine. Would I get a booster if offered? Oh yes. Might I get some nasty symptoms feel like crude for a while? Perhaps. But “feel like crud for a while” beats “30% chance of dead” every time. And I’m guessing at the percentage – that might be assuming an (otherwise) ideal situation – good care, plentiful food, etc.

      1. Partly expense, and partly that in a safe world (even if the safety is imaginary) the smallpox vaccine is a bit on the dangerous side – it’s imperfect and there can be nasty reactions.

        Ok, that makes sense. But I do agree that “feel like crud” beats “30% chance of dead.” I think since we know that ours is a world with enemies and that some of them are looking at small pox as a weapon, it would behoove our society to start vaccinating again.

        1. Now you are victim blaming. Besides, proactively acting in defense will make our enemies angry. You don’t want to make them angry do you?


          1. Are you saying that our enemies are the Incredible Hulk? They ARE always angry, I will admit.

      2. According to the CDC:

        Based on past experience, it is estimated that between 1 and 2 people out of every 1 million people vaccinated may die as a result of life-threatening reactions to the vaccine.

        1. 1 in a million seems like a small risk. what is the risk of getting smallpox if you don’t get the vaccine?

          1. Since smallpox is eradicated in the wild and the remaining samples supposedly safely contained, the risk of catching smallpox is considered zero.

            1. But given reintroduction, the risk does tend to go up.

              Figure that it was estimated to have resulted in 300-500 million deaths in the 20th century alone. Estimates run around 400,000 cases per year in Europe in the 18th century.

              Overall, about 30% mortality, higher in children and oldsters. Then again, the first time a population encountered measles, anywhere from 20 to 50% of infected died from it. Before the measles vaccine became available, seven to eight million children died from it.

        2. And we’ve got a lot more of the sort of folks who would’ve died wayback– they’re not clear if their estimate is if everybody vaccinated, or if that’s after removing all the people with risks.

          I’ll just link the whole chunk, since at least one other person checked the CDC. (I decided against it earlier because my goodness what a wall of text.)

          Smallpox Vaccine Safety
          The smallpox vaccine is the best protection you can get if you are exposed to the smallpox virus. Anyone directly exposed to smallpox, regardless of health status, would be offered the smallpox vaccine because the risks associated with smallpox disease are far greater than those posed by the vaccine.

          There are side effects and risks associated with the smallpox vaccine. Most people experience normal, usually mild reactions that include a sore arm, fever, and body aches. However, other people experience reactions ranging from serious to life-threatening. People most likely to have serious side effects are: people who have had, even once, skin conditions (especially eczema or atopic dermatitis) and people with weakened immune systems, such as those who have received a transplant, are HIV positive, are receiving treatment for cancer, or are currently taking medications (like steroids) that suppress the immune system. In addition, pregnant women should not get the vaccine because of the risk it poses to the fetus. Women who are breastfeeding should not get the vaccine. Children younger than 12 months of age should not get the vaccine. Also, the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) advises against non-emergency use of smallpox vaccine in children younger than 18 years of age. In addition, those allergic to the vaccine or any of its components should not receive the vaccine. Also, people who have been diagnosed by a doctor as having a heart condition with or without symptoms, including conditions such as previous myocardial infarction (heart attack), angina (chest pain caused by lack of blood flow to the heart), congestive heart failure, and cardiomyopathy (heart muscle becomes inflamed and doesn’t work as well as it should), stroke or transient ischemic attack (a “mini-stroke” that produces stroke-like symptoms but not lasting damage), chest pain or shortness of breath with activity (such as walking up stairs), or other heart conditions being treated by a doctor should not get the vaccine at this time. (Heart disease may be a temporary exclusion and may change as more information is gathered.) Also, individuals who have 3 or more of the following risk factors should not get the vaccine at this time: high blood pressure diagnosed by a doctor; high blood cholesterol diagnosed by a doctor; diabetes or high blood sugar diagnosed by a doctor; a first degree relative (for example, mother, father, brother or sister) with a heart condition before the age of 50; and/or, currently a cigarette smoker. (These may be temporary exclusions and may change as more information is gathered.)

          In the past, about 1,000 people for every 1 million people vaccinated for the first time experienced reactions that, while not life-threatening, were serious. These reactions included a toxic or allergic reaction at the site of the vaccination (erythema multiforme), spread of the vaccinia virus to other parts of the body and to other individuals (inadvertent inoculation), and spread of the vaccinia virus to other parts of the body through the blood (generalized vaccinia). These types of reactions may require medical attention. In the past, between 14 and 52 people out of every 1 million people vaccinated for the first time experienced potentially life-threatening reactions to the vaccine. Based on past experience, it is estimated that 1 or 2 people in 1 million who receive the vaccine may die as a result. Careful screening of potential vaccine recipients is essential to ensure that those at increased risk do not receive the vaccine.

      3. 30% or higher death rate for untreated.

        If you really are interested in a booster shot, and are willing to help if the crud hits the fan, ask the fire fighters or other first responders in your area. They may know of programs to put you on a list of people who can help without being likely to become a casualty in case of a smallpox bio attack.

    2. What surprises me is that, considering small pox would make an effective biological weapon and we know that strains exist in laboratories, why do we no longer vaccinate against it? I’ve been told that military recruits are still vaccinated, but why not the population-at-large?

      Cost-benefit ratio.

      Not money cost, but health cost.

      This is one of my drums in the whole Vaccine Wars– I’m more scared of the “vaccines are magic” people than I am of the “vaccines are poison” ones. The guys who think vaccines are poison are at least going to act like diseases exist. The ones who believe that being vaccinated makes you immune, not so much. The ones who believe there are no bad side-effects from vaccines, ever, so it’s totally cool to actively force people to do it, even without their knowledge….

      The folks in the military are young, healthy in all various ways, in good shape, well fed and have good medical care right there that knows what is going on and is relatively prepared for it.

      You still get, from memory, one in three hundred with serious reactions strong enough to put them in medical for most of a week.

      That’s ignoring that the vaccine can cause the spread of Vaccinia (the virus that they use to give smallpox immunity) if you’re not treating it properly. Touching the injection site, touching something that touched it, or touching the skin that flakes off the site.

  14. The girls raised to believe that they are as good as any man and actively lied to about things like upper body strength are not confident. They grow into women who believe men have near supernatural powers over them.

    Fever or no fever, this could be an insightful observation. If you are raised to ignore reality, then the only thing left to explain otherwise logical outcomes is unreality.

    1. oh, I’ve thought that for some time. I hated — and actively fought — what the school tried to do to my boys, but what they do to girls is unconscionable, and if I had been mother of a girl in the system, I’d have razed the school so no two stones stood together, and then taken the kid home to homeschool

  15. I keep having this nightmare image, one nuke or dirty bomb goes off in one US city, and at colleges all over the US diversity lords scream, “eek, eek, nuclear war! You’ve read (or seen or heard of) “On the Beach”, you know what to do! Everybody take their cyanide tablets!” Some students say, I’ll wait a few days and see what happens here, and the DLs say, “Then take these potassium iodide tablets!” and hand them the same cyanide capsules again. We know that a number of colleges were stockpiling cyanide capsules in the 80s, and who knows what happened to them.

    1. Nightmare image? You’re describing a self-remedying problem (so long as the DLs also take the tablets).

    2. Yeah, you’re close to describing one of the final chapters of Canticle for Leibowitz, which photoncourier posted about above. When “pain is the only evil you know”, murder becomes virtuous.

    3. Heaven only knows, Charles, but I think you’re being overly pessimistic. they don’t want the precious flowers to die. they’re their weapons against society.

    4. Does it make me a bad person to think that a mass SJW/diversity lords committing suicide over a single nukes makes losing San Francisco worth it?

        1. Followed immediately by Robert sitting on their chest while Marsh feeds them the suspect pill. I’ve met your kids.

        2. Oh, good Lord no, not your guys. But some colleges were stockpiling cyanide, and the idiocy about needing to take potassium iodide if an a-bomb goes off anywhere… And the no-fear-allowed craze seems designed to cause overreaction.

    5. If memory serves, cyanide does have a shelf life- so if we’re talking 80’s vintage, you may wind up with quite a number of not-dead people.

      But, if the stuff is working, you’re not going to get the effect you describe. The second person in line is going to figure out right quick that something is up when the first person in line drops like a rock. Yeah, we like to think that college SJW’s are stupid, easily led sheep, and in many ways they are… but even sheep can be a handful when threatened with death.

  16. One sign of our prosperity is the fact that cancer is the second-leading cause of death among Americans, closely trailing (and gaining on) heart disease. This is not to say that death by cancer is good. It’s simply an indication of medical progress. When our forbears routinely died in their 50s and 60s of ‘old age’ (of which heart disease was one manifestation) they didn’t last long enough to develop cancers caused by their possibly less-than-stellar lifestyles in their youth. (I’m still waiting for the hammer to fall from all the crap I breathed in Saudi Arabia back in ’91 from the burning Kuwaiti oil fields.) Again, prosperity – we have much wider and healthier alternatives in nutrition and early-stage medical care than our parents did. Now that folk are routinely living into their 70s, often into their 80s, and some into their 90s and beyond, the Big C has a much better chance off catching up with them.


    Re: pocket knives – Been carrying one since Grampa got me the Boy Scout pocket knife when I was 7 (he had great confidence in me). Over the years I’ve owned one of almost every variety of Victorinox Swiss Army Knife (Wenger was second-class to my thinking, and is no more in any case having been absorbed by its rival.) For my purposes, I always carry the Explorer model which, with its variety of tools, I dub the ‘Handy Dandy Swiss Army Field Aircraft Mechanic’s Pocket Tool Kit (TM)’. Funny – In Saudi, the SAKs weren’t sold with the ‘cross and shield’ logo, they had a large V with an interlaced banner upon which was written the company name.

    1. On at least one side of the family, the women (I cannot speak to the men, as so many smoked and had the illnesses that came with such) generally lived quite a long time and died of “multiple organ failure” or more simply, “the parts wore out.”

    2. When I was growing up the garbage processing plant was on a hill over the village. Its capacity had long since been overwhelmed, and so they burned all the garbage from the city of Porto on the hill, in the open air.Somedays the smoke and the fog made it almost impossible to breathe. This went on for my childhood from about 10 to 22.
      I know how I’ll eventually go…

      1. We’re also the first generation to be raised on artificial colors, flavors, and sweetners. Read about a link between Tylenol and Alzheimers.

        I don’t think the burden of supporting the baby boomers in their old age is going to be nearly as bad as projected.

        1. There’s a correlation between asthma in the child and maternal acetaminophen use during pregnancy.

        2. I’ve been using ibuprofen for years, after having read about liver damage caused by prescribed dosages of Tylenol. Then my doctor told me last month about ibuprofen causing kidney damage.

          1. I don’t take any ibuprofen or Tylenol. It’s not that I don’t have pain, I do, but I found that getting in a very hot tub first thing in the morning helps my joint pain tremendously, and if I start moving around, feeding animals, etc., right after that 30 minute soak, my joint pain is greatly diminished.

            I don’t take the stuff because I have one of those stomachs that cannot handle nsaids without forming an ulcer. :(. And I quit taking Tylenol when I found out that drinking alcohol and taking tylenol can really do a number on you.

            For me, heat and moving around helps all but sinus pain. Then I have to use one of those things that squirts salty water up your nose.

            1. I need my painkillers. I don’t drink any alcohol because of all the other meds I take.

              1. I don’t take them very often. I’m averse to taking any pills I don’t really need, and I do like my scotch. I may need to give up alcohol for medicine, though – my recent physical wasn’t as clean as I’d like.

                1. I was never much of a drinker. Sweet stuff is my favorite. I had to give up chocolate because it aggravates my insomnia. I don’t mind that so much because it’s poisonous to dogs and I wouldn’t want our Ne-Mo-nster to poison himself.

                  1. The VA won’t give me anything that works better than plain old excedrin, just scribbles down ‘medication seeking’ and sends me on my way.

                    1. the really sad part is when you ask them if that’s what they just wrote, and they say no, and then try to say you cant look at your own medical records.

  17. I’ve often wondered why our young adults seem to be getting, well, more and more immature over the generations. The neuroscientists tell us human brain maturation isn’t complete til twenty-six or whenever it is now, but I wonder if what triggers human brain maturation isn’t stress. Think about it: you graduate from college/grad school somewhere between 22-24, you have to start paying back student loans, can’t find a job . . . stress. Stress the brain at fourteen, get maturation by sixteen. Wait until twenty-four, get it by twenty-six. That would explain why the adulthood posts have moved so far.
    Should be easy enough to test: get enough grant to go do brain scans on groups that aren’t US college students.

    1. So what you’re saying is, we’re doing them favors when we traumatize them; the stressors should kick-start their maturation. Works for me! Just call me the adult-whisperer.

      1. Heinlein said to not handicap your kids by making their lives too easy. Being a writer with irregular income means our kids are the opposite of handicapped.

    2. … Huh. I like that theory; it adequately explains all the known facts, like how people 100 years ago were acting like perfectly mature adults at age 16-18 (including getting married and STAYING married).

  18. Sure we might get a small pox attack — I’m a bit surprised we haven’t yet given how Russians keep samples “safe — but I suspect it will be contained to an area or a region. If it isn’t, it makes for an interesting SF novel, since I’m one of the youngest people to have immunity to it. Maybe my kids have some partial immunity, since I actually had it. But otherwise, it would be a world of old people and an interesting novel.

    Also everyone who’s been in the military around the Iraq time, bare minimum, and a lot of first responder from the same time. (….Really, spellcheck, NOW you can’t figure out “responder” and think it’s either “res-ponder” or “responded”?)

  19. So, are we happy and grateful, confident in our marvelous civilization, settling down to raise fat babies and praise our good fortune?

    *pats the ample tummy of the snore machine on her lap*

    Some of us are… but it’s not much of a topic of conversation. 😀

  20. My brother lost a whole group of friends to drugs and alcohol. I think there were 7 funerals one year. When he realized he was the last one standing, he decided to turn his life around. Part of that was choosing women who wouldn’t put up with his crap. His ex-fiancee and I were comparing pocket knives one Christmas. My mother was scandalized. My father bought be a better knife for my birthday.

  21. Two unrelated things this post reminded me of:

    1) “I wonder if this radical experiment of raising kids without any traumas, any hardship is not the worst thing you could do to kids.”

    While it’s not “hardship” precisely, I remember an article from The Atlantic a few years ago on the nature of play and how it helps kids develop. It turns out that it’s important for kids to ride their bikes “too fast,” climb trees “too high,” and most importantly, be outside the immediate supervision and control of adults. The kids need to face things they consider dangerous and realize, “Yeah, I can handle this.” If Mommy is constantly hovering, then it’s always Mommy handling it, and those psychological muscles never develop. The result, according to the article, was fearful, neurotic adults. The result, according to me, is the trigger-warning-and-safe-space generation.

    2) “It makes for an interesting SF novel, since I’m one of the youngest people to have immunity to it. Maybe my kids have some partial immunity, since I actually had it. But otherwise, it would be a world of old people and an interesting novel.”

    This bit reminds me of Mark Steyn’s review of the movie adaptation of P.J. James’ “The Children of Men.” While Steyn had a number of complaints, the big one he had was that, given the premise that the youngest person in the world was 30, why were the crowd scenes clearly filled with actors in their early-to-mid 20s? His conclusion was that a world filled with nothing but old people was so alien to our worldview that Hollywood simply couldn’t make a movie like that.

  22. They’re hardened enough. They’ll make good sandbags for us to hide behind.

  23. These snowflakes need to toughen up. They are not going to make it if the SHTF.

    If these people had been in charge 25 years ago, my husband would have been imprisoned. My son had a pocketknife at age 10, slingshots, cap guns, an air rifle, BB gun and his own shotgun before age 12, when he shot his first deer.

    We come from people who have known a lot of hardship, though. My parents lost two children, one at birth and another at age 3. I remember going to my sister’s funeral. Seeing such a thing may have toughened me some. That may be why I didn’t buy into all of this nonsense, and raised my kids so they didn’t get everything they thought they wanted.

    1. I had cap guns at age 4 or 5, and they looked at least vaguely realistic (not real at all, but not dayglow orange). I was more interested in setting off the caps by other means – rocks, the toy ‘bomb’ that held a cap, magnifying glass. Not sure when the pocket knife happened, but it was before age 12, I think. And a surprising amount of stuff was open-access or just-ask. My mother largely figured if my father left it around, it was alright or wouldn’t have. And he was of the opinion that the most dangerous thing I would ever encounter was… other people. Just about everything else was dealt with with a couple minutes of “Here’s how to do that safely, and why it matters” and then I was generally on my own. I have a hard time imagining what it must be like now for many kids where surveillance is a way of life.

  24. Remove the harassment to “help” the traumatized “identify” and “deal” with the trauma, and a lot of that trauma will vanish because it’s not from the traumatizing event, it’s from the nagging.

    People do check themselves, and I know the horrible feeling of “what’s wrong with me– I’m not upset. WHAT IS WRONG WITH ME?!?!”

    If it’s only one person, or it’s only some people that you don’t recognize as somehow superior, then you can dismiss it. If it’s a lot of people, or several authorities, or a lot of people that you don’t recognize as having bad judgement… you will check yourself.

    That’s a natural human means of avoiding going utterly crazy by drinking your own ink.

    Add in the “people will try to do what is expected of them” thing, and you’ll have people who these idiots have induced trauma in. To make it worse, you might have some people who are genuinely traumatized– say, for school shootings or assault– who are then induced to another trauma because their natural defense of numbness isn’t good enough for the people “helping” them.

    I ran into this with my miscarriage; I didn’t feel anything but guilty for not being more upset until at least a month after it was entirely over. Took another six months for me to look back and figure out I’d been doing my normal coping process, which starts by emotionally curling up like an armadillo and not feeling anything until it’s safe to fall apart, just took longer than…oh, dealing with a car accident, or someone being injured.

    Somebody like me, who doesn’t have the kind of support to know that is a licit coping process? Even for something stupid, they’re going to get trauma because it’s beating home the idea that there is something seriously wrong with them, because they’re not upset.

    The folks doing the counseling mean well, but that’s not something that can be done industrial style. It’s intimate. It needs to be done by someone who can tell the difference between “not upset,” “upset but won’t admit it,” “coping” and “really needs help to deal with this.” That requires either a Father Brown and Miss Marple level of understanding of people as individuals, or actually knowing the person.

    1. I’ve had amazingly few bad things happen in my life. When my grandpa died when I was 13 or so I didn’t cry until 6 months later. Becoming sad six months later seems to be my usual thing. What I find upsetting is the idea that somehow if you don’t mourn the way they want you to mourn immediately, that holding it longer is going to be unhealthy for you somehow so they need to help.

      Or when my husband rolled his car and his work calls me to come get him… everyone expected me to be upset. It was *over*. He got checked by EMTs and was being sent home. Why would I be upset?

      And absolutely… “we have grief counselors…” is good and all, but what if you don’t need them? What’s wrong with you?

      1. Absolutely nothing is “wrong” with you.

        The problem is with the rest of these over-emotional nancy-boy ponces that insist that every harsh event in life is worth over-wrought emotional reaction.

        You’re healthy. It’s the rest of society that has a damn problem, and you should not be made to feel as though you were some sort of atavistic monster because you don’t ape their undignified reactions to everyday events.

        What’s really messed-up with all this? I would be unsurprised to hear someone tell me that some significant proportion of PTSD stems not from people actually being traumatized, but because they’re convinced by the rest of the population that there’s something wrong with them if they don’t have PTSD from a normal, everyday occurrence.

        Friend of mine had to kill someone in a self-defense situation a few years back. Talking to him, after the whole thing was over, the worst part of the experience was not the “trauma” of having to take the life of someone, but in dealing with all the drama that everyone else assigned the event. His actual response was along the lines of what I think mine would have been in that situation, which was “OK, you made me do this, in order to stop you from killing me… That’s on you, bud. Too bad, too sad, but you’re dead, and I’m alive. And, I’m completely OK with that.”. Trouble was, everyone else around him couldn’t let it go, and basically insisted on forcing trauma on him via counseling and everything else, not to mention the NOK suing his ass for “murder” in what was clearly a case of justifiable homicide. When I got to talk to him, it was well after the fact, but he made certain to point out that the worst part of the whole thing was that everyone was trying to convince him that there was something wrong with him, because he wasn’t turning into an emotional wreck over what happened.

        Stoicism is dead, as well as any real ability to put things into a rational perspective. I’ve met people around here who went through the experience of losing their homes to a wildfire. OK, great, I get that it was hard to lose everything you owned, but… For the love of God, you got out alive, all your kids are safe, your pets are even safe, you had insurance, and your home can be rebuilt. Why the hell are you freaking out at the sign of flame in a barbecue six months later, and have to spend the next day-and-a-half curled up into a ball from the trauma? Remind me again, who the hell insisted on building a “house out in the woods…”, and then refused to consider clearing the brush back from it, to meet the Forest Service recommendations? Oh, yeah… That was you. WTF did you expect would happen?

        I could get that “curl into a fetal ball” thing, if they had been trapped and forced to watch family members and pets burn to death, or something. But, when you drove out of the fire zone three hours or more before the flame front hit the house, and you were in a Red Cross shelter while it was happening…? Yeah. Bit much, darling. Cope.

        1. My parents actually went through that – losing their retirement house, and everything but their pets and a handful of small valuables they managed to grab in twenty minutes or so. They were quite chipper about the experience; they kept pointing out that they were safe, the pets were safe, they hadn’t lost a business or a member of the family in the fire, they were insured to the exact degree necessary to rebuild – which they did. Right on the poured foundation of the original house. They moved an RV right back onto the property as soon as the ashes were cold, practically.

          I remember reading about all the Boxing Day tsunami survivors in Thailand – and the incomprehension of a bunch of volunteer trauma counselors who hurried over to volunteer their services, and realized with horror that the survivors felt that yes, they had gone through loss and grief and destruction, but such was life, we’re doing OK, thank you for your concern.
          People perform, consciously and unconsciously to expectation, I believe. Everyone expects you to chin up and power through? You will chin up and gut it out. Everyone expect you to dissolve into a quivering puddle of grief and trauma? Well, then here you go.

          For my own books, I read through a number of accounts by survivors of quite awful events on the 19th century frontier; and I thought that most of them were quite remarkably stoic about the things that they survived, even if those nearest and dearest to them had not. I believe that most of us are quite resilient, actually – it’s only a bare handful that aren’t … and the Therapy Culture For All does not help at all.

          1. A man I knew back in ’86 went out sailing early one morning. They could not get back to their home that evening. An Aeromexico DC-9 crashed on his house. and 5 neighbor houses. He never complained of PTSD. He always said to anyone who asked that it pays to have a hobby.

    2. I can actually remember that from the first code I worked. Pretty much no chance but went thru the motions anyway but just had no reaction. For the longest time I thought I would feel something but not a thing. Not sure its from breaking out of being an oversensitive child but it was refreshing once I understood it.

  25. Random thought #1: This might be why I thought that the Star Trek reboot was particularly hopeful. Kirk had an awful childhood. The planet Vulcan was destroyed. And the plot didn’t arrange to FIX either of those. Instead, people had to deal with it. However trauma-free our lives have become, our entertainment also often resets to prior conditions at the end. Particularly in something like Star Trek… if everyone dies, they manage to reset time. Or it was all a dream. Something.

    Random thought #2: And so we get Rocket’s tearing into the gray fellow about boo-hoo-hoo your wife and family died, like you think everyone else hasn’t had bad things happen… and people were shocked, and they loved it.

    1. Yeah. It was rather amazing to have that statement casually tossed out like it was common sense.
      Hmmm… Does ‘common sense’ refer to the practical knowledge learned through the hard life experienced by the commoner. As opposed to ‘noble sense’.

  26. Got the grand babies multi tools for Christmas the year they turned 10 and 11. Asked what the boy wanted for his 13th and was told swords, so he got three Cold Steel machetes in gladius, cutlass, and katana patterns. He was delighted. His sister got a Mac laptop as a combined birthday and junior high graduation present. I think she’s probably the more dangerous of the two.
    Their daddy got them a Davie Cricket single shot .22 to learn gun safety and handling with.
    Somehow I don’t think either of them will fall into the SJW camp.

  27. I started this column this morning, and it prompted a response. I WAS going to talk about the strength of my grandparents’ generation, about my grandfather getting the Spanish Flu in France, about all the monsters they faced, and why we MUST do the same. HOWEVER!!! In doing my research into the pocket knife event at Cal State Long Beach, I ran into something else, which was much more troubling. So I blogged on it instead.
    But I’m still not gonna check for comments. ATH gets too many comments. I don’t see how ANY of y’all get any work done.

    1. Well, y’see, some of us read here while nursing the babies. I don’t know about the men, but that’s my excuse. I can type perfectly well one-handed, either side, though not nearly as fast as two-handed. I’m out of new books again, too, so I have to do something or I get too bored to sit still! Baby doesn’t appreciate that.

      1. If you’re out of new books I can recommend a couple (picked up some new ones at the con this weekend), or there’s the promo post, or the recommendations on the Hoyt’s Huns Goodreads group. Running our of books is a shortlived condition ’round here. Now, running out of book budget, that’s a whole other kettle of fish…

        1. Whatcha got? Bearing in mind a strong preference for print, as the public library only buys print books, I can’t put in requests to get them to use their budget for my benefit for ebooks. *grin*
          I just got Weber’s Sword of the South yesterday, but these skinny modern books don’t take but an evening to read. (Only 525 pages, which is pretty skinny for a Weber.) When I take it back, I’ve got to file a request for Correia’s Son of the Black Sword, because for some strange reason only Monster Hunters are on the library’s auto-buy list, and given that those are never checked in . . . library *needs* more Corriea.

            1. If it’s paper and someone asks for it, you betcha. They’ve got Joy Cometh With the Mourning and Barton Street Gym to prove it.

              1. In that case, I can absolutely recommend Miscast Spells by Rose Corcoran. We picked up a copy last weekend, and liked it quite a lot. Comedic fantasy with a fair bit of punning and silliness. Oh, and in case you missed it, Daughter of the Lilies by Meg Syverud.

    2. Of course, another reason youngsters have trouble recognizing weapons may be their unfamiliarity with tools. And the broad overlap between the two. As Pat points out, it’s all a matter of how you use them.

          1. And despite the dangerous/not dangerous scale being one of those evil binaries (or perhaps because of it) I know which one I prefer to be in.

            I would rather be the person my coworkers simultaneously have said they don’t want to get on my bad side and will head to my desk if something goes wrong (to be behind me) or even as one put it she’s heading to my house when the zombie apocalypse hits than be them hoping to hide behind me.

            1. We know a whole lot of people who think they are heading to our farm in case of zombie apocalypse. We haz the weapons and a cannon. But we have told them they better show up prepared with plenty of food, water and ammo, or they are not getting in.

    3. Part of the issue with regards to “weapons recognition” flows the other direction, as well.

      Common feature of all these mass-murder events where the attacker goes after groups of people in so-called “weapons-free zones” is that the victims don’t do a damn thing to effectively defend themselves. They just wait to be killed, like huddled sheep penned up against a fence by the coyotes.

      OK, I get fear. I feel it myself. I get that these things are often of an out-of-context affair, and the people subjected to them aren’t expecting to encounter life-threatening circumstances in daily life.

      But… For the love of God, WTF? You’re in a classroom full of chairs, desks, and other potential blunt instruments. There are dozens of you, and one or two of them. They’re going to kill you if you let them, so why make their job any easier than you have to? Take up arms, and attack! You’ve got numbers and a bunch of blunt instruments available. Use them. Anything is a weapon, with the right mentality behind it. Your caveman ancestors would have been astonished to watch you fail to defend yourself with that really nice club just sitting there, aka that metal table leg you could have broken off and then waited behind the door in ambush with… And, if your peers had any brains or balls, there would have been as many others there behind the door with you. The gunman can only get one or two of you before you use that nice, solid metal table leg to turn his head and upper body into a bloody pulp.

      What really astounds me about these situations? As a trained soldier, there is no ‘effing way I’d ever go into a classroom alone the way Seung-Hui Cho did at Virginia Polytechnical.

      Dear God, but that’s a recipe for disaster, even if I’m fully equipped and armed with the full range of modern small arms. With just a pistol and no body armor? That should have been a recipe for suicide, on his part, and was only anything different because of the mentality demonstrated by his victims. You behave as a sheep, and you’ll be slaughtered as one. The only way he should have been able to kill anyone is if he took them all by surprise the way he did with his initial victims. Once he moved into the “hunt” mode, and was moving through the classrooms the way he was?

      Easy meat, for men or women with the right attitude. How many janitorial closets were there in that building, full of chemicals? How many available improvised clubs and shields? One guy, even with a pistol, in confined spaces like classrooms, against 30? If you tell me I’m gonna be the guy with the gun, I’m telling you to go screw yourself. That’s a really good way to die ugly, when the people in those classrooms aren’t sheep. Guns aren’t magic wands, and even if I empty a magazine or two into a thirty-man mob, I’m going down. Likely, in pieces. Small ones.

      Most of these mass-murder events should be ending a lot differently than they are. Something I attribute to our sadly diminished age–I honestly can’t see a reaction like the James gang got in Northfield happening, these days. People are too passive, too domesticated. They’d call for the police, and let it happen, probably watching as the cops got killed doing the rough work of defending civilization, and tweeting plaintively about how traumatized they were. I can only imagine what something like Mumbai or Beslan would look like, in one of our effete urban areas of today. Pitiful, probably.

      1. Sometimes it just takes one person to move to get action. No one wants to move first.

        1. *nod* I had cause to make a mental review of that this weekend. During a panel on LARP this weekend, the primary presenter mentioned everyone’s likely real world reactions if someone were to walk into the room and start shooting: calling 911 or running and screaming. The Oyster Wife and I looked at each other and went “Umm, no.” This con being in the Southwest, we weren’t the only ones. Part of my personal thinking was “I’m going to go after the @#$%, which given where I’m sitting means I’m going to get shot. Should give other people time to get out the other exit or pile on him, though.” Not a happy thought, but it’s my intention; hopefully I never have to find out for sure if I can follow through.

          Tangentially, y’all should absolutely come to Wild Wild West Con next year. We had a blast. Well run con, awesome venue with great staff including at least one Hun (Hi Aaron!), little to no SJW infiltration (a couple panels might have been, but I missed those), excellent costumes and activities, family friendly, and next year’s theme is Cthulhu for President 2017. We’re hoping to take a couple of the minions with us next year. It’s going to rock.

          1. Part of my personal thinking was “I’m going to go after the @#$%, which given where I’m sitting means I’m going to get shot. Should give other people time to get out the other exit or pile on him, though.” Not a happy thought, but it’s my intention; hopefully I never have to find out for sure if I can follow through.

            While screaming something.

            Possibly just a high-pitched girly scream, but I’m going to be trying for a war-whoop.
            Unless the stress hits me bad, then I’ll be attempting humor in a probably rather squeeky voice– “GO FOR THE EYES, BOO, GO FOR THE EYES!”
            Probably depends on what I’ve been gaming of late.

            God hope we never have a chance to find out.

        2. I have to wonder what the reaction is going to be, if that “one guy” ever is in the right place, and that crystallization effect takes place, turning a mass of huddled victims into a slavering mob of bloody-minded killers.

          Maybe civilized man isn’t capable of it, these days, but it would be really interesting to watch the media’s reaction to it all: “Uhm… Yeah, Ted? I’m here at Brookdale Theater, where a… Uh… Mass killing… Attempted shooting… Uhm… Well, what happened was, this guy… With a gun, right? Well, he went into the theater, and tried to kill a bunch of people, and… Well… It didn’t go so well, for him… The police are in there right now, and they’re having a hell of a time collecting evidence, because a lot of this guy is… Kinda spread out…” “And… Apparently… They’re having to ask the killer… Errr… Victims, yeah, victims… To allow them… To give permission to let them swab their mouths out for trace evidence… Seems they got a bit… Bitey. Fred, back to you at the studio… I quit. I’m not going back in there, again… That place looks like it was painted in someone’s blood… The shooters, mostly…”.

          Domestic humans are, from appearances, pretty easy to kill. They’ll even cooperate with their killers, in a lot of cases. Feral humans? We haven’t seen one of these spree killers hit any of those, yet, but when they do…?

          I think a lot of the attraction for the hobby of spree killing is going to go right out the window, once something like that happens: “Yeeawww… That guy came in to the restauuuurant, and he jist commenced to waving this gun, y’know? And, ol’ Jimmy-John, weeeeelll… He wasn’t havin’ ‘t none of that, t’day… Jist got out of his divorce court, see? And, he’s like really angry, y’see? Well, the guy with the gun is wavin’ it around, and Jimmy just lost his shit. Coooooompletely lost it… Dude, I think there are pieces of that poor fool spread all around the buildin’, ‘cos Jimmy-John’s got some, y’know, issues to work through… What he did with that table-laig jist wasn’t raight… I mean, I saw the whol’ thing, and I kin see why he did that, but… Man. That had to huuuurt, having that thing stuffed up in there, the way he did it… And, stompin’ him into the ground like that? Man, the undertaker is gonna be pissed at Jimmy… That’s a mess in thar, that is…”.

          1. There would be a media blackout. Nothing to see here. Move along. Doesn’t fit the narrative.

            1. You are no doubt right, but I’d still love to see it. Watching the cognitive dissonance displayed in their facial expressions would be worth it, alone.

              See, this is really part of the problem: The media has wildly over-emphasized the supposed “deadliness” of guns in the public mind; people are conditioned to just assume they’re done for, when the bad guys display them, and start using them. That is manifestly not the case, especially at really close quarters and against severe differentials in numbers. Most mobs could take out even fairly large groups of armed riot control troops, if they knew what their advantages were, and were willing to take the hits.

              We’re probably going to see a demonstration of this, down in Venezuela, before much more time goes on. The forces of repression are only going to last so long, before the mass decides that it’s had enough. And, then? Bang, zoom, everything goes south.

              Frankly, the most frightening thing I ever had to contemplate as a soldier was the idea of dealing with a mob that outnumbered my men and I by twenty to one. You know you don’t have that much ammo, you can’t bring your weapons to bear against that many people in time, and there are no handy fire support assets capable of dealing with that handy. I wouldn’t have been reassured by having AC-130 gunships on call, unless they were directly overhead and orbiting with full magazines. Anything else, and they’d have never gotten there before we were a thin red paste. Let alone, gotten permission to fire on civilians…

              The advantage is not in the hands of the armed man, in these situations, something the powers-that-be don’t want to admit.

              1. Especially with the preponderance of Barbie guns. They are deathly afraid of “assault rifles” but 223 (the far and away most common “assault rifle” round) is not a good stopping round, a fact exacerbated by the plethora of full-metal jacket “budget” ammo. As a killing round, especially in the hands of a marksman who picks his shots, it is perfectly acceptable, but as a stopping round, actually, you know, uh, stopping the guy charging you across the room, before he crosses that twelve feet and comes to grips with you? Yeah, it sucks.
                The powers that be seem to think that just the report of a gun going off is instanteously lethal. A vast majority of lethal wounds, particularly those inflicted by small calibers and non-expanding bullets are not instantly incapacitating. If the victim is a hundred yards away, yeah they will probably bleed out or weaken before they reach you, not to mention the minor fact that you can dump 20 more rounds in them before they get close. But room to room clearance? There is a reason shotguns, AK’s and M4’s are preferred over the M16 by those on the sharp end, and if at all possible even those aren’t used without an introductory grenade or two first. And they aren’t generally clearing rooms the size of classrooms with 30+ people in them, and they certainly aren’t doing so solo.
                You mentioned the Younger gang, Cole Younger took 19 hits and was still capable of standing upright in the back of the wagon that hauled him off to prison, and bowing to the ladies.

                1. Just look how many rounds of .45ACP and 00 buck Babyface Nelson took- and he was still able to kill the FBI agents that shot him, loot their car, and get away before he finally died.
                  People can take a lot of damage and keep fighting.

                    1. Alan Dean Foster’s The Damned Trilogy. (A Call to Arms, The False Mirror, and The Spoils of War).

                      In the series, Humans have two advantages over the vast majority of Intelligent Life.

                      1) Humans enjoy fighting and are very good at it. One or two of the “Good Guys” can fight but don’t enjoy it and aren’t as good at it as humans.

                      2) The major advantage the “Bad Guys” have is that they can control minds but Humans are completely immune to that ability (IIRC the Bad Guys also get painful “feedback” when they attempt to control humans).

                      Oh, the Bad Guys were winning before Humans got involved because the Bad Guys had “modified” some of their subject species into being able to fight. Humans were still better at fighting than those species.

                    2. Then there’s always Marc Stiegler’s “The Bully and the Crazy Boy”, where we were getting our butts handed to us by a cat-like race, but this human was captured (he set it up intentionally), and told the captain of the ship the story of The Bully and the Crazy Boy, where the bully kept beating up the crazy boy because the crazy boy wouldn’t give the bully his lunch money, but the crazy boy always got in one good hit. Finally, when the bully was going to beat him up again, the crazy boy said, “Please stop, I don’t want to keep hurting you”, and the bully left.

                      He did this to stall while what was left of the human fleet looped around the sun to both gain speed and use it for cover, then blew up their spaceships to take out the entire cat fleet so they wouldn’t be able to report home, and the homeworld wouldn’t know what happened to them.

            2. Which is what has happened every time such a situation has arisen. Guy steps into a church waving a gun, lady in back row has a pistol in her purse because of problems with ex…minor headline on local newsradio, nothing nationally. Guy walks into mall, shoots two people, killing one, local pulls pistol and shoots back. Guy comes into store waving gun and firing shots fairly randomly, customer hits him with soup can and clerk proceeds to beat him with mop.
              None of these make the national news, because a) they don’t fit the narrative and b) without multiple dead, they just aren’t nationally newsworthy.

              1. The Gods Must Be Crazy had a scene that really stuck with me– terrorists come into an office building, and this nice, sweet, kind of round lady takes one out by chucking a coffee cup at his head.

                That stuck with me as a licit tactic, especially if the mug is empty…..

                1. I knew a guy who killed an armed guy with a rock. My acquaintance (friend of my father) was pulled off the side of the road changing a flat tire, with his wife and kids in the car. Guy comes out with a gun (shotgun if I remember correctly) and starts threatening to shoot them for trespassing, then tells guy’s wife and kids to get out of the car. My acquaintance, who in his younger years pitched on a semipro baseball team, picked up a fist sized rock and stood up, throwing the rock and hitting the guy with a gun in the head. Guy with a gun goes down, my acquaintance jumps in the car and takes off on the rim. Stopping down the road a couple of miles to call the cops, he discovered he had killed the guy with the rock.

                  With my throwing skills, I would be charging to follow up the coffee cup/rock, because about the best I could hope for is to cause them to duck and flinch. 🙂

              2. They will tell you that an armed bystander has never stopped a mass shooting, because they define mass shooting as one where he succeeds in shooting four people.

                  1. Its just like how most defensive gun uses don’t exist because most people don’t shoot the person…

                    1. It’s just a convenient definition to use in the creation of statistics when attempting to discredit someone who is explaining the self defense uses of guns.

                    2. It MIGHT just be a misunderstanding of the statistics involved– there’s no way for the police to record either “the guy was going to attack, then he saw the dude over there with a gun and left” or “they tried to run her off the road until she pulled the pistol daddy gave her last week and leveled it at them.”
                      The second one was my mom, by the way. You can bet she wasn’t going to tell the authorities that routinely failed to police that area that she’d been waiving a weapon around.

                      The first one is self-reported by several criminals when actually interviewed.

                      About the only way that you’d get a defensive gun use that didn’t involve shots fired recorded would be if there was at least a pro-forma booking for brandishing a weapon that was then dismissed for self defense reasons.

                      Which is fine… so long as people understand the statistics. Kind of like comparing murder rates for the UK to homicide rates in the US.

            3. It would be reported on some peoples’ blogs. The media want us to BOHICA eternally because we “rednecks” deserve it. In part for not worshipping them their anointed leaders.

            1. Jimmy (still wild-eyed and breathing hard from the little exertion): Alright, anyone ELSE wanna p-ss me off this morning? Good. More coffee, please.

              1. you know, if you substitute “Jimmy” with “Sarah” you’re in the right ballpark. You see, I’m normally pretty laid back, but anger is a cumulative thing for me, and if a lot of little things piss me off, eventually the berserker fit ambushes me. And except for the actual killing, the scene with someone really small and slight (me) and dressed in a pretty-pretty way (I enjoyed being young and cute) going off and doing unimaginable violence ending with “Is anyone else going to push it today?” is pretty much me as a kid.

      2. “I can only imagine what something like Mumbai or Beslan would look like, in one of our effete urban areas of today.”

        Depends on which part. If it went down in one of the gentry liberal suburbs or private schools, about how you’d say it was.
        If some idiot decided to crank it up in the ghetto, it might look a little different.

      3. From earliest preschool the current crop of precious flowers are constantly drilled that violence is never a solution, that self defense is simply wrong, if you fight back you will be punished every bit as much as the aggressor.
        With the constant training to be good little sheep it’s a wonder that we still get the occasional sheep dog showing up in the flock.

      4. For the love of God, WTF? You’re in a classroom full of chairs, desks, and other potential blunt instruments. There are dozens of you, and one or two of them. They’re going to kill you if you let them, so why make their job any easier than you have to? Take up arms, and attack!

        I’ve got a half-finished article for Sarah about this, but the short version….

        Have you heard about that thing where cops were being found dead after fire fights, their brass in hand? They’d paused in shooting to police their brass, because that’s how they trained.

        Since at least the mid-90s, policy at school and other places has been training kids about school shooters with pretty much exactly the same thing you were supposed to do for nuclear attacks. Hide under your desk, don’t leave the room, sit tight and don’t do anything unless the teacher tells you to, keep organized and file out neatly.

        The only time you can be kind of active is noticing abandoned bags or other things that could hold an IED.

        The only possible place that a young person could learn to respond to an attack with physical force, assault by a bully, you don’t want to do because you’ll be punished at least as harshly as the attacker.

        There are good and bad reasons for this, but the important part is: nobody does anything because they aren’t trained for it. They’re the karate kid before he learns that automatic motion response for his block– worse, they’re the cops that are policing their brass in the middle of a firefight, because that’s how they were taught and in an emergency you don’t think, you act.

        That thing about “run, hide, fight” that got mocked– I think it’s outstanding, because it’s teaching people to visualize what they can do, rather than getting them locked into “sit there, cower, die.” The “run, hide, fight” idea changes how people think about the situation, and that makes it a lot more likely that they’ll be responding in terms of “THAT GUY HAS A GUN! I’m going around that corner, getting behind the big brick wall, and them I’m going to bash the first guy through the door with a folding chair!”

        1. See, here’s where I’d get in trouble with being in charge of security at grade schools, or similar venues. I’d train the kids to swarm the first person they see with a gun, and tell them to do whatever it took to neutralize and immobilize them.

          Then, I’d run training events every few weeks, putting adults into bite suits the way they do with attack dog training, and have them use paint-ball guns. Tell the kids that anyone shows up with a gun, mob ’em, and do what comes naturally. After the inhibitions wear off, repeat as necessary to keep the conditioning fresh.

          I don’t care who you are, if you’ve got thirty-forty screaming, terrified six-year olds piled on top of you, biting, scratching, and doing whatever they could… You’re not gonna be doing too much besides screaming for your own mommy, who ain’t coming to rescue you.

          Sure, you’re gonna lose a couple of kids doing things that way, but you need to think of it as a firewall: Some will get hurt, some killed, but the majority are not going to go the way they did at Sandy Hook. And, frankly, as a parent, I think I’d rather lose a kid that way than to having them murdered while they were curled up hiding somewhere.

          The model I like for these things? R.K. Milholland has a perfect distillation, in a Super Stupor comic he did…

          Have victims deal with their attackers like that a few times, and the sort of people that do that thing are going to be more terrified of their victims than their victims are frightened by them. Which is as it should be…

          1. Sounds vaguely like what we’re training our kids for– we watch crime shows and do things like inform them that if the Bad Guy wants you to go somewhere, he’s going to do worse things than what he’ll do if you don’t go.

            1. The mentality I’d like to see inculcated into kids would be along the lines of “Now, Susie… Remember, if the nice man threatens you with a knife, you get to try out your new vivisection kit… And, don’t forget your anatomy: Disable, then dissect… And, be careful to remove the vocal cords early on, or you might wake Daddy up with all the screaming, and you know how irritable he gets when he’s working the night shift, and you wake him up playing with your toys…”.

              My foundation theory on raising kids is that they should be more dangerous prey than the parents are, because they haven’t learned restraint, as of yet… Ideally, I should have to protect you from them.

              And, I want them offering the Universe as a whole a few salutary lessons on why my kids and pets in particular should be ruled out as prey, in the first damn place. Screaming horrible death will do that pretty effectively, after you hurt them or the dogs, and you really ought to be looking for the sweet release of death before I get to you. Lessons on how to live in polite society can come after they survive the encounter with John Wayne Gacy or Jeffrey Dahmer.

              Yeah, it’s a primitive frontier mentality. Sue me.

                1. … fostering them with dwarves? I suppose that’s one way to go about it.

                2. I know who he is but what approach are you talking about?

                  Besides him challenging the local tough guys to a “friendly” fight so that if he had to arrest them later they’d know that he would win. 😉

                  1. To paraphrase:
                    If you’re facing someone who means to kill you, pray they are a bad man. A bad man will enjoy having power over you, take his time, and you may have a chance to escape.

                    A good man will kill you, possibly before you even know what is happening.

        2. Where I work teaches if you can flee, flee. If you can’t flee, hide. If you can’t hide, attack. Teachers are strongly encouraged to be aware of weapons-ready materials and to have various plans on how to use them.

            1. Now, now; don’t get to optimistic, they forgot to add, if you attack, don’t stop at half measures, make SURE the threat is neutralized.

            2. Yes, interestingly enough. Although one of the designers is a Mets AND Red Sox fan, so perhaps sane’s too strong a word . . .

      5. Well, you have police and “security professionals” teaching idiocy like “shelter in place” instead of “run like hell.” And the further idiocy of police “lockdowns” of areas with active shooters.

        Someone who tries trapping me in a building with an active shooter is just as much my enemy as the shooter.

        “Lockdown” translates to “we’ve decided any number of taxpayer lives are a fair trade for our convenience.”

        1. Well, you have police and “security professionals” teaching idiocy like “shelter in place” instead of “run like hell.” And the further idiocy of police “lockdowns” of areas with active shooters.

          It’s pretty standard for school shooters– the organized ones– to narrow down the escape routes so that they can pick people off when they’re escaping. Wasn’t it Columbine where they chained a door shut then pulled the fire alarm?

          Terrorists follow the same pattern– control the flow of people so that you can get fish in the barrel.

          1. Unless you’re talking a hardened inner city school (tall fences, bars on windows, etc.), or a very tall one, they can’t truly cut off all the exits. Open a window or exterior door, breaking it if necessary, then scatter, run like hell, and weave. Is it guaranteed safety? Of course not! But it’s got a better chance of survival than huddling in a corner. That’s why we need to teach our children to be resourceful, to take the Apollo 13 approach to the tools available, to consider all their options, and to act rather than being acted upon.

            1. As DeNiro said in “Ronin”- never walk into a place you don’t know how to get out of.

            2. Traffic flow is still mostly going to be the places they have practiced using as exits– which means the fire escape route, which means that 1) the shooters know it, and 2) it’s very simple to cut them off.

              They don’t *have* to stop everyone, they’re just looking at making it so that they’ll have a high density target pool, and even the 1940s school my dad went to has some natural choke points that are good for putting a bomb in.

              It’s not so much that the current “shelter in place” plan is bad, as that it’s incomplete. The room you’re in is a fine place to “run” to, if the shooter isn’t there yet– but you need to “hide” (fortify) and prepare to fight, not get under your desk and assume the fetal position.

        2. (Waggles hand) Lockdown makes a certain amount of sense for certain circumstances.
          However, when my old high school declared that the plan for what to do if you were in the lunchroom in an active shooter situation was to either get on the floor or evacuate into the kitchens, that was purblind stupidity.

      6. I think similar thoughts every time I hear of one of these things. I even point out to other people stories like that soldier a month or two ago who charged some guy going around and killing people unchallenged. The soldier was shot 7 times. 7 TIMES!!! He was not killed. Why? Because 1) he was a moving target, and 2) because these mass shooters are not trained soldiers, they’re punks, and if someone messes up their glorious plan, they come unhinged.

        If I’m ever in one of those situations, you’re going to see all manner of things flying at the shooter before I bullrush him (If I can hit someone, even in body armor, and they are between me and a wall, they’re dead, with just about all their ribs caved in).

        1. yeah, one advantage of the scary numbers my scale insists on displaying is that I should be able to do more damage than when I weighed 100 lbs soaking wet. And considering the damage I could do then….

      7. should be ending with something like ‘the attacker later died from having a ballpoint pen stabbed into his optic nerve.’

      8. Part of that comes from the emphasis on ‘leave it to the professionals’ everywhere. I remember my first job I was not allowed to use a fire extinguisher unless trained. It’s not like it’s a tough skill…Never mind at the time I was already a licensed EMT working part time for a fire dept. But we’ve run calls on things that, had the staff simply used the extinguishing equipment they had they could have easily put the fire out (even while evacuating). But the companies don’t allow it because liability

  28. While not always exactly true, there is a reason we have the saying, “what doesn’t kill you, makes you stronger.” Sure something can permanently cripple you, or break your mind, and therefore make you weaker, not stronger. But without adversity we will never get strong.

    1. I’m glad whenever someone notices that third possibility.

      And, then, if you manage to heal from one of those…

  29. My mother always kept a small pocketknife in her purse through all my growing-up years, and it came in handy from time to time. A useful tool. I really don’t get the current phobia about things that might possibly hurt someone, if used improperly or without skill. And I don’t much like it. I’m all for sensibly mitigating unnecessary risk, but the act of living inherently carries death within it. And the risk of injury. I accept that.

    1. People have been trained to be sheep. Pols like sheep. Demagogues and activists like sheep.

      1. Politicians and government employees should fear the citizenry, not the other way ’round…

        I’m not saying we ought to treat the EPA or the IRS the way the bootleggers used to treat the Revenoor’s, but… That is one way to get them to respect the public.

        I think it would be a salutary lesson for politicians in general, were ones like Frau Dr. Stefanie von Berg to be put on trial by a public gathering, and then hung from the nearest lamp post the way Mussolini was… Don’t know who she is? Allow me to offer exhibit “A” for why politicos should fear, rather than hold in contempt, their constituents…

        1. I’ll buy the rope if you’ll supply the lamp post. I’d love to send her a German language edition of Kratman’s Caliphate. She’s living in a dream world.

          1. If I were one of her constituents, I think I’d have already snapped and done the deed already. As it is, she’s a German problem, and will find a German solution. Traditionally, that has had some rather gruesome features for the victims…

            Ah, well… At least, she’s not likely to be eaten, as reputedly happened to a Liberian politician who displeased his back-country constituents back during the 1960s.

        2. It’s Brecht’s poem about the government, having lost confidence in the people, votes to get a new people, played out in real life. Except he probably didn’t intend for that to be taken as advice. (Although with him it can be hard to tell.)

        3. So, to start with, she’s a Green. Strike one.

          Supercultural society–what does that even mean? Was it a mistranslation of multicultural society? If not, she’s using made-up words for concepts that are impossible. Strike two.

          Then the potshot at the people who predicted stuff like Cologne would happen. Strike three, you’re out.

        4. “Politicians and government employees should fear the citizenry, not the other way ’round…”

          eh, that’s orthogonal to the axis we want. The bad guys should fear the good guys, not the other way ’round. The trouble-making student in public school should fear the principal, the man contemplating burglary should fear the cop, the shoddy builder should fear the housing inspector — even if the principal, the cop, and the inspector are kept on the straight and narrow by their fear of the law-abiding citizenry.

  30. As I see it, the fundamental problem is that people are no longer taught how to go about problem solving. Everything’s been solved for them, and absent a responsible person to solve the problem for them, they just absent themselves mentally from the situation. That is essentially what a safe space is, nobody’s solving this, so I’ll just take a time out.

    A buddy of mine’s 20 something son remarks that nobody in his engineering classes has any idea how to go about finding solutions to problems. They just sit around moaning about how clueless they are until the kid takes over. His dad is ex Navy and the kid himself is an Eagle Scout, so he’s been trained. Someone once mentioned that education in today’s public schools is geared to emotion, action and conformity, not facts, logic or reason.

    1. I’ll state that that is one thing I am glad was not true in my later engineering classes (Early ones helped by breadcrumbing the problem and solution, but later ones were more ‘figure it out’)

  31. I remember a friend of mine (student from India) remarking on my leatherman one day in structures lab. I had pulled it out to do something, I forget what. He apparently hadn’t seen one before and thought it was amazing: He said something to the effect that it was exactly the sort of thing you might expect an American to be carrying. At the time, I was bemused by the reaction: A pocketknife treated like some sort of amazing sci-fi-gizmo, but also thought it was cool that his picture of Americans in general was ‘capable’, as opposed to something less flattering.

    (Not sure if all-in-one pocket tools are American originally. If so, cool! If not, I’m doing the cultural appropriation thing and making off with it anyway. 😛 I recall Swiss army knives being Swiss.)

  32. It used to be believed — and it was a popular theory in the sixties and seventies — that if you raised kids with absolutely no hardship they would be perfect; that if you raised kids with no violence they would be peaceful; that if you raised kids with self-esteem and praise, they would be confident and productive.

    Yeah… that doesn’t work, at least the bit on violence. I’m living proof.

    Mama Raptor tried to raise both myself and Little Brother as perfect little pacifists that would be disgusted by weapons and never even think about resorting to violence. Before y’all jump down her throat, she’s no hippy-dippy nutjob: she was physically and emotionally abused as a child, and I think maybe overreacted to the opposite end of the spectrum, so to speak, with her kids. That said she did readily agree to sign me up for taekwondo classes when I was being beaten up by a bully in grade school, so take my psychoanalysis for what it’s worth.

    Anyways, one black belt, maybe a half-dozen knives, and *mumble-mumble* firearms later, I think she’s realized that the whole total-non-violence bit didn’t stick.

  33. Sarah, there’s a new treatment protocol for con crud. Severe cases, the ones who have lapsed into delirium, are isolated behind speaker’s tables on the SJW event track. The worst cases, who have suffered longterm brain damage from fever, are quarantined on the con committee.

  34. Sarah: This fits my “little darlings”theory, that the little darlings baby-sat by the ruling class are being set up for oblivion. Think the working class that the liberals used to looove, until they decided that Archie Bunker was a racist, sexist, homophobe. And now we have white males killing themselves with opoids. Think blacks, feminists, gays, etc., right now. What will happen to their safe spaces when the liberals tire of them too?

    Don’t let your daughter grow up to be a little darling, you moms. You are setting her up for oblivion.

  35. Sure we might get a small pox attack — I’m a bit surprised we haven’t yet given how Russians keep samples “safe — but I suspect it will be contained to an area or a region. If it isn’t, it makes for an interesting SF novel, since I’m one of the youngest people to have immunity to it.

    Suddenly thinking of Dr. Hazel Stone here….

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