I will admit right now that I’m a very bad libertarian.  I AM a libertarian and think that in any dispute we should come down on the side of individual liberty.

You can get me to swoon by saying “taxation is theft” in just the right voice (ask my husband.  He knows.) I’ve mumbled about financing services with lotteries.

But I do think there is a place for both the army and the police in our society.  Seriously, now.  To believe there isn’t, or that we can do without is the equivalent of believing Marxism will make men into angels.  We’re not that deluded, are we?

Both Dan and I have/had relatives in law enforcement, and both of us have heard discussions and followed law enforcement enough to be uncomfortable defenders of the police force at times.

For instance, I was once kicked out of jury by the defense lawyer for pointing out that no, rounding up the “usual suspects” is not unfair.  Most shootings for robbery are a case of known wolves, and few people jump straight from being angelic school boys to full frontal armed assault.  (Or any kind of assault, really.)

(I also once got taken out of a jury for pointing out — quoting PTerry — that all babies look like Sir Winston Churchill.  On second thought I should give lessons on how to get out of Jury Duty, except I wasn’t even trying, just being me.)

We need police, unfortunately, for the same reason we need the army.  There are bad actors out there, and no matter how peaceable, peaceful and inoffensive you are, someone/some country is going to try to hurt you.  And yeah, sure, I GET my more militant libertarian friends saying everyone should defend him/herself.  In theory that’s great and a super idea, but guys, some people shouldn’t have a gun.  And I’m not talking about the mentally ill, I’m talking about people too blind to know what they’re shooting at or similar impairments.  And then there are the too young, too old and too stupid.  And people who don’t understand they have to protect themselves.  And, and and….

It’s all fine and dandy to say “Too bad, strike them off” but that’s not realistic.  Realistically if each person has to hire a protection service, you end up with dueling gangs.

But the police is an uncomfortable solution, because it has the power of government behind them, and while it works for the people it doesn’t always remember that.

This week brought both the news of someone killed during a swatting, and of a young officer killed on the outskirts of Denver.

There is this thing they do in Colorado where they have massive processions and funerals for officers fallen in the line of duty.  It is as it should be.  It’s important to understand the debt of honor owed to those who fell doing a difficult and often thankless job.

When a Colorado Springs Police officer on his first week (I think) of work got shot in the face for what he thought was a routine traffic stop (the guy in the car was escaping from the scene of a murder and thought he was caught) the funeral disabled North Nevada for hours, and since it was near our house at the time, I took the kids out to watch the hundreds of police cars from everywhere in Colorado.

Because it’s right and meet to honor those who fell doing a difficult and thankless job.  (Even if traffic is treated as a cash cow by city officers.  Never mind.  The kid was doing what he should be doing to keep the streets safe, since the guy he stopped WAS driving erratically.)

But it’s a knife’s edge.  When you have sheep dogs, some will lose their minds and bite the sheep.

The Denver police department apparently ran a burglary ring in the seventies.  The new craze for militarizing the police and for the police treating every house-call like they’re entering Fallujah is a problem.  Yes, I know, in the swatting, the man made suspicious gestures.  You know what?  Someone breaks my door down, I’m not going to stop and ask if they’re the police.  And as someone who HAS been threatened with swatting (who on our side hasn’t been?  When we were renting between houses, our insurance agent refused us rental insurance because I’m a conservative blogger, so vandalism, arson and swatting are all risks.  (Frankly this surprised me.  I never thought it was a serious risk.  Wonder what statistics she was looking at)) I get terrified at the idea of the door being broken down and the stupid cats running out and being lost/run over/eaten.  I could see me getting up to check on a cat, or to tell them to not let the cat out, and being shot.

And sure, the police should do a lot more checks, particularly when the SWATTING call is over the top.

OTOH as the shooting while responding to a complaint of a domestic dispute proves, sometime the risk is real, and police officers do have to protect themselves.

There is a knife edge.  Go too much on one side and you’re risking your life.  Go too much on the other and you’re killing innocents, and being used as weapons by bad actors.

Again, I want to make it clear most police officers are decent, hard working people.  Do you get the occasional thuggish brute?  Sure.  You get them in every profession where you give people power.  You screen, you try to eliminate them in training, but you know, humans being humans one or two will slip through.  Eliminating them is like eliminating the very rare man who is disposed to rape.  Can’t be done.

The problem is this: the last administration simultaneously armed the police to the teeth and instigated the population against the police.

This is a familiar playbook.  Almost all revolutions from the left started when law enforcement over-reacted.  I have a private theory (somewhat proven by sound recordings released a few years ago) that Kent State was the work of agent provocateurs trying to use that playbook.

It didn’t work, but if the left abandoned things that don’t work they’d have discarded Marxism decades ago.

So we got the whole myth that police (many of them people of color) are stone cold racists, shooting minorities for no reason.

And the police became defensive.  As you would, if some of your colleagues around the country were shot merely for being in your profession.

In Colorado, a couple of years ago, a couple of police officers got killed by stepping into traffic on the highway, while responding to an accident.

So now we’re told we have to move two lanes over, which frankly makes it more likely to get more accidents and causes untold resentment.  When you cut a four lane highway down to one (one for the accident, then two for police officer protection) there’s a whole lot of shoving and slowing and confusion going on.  Add to that that all this is done in the GLARE of lights so bright they’re probably responsible for the accidents to officers, because at night they blind the drivers for minutes.

It also causes resentment.

Which brings us to today.  We went to Colorado Springs yesterday to deal with a lot of accumulated business.  We still do our personal banking, most of our health stuff, and such in the Springs, because we’ve patronized some establishments for 20 years and don’t feel like finding new ones.  Also, younger son lives in the springs, and we decided to have a leisurely dinner with him, and then stay over night.

We knew there was a funeral for the officer, closing I-25 at 8:30.  It was on signs all over the highway.

So we got up really (REALLY) early (as in, husband is napping now) and headed North to get ahead of the procession.  We made a mistake.  We were so early, and doing such good time, we got off the highway to grab a diner meal.  We were done at eight and tried to get back on the highway…  and the entrances were all closed.

Every single access to I-25 was blocked WELL ahead of the announced 8:30 time.  (They were actually not supposed to start till 8:45, but were supposed to close at 8:30.)

There are a ton of people who work in Denver.  Some tried to argue.  The police all had that look of “tough.  You’ll suffer for what you did.”

I get it.  Look I GET IT.  They’re hurt.  Law enforcement is one of those professions where the only people who GET you are those in the same job, and you think of them as brothers.  And when one of you is killed, you want to punish “all them bastages” which translates as “everyone else.”

But it’s like the “pull over two lanes to ensure safety.”

All you’re really doing is making a whole lot of people resentful, because they won’t get to work on time and will spend a ton of time on the road.  (The alternate routes were chockablock and we finally got home an hour ago.  In our case it was stupid and blame it on “we needed coffee and some kind of food and made a poor decision.”  If we’d continued on we’d have saved three hours.  BUT a lot of the people caught in the mess with us have no other choice.)

It loses sympathy for the police.  It disgraces what should be a respectful and solemn occasion.  And it avenges itself on people predisposed to be on the side of law enforcement.

All of these are bad.

It’s no big deal in our case.  We were on vacation, this was a jaunt, and the only inconvenience (I know.  GRAVE inconvenience) was making this blog late and delaying husband’s nap.  BUT for many people it ruined their day, set their teeth on edge, and made them predisposed to believe the police don’t care.

This us versus them mentality will lead to trouble.

I get it.  I really do.  I understand both sides.  It’s a side effect of the job itself.  Except for the intentional provocateurs trying to set sheep against sheep dogs, it’s a delicate balance and sometimes it fails.

But because of the intentional provocateurs, both sides are predisposed to misunderstand and pre-judge each other.  And this will end very badly.

I want to honor men who fell doing their duty.  And I want their comrades to understand that the rest of us have lives that have to go own around the ceremony, that the rest of us not only didn’t shoot an officer, but WOULDN’T shoot an officer, and are per-disposed to believe most police officers are the good guys with no more rotten apples than any other profession.  Punishing everyone just because they’re not on the force is… daft.

If you’re going to publish you’ll close a major highway at rush hour, at 8:30, don’t close it at 8:00.  There is no point stopping people’s commute.  They’ll get up half an hour early to accommodate the procession, but only *ssholes would resent that.

However if you say one hour, then close half an hour earlier, you’re being the prepotent *sshole and messing with people because you CAN and because they’re not of you.

THAT will only play into the hands of the idiots who hate all policemen, and those who want to use the police as the trigger point to bring about their “socialist utopia.”

If you need the place closed from 8, then say so.

Be mindful of the people you serve.  Just like most police officers are decent, so are most people who aren’t police officers.

Presumption of hatred on both sides will only lead to hatred.

And standing at each other’s throats will only please those who wish to bring civilization down.


478 thoughts on “Fraught

  1. … all babies look like Sir Winston Churchill …

    In The Darkest Hour, there’s a line where someone tells Churchill that so-and-so’s baby looks like him. Churchill’s response: “All babies look like me.”

    I love that they included that in the movie.

    1. Having seen a baby picture of Jimmy Durante I beg to differ with Churchill. Jimmy Durante looked like Jimmy Durante. What a schnozz.

    2. I’ve been listening to “The Last Lion” which says that the origin of the idea that all babies look like Winston Churchill is, in fact, Churchill himself.

  2. Every single access to I-25 was blocked WELL ahead of the announced 8:30 time. (They were actually not supposed to start till 8:45, but were supposed to close at 8:30.)

    *headdesk* Jeezum. Way to turn a very important event that COULD give people a chance to show their respects into a mess, whoever decide to do that.

    Talk about strangling the goose that lays the golden eggs.

      1. Like I say, The left is at war with the rest of us over their anger of policies enacted by the left.
        Ferguson, Baltimore, etc are not ultra-rightwing localities, yet you and I are racist because of how the Chicago police do their job

        1. How DARE Trump not act like an autocrat!

          First he refuses to disburse Obamacare funds not authorized by Congress, then he refuses to not enforce laws enacted by Congress! He’s even refusing to not prosecute people for breaking immigration laws which Congress has refused to revoke, the TYRANT!

          1. oi, even certain CO congresscritters are threatening to block nominees unless Trump stops enforcing Federal law. Okay, I got a silly idea. Do your effing job, dipshite, and write-up, then pass a bill making your lovely weed legal.

    1. The police funerals around here (close to my home, so I see the posted times) are generally at 10AM, which is a good time to not interfere unduly with the commute. (They also close the frontage road, which makes sense since the cemetery is on the frontage road.)

      1. This is from the outskirts-into-Denver, which is … a mess. But 8:30 to 11:30 on a Friday is a mess, but can be handled. Starting earlier, though…. THAT is…. Just messing with people.

        1. We used to live in Aurora, worked in Englewood and Littleton, and had friends in the Highlands area and Broomfield. We know *all* the routes, and how quickly a slowdown propagates all over the system. (There was one time we had to do some interesting maneuvers to join friends for Evil Rob’s birthday, since a SMALL PLANE had crashed into that neighborhood.)

            1. Oh wow. Yes, that’s a route we used a lot. We lived off of Parker and Dartmouth (and there used to be a lovely Indian restaurant across the street, Star of India, that we couldn’t afford to go to nearly as often as we would have liked to.)

        2. I’m drunk enough to let my inner asshole out. The guy isn’t going anywhere (if he were, more than a couple of major religions would have some tough questions to answer) so why did the funeral procession have to happen today? Why not push everything off 24 hours and avoid snarling weekday rush hour traffic? I’ve spent some time thinking about my mother’s pending funeral, and one of the things that has occupied precisely none of my thoughts is what day of the week it will fall on.

          1. The way these things work usually depends on a number of factors that have little to do with the deceased. That includes funeral home and cemetery/church schedules, and those of the largest number of attendees. The thing about funerals is they are for the living, not the dead.

            There’s something else few realize: nobody close to the deceased will be running on all cylinders. Just how off someone will be varies. But I’ve seen it enough that I’ve warned my family, in my survivor’s letters (goes with my will), to wait before making big decisions. And some of that “off” thinking shows up at the funerals. Seen that, too.

            Yeah, they could have done it better. Funeral procession on an Interstate? What? Who’s bright idea was that? And I say that as someone who was once in a thirty something mile funeral procession for extended – and civilian – family. But, like I said, no one close to the deceased runs on all cylinders.

      1. “How can you think that way?!!”

        “Look, I barely thought about. Maybe a full _second_. Now, imagine someone giving this sort of thing some serious thought.”

        (Usually that’s in response to my stating that I no longer play the “How could airport security be bypassed?” because it’s just too easy. And no, i don’t go into details.)

        1. We’ve talked about these kinds of games here before (also without details). One person (who may or may not have been me) said he could pretty much shut down the country with a few hundred guys and a comparatively modest budget.

          The people who did this kinds of analysis professionally said, “Heh. You’re cute. We figured we could do it with five guys with leatherman tools.” (paraphrased, but not by much).

            1. This is where cultural barriers work in our favor. We understand how to cripple America because we’re Americans. Those who seek to cripple America aren’t Americans and so don’t know what we know. Those plans simply don’t make sense to them.

              1. Cultural barriers like those around the folks in Hollywood who were certain they’d be attacked next after 9/11 because Hollywood is so important to the US of A… Er, um, I hate to break it to them…

                1. I’m reminded of Sarah’s essay on terrorist targeting :


                  “Since Beslan happened I’ve had nightmares of 20 US Beslans simultaneously. (And if that happens, they will never know what hits them. The US views its children as sacred, even as we neglect them.) Then I started wondering why they hadn’t happened.

                  Frankly, anyone of us can come up with a dozen national soft spots off the top of our heads, targets that would sow REAL terror amid the masses.

                  But that’s not what they want. Terror sure. If America surrenders, great. But what they want is visibility.

                  So what’s visible to the rest of the world about America?

                  New York City, Los Angeles. MAYBE Chicago. After that? Whatever has been in the news lately. Since we had the show set in the White House and making it seem much more powerful than it should be, probably DC. (And then we have to deliver individual thank yous personally, engraved on the bullets.)”

  3. The SWAT case is doubly nasty since the address given was a false one, so the guy who stepped out had NO reason to know there was anything weird going on.

    My libertarian leanings run hard up against vaccination, in my case. I have friends who vaccinate and who were appalled at the recent California law that requires vaccines (or valid medical reason to not vaccinate) in order to attend public school. From an epidemiological standpoint, this is the most effective public health move you could make. And I know far too many immunocompromised people to be sanguine in the face of a pandemic. So yeah. Freedom is good. Not having people I know and love dying from measles because some people think it’s harmless is good too.

    1. More effective would be a sane policy for isolation– we need to be able to TELL folks who are immune-compromised, or in the family of someone who is, that there’s a reason for them to not be at school.

      The least invasive manner for this would be for parents to apply for exemption to a quarantine at the school, for which they can provide proof of vaccination.

      This leaves the people who don’t want to vaccinate for a specific disease, who don’t want to give the school their medical records and who don’t want their family put at risk even if they did take other steps not allowed at the school. (vaccination fails, too– from memory, most of those during the Disney Land outbreak HAD been vaccinated)

      The “down side” is that it makes it so draconian attendance policies that treat staying home sick the same as ditching to hang with bank robbers get tougher.

      1. Side-note:
        I am extremely pissed when news stories lie to me by declaring that a percent of those sick were “unvaccinated”– and then further digging turns up that either they were foreign and didn’t have proof of vaccination on record, or they were too young to have completed their MMR vaccination.

      2. Dunno if it’s still the case, but a good deal of the draconian parts of the attendance policy when I was growing up was due to Federal Impact Aid, which compensates school districts for lost property tax revenue in areas where the Feds own lots of real estate. (For instance, San Diego has a ton of military bases, plus military housing projects that are not located on any base.)

        In elementary school, you just brought a note from home and they handled it from there. But starting with Jr High you had to take your note to the attendance office. They would classify it as 1, 2, 3, or 4. That was stamped in red with a BIG stamp on your card, and you had to present the card to your teacher for each period of the day. They made notes in their attendance book and signed the card to show that you had been readmitted.

        The district got $X per student per day if the student was in class, or missing due to documented illness. Your attendance card had a “1,” and you were amongst the righteous.

        They got a bit less if the student missed part of all of a day for acceptable reasons such as medical/dental appointments or a documented death in the family. Your card got a “2” stamped on it, and nobody said anything unless the appointments kept happening during Math. (Memory says that the impact aid funding was almost the full amount for this, but it’s been a long time.)

        You got even less if the absence was due to something that the parents approved of but the school didn’t. Your attendance card was stamped with a “3.” This was fairly rare, the most common was a family outing. (You could sometimes fudge this and turn it into a 2 if it was something like a limited-time museum event, but it required ticket stubs and a written report.) The rules also defined what counted as a close relative. If they weren’t close enough according to the rules, even if they lived in the same house with you, you got a 3 on your attendance card. The Goody Two-Shoes Nerd Brigade (which included me) looked at you funny.

        The last category was truant, and the district got no Fed funds for the day. They disapproved of this a great deal. Your attendance card got a big red “4” stamped on it if you were truant or returning from suspension. The Nerds inspected you for signs of leprosy. The folks who bullied the Nerds thought you were cool.

      3. “most of those during the Disney Land outbreak HAD been vaccinated”

        You’ve got to be careful when you say those things, because anti-vaxxers don’t understand statistics, and explaining that, percentage-wise, the number of unvaccinated cases was FAR higher never seems to sink in.

        And actually, that doesn’t seem to be the case. The CDC report states:

        Among the 110 California patients, 49 (45%) were unvaccinated; five (5%) had 1 dose of measles-containing vaccine, seven (6%) had 2 doses, one (1%) had 3 doses, 47 (43%) had unknown or undocumented vaccination status, and one (1%) had immunoglobulin G seropositivity documented, which indicates prior vaccination or measles infection at an undetermined time. Twelve of the unvaccinated patients were infants too young to be vaccinated. Among the 37 remaining vaccine-eligible patients, 28 (67%) were intentionally unvaccinated because of personal beliefs, and one was on an alternative plan for vaccination. Among the 28 intentionally unvaccinated patients, 18 were children (aged <18 years), and 10 were adults. Patients range in age from 6 weeks to 70 years; the median age is 22 years. Among the 84 patients with known hospitalization status, 17 (20%) were hospitalized.

        So it seems that “most were vaccinated” is a misunderstanding of “45% were unvaccinated” and leaving out all of the other categories which were or could have been unvaccinated.

        1. You’ve got to be careful when you say those things, because anti-vaxxers don’t understand statistics, and explaining that, percentage-wise, the number of unvaccinated cases was FAR higher never seems to sink in.

          I’m a lot more worried about the “vaccines are magic” people putting their kids in harm’s way because gosh, they’ve got the magic talisman of a vaccination record, THEY can’t possibly get sick.

          There’s some worry about the simply genuinely ignorant magic-talisman vaccination folks being in harm’s way, too, because sometimes teachers don’t bother to understand what they’re teaching, and not everyone grew up with the kind of upbringing I had. Heck, when the college did a big free class on a specific vaccine the FDA had approved for use in pregnant cows, which that drug company did not want approved for use in pregnant cows because of the high rate of miscarriages, they spent most of the time explaining to the “well educated” hobby farmers how vaccines work. My dad even had to take a couple of folks aside and explain how it worked. Most of those folks had multiple high level degrees. Dad’s got an AA that had a focus on music appreciation, but he’s been doing this for half a century.

          The genuinely anti-vaxx folks? Doesn’t matter what I say.
          The somewhere in the middle “anti-vaxx” folks? I regularly get put in that group because I know how vaccines work. I’ll be linking the CDC, the FDA, the manufacturer’s page to support what I say– and it doesn’t say vaccines are always going to work perfectly and there’s no risk associated with their use at all, so I’m “anti-vaxx.”


          There’s also that I flat out hate lies, and witch-hunts, both of which are involved in these.

          1. Yeah. At some point I have to do my little video of how herd immunity works (I’ve developed a game illustration using beads.) I ran the script past a friend who works for the CDC and she sent back a place or two where I’d totally ruined the terminology, but it’s fairly accessible and uses the measles vaccine simply because the success/failure rates are well known and easy to model (as is the infectious rate.)

            I just get so incensed at people spreading misinformation, because I know people who WILL die if exposed, and the more folk who don’t vaccinate because of incorrect reasoning, the more likely those people will get exposed. (One had a total collapse of her immune system at one point, and her titers still aren’t showing immunity to measles, and possibly never will. She’s in her 20s.)

              1. I (as a child) & my child had Chicken Pox, really really bad, in the scalp under the hair, between digits, and other unmentionable areas; along with the resulting fever (it was a long, long 10 days). Rash on top of rash. I don’t have (known) any scars, but kid as a couple if you look really close, around his eye, hairline, and on his tush (not that I know how visible the latter is, been a long time since mom can see his tush). He is young enough that technically shot was required for last few years of pre-school, let alone public school. He got them at 14 months when it went through pre-school baby/toddlers, missed him the first year he was there, they’d just gotten over that session when he started. Knew if you got a mild case (variations of “mild”) you could get them again, and again. School records only ask if you are current (yes/no) on each shot required, and comment why not, if “no”. Should have another column for “immunity due to having illness”. FWIW those getting the shot shouldn’t have to worry about singles later in life; the worse you have chicken pox, the worse shingles is suppose to be later in life. Yes. I got the shingles shot at 60.

                1. There’s already been cases of folks who were vaccinated getting shingles, although with how new it is (95 in the US) it’s very rare so far– I would guess the correlation is how effective the virus was/would be against your system.

                  Seem to remember they started suggesting booster shots, too, because the immunity was unacceptably low, at least in some areas. Quick search just said that the CDC was “recommending.” I think some states require all “recommended” vaccines…..

                  1. Wow. Figures. The Chicken Pox must be a type of live virus? That sucks. You’d be better off with self avoidance of virus; know of more than one person who deal with shingles, not fun. Problem I ran into with daycare is kid was sick 12 or 24 hours before we knew he was sick, so we help spread the problem in the daycare; he was one of the first group sick that year, so no warning. Next year the 30 months and younger groups were the ones NOT sick (they’d been nailed the last two seasons, group immunity), so any newer babies/toddlers added to those classes since son’s case group, avoided the problem; but the older groups didn’t, and a few of the staff. Vaccine came available when he was 4, so daycare stopped having to deal with it yearly. Good news when son got sick, was daycare was so experience, they had printed fact sheets for panicked parents, with local medical citations, that started “Read. Take this, and your child, with you to your pediatric doctor to help discuss.”

              2. I have no immunity to Strep Throat and a tendency to Tonsillitis. No vaccine for either. When I was 19, felt really crappy as work day was finishing up. Thought it was because we’d been working in a very hot south side canyon on a very long hot fall day (forestry), temp was running 105. Next day my sore throat, I could bare swallow. Called in sick and went to the emergency room. Running a 103 temp. Had BOTH Strep Throat and Tonsillitis. They threw me in the hospital really quick. Got out really quick when mom told them she wasn’t sure insurance would pay (not registered for school fall term – insurance did, non-credit work in field was one of my graduation requirements). Was not allowed to go back to work (by doctors orders) for 2 weeks, and was kept out of the field for another 2 weeks. From the lectures I got from the original attending, and our family physician, you’d have thought I was in danger of dying; obviously not, but still.

          2. See, that annoys the hell out of me. There are perfectly valid reasons to avoid specific vaccines (got an egg allergy? Some vaccines will flat out kill you), but it’s hard to bring those up in discussion without getting pasted.

            1. Granted. I remember a scratch test when kid was a baby to see if he was allergic to vaccine bases before getting shots. Me. Only shots I’ve had were for Small Pox. Darn near died from both measles (not at the same time) and Rosella, mom still talks about the drive to the hospital each time (since they lived in nowhere vile …); and I’m over 60. Chicken Pox and Mumps, just remember being extremely sick; had Whooping Cough as small child and adult, don’t remember former, won’t ever forget latter. Also, my cousin is mostly deaf and blind because her mom got measles when pregnant (likely from me, was in hunting camp when I became symptomatic).

              1. FYI. When vaccinations came available for measles, my mom made darn sure younger sisters got vaccinations. They still got Chicken Pox and Mumps. In both cases when each hit the neighborhood parents were deliberately exposing the 4 through grade school age to get it done with.

        2. I’d look at the paragraph before that first:
          As of February 11, a total of 125 measles cases with rash occurring during December 28, 2014–February 8, 2015, had been confirmed in U.S. residents connected with this outbreak. Of these, 110 patients were California residents. Thirty-nine (35%) of the California patients visited one or both of the two Disney theme parks during December 17–20, where they are thought to have been exposed to measles, 37 have an unknown exposure source (34%), and 34 (31%) are secondary cases. Among the 34 secondary cases, 26 were household or close contacts, and eight were exposed in a community setting. Five (5%) of the California patients reported being in one or both of the two Disney theme parks during their exposure period outside of December 17–20, but their source of infection is unknown. In addition, 15 cases linked to the two Disney theme parks have been reported in seven other states: Arizona (seven), Colorado (one), Nebraska (one), Oregon (one), Utah (three), and Washington (two), as well as linked cases reported in two neighboring countries, Mexico (one) and Canada (10).

          Notice they don’t break it down by who was actually at the park and unvaccinated. The reports were out there, for a little while, but don’t show up anymore.

          For that, you have to go to some of the hideous pseudo-science sites, where you find out that it was up to 86% of those who are believed to have been infected at the park were vaccinated– sometimes reported as “only 14% of those at the parks were unvaccinated.”
          Which is just as misleading as the CDC combining the unvaccinated groups who got sick later-on into those who got sick at Disneyland, because it takes the number of those known to not be vaccinated who got sick, but it’s quite hard to counter because the study of those who actually got sick at the park was removed from the California health site. Because it might “mislead” people. (you can still find some news stories about it, but I spent half an hour searching last night– the report’s gone)

          Actual result: people jump into the really horribly bad “natural” news sites with both feet, and the sensible folks can’t counter it.

          1. And those poor Disneyland employees who had been vaccinated but still caught it do, in fact, fall into the statistical “vaccine didn’t work” percentage, but try telling that to an anti-vaxx zealot.

            1. I’ve had a little luck shifting it from “the vaccine does this” to “your immune system does this”– people can figure out that sometimes, you just get sick easier than other times.

              Part of why I get so steamed is that several times, doing this in person, I’ve had some ignorant such-and-such jump into the middle of it and start screeching like a scalded chimp at the idea that the vaccine didn’t magically work. (Totally stole Terry Pratchett’s hook about guys who work on horses needing to get results, while guys who work on humans just had to sell that they’d done “what they could.”)

              But most people, if you talk to them decently, will change their mental image of vaccines into more like– like software, which some folks’ immune system OS won’t take, and sometimes it just doesn’t work RIGHT, and of course if you’re tired or sick with something else or even just have allergies and bad luck it can miss stuff.

              1. It’s why my husband has a reaction to the flu shot—his immune system uptake is a little quirky and overreacts. Still much less than the actual flu, so it’s worth it, but he always schedules the shot for a Friday so he can have a day a bit tired & hurting.

                1. This goes to the point of the post. Over a decade ago when the risks/rewards of vaccinations were critical for me, I went to my paediatrician to set up a plan. Individual doses spaced out by (IIRC) at least six months. It meant paying out of pocket for some, but, eh, worth it.

                  I am told that our amazing progressive system has made this kind of negotiation impossible.

                  Shoot “the vaccines cause autism” could be managed by simply allowing families convinced they’re at risk to hold off until after the kid hits his 3rd birthday.

                  It’s as if they want to maximize misunderstanding and ill-will.

              2. I have had chicken pox twice, so looks like the natural system to get immunity doesn’t always work either. Or at least it’s pretty certain, I had it as a very young child, and from what my mother told me (when I asked about a pox scar on my forehead) it was diagnosed as chicken pox and not something else similar although presumably it’s possible it was, then visited my younger godson’s family when he had it (hey, I can’t get that, I already had it as a kid and you can get it just once…) and some days later started itching and these red spots start appearing.

                Some internet searches later: yes, you can sometimes, especially if the first one was mild and very long ago. Rare, but not completely impossible.

                I rather hope I’m fully immune to it now. :/

                1. *Shudder*

                  Let me put it this way: the kids don’t have chicken pox vaccination because the only one allowed in the US is grown in the flesh of an aborted child.

                  When they hit 16, if they haven’t allowed any of the other options yet, I plan on sitting them down and suggesting they get it, if they haven’t managed to catch it by then. (IIRC, usually from kids who were recently vaccinated, but they may have changed the formula since then– that was when the vaccine was new.)

                  Adult chicken pox is that scary.

                  (At 16, yes, I could make them do it. It’s a rather dire moral situation, though, and we’re working on making sure they’re equipped to handle it.)

                2. Sorry, poj, but look up shingles and weep. Apparently chicken pox only quits living in your nervous system when you do, as my mom has been dealing with for the last 5 years. Supposedly there’s a new vaccine, called Shingrix, which gives 90% plus immunity rates up into your 80s, and even helps handle the existing nerve problems by increasing your body’s resistance.

    2. Okay, that’s the second of Kratman’s ‘questions libertarianism never answered to his satisfaction’. Anyone remember the third? (I’m afraid I only remember two of the three.)

      1. 1st Mongol Shock Horde


        Common Law Felons

        Also, I *think* large infrastructure projects (he uses the Panama Canal example)

      2. It seems that Kratman is conflating libertarianism with philosophies like voluntarism (which could be argued is an extreme form or libertarianism, but it would be an extreme form). To my mind there’s nothing in libertarianism that precludes recognizing certain areas as the proper preview of government. For example, national defense or prevention of epidemics.

        1. Eh, it’s like the “liberal” issue– either you have to set up the entire philosophical thing all on your own, before addressing it, or you’re going to piss off some folks by responding to what the folks who call themselves by that name actually have issues with.

          1. No, it was a strawman argument. Kratman deliberately chose the most extreme version of the philosophy (if it can even be considered part of libertarianism) and proceeded to indict the entire philosophy with the failures of the extremes. Mainstream libertarianism has answers to all those questions, with the precise answer depending on what sub-philosophy you’re talking about.

            1. Given that you have to admit that libertarianism is so splintered that even you, a proponent, can’t point at the guiding principle unifying all the answers for the different varieties– what makes his a strawman? That you, personally, don’t follow it?

              How about the folks who do? Are they living a strawman?

              1. There’s an underlying principle, it’s just that people are going to interpret the principle differently in response to specific questions. That tends to happen when you actually think about politics rather than just accept received wisdom.

                1. Then you shouldn’t need to answer it for each and every sub-philosophy, you outline the principle.

                  That is how situations requiring prudential judgment are actually dealt with, when there’s a principle that people are trying to apply.

    3. On the other hand, giving the government the power to forcibly inject people with things against their will is kind of scary as well, even if they currently only want to do it with something safe. After all, it wasn’t all that long ago that people had forced sterilizations, lobotomies, and other freaky things done to them “for their own good”. Maybe a decent compromise would be to require it for public schools, but make it easier for people to leave for a private school/home school/whatever if they object?

      1. On the gripping hand, vaccination works by herd immunity. Allowing people to opt out not only endangers them, but endangers everyone else, as well – and below a certain percentage, is rendered non-effective, and the disease is just something we live with coming through.

        Contemplate the flu vaccine. Despite all the campaigns to get said vaccination, less than 50% of adults get the flu vaccine and less than 60% of kids were vaccinated (43.6% & 59.3%, 2014-2015 season). Even in years that the flu vaccine is a close match, the flu still rips across the USA sufficient unto calling it a “flu season”, and kills the elderly, the very young, the medically compromised, and sometimes, just unlucky folks who are generally fairly healthy, at roughly 60-100 deaths/week so far this season.

        And you can see the difference between herd immunity thinking and not in this: vaccinating for influenza is all about “this will help you specifically not catch it / have a weaker infection if you do catch it.” Polio, Diptheria, Measles, and Mumps? Those are vaccinated on the basis of “We will eliminate this disease from our shores, and never allow it back again.”

        1. When I get that time machine, after kicking Rousseau in the soft and squishy parts I’m going to take a group of anti-vaxxers and dump them in the middle of the 1919 Spanish Flu epidemic.

          1. Not having been exposed to the earlier epidemic that apparently primed the population for the cytokine storm that did the actual killing, the miserable bastards might well survive.

            Or, so one theory goes, at least. I remember reading somewhere that there was a very high correlation between Spanish Flu death and an earlier pandemic that came around the turn of the century. If you were an adult, and had contracted the first, less-than-fatal version, when the Spanish one came in 1918, you were dead meat. The correlation was as high as 90%, from what I remember reading. And, of course, I can’t find the damn reference, now–Somewhere in Smithsonian or Scientific American?

            1. That doesn’t really track with what I’ve read on the epidemic. As I recall, the death profile was basically inverted. Normally the flu has a high mortality in the very young and the very old, but the Spanish Flu tended to kill those in their prime. If it were a matter of a priming infection ~20 years earlier, we would expect to see a sharp increase in the death rate for everyone old enough to be exposed to the priming infection with a steady rise in older people.

              1. I found this:

                It says something a little different: In 1989, there was a Flu pandemic that represented a shift in the dominant flu strain that people got exposed to as children, which left the young adults of 1918 uniquely vulnerable to a highly virulent strain related to the dominant ones normally seen before 1989. Some time in the early 1900s, the dominant strain went back to relatives of the previous decades, though not as deadly.So there was a window of time where children did not build up immunity to the relatives of the strain that came along in 1918, and were thus more susceptible to it.

        2. Three issues with using the flu as a data-point for vaccination:
          1) on a good year, the shot gives you resistance to the most common strain
          2) the stated, direct known side-effects of the flu are rather similar to a mild case of the flu– and the nasal spray can spread the flu directly, per the papers my husband had to sign during his required vaccination. (He had to get a waiver to get the shot, rather than the nose-spray.)
          3) A lot of the figuring on “died from complications of the flu” is…questionable. Like on par with the stats of child-bearing related death stats, which counts all women that were pregnant or had been in the last year, even if they were hit by a truck, and it doesn’t require that it be a confirmed case of the flu. (the actual virus, rather than the generic “so and so had the flu,” which can be anything from food poisoning on) The same folks who will fight to the hilt on the flu shot not giving you the flu (even if the symptoms match) will accept a diagnosis of flu based on symptoms.

          It’s not like it’s as bad as the cold and requiring everybody to get zinc and C supplements or something, but……

          1. Tired and maybe I parsed this wrong, so apologies in advance:

            The flu shots are dead virus. The body reacts to the protein coats. It thus can’t give you so much as a mild case of the flu. I suspect a similar response could be related to the body’s response rather than the protein coats themselves.

            The nasal spray is a weakened virus, not a dead one. Thus it could spread the flu. Would expect that while the body’s response would be the same, there could be other effects.

            Died of complications of the the flu once meant secondary infections that hit while the body is in a weakened state. These were usually bacterial, and is why they once prescribed antibiotics for the flu. Doctors knew it did diddly squat for a virus, but it was a preventative from something like bacterial pneumonia.

            Though it’s strictly anecdotal, one of ours caught the flu, and then caught a secondary infection. Will never forget the look on the doctor’s face when we came back. He said “They say not to give antibiotics.” He was an older doctor and you could tell he was beating himself up for not doing that, and thinking that, had he given antibiotics like in the old days, ours wouldn’t have caught a secondary infection.

            Side issue: Mother’s father survived the Spanish Flu. He also caught the Hong Kong Flu. He said the Hong Kong Flu was almost as bad pain-wise as the Spanish Flu. Again, it’s only anecdotal, but that implies the Spanish Flu has straight-up worse effects.

            1. When I was going through the death records for Amarillo during the 1918 pandemic, I used 1) “pneumonia” and 2) age between 14-40 as a sign that it was most likely a “flu death.” Outside that parameter I couldn’t be quite as certain, because of the normal rates of pneumonia among the very young and very old in the pre-antibiotic days.

            1. Don’t tell me that book wasn’t going through your head a year and a half ago.

              Hillary running for president, Iran getting fractious, a potential solar cool spot…. it sure as hell sounded like “events leading up to” to me

          2. Those are all good points about the effectiveness of the flu vaccine – but the main point, that this widely-available, low-cost, heavily-pushed, much touted vaccination, when voluntary, gets less than 50% of the adult population to sign up for it. And the adults only get 60% of the kids vaccinated.

            Herd immunity needs 90-95% of the population immunized to be an effective barrier against a disease – and right now, where anti-vax families cluster in the affluent neighborhoods, and illegal immigrants cluster in the low-income neighborhoods, you get breakdowns in herd immunity.

            I may have issues with protocols that push all the vaccinations in a very short timeframe. I definitely have issues with the way governmental controls on what & when are optimized for lack of development in better vaccinations and monopoly on the market by a couple companies for the current varieties. I have a fair amount of grumpiness at the way that any objections to any single current treatment / application gets shouted down with “Oh, you anti-vaxxer, you! You just want all kids to die!” as though the current schedule is the perfect eternal pinnacle of medicine.

            But I do support mandatory vaccination unless there’s a damned good reason, because I don’t want polio to be a standard staple of childhood again.

            1. The thing is that it doesn’t matter how much it’s touted when even the supporters, when they’re being honest, admit it is usually not going to work.

              The cost for using it is not incredibly high, if you’re one of the folks who doesn’t have any kind of reaction, but the reward is extremely low, too. You *might* end up avoiding an annoyance disease.

              1. You *might* end up avoiding an annoyance disease.

                This is the critical point. In my Forties and Fities I never considered getting a flu shot because my health was robustly good, my risk of catching flu was slight and likelihood of it having serious consequences was negligible. Now that I am over Sixty and have Type II Diabetes, the equation has changed and a flu shot is reasonable precaution. Ere that it was a five-dollar scratch-off lottery ticket: the chances of winning were slight and what would be won scarcey worth the price.

                1. I have asthma, the flu can go from “annoyance” to “life threatening” faster than a supercar accelerates.

                  1. The old folks home we visit loses people to colds— part of why I really wish they’d start publicly recognizing that a more effective step in preventing folks who are vulnerable from getting sick is a robust respect for quarantine. Voluntary, natch, but for once something could use “raising awareness” tactics, and fixing some of the really stupid infection vectors. (I’m looking at you, public schools.)

                    Listened to a history program on the Spanish Flu, and it’s frankly horrifying how STUPID they were– and how I can’t really say I wouldn’t expect hospitals today to send a bunch of deathly-ill-with-the-flu guys into the same wards as absolutely everyone else, from the “just need patching up” guys to the “will be shipped to home in a big bunch” injured guys.

                    1. Even the concept that some minimal efforts to avoid contagion are worthwhile would be appreciated from some people. My paternal grandmother apparently did not get this memo. I knew she didn’t consider germs an adequate reason for anybody to skip the family gatherings, but I oonly found out recently that back in the day, she requested a Christmas visit and snugglenuzzled allll over my three-week-old baby brother before mentioning she had the flu.

                      Well. I learned about this sometime after she died in early 2016. Not much point being mad at her then, but my brain exploded a little.

                    2. Schools wouldn’t allow me to keep younger son out whenever he was sick. It would GREATLY exceed maximum allowed absences. True, we never knew what was a cold and what autoimmune, but you know, the auto-immune leads to infections after a while (Where I am now.)

                  2. Note that I qualified my opposition to the shot as when I was young and healthy. That is no longer a ruling condition.

                    A few years back I went through an upper respiratory infection (or rather, an upper respiratory infection went through me) and permanently shifted my sleep apnea from mild to requires attention; correlating with that I estimate I lost about one standard deviation of intellectual ability and, more annoyingly, the ability to read multiple things while simultaneously participating in a conversation and watching television.

                    1. Your former multitasking ability fills me with awe.

                      I am still… relatively healthy, anyway. But I dislike the flu intensely when I get it and have never had any trouble with the shot, so I get the shot.

              2. I have the feeling we’re talking past each other – I used an example of voluntary vaccination rates to explain why voluntary vaccination will never reach herd immunity levels, and therefore we can’t do voluntary vaccination alone for any disease we want to eliminate and keep from recurring at all in our population.

                You’re focusing on that particular example’s issues with actually affecting that particular example’s disease, without returning to the discussion of whether or not voluntary vaccination is a good thing for the other diseases we vaccinate against.

                Does that sound right, or are there other steps in the misunderstanding?

                1. Basically, I’m trying to tell you that you can’t accurately model “what people will do” with a vaccine that is effective and fights a serious disease by looking at a vaccine that is ineffective and not against a serious disease.

                  You might have better results by looking at the rate of use by at-risk populations…hard to figure the best model, because most of the diseases that are relatively serious and the vaccine is reasonably available are required in at least some locations.

                  It’s like looking at someone’s reaction to being an hour late to feed the cat, and extrapolating to what they’d do if they knew their neighbor had no food for a week.

                  1. I think your point regarding the relative effectiveness of the vaccine is the stronger one. The “nuisance disease” categorization is unfortunately how a lot of people seem to have started to perceive things like measles and mumps.

                    1. Eh, there’s a difference between something you’ve had multiple times and know is on par with a bad cold, and a disease you haven’t had– and, frankly, the whole lying-to-people-so-they-don’t-think-the-wrong-thing is a lot of WHY folks are shifting serious diseases out of the serious category.

                      Look at the PSAs about how Science Says ™ that being an hour short of sleep for a week hurts your driving as much as having a 0.08 BAC. Does that make you go “Wow! Getting seven hours of sleep a night is really dangerous!” or does it make you go “Wow! Apparently, drunk driving isn’t that bad”?

                    2. Mm. I agree that there’s a difference, and I agree that lying to people about the severity of danger is a bad thing. (Although, in terms of discomfort rather than danger, I think maybe either you’ve had worse bad colds than I have, or easier flus! Or maybe I’m just a wimp. Always a possibility.)

                      But the dismissal of measles and mumps as something “everybody got and most came through fine” still seems to be widespread enough that I am not confident in people believing they’re more dangerous than the flu as a factor in higher vaccination rates at this point. Greater effectiveness, yes. Effectiveness that doesn’t require going back for another one every single year, also yes.

                    3. Our house got taken out by a week-long cold, starting on Christmas day, that was bad enough I didn’t do real cooking for two days. Not helped by being unable to sleep due to congestion.

                      For the flu– bringing up your boot leather can suck, but the worse “flu” I’ve had was the “it isn’t the flu” after I got vaccinated. Which was me being stupid and easily manipulated, because I knew from the Navy that I’d get sick, and I should’ve realized being pregnant would make it worse. I was seriously trying to figure out who to contact to watch the kids if I needed an ambulance.

                      For times I wasn’t vaccinated type flu? One day puking, two days feeling cruddy, and unless I was puking I was able to sleep.

                      Have had a couple of “flu” infections sweep the family that were only the common-use flu, not actually matching the symptoms for true flu. They usually hit my husband first, and hardest, and he’s vaccinated due to work. (Hardest as in he gets sick, brings it home, and is still not recovered when I’ve gotten over it and all the kids are back up.)

                    4. Every time I’ve ever let myself be persuaded into taking a flu shot, I end up not only horribly ill…but I still catch the flu later on anyway. (And one year, ended up so sick after the shot that I eventually developed–thankfully mild-ish–pneumonia.)

                      I get that the flu pandemic back in 1918 was horrific…but I’m not seeing a lot of use out of the so-called vaccine when, it seems to me, they never manage to guess the strain of flu correctly… :p

                    5. (Replying to Foxfier): A lot of the perception, though, is because of 1) How effective the vaccination programs have been prior to the new foolishness (they don’t see people dying from these diseases and more), and 2) this push of “Anything natural is better than anything artificial”, so they believe that it’s better to just catch the disease in order to get immunity, because vaccinations aren’t “natural”.

                    6. The secondary fad has its roots in a rational reaction to either smoke being blown up their rear, or experts who would not admit their knowledge had limits.

                      Folks don’t respect authority that flips out when challenged, not long term.

            2. Trying to rephrase it so it makes sense:

              It would not matter if the population was 100% vaccinated, every single year, for the flu– because the vaccine even on a really accurate year doesn’t reach 90% of the reported varieties of flu that are going around. For this year, it’s as low as 10% in some areas!

    4. My major frustration with vaccinations is the doctors who push to do them all at once or very nearly back to back. Which can be dangerous for any infant, but especially so for, say, those who were premature or have other health issues. And there’s a sad number of folks out there who, because it’s a doctor pressuring them, go along with it–because doctor, and surely they know, right?

      An infant I know ended up having convulsions (she had been a high-risk pregnancy/birth, and a bit premature, among other things) and hospitalized…and it wasn’t until they took her all the way to the hospital in Salt Lake City (we all live in nowhere, Wyoming) that someone suggested that it was probably piling all the vaccinations into her tiny body so fast that it overwhelmed her system.

      I was a three-months premie, and my mother–who has always been sensible and not in the least overawed by doctors–categorically refused to do it on the schedule the doctor wanted, and instead insisted they space them out as far as possible within the target time period. I had no problems. And later, with Younger Brother who had had open heart surgery (twice, the first at two months of age), she was lucky enough to find a pediatrician who not only cooperated with this, but was pleased to find a parent already on board with the idea of not overwhelming a sickly child’s immune system.

      Vaccinations are good, I am totally on board with that. But there is still a lot of nasty crap in those vaccines that is NOT good to just dump wholesale all at once on a kid’s system. However, wanting to spread it out is not–despite some hysterical shrieking I’ve seen to the contrary–the same as being anti-vaccinations…

      1. I don’t know. Vaccines are grouped, and I didn’t have a problem, and I was a premie, too. Nor did my wife, or any of ours.

        Something to keep in mind is that every vaccine is a trade off. No medicine or vaccine is 100% safe. There will be some reactions. The trade-off is that the risk of death from reactions is less than the risk of death from the disease.

        Thus, while those of my generation had the Small Pox vaccine, today’s don’t, because the virus is dead in the wild. When some mentioned it post 9/11, doctors panned it because, since the virus was dead in the wild, the risk of death from a reaction was greater than the risk of death from the disease. And they knew they could fall back on the limited vaccination methods used prior to general vaccinations if there was an outbreak.

        1. Remember that the method of producing resistance by vaccination is to make the body think it is getting sick, so that it gears up to produce defenses for the invading virus. While you apparently had a rather robust defense system for a premie, many would find the strain of having to defend from so many attacks in a short period of time too taxing. I wouldn’t be surprised if spacing too many vaccinations too close together runs the risk of reducing the effectiveness due to “burnout” in the immune system, or perhaps weakening it to increase the likelihood of other infections getting started.

          1. Heh. Tended to catch whatever was going around, IIRC. Got to know the doctor’s office really well. But I also had allergies, which is your immune system going into hysterics, and don’t know if that was a factor or not.

            Remember the last time I saw the doctor who delivered me. He was an old general practitioner who continued working into his eighties. I’m on the large side now, over six feet tall and wear XXXL for my shoulders. The doctor looked at my medical record, smiled, and told me how small I was when I was born.

        2. “Something to keep in mind is that every vaccine is a trade off. No medicine or vaccine is 100% safe. There will be some reactions. The trade-off is that the risk of death from reactions is less than the risk of death from the disease.”

          Exactly the short summary I got from son’s pediatric doctor. Since I grew up when babies & kids died from mumps, rubella, measles (both kinds), I listened. FYI. the only vaccination I got as a kid was for Small Pox and Polio. Everything else I had. Almost died from the less lethal version of rubella. Kid and I both had whooping cough when he was 12; I brought it home from work, thought it was a bad cold. When HIS cough sounded bad (I’d already been sick 3 weeks) took him to the doctor. We both were current on vaccines. FWIW, yes went back to work and spread the word that the awful cough going around was MORE and to make sure to go to doctor, especially those with babies, small kids, and around elderly. With whooping cough, it hurts to cough, from head to the tip of your toes, and getting a breath between coughs is extremely difficult to impossible.

          1. When younger son was three or four, he got a bad cough that sounded like whooping cough is described, but I don’t think it was that. But one night he started on a coughing fit so bad he could barely catch his breath, and it got to the point he started looking pretty scared.

            I took him into the bathroom and turned on the shower full hot, with the curtain open, and talked to him very calmly until the steam calmed his cough and opened his airways. Then got him some cough medicine and put him to bed. And then stood in the hallway and shook like a leaf in a thunderstorm. It took a lot of effort to keep from looking and acting as scared as he did.

            1. Barely remember when I had pneumonia as a child. Am told I was taken to the doctor that day, given medicine, and by night it had become pneumonia. In those days you called the doctor directly, and when I couldn’t get my breath, my parents called the doctor. It was winter, and he said to set me on the ground barefooted (no idea of the temperature, but in some parts of the country that would have been a bad idea), and take me to the emergency room immediately. The shock of the cold to my feet was enough to open me up where I could breath.

              Have thought about that story working outside in the cold when stuffy, and finding myself opening up.

              Keep in mind that this was nearly sixty years ago and medicine has advanced, so I’m merely repeating the story and not giving any sort of advice. It was a different time, and a desperation move.

              1. Never heard of that to open up airways. When my sister started convulsions from a high fever, my dad brought her temp down and stopped the convulsions by taking her to the bathroom and splashing lukewarm water on her feet (tricks the body into thinking the feet need to be warmed, sending more blood away from the brain), but never heard of anything like your story.

          2. Also, on average, when an adult contracts a “kid” disease – it is far worse for the adult.

            My eldest brought chicken pox home (about a year before the vaccine was approved, so nobody’s fault there). She was uncomfortable for three or four days. I was knocked flat for two weeks – and not even close to my previous health for several months after that.

            (Mom is not always right…)

            1. Adult onset chickenpox is dangerous enough that it’s used as a specific example, among those who object to using aborted fetal stem cell lines, of a case when it is relatively easily justified to save life.

            1. Got a DPT shot with the flu shot this year. I’m spending enough time near the Hippie Republic of Ashland that I don’t dare take chances. My first surgical stint included a parting gift of rhinovirus, most likely from the kiddies at Costco. Note to self; Fridays, especially before a minor holiday can be bad. In this case it was European Persecution of Victimized Native People of Color and Undefined Gender Columbus day. Taking sick kids to Costco must be more fun(?) than staying with them at home. Arggh.

              1. That’s one of the ones they suggest pregnant women get– the unborn baby gets part of the immunity. (I’ve had so many my insurance company stopped covering it– they’re cheap, so it’s more an amusement thing than anything else; my family has always been obsessive about keeping it up because…well, ranch, lockjaw SUCKS, duh.)

                Thankfully, I get no reaction at all to the bleeping thing!

                Definite sympathy on the Costco thing– I don’t know why people take very obviously sick kids out for stuff like that. I HAVE taken sick kids out…but you can tell they’re sick because mommy has them in a blanket, with dire warnings to STAY in the blanket, not touch anything, and we all smell like rubbing alcohol and cheap hand sanitizer. Usually, they got sick because someone brought their sick kid, and let them run around randomly, and my kids are very friendly. “Oh, you feel bad? Let me give you a hug, person I met two minutes ago!”

              2. I got a TDAP shot last year, whether I wanted it or not. The doc looking at my new patient intake chart said “How long since your last tetanus booster? If you can’t remember, especially if you want to go hiking ’round here, you’re getting another.”

                And then hit me with TDAP, instead of tetanus alone. *sigh* That was a sore arm, but I really can’t complain, because at least it means I got a booster on Other Things I Never Want To Have. And given some things are, ah, coming across the border and running around the local school system, it’s better to be vaccinated.

                1. They usually don’t have tetanus-only shots on hand, and because pertussis wanes so quickly (it may only be effective for as long as a tetanus shot), it’s a good idea to keep that updated as well. And nobody wants diphtheria.

              3. I kind of internally go O_O when i see newborns here in where I live – WHY?! ARE YOU TAKING THEM OUT?! As in, very visibly newbie, week old tiny newborns, the kitten cry and all. I currently live in the state that had serious problems about vaccination – so bad that they implemented a law that if your kids aren’t up to date, they can’t go to primary school, after several children died from diseases that were on the vaccination list. I rather miss Queensland for their …95% vaccination rate?

                The sorts that stopped vaccinating their kids were the rich hipster sort who would probably drink unfiltered water now. Unfortunately, we also have a high migrant population from areas that for a long while had religious objections to vaccinations (believing that pork was involved, for some reason) … and guess who brought those diseases back?

                1. There’s also been the repeated use of “vaccination” to cover sterilization attempts, and various other nasty stuff.

                  I don’t even want to think about how many children Obama condemned to a horrible death because he had to publicize how we got Osama.

            2. No kidding. Did not have the broken ribs. That dry Cough alone was bad enough. It. Hurt. Was WEEKS before I stopped coughing totally. Kid, about 10 days. Please note this was 17 years ago now. Still. No. Way. Do I want Whooping Cough ever again. Ever.

              1. Cough drops & syrups won’t touch a whooping cough, cough. Loath the former, can only hold nose and quickly down the latter (like a shot drink). Trust me I tried. Strongest stuff I could get (OTC) puts me to sleep, just coughed in my sleep. Worse episodes would wake up, eventually, catch my breath where (eventually) doing that did not trigger another coughing jag, and go back to sleep. You haven’t coughed until you’ve coughed for episodes from 15 to 30 minutes straight, every breath threatening to trigger another set. No wonder it kills babies and elderly.

                1. I was scared to death that the episode of the flu that I had over Christmas would set off the coughing fits that I had several years ago. Some kind of bronchial crud; I’d cough so hard and so long that I’d throw up. Took about three kinds of antibiotics, including two types of inhalers to knock it down, and it still took months. I still have one of the inhalers – this time, doses of Bronkaid did the trick. This years’ flu is really debilitating.

                    1. Ugh. My sympathies – I had about a week of listening to my bronchial tubes whistle and wheeze in the wee hours. The Bronkaid that you have to go and get from behind the pharmacy window and sign for with your ID card did help, although it made me feel woozy and exhausted after taking it. The Daughter Unit says (with a deep, exasperated sigh – Yeah, Mom – that’s WHY you have to sign for it!)

                    2. If it helps, I gather that breathing is over-rated. I’ve never heard of anyone complaining about quitting. at least not once they got used to it.

                      OTOH, it is likely prudent to not transfer to the other side just yet, so remember that onions, bell peppers, garlic and ginger are effective treatments for any respiratory infection — omelets are an excellent mode for consumption..

                      And do try to get some rest. Put up the “Gone Fission” sign and leave the blog to the minions for a day or two. What could possibly go amiss?

        3. Well, and there’s a difference between the grouped vaccines–like the MMR ones–and having a parent bring their kid in pretty much every week or every few days and piling ALL the shots in within a very short time period. That’s what I take issue with, because it isn’t sensible. Give the kid’s immune system a chance to recover for a couple-three weeks between the shots!

      2. Stacking everything up can even make healthy adults miserable. So many stories of WWII GI’s being given “all the shots” and then being miserable on the rail trip to the port. Anecdotal? Perhaps. And while “anecdote is not data” that line has always seemed to me to be way to say, “I deny your experience.”

        1. The cowpox blister I had from the smallpox vaccine did make me feel fairly weak and miserable. By the time I arrived in Afghanistan, I had definite problems dragging all my heavy issued gear around. I think I popped the blister slinging my pack back up on my shoulder, and started feeling better not long after that. Ah, the memories.

        2. Especially when if you raise a concern, the first response is “nobody has that happen,” and when you point out that you’re one of the nobodies, THEN it’s “the plural of anecdote isn’t data.”

          Which, incidentally, is false in its implication. A synonym of anecdote would, indeed, be datum and that would make the plural data.
          It’s not properly organized data– that just means you need to do the research, not declare it’s nonsense.

          *Grumble, grumble*

          1. I told the doctor that I felt unwell, not sick, but less than usual after flu vaccine. I was told that wasn’t true. Another time was told that there were no side effects. That made me feel like a hypochondriac.

            1. Feh. There are always potential side effects. For years I didn’t get a flu shot because of the possibility of a reaction due to the egg base. After years of eating eggs with no ill effects, I decided to chance it. Had to have a certain OTC antihistamine with me, just in case, and was asked several times how I felt. But, no problems.

              OTOH, the nurse jabbed my arm so hard for that shot that to this day when I think “flu shot,” I have a phantom pain there. When I discovered it was sometimes how it was administered, and shots given by a certain person did not make you feel like your arm was dropping off, that’s where I started going for flu shots. It turned out that the nurse where I got my first flu shot had a reputation when it came to giving shots.

              1. Yow! And the gal at the place I go to for flu shots is good enough that I’ve left without even a bandage over the injection site. I appreciate that. Perhaps I never get a “good take” but but the extent of my post-injection reaction has been wondering what that.. oh, flu shot bandage.. in the shower later.

                1. Before she left to have a baby, and got reassigned to a different store, my pharmacist delighted in giving flu shots, and I could barely tell she had done it before she said “done”.

                  OTOH, I seldom need a band-aid for something as small as an injection site. Heck, I hardly got a bruise a couple of months ago, after the nurse dug in my hand for a minute and a half trying to find a vein for the IV anesthetic when i was in to get my colonoscopy.

            2. ….that is possibly the stupidest lie I’ve ever heard, from a so-called medical professional.

              The side-effects are well known and they’re SUPPOSED to offer you a sheet with them, for you to sign, AND they’re supposed to report back if there are any of the more serious side-effects.

                1. Sadly, not always an option. There are a lot of quacks…..

                  I’m sure I complained before about the guy who on-the-spot diagnosed me as pre-diabetic, when the bloodtest came back and showed the opposite he kind of just shrugged and walked off and never noticed my symptoms were because I was anemic. Even though it was right there, literally in bright red in the results….

                    1. A gamer friend has a family history of cancer, and symptoms that line up with it.

                      Took her six months of fighting her primary care doctor to get referred to a clinic that can deal with the system involved, and they are jerking her around, because her BMI is in the “heavy” zone.
                      Only got help because she lost so much blood that she collapsed, which can’t really be attributed to “bad diet and needs to exercise.”
                      Is now two weeks past when she was supposed to get the pre-surgery exam, they’ve canceled on her twice. First time, doctor didn’t even show up to work so she didn’t get any of the medications to keep her functioning.

                      (I am dancing around details because I don’t want her to be identifiable from the symptoms.)

                      I don’t know WHY, but a lot of doctors seem to want to turn their brains off.

                    2. Well, if they can wait until she’s properly stage 4, then palliative care is cheaper and less trouble than treatment, especially if they’ve pre-judged her as a high-risk (older, immune issues, overweight, etc).

                      It’s how Canada and England manage care and how Obamacare is supposed to work.

                      Will pray for your friend. Wish we could do more.

                  1. What we ran into with our son. Not our regular kid doctor on weekend when kid exhibited raised black and blue welts along his joints, starting where his thighs attached to his hips; and it came on suddenly. Immediately called clinic after care for on call physician to meet us there. Told him that kid was on new ear infection meds (Ceaclore, note spelling suspect). Doctors’ exact words were “MIGHT be reaction to new medication, take him off if it, new prescription for prior medication, swelling & symptoms will go down within 24 hours if this is the case, call again if not down.” Okay fast forward 30 hours latter. Symptoms are worse (we are panicking a lot). Called and clinic had us come in. Got new doctor on call. Barely looked at kid’s welts and words were “Classic reaction. Will be 6 weeks or more before symptoms show signs of going away. Oh and the reason he is screaming. His joints are swollen and he is in extreme pain (he’d been getting kid stuff for ear pain, not good enough).” We were extremely angry (not with this doctor). He put our kid on anti inflammatory and baby pain meds along with the antibiotic. Yes we let the clinic know what happened. This was 27 years ago and to this day kid notes his allergic reaction.

                  2. A pediatrician misdiagnosed $NIECE’s celiac disease as “malnutrition”. After the proper diagnosis came in, he told $SIL “I have to learn about it”. The response was “Not on our account. Goodbye.” $SPOUSE is not only celiac, but flat-out allergic to gluten. A trip to the grocery store means trying to limit the time spent in the bread aisle. Damn peanut butter is there, too. Me, I’m just intolerant.

                    (Celiac and related gluten issues are touch to diagnose. My first episode, I spent 4 days in the hospital with an IV being the only way I could keep fluids in. After many more, it became clear it was gluten intolerance, with my body dialing up the sensitivity. I rather liked the taqueria’s shop-made salsa, but one of the cooks uses wheat flour as a thickener. Nope. Diagnoses became a bit easier; the course of symptoms was always the same, with variations in intensity. The kicker is it takes a day or two to manifest. Forgot just how long; I’m careful.)

                    1. I have a friend who is celiac and not “officially” diagnosed as such because said “official” diagnosis is to test for a certain antibody after you consume a small amount of gluten. Consuming trace amounts of gluten puts her in the hospital. (Note that her medical history is accurate as to her status, but they have to fudge around how she was diagnosed because the forms don’t have a category for “it’s effing obvious.”)

            3. As a senior in high school, I got a flu shot (would have been late 1969). I suspect I’d been coming down with a cold, because the “minor” side effects included a 102F fever, and I had to crawl to the bathroom after nearly passing out. Refrained from flu shots until the 1990 or so… No reactions since then. I’m pretty sure I haven’t missed a year.

              1. I believe the conflict started with the idea that caffeine is addictive, and Kirk seems to be arguing that all addiction is equal, and psychological.

                One can be addicted to caffeine; one can be addicted to heroin. From a pharmacological stand point heroin is far more addictive than caffeine. Physiologically, heroin is far more likely to do long term damage than caffeine. One is far more likely to overdose on heroin than caffeine, because “the dose makes the poison” applies here just as much as anywhere; and heroin has a much lower LD50. However not everyone who tries heroin, or even uses it on an irregular basis will become addicted to heroin; and people can ingest enough caffeine to to do long term damage to their system and it is possible to OD on caffeine. (Heck, it’s possible to OD on water.)

                If we jump back to pot, which started this whole thread, things get murkier. Marijuana is not physically addictive, and has a very high LD50, high enough that OD deaths to Marijuana are as common as OD deaths to water. Someone’s going to argue that Marijuana is addictive; however that’s technically incorrect, go back and reread what I typed above: “not physically addictive”: there is no pharmacological mechanism with pot to cause the body to crave more pot. What happens with cannabis is physiological dependence. Someone’s going to accuse me at this point of splitting hairs, but sometimes hairs do need to be subdivided. Dependence and addictions are two different things and even if they overlap the difference needs to be taken into account. (As to long term effects of cannabis, it boils down to a case of dueling studies, and I’m not going there.)

                1. and Kirk seems to be arguing that all addiction is equal, and psychological

                  Rather, he was assuming they’re equal, and attacking those who didn’t share the conclusion.

                  An additional point for caffeine is that a non-harmful OD– the sort that you can give yourself by just drinking too much coffee– is unpleasant, but not harmful without underlying physical issues. (like a heart problem) It takes doing something foolish with artificially concentrated doses to hurt yourself on accident, and you’re not going to do it with normal patterns of use when you’re drinking for enjoyment.
                  Alcohol, for a mid-range example, you can harm yourself with normal use, but it’s not that common and is less likely the longer you’ve been socially using it. (Ignoring the long-term heavy use effects for now, focusing on short-term, OD type issues.)
                  Heroin, you not only can harm yourself with standard use– but death by oops-I-miscalculated is nasty common and gets more so with frequent use.

                  Pot is largely complicated because the effects are psychological, which is notoriously hard to pinpoint…although I’d be twenties to peanuts that everyone here can tell which one of my uncles smoked pot, same way you could tell which of the cousins is a he-thinks-in-the-closet alcoholic.

        3. When I was in boot camp the vaccination evolution was a couple of days before medical cleared the division for full training, plus they warned everyone who had a top bunk to take care getting out of bed the morning after the shot of penicillin in the gluteus.

      3. There’s a lot of misinformation about the “vaccines all at once” business. The vaccines they have now are not the same as they had when we were kids, and have a fraction of the amount of—stuff—that a single vaccine used to have. The current vaccine schedule is designed to be maximally effective and to be easy to comply with. Lots and lots of doctors appointments are difficult to attend, and it’s easy to have one slip by.

    5. From what I’ve read on the call, the swatter a) is truly evil, and b) primed the officers to provoke maximum anxiety in the responders. I took a weeklong class at Jeff Cooper’s place in Arizona, and had a rather humbling experience in the Funhouse. Shot a “don’t shoot” target with help from the adrenaline. Glad “she” was cardboard. .

      I doubt they could make a death penalty case against the creep, but I hope he does life. Not sure what the shooter should face, I’d hope enough to get that person’s attention. (Banning from armed police duty for XX years? I don’t know.)

      I’d also love to see something that would help kill caller ID spoofing.

      1. The swatter tried to get a random person killed (put in a position where there was a large chance of being killed or injured) so he could threaten or win an argument on the ‘net? That seems sociopathic to me.

      2. “the swatter a) is truly evil”

        At the very least, he’s displayed sociopathic behavior. “I didn’t do anything wrong because I wasn’t holding a gun,” is a breathtaking display of arrogance.

      3. RCPete, the call stated specifically that the “perp” had spread gasoline around the damn house so that he could “Viking funeral” with the rest of his family and anyone else near the house. When a gallon of gas = 16 standard sticks of dynamite, there’s a decent possibility he’d damage the rest of the block.

        In an age of suicide bombers / suicide by cop, shooting this guy at the first wrong move was the rational call. Everyone saying otherwise that I’ve seen is working off 20/20 hindsight.

        Frankly, if I were a cop, I’d either quit or only show up to bag the bodies. Let people who think they can do a better job do it.

        Guardian by Leslie Fish

        “See him stalking day or night
        The islands of the bay
        Like some veteran tiger
        Come to hunt his chosen prey
        He’ll never lack a target here
        For scum will always rise
        And to the man who guards your walls
        That comes as no surprise

        And who will be the guardian
        To take your dangers on
        Who will guard your sleep at night
        When Old Black Cal is gone

        For one in ten’s a predator
        Who treats the rest as prey
        So someone’s always needed here
        To drive those wolves away
        We never left the jungle
        We just carted it to town
        The leopards took on human form
        And follow us around


        Who will dare deny him there
        And say it isn’t so
        Must claim there’s no walkway at night
        They wouldn’t dare to go
        That sovereignty or righteousness
        Will keep them safe from harm
        And if their own front door is shut
        The whole wide world is warm


        Who will say the job is wrong
        And shouldn’t be at all
        Must then take up the gun themselves
        To guard each door and wall
        Must spend their nights in sentry lines
        Their days in packing heat
        It’s easier to pay the man
        Full time to guard your streets


        Evolution never stops
        We always have to choose
        The thug who waits to mug you
        Is collecting Darwin’s dues
        And you can’t drive hyenas off
        By kneeling down to pray
        So who will raise the weapon then
        To keep the beasts at bay


        Run like deer
        Or die like sheep
        Or take your dangers on
        For you must guard your sleep yourselves
        When Old Black Cal is gone”

        Lyrics taken from this page

        1. Agreed on the gasoline. I’ll emphasize the “I don’t know” for the shooting officer; haven’t seen any of the video, and Lord only knows the media are going to do what they can to destroy the cop. Yeah, opining on the shooter’s judgement so soon is a bad call. (My normal reaction is to side with the police in a contested shooting; guess I was blown away by the total innocence of the victim.)

          There was a local incident where the small-city police shot a person accused of stealing a car. Local news stories pointed out the car was part of a sales-deal gone sideways, and the dead person “wasn’t armed”. (We’re a very cop friendly county; with a fair number of really bad actors losing out in encounters with law enforcement.) Hadn’t paid attention to the review, and the results were interesting.

          The inquest was in Portland, not an area likely to give extra slack to a southern Oregon small-city police officer, and they came out with a ruling of justified shooting, actually suicide by cop. The guy had an extensive record, was threatening in the encounter. Protip: shouting “I’m going to shoot you”, while getting a phone out of your pocket is a good way to lower your life expectancy. Especially if “you” is armed and ready.

  4. I have mixed feelings about police. Very mixed. On the one hand they have a hard job to do and are usually dealing with the scum of the earth on a regular basis, that will jade any good man no matter what. On the other hand they have taken the whole “Us vs. Them” to new levels where they are starting to think that they are a force to be reckoned with. On the gripping hand I wonder how much of the attitude is fostered by leftist leaning unions that are trying to mold police departments and the force into the SJW mold?

      1. FWIW, have seen this before. 1960s and early 1970s saw the rampant use of “pigs” and the more polite “fuzz,” at least in my circles. Far older is that you didn’t trust the Revenuers.

        My point is while it’s bad and while it’s not going to vanish overnight, it waxes and wains. I don’t deny there are idjots who seem to want to stir up something to their own political ends, or are so incredibly clueless that they don’t realize what they’re doing. But, I’ve seen this die out before, and most likely it will again.

        What I’m trying to remember is why it died out. Why did the media stop pushing it? There was a push-back from the public, but there always is a push-back. So what changed? Anyone remember?

        1. I think part of it was media– something like Walker: Texas Ranger, for all the cheese and being…very of its time, also humanized both sides of the situation in ways folks often didn’t think about.

          I don’t watch much TV or movies, but isn’t the 80s or so when a ton of Buddy Cop movies started hitting the screen?

          1. I agree, tv shows probably help.

            Though my biggest beef with many of the current police procedurals on tv is that…8 times out of 10, the story-of-the-week seems to end with the police shooting the perpetrator dead instead of arresting them. Which, I think, builds a picture in people’s heads that does NOT help.

            (Rewatching Criminal Minds recently–which, admittedly, is straight up fantasy on SO many levels–I found myself thinking “You know, I can’t help but think that if any given agent shot THAT many people on such a regular basis, they would likely find themselves without a job…”

              1. Colorado Springs has its own true crime cop show: Joe Kenda, Homicide Hunter. It runs on ID Discovery. The episodes are based on cases that the guy and his team solved — something like 400 during his career.

                (And you know, I’m really disappointed that the Stargate writers never used this treasure trove of true-life murder stories for any ripped from the headline stuff. Some of these murderers should have been aliens!)

                Mostly, I like Kenda’s attitude. But occasionally, I’m dubious. They sorta give lip service to “lie detectors don’t prove anything,” but then they run lie detector tests all the time.

                1. For what it’s worth, according to the guys I listen to, it’s less because the lie detectors prove anything and more…dang it, was it a Father Brown or that middle ages monk where the detective-religious guy caught the bad guy because the BAD GUY believed it meant something?

                  Something like roosters will crow if touched by a thief, they put it under a pot and the bad guy didn’t touch the pot, so they caught him because his finger wasn’t black.

                  Oh, and they can tell you that someone is freaking out, which if you’re hiring someone can be all the info you need. Dont’ need someone who flips out in any direction on important topics.

                2. They never actually used Colorado Springs. Those of us who lived there at the time, almost broke ourselves laughing when Stargate showed “the slums of Colorado springs.” There really aren’t any, certainly not high rises.

                  1. Yup. Which was disappointing, again. I mean, you’ve got a setting, so why not use it? But then, why was that the only Air Force unit without any chaplains? Why didn’t they do the obvious military plots? (Why did they try to fight an interstellar war across several fronts without telling anyone?)

                    And yes, I am now jonesing for a Kenda/Stargate crossover. I’m afraid to look at the fanfic sites, but I want one soooo baaaad. And a filmed version, with Kenda and the reporter chick making retrospective comments… that would be awesome.

              2. Just picked up an episode of a Criminal Minds spin off called SWAT.

                At one point one of the leads is told point blank that his new boss was an affirmative action hire, and he has to prove that he can do the job now,. Later the guy is going into a dangerous (and improbable. One has to watch cop shows as alternative reality SF, but I digress) situation with a civilian, and, since she’s a Christian offers to pray with her. As they finish the Lord’s prayer, new boss comes in and adds “Amen”

                I may be watching more of this.

                Also, if cop shows do nothing else, they teach us to never, ever, ever, talk to the police (esp. the Feds) without politely insisting on one’s 6th amendment rights.

                1. Holy Crud: this exchange, summarized, from the same show:

                  “Thanks so much, copper!”
                  “Hey God loves you”
                  “Even with all my mistakes?”
                  “Yes, I’ll be praying for you.”

                  The theology in the whole scene is a bit weak sauce, but… hmmm.

                2. Not a spin off; the lead in SWAT ( Shemar Moore) was a secondary (sort of) lead in Criminal Minds, but different producers. The first listed producer, Shawn Ryan, includes The Shield and Angel in his prior credits list. Second named, executive producer Aaron Rahsaan Thomas, lists Sleepy Hollow and CSI: NY.

                  Actual series is a reboot of a Seventies show created by Robert Hamner, whose writing credits include ST:TOS episode “A Taste of Armageddon” and a variety of other shows, including The Time Tunnel, The Fugitive, The Wild Wild West, Lost in Space, Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea, Adam-12, Mod Squad,, The Rockford Files,, Emergency!, and MacGyver .

                  We’ve been pleasantly surprised and are moving (slowly) from “Well, this wasn’t a complete waste of time” to “I almost hope they get a second season.”

                3. Technically not a spinoff, just a new show with a favorite actor from the other series. If I weren’t burnt out on cop/fire/ER/law shows from my wife watching them ALL, I would probably like it.

                  As for the religious angle, I have seen more of that in the previous two years or so than for a long time.

          2. It started before then. I remember cops adopting “pigs” as Pride, Integrity, Guts in the 1970s toward the end of it. By then there seemed to be less animosity.

            There were positive cop shows prior to the 80s. Adam 12 is a golden oldie, and aired during the last rise of anti-cop feelings. Dragnet was even older. When Westerns lost popularity, you couldn’t flip a channel without finding a cop show.

            Just remembered the anti-cop feeling had lessened considerably by the time ABC aired S.W.A.T. The theme song of that show was very popular, which says much about improving feelings.

              1. I don’t remember. All of what I heard was tinged with “Back in the old days we never had to lock our doors” stories, and even where I grew up the Manson murders and the murder of String Bean shook people. But I have no hard data on the crime rate. That said, one of my grandfathers may have never locked his door, but slept with a shotgun beside his bed.

                Do remember considerable tension in the 1960s and reaction to the riots at the Democrat National Convention in 1968. But how much of that was based on hard realty, and how much was created by the media?

                1. Murder rates– it’s one of the justifications offered for abortion.

                  In the early 60s it was about at the rate it is right now, jumped up to about 10 per 100k for 1980, and has been going back down.

                  Incidentally, chart chosen mostly because it didn’t do what I consider mildly dishonest and start at an unusually low level– but it also has much different numbers for 1910 than I’ve seen elsewhere and the pre-40s stuff looks a bit higher than elsewhere, so salt may be required. In ten pound block form.

                  1. Have you ever seen the correlation charts for lead exposure when they started banning leaded gasoline? When you account for local variations of lead amounts in the soil etc., there’s a compelling case for a 20-25 year delay in a drop in crime rates when you’ve cut down the amount of lead people are exposed to in childhood.

                    Apparently there’s a lot of people who are apt to show criminal behavior with a bit of heavy metal brain damage.

                    1. Haven’t seen the charts, remember hearing about it– not sure how much I trust it, because of the “all else being equal” type comments that keep showing up– since I’ve been reading the Lord Peter short stories, the line about “the problem with a theory is that you tend to see what supports it.” I’d have to see someone do a decent Devil’s Advocate, actually looking at the specific sources etc.

                      For starters, I know that they were still selling leaded gas when I was a small kid because one uncle had a waiver for his ancient pickup– but there was also a drop in violent crime going on already.

                      However, it’s possible that they did a really good job of correcting for those kind of variables….

                      Here’s an article that has some of the names and numbers and such if anybody feels like fighting it.


                  2. I’ve seen similar charts, but with a small spike around the turn of the century, correlated with increased activity of the labor movement, a big spike correlated with the start of Prohibition, a big decrease correlated with the end of Prohibition, fairly level mid-century, then a big spike correlated with the start of the War on Drugs.

                    1. I would look *very* closely at those stats, because I know a couple of them, the change started before stuff either started or ended– BUT they’re +/- 5 years, so if you use the usual 10 year increments, it LOOKS like they’re correlated. (There might be secondary, contributing things that contributed/influenced both, but if someone feels the need to do a chart with slight of hand… I get suspicious. Suspicious-er.)
                      Sort of like how if you look at stats for weight and bad health that tracks when folks started being sick, they usually gained weight after that, but they keep acting like the fat caused the sick.

                  3. There’s a very basic problem with US vs. UK murder rates: we count and report crimes based on initial data. The Brits count and report crimes based on the outcome of the investigation and trial.

                    In the USA, if there’s a body on the ground and it’s not natural causes or suicide, we record it as a homicide.
                    In the UK, since 1967, homicide figures for England and Wales have been adjusted to exclude any cases which do not result in conviction… and when the killer is prosecuted, the murders get added to the year of conviction, not the year in which it happened.

                    1. *very* important note to make, sorry that I forgot to add it this time!

                      Somewhere I’ve got the link to the UK version of the DOJ explaining this.

                      I must admit, them reporting it as a MURDER rate with those qualifications is quite honest– I do not agree with the sub-jurisdictions caught reporting stuff as “assault” just because the victim wasn’t declared dead until they hit the hospital, but the general logic is sound. Just doesn’t go apples to apples!

                    2. It is important to factor in population differences as well. Even with its Empire heritage the population of the U.K. is far more homogeneous than that of the U.S.A. – and culture counts when it comes to murder rates. It isn’t merely that some cultures tolerate higher levels of violence, it is also that cultures rubbing up against one another tend to excite higher levels of violence.

    1. I’m in my 50’s, and have spent long periods,wandering around the less savory areas of assorted cities (comic collector from back before it was at all respectable). In my life I have met ONE cop (as opposed to rent-a-cop, rent-a-cops tend to be turds) who was anything other than fine….and the local cops despised him.

      That said, the over use of dynamic entry raids is a recipe for tragedy. What amazes me is not that so many die in those, but that so few do.

        1. I’ve known a few decent ones, but the majority of those were moonlighting real cops.

          In Cleveland, I had to deal,with representatives of the “Downtown Detective Agency”. It was known locally as the Clowntown Defective Agency.

      1. Down here, the response of the police to anyone who might be dangerous and is inside a building seems to be, “fall back and call SWAT.” Granted, I’m given to understand that the crimes that make the news are a fraction of what’s actually going on (apparently a lot of intra-community stuff among immigrants, gang-vs-gang, things that don’t get reported), but the image on TV is always militarized SWAT guys in black armor and armed to the teeth, like the Federal Security Police/military in Europe.

        Honestly, I would be really uncomfortable going to one of those guys to ask for help, just because of what they look like. Dumb? Yes. But “big guy in scary black armor with rifle and face shield over eyes” doesn’t communicate “I’m on your side.”

      2. Met more than one in my 51.5 years. Two in one day was not enjoyable.
        I was stopped three times by Jefferson Parish deputies that day, only the middle guy was polite.
        The first guy was an impolite jerk (when casting cleanliness aspersions, it helps to not have a bug crawling in and out of your mouth at the time), While cuffed and laying face down on the hood, the second officer showed up as back-up. “Dammit, uncuff him! He’s why we caught those two over by Shrewsbury” (he stopped me after a B&E call with “Black guy wearing a black shirt with yellow writing” I wasn’t black, and had a yellow shirt with black writing, but I was in the right area about the right time. As it was I saw one of the perps with a boom box crossing the tracks a minute before, and it seems when he called the guys over by there, the second perp with some other stolen goods had met back up with his partner, just in time for the squad cars to come around the corner. They recovered everything stolen) that last cop just came screaming up, ignored any answers to his rapid fire questions and cuffed me, emptied my pockets and screamed for back-up. I was apparently dangerous looking because I was on a bike and talking to a cat in the yard I was riding past.
        I hope I gave him the flu or whatever it was I was suffering from.

      3. I’ve met a few real winners in Cincinnati. There’s a type who thinks that their uniform gives them the right to look down and be abusive to people who give them an excuse to pull them over. I’m always polite, and most of the time, not had any trouble, but once in a while…

  5. Like a previous poster I also have mixed feelings about the police today. We raised our children, as we were raised, with the idea that if lost, confused, ask the local cop for help. Quite frankly we’re not making such suggestions to our granddaughter. I think just about everyone is aware folks have been arrested for allowing their children to play in their yard unsupervised or for allowing them to walk to school.

    Part of the problem is law enforcement but much of the trouble is the laws. The statement that everyone commits 3-4 felonies a day is pretty damn close to true.

    In this state, Alaska, for example the police can arrest and charge you with a DWI or DUI if you are mowing your lawn, on your own, not public property and you are drinking a beer. I do wonder if I were ever caught, charged and convicted of lawnmower DUI, if I’d be required to have a breathalyser installed on my John Deere.

    The civil forfeiture laws also tend to create distrust of the police.

    Right now I want to, and do support the police but I also want to, and do, stay absolutely as far the hell away from them as possible.

    1. Same here in Texas – we pretty much trust the local city police, but in some small towns in the boonies, it’s Katy bar the door; from busting innocent people (quite often minorities) to speed-traps, to civil forfeiture of cash from motorists passing through. I’d like very much to trust the cops, generally, but when you know how easily the authority can be abused …

      1. It’s a general assumption here that a small town will have a speed trap, as it’s seen as a way to increase government revenue. It’s not always true, but it’s prudent to assume it is.

        1. From having lived in a very small town that had Burning Man come through every summer when I was small– speed traps also lower the major accident rate.

          Some folks seem to think that if they can see the other end of town from where they are, they don’t really NEED to drop 30mph…..

          1. *Shudder* I just remembered folks’ reactions when I’d walk down the drive during the month around Burning Man– I didn’t really realize it because we moved when I was a young teen, but….well, the road is EXTREMELY straight. And you can’t really see the up and down variation, because it’s so incredibly straight until you reach the mountain-sides. It’s a 45mph zone, because there are farms, fields lined with trees, and ranches on all sides and you really *can’t* see as far as you think you can– but the out of town idiots would FLY down that road at 70+. You couldn’t even spot a tractor before you were on top of them, much less deal with things like deer, or cows, or…small children.

            1. Our town doesn’t seem to have an actual speed trap. (The place they catch most folk has ’35’ marked FOUR TIMES.) But they still get a lot of fools trying to tear through town. Not all of them Invincible Teens With Their First Car ™. During bad times, there’s typically one cop sitting near the gas station at one end of town, and another at the Catholic Church at the other end of town. Both Nice and prominent not trying to hide at all. It tends to make the speedsters a little cautious at least through town.

              We’ve had a few bad ones. A roll over to avoid a head-on with someone who wasn’t paying attention when passing was pretty mild. 90 in a 65 is not uncommon and neither is passing 2-6 cars at once typically at aforementioned speeds. I’ve revised my take on speed traps since living out here. As long as they’re not like one small town (bad enough that when the state re-did the road they routed around them since they wouldn’t comply with ‘enough with the stupid in your speed trap’ court orders. Take almost every bad TV ‘speed trap trope’ and this town tried to pull it… then invented more!) I’m good with them. There don’t seem to be a huge number out my way that are fund raisers.

                1. It is… though it may be a chicken-and-the-egg question. Do we go ‘oh… so THAT’S where hollywood got that idea from, I thought they made it up!’ or “Dude… imitating the badguys in movies is not generally a good thing.”

            2. Where I live, the morons wouldn’t change the speed limit in front of my house down from 55, even though we live between a blind hill on one side and a blind curve on the other (they finally did about 20 years ago). And then idiots would drive through there at 65, including the gravel trucks.

              I would have LOVED to see a cop car parked in our driveway once or twice a week until that stopped. I got to see a car do an air-born 230-degree (my estimate) spin across my driveway one morning because he came over the hill at 65, saw someone well across the line coming the other way, and found that the grass in our front yard was still wet enough with dew to be approximately as slick as Teflon, then met the tree next to the driveway ‘energetically’.

                1. Oh, it’s even better: I was (IIRC) 12, and home alone that day. Don’t remember if during a school break or if I was sick.

                  Somehow, the idiot and his little brother managed to not get seriously hurt, but even I sat on the couch and shivered for an hour or so afterwards.

              1. Not “illegal” just stupid drivers. We lived on a road that came off a ridge road into a cannon, that is fairly steep (FWIW, loop further down one side was worse and I am sure worse roads other places). The road split just below us into two roads that were on the side of the canyon. Learned real quick (thanks to boys, the great pumpkin, our first Halloween in the house) to hide the 4×4 in the garage and park the other vehicles on side of garage. The road curves as it comes down hill, then splits. Where it splits is the head of the canyon with large -ish trees (keeps vehicles from going all the way down). When it froze, which it did regularly, cars would slide down the road. Unless they were very good and experienced with that road, the bad results were sliding into the head of the canyon or into/across our driveway (straight shot), and usually an undercarriage damaging drop, if you did not hit the driveway correctly. We had the advantage that it was our driveway, so I parked at the top of the hill, and let hubby get the vehicle down and put away safely, if I was not home when everything froze (in 5 years, that was exactly twice). You can lookup the road, Canyonview in Longview, WA. Lot of damaged cars, and shaken up drivers, but no injuries; no way they could hit the house, but if we had kept our vehicles in the driveway there could have been, injuries. (Should have slide for the most part behind the vehicles, but why chance it?) As stated above great pumpkin gave us a hint of what was to come and a lesson to some kids: as in what happens when you roll a pumpkin down a road, the road turns, and physics means the pumpkin doesn’t – that very loud thump heard was the pumpkin you stole hitting someones car. Made an interesting insurance claim – “we were sideswiped by the great pumpkin”.

                1. Oh, my, that is a very….Washington sort of road.


                  Was your house the greenish one? There’s at least three corners there that are sharp enough that the COMPUTER can’t figure out how to click forward to advance– you’ve got to go to the bottom and move the map to “go along” the map.

                  1. Yellow one, or it was in 1989 when we sold it, looks white now. Northwest side of the road, second driveway; house on corner with the blocked “alley” and main road. When we were there there were only 2 addresses on “Canyonview”, before it split into E. and W. Canyonview; looks like there are 4 now.

                2. Being in rolling foothills, we have more than one place where the road is like that in this area. I even know of one place where the road comes down the hill and turns, but points right AT a house.

                  We’ve had enough fun right here, thank you. I mentioned gravel trucks above – I’m told that the guy who turned one over in our front yard had lots of fun cleaning it up. Then there’s the fact that the blind hill I mentioned also has a 20ft hill down from one side, and one guy rolled his 4×4 in our yard when he got over the edge before the yard came up to meet the road.

                  1. One of the places we looked at renting, I put down my foot and flatly refused to even go see. It was on a corner that would have been a 4 way intersection– but the 12’o’clock one had a gate across it, so when they paved the road they paved the 6 and the 9, and the 3 was slightly tilted leading into a housing area.

                    The first house was the one for rent.

                    In the next several years of him driving past that to work, there were maybe two months in the winter/rainy times when their fence *wasn’t* destroyed by a car, and the house itself was hit several times…..

    2. “The civil forfeiture laws also tend to create distrust of the police.”

      That one really gets me. A few years ago I had a friend lose a brand new car because her sister borrowed it and gave a ride to her new a-hole boyfriend. A local officer recognized him as a known druggie and pulled them over. Yep, dude had drugs on him. Later that evening, said cop shows up at friends house to gloat over taking her nice new car and admitted that he believed that she didn’t even know the guy (she hadn’t met him yet), let alone that he would be in her car. Which he said made the whole thing all the sweeter, then laughed, and drove away.

      1. What a truly…special human being. One can only hope that his fellows have twigged to how special he is, and reacted accordingly.
        Unfortunately, given that he thought he could get away with that, the organizational culture in that police department probably resembles that of a gang.

      2. That kind of story is why, if you live in a one-party consent state, it would be wise to keep an audio recorder in your pocket, and quietly flip it on any time you’re pulled over by the police. And if you live in a two-party consent state, well, you could do it anyway, and then if the stop goes bad, try out the “due process right to record the police” argument that Glenn Reynolds advocates.

        But if you’re in a sensible (i.e., one-party consent) state, ALWAYS record any interactions with authority figures, without their knowledge, if you have the slightest suspicion that they might abuse their authority.

        1. It’s also becoming more common to accept that a public official interacting with the public in an official capacity in a public venue, such as a cop dealing with a driver on a highway, doesn’t *have* any ‘expectation of privacy’.

          1. Good point. Though since some cops have been known to react badly to being filmed, I’d still recommend the approach of quietly flipping on the audio recorder as soon as you’re pulled over, while the police officer is still in his vehicle running your plates. That way you’ll capture every sound from the moment of the first interaction between you, and he won’t change his behavior for good or ill from knowing he’s being recorded by a second source. He already knows he’s being recorded by his dash cam, of course, but: 1) if he’s a bad cop then he might expect that he can manipulate that recording, whereas your recording is one he might not be too happy about since he can’t manipulate it, and 2) if he’s a good cop then knowing he’s being recorded by a second source won’t change his behavior, so it doesn’t benefit either you or him to tell him about it since that recording won’t end up being used.

  6. Two lanes over is interesting. In our region, it’s pull to the adjacent lane if possible. Otherwise, you’re supposed to slow to a safe speed and be prepared to stop. Having worked beside the road where they won’t pull over or slow down … things get interesting.

          1. That needs to be challenged by traffic engineers. I’m sure you can build a case proving that it’s more dangerous than “move over or slow down.”

            1. I’d say there are a lot of traffic rules that need to be challenged by traffic engineers. But said engineers probably need to be over the age of 50, because some of the things I see being done with new roads and parking lots makes me want to burn down schools of engineering.

    1. That’s the one I’m used to. One lane or slow down. What does suck is that cops vehicles will stop a lot less than any of ours. And a not insignificant Percentage of deaths are from oui or weather which laws won’t help. But there is definitely an overreaction that has permeated. Not new by any means but still there.

  7. I don’t like sheep dogs. I prefer the original peace officers — shepherds. Five seconds around any cop, and you can tell which you’re dealing with, and the latter’s a lot more fun for everybody, and gets my immediate support.

      1. This is also why I love Pterry’s take on police so much too: they’re NOT military, they are civilians, and their job is to protect the people and maintain the peace. Not dispense justice, not blindly follow orders from on high.

        I think there are an unfortunate number of cops that think cop = soldier, and everyone else = The Enemy. Not all cops, obviously, but even a few in every department is too many.

      2. > 1) The basic mission for which the police exist is to prevent crime and disorder.

        Nope, can’t do it. Man’s natural state is disorder and the best you can hope to do is reduce it.

        Preventing crime is, statistically, impossible without creating–literally–a police state. Do we have crime stats from East Germany, where one out of three people were informants?

        Do you want to live like that?

        The primary mission for which the police exist is to investigate crimes and to ensure that, to the best of their ability, the proper person is placed in front of a judge and jury.

        The other 8 are pretty much there, but police just *can’t* do #1. We won’t let them.

        1. The fact that a goal is impossible to achieve perfectly doesn’t mean that there’s no value in trying to achieve it. Even if a cop only succeeds in preventing crime and disorder in his immediate vicinity, a sufficient number of cops will create interlinking islands of order and civility.

          1. And raise the possible “cost” to illegal activity because you are never really sure where they’ll be.

            Similar to the way concealed carry and open carry work.

  8. About Kent State: it wasn’t until I read Michner’s book that I learned that the day before the Guard got,called in, the ‘protesters’ set fire to the ROTC building and then interfered with the firefighters on the scene.

    At that point, the authorities HAD to shut down that protest. Pedriod, dot. A building sized fire is not under anybody’s control. The protesters had introduced lethal force to the equation.

    Imthink (I don’t know) that the Guard was called in in the hope that the protesters would recognize that the Guard represented a massive change in the rules of engagement. Unhappily, they didn’t.

    If the authoritiesmhad used the Ohio State Police, the cops would have busted heads and probably killed a lot more than four people. The Ohio State Cops of that time were blue collar guys with limted sympathy for college punks. It would have been really ugly.

    1. That top part I knew. I was an exchange student in Ohio and Dan’s brother attended Kent state a few years after the riots. What I hadn’t suspected was “infiltrators not students” might have been responsible for the bullets that hit. I SUSPECTED it because in every incident of this kind a pregnant woman gets hit. Every one. So there has to be planning. BUT the recordings seem to back it up.

      1. I’ve seen photos of a protest where the masked anarchist was hiding behind a pregnant woman while shooting a “Wrist Rocket” slingshot at police.

      2. Niven’s second law in action: “Never stand next to someone throwing shit at the police.” (The first one is “don’t be that someone.”) /end paraphrase

        My preference is to stay away from violent protests, preferably out of tactical nuke range. I skipped going downtown to Chicago for the ’68 DNC convention, and managed to be on the other end of campus when a riot was thrown over the ’72 bombings in North Viet Nam.

        1. Something twigged me when I read this, the first time.

          The actual Niven quote is from “Nivens Laws”, which he put out in Analog, back when it was still publishing science fiction and other worthy things.

          The actual law is two part:

          1a) Never throw shit at an armed man.
          1b) Never stand next to someone who is throwing shit at an armed man.

          This covers a bit more ground, because it cautions you against not only throwing shit at authority figures, but people who are equipped and willing to use deadly force against anyone attacking them, which is a much more common-sense construction in my opinion…

  9. > I also once got taken out of a jury for pointing out — quoting PTerry — that all babies look like Sir Winston Churchill.

    Except Asian babies — sometimes they look like Mao Zedong.

    A friend’s baby was the spitting image of Mao, especially when he was wearing this little hat she used to put on him.

    Since she was Taiwanese, I kept this observation to myself.

    WRT cops: the idea that being a cop should somehow be made a risk-free job, even if that means that innocent people get shot, is very disturbing. If you’re looking for a risk-free job, you need to go into another line of work, homes. Your life is not more valuable than another person’s just because you’re wearing a uniform. Protecting the lives of others is your job. Yes, even if it means risking your own life. Don’t like that deal? Find another job.

    Personally, I’d like to see a “7-11 clerk” standard in this area. Convenience store clerks (also cab drivers, etc.) are murdered on the job at a rate much higher than cops. The key question here is “Would a 7-11 clerk be prosecuted for shooting a person in this situation?”

  10. I’ve heard that one quick way to determine your politics is to look at the headline “Police, Protesters Clash” and ask yourself whether your instinct is to side with the police or the protesters. My initial instinct is to side with the police, at least in the U.S. However, just because that’s my instinct doesn’t mean that I won’t change my mind when I here the details, and I think Sarah is right when she says that we’re getting a lot of cops doing there part to contribute to the “us v. them” divide that we’re seeing between law enforcement and the rest of us.

  11. I am one of those stupid libertarians who loathes the police – I know three other libertarians and all of us started down the freedom road because of our experiences as teenagers buying cannabis. How much trouble we could get into – many years of jail time – to buy drug that isn’t significantly worse than alcohol, that was an eye opener to many of us teenage potheads.

    I lived in England for a decade after university and their patrol police don’t carry guns, they are weapon free. I am deeply conflicted about police – whether they are positive or negative influence on society – so a good compromise would be to similar to England, no weapons for regular police.

    I can get a bit bolshie when I am confronted by Canadian police, it is fortunate for me that I don’t live in America where police can be trigger happy pillocks.

    1. Oh hell no.

      That would result in the only folks becoming cops are those who want the power to screw up the innocent. It is already normal enough for cops to get ambushed during traffic stops– traffic stops that are set up so the cop pulls over someone who was really guilty.

      It would make it so that “shoot the guy who caught you”– or just beat him to death– is a much better strategy, and would result in more good Samaritans dying because they’re aware the cops are unarmed, and have to be defended– so they’re doing the cops job, without his training, and without other cops being able to know they’re good guys.

    2. Question: would this mean that the police have less rights than non-police, in terms of going armed?

    3. Ethyl alcohol is wildly different at different levels of concentration in the brain. One end is no effect, the other end is dead. Dose makes the poison.

      Relating the dangers of the two requires defining dose size and timing. Plus consideration of other factors, some of which may be subjective.

      The chemicals in weed make users a mental health issue at certain concentrations, and can contribute to murderously stupid violent behavior. You having a criminal record for use potentially keeps you out of jobs where you could cause a great deal of harm by having long term impairments to your thinking from pot. Under the free range asylum method of treating substance abuse, no one is really equipped to keep the stupid bastards from killing themselves, or from getting themselves killed. Prison is a better standard of care. And when some murderously stupidly violent stoner gets killed, it is somehow on the cop?

      If we are stuck in such a no win situation, why not be hung for a sheep, and not just a lamp? With nationalized socialized medicine, why not shift pot smokers over to a Treblinka standard of care?

    4. It speaks volumes to your education and upbringing that you blame the police for enforcing the laws that the politicians your parents (and grandparents) put in place. Police *generally* have some…slack in enforcing some laws (not slack, but I can’t think of the word), but their priorities are set by the senior police officials and elected politicians.

      1. Bringing in a bunch of guys from Eastern Europe and handing them badges would be a great idea!

    5. Where I was raised, some would hotwire the police car for joy rides. Once some took exception to the town cop, beat him up, and threw him out at the city limits.I knew a local cop who was murdered in a hit, and there were two other straight-up assassinations of cops in that down. And we thought some places were worse than we were.

      Now imagine an unarmed cop in that town, and the places we considered worse.

      Before you say it’s all our guns, I know of a 19th Century incident where a couple of armed cops got in big trouble with a group armed with clubs and straight razors. Maybe we’re just mean as H*ll over here. Don’t know.

      I do know an unarmed cop is at a distinct, life threatening, disadvantage here. That some can get by unarmed over there says a great deal about your populace (see beat up and thrown out at the city limits, assassinations, and the clubs and straight razors mentioned above). Carrying a whistle and shouting “Halt or I’ll toot” doesn’t cut it over here.

      1. Victorian English law and order rested on hanging the heck out of people, and hanging them especially for having a gun on them during commission of a crime. The incentive was for criminals to use other kinds of weapons, but even more to be nonviolent in the commission of crimes. Hence the stories about polite, calm old criminals.

        The incentive system changed, so the younger criminals did too. There’s no real death-based disadvantage to carrying a gun if you’re already committing crimes, so why shouldn’t English criminals carry?

        Meanwhile, the incentives also changed for home defense and self-defense — ie, you can’t really do it. So again, why shouldn’t English criminals invade homes or hurt people?

        1. A lot of commonwealth countries don’t have a “castle doctrine” for home defense. Often here in Canada if you defend yourself and inflict injury on the attacker, there’s a good chance you will be charged as well. If you happen to use a firearm, you WILL be charged, you will spend the night in jail, and all your firearms will be confiscated. Doesn’t matter the circumstances on single bit.

            1. Yes.

              No, seriously, you’re not supposed to resist. Because if you don’t fight them, they won’t hurt you.

              Bad guys never want pain, after all.

              And, frankly, you don’t have a right to defend yourself.

              ….have I mentioned how much I owe my ancestors, that decided to GTFO?

            2. Sadly, yes. Look at the UK where you can’t even put up deterents to keep people and squatters out of your backyard. Australia where they talked the populace into giving up there fire arms. Canada has some really anti-firearm police chiefs and the RCMP in one case walked into homes abandoned during a flood situation and outright confiscated owners firearms.

    6. I’m in favor of more de-escalation training for police. (When you look at the numbers, the US is very low in training hours across various disciplines.) But definitely not disarming them. And I also wouldn’t mind a bit more of a database available to departments, letting them know if an officer who was let go was acting in bad faith or not. But training is the best way to go.

      1. Training can’t cover every situation that a cop might be in.

        Elsewhere somebody is talking about “writing new rules” for cops to follow but the person can’t imagine that cops might be in situations that the “rules” don’t cover.

        What happens when the “shit hits the fan” and the “book” doesn’t cover the situation? 😦

          1. Unfortunately, some people seem to believe that you can completely avoid “incidents”. 😦

              1. *shudder*
                Washington State is shoveling money into “zero fatalities” on the road.


                And my brother can’t figure out why that horrifies me, because gosh they’re trying for something, aren’t they? Who cares it’s not possible because sometimes people just drop dead in a car, it’s a GOAL.
                (His’ stationed in Washington, first time he’s lived there in a decade and a half, so has missed some of the ways it is different than the late 90s when we were kids, in rural Washington. I think he’s starting to figure out why it fussed me….)

                1. Oh lordy. And a friend of mine is dealing with her mother still being in intensive care from an accident prior to Christmas—the airbags didn’t deploy, and there’s a possibility that the car manufacturer shares partial fault for a recall issue. Not her fault, but what the hell? Could you predict a possible way to make weather conditions, roadways, mechanical failure, and driver error NOT figure in without taking everyone off the road entirely?

  12. “all babies look like Sir Winston Churchill.”

    I’ve been saying for years that all babies look like Lou Grant. Yep, it’s gotten me some good laughs sometimes, and into trouble some other times. Who cares, I think it’s hilarious. Lately though, I usually only get blank looks… It sucks getting old. LOL!

    1. My youngest looked like Sir Winston, after he had his cigar taken from him for an official photo. Pissed off and grumpy. I miss the little guy; he’d be talking now, and oh, it would have been entertaining to raise a little Alarak (High Lord of the Tal’Darim, by the rite of Rak’shir)… (sorry I’ll stop StarCraft nerding it out now.)

  13. Under the current paradigm, I think our system of policing is kissing goodbye to its “Mandate of Heaven”. Civil forfeitures, high-handedness in dealing with the innocent public, and not least, that asinine concept of “sovereign immunity” that leaves obvious cases of misconduct unpunished.

    I keep telling my cop friends, and I have a few, that they only operate the way they are due to the consent and trust of the community, and once they’ve convinced the rest of the community that they’re not worthy of that trust…? Guess what: We’ll do policing differently, and all you idiots are going to be out of jobs.

    You’ll start seeing the first signs of a paradigm shift when they can’t get convictions based on police testimony, and when juries refuse to convict cop-killers. Shortly after that, we’re going to have to figure out some other means of doing this function in society, and I’ll be damned if I know what it will look like.

    No trend line goes out to infinity, and things intervene to deflect those lines, but I see some major problems for those engaged in police and justice work, the way things are going. The recent policy change by DOJ over the marijuana laws is an example of the institution being behind the times with where the public is at. At this point, folks, like it or not, we’ve done held that-there plebiscite, and the American public has come down on the side of access to their recreational drugs. The guys like Sessions up in DOJ who are trying to turn back the tide? Ain’t going to work; the fact that he’s got a bunch of his money invested in private prisons and so forth…? LOL… Even if the man is pure as the driven snow, he looks bad doing this.

    It’s going to be a mess. A big one, and I think it would be wise to keep yourself out of the crossfire between these idiots while it sorts itself out. My guess is that unless these trends damp out, we’re going to see major societal change within the next few generations, and I don’t know where the hell that goes, at all.

    1. Conversely, maybe we end up with a groundswell of public support for cops flat out summarily executing druggies.

      Really hard to call, and a lot of unpleasant possibilities.

      1. To do that we’d have to trust the police to be honest and accurate about the druggies.


        Which is what Kirk is talking about.

        We don’t *trust* them now. And the closer you’ve lived to a really poor community the less you trust them because the more you’ve seen them “adjust” the evidence, or just flat out abuse the f*k out of someone.

        Part of while I’ll never live in Chicago again. If I were on a jury there I’d flat out not believe anything a cop had to say. If he said it was a dark and rainy night I’d check the time and the weather report for that day.

        1. The entirely sound reasons to not to grant the police such a power are the only reason I did not long ago start advocating such.

          Flip side of that, when someone winds up dead with drugs in their system, we also have no particular reason to be trust they are innocent. There have been so many fraudulent claims of innocent, that it is almost enough to make one want to flip the burden of proof.

          There are undoubtedly people who would fabricate blood tox screens for autopsies, but so few seem to care about those that I am inclined to doubt many bother.

        1. Apparently though, it’s working.

          I’ll have to ask my mom though if the police are more trusted now. I got the impression that there was an improvement of trust – in that they would be trusted to actually uphold the law enforcement, and not be bribed by rich criminals.

          You have to understand though; the drug crime that was getting rife there is far, far beyond anything folks here can imagine. One of the side effects of the most prevalent drug is a nigh-uncontrollable need for sex. There have been lots of elderly, children and infants brutally raped (and the youngest children tend to die horribly from said rapes) that it was epidemic even before I left the country, and only got worse from there under NoyNoy Aquino. (One of the other ones is psychotic breaks, and there have been a number of massacres and murders – so many that I don’t think they’d even merit more than a brief mention on local radio. Forget it even getting to international news.)

          1. That doesn’t at all sound unimaginable. Is that happening everywhere? No. Is it happening nowhere? Answer murky, try again later.

            America is not at all uniform across the whole population.

            We have wide variations, and it is impossible to be absolutely certain of what is happening in every nook and cranny. Add to that the range of speculation permitted by the rampant dishonesty of the media… There are definitely some heinous drug fueled sex offenders, and there are definitely areas from which all sorts of rumors arise.

            Texas split off from Mexico during a Mexican civil war due to the tyranny of the Mexican central government. We have memories, the cartels are unpleasant, and the coyotes commit a lot of rape and murder. We aren’t confident we know every that is happening within our territory.

            What could result? All sorts of unpleasant possibilities which we can hope to avoid.

            1. “America is not at all uniform across the whole population.”

              As mentioned above, Chicago (rightly) has a low trust of its police population. Contrast that with areas of Utah, where the police have voluntarily taken a lot more training in de-escalation and conflict reduction, and have not had a judicial shooting in more than a year. People there trust the police—and would probably get one heck of a shock moving to Chicago.

              1. “As mentioned above, Chicago (rightly) has a low trust of its police population.”

                And Chicago’s police population (rightly) returns the feeling. For example, there was much outcry demanding bodycams to catch those villainous pigs in the act of brutalizing those poor innocent lambs for no reason whatsoever.

                At least until the unedited video showed not only the cops not brutalizing, but cops being assaulted by the lambs, and all the rest of the flock present. Not to mention unimpeachable video evidence of the crimes going on when the cops rolled up.

                Now, the same “activists” who demanded the cameras are demanding that they go away, because they are making it hard to assert there wasn’t any reason for the cops to react. Funny how that works.

          2. Sometimes you’ve got no alternative between criminal chaos and letting Draco rule. The trick is to be able to step back when such times are ended.

            1. Despite the screeching of the rabid left that already has infested Philippine institutions, Duterte hasn’t imposed general martial law across the nation (Only in limited form in certain areas where it was warranted, such as that place with the Islamic warlords, and threatened to do so only if Islamic terrorism did run rampant in the rest of the nation.)

              He also hasn’t, despite the predictions, tried to change the 1986 Philippine constitution (usually screeching that he would remove term limitations), and it’s a rather flawed thing that could use some fixing.

              The truth is, we could really benefit from some real fixing – which would only happen under Duterte or other similar strong candidates. The Philippines has not been stable for a long while, and needs stability, which is only now being felt again.

      2. If the Philippine Solution ever comes to America, I give it about a day before the cops implementing it get murdered by the mob. And, I kinda suspect they all know that–The marijuana culture is too prevalent, too embedded, and most of the populace sees it as essentially a harmless activity. You go summarily executing Uncle Steve ‘cos he’s got some dope in his car during a traffic stop, that ain’t gonna fly. We all know users, and some of them are friends and family.

        Personally, I don’t partake, or particularly approve. But, the fact is, a bunch of people are self-medicating with this crap, and it appears to work for them, so… They’re not gonna give it up. Would the issues be more appropriately dealt with via formal medical channels? Maybe. Don’t know, won’t judge–There are people I know who would be borderline dysfunctional without their stuff, and who manage to make a contribution to society even while using the “evil herb”.

        Given all that, the solution embraced by Duterte ain’t going to fly in the US of A. You’ll see cops murdered in their homes, along with their families and pets, were they to even try.

        Drugs are something most organisms seem to have an innate drive for, in order to address biochemical and bioneural issues. You see elephants in the jungle protecting fruit trees, in order to let the fruit ferment, so they can eat them and get drunk, while dolphins apparently like to lick poisonous puffer-fish in order to get high. Embrace the facts of life, do what you can to ameliorate the negative side effects, and move on to something you can affect, I say.

        1. Vigilante death squads in a civil war.

          Conversely, we have millions, maybe tens of millions, who carelessly dose themselves with something that can cause states of dangerous madness. Who seem to feel entitled to wander around in states where they are a danger to themselves and others, expecting a free hand to beat whomever impedes their casual thievery.

          That could as easily undermine the consensus that underlies our uneasy peace, and go in the other direction.

          There is no obvious good way of handling this. Recent elections do not constitute so obvious a majority consensus on legalization that that is a simple and easy fix. There certainly isn’t the political will or support for my preferred “kill ’em all” solutions, and if there was the political will, that will could gently and personally address things by pressuring the persuadable to quit.

          1. we have millions, maybe tens of millions, who carelessly dose themselves with something that can cause states of dangerous madness . . .i>

            Yeah, alcohol can be a real pain to the body public.

            Dude, I think you’ve watched Reefer Madness too many times.

            1. Michael Brown? Possibly Trayvon Martin?

              If you wanted to remain convincing arguing harmlessness at all doses for every subject, you should not have let psychiatric efficacy be demonstrated.

              At this point in time, at the very least, there is evidence of potential slight impairments that can be lethal under the right circumstances. Like operating heavy machinery.

              Trump happened because the media’s systemic dishonesty caught up with it, in part. Future media dishonesty may yet catch up.

              1. Okay. Never claimed “harmlessness at all doses for every subject”. And yeah, operating heavy machinery while impaired *by any mind altering substance* is stupid and dangerous.. I don’t even deny that MJ may *contribute*, if combined with other substances (PCP, T. Martin’s Skittles, Arizona watermelon juice & OTC cold medicine ‘cocktail’) to aggressive or violent behavior. I’m just saying that you wanting to bust a cap into my next-door neighbor because he unwinds on Friday night with a doobie is a little over the top.

                1. Selective breeding means that a volume or mass unit of weed could contain wildly different dosages of active ingredients. What does your neighbor weigh, what sort of potential psychiatric issues do they have, do they have a preexisting history of violent behavior, if it causes them brain lesions are they going to ever be voting again….

                  If you can show that no pot smoker will ever have an influence on my life that is altered by their usage, or that they will never be involved in violence that could change the balance of power in the US, then maybe I would concede that I’m a bit out of bounds. But Obama was elected President, so you can’t. Live and let live is more convincing if I could be persuaded that I would be left alone.

                  1. I have to say that I find your attitude disturbing. Do you intend to extend this preventative principle of yours to other things…?

                    After all, if you insist on preventative summary execution for those who might harm you through their use of mind-altering substances, why should we restrict ourselves to just drug use? That kid, down the street, who drives (in your opinion) too fast and too recklessly? Why, he might hit you with his car. Best to spread-eagle him on the hood, and put a bullet into the back of his head. After all, it is the only way to be sure, really sure… Isn’t it?

                    Not saying I’d be the one doing it, but I’m pretty sure that if you ever tried putting your ideas into effect, a small deputation of your neighbors will likely show up, and they are going to have some “preventative measures” of their own in mind. You and yours will be lucky if they simply kill you.

                    Another question comes to mind… Just who the hell do you think is going to do all this mass slaughter of summarily executing all these nasty subhuman drug users? Are you up for it? Or, are you like so many other arm-chair theorists, and reluctant to actually get your own hands bloody? Are you ballsy enough to look someone’s kids in the eye, while you put a bullet into their parent’s head?

                    You may one day find yourself in a position to give such draconian orders. You will no doubt find yourself shocked, dismayed, and surprised when the man you give the order to instead turns his weapon on you, rather than carry out your immorality. Or, so the rest us may hope…

                    1. You started speculating about a civil war occuring, with the general population backing a certain side.

                      I have, I hope, shown how that side can be seen as having started the violence. If the general population, for that reason, ends up opposing that side, it could happen as I have said.

                      To reiterate. Coffee drinkers generally don’t go out to commit theft and robbery when they want more Keurig cups. I’ve listed two incidents where that may have been the case with pot. Meth and PCP related violence probably does not need citation. In those two incidents, the media under reported the drug related angle. (You can see the Brown, and I think the Martin blood tox reports on legalinsurrection.) In those two cases, they were championed by a rather vile human being who had been a heavy pot smoker in high school. The media’s sex abuse problem very likely has some overlap with abuse of illegal drugs. In these actions can be seen case that druggies have in concert effectively launched attacks on the non drug using population.

                      Add to that Obama’s PPACA raising costs on everyone to fund some futile and pointless drug rehab programs, and I’m almost seeing causus belli.

                      Is the general population likely to see it that way? They are more likely to see it your way than mine. But I will not give up hope of convincing them.

                      That said, it’d probably be better to work out some additional evil compromise and kick the can down the road some years.

                  2. Or to put it another way: Someone is having wrongfun, I disagree with wrongfun and it must be stopped.

                    1. Nationalized socialized medicine means we all have to pay the bill.

                      PCP is a dissociative analgesic, which means if you are out walking the streets high, you can stub your toe and bleed out before realizing that anything has happened. The media will cheerfully report it as evil racist society’s fault, and then we have a riot.

                      The street is a poor substitute for a psychiatric hospital, which perhaps could let someone go on trips, and keep them from hurting others without killing them. Politically, nobody can deliver freedom from the liability we are being forced to assume for these suicidal nutjobs.

                      If you can somehow deliver some comprehensive legislative changes, including such things as medical treatment and wrongful deaths, and make them hold up in court, then maybe I’ll retract my words.

              2. With regards to the Michael Brown and Trayvon Martin cases, I think you are massively confused as to correlation and causation. Both of those idiots were where they were, doing what they were doing, primarily because of their culture and upbringing. As I remember it, neither one had significant amounts of THC in their systems when the autopsy tox screens came back.

                I really don’t think the whole “kill ’em all, and let God sort them out” sort of thing is at all sane, or even moral. Drug users come in all varieties, and the question of just who is going to sit in judgment over whom is one I don’t see you answering. Today, the “evil drug” of choice is THC; shall we stand by, drinking our coffee and “having a drink” of our favorite booze, whilst our neighbors who smoke cannabis are rousted out of their homes, handcuffed, and then executed? How long before the consensus is that alcohol, caffeine, or aspirin is deemed “dangerous and illegal”?

                Give the control-freaks an inch, and they’ll take a mile. The stuff never should have been made illegal, and we’re still suffering the side-effects of the nattering nannies who convinced everyone that controlling this crap was even possible. I just feel sorry for the people whose lives have been ruined, down the years. You don’t have an “illegal drug” problem if the drugs are legal; you have a relatively minor health care issue.

                1. My recollection is that both had fairly significant amounts in their tox screens. That is why I picked those names. I think I cultural tendency to use the weed may be possibly involved in the behavior observed from those cultures.

                  My suspicions about the effects may be entirely mistaken. I have known issues estimating the level of function that constitutes normal, and my gut instinct about what pot does would be less reliable than that.

                  1. I don’t have personal knowledge of the drug, never having tried it. But, since the legalization here in Washington state, I’ve been somewhat shocked at the number of people I knew who were using the stuff, and who came out into the open after they legalized it. My conclusion? Most of what we’ve been told about the inimical effects of the drug is most likely purest bullshit.

                    From there, I extrapolate that the dire predictions about all the other illegal drugs they’ve tried “controlling” using these methodologies are similar, in that the attempt to “control” their use and misuse is far more dangerous to our civil liberties than the relatively minor public health problem they would pose if they were fully and comprehensively legalized. Sure, there are going to be those who will use to excess, and likely harm themselves in the course of things, but those are people who would likely self-destruct anyway. My right to live free of the fear that the cops are going to knock down my door in a no-knock raid, versus their free choice to take known dangerous drugs of their own free will…?

                    Yeah, I’ll sign up for putting hot and cold running meth pipes into the local needle parks, and help pay for the pauper’s funerals.

                    1. Yeah, that sounds nice, except that we would not be permitted to just live in peace. Not only are we forbidden from doing anything that could stop the bastards from offing themselves, but we are held liable for it when they do die.

                  1. Interesting. I either missed that, or forgot about it.

                    I do rather suspect that the drug use was more of a symptom than a proximate cause, however, and while it probably affected his judgment to some degree, the fact is that what put him there that day and got him shot had roots in an abundance of other causes.

                    1. Might’ve been one of the other events– I was pretty sure that Brown was high, because the assault on that little shopkeeper was to get the cute little cigar things mostly used to make joints.

                      One presumes that the pot had some effect, or he would have been dead before this from playing in traffic.

                      The most common result I’ve seen of pot use is that it gives people really horrifically bad tempers/hair triggers, although that seems to vary by person. If you didn’t know them before, the change might not be visible.
                      The first time I noticed it was from people acting like I’d insulted their mother when I shared information they did not care for, even though they’d take great joy in the most malicious attempts at doing the same to others.

                    2. Brown can be assumed to have been going on a supply run in preparation to consume more weed.

                      Martin was quite possibly likewise on a supply run, and perhaps had hidden his weed before assaulting Zimmermann.

                2. Martin was trace amounts– about a third of the “drunk” level– and given the home problems, much better option for picking “culture” as the biggest problem.

                  Not that they really contradict, when there’s a culture of drug abuse.

                3. Someone (At Classical Values, I think) once remarked in the comments about legalizing drugs – that society has a choice: either a law enforcement problem, or a public health problem. Either, or – no other option.

            2. It’s been repeatedly well-established, including by people who were expecting the exact opposite result– I believe the first time I saw the massive flipout from the simple correlation between imbibing a known psychotic agent and psychotic breaks was some European health system which was tracking school kids.

              Here’s one:

              1. Lots of ‘may’s and ‘could be’s there. From the article: “this study cannot prove that cannabis is a cause of psychosis or mental illness”. As we all are aware, correlation is not causation, and it may be as valid to claim that persons susceptible to psychosis are at a greater risk of abuse of marijuana as to claim that marijuana use causes psychosis.

                1. Considering that proving cannabis causes a psychotic break would require inducing a psychotic break in a large number of human beings, we are all aware they cannot prove it to a scientific standard.

                2. Also, rather more immediately relevant, there’s the already well established fact that THC induces acute psychotic effects.

                  The question has been why it didn’t send everybody off their rocker.

                  Turns out that pot has another compound that is being studied as an anti-psychotic.


                  Of course, when the THC level goes up, other stuff tends to go down…..

                  1. THAT is the one they’d really like to move down to the lowest step, from memory– been trying to find the dang articles for a while, it’s looking like a rather effective anti-psychotic with fewer side-effects.

        2. Duterte’s solution would not work in America.

          You wouldn’t want America to reach the nadir that the Philippines had to reach for that solution to be necessary, and indeed, supported enough to implement.

          Consider too that Duterte’s mayorship of Davao lead Davao to be one of the lowest crime cities in the area. Draconian, yes – but apparently the law abiding people there had no problems with it, and hadn’t problems with the police or the rumored vigilantes. From accounts that I’ve heard, they were quite happy to have such a diligent police force.

          But no, it would not work in America, or Australia, and it should never be necessary to have it there.

          1. Solutions like the one that Duterte used really only work in a limited population group. You have to have a group of people that trusts each other to not let things get out of hand, and to know when it needs to stop. In my experience, a city (and even a lot of those are too big) is the largest geographical unit that could successfully try something like that.

        3. “But, the fact is, a bunch of people are self-medicating with this crap, and it appears to work for them, so… They’re not gonna give it up.”

          With legalization there has also come a lot of standardization of dosing, too. Smoking is the least accurate, of course, but I know from folk who do use medical marijuana that they have alternate delivery forms, including oils of known dosage levels, some of them very, very low. One uses a “breath spray” for chronic anxiety, and she said she knew it was working when she had an anxiety attack and realized that it suddenly wasn’t her default state. And CBD oil—legally hemp, and thus not under MJ laws, though you can build up detectable levels of THC in your fatty tissues and trip a drug test—is a marvelous thing for neuropathic pain. You know, the stuff they keep prescribing opiates for and which opiates are really not effective treating.

    2. The DOJ policy shift is part & parcel of the conservative renaissance in Washington. Congress can take marijuana off schedule 1 anytime they want to. It would be a bipartisan win. But until they do, the DOJ should enforce the law in the cases that justify spending their limited resources.
      Just like Trump refused to pay out money to the insurance companies that Congress had not appropriated, and is giving Congress a limited time to deal with Obama’s illegal DACA fallout before enforcing the law, the administration is forcing Congress to step up and do its job.
      It may be inconvenient right now for the marijuana business but the only way to restore rule of law instead of Executive fiat is enforce the law until Congress acts.
      n.b. I support Federal legalization of all drugs. Drug prohibition is not within the powers the Constitution delegated to the Federal Govt. The states that wish to keep prohibition can enforce it themselves.

      1. From the guys I’ve spoken to, they’d be happy to have pot at schedule 2, and the stuff that you can get from pot but you can also get from hemp just fine, down at schedule 3.

        But it’s not up to them, it’s just the policy they’re required to follow.

        1. IMO the Feds should, at least for a while, remove it from the schedule altogether, make it a lower level felony to transport it across state lines, and then let the states regulate it as they wish.

          IMO this is more or less what the feds should do for a LOT of things.

          1. Let’s revisit why marijuana is illegal. (No, it has nothing to do with BigPharma®.)

            It’s 1933 and Prohibition has just been repealed. It’s also the start of the Great Depression. The end of Prohibition is going to put a lot of Revenue Agents out of a job and onto the breadlines. What if we can find something else for them to regulate? Enter the illegalization of marijuana (and cocaine, which during the 20s you could get from your pharmacist without a prescription).

            Things were relatively quiet on this front until Nixon needed to appear tough on crime, and started the War on Drugs™. Which is currently doing what Prohibition did with alcohol: create a thriving black market while funding organized crime.

            1. create a thriving black market while funding organized crime.

              The effect in the Philippines is manyfold. The drugs didn’t just fund organized crime, it funded terrorist groups and separatist groups like the NPA (which have already joined forces with the Abu Sayyf and whatever is the latest incarnation of the MLF/MILF/BIFF.) Some of the response that I’ve seen compares Duterte’s policies to being akin to very aggressive cancer treatment – horrible, but necessary. Ignore the International news and NGOs; they are the sorts that handwring about whether or not refugees get proper Halal meals in the face of fleeing horrible natural disasters and war.

              1. I would proposed that there is very little difference between organized crime and terrorist organizations, except that the organized crime group’s motive is profit, and the terrorist group’s motive is political. It’s the creation of a black market for whatever they’re black marketing that allows them to fund their activities.

                1. In the case of the Philippines, there really is not much difference as the associations blur and the Abu Sayyff’s end goal was never really purely political but also holding people for ransom money for self funding. They are bandits and criminals, and the political claims ‘cloak’ their actions with their twisted form of nobility.

                2. Sort of true, but functionally not very useful– if there’s no types of substances that can be trafficked, they’ll go further into their standards of other people’s stuff, and other people, and violence.

                  There is always a demand for what you aren’t allowed to have, even if what you’re not allowed to have is, oh, that guy’s young daughter. Or the ability to kill your enemies. Or “just” stuff you can’t afford, legally.

                  1. Look at the states that have legalized marijuana. Now they want to tax it and license the vendors. People are starting to realize that they’re going to have to pay a lot of money for it. And that promptly opens the door to black market vendors who ignore the taxes and licensing.

                    And it’s not just marijuana. The arrest that caused Eric Garner’s death happened because he was selling cigarettes that hadn’t been properly taxed by New York.

                    1. Which would actually be an argument that the taxes on cigarettes are set too damn high…

                      Now, if they were actually doing an accounting of what cigarettes cost the rest of us in terms of social, medical, and other expenses…? Using that to set the taxes, and only using the money to offset the expense that tobacco use created? Yeah; at that point, I’d be like “Uhm… You don’t want to pay for all that extra BS, like lung cancer treatment? Sure, you need your ass beat by the police…”.

                      However, so long as the politicians are treating the taxes accrued from tobacco use as free money, and directing them elsewhere in the budget? Screw that; I’m with the guy selling loosies. And, I don’t even smoke.

                      Taxes on specific parts of the population ought to be limited to defraying things peculiar to that specific thing; you want to drive a car? Fine; pay for the roads through a gas tax. Don’t take that money and use it as a slush fund. You want a slush fund? Put that crap in the official budget, and take it out of the general revenue. Redirecting specified taxes to other purposes is a scam, and ought to be illegal. Of course, them’s what do it are them’s who make the rules, so… I guess this is an issue that will always be with us.

                    2. Which would actually be an argument that the taxes on cigarettes are set too damn high…

                      For that to work, you’d have to apply the philosophy over-all– which would mean that the victim of theft are responsible for the thief wanting the thing they stole. Hey, it’s easier to take from the weak than to work for it yourself….

                      He was willing to break the law to make a profit, and do so in such a notorious way as standing right in front of a place that was following the law, and further decided that his profiting from illegal actions was worth defending with violence.

                      There’s room to argue that the taxes are too high, but going off of people breaking the law for profit is really not the route you want to go for it.

                    3. Garner was *alleged* to be selling insufficiently-taxed cigarettes. Since the man wasn’t able to have his day in court, it’s likely we’ll never know for sure.

                    4. “Redirecting specified taxes to other purposes is a scam”

                      Remember that money is fungible, so they get the same effect if they no longer pay from general revenue.

                    5. “Now, if they were actually doing an accounting of what cigarettes cost the rest of us in terms of social, medical, and other expenses…? ”

                      Actually, Kirk, that information was compiled for the tobacco lawsuits…. and promptly excluded from the trial because what it showed is that even with the medical costs beforehand, the early deaths were saving the government pension / medical plans money because they didn’t live to collect them all.

                  2. The demand curves for illegal activities/products are independent. Nobody’s going to say “Gee, now that marijuana is legal I’m going to have to start buying slaves to feed my desire to break laws.” People smoke pot because they want to smoke pot, making it legal isn’t going to change that (though it will lead to some people starting to smoke because the only reason they hadn’t started was because it was illegal). People buy hitmen because they want someone dead, not because they want to commit a crime. Even the argument that marijuana smugglers will look to other illegal activities, thereby lowering the costs of those substitute activities, is weak. Smuggling people is different than smuggling bales of vegetable matter, and both are fundamentally different from tracking down and killing someone.

                    1. Even the argument that marijuana smugglers will look to other illegal activities, thereby lowering the costs of those substitute activities, is weak.

                      You might want to try explaining that to the cartels, gangs and various thug-packs, because apparently they didn’t get the news.

                      There’s a reason that when you look at most of the “pot charges,” it’s a plea-bargain down from a long list of other illegal activities.

                      The direct physical aspect of smuggling pot, smuggling stolen goods and smuggling people are different– they all three require the same support framework, and require deciding that you will defend your illegal activity from those who object, be it police, the person whose property you took, or the person you’re smuggling. That normalizes violence, and that rather naturally branches out into another product to offer.

                    2. As you point out, the cartels are already doing these things so why would we want to make their marijuana trade more profitable by making it illegal? Not all the marijuana is being produced and trafficked by the cartels, so legalization would result in a net decrease in crime.

                    3. Objective observation in Washington suggests that theory is incorrect. Cartel activity has not gone down, at all; rather the opposite.

                    4. Actually, National Geographic’s Drugs, Inc. (which features a lot of masked interviews with drug cartel guys, and no I don’t know why they would want to be on TV) had a lot of Colorado drug kingpins saying that, since marijuana had become semi-legal, they had changed their business over to pushing other drugs on their regular customers who used to buy marijuana. Hence the move to heroin, and to heroin mixes with other drugs. Hence “the opioid epidemic.”

                      So obviously some people are either really susceptible to sales pitches, or they really do want their drugs illegal and expensive.

                    5. As much as I think they over-sell it, those horrible PSAs with real addicts talking about how they’re going for a “stronger hit” and that’s why they went from raiding granny’s medicine chest to heroin do have an observable basis in fact.

                      Heck, you can trace it in basically safe stuff, like coffee, and that even has a detox rate that goes against needing an ever higher hit. (I know that I can detox in less than a week– first day has minor headaches, after that I’m fine other than a tendency to want more snacks, and I can get the jitters from my “normal” amount if I go cold for a week and a day.)

                      Alcohol and alcoholics, too, although barring a physical vulnerability, giving up alcohol for Lent or something can turn you into a feather-weight for a while.

                    6. @ Foxfier…

                      Sooooo… Here would be the question: What separates those folks who use drugs (any, ranging from caffeine to heroin) and do not manage to get on the escalation trail to higher and higher doses of stronger and stronger stuff, versus those who do?

                      I’ve been prescribed narcotics on couple of occasions for chronic pain after major injuries. I could have easily allowed myself to become psychologically and physically addicted to the damn things, what with the fairly casual approach the doctors took at the time to prescribing them to me. Did I? No, because as soon as I noticed that I was becoming accustomed to the effects, I tapered off the damn things as quickly as I could, not wanting to become slave to a chemical.

                      I’m gonna throw out there that there is, in the end, a choice, and the people who make the choice to become addicts do so knowingly. Either that, or they’re so weak-minded as to be barely human in the first damn place, and deserve their self-inflicted hells. You do not become a victim without first consenting to this kind of crap–I’ve got a good friend who was an IED victim, and he was using an amount of narcotics that frankly blew my mind, due to the damage to one of his legs. The decision was made that they couldn’t save it, amputated, and then he was off the narcotics inside of a couple of months.

                      The people who are prone to addiction are going to get addicted to something, no matter what the hell you try to do about it. It’s an ugly, unpleasant fact of life, especially when you watch it play out in your immediate family, but there’s not a damn thing you can do as an outsider to fix that problem. Alcoholics are still gonna alcohol, and there’s no amount of remonstration that’s gonna affect the issue, until that person reaches a point within themselves to do something about the issue.

                      I don’t like to get all socially Darwinistical about it all, but that’s the facts of life: you can absolutely not effect change in others lives from the outside, and if they’re hell-bent on self-destructive paths, not even locking them up in a monk’s cell is going to help matters. Making drugs and other mind-altering substances illegal is a fool’s game of diminishing returns, and only encourages more stupid shit to get around the rules you made. After what I’ve seen and experienced in life, I think the only real answer is, make it all legal, put it in the open, and then get out of the way as people do what they will. If they’re hell-bound on committing suicide via drugs, so be it.

                      One of the really terrible things about the way we’ve gone about things in this matter is that we’ve set it up so that the drugs have a transgressive “feel” to them, one that lends them a certain cachet and romance. If you were to simply say, “Hey… You want to use drugs? Fine; here’s the legal outlet, here are the side effects, sign here, and these are the costs you’re going to pay…”. Which, if I were setting them, would include an up-front warning about loss of civil rights, parental rights, reproductive rights, and a whole lot of other things due to diminished capacity and responsibility. Want to be a user of the really risky stuff? Fine; you get assigned a caseworker to monitor you, and that person will be the one who determines whether or not you’re going to be able to drive, raise your kids by yourself, and a whole lot of other things. One thing for sure: No more kids, so long as you’re a licensed user”. Make the whole thing tiered to the amount of risk inherent to the drug, make the doses standardized, and all the downsides apparent up front. Still want to be a user? It’s on your head, then. Treat any new experimental drugs the same damn way; want to be a test dummy for Monsanto’s latest bio-engineered weed? Go for it; just don’t expect to retain your civil rights while we determine what the effects are.

                      I mean, seriously, folks… You really think you can write a law, and stop someone from getting drunk or high? LOL… How well has that ever worked, anywhere, any time? Even when they’ve allied religion with this abstinence crap, it’s failed utterly. You want to see some real binge drinking, that makes frats look sane? Just go anywhere in the Islamic world, and look around. Biggest reason you get in trouble with alcohol in Kuwait is that you’re cutting into the royal family’s perogatives, by smuggling it in…

                      You can’t stop it. You can only do the best you can to ameliorate the side effects, and deal with the aftermath.

                    7. Sooooo… Here would be the question: What separates those folks who use drugs (any, ranging from caffeine to heroin) and do not manage to get on the escalation trail to higher and higher doses of stronger and stronger stuff, versus those who do?

                      Kirk, if you are in a mental place where you can’t tell the difference between the usual physical effects of coffee and of heroin, after I just flatly explained the relevant major difference, I really can’t help you.

                    8. Foxfier, the thing you’re failing to comprehend in what I’m trying to say is that the drug is not the issue, here: It is, instead, the drug-taker.

                      Not everyone who tries a drug becomes an addict or even a habitual user. I have friends who were so freaked out by the experiences that they had after trying edible cannibis products that they’ll never touch anything marijuana-related again in their lives. Others? Lord, love a duck, but those folks were dopers in grade school, right down to their preference for grape soda…

                      You can abuse any drug. I included caffeine specifically thinking of an acquaintance who eschewed everything else in the world of drugs to get himself psychologically and apparently physically hooked on those caffeine blasts they call “5-hour Energy” and Red Bull. Kid had a full-blown psychotic break, and they blamed the whole thing on something I’d never heard of, which was “caffeine intoxication”, and included symptoms that weren’t that far removed from a heart attack.

                      You can turn anything into an “abusable substance”, if you’re single-minded enough. There was a young lady I remember reading about who managed to get herself hooked on hyponatremia, and damn near killed herself with water the way a bulimic or an anorexic would. A lot of the problems come in the way people manage to get their endorphin systems munged up either through chemicals or behavioral reward tracks, and that’s actually the root of the whole damn issue. Solve the endorphin reward cycle issues, and you’ll probably be about 99% towards solving the “drug problem” itself, which is actually what’s going on here.

                      Drug counselor I knew while I was in the service likened most of the drug addiction issue to someone with a severe migraine trying to fix the problem of their headache with a Black & Decker drill and a spade bit. I’m still kinda taken with that analogy, to tell the truth, because that’s about what I feel like I’m watching with some family and friends that use and abuse, whether it’s alcohol or the non-traditionals…

                    9. Foxfier, the thing you’re failing to comprehend in what I’m trying to say is that the drug is not the issue, here: It is, instead, the drug-taker.

                      No, I’m refusing to accept your notion that the drugs have nothing to do with it, and then refusing to chase off after the castle you build on that assumption.
                      Quite different.

                    10. I think you’re both being obtuse to each other’s point, and talking past each other:

                      Kirk: Any substance is capable of being abused, some people are more inclined to abuse substances than others.
                      (I’d add behaviors to this as well.)

                      Foxfier: Some substances are more pharmacologically prone to abuse, and when abused take a harsher toll on the body.
                      (I’d make the similar statement regarding behaviors as well.)

                      At the risk of using the moderation fallacy, neither of your positions precludes the other.

                    11. I’d agree, except for with the context of the rest of the stance– I think this is related to a long standing philosophical disagreement. 😉

                      Main reason I’ve been responding at all is because he’s been directly addressing me, and opening by basically assuming his conclusion.

                3. Terrorist groups are simply more ambitious than organized crime — look at what Fidel & Co. have done with Cuba, or Arafat’s Folk did in the M.E. Organized Crime doesn’t want to own the cow, just milk it; terrorists want to milk it and then some.

                  Of course, as readers of Cyril M Kornbluth will recall, the difference between government and Organized Crime is largely a matter of scale.

                  1. Part of the reason for the mess of “organized crime” vs “terrorist group” is that some definite terrorist groups get classified as “organized crime” because recognizing them as terrorist groups would have…difficult results.

                    Kind of like how we don’t take action even when we know Mexican military units have crossed the US border and taken shots at US law enforcement.

                  2. C.M. Kornbluth came late to the party. St. Thomas Aquinas said it, among others. (Although his family was sort of the banditti kind of nobility, even though they were highly connected to half the kings of Europe. So yeah, probably pretty obvious to him.)

            2. Oh, come on.

              The alcohol market/industry was not all hunk-dory prior to prohibition. The issues did not spring forth fully grown from the brow of the Anti-Saloon League.

              You could buy a lot of things from the pharmacist before the regulations came which said that certain things required a script from the doctor. Cocaine is still used medically, by a restricted list of doctors from IIRC restricted list of pharmacies.

              You could sell a product with all sorts of things mixed in, without needing to mention everything on the label.

              The progressives helped put a lot of regulation in back then, and there are a fair number of interlocking bits. There were reasons they were able to sell it. There are reasons it is hard to sell removing all of it to people today.

              And the market exists because people refuse to recognize that the kids are effectively dead, cut ties, and hold funerals.

              1. Prohibition, and The War on Drug™, are both wonderful examples of the progressive inability to recognize second order effects.

                Prior to Prohibition the Mafia was a minor problem relegated to Italian neighborhoods. Prohibition made Al Capone into the household name he became.

                The only positive outcome of Prohibition was Sean Connery’s Oscar nod.

                1. As if there was no involvement of organized crime in alcohol before prohibition.

                  Suppose that there were a bunch of national automobile companies predating international traffic in automobiles. Then international competition happens, and the Japanese eat everyone’s lunch. Does the international market create the factories?

                  The alcohol industry had a lot more suppliers than the market could support. Pre-prohibition was a decades long consolidation process involving cut-throat competition. The participants of that initial competition might’ve needed to partner with their local organized crime to survive even without prohibition. If this was so, the final stages of competition and consolidation might still have involved a conflict between local organized crime organizations. Maybe again with the Italians winning and going national. It also isn’t clear to me that the telephone and automobile played no roll in permitting local organized crime organizations to war against each other and to expand in scale.

                  Prohibition definitely changed some patterns and habits of alcohol consumption, so it may have impacted the consolidation. The conflict between the criminal organizations may have been higher stakes than it otherwise would have. But the period had origins in the earlier history, and was not spontaneously generated from nothing.

                  1. The US alcohol business used to have a lot of local micro-breweries and micro-distilleries, which the market supported handily. (And micro-wineries in places like California.) Dayton had something like 14 little breweries, all of which were pretty high quality because competition was rampant and German-Americans were picky. There were tons of taverns, too. But Ohio’s a grain-growing area with plenty of water and cheap land, so it wasn’t much on overhead; and the local bit meant that shipping wasn’t a problem.

                    Now, obviously this was a “problem” if you wanted to be a national beer company, but it seems to have been working fine then. And Dayton now seems to be able to support both national and local beer companies, so it’s not a problem now.

                    Prohibition, on the other hand, caused a lot of Dayton brewers to go out of business, and even to die of broken hearts.

                    1. Saloons permitting prostitutes to rob patrons may not be a sign that the market was supporting them handily.

                      And the small brewers going out of business may have had the effect of addressing some of the things which had originally been driving the anti saloon league.

                  2. “Political tags — such as royalist, communist, democrat, populist, fascist, liberal, conservative, and so forth — are never basic criteria. The human race divides politically into those who want people to be controlled and those who have no such desire. The former are idealists acting from highest motives for the greatest good of the greatest number. The latter are surly curmudgeons, suspicious and lacking in altruism. But they are more comfortable neighbors than the other sort.”

                    As if there was no involvement of organized crime in alcohol before prohibition. The nature of the involvement was much different, bypassing taxes and the limited regulations pre-Prohibition. Much smaller involvement, because much lower profit margins. The laws of supply and demand apply to criminal enterprises just as much as they do legitimate ones. Once the supply was legally eliminated but the demand was still there, the potential profit margin was staggering; and criminals jumped on the opportunity.

                    The alcohol industry had a lot more suppliers than the market could support. Pre-prohibition was a decades long consolidation process involving cut-throat competition. This was an effect of technology. Originally you needed brewers and suppliers close to the market, because the product would go bad; with the advent of trains, pasteurization, and refrigeration it was possible to brew beer (for low values of beer) in Milwaukee or St. Louis and then ship it nationally.

                    The participants of that initial competition might’ve needed to partner with their local organized crime to survive even without prohibition. If this was so, the final stages of competition and consolidation might still have involved a conflict between local organized crime organizations. With legal, and cheap, supplies the profit margin wouldn’t have been enough to distract organized crime from more profitable ventures like protection rackets. It may have existed, but certainly not as a major endeavor or to the extent we see historically. Note after prohibition rum running again becomes a side line venture, at best, for organized crime. The post WWII bootleggers who became the origins of NASCAR were either a). supplying dry counties, or b). trying to avoid the tax man; and created no names like Capone.

                    Prohibition definitely changed some patterns and habits of alcohol consumption, so it may have impacted the consolidation. Cocktails are an outgrowth of prohibition; mixing liquor with soda, and other substances to cover the taste of lower quality booze, and to make an expensive substance go father. Prohibition certainly impacted the consolidation, only those organizations with deep pockets – Anheuser-Busch – or which could diversify into other ventures – Coors’ lab grade ceramics division (which BTW earns more money than the beer making side) – were capable of surviving Prohibition.

                    None of your arguments deflect from the fact that organized crime, as it was known in America for the bulk of the 20th Century, was a direct outcome of the big daddy of all failed progressive policies: Prohibition. Likewise the cartels and violent street gangs of the late 20th and early 21st Centuries are a direct outcome of Prohibition’s bastard stepchild: The War on Drugs™.

                  3. What’s really interesting here is your vast, unplumbed ignorance on the matter. Do you not comprehend that in the era before modern water treatment, the only safe thing to drink was usually… Beer? As well, the only economical way for a corn farmer in rural Kentucky to transport his crop was to convert it into a denser, far more easily transported and stored format, namely whiskey?

                    You seem to think that the only reason they drank, and had alcohol was to satisfy the lust for inebriation, when there were a whole lot of other factors involved. Not to mention, you completely ignore the nature of the “beer culture” in European countries like Germany, where beer was pretty much a strong component of daily life, and daily diet. Everybody drank beer; if you didn’t, you were probably either going to die of dysentery or dehydration, pick one of the two.

                    I can’t remember the place I read it, but there’s a guy out there who wrote a fairly lengthy piece on how the Prohibition really only became possible after the advent of modern water-treatment. Before that, the public health effect of trying something that stupid would have had to have been abandoned in the face of mass death through exposure to water-borne diseases.

                    Apparently, the point that the past is a different place where they had to do things differently than you are used to, and that conditions you consider as “normal” did not exist, has escaped you. The vast, conspiratorial “brewing industry” you presuppose being behind it all…? It was actually performing a public service, and likely prevented a lot more deaths than you fantasize they caused.

                    To be quite honest, I consider that first wave of “prohibitionists” to actually be the first wave of the progressives, trying out their power for the first time. Given their success with it all, the question I have to ask is why the hell we haven’t dismantled every goddamn thing they ever touched, to include Planned Parenthood.

                    1. And you seem almost ignorant of the ways in which US alcohol industry and drinking culture diverged from European.

                      You touch on one of the divergences with whiskey. The whiskey drinking culture on the early west of the Appalachians frontier was associated with a fair amount of violence. The settled easterners blamed whiskey, but it probably had something to do with the culture of the frontiersman.

                      So a law was passed taxing whiskey produced after a certain date. A lot of extra capacity was built to produce whiskey before that date, which was converted to beer.

                      Which helped set the stage for the cultural clashes that fueled the anti-saloon movement.

                      Lower North American population densities meant lower concentrations of human pathogens in the water supply, which meant that it was safer to drink in less settled environments. Between that cultural shift and indians, the frontier population did not have the same institutional memory of alcohol as the city populations fresh off the boat did.

                      Isolated frontier families that drank beer probably needed to source their own, and probably were not shipping it by the barrel from the breweries that had been converted from whiskey production. Moonshiners who resented the idea of paying taxes were not buying on the commercial market.

                      The commercial market found itself in a place where each supplier needed its own outlet to access a given market for beer. It wasn’t today’s situation where Coors, Bud, etc can be sold from the same bar. This resulted in situations where, thanks to rail, a small settlement might have several outlets. Where those settlements were initially settled by men with women brought in later, the women got to complaining about the way things were run, and so forth. Women and priests blamed the saloon, and thus the anti-saloon league. They were able to convince some men, in part because alcoholism was poorly understood, and thus we had the wet/dry political conflict which lasted decades.

                      The “brewing industry’s” saloon system is why we have the phrases ‘free lunch’ and ‘mickey finn’. A more relaxed retail market could have afforded enough long term interest in its customers to have less need to outright rob and murder them, directly or indirectly, to make ends meet. There were aspects of it that were legitimately screwed up by any measure, and the desire to address them wasn’t wrong. Perhaps the means were wrong. Some of the dislike was earned.

                      You may be correct that the early drys were proto-progressives. If so, abolition and women’s suffrage should probably be classified the same. (Whether or not any of the three were mistakes are separate questions.)

            3. Another component: Paper was made from hemp. It was cheaper than pulpwood imported from Canada. WR Hearst had acquired large tracts of land well-suited to growing pulpwood, so he persuaded the government to outlaw hemp.

      2. > The DOJ policy shift is part & parcel of the conservative renaissance
        > in Washington.

        1) No, it’s not.

        2) There is no “Conservative Renaissance” happening in D.C. Trump is not, and never has been a conservative. He is–at best–a believer in smaller government, but he presents no libertarian or conservative credentials, philosophy.

        Jeff Session has long been a drug warrior. He’s a big fan of asset forfeiture, and in generally…a progressive in these sorts of things.

        > DOJ should enforce the law in the cases that justify
        > spending their limited resources.

        Yeah, busting pot shops where people are obeying local ordinances and laws ins a good use of federal resources. As opposed to going after MS13, the Hells Angels, the group Hezbollah was using to funnel drugs into the country.

        The latest polls show that over 60% [1] of the (adult) population supports legalization, or at least decriminalization, of marijuana. Over 50% of *Republicans* do.

        This isn’t a “conservative v.s. liberal” issue. It’s the citizens against the State.

        Remember that in almost every state where it’s been legalized it was by a initiative, not (generally) by the politicians in the legislature and executive branch.

        The law *often* lags the culture, and when the law and the common culture are out of sync it’s a big problem. We can’t just ignore the law, but to use the power of the state to enforce a law that is increasingly seen as out of date, and that has been rejected by over *half* the states in the union to one degree or another.

        1. 1) Citation is missing on the polls. And polls are super reliable.
          2) Leftwing support for marijuana and opposition to tobacco despite the smoke having roughly the same carcinogenic qualities argues that the left does see some political value in the weed.
          3) Allegedly law abiding and unconnected to those other criminal gangs.
          4a) Obama admin was screwing around a lot with law enforcement. To include possible terrorist supply lines into the country. An additional option for addressing drug traffickers in ‘sanctuary’ jurisdictions may be of some value
          4b) If one accepts that agents of a hostile foreign power can be tortrued for information and then killed in urgent circumstances and during times of sufficient emergency, one may suppose that this applies.
          5) There is no single common culture.

          1. Leftwing support for marijuana and opposition to tobacco despite the smoke having roughly the same carcinogenic qualities argues that the left does see some political value in the weed.

            They saw much more political value in Tobacco, in the form of money. It wouldn’t surprise me in the slightest to find the Left pushing, 20 years from now, for lawsuits against the Pot industry similar to the ones against the Tobacco industry. In fact, I wouldn’t be surprised to find that to be a prime consideration of some of the more well-connected and well-monied supporters of legalization.

        2. I’ll agree that Trump over the years has not been a conservative. But since becoming President, his *actions* have been. It’s clear he believes in the rule of law. Unlike many of his predecessors, his executive orders have been based in authority from Congress and/or the Constitution rather than trying to avoid the law. His appellate court nominees have been uniformly conservative. When pressured to continue illegal practices like DACA or unappropriated Insurance company bailouts, he put the onus on Congress to do its job & fix them.
          Given his past, I did not expect this. I knew he couldn’t possibly be as bad as Hillary, but he’s been a pleasant surprise. I can’t think of another candidate this past cycle who would have governed this conservatively except, perhaps, for Cruz. Compared to what we’d had the last 8+ years it’s been a significant conservative turn.

          Sessions is indeed a drug warrior & civil confiscation fan. But you’ll notice he hasn’t announced a new policy or any new prosecutions – just recission of some memos discouraging marijuana enforcement in States which have legalized it. And the Rohrabacher-Farr amendment prohibiting the DOJ from spending any money enforcing marijuana law in those States is still in effect, tying his hands. But Sessions’ intentions to be a drug warrior when he can may finally get congresscritters from the 29 affected States to finally deal with with it in the proper manner – by removing cannabis from schedule 1.

        3. He is–at best–a believer in smaller government, but he presents no libertarian or conservative credentials, philosophy.

          Who gives a damn about his “conservative credentials” if he’s doing conservative things and, more importantly, acting within the constitutional scope of his presidential powers, thus forcing Congress to act within theirs?

          1. “Forcing Congress.” Yes. PDT is making forcing Congress to actually do their jobs a major goal of his administration. Enforce the laws on the books, e.g. the federal marijuana laws, or, get off your rears and legalize it. Picking and choosing which laws will be enforced and which won’t and which people will be prosecuted and which won’t, is well on the road to tyranny.

            1. Picking and choosing which laws get enforced, and against whom, is a major part of WHY people no longer trust the police or the courts. You’ve regulated and criminalized everything in sight to the point the average American unknowingly commits three felonies a day, and at the same time institutionalized what amount to double standards of justice based on politicizing and racializing everything in sight.

              And the so-called justice system can basically, on any pretext, prosecute *anybody* for *something* if they look long enough. Not to mention the complete lack of accountability on the part of public officials – from beat cops to Hillary Effin’ Clinton – unless it’s politically or racially convenient to just throw somebody to the mob in what more often than not amounts to Stalinist witch hunts and show trials.

              Now consider the growth of the surveillance state, and the recent revelations that a goodly chunk of the upper echelons of Justice, FBI, the intelligence services and other bureaucratic agencies seem to think they get to pick the President and not the American people . . .

              The Left hasn’t just heavily armed the police at the same time they’re actively sowing hatred of police officers; they’ve actively created what amounts to a police state while sowing hatred of the cops.

              1. Didn’t Atlas Shrugged‘s Wesley Mouch explain to Hank Rearden that the government wanted enough laws that it was impossible to be in compliance, while using “prosecutorial discretion” to select who would be ounished and who would be allowed to serve the state?

      3. I think this is my position. Arguably, the Obama DOJ policy on marijuana is of a piece with the whole DACA mess: the administration decided that because they didn’t like a law, they weren’t going to prosecute those who broke it. Legalized marijuana may be more popular than illegal immigration, but the principle is the same.

        And yes, Sessions is unquestionably a drug warrior and enforcing the Federal law is almost certainly in line with what he wants to do anyway, the same way that NOT enforcing the law was in line with what Barack “Choom Gang” Obama’s administration wanted to do anyway. But that’s part of the reason to restore the rule of law: as long as things are being done by Executive fiat, then we’re all held prisoner to the whims of the Executive.

        1. Welllllll … as I understand the matter, Sessions has not declared the law be vigorously enforced, he has merely told the various US Attorneys that they are not to automatically not enforce the law — it is a matter of their discretion whether or not to focus their attention on such trafficking when they select what criminal activities to prosecute.

          For example, the US Attorney overseeing the Colorado region has already expressed his having other, greater priorities, thanks all the same.

          1. Oh, yeah – whenever we see the MSM and the Democrats hyperventilating as they have over the Sessions instructions, we can generally be confident the facts of the matter are being misrepresented.

            Of course, the one thing about the MSM and the Democrats is that the facts of the matter are being misrepresented. In that sense they are like a clock flashing 12:00.

          2. And the Rohrbacher-Farr Amendment prohibits federal spending to interfere with medical marijuana in states where it is legal. So that limits the scope of action by the US Attorneys as well.

  14. I’ve had far too many encounters with cops who were thugs with badges. From the ones who made false statements on traffic tickets to the ones who tried to kick the door to my house in.

    The public liability of “the police” is rapidly exceeding their theoretical benefits, even when they haven’t publicly gone over to the dark side like in Berkeley or Charlottesville.

  15. > We need police, unfortunately, for the same reason we need the army.
    > There are bad actors out there, and no matter how peaceable,
    > peaceful and inoffensive you are, someone/some country is going to try
    > to hurt you.

    I disagree. We need the army to protect us from other bad actors in the world.

    We need a professional, relatively independent police force to:

    1) Prevent private justice/vigilantism.
    2) Handle larger scale “problems” ranging from coordination after local disasters to having an eclipse come through your state.
    3) Handle the sorts of issues that come up in a society of intrinsically fragile beings–out of control drunks/drug users, schizophrenics/psychotics, suicide cases. People *I* am either going to ignore, or shoot in the face on the grounds of “danger to me and others”.

    As long as members of the society generally believe that the police and the courts will (relatively) fairly investigate and prosecute serious/violent crimes “we” don’t take revenge into our own hands. If I was the father of one of Wiensteins victims I’d be *very* angry with my daughter for not beating him within an inch of his life (Yes, I know men are stronger and faster. And I also know that when ole’ boy’s got his hand on his johnson you get a twofer–broken hand AND broken penis. THEN you start to put the boot in).

    We could contract (through, for example an insurance company) various sorts of investigation on the private market. We could then bring (or pay a lawyer to bring) charges for us (same sort of insurance company thing). This would work for us middle class and rich folk. The sort of folk who rent furniture from RentaCenter? Who they going to be able to afford? And what are they going to do when Charise claims she was rapped by the football team?

    Now, if you want to live in a world were people like me decide “They Must Pay” (and there’s a not very short list of people who should get down on their knees every night and pray that I don’t get an incurable cancer because I’m a philosophically law abiding person, not a naturally law abiding person), then go ahead and get rid of the Popo. Or make them the tool of the state and the rich.

    Complex societies have complex problems, and you can point to any one of them and say “Hey, self organizing individuals will work that out”. However if you have a trained (better trained would be better, but as long as they’re working off the same sheet of music it’s good) group of people who can be leveraged to do anything from directing traffic to wading into a riot with nightsticks, to searching an area for a dead body/living (hopefully) child then you don’t need to waste the spin up time, you don’t need to waste the training time, and you don’t have to worry (much) about people not showing…unless you live in Nor’Leans. But they’re sort of French there, and no better than they should be.

    As well there are lots of marginal to broken people who occasionally need cleaning up and pointing the right direction. A *group* of police officers can handle this sort of thing because when dealing with a mentally sick or drugged person a handful of people can use a little, careful violence to subdue the person. Me? I’m going to either shoot them, or batter them into submission–which ever is my least cost option.

    So we need police, and just the way we’ve organized our society we’re going to put those police under the supervision of *some* level of government. Best if it’s as local as possible.

    The police and the communities they serve are in a really bad feedback loop. Increasingly they are treating each other as “Other”, and this is creeping up from the ghettos into middle class neighborhoods.

    I don’t think this is an accident.

    There’s less than 1 million sworn (badge and gun) LEOs in the country.

    There’s 310 Million citizens.

    1. Maybe this falls into one of the categories you’ve defined, maybe not: the police also have a role in maintaining public order (or failing to do so, as was recently shown in Charlottesville, VA) for the exercise of our rights to freely assemble, petition for redress of wrongs and freely express our political views.

      National Guard troops have a poor history of handling such mass demonstrations.

      Admittedly, some police departments have mixed results.

      1. > National Guard troops have a poor history of handling
        > such mass demonstrations.

        The Guard is a military force, not a police force. Calling the Guard to keep the peace is like using a blender to peel an apple. The apple will be peeled, but the collateral damage may be unacceptable.

        The proper force for a governor to call would be whatever they call their State Police. That’s one of the things they’re *for*. So far, I’ve yet to see any governor who called out Guard units explain why they chose a military response to a police response.

    2. The problem with private police is this- imagine if Comcast was your police service provider. Or one of many groups of Legitimate Businessmen.
      “Ask us about our Offer You Can’t Refuse special- join now, and your house won’t burn down!”

      1. Aaaand… That would be different from the situation prevailing at the moment precisely… How?

        Drive around with a Police Benevolent Association sticker on your car, in some areas, and watch how your odds of getting a ticket drop. Or, better yet, one of those cute little stickers that indicate you’re related to a cop…

        You only think this isn’t a feature of the current paradigm because they’re subtle enough about it to keep it out of your face. I can about guarantee you that very, very few cops are ever facing the chance of experiencing a “no-knock” warrant that isn’t the result of a massive blunder. Professional courtesy, donchaknow?

        1. Most of the cops I know, open attempts at manipulation get you targeted– it gets their attention, kind of like a red car. You follow the law, you’re fine. You break the law, and they’re already looking at you, so you’re more likely to get caught.

          1. Spend some time in Illinois, and you’ll rapidly come to a contrary conclusion. Same-same with parts of Missouri, Oklahoma, and Texas.

            Washington state has its issues, large and small, but routine low-level corruption like I’m talking about ain’t one of them. Go elsewhere, you’ll find a different set of mores and values, though…

            1. Illinois, kind of known for organized crime?

              I’ve been in rather a lot of states, generally around military bases, both when I was affiliated and not; about the only place I’ve missed driving was the north east quadrant. I’ve done no less than two cross-country trips each year for the last 8 years, and last year I managed six of them.

              Incidentally, the cops in Hatch, New Mexico, and the poor-but-honest citizens? Are very, very awesome. They’ve got a criminal underclass that is basically the tribal (blanks) that you describe, and they work together to stop them.

  16. Locally laws regarding emergency vehicles on road side with lights (police, fire/ambulance, and tow vehicles) is pull over to other lane (if available and possible) or slow down to <10 mph below posted speed limit; most slow down much more.

    Our scariest encounter with police was on a forest 2 lane highway, at dusk. We'd pulled over because our dog was indicating she needed a break; she did. Not easy since we needed a long (40 – 50' ) wide (10'+ margin more or/less level) pull over spot on the mountain highway (truck towing trailer). Was already out with dog in trees and low underbrush when car pulled in with lights; that I could see. Could not see original approach of officer to my husband, who was watching out for me and dog (we were on the watch for Bear, etc., not likely, because we are not that lucky, but definitely possible). Officer had gun holstered, but NOT latched down, and hand on gun. Asked if we were okay. He stopped because that section was/is(?) known area for drug growing and trafficking. Officer was prepared either for trouble, or to assist someone in over their heads (victims more likely); we were neither. He waited until we pulled out. Yes, he got some pup time.

  17. I’d kill to get on a jury, but that would be counterproductive as it would put me before a jury, not on one.

    1. Being on a jury is at least 1 day of being trapped in a room with unbearably stupid people, who want to render a verdict base not on law or on reason, but one who has the better sob story.

      1. The last three or four times I’ve been called for jury duty, I did get onto a panel of potential jurors, but was released every time – I think mostly because of being a veteran, but also because of what I noticed about the other potential jurors being released. We all were fairly well-dressed (professional-type, office workers) and gave off a vibe of being impatient and decisive. The jurors kept were all kind of sloppily-dressed, and looked … well, easily buffaloed. So – wear your best job-interview drag, look decisive and impatient, and get released after a day.

        1. The one time I was questioned by the attorneys involved in a (civil) trial, I was released because I had been injured in a car accident and my injuries were noticeable immediately after the accident.

          This was a trial where a person was claiming injuries that only showed up weeks? after the accident.

          Nobody was questioning “who was at fault”. It was a matter of somebody wanting the “other driver” to pay “medical bills”.

          IMO the attorneys were correct to “let me go”. I would have been a Hard Sell concerning injuries that didn’t immediately show up.

        2. I did sit in on one jury selection where they let someone go who was obviously dumb. Not as in “stupid”, per se, but as in “never bothered to develop a personality.” I mean, the judge was asking people about their favorite book, which he couldn’t answer, so that went to movie, then to video game—and this guy, who basically admitted to playing video games all the time, couldn’t even come up with a favorite game. It was weird to watch. Total drifter through life.

          1. I routinely pass as smart but I must confess that I couldn’t name a favorite book or movie (I eschew video games, so that’s right out.) There are just too many good entrants in each category that picking one as “favorite” strikes me s childish and unnecessary. I could easily give a top ten list, subject to change without notice and without limiting the number to ten, and I could discourse at length about why selecting a “favorite” was silly, but there’s no way to just choose one. Heck, I couldn’t even chose a favorite Heinlein novel containing a Hispanic major character.

            Anybody know what Thorby’s ethnicity is? I know he’s described as “a fine healthy lad’ and “good stock … The best in the Galaxy, some say” but auctioneers are known to lie. For that matter, what is Baslim’s ethnicity?

            1. Is it an ethnicity we could even recognize? Old-style SF was prone not only to noticing that everyone’s descended from every people that existed on Earth, but that new ones have arisen.

              1. Hah! She think I am being polite! More probably I would answer, “That’s a stupid effing question and here’s why …”

    2. I was on a jury for a drunk-driving charge. The defense lawyer had no case.
      I was called for a jury on a double-murder case, was the third one selected and the first one dropped. I think it was because I answered the question “Have you ever carried a gun on duty?” with a Yes.

  18. Part of the problem is that there’s an inherent conflict of interest in the way we investigate police misconduct. Right now, the departments investigate themselves, then the decision to prosecute is made by a DA who needs to be on good terms with the police the rest of the time.

    What’s needed is an independent organization whose only function is to monitor law enforcement…preferably one staffed with old geezers whose next job is retirement. Just to keep them from railroading cops.

    The other issue, of course, is that an award of money damages does NOTHING to a government agency. They just laugh it off. Disarming the agency for a period would be far more effective.

    1. What’s needed is an independent organization whose only function is to monitor law enforcement

      What, like a Civilian Review Board?

      The problem with those is that few of the members have ever experienced the adrenaline effect of exchanging shots with a perp and then spending the next few minutes running through alleyways, climbing fences and ducking around corners concerned the runner has stopped and is waiting to shoot again.

      Too often such agencies become captured by the same kind of [REDACTED]s who were so eager to feed Freddie Gray’s arresting officers to the mob.

      There is not and never will be a perfect solution to this problem.

      1. Off the top of my head:

        1. Review board is made up of retired police officers.
        2. Said officers are chosen from communities outside the jurisdiction of the board.

        1. Retired rank-and-file police officers. And only if affirmative action has never applied to the department.

    2. “Disarming the agency for a period would be far more effective.”

      Please do. Stupidity on the scale of that proposal should be gotten good and hard. Just don’t expect the agency to sacrifice itself to it.

      Dr Pournelle’s forward to Hammer’s Slammer’s applies: “A society which despises it’s soldiers will all too soon have a despicable army.” Same thing applies to cops, and it’s what the Left has been working on for decades.

      1. Don’t remember that forward, but IMO a society that despises its military will have a military “disloyal” to the society which could lead to the military overthrowing the society’s government.

        If a society despises its police, then it shouldn’t expect their police to act as defenders of it. What might a despised police force do when the despised military decides to take over? One possibility might be joining forces with the military.

  19. If you get to a certain age, you can automatically request exemption from jury service…does wisdom come with age or experience? 🙂 (Maybe embrace the power of and?)

    1. One of the things they check for when putting you on a jury is health–will it be a physical hardship for you to come to the jury every day for as long as the trial lasts? It may be that, at a certain age, they’ll just assume that you’ll have some medical problem pop up before the trial is over.

      1. For some it is simply too difficult physically. The assumption is that those above a certain age are more likely to have these conditions. And yes, sometimes the issue is cognitive.

    2. Oregon has a limit at age 70. $SPOUSE is annoyed; she’s been called twice (sat on one jury) in the 14 years we’ve been here, while I’ve been skipped over. After the magic age, she’s opting out. If I get called this year, I’ll request a year’s delay; too many medical issues.

      I never made the jury in California in several calls. A federal case got me tossed by the prosecution. They were trying someone for conspiracy in an indoor pot farm. (He was the controller.) I appeared to be insufficiently convinced of the reasoning, I think. Probably, it was really poor hearing, but engineers tended to get tosses a lot in San Jose.

      The next call was just after the necessary ear surgery; I had hypersensitive hearing and was excused, but it could have been fun. A john got arrested by the “hooker” who was a cop. They were going for an entrapment defense, but the popcorn potential was huge.

  20. I have a private theory (somewhat proven by sound recordings released a few years ago) that Kent State was the work of agent provocateurs trying to use that playbook.

    I had a professor who suggested that something like this came dangerously close to happening at CalState Fullerton.

    Gov. Reagan ended up putting the National Guard on the campus. Students, of course, protested. Apparently one fine day, a voice called out “Here they come!” just as lots of students started coming out of the university buildings towards the guardsmen.

    Of course, the reason why the students were coming out of the buildings was because classes had just ended, and the guardsmen just happened to be outside, where those students were going.

    Fortunately, we’ll never know whether or not it would have ended in tragedy, because apparently a number of members of the faculty chose that moment to interpose themselves between the students and the guardsmen.

    1. Yeah, there was a lot going on in the early seventies. It wasn’t all fun and games.

      And was someone arguing for the supremacy of state laws over federal? Isn’t that states rights? (“Marijuana now, marijuana forever!”) The more things change, the more they stay the same.

      And it got down to at least 1 F this morning per a local television station’s website. Kinda makes me understand why people stay in California. But it is suppose to reach 50 Monday c

      1. Ah, but California only wants state supremacy on the *good* issues, like illegal immigration and marijuana legalization. Meanwhile, all of those Neanderthal red-states should be forced to keep abortions legal.

    2. Nothing that I’ve been able to find supports the idea of National Guard troops at CSCF. Fullerton police, yes, NG, no.

      1. It may have been the cops.

        1.) I wasn’t there, but am relying on what someone else said.
        2.) The person who was telling the story was doing so quite a while afterwards, so his memory might have been hazy as to who exactly was on campus dealing with the demonstrators
        3.) He told the story to my class quite a while ago, so my memory might be hazy as to who was on campus dealing with the demonstrators

  21. I’m sorry, miss, but you can no longer call yourself a “conservative libertarian”.

    You are officially banned to the land of “libertine conservatism”.


  22. I am one who is definitely a skeptic when it comes to the necessity of police and military. I am currently reading a book on republican Rome chronicling the life of Cicero which has proved to be quite interesting for a number of reasons. But one of the most interesting aspects of the book is that it describes the city, Rome, that Cicero calls home. Rome at that time, 1st Century BC, was a city of around a million people, and yet the city had no civil service, no police, no fire department and no urban or regional planning. Additionally, the Roman military was forbidden to enter the city. The Romans considered the military to be a threat to republican government, a threat as big as any foreign invasion they might be concerned about. The Roman Republic was founded in 509BC and existed until the reforms of Augustus Caesar in the late first century BC, a period of nearly 500 years, and seemingly a fairly successful system and successful for most of it’s history with a militia serving as it’s defense force and with no official police force.

    1. ….you might want to look into the kind of life that those folks had.

      Well, I’m assuming you’d be looking at the adult, male citizens– even with that massive boost…really, look into what they lived like.

      1. Yup. “The military” was their kids, who were forbidden to carry military arms in town. But carrying clubs were totally okay, and brawny bodyguards to protect you from the other club-carrying gangs on the street.
        There was a time when Roman crime rates were low – when nobody owned much.

  23. Well, the Romans had running water and sewer, and their systems were good enough that they are still in use today in some parts of Europe. Rome during Cicero’s life was probably the largest city on the planet, and it would not be until the 1850s that London would reach a million people. I would imagine that the standard of living in ancient Rome might have been as good or better than a lot of places in the world today, and of course without electricity. In addition to not having police, Rome did not have much in the way of a criminal legal code. My guess is that people went around armed, and with everybody armed it might have made for a very polite society. A polite society without the tax burden of bloated pension funds and salaries for public employees. Chicago is the immediate example I have in mind for the current system. It has 2.7 million people, making it a bit bigger than Cicero’s Rome, and of course, with modern policing and a modern legal system it is a very safe city.

    1. Your imagination really, really needs introduction to the details– funny that you mention life today, because there are some cultures that are rather like back then. They’re in the middle east, and are generally recognized as hell-holes where the strong and/or powerful get to do whatever they wish.

      Hell, just start your research by looking at the rights people had– or, generally, didn’t.

      1. For those wondering: yes, I am assuming that he’s ignorant of some things.

        Because the alternative is assuming that he’s the kind of dangerous psychopath that is the reason ladies aren’t supposed to get into an elevator alone with a strange man.

  24. The question that is being debated here in this blog post is the necessity of police and military, of the type that is prevalent in the modern world, for the functioning of a republic. Clearly, the Romans did not have nearly the centralization with police, military, courts etc. that we take for granted today and yet their republic lasted for nearly 500 years. With regards to a standing military and police force, the Roman viewpoint was not so different than the viewpoint of some of America’s founding fathers, Thomas Jefferson being a notable example. Many of America’s founding fathers were heavily influenced by Cicero’s viewpoints on government. Foxfier, I share your concern over psychopaths, and I wish to remind you that the most dangerous types are the ones that hold government office, especially when the office gives them command over armed men. Review your 20th century history.

    1. You’re romanticizing the Republic military. Leading an army in the Roman Republic was seen as a quick ticket to political power. Lead a successful military campaign, and then go to Rome to throw a party (the Triumph) for the city’s inhabitants while marching at the head of an army of loyal veterans. Casually let it be known that you’re interested in getting a political position in the Roman government. And isn’t it a shame that some of Rome’s own citizens were secretly colluding with the enemy? Yes, it’s true that all of the individuals that you’ve identified as traitors are your political enemies. But that’s purely a coincidence. You have proof of their perfidy!

      And you’ll send your army home Soon(tm).

      Between your popularity with the citizens of Rome, and your popularity with the veteran troops you had brought back with you from the campaign, the Roman government would be all to eager to acquiesce to your wishes, so long as you didn’t get *too* greedy.

      This later lead to the Republican civil wars, in which the political enemies were competing generals, which eventually led to Julius Caesar, which led to the ascension of Octavian/Augustus.

      1. I’ve heard that there’s a set of very popular stories set in the time of Augustus, by a quartet of authors named Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John. I’m not sure about their last names, though.

          1. I believe it was supporting your point.

            They kinda…include…a lot of the stuff that the other guy seems to be assuming isn’t a problem.

  25. I agree that we do have to have an army and police (though at least some of the work police do can and should be contracted out). But I don’t agree that that implies any kind of immunity when they misbehave. Victims (or their family or their friends if they were killed) must have the right to both sue and prosecute, and police who “testi-lie” or beat people up for arguing even one time need to lose their badges forever.

    The big problem that you haven’t addressed is that natural born bullies exist and that the job of police officer attracts them like flies to honey. And most large police departments make little or no effort not to hire them.

    Does this mean I’m in agreement with Black Lives Matter? Hell, no! For one thing I’ve seen no evidence of racism by police. I’m sure there is some, but police abusing their authority happens to everybody. (And we all know that blacks not only commit more crime, but are more likely to do really stupid things like cuss out police officers to their face.) For another, half of BLM’s so-called martyrs are people like Martin and Brown who forced their opponents to kill them. Using them only forfeits all credibility (which is a shame, because Eric Garner and Freddie Gray really were victims and their killers deserve to go to prison.)

  26. Problems? No where in my argument of using the Roman Republic as an example of the virtues of decentralized power, did I say the Roman Republic was without problems. They had many of the problems any other country has or has had, including the US. And that includes people riding the coattails of a military career to political power. Examples being; George Washington, Andrew Jackson, US Grant, George Custer, Dwight D Eisenhower and that is just a few. Might just as well include John McCain as another example. What they did not have was the labyrinth of laws that we have in the modern US nor the police state apparatus to enforce them. The same goes for their military, which for most of the history of the Republic was a militia, with individual soldiers responsible for providing their own equipment. As for Luke, John etc, it was during the reign of Tiberius, not Augustus, and they used Roman Roads and the Roman Military to promote their message, a message ultimately about the imperfect state of mankind and a savior to offer us salvation before God.

    1. You haven’t actually STUDIED Rome, Roman law, and Roman bureaucracy have you? Have you looked at any of the citations you’ve been given? Have you studied their culture? Have you studied how they treated the people around them and how little defense even long-conquered peoples had? From your answers here, the answer is ‘obviously not’. Go forth and read. The Romans had many things we can learn from, freedom from despotism is not one of them.

      1. I guess it’s a shinier version of the “anarchy is awesome” thing, but yeah.

        When I am able to go “uh….that history doesn’t look very accurate,” there’s some really bad history!

        1. Not only that, but I mentioned this to my husband and he pointed out that there was an entire LEGION whose only job was to garrison Rome and provide an internal policing force though he didn’t remember when that was first put into place.

          1. Here we go:

            1. The Imperial Guard:
            The imperial guard consisted of the cohortes praetoriae, which together with the cohortes urbanae and vigiles made up the garrison of Rome. In the military system as established by Augustus there were nine cohorts of the praetorian guard, three of the urban troops, and seven of the vigiles. Each cohort numbered 1,000 men, and was commanded by a tribune of equestrian rank. The praetorian prefects (praefecti praetorii), of whom there were usually two, were commanders of the entire garrison of the capital, and stood at the highest point of distinction and authority in the equestrian career.

            This is, obviously, during new testament times– but that is definitely covered by at least one of the specific times he mentioned.

            I suspect a lot of it is from picking bits out of half a century of stuff, and a lot of assumptions!

            Jeeze, this is why I’ve got Roman History as a whole bunch of classes thing from Great courses…..

    2. None of the American citizens that you cited marched to Washington DC at the head of an army, and said “I want a government job!” while having their political enemies executed for treason. They all ran for office well after their military careers had ended, and there was no implied threat of a civil war if they had not been granted those political offices.

      Apparently, however, that distinction somehow managed to evade you.

  27. Mr. wrydbard, to answer your question about Roman political institutions and culture, I would need to know what time period it is during Roman History you are referring to. If you would have taken the time to read my original post you would realize that I am reading a book about Marcus Cicero whose political career spanned the middle part of the first century BC. This is a specific time period, the late Roman Republic, of a political entity, referred to as the Roman Republic, which was founded in 509BC, more than 400 years before the time period discussed in the book that I am reading. Before 509BC, from approximately the city’s founding in what is generally recognized as 732BC, Rome was ruled by a king. The last one being Tarquin the Proud, who was overthrown in a revolt. Shades of American History. The Roman Republic is traditionally defined to have lasted until the reign of Augustus Caesar, followed by the empire which lasted until 476 AD in the west, and until the 1470s in the east, with its capitol at Constantinople. The Byzantines considered themselves Roman, even though, most parts of their empire spoke Greek. By referring to an article in the Atlantic, lumping a 1000 years of history into a couple of pages, you are betraying your own lack of knowledge.

    Junior, you are correct in that at present we have not had a specific instance of a Julius Caesar or a Sulla marching an army into Washington DC, although if Lee would have prevailed at Gettysburg we might have had something of the sort of thing that happened in Rome. But you have to remember, that US history is rather short compared to Roman History. We have not been around for very long. I can not think of a specific example in American Politics where an American Politician has had a political opponent executed for treason, but I can not think of one off the top of my head with respect to Republican Rome either. Cicero was assassinated, probably at the behest of Marc Antony. Here in the US, JFK and Lincoln were both assassinated under very suspicious circumstances, with a lot of speculation that people within the US Government were involved. And then we have various examples of Executive Branch abuse of power. Lincoln put almost the entirety of the North under martial law during the Civil War, jailing newspaper editors and in one notable instance imprisoned and then exiled a member of the House of Representatives. Roosevelt interned Americans of Japanese descent during World War II. Which brings to mind an interesting distinction between America and Rome which is pointed out in the book on Cicero. For most of their history as a Republic, the Romans adhered strictly to their governmental doctrine, despite whatever war, invasion or other disaster befell them. They maintained their Constitutional structure during Hannibal’s invasion, which was a crisis way beyond anything that has ever happened in US History.

    Foxfier, if my history is bad please feel free to point out my error. But let us do better than a single article in the Atlantic that covers the whole of Roman History in a couple of pages. Try reading a book, for instance, the one I am referring to that I am reading. I would also like to make you aware that anarchy is a Greek term meaning “no ruler”. It does not mean “no law” as in lawlessness. Cicero talks about Natural Law as being readily apparent and discernable through reason and that Natural Law is consistent, the same in Athens or Rome and at any other time and place. He further discusses that law opposed to Natural Law is not law, but tyranny. Cicero was a Roman Senator and Consul and as such expresses a political philosophy very similar to what Jefferson expresses in the Declaration of Independence.

    1. I have pointed out your errors.


      And suggested places you can improve on the really obvious lack of knowledge.

      You just keep demonstrating that you do not wish to be confused with the facts, as demonstrated by your ignoring of Wyrdbard’s comments, as well as really foolishly deciding to act like she’s male. Right, that redhead is a dude…..

      By the way, did notice you totally blowing off Junior’s debunking with handwaving in double dose. Cute trick.


  28. Foxfier, the reference that you have given me concerns the first century AD and the time period I am discussing is the first century BC, about 70 years earlier. Is the US military the same today as 70 years ago? Are US politics the same? Go buy a copy of the book that I referenced in this discussion. The author is Anthony Everitt and the book title is: Cicero, The Life and Times of Rome’s Greatest Politician. You can buy it for around 10 dollars on Amazon, at which point you can read it, and then you will truly be in a much better position to point out my errors. I will share a helpful hint. I have not yet finished reading the book, so you have the opportunity to get the book and probably finish reading it before I do, as I have taken a break from reading it for awhile. You can get a leg up on me. Maybe. I like Roman History and know a fair amount about it, although my education is in the hard sciences.

    I apologize to Wrydbard I did not note her picture. My bad. I, however, did address her concerns by asking a simple question concerning what time frame of Roman History she was referring to, as well as educating her that it is a big time frame.

    1. ” Is the US military the same today as 70 years ago? Are US politics the same? ”

      Are you seriously arguing that the rate of change (technical and otherwise, BOTH of which affect the military) in Rome then is the same as it is today? Really?

      1. Snelson134, are you implying that because the Romans did not invent smartbombs, the internet, or cell phones, that any other kind of major change, be it technical, politcal or economic, could not have happened?

        1. No, I’m saying that the rate of change in that era was far slower than it is today. There is no case, as my own parents, where they went from horse and buggy to jet aircraft in 70 years. That rate of change matters.

          But you knew that was what I meant, before you started typing.

          1. Seriously Snelson134 are you stupid? Is technological change the only type of change to effect a society? Foxfier, read the book that I referenced. Stop whining.

            1. Fallacy detected: appeal to scorn.

              For bonus points, wielded by someone who would vastly improve his knowledge of Rome by watching that 80s cartoon about three college kids dropped into Biblical times.

                1. Eh, mine could definitely be improved by that– if I could remember the name of the Roman episode hosted by the kinda chubby guy from Monty Python, I’d suggest it…except the guy already demonstrated that any genuine suggestion for improving the problem will be mocked, ignored or maliciously misunderstood.

                  I want to say it’s “Horrible History”? Actually, I want to say it’s Rotten Romans, but I’m pretty sure that’s the one from one of your books.

                  1. Rotten Romans was mentioned in the furniture refinishing mysteries, but it’s a real YA book, which now I think about it, along with Groovy Greeks, your kids might appreciate.

                    1. We’re kind of focusing on Asterix right now– it’s paid off, one of them was reading something and looked up “Mom, is Egypt a real place anymore?” They’re getting into Aesop’s, too.

                      Most of our foreign culture ATM is Japanese or Tolkien.

                      I’ll keep an eye out, though.

              1. I’ve been following this, and I keep thinking, “Does he really think he would like even the socio-political (aka supposed ‘libertarian’ lack of police) aspects of Republican Rome if he were somehow transported there?”

                1. Hell, I’m still trying to get my head around the idea that he’d get to enjoy it, kind of like how folks tend to assume they’ll be the queen in the school-play castle, not the gal who’s working and wearing rags, even in teh painted-up kid’s tv version.

            2. No, you’re an asshole.

              Societies changed far less rapidly when ideas and concept took longer to spread. FACT.

            1. Incoherent? I think I have been using proper English, with proper spelling and punctuation and I have striven to be clear and concise with my language, something that as a writer you should understand. I have also cited my main source of information, that I have used in this discussion. You perhaps do not like what I have written? If so, be honest and say so. If you think my facts are wrong, then I invite you to point those out, but not without first reading the cited information.

                  1. People HAVE been pointing it out.

                    You scream that they’re wrong, or ignore them.

                    … it’s like trying to pinpoint where to start a discussion of bovine biology with someone who is talking about moocows filled with cotton stuffing. Even the folks who don’t know enough to know where to start are going “that’s nonsense.”

              1. Oooh! Oooh! I get to pull a twofer, and respond with a Wikipedia article citing Noam Chomsky!

                Colorless green ideas sleep furiously is a sentence composed by Noam Chomsky in his 1957 book Syntactic Structures as an example of a sentence that is grammatically correct, but semantically nonsensical. The sentence was originally used in his 1955 thesis “Logical Structure of Linguistic Theory” and in his 1956 paper “Three Models for the Description of Language”.[1] Although the sentence is grammatically correct, no obvious understandable meaning can be derived from it, and thus it demonstrates the distinction between syntax and semantics. As an example of a category mistake, it was used to show the inadequacy of the then-popular probabilistic models of grammar, and the need for more structured models.

                1. Having had to wade through Chomsky’s Sound Pattern of English in college in the ’70s (as well as Syntactic Structures, as Chomsky was THE big guy in linguistics), I appreciate the quote 🙂

                  1. Weirdly I remembered that. And I SUFFERED through Chomsky in college.
                    Let that be a lesson to you that all creatures on Earth can be used for good. Even the Chompy Gnome.

              2. Incoherent? I think I have been using proper English, with proper spelling and punctuation…

                It is a fact of nature that bandersnatchi graze exclusively upon soldering irons by the light of the full bosom three times in any given hectare.

                Proper English, proper spelling and punctuation, and incoherent in the sense that the thought expresses nothing discernible.

                You, Joe, are a witling.

                Also, get off that high horse, try not to trip over the soapbox, sidestep the hobby horse, and stop smugly condescending to everybody, it’s a sign of bad breeding and a screaming insecurity complex. You don’t get to order people around, particularly when you’re the newbie around here.

      2. He jumps all over merry hell for years, makes objectively false claims, accuses other people of being ignorant when they respond with anything but “oh, gosh, awesome!”, picks at slivers while ignoring the logs he’s packing– either he’s a troll, a menace, or sincerely serious.

  29. I’ve long had issues in the area of social contracts I’ve felt but could not articulate regarding libertarianism and drug use.

    Kirk may have finally helped me isolate one.

    Peace is a condition where there are some grounds to make and hold to an agreement not to harm one another. If you have that domestically, are not in the middle of civil war, you have a civil peace.

    Libertarianism seems to assume a peaceful society. So seems must in practice somehow have those agreements to peace.

    For drug use to be peaceful, when someone gets themselves killed because they were high, the people with an interest in them have to be willing to drop the issue of wrongful death where they have no grounds.

    BLM may have conclusively demonstrated that no one can actually deliver such a thing.

    1. Hit the wrong reply.
      “If you have that domestically, are not in the middle of civil war, you have a civil peace.”

      If you DON’T have that domestically, you are in the middle of a civil war. It’s just cold as opposed to hot, and the state change can be instantaneous.

      Do you really trust the Left to hold to ANY agreement?

  30. “If you have that domestically, are not in the middle of civil war, you have a civil peace.”

    If you DON’T have that domestically, you are in the middle of a civil war. It’s just cold as opposed to hot, and the state change can be instantaneous.

    Do you really trust the Left to hold to ANY agreement?

Comments are closed.