Perspective by B. Durbin

Perspective by B. Durbin

Still a man hears what he wants to hear and disregards the rest.

—Simon & Garfunkel, “The Boxer”

Early this March, a man was stabbed.

Pause here for a minute. I want you to think about what came to mind when you saw that phrase, hold it in your mind, because I’m about to change that picture.

Early in March, a man was stabbed in a parking lot by a stranger.

Pause again. What changed about your picture? Does it make a difference to you where this happens, that the person with the knife and the victim didn’t know one another?

Early in March, a security guard was stabbed in the parking lot of the store that was his charge, by a patron of that store.

Each bit of information causes you to revise that picture in your head a little more, doesn’t it? And I’m doling out that information in infuriatingly tiny bits. In a trial—which is what this is scenario is based upon—it’s far slower. You hear testimony after testimony, view evidence that is available to be viewed, and it takes a very long time. This particular case was a super-short one, with the presentation of evidence only taking one full court day.

You have a picture of the security guard in your head, don’t you? Well, I’m about to break it, because the victim of the stabbing survived and was the very first to testify.

And he was a kid.

Mind you, I don’t have a lot of standing to pull on this, because he was in his mid-20s, and I’m not old enough to have a kid in their mid-20s, but he was this tall, lanky guy, without that broadening of chin and chest that so often hits males in their early 20s, with tattoos on his arms and a longer cut of hair. He looked barely out of college age, young enough to be thoroughly embarrassed by the medical photos in evidence, and the security thing was just a job.

He suffered a stab wound slightly to his back, puncturing his left lung and severing a wrap-around abdominal muscle. He also suffered a glancing blow to his arm and reported several more cuts in his jacket (not produced in evidence.)

You’ve got a pretty detailed picture in your head, right? How about this: He received those injuries in a scuffle which included both him and another security guard, and the security guard kicked the knife-wielder a couple of times.

Or this: There was a third security guard, who was armed, who was not involved in the scuffle, but who was following the other two.

And this: The knife-wielder was black, and followed through the parking lot by three security guards who, while not white, were considerably lighter in skin tone than the guy with the knife.

Everybody with the political sense of a gnat is wincing right now.

Was there video? Amazingly, yes, there was, and very clear for being across the parking lot. (On that note, who sees people on the ground in the street and blithely drives by them? Thanks for making it that much harder to determine what went on.) You could see the security guards following, the guy turning back several times, the victim pushing him, and finally Knife Guy turning around and throwing punches. Except—when did he get the knife? The video isn’t that clear, and that’s important, because if he were to get it out on the ground, the defense’s argument of Self Defense takes on new importance.

Do we have the knife? We do—and I’m going to take a bit of a digression here. I’m fairly well acquainted with knives. We have dozens of kitchen knives, a number of utility knives (mostly of the folding sort) and a few daggers for pretty. I also have a couple of sheath knives that I’ve never had reason to use, because what the heck would be the point in an urban environment? And as for camping, the folding knives are sufficient for that.

Knives are a horrible choice for self-defense, and here’s why. 1. They require close quarters. The whole point of self-defense is to get away intact, and the more distance you can get, the better. A gun or pepper spray is better suited to getting someone to keep their distance. 2. A person who is stabbed doesn’t immediately go down—in fact, the security guard in this scenario didn’t immediately know he was stabbed. He saw the knife, so after the guy ran off, he checked himself. (And then he started coughing up blood, but still…) 3. If you take out a knife, someone is going to get cut—and that someone is going to be the weaker one. Knives favor the strong. If someone were to perform a home invasion on me, I would use just about anything, even smashing a nice guitar over their head, before I went for a knife, because the odds are better that I would be the one hurt.

So a guy carrying a sheath knife an inch and a half across the base, several inches long, and with some serrations near the base, that’s going to get my attention.

Back it up. Why were they following him across the parking lot? Well, it seems there was a minor altercation on the other side of the store, where three guards (the armed one on a break) interacted with Knife Guy. According to their testimony, Knife Guy head-butted the victim before walking off. This is not on video; the security cars block the view.

And why did this happen? Well, prior to that, he was following a woman, presumably toward her car. As far as we know, this woman was unknown to Knife Guy, and from an earlier video where you can see their faces, she’s carefully not looking at him. According to testimony, she pointed out that Security was right there, and the security guards told Knife Guy to leave her alone.

There was a lot of discussion with the jury once deliberations took place, and I do find it interesting that the women were more on the Guilty side at the beginning of deliberations. Most women have at least one story of being followed by a guy bigger than them, and all women know the cases where an interaction with a stranger gets a woman killed. At issue wasn’t the fact of Knife Guy doing the stabbing; the issue was whether there was reason to believe it was in self-defense.

We watched the video enough to make me surprised it didn’t show up in my dreams. (At least, it hasn’t yet.) The conclusion we eventually came to is that he had the knife when he turned around and jumped the security guard, and there was no chance for him to have stabbed later. And after a lengthy discussion of the word “immanent”, we came to the verdict of Guilty of assault with a deadly weapon.

Short trial. Only three days, plus a day for jury selection.

So why does this matter? Because it took three days, plus intensive attention and discussion, to figure out the legal meaning of an interaction that took all of twenty seconds—or three minutes, if you go back to Knife Guy exiting the store. And so much of what passes for political discourse these days is based on soundbites, or fractions of video, or single-point perspectives. We think we know what is going on, or at least we act as if we do. Yet twelve people can see and hear the same things and come to different conclusions—but those same twelve people can agree on something if they take the time to talk it out, and to listen to everybody else.

A headline that says “Unarmed Man Stabbed in Parking Lot” is correct. So is “Multiple Security Guards Involved in Altercation With Black Man.” You’re going to be presented with very different points of view in those two articles, and we haven’t used more than a handful of words. Pay attention. Pay close attention. Everyone knows less than they think they do.

124 thoughts on “Perspective by B. Durbin

  1. Your jury was a lot better than the one I was on. They heard the evidence, and it wasn’t long before lunchtime, and they all wanted to vote the accused guilty and leave. They were so eager that even though the judge had read the elements of the crime, A and B and C and D, they wanted to decide as A or B or C or D. But they had chosen me as foreman, and I insisted that we go over each one, at least . . .

    But I came away thinking that if I was ever accused of a crime, I would ask to be tried by a judge rather than a jury.

    But as to your main point, I’m remembering one of my players who has talked more than once about the jury she was on, where one woman was certain that no one the police testified against could be innocent, so she was going to vote to convict no matter what. Then the Trayvon Martin case was in the news, and she spoke indignantly about it. And it struck me that she was doing the same thing she had decried: Deciding the proper verdict without having heard and considered all the testimony. It’s so easy to do when the case engages your biases.

      1. You can look up the judge’s prior decisions, or get your lawyer to do it. You *can* research the jury and play selection games, but the jury selection process pretty much guarantees a bunch of randos with no outspoken opinions and are therefore unpredictable.

        1. Yeah, and in some places even if there is a selection, you don’t want the judges . . . even with a sympathetic jury, you don’t want too many of the judges

          1. I’ve never been selected, once begging off since I was just post-op from ear surgery and the PA system was louder than I could tolerate. Got thrown off a drug conspiracy jury, apparently because I didn’t nod enthusiastically enough for the prosecutions argument that one defendant could be guilty of conspiracy. (That was a few years pre-op, and my hearing sucked big time; might have had something to do with it.) A co-worker got on that panel, and they convicted. Being in the control center of an indoor MJ grow made it an easy conviction.

            $SPOUSE has been on two juries, both convicted, with the evidence solidly in favor of conviction. The first threatened to go hung, because one overage hippie was in #ACAB mode, but was persuaded. The second was a DUI case, with the defendant trying the “I’m too cute to convict, so buy my BS story” tactic. (Local kids came to the crash scene, and according to the defendant, plied her with enough alcohol to have her staggering drunk several hours later. I gather that eyeballs were all over the floor.)

            1. I’ve had jury duty several times, but last year was the first time I’d actually been called in (probably because I asked to be rescheduled, since my original time would’ve been right during one of our big conventions). It was a civil case rather than a criminal one, and I was one of the people dismissed after the first round of voir dire. All of us had expressed reservations about large pain-and-suffering awards, especially ones that seemed emotionally driven. I was just as glad to be released because that was when I was battling untreated hypothyroidism, and wasn’t sure how well I’d be able to handle getting up early several days in a row to get down to the City-County Building.

              1. If I ever get a jury summons ($SPOUSE has been hit twice, but I’ve been ignored by the local jury system), I’d ask for a delay to summer. Making a 8AM deadline in the middle of winter is close to suicidal around here, since it’s a 45-60 minute trip in good weather.

                They allow people here to opt out fully for state legal trials after age 70, so I have a couple of years left. I can’t imagine serving jury duty on a federal trial; the closest is 100 miles away, so that should invoke the hardship rules.

                1. that should invoke the hardship rules.


                  Or “Authorities you pay for hotel & expenses” … Don’t know how that works.

                  I’ve gotten county letter once. One phone call & done.

                  Son got county letter a number of times. He deferred until the last one (away at college for deferrals). Phone call & done.

                  Hubby has gotten one letter. We were in Clowliz County WA. I called to tell them he had been officially permanently transferred out of the area the first of that month by his work. I got “well when is he going to be back to serve on jury pool”. “Um, he was transferred, it is permanent. We are moving. He won’t be back. Ever.” … Excused.

            2. There were two guys who threatened to make it a hung jury. The only problem I had with one of them was that he wouldn’t explain his reasoning—the other guy was very clear on his POV, so we could address his arguments directly, but the “you’re not going to convince me” guy was far more annoying. We did have a paralegal-in-training on the jury (non-criminal, I think building statutes) and she was the one who was going through definitions and details to eventually convince him.

        2. Can’t do the research with the Grand Jury though. Nobody is supposed to know who they are. I did Grand Jury duty over a decade ago. 2 to 3 days a month for an entire year. All we did was get presented by the DA with a definition of what constituted the crime, and a set of evidence law enforcement had gathered; and make a decision on whether there was enough evidence to say a crime was committed and send to jury trial, or tell the DA and LE that, nope, not enough evidence. I think we had 3 cases where they came back with more evidence and tried to get us to say yes. Well, actually 2, one of which they came back a third time, and we told them to drop the case or we’d file harassment charges against them. Maybe that’s why none of us have been chosen for jury duty again.

          1. I had come across something hinky about Judge Emmett Sullivan earlier this week and plugged his name into my search engine to see if it would turn up … Well, surprise, surprise, surprise! The reference I had noted does not seem to be coming up, but that’s because of distracting things like the prompt for “Judge Emmett Sullivan …” including such terms as “… son arrested”

            WTF???

            Whitestown judge Sullivan censured for actions after son’s arrest
            A Whitestown judge has been censured for lending the prestige of his office to assist his son regarding pending criminal charges in 2013, the state Commission on Judicial Conduct announced Wednesday.

            Judge Daniel P. Sullivan has accepted the commission’s sanction — a public blemish on his record — following commission proceedings that began in March. His attorney could not immediately be reached for comment.

            Sullivan was served with a formal written complaint March 24 alleging that during two separate conversations in July 2013 with Whitestown law enforcement officials, he requested leniency for his 19-year-old son Joseph concerning pending charges of misdemeanor overdriving, torturing and injuring animals, and violating prohibited park hours, according to commission documents.
            [SNIP]
            Joseph Sullivan eventually admitted that he taped a kitten’s paws to keep the cat from running loose in his vehicle and was sentenced to a conditional discharge.
            [END EXCERPT]

            Well, okay then.

            Except … over at Gateway Pundit [hegatewaypundit . com/2020/05/exclusive-judge-emmett-sullivan-general-flynn-trial-arranged-speaking-gig-james-comey-howard-university-100000/] there’s this:

            EXCLUSIVE: Judge Emmett Sullivan, from General Flynn Trial, Arranged Speaking Gig for James Comey at Howard University for $100,000
            By Joe Hoft
            Published May 25, 2020 at 7:45am
            [SNIP] … Judge Sullivan has two sons. Emmett Sullivan Jr., runs a T-shirt company and is married to wife Gayle. They have two children. Junior likes to portray himself as some sort of gangster.

            [END EXCERPT]

            That seems … awkward.

            But wait! There’s MORE!!!

            I do not know this site and, frankly, it reads like the sort of deranged rant I ordinarily disregard from Left or Right, but it bespeaks certain … values … about the Judge:

            threadreaderapp . com/thread/1261480070683688967.html
            [SNIP] … We have met. I have unfortunately worked with Elijah Cummings on more than one occasion. The latest was when he asked me to “assess” the viability of his wife’s political campaign. The access granted for that proved very very interesting.

            Quick question “your honor”, over the years how many millions of dollars in government funds did yourself and your buddy Elijah Cummings siphon off of Howard University? I guess you were right when you said ” they don’t need it they never amount to anything”.

            On a side note, I think it’s very kind of you to help your a good friend Cummings in his little multimillion-dollar insurance fraud scheme. Like he said no one’s ever going to get a police search warrant for federal judges house.

            What better place to hide a bunch of “stolen” art work. I especially like the two of you have in your private office at home. You don’t have any intention of giving those back do you? But I digress.

            Besides the money laundering and the insurance fraud for yourself and your friends. Should we talk about the cases that you have corrupted for money or favors? I’ve compiled quite a list.

            Perhaps I should point out the non politically advantageous cases

            Where you just stuck it to the defendant because you could, or because you didn’t like them or their race, or because you had “fixed” so many other cases you had to make some of them look “normal”. Any comment Judge?

            Because it’s about to get worse.

            There was a “secret” deal in your courtroom, a deal threatening General Flynn’s son. You can pretend it was a secret but you knew about it the entire time. You colluded with the prosecutor continuously. But all that’s very obvious now. An innocent man faced with evil, evil against himself and his son. An honorable man, an intelligent man with integrity, a warrior, will stand in front of his son against any evil.

            An evil plan thought you knew of an allowed to happen. Then you pretended not to know anything about it.

            And when it did finally come out you did not rebuke the prosecution for it.

            General Flynn fell on a sword for his son, you cannot ask for a greater love or respect. I know it well, I had to do it for my wife and my family.

            We just discussed a relationship between a father and his son. One of the strongest bonds in this world and beyond.

            I understand your a father as well.

            Normally I would not discuss children but since your children figure so prominently in shaping your decisions on the bench. I will go ahead and include them here.

            You have two sons, both of them violent no good pieces of crap that Daddy has had to cover for their whole life.

            One in particular, your namesake. That must be a particular thorn in your side.

            In 2012 he was arrested for the violent assault and rape of an underage girl. He beat and raped her for several hours at his home, and when he was “finished” with her, he left her laying on the floor while he went and watched television.

            He didn’t give her another thought until approximately an hour later when he went to use the bathroom and she was still laying in the same spot, unresponsive.

            Did he call an ambulance out of concern? No. He left the house and called you from his car.

            You wanted to know who it was, obviously this has happened before and you wanted to know how bad clean up was going to be this time. This time it was the daughter of a “family friend”, someone who owed you a lot someone you had enriched, and abusing your authority as usual you knew you could cover it up.

            Instead of calling 911 because of “recordings”, you instructed your son to call the local fire department directly. (Real shame they keep a recorded line as well Winking face) and once was dispatched to your sons address found the girl lying against the wall in the bedroom, still unresponsive. They got her to the hospital, saved her life, she was bleeding externally and internally, another hour and she would not have made it, saving daddy’s little namesake a murder charge.

            But the ambulance company called the police and reported it, oh, your son was arrested. There was no way out the evidence was overwhelming so you and Cummings, and Rod took care of it.

            Lost in the system, no disposition.

            Still on the books but never made it to court.
            [END EXCERPT]

            Okay, but even if true not dispositive regarding Gen. Flynn, I suppose. But this pursuit of the General certainly seems unusual and Judge Sullivan appears to have a most judiciously untemperamental animus toward the General, so the real question is: Why hasn’t Sullivan recused himself? By hiring his own legal representative to file briefs in this case Sullivan seems to have become party t the proceedings and certainly lacks the objectivity a different judge could bring.

            L’Recuse, Judge Sullivan; that’s all you need to say.

            1. Dang! J’Recuse, NOT L’Recuse. Phooey. I knew the wordplay off of J’Accuse was a stretch but I didn’t expect to fall quite so flat on my face.

              BTW: here’s what I had seen that prompted the search:
              Trump administration asylum policy
              See also: United States District Court for the District of Columbia (Grace, et al. v. Matthew G. Whitaker, 18-cv-01853 (EGS))
              On June 11, 2018, then-Attorney General Jeff Sessions announced that individuals who were victims of private crime, including domestic and gang violence, in their home country would no longer automatically qualify for asylum in the U.S. In response, 12 adults and children who claimed to have been sexually abused, kidnapped, and beaten in their home countries challenged the policy.

              In his opinion, Sullivan wrote that the Trump administration’s asylum policy violated the Administrative Procedure Act (APA) and the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA). He wrote that the policy was “inconsistent with the intent of Congress as articulated in the INA. And because it is the will of Congress—not the whims of the Executive—that determines the standard for expedited removal, the Court finds that those policies are unlawful.”

              1. There’s also this at Wikipedia’s entry o the judge:
                Main article: Blumenthal v Trump
                As District Court judge, Judge Sullivan presided over a lawsuit involving President Trump, which challenged payments by foreign governments to Trump-owned hotels. Sullivan granted in part and denied in part the Trump team’s motion to dismiss for lack of standing; denied the motion to dismiss for failure to state claim; and certified interlocutory appeal. On February 7, 2020, in a per curiam decision, the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit held that individual members of Congress lacked standing to bring action against the president. The court, finding in favor of Trump, reversed and remanded Sullivan’s holding that the members of Congress had standing to sue, and instructed him to dismiss the complaint.

                I had initially taken the Blumenthal as being Sid Blumenthal, Clinton toady and conspiracy nut, but not so! It was a different conspiracy nut:
                The plaintiffs, 29 Senators and 186 Representatives, led by the Ranking Member of the Constitution Subcommittee of the Senate Judiciary Committee, Richard Blumenthal and the similarly situated Ranking Member of the House Judiciary Committee, John Conyers, Jr., alleged that the defendant, Donald Trump, was in violation of the Foreign Emoluments Clause, a constitutional provision that bars the president or any other federal official from taking gifts or payments from foreign governments without the approval of Congress. They alleged that this behavior impeded their constitutional right to be advised of such foreign payments and their duty to weigh in on potentially unauthorized emoluments.
                {also from Wiki, with emphasis added)

                  1. Emmett Sullivan was also the Judge who issued a temporary injunction against the US Post Office from reducing overtime or making any changes that could “impact the election” in response to a suit by the State of New Jersey in connection with its statewide vote by mail decree.
                    He is using his judicial position as a partisan political hack to help the Democrats’ coup to seize permanent absolute power.

                    1. So he’s a typical Democrat judge?

                      The question is why are Republicans still insisting on principled judges. Sure, I’d prefer that and an actual rule of law, but we’re not in that world. We need to stop pretending we are.

            2. The Judge Censured article seem irrelevant. Judge Daniel P. was the one censured, not Emmett.

              OTOH, Emmett seems like a piece of work.

    1. In all fairness, at this point I’m a mild version of her opposite. At this point FBI agent testimony would create reasonable doubt unless verified by multiple non-FBI agents.

      1. I like cops. I’ve only ever had one negative interaction with a cop, and his fellow cops loathed him. But if a cop testifies to something, unless he completely breaks out of cop-speak, I want to see video. He may not be lying by intent, but after a very short while on the job, everything falls into patterns…unless he’s a very unusual cop. And details that don’t fit that pattern will get overridden.

        1. I am trying (probably not with optimal success) to account for my own preconceptions, preferences, and particularly my tendency to want people I like and trust to be right about things. I admit sometimes I will find somebody who seems to do the research and be right a lot and check with them when I am not up for researching everything myself. Sometimes I see what I think is another person’s blind spot that makes me wary of swallowing their conclusions whole but discover I am still not confident enough to argue the point.

          Your comment prompted a pause today to try to contemplate what biases the practice of my job might be introducing, but that may take some time between (1) it being intrinsically harder to spot one’s own blind spots and (2) a much lower likelihood of any given incident at my job affecting individual lives in a high-stakes way.

          1. One of the clues I prize is when somebody whose POV you know speaks against his position. As when Lawrence Tribe (Professor of Constitutional Law at Harvard, and a known proponent of gun control) came out flat footed and said that the Second Amendment was about an individual citizen’s right to own guns.

            The Left doesn’t do this ,u h, but when they do, it’s gold.

        2. I had a 3-cop-dealings-in-a-day day and being the Jefferson Parish Sheriff Dept. it was 20 for 1 on rotten cop to good cop ratio day. First was an ass, second was great and I gave him a tip that caught two of three buglers he was looking for, third was an even bigger ass and had me cuffed and leaning on the hood of his car, until the second guy responded to the call for assistance and chided him (and how I learned the guys I mentioned passing to him were caught with items they stole from a garage).
          I was coming down with the flu, so I hope the first and last got it from me, the second kept out of my space so I do hope he missed out.
          My crime was being white and riding a bicycle, btw. A rapist was in the area, but I wasn’t 6 ft tall, skinny, with long greasy hair, or riding a rusty ten-speed, but hey, that third guy was certain he had him! (second deputy -“He’s too short, and BALD headed ferchristsakes!”
          Got stopped 2 or 3 other times during that time. All those stopped at “Hmm, bit short . . .Take the hat off. Sorry, you can go.”

          1. The one bad cop I had dealings with basically had an XXL ego combined with a xs brain. The town he was working for was trying to get rid of him, ASAP, hindered by the Police Union…against the sentiments of the other cops in town.

            I hope they got shut of him before he created an expensive incident.

            In my experience, react-a-cops tend to be idiots (with the honorable exception of moonlighting real cops). My first job was at a comic book store in downtown Cleveland, an area plagued by an outfit named The Downtown Detective Agency (and universally known as The Clowntown Defective Agency). Since then I have had run-ins with assorted Campus Cops, most of whom would have lost a battle of wits with an acorn. One idiot in particular took great delight in shutting down the power to the undergraduate computer room (this was before personal computers were at all common) thereby trashing any number of projects that people were working on…right up until he pulled that stunt when a full Professor was using the system’s primitive text editing program to write a paper.

            Never saw THAT moron again.

          2. I know it’s just a typo, but the thought of all those felonious buglers running around New Orleans makes me smile. Trumpets and trombones I could understand.

            1. The quarter is infested with buglers (and trumpets and trombones) and burglars. There might well be some cross-over there.
              Sounds like a pulp detective story plot.

            2. My keyboard has a balky “n” key which often fails to adequately traverse and its failure to strike sometimes escapes my careful and thorough proof-reading … so my first thought had been of felonious bunglers, prosecution of whom I have long despaired.

              Not only can I envision criminalizing unlicensed buglers, I can imagine the NY Post style headline: CITY TO BLOW WHISTLE ON AWFUL UNLAWFUL BUGLERS

              1. the 2 caught were certainly bunglers
                Likely it was a combo of interuptus, and focus with Chrome (noticing Opera here at home has it as well) Spell Check deciding a mistype of burgler has options of Burgle, Burger, and Bugler, and not giving an option of Burglar and the smallish font I have to put up with dyslexiaing (totally a word)/fuzzing out enough to not catch it, while someone walked in with silly queries just before quitting time.

      2. Considering wife’s uncle was murdered by the Winter Hill gang and had the Boston FBI office cover up the involvement of their agents in it for nearly a decade, an FBI agent could tell me water is wet and I wouldn’t believe them.

        1. A reminder that one of the key officials in orchestrating that cover-up, which included jailing innocent people to maintain the coverup, was Robert Mueller.
          I still find the circumstances and timing of Whitey Bulger’s murder in prison just after being transferred highly suspicious and it seems that he was silenced to protect the Democratic Party coup attempt.

        2. The FBI does seem to be the platonic example of the occasional libertarian argument that the police are just another gang who are only not considered criminal because they work for the state.

          And current FBI is really working on the “work for the state” and not “work for the elected government” angle.

    2. As a friend who was many years a municipal judge put it, it’s easier to convince one ignorant professional than to convince 12 ignorant laymen. So yeah, more likely to get a fair trial with a judge.

  2. But I always have complete knowledge about everything, and analyze it in a sound way.

    People only ever disagree with me out of willful, knowing malice.

    😛

    I recently found my self wanting to tediously argue on the basis of a theory I’ve long known to be incorrect, in a way that would have hurt the point I was originally trying to argue.

  3. I was thinking about some of this the other day. (Long story. My in laws were watching MSNBC in the living room at a family house, then turned it off to listen to Rachel Maddow.) My wife wonders I’m annoyed by this and I realized, though I don’t care to explain it to most people, that I only hear it as propaganda, having been trained to recognize it, and everything I see and hear around me is a subtle propaganda campaign for the Democrats and the Left. It leaves me grumpy. And not even my own home feels safe to me. But, this to shall pass. Like a kidney stone days, but it will pass.

    1. Earphones and classical music are my friends. Also audio books, but classical music is fine if I want to read or write.

      The touchy part is when family members pontificate afterward about how Dumper Trumper the Bunkerboy will be charged and arrested and tossed out of the WH any day now, along with his Nazi voters. How Trump is always JUST ABOUT to be impeached etc etc etc.

      They still think those Covington kids were a bunch of thugs who harassed a poor old Native American, and the Proud Boys are a white supremacist hate group. And like my father smirked and said to me the other day: “Hey, they arrest anymore pedophiles because some nut shot at a floor? Ha! Ha!”

      “Did you see how Harris CRUSHED Kavenaugh? That was great! Can’t wait till she’s done with Pence!”

      (Me: one look from Pence and Kamala’ll be shaking like a whore in church.)

      But they don’t need to worry, they say, because there’s enough good, normal people to carry Biden to the WH and give Trump the boot, then everything will be good and normal like it was under Obama.

      1. Democrats are not going to count on voters to vote for the Democrats; they are going to fix the election to ensure that Democrats win.

        This is why Democrats are comfortable having Biden and Harris staying home and not campaigning. They believe they have put the fix in through mail voting and ballot harvesting to ensure that the Democrats are able to steal the election regardless of what the valid and legitimate votes would result in.

        http://www.jewishworldreview.com/michelle/malkin093020.php3

        THIS is how they are going to steal the election. Anyone who challenges what the Democrats are doing will be silenced by the same tech oligarchs financing the Democrats election stealing operation.

        1. The Biden campaign will soon undertake a campaign to inflict disease and death on the public in order to get Joe (and Kamala) elected in power:

          Apparently, Campaign Volunteers Knocking on Doors Is Okay Now
          This may shock you and run contrary to what you’ve gleaned from news reports and social media, but it turns out that the CDC’s recommendations on how to protect yourself from the coronavirus do not take a person’s partisan affiliations into account. Dr. Fauci and the government health experts say the microscopic SARS-C0V-2 virus doesn’t even check your voting record or campaign donation history before it infects you.

          It turns out that if you wash your hands frequently, wear a mask, try to keep six feet or more apart from people outside your household, and clean and disinfect frequently touched surfaces, you’re probably going to be okay. And shockingly, it turns out that this is the recommendation whether you’re attending a Black Lives Matter protest or a Trump rally. Apparently, the same laws of virology, biology, epidemiology and physics are in effect no matter who or where you are, whether you’re at the beach, or at a football game, or walking through the park.

          And if you take proper precautions, walking around a neighborhood and knocking on doors, encouraging people to vote for your candidate is not morally akin to mass murder. Go figure!

          I share this because apparently the Trump campaign’s knocking on doors and the Biden campaign’s knocking on doors are perceived wildly differently.

          Back on August 5, Lily Adams of the DNC declared of the GOP’s door-knocking efforts, “the Trump campaign is risking the lives of their staff, the lives of voters, and risking becoming a super spreader organization during the middle of a pandemic. Sounds in line with how Trump is running the country.”

          On September 13, Molly Ritner, the Biden campaign’s deputy states director, told reporters, “We think what voters are looking for right now is responsible leadership and that comes from the VP and what he’s saying, but it also comes from the campaign.”

          On September 17, the New York Times informed us, “that guarded strategy reflects the bet Mr. Biden’s campaign has made for months: that American voters will reward a sober, responsible approach that mirrors the ways the pandemic has upended their own lives, and follows scientific guidance that Mr. Trump almost gleefully flouts.”

          But now . . . Joe Biden’s campaign will start knocking on doors this week.

          Wait, I thought door-knocking was “risking the lives of their staff, the lives of voters, and risking becoming a super spreader organization”? I thought “responsible leadership” meant not knocking on doors? I thought the “American voters will reward a sober, responsible approach”?

          Never mind, apparently.

          Jim Geraghty is the senior political correspondent of National Review.

          1. I’m walking around neighborhoods distributing hand bills and door knob hangers. They’re not mailed because the candidates are locals running for state office and not made out of money. So you can can’t put the literature in or on mail boxes. You really don’t want to get confrontational, so you normally avoid going up to the house. My solution is using painter’s tape to attach the bills to the mail box supports. Plenty of social distance.

      2. Met one of those “we believe in truth over facts,” folks hawking her friend’s comics at a convention in early 2017. “Trump’s going to kill all my friends!” she declaimed at the top of her lungs. Presumably she meant gays/lesbians based on her wares and appearance. “Nobody’s going to kill your friends,” I calmly but firmly replied while trying not to step on the eyeballs of her fellow vendors rolling by. I wonder if she’s now convinced that she and all her friends are dead.

        1. ‘Trump’s going to kill all my friends!’ she declaimed at the top of her lungs.

          “Hah! As if you have any friends.”

      3. Every time I hear or read some leftist talking about “being on the right side of history” it brings to mind Strother Martin’s prison camp boss in Cool Hand Luke, who insists that he “get his mind right”

      4. But they don’t need to worry, they say, because there’s enough good, normal people to carry Biden to the WH and give Trump the boot, then everything will be good and normal like it was under Obama.

        Change “good, normal” to “well propagandized or hate-filled” and that’s what I’m thinking. We know the Hillary campaign spent money driving up turn-out in blue states to win the popular vote because she believed she had the electoral college in the bag, but didn’t want Trump doing what they’ve done for four years. Given Trump’s margins in several “blue wall” states that may have been the difference.

        And it will be good and normal for people like them. For the rest of us, not so much.

        And if they push hard enough to cause a revolt, not for them either. I’m not sure I believe there would be a revolt against Dem overreach. The common opinion is too much of the population is well propagandized to risk it.

        That said, their grandchildren will not have the nice and normal. LeGuin got me speculating about yin dystopias as opposed to the more common yang dystopias and wondering where the former are in fiction (I blogged about this in a sideways way). My current conclusion is the former, much like water, are too unstable for the form to sustain if left completely to their own devices. However, the later, which is what the Dems will bring, are too stable and cannot change with the world. The water that is chaos flowing around them will erode them until they collapse. Right now 80 years or so is the known upper limit. The USSR made it 70 and the PRC has made it 80, but I doubt will be standing if I live as long as my father.

        1. It has seemed to me we are approaching a point where chaos from both sides will leave no American institution with any shred of legitimacy. I primarily blame Progressives for this, given their definitions for “legitimacy” but the problem of fighting fire with fire is that come the end you’ve still got scorched wasteland.

          1. The problem is when they decide nothing is sacred and they will burn down anything they don’t control and use what they do to start the fires, I’m not sure what the options are but to burn the things they’ve weaponized or surrender.

          2. I mean, a sitting US Senator, Chris Murphy said on TV that since President Trump is ill that means his surrogates will be campaigning more and that mean Putin will be appearing as he is Trump’s chief surrogate.

            I want to ask him why he has the 80s foreign policy, but like any Democrat statement, Obama’s statement about Russia was inoperative when the next question was asked in that debate, much less 8 years later.

            In all seriousness, how are we supposed to fight that. He said it live on TV and was not challenged, nor will he ever be by a “journalist”. A regular citizen who does will be labeled a “Russian bot” and “Alt-right”.

            1. “Moderate” Senate Majority Leader in waiting (and long may he wait) in response to a question about ending the filibuster: “As for the filibuster, I’m not busting my chops to become majority leader to do very little or nothing done,” Schumer [told MSNBC]. “We are going to get a whole lot done. And as I’ve said, everything, everything is on the table.”
              https://www.foxnews.com/politics/schumer-end-filibuster-if-dems-win-senate

              I gather Senator Schmuck Chumer has promised to NOT end the filibuster so long as the GOP foreswears ever using it.

  4. Years back I was on a jury for 1st degree murder, which requires proof of previous planning. I learned then that planning can be as small as the van circling around the block and coming back to shoot the victim. Even based on that we had one woman who was determined to find not guilty because, in her words “they only meant to shoot up the corner, they didn’t mean to kill anybody.” Yeah, a lot of eye-rolling and stares. She was finally convinced and we voted to convict. The judge told us afterwards that defendant had a phone book sized rap sheet. Then, sheriffs deputies escorted us all down through the basement and out a back door. They didn’t want us going out the front. Good times. Good times.

  5. I have found that people mainly make judgements based on who they like and/or who is on their side, rather than who is right or wrong. This includes people such as pastors who certainly should know better. I see no reason that this would not apply to judges and juries as well.
    The amazing thing is not that justice errs, but that it exists at all.

    1. The system of trial by jury is like the system of our Democratic Republic; compared to perfection, you might give up all hope. Compared to the historical alternatives, it’s pretty damn good.

      1. A large problem is that we no longer have trial by jury. We have trial by plea bargain. The chances of a defendant without money winning against what the prosecutor can bring is about zero as is the chances of a defendant with money having money afterwards.

        1. Again, General Flynn is the perfect example of this. Imagine how many innocent people plead guilty and go to jail because their cases don’t get the publicity Flynn’s did

  6. My initial reaction to ‘A man was stabbed’ was Meth or Heroin?

    Which tells what the local precursors to violence here tend to be. Alcohol’s in third place-probably first for total offences but the drunks don’t seem to be as violent with tools as the druggies.

    1. The armed security guard (who had a confrontation with the guy inside the store, but was on break when the incident happened) was a former cop, and said the guy was displaying signs of narcotics intoxication, but as no drug screen was done at the time of the arrest, we ended up discounting it as a factor.

  7. Jury trials are interesting. I’ve been a juror twice.

    First trial was just pathetic. Woman and man skipped out on rehab, went to her apartment, found at 2am by police pulled off in the emergency lane on the freeway. Woman was admittedly drunk, in driver’s seat, but claimed she hadn’t been driving. Wild story about hopping in the car because she thought man she brought home with her from rehab was stealing it, and she thought it wasn’t driveable. Man was not at trial. No explanation for that given. Why she didn’t just plead out, I never knew.

    Second trial brought home to me the problems with our system’s trying to keep jurors in the dark about context. Man charged with engaging in a “speed contest”. That phrase is legalese for racing another car illegally (in this case on a city street). Defendant worked at Sea World, claimed not to speak English (had provided translator) and didn’t testify. Most of the testimony came from his wife who was in the car. She claimed they were chasing the other car (a Porsche IIRC) in their BMW because she feared for her friend who had met former boyfriend in bar where the 3 were and gone with him in the Porsche, and she was worried former boyfriend would hurt her in some way. We weren’t told what the potential punishment for a “speed contest” was. Suspected the wife, who was very glib, was lying, but no real cross-examination, and neither of the other couple testified. I felt if the prosecutor had done a better job, we might have voted to convict, but she made no real effort to refute the wife’s implausible story, so we decided we should take it as face-value. That trial has made me wonder about the wisdom of letting the court personnel restrict what the jury knows so much. I’m not sure justice was done, but we did our best to evaluate what the court allowed us to know.

      1. When the O.J. Simpson verdict came out about 25 years ago, I thought the jury had massively screwed up. Having learned more of the facts, I’ve concluded that the prosecution massively screwed up, and the jury made the right call because the prosecution had managed to create reasonable doubt. And if there’s reasonable doubt, our system is designed to default to “not guilty” (the whole “better ten guilty men go free than one innocent be punished” thing).

        1. In the category of Really Weird Encounters, I ran the board for Mark Fuhrman’s radio show once. During the breaks he asked me the usual get-to-know-you questions, but it seriously felt like an interrogation.

          He also co-wrote a book with one of the afternoon news anchors on the Spokane serial killer, and there were a lot of details that didn’t get on air, like how they got the DNA evidence to tie him to the crimes. (Ick ick ICK ICK ICK)

  8. Was a juror on the murder (stabbing) case – it took months, and I had nightmares – but I don’t recall ever being convinced the accused had planned the deed, it looked like frenzy to me.

    BTW, knives, throwing good for self-defense or not? I see claims both ways and you seem to know something based on reality. What I think is probably rational is – if you’ve got the skill, range, and no firearm, why not try it, but don’t depend on such a knife stopping an attacker, have a back up weapon and plan. Having the knife cut the jugular seems unlikely however good you are and that seems like the only instant-stop hit.

    1. miss in so many different ways, and your target now has a weapon(s) you provided, get a drugged one and possibly hit them and provide them with a weapon. Unless the tango is armed with a gun, go clubbing

    2. I don’t have training, but my understanding (for what little it is worth) is that the kidney also works.

    3. “knives, throwing good for self-defense or not?”

      Not. As JP Kalishek mentioned, you are literally throwing away the good weapon you have and giving it to a foe you have, hopefully, harmed in some way.

      A knife is better than a fist, if you are proficient with it. Knife wounds are rarely instantly fatal- eventually fatal more than gunshots via exsanguination, but melee combat happens fast. Translation: they probably won’t bleed out fast enough.

      A decent staff or club is useful with minimal training, moreso than a knife with the same amount. This is assuming you can render a foe combat ineffective before he does unto you.

      A gun is the best weapon to carry, as merely presenting that you have one can end conflicts before they start.

      Lastly, talk of weapon choice is of significantly less weight than is training. Weapons by themselves are not lethal. Trained people are. In some locations, carrying a gun is not feasable, but knives are okay. Always better to be trained and armed should Bad Things happen than not. But whatever it is you carry, or repurpose in the moment, trained aggression in response to immediate threat is always preferable to untrained flailing.

    4. Throwing a knife and making it stick into a target is difficult. Requires practice. I know, because I tried it as a young man. Throwing and hitting what you threw at, I would hazard would take years of daily practice.

      The fatal targets on a human body are SMALL. An inch or less. They are deeply buried in the body, and there is no bullseye to help you. The knowledge of anatomy necessary is beyond the scope of the usual gross anatomy course, where you dissect a human body. I know because I cut up a human body in gross anatomy. I mostly remember how nasty it was and how amazingly -small- everything is.

      Penetration is also an issue. You have to throw the knife extremely hard to get it to stick in. Like fastball hard. Your successful knife thrower has an arm like a major league pitcher, and similar aim.

      A ninja or other assassin type character might be plausible with throwing. He practices all day, every day. He’s got the experience. He’s got the muscle.

      But there’s one more thing. The fatal wound is a cut blood vessel, because making a thrown knife penetrate a human head is remote. There are two tiny places that might happen, and they don’t face the front. (No, I’m not going to say what they are. Too gross.) It’s a small puncture wound.

      You make a perfect throw and cut a major blood vessel. Your target still has 30 seconds to two minutes to pull out the knife and kick your ass before he drops dead. A normal person can’t do that, most likely. But a guy high on PCP, meth, cocaine? He can definitely do it. They do it all the time. Many, many examples of druggies and drunks soaking up multiple knife and gunshot wounds, and causing grievous damage before they finally die.

      My favorite invincible drunk story is the biker shot five times with a Ruger Redhawk .44 magnum. Beat the shooter to death with a pool cue, walked outside the bar and dropped dead on the front porch. I think that was a Massad Ayoob story.

      This is why cops carry shotguns. They know those stories too. Most drunks and drug addicts don’t keep fighting after a 12 gauge slug to the chest. But some do, which is why cops do things in pairs.

      So no, throwing knives are not a good option for pretty much anything. Maybe poison delivery, but a bow or a blowgun would be much better. But they are very fun to play with.

      1. The old cops, when they still carried proper night sticks of lead weighted oak, swing at knees and shins. Thrust to belly, throat. If you had a cane, eyes. People instinctively protect their eyes.

        1. I learned that knee strike from a cop. Medial or lateral side of the knee above the joint, one strike from a nightstick or tonfa will put a guy on the ground… unless they’re drunk or stoned. Then the pain strikes don’t work.

          For them you have to start breaking bones. Shin, foot, patella, things like that. Because even if they don’t feel pain, they can’t stand on a broken leg. Too bendy.

          This is where Tasers come into their own. The Taser will still lock the target up no matter how wasted he is. Unfortunately cops treat it like a magic wand, expecting the zapper to do all the work. Because a lot of them are lazy and stupid.

          All a Taser does is give you a window to immobilize the target with cuffs and shackles. If you waste the opportunity, the target will get up and keep going. The more stoned they are the faster they’ll get up.

          This is how guys get zapped to death by “accident”. Eight or ten zaps and the guy “accidentally” has a coronary and drops dead at their feet.

          1. My cousin Ellen lived in San Diego for a while (her husband was some flavor of special forces), and liked to tell how young punks aiming to prey on senior citizens collecting their monthly checks learned the hard way to give little old Filipino men a wide berth. In that time and place, many were veterans of the Philippine resistance, and expert stick-fighters. On at least on occasion a Filipino demonstrated that it was possible to put a gang youth in the hospital with a rolled-up newspaper.

            1. On at least on occasion a Filipino demonstrated that it was possible to put a gang youth in the hospital with a rolled-up newspaper.

              More people are hospitalized by opened newspapers than by the rolled up variety. I am confident that the NY Times (among numerous other papers that I could name) is far more safely kept rolled-up.

              1. It’s even safer in the bottom of a parrot cage or wrapped around a dead fish. Or used to start charcoal.

                  1. Or roll it together very tightly with a half inch steel rod in the center.

                    I have a vague recollection of Jimmy Cagney shooting a “rod” hidden in a rolled up newspaper, but searchengine doesn’t turn it up quickly. OTOH, put Cagney and Shooting in a search engine and it is hard to avoid finding something great.

        2. I took a self-defense course in high school. Aimed at teenage girls, so the first thing was to learn to spot a dangerous situation (or avoid it entirely), and the second part was defense against rape. Shin scrapes was one thing they taught, as well as “dirty fighting” tricks like “grab and twist.”

  9. The framing of an event is well known for affecting how we understand it, and is a concept crucial to understanding today’s coverage of political unrest.

  10. Trump missed the greatest comeback EVAH in the debate when Biden asked if he was willing to tell his supporters not to ‘take to the streets’ if Trump lost the election:

    “Wait a minute. Wait just a minute. WHOSE supporters have been rioting in our streets for the last four months? They’re not mine. That’s not my circus, so — whose ARE they? What was that? I can’t hear you. Come on, speak up.”

    “I CAN’T HEAR YOU, MAGGOT!! SOUND OFF LIKE YOU GOT A PAIR!!!”

    Oops, I heard R. Lee Ermey in my head for a minute there…

      1. Or not, as he just tested positive for the CCP Virus, which I am sure will be all the Biden camp needs to call for the debates to be cancelled. Hopefully Pence can hammer the point home against Kommie Kamala.

        1. seriously, this si being made into a big deal. I hope he is not treated by unvetted doctors, because you know, “Oh, no. The president is ill with something 99.7% of people survive” is ridiculous.
          Yeah, he’s older. Still.

          1. He’s 74, but he’s vigorous and has (AFAIK) none of the other risk factors (diabetes, asthma, etc). Plus it sounds like it was caught early, before symptoms started showing up, which is an optimal time to begin treatment. I’d bet on his recovering fully within a week, in plenty of time to make the next debate if the Biden team doesn’t chicken out.

    1. Honestly, it was a room full of thoughtful people. And what they knew about me was “mom with kids doing distance learning at home.” They somehow managed to skip the “victim of a crime” question (I was the only juror they skipped for that), and I was wearing a skirt, so probably looked vague/nice rather than weird and attentive.

      And when you’re on the jury itself, you say *nothing* until you’re in the deliberation room, at which point you find out what everybody’s like.

      1. He’s not overweight, or diabetic (that we know), and not immune compromised. Right there his chances for complications beyond “I feel blah” just dropped considerably.

          1. He looks heavier through the torso than he is. Bullet proof vests, slimming they aren’t.

            Yes, by ridiculous standards, he is “overweight”.

            1. Yep.
              Also I think I know why “overweight” is a “risk.” And I’m rather pissed at doctors who just think of overweight as a punishable sin and so don’t consider anything else.
              Metformin. I might be the only overweight person in the US not on in (not since my sugars stabilized once the thyroid was treated.)
              Metformin makes you shed zinc and vitamin d, so, duh.

        1. Mind you, it’s robbing him of two weeks of campaign and giving the Dems an opportunity to spread terror and despondency until two weeks before the vote.
          Looks up at the heavens: Dear Sir, did you think we had it too easy before?
          I won’t ask what we’ve done to deserve this, but please, for the sake of the decent and non-insane people, let us pass dry-shod over the threat of communism yet again, and don’t let the lunatics win and make us into North Korea. Humbly we beseech you, oh, Lord. And stop scaring us. I scare easily, and I have books to write.

      2. Does he even have a cold so far? I am guessing he gets tested on a regular basis or they did it because of known exposure or both. I haven’t heard anything about whether he’s actually sick.

        We’ve already got people claiming he’s lying to get out of debates or so he can proclaim his recovery as a personal victory. Darn it, my eyes rolled across the room again.

        1. So far, we’re being told it’s “mild symptoms” for both, in FLOTUS’ case a headache and a slight cough.

        2. We’ve already got people claiming he’s lying to get out of debates …

          Meh. There are so many “Liberals” showing their sphincters over this (Pelosi said the president’s penchant for “going into crowds unmasked and all the rest was sort of a brazen invitation for something like this to happen.”) (“The President of the United States and Republicans in Minnesota are actively spreading a deadly virus,” Omar’s statement concluded. “They are a risk to the public health of my constituents and our country.”) that it is likely to generate sympathy and support for Trump.

          The Biden campaign has already stopped all negative advertising, supporting the argument that sane people know kicking a man when he’s down is not a way to win votes. Even Rachel Maddow knows that: “God bless the president and the first lady,” Maddow said. “If you pray, please pray for their speedy and complete recovery — and for everyone infected, everywhere. This virus is horrific and merciless. No one would wish its wrath on anyone. We must get its spread under control. Enough.” (Washington Examiner, 10/02/20)

          Think about the reax when he shows up on stage hale and ready for battle. Think about the coming weeks’ contrast between Pence & Harris (How easy it would be to run an ad with a twenty second supercut of Kamala’s Greatest Low Blows* Hits, twenty seconds of Pence in Race Bannon mode, and twenty seconds of the legend: in a crisis, who do you want you president to rely upon?)

          A restraining order from Willie Brown demanded I rephrase that.

        1. Blink, Blink, Blink

          Wait! What?

          Owwwwww. Someone help me find my eyes, they rolled so hard that they rolled out, & the kittens batted them under the couch.

          I also have a headache from whiplash.

              1. Well, that makes sense, since I’m not that sane.

                You know, we’ve never met in the increasingly-misnamed “real world”. Must rectify that one of these years.

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