R.I.P., Kate Steinle—and God Help the Rest of Us

Some day, I will be able to speak freely about several subjects that weigh very heavily on my heart at the moment. As a teacher of over thirty years’ experience, I am dismayed, disgusted, and even infuriated by things that I see going on around me… but I must not speak. Not yet.

So I’ll content myself, at the moment, with a few comments about the liberation of Kate Steinle’s killer by a San Francisco jury last week.

Yes, it was a jury’s decision, and not an activist judge’s, for a change. Yet the judge could have thrown out the verdict, as I understand, had he or she determined that the jury ignored its instructions and willfully disregarded the letter of the law. I don’t know how this could be said not to have happened when the shooter, a convicted felon, was in possession of a firearm. That act in itself is already a crime, whether the felon shoots the piece or not. If he merely touches it, he’s in violation of the law. Nevertheless, the sterling character in question was exonerated on that charge.

Neither do I understand how a defendant is allowed to walk when his defense is a patchwork of lies, many of them trimmed with other lies when the earlier versions sprang leaks. I accuse you of emptying out my wall safe. You say, No, I spent that evening at my auntie’s. Well, that’s not what you aunt says. Oh, did I say “aunt”? I meant “uncle”! Well, your uncle’s been dead for three years. But I was at his house. No, you weren’t: the new owners don’t know you. But I was going over there to fetch some stuff, but my car broke down….

Now, nothing in such a line of questioning establishes that you in fact possess the contents of my safe. You have lied so many times in seeking an alibi, however, that your evasions may—and should—be construed as evidence of guilt.

But not in San Francisco.

Apparently, Franciscans are so blissfully, virtuously ignorant of the operation of firearms, furthermore, that they are incompetent to pass judgment on an act involving one. You cannot fire a gun with your toe—not unless you’re a chimp, and your heel can bend like the palm of your hand to restrain the handle as the trigger is compressed. (Was our innocent murderer shoeless? Did anyone even ask? You certainly can’t pull a trigger with a sneaker!) The bullet is supposed to have ricocheted upward into Ms. Steinle’s heart. What did it hit? A forty-caliber slug would have to encounter something pretty solid to gain four feet of height within fifty feet of distance—always assuming that the gun was lying flat on the pier. Did anyone bother to reconstruct the incident? What hard surface did the bullet strike?

Of course, my guess is that it didn’t matter, and wouldn’t matter. California juries are composed of people who intend to go to sleep that night wrapped in a warm confidence that they are morally superior to the rest of the nation. They’re not going to bully people of other cultures. The poor immigrant fellow was just trying to make his way in the world. The real villain here is the NRA—because without the NRA, there would be no guns. And so on, and so on… nighty-night.

How many of our neighbors and our relatives will have to die so that these pompous idiots can curl up in their solipsistic, sociopathic utopianism every hour of every day?

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On the Educated Elite’s Adoration of Centralized Authority: Part Two

Thanks to an almost suicidal work load this weekend (created mostly by my own excessive ambition), I’ve been tardy getting back to my reflection about intellectuals and central authority in the contemporary world.  Time was when an intellectual would almost surely be a “liberal” in the sense of believing (to the point of doing hard time in prison, like Silvio Pellico) that individuals should choose the course of their own lives—that they should not be pawns on the chessboard of the mighty.  How times change!  Now the liberal is he or she who wants a central authority to provide health care, assure a minimum income, fund free education all the way to the graduate level, certify the safety of food and drink, keep leaded paint off of toys, inspect hot water heaters… Super Nanny and Grandfather God all rolled into one.

I prefer my freedom.  And it’s no longer just an aversion to being tucked in at night by Big Brother: survival is at stake, I’m convinced, at the most rudimentary level.

I’m sure that I will have shocked a few eyes last time by declaring that I don’t want to see freebies distributed generously far and wide to the “needy” (however we may define that group: it’s a moving target).  Here, then, is why you will end up sending vast droves of humanity to the slaughterhouse if you encourage such publicly funded magnanimity—and why you yourselves, o sapient and progressive intellectuals and noble paragons of moral sentiment, will likely be funneled down the same chute.

Simple, really.  There isn’t enough money to pay for Ahmed’s education and Rosalita’s hip replacement and Jesse’s five kids and Maggie’s birth control.  We’re about twenty TRILLION dollars in debt at the moment… but the more accurate figure may be at least four times as great if one adds in the so-called unfunded liabilities—commitments such as Social Security which government has made in recent decades without bothering to consider where the cash would come from.  Printing paper dollars as needed is just one of several scenarios that end in an economic abyss.  There really isn’t any clear way back up the slope from our present position, either.

Now, it would not be naive to assume that many of our legislators are a) too fixated on selfish, short-term gain or b) too scantily endowed with native intelligence to understand the looming calamity.  But I would take a wild guess that a quarter to a half of them understand it perfectly well.  What, then, is their endgame?  How can they merely open up the throttle as the plane rolls into a fatal nosedive?

The only answer I can possibly imagine is that plans are being discreetly discussed to “manage” us.  Means of management might include 1) sterilizing huge segments of the population without their knowledge, as by an element infused into the annual flu vaccine; 2) precipitating a war in which anyone not supplied with a state-of-the-art concrete bunker would be vaporized; 3) allowing the situation to degenerate until rioting n the streets forced the authorities to declare martial law and “neutralize” dissident factions.  Messy, that last one… but may I remind you that Barack Obama spoke openly before his first term about the creation of a national police force, that indispensable ancilla to any totalitarian dictator?

The masses are needed at the moment only to vote the elite into positions of power; and the elite, in turn, buy these votes by offering more and more manna from heaven. At some point, when the general public becomes sufficiently degraded that it denounces elections and cries for a king, its utility will have ended. Seems to me that we draw very near to that point, to judge by recent events.

The more dependent we become, and the more dependent we allow our brethren to become, the closer we draw to the butcher’s sledgehammer.  It isn’t smart, my academic friends and colleagues, to aid and abet a society of piglets permanently suckling one great sow.  It’s really quite stupid, and quite dangerous.

On the Educated Elite’s Adoration of Centralized Authority: Part One

A conversation I had earlier this week is really getting me down. The person concerned is a Chinese colleague who survived the Tiananmen Square crackdown and knows the PRC’s communist regime up close and personal. I’ve grown very fond of her. I think she understands much about freedom that most Americans have forgotten. And yet…

And yet, she readily unleashes comments such as the following. All Trump voters are impoverished, uneducated, blue-collar white people (what we call down South “poor white trash”). They are single moms with five kids and no job. They’re grouchy old men living in clapboard houses with sagging, leaky roofs. They’re cousins of the cast of Moonshiners, wearing no shirt under their overalls, sporting boots with holes cut for their toes, and lisping through their remaining teeth that jut out like yellow tusks. How could they possibly be anyone else? All the smart, educated people voted for the other party. With an absolute conviction of omniscience and infallibility that the Chinese system drums into its own educated elite—including a reflexive “doubling down” response whenever one blunders into error—this worthy colleague sought to school me on the demographics and propensities of my own society.

I sought to remonstrate mildly. Excuse me… but the type of person just described a) rarely votes at all, and b) votes solid “D” (as his or her relatives have done immemorially) on rare trips to the polling station.

More significantly, my disputant maintained that these fictitious masses were voting against their interest in supporting a candidate who would cut off the flow of freebies. My own belief (and fear) is that Donald Trump isn’t this type at all, ideologically (which is why I didn’t vote for him); and my further belief (and fear) is that no one is served, eventually, by trying to bleed a corpse that has already started to draw flies.

Indeed, my original comment that started this conversational ball rolling into the La Brea Tar Pits was that all of our masses—American, Chinese, English, Italian—are too multitudinous, too unskilled, too needy, and too prolific for any of the world’s devious political systems to keep sustaining them. A sow with a dozen teats cannot feed fifty piglets. The world’s various political elites all know this. Ergo, it is painfully obvious that various plans for mass die-off at some critical point must be circulating in back rooms, bunkers, and barrooms of exclusive golf courses.

My point never penetrated. Despite her experience of authoritarianism, my colleague couldn’t grasp the extremely high probability that the nerve ganglion of an intricately centralized human system would devise ways to rid its outer reaches of unproductive cells. Indeed, I have noticed in her and other Chinese an almost obsessive concern over access to doctors and medicine, as if the “dependency” impulse had been activated across the board. When educated Chinese are imprisoned by their paternalistic handlers (an ordeal euphemistically known as “going to the police station for a cup of tea”), their first lament seems to be for their meds. The orientation toward the ganglion is invincible, apparently. After all, how could we survive without a brain, even though some brains think evil thoughts?

Yep. Depressing. God forbid that we should use our own brains!

How to Hide in Plain Sight: Surround Yourself in Conspiracy Theory

Societies have always been vulnerable to blindness induced by their own prejudices.  If a child were born under the “wrong” alignment of the stars, or if a crow flew left instead of right as an expedition started out, then human ingenuity and determination could be negated by an invincible sense of doom.  To our own time of mass communication, instant dissemination, and absence of rooted values, however, belongs a special susceptibility to “being handled”.  Devious people can lead us all around by the nose with a bridle of two or three words… or even just one.

The idiotic coinage “judgmental” has been such a word since my early youth.  So we are not to judge anything?  But are we not judging, then, those who practice judgment?  And how does anyone abandon judgment without surrendering consciousness?  Don’t we still advise our children not to climb into cars with strangers?  Don’t we pass on eggs and yogurt if their container declares them out of date?

Of course, the whole idea behind “non-judgmental” is to judge very harshly and rashly a person or group designated by our handlers as caught red-handed in the exercise of principles.  It’s an easy sell to such as we have become.  Simply by turning off our brains, we ascend to the ranks of the “best” people.  We didn’t really want to think, anyway.  It’s painful.

Or take the phrase “conspiracy theory”.  Who wants to be detected in entertaining a crackpot idea?  That’s the only kind ever known to have been hatched by “conspiracy theorists”, you know.  They believe that reptilian aliens living in Inner Earth slipped Lee Harvey Oswald his rifle, shape-shifted to become Dick Cheney, and loaded the 9/11 jetliners with robots.

The truth is that a conspiracy is any plot to maneuver a person or persons into a certain behavior by withholding critical portions of situational truth.  Two or more must be involved in the subterfuge.  A lad who bribes a girl’s best friend to praise him lavishly to her has launched a conspiracy.  A dad who promises his son a new video game if he votes that the family should vacation in the Rockies instead of at the beach has created a co-conspirator.  Conspiracies are a fact of ordinary life.  To hear the “conspiracy theory” theorists, you’d think that all the laws on the books against conspiring to commit criminal acts would be redundant.  Few people would ever be stupid enough to conspire, and nobody would be stupid enough to believe them if they tried!

Labeling intelligent suspicion of official accounts a “conspiracy theory” has now become a favorite species of disinformation.  If you and your cronies design a lie for feeding to the public, and if some group of skeptics indicts your veracity, play the CT card.  “Oh, sure, that’s right… we wanted to cover up the existence of an alien spacecraft at Roswell, even though its discovery would have revolutionized modern living.  We want to stay in the Dark Ages—and we lied about the Lizard Men who fought us for the wreckage, too!”

A dismissive documentary about the Roswell incident quoted a high-ranking general testifying before Congress in almost exactly these terms—and the narrator obligingly rated the testimony “devastating” to the conspiracy crowd, though it had no more substance than I have portrayed.  All you have to do is sniff, be a little snarky, and tilt your head in the direction of “the troglodyte set over there”.

An infinitely subtler use of the technique, however, is to finance your own “conspiracy theory” clique, broadcast, or website to cry out against the very conditions you wish to hide.  Instead of cozening interviewers for the Roswell documentary to ignore the evidence of an extraterrestrial encounter, play the thing up to the hilt.  Make your own film.  Carry it far over the top.  Spread rumors that one alien pilot survived and conferred with President Truman.  Create a list of everyone in the county who died over the next decade and speculate that government agents “took them out”.  Disgust the public with your lunacy.

I sincerely wonder if some of the more extravagant serials and documentaries about the Kennedy assassination, alien visitors, 9/11, and the rest do not have their roots in this more subtle kind of dissuasion: the “make the believers look like psychos on crack” approach.  But that, of course, would just be another conspiracy theory.

 

9/11 Again: Did the CIA Get Played One More Time?

A very fast one today.  I watched the new British documentary about 9/11 on Netflix yesterday.  Was disappointed that the producers gave certain logistical inconsistencies and physical impossibilities in the official narrative a complete pass.  Obviously, their interests lay elsewhere.  It would have been okay just to say as much: no need to caricature those of us suspicious of the two towers’ incredibly telescopic collapse (repeated later by WTT 7) as believing that the planes themselves were just photoshopped in for the television audience and that the arms industries wanted to gin up business by starting a war.

The chosen focus was on the CIA’s refusing to share vital information with the FBI in a timely manner, and in the subsequent cover-up of a significant Saudi connection by all branches of the federal government.  Here’s a proposal: might the CIA have thought that Mohammed Atta & Co. were working undercover for Uncle Sam right up until the time that they steered the jetliners into the Towers?  Might the idea, that is, have been to stage four highjackings on the same day, land the jets in DC, incur a few civilian casualties as the planes and hostages were retaken, and then use the incident as an excuse for pressuring Saddam and ridding the House of Saud of Osama Bin Laden’s annoying influence?  The highjackers, one must presume, would not have been in on the whole scheme; they would have supposed that they were winning one for the Great Gipper in the Sky.  Yet they may well have received a degree of CIA training, and that organization was most certainly trying to recruit them.  This could have been a case of A playing B who thought he was playing A.

My theory would explain why no government agency has been forthcoming with details about events leading up to the highjackings.  The truth would make the CIA look indefensibly, perhaps fatally naive and obtuse.  And the Saudis, as co-owners of the secret, would of course have to be protected from public scrutiny lest they spill the beans.  If I’ve learned nothing else about careerist bureaucrats in high places during my long life, it’s that they know how to cover their tails.

Look at Operation Fast and Furious, where the Obama Administration was trying to use ATF to manipulate public opinion against the Second Amendment.  When things blew up, agents in the field were disgraced, released, and otherwise gagged if they attempted to cry foul.

Or look at the Kennedy assassination.  There’s quite a bit of evidence now that the CIA was bankrolling bands of Cuban exiles to train for guerrilla-like raids on Castro’s domain, that Oswald fell in with such a group that had been penetrated 100 percent by Castro’s own operatives, and that the president was thus shot thanks to training (and perhaps hardware) paid for by our tax dollars.  Again, we got played by the people we were trying to play.

I wish I could believe that 9/11 were as “simple” as this.  The trouble is that a massive structure severely compromised on one side about 80 percent of the way up doesn’t neatly accordion to the ground: its crown leans into the wound and falls.  The Popular Mechanics study that gave the thumbs up to this insane physics… I really do need to get a copy of the report.

Guns: Part Two

I’m not crazy about guns. I very seldom fire one any more—they take time to clean, and the shells are almost prohibitively expensive if you don’t have a reloading press. Furthermore, I particularly hate automatics. They jam, and I’m also never quite sure that a final round isn’t hiding in the chamber. I find them hard to aim, as well.

When I was about sixteen, I began acquiring a series of replica pistols that used black powder and loaded Minié balls from the cylinder’s forward end with the aid of a ramrod slung under the barrel. They were small cannons, in effect. I would retrieve the lead from two-by-four targets and melt it down to create more balls. The complete experience was very educational with regard (for instance) to how the Civil War was fought: but its complexity, its racket, and its risk also inspired in me a deep respect for the firearm. Guns are and always have been—and always should be—the last resort in the struggle to survive.

I’ve known, or known of, many people who boast of their time on the shooting range as if they had run a weekend marathon or pumped weights for an hour at the gym. They act as though shooting is physical exercise; and indeed, most of them need a strong dose of the real thing. Simply squeezing off rounds doesn’t prove you’re a man, develop your biceps, or bring you closer to nature. I don’t understand this “winning your spurs” attitude toward shooting that licenses the initiate to swagger like a saddle-sore cowboy. Petite females, in fact, are often the most enthusiastic and devoted shooters, precisely because they realize that the “equalizer” (as the 1873 Peacemaker was dubbed by its loving patrons) gives them a fair chance against a 250-pound assailant.

Would the world be a better place without guns? I doubt it. Then the lone female would again be easy prey for the criminal predator. Fights and even full-blown wars would probably also be more common, both because the opposing sides might suppose they had less to lose and also because the act of combat would be deemed a fitting measure of manhood (since trading Homeric blows tends to reward strength and determination, whereas surviving in a bullet-heavy atmosphere is largely a matter of chance). The butcher-bills reported by Julius Caesar in his foreign campaigns are utterly staggering.

Truth to tell, the “romance” of the firearm has been purveyed more by Hollywood blockbusters and the video games that have fed off them than by redneck Westerners plunking at bottles on their remote ranches. I’ve given up movies, for the most part. I can’t stand the glorification of gunplay and the sociopathic indifference to its consequences (not to mention the childish ignorance of the physics involved). I’m not a “snowflake”. On the contrary, it is because of my fair familiarity with guns that their constant use to supplement AWOL plots and characterization by an industry without conscience or other signs of basic intelligence disgusts me.

Why, after all of these shooting incidents, do we never hear a cry and hue rising from the Democrat Party to discipline—or at least boycott—Hollywood’s antinomian, homicidal tripe? Why, for that matter, have I heard not a single plea from either side of the aisle to outlaw the bullet-proof vest? That unique garment would be my greatest fear, if I were concealing a small handgun legally in church for my and my neighbors’ defense when Punk Sociopath bursts in screaming, “I’m so offended that the world hasn’t made me emperor!” as he sports a bullet-resisting jacket. Great. Now we’re all dead unless I squeeze off a perfect shot.

Why does nobody ever ask questions like that? What good would it do to collect all the legal weapons? What good would it have done, Mr. Republican, if the Air Force had done its job and put the Kelley punk’s risk factors in a database? You think people can’t purchase guns illegally? What good would it have done, Mr. Savage and Ms. Ingraham, if the swine had been confined to a mental hospital? Thanks to our “entertainment” industry, we’re grinding out psychos faster than Planters shells peanuts. Why don’t you all tune down your mouths long enough to think?

Guns: Part One

Why was I so mad at the Left in my last post?  Oh, I don’t know… maybe just because I’m so tired of lies from every political quarter, and because the Left’s pose of outrage at gun violence is especially sanctimonious, hypocritical, and fraudulent.  I can lie to you about a car because I want to sell it; and then again, I can lie about the car while also telling you how sick I am of lying car salesmen.  The Left’s rhetorical position on guns is of the latter sort.
Remember Operation Fast and Furious?  No?  Well, no wonder!  It wasn’t really, as one might say in the high calling of journalism, “covered”.  A corrupt FBI collaborating with the corrupt Holder Department of Justice to disseminate guns illegally among Mexican cartels in the hope that these latter would kill lots of innocents (as they obligingly did) and stir outrage in the States against the Second Amendment… it was Phase Two alone that didn’t quite go as planned.
I’ll be perfectly blunt.  If there is indeed any sort of conspiracy behind the Las Vegas massacre (and the disappearance of a serious investigation certainly enhances the plausibility of a cover-up), then my money is on Fast and Furious, Take Two.  The American mainstream was insufficiently riled up when a score of birthday-partying kids in Juarez was murdered due to Holder’s gun-running… so this time, let’s gun down some middle Americans themselves.  Let’s get them at a Country Music concert, where their kind likes to gather for patriotic expressions in twangy tones and maybe a prayer or two.  Riddle Uncle Cletus and Sister Sharlane with bullets, and let’s see then what they all think of the NRA.
Do I really believe that certain politicos associated with the left side of the aisle would connive at gunning down dozens of unsuspecting citizens?  Well, at least two Democrats left the floor of the House when Paul Ryan called for a moment of silence on behalf of the victims, and a CBS exec voiced publicly that the gun-owners among the fallen deserved to die.  Several of the “D” persuasion made no bones about tweeting out a snarky contempt (understood as humor in their circle) for the fifty-eight redneck fatalities.  And I must repeat: Fast and Furious introduced the script.  There’s nothing in this “conspiracy” that wasn’t zealously and demonstrably executed under Eric Holder’s reign.
Why would any human being, let alone a public servant of the highest standing, conspire to murder dozens or hundreds of fellow beings?  Because, you see, the Second Amendment must go at all costs.  It is the log-jammer in the bottleneck: it is what inhibits the forward surge of the totalitarian progressivist state.  We will never be able to arrange the lives of individual people who are too benighted to understand the destiny awaiting the species as long as they can resist forcible persuasion effectively.  We must have their weapons.  Why is the US not Mexico?  Because Mexicans cannot stand up against homicidal marauders and corrupt police who work hand-in-glove with them.  We can perhaps draw enough Mexicans into our nation that, endowed with their inbred subjection to the will of the patrón, they will create a critical mass at the ballot box; but right now, that strategy is looking dubious.  Maybe we need another, if we’re progressives.
The endgame is to get the guns.  All of them.
Hence the knee-jerk response from the Left every time any incidence of gun violence occurs: never miss an occasion to remind John Q. Average that this is happening entirely and only because of the Second Amendment.  And if some of the Average clan should drop dead of lead poisoning, in the process… all the better!  To make an omelet, you have to break some eggs.