Quote of the Day: The Wisdom of Silence

 

Tell me, though: does the quietude that comes of circumspection also fall within the new axiomatic verities concerning silence? “A fool uttereth all his mind,” said Solomon, “but a wise man keepeth it in till afterwards.” Is even the wise man violent now?

Jason Peters, “Flaunting a Presumptuous Innocence” , Law & Liberty

How telling! 

The Physician in a Time of Plague

 

This is probably not a picture of Dr. Alpert.

So I’m reading the American Journal of Medicine, and on page 651 there is an editorial by Joseph S. Alpert, MD. He starts by discussing the book, “The Plague” by Albert Camus, a historical novel set in the Middle Ages.  It’s about an heroic physician named Dr. Rieux who elects not to flee, but to stay in his hometown of Oran during the Black Death and treat his patients as best he can. Dr. Alpert then writes (I swear I am not making this up), “At this time (the end of March 2020), we are experiencing events in the United States and throughout the world similar to those described in “The Plague.” Not feeling sufficiently heroic yet, Dr. Alpert writes in the penultimate paragraph, “Thus, the arrival of the coronavirus in the United States presented me with the same decision that Dr. Rieux and his colleagues had to make. They chose to fight the plague as did I … I followed in the footsteps of Dr. Rieux.” Again, I swear that these are direct quotes from Dr. Alpert’s editorial. He even entitled his essay, “Life Imitates Art: The Physician in a Time of Plague.” Go look it up yourself if you like.

The Black Death killed an estimated 30% – 60% of Europe’s population. It reduced the world’s population by about 25%. It had fatality rates of nearly 90% in some places. Anyone who looks at our coronavirus data and sees the Black Death has lost all sense of reality. Perhaps Dr. Alpert really wants to be a hero. Or perhaps he knows nothing about history. Or, perhaps, nothing about current events. Or, perhaps, well, I just don’t know. And remember, he is a medical school professor writing in a medical journal. This is not MSNBC, The Huffington Post, or The New York Times. What the heck is going on? How could he write this? I just don’t understand. And neither, apparently, does Dr. Alpert.

Another Reconstruction?

 

Yesterday in The Atlantic, an assistant professor at Brooklyn Law School argued that America needs to enact a “Third Reconstruction.” From his perspective, the first two attempts to solve the problem were too short and largely unsuccessful with respect to manufacturing black success and parity. What follows is a partial insight into the framework of this Third Reconstruction:

So what is needed for a successful Third Reconstruction? Perhaps it begins with sweeping criminal-justice and voting reforms that could transform the United States from the world’s leading carceral state into a truly multiracial democracy. It might also entail direct investments in Black communities to guarantee stable housing, universal health care, and high-quality education, necessities for achieving a more inclusive economy and greater wealth parity. But whatever its shape, a Third Reconstruction must rekindle the aspiration of a nation molded in the ideal of perfect equality, understanding that thinking big—and going big, too—is the surest way toward “a more perfect Union.” Success also demands that national leaders heed some lessons.

The next period of Reconstruction must contend with the effects of the prior era’s deconstruction. America’s undoing of interim progress has only added to the weight of history and increased the burden for future generations. The unmitigated injury of slavery and racism did not end with abolition or the civil-rights era; instead, like interest on debt, its impact has compounded. The upshot of this is that continued inaction and delay amount to opportunities lost, and will make racial justice ever more difficult to achieve.

In addition, a Third Reconstruction will require many things, three of them vital: truth, reconciliation, and recompense. At no point in American history has there been a major national effort toward achieving any of these things separately, much less collectively. But we have no shortage of models for doing so. Many governments and universities have inquired into their ties to mass atrocities. The United States, too, should establish formal means to unearth and understand the enormity of state-sanctioned repression, dispossession, exploitation, and violence toward Black Americans, as well as the extent to which the remnants of those ills persists in our economic, political, and legal systems today. Only then will the nation be primed to engage in the long-overdue discussion about how to restore the human dignity stolen and to repair itself. (On this, too, thereisnoscarcityofideas.) The task will be made much more difficult because we suffer from a collective amnesia, and now operate in a post-truth world. But without accurate accounting of and penance for the original sin and its progeny, we’ll get nowhere.

History has revealed a recursive white weariness from trying to solve “the Negro Question.” The work of reconstruction will be less exhausting—and the results far more stable—if everyone participates in crafting the solution. It’s not enough for elites to design a project and dictate its terms and conditions. Instead, achieving meaningful progress will require us to join together “in the work of remaking this nation … block by block, brick by brick, calloused hand by calloused hand.”

And, finally, on color blindness: Acknowledging race is necessary. Identifying its impact is necessary. Drawing on it to fashion solutions—solutions to problems caused not by Black inferiority, but systems infected with virulent, mutating strains of white supremacy—is necessary. The Supreme Court may have dismantled Plessy v. Ferguson, but through its insistence on the charade that is constitutional color blindness, it has warped a 19th-century conception of progress and has left 21st-century America leaning on a faulty pillar. Healing racial wounds may demand race-sensitive ointments, and a successful Third Reconstruction requires us to pursue that possibility.

In our contemporary context, any talk about a “Third Reconstruction” is reparations by another name.

In our current cultural context, any talk about a “Third Reconstruction” is reparations by another name. Moreover, reconstruction a morally-loaded term– one of authority and obligation– to justify another massive program of government interventionism on behalf of blacks. The author thinks that by arguing for another reconstruction, he’s an advocate for improving black progress. Maybe he wants to take advantage of the moment where racial deference is en vogue.

However, like most racial dispensations whose purpose is leveraging the reclamation of moral authority, this ‘reconstruction’ asks nothing of blacks. The lack of black obligation to contribute to be active contributors to their own fate continues the stain of black helplessness. Consequently, this idea is about trying to facilitate the purgation of the guilt of white racism than about black development, advancement, and self-determination– by the strength of their own hands– in the age of freedom.

Frederick Douglass’ words are still appropriate here. He said–

“Everybody has asked the question… “What shall we do with the negro?” I have had but one answer from the beginning. Do nothing with us! Your doing with us has already played the mischief with us. Do nothing with us! If the apples will not remain on the tree of their own strength, if they are worm-eaten at the core, if they are early ripe and disposed to fall, let them fall! I am not for tying or fastening them on the tree in any way, except by nature’s plan, and if they will not stay there, let them fall. And if the negro cannot stand on his own legs, let him fall also. All I ask is, give him a chance to stand on his own legs! Let him alone! If you see him on his way to school, let him alone, — don’t disturb him! If you see him going to the dinner-table at a hotel, let him go! If you see him going to the ballot-box, let him alone, — don’t disturb him! If you see him going into a work-shop, just let him alone, — your interference is doing him a positive injury… Let him fall if he cannot stand alone.”

I Just Saw a Unicorn!

 

I just saw a Unicorn.

Okay, not really, but something almost as rare.  A politician with an actual spine who, instead of saying “I support the Second Amendment, but…” did something incredible.  He filed a brief in state court, as the Attorney General, demanding the dismissal of the McCloskey prosecution (the St. Louis couple who defended their home with their firearms) based on the statutes in Missouri.  Hard as that is to believe, the Attorney General stood up for the Second Amendment. Eric Schmitt is a hero and should win re-election by a landslide.

In the past few years when political appointees have filed briefs in the Court, they have for the most part been political statements designed to shore up their support or attack an opponent.  They read like news releases with a case style heading.  While there is a bit of an element of that in Schmitt’s brief, the overall argument was simple, clear, direct, and persuasive.

The neo-socialist prosecutor Gardner charged the McCloskey’s with Unlawful Use of a Firearm under § 571.030(4).  That paragraph states a person is guilty of unlawful use of a weapon when that person:  “Exhibits, in the presence of one or more persons, any weapon readily capable of lethal use in an angry or threatening manner;”

We could easily have a debate about whether the McCloskey’s acts in arming themselves and coming outside with their firearms was exhibiting them “in an angry or threatening manner.”  Apparently, the prosecutor thought this was the most significant part of the encounter.  Not the protesters knocking down a gate, not them threatening to kill the McCloskeys.  Not their display of weapons, and not their promise to burn the house and kill the dog.  When you display firearms and threaten to kill someone, certainly no one could interpret that as an angry or threatening manner.  But, of course, the media and the protesters did not film their own actions.

But, and General Schmitt is absolutely correct when he says this, what the McCloskey’s did was not a crime under Chapter 571.  This because the part of the statute the prosecutor did not quote says this:  “Subdivisions (3), (4), (5), (6), (7), (8), (9), and (10) of subsection 1 of this section shall not apply to persons who are engaged in a lawful act of defense pursuant to section 563.031.”

So, what does the applicable part of that statute provide?

Section 1 provides the use of deadly force is authorized in certain instances, and physical force is also authorized in certain instances.  It says a person may use deadly force if he reasonably believes “such force to be necessary to defend himself or herself or a third person from what he or she reasonably believes to be the use or imminent use of unlawful force by such other person.”  For example, an angry mob storming your property and threatening to kill you, burn your house, and shoot your dog.  I’m pretty much thinking that qualifies for the use of deadly force.  It’s why my AR stays in the gun safe with a 40 round magazine in it.  So, if someone is authorized to use deadly force, they are also authorized to threaten deadly force.  Can you imagine a prosecutor saying “well, yes, judge, the fact the defendant shot the armed intruder was perfectly legal, but he threatened him first, and we can’t have that!”  Reading the complaint in this case, you’d have to believe that someone in the prosecutor’s office might have said “hey, what about § 563.031?”  But  Gardner has purged anyone who isn’t ideologically committed to socialist rule.

Section 2 then provides the qualifications which are fairly standard across the country.  You can protect yourself or another against “serious physical injury, or any forcible felony;”  A forcible felony, for example, like a riot.

But the statute goes even further.  It extends protection far beyond the borders of deadly force in most other states.  Missouri is unique in this regard.  It privileges a person to use force against someone unlawfully entering a dwelling, but also, in subsection 3, provides the force is lawful when:

  (3)  Such force is used against a person who unlawfully enters, remains after unlawfully entering, or attempts to unlawfully enter private property that is owned or leased by an individual …”  It then provides:

3.  A person does not have a duty to retreat:

(1)  From a dwelling, residence, or vehicle where the person is not unlawfully entering or unlawfully remaining;

(2)  From private property that is owned or leased by such individual; or

(3)  If the person is in any other location such person has the right to be.

In other words, the statute provides that if you reasonably believe you are going to be the victim of unlawful force by someone who has invaded your property and will not leave, you don’t have to retreat, you may stand your ground, and you may use deadly force.  Again, if you can use deadly force, it follows from logic that you can threaten it first.

Thus, the Attorney General is completely correct when he says that the couple’s actions were not criminal at all.  They do not have to interject the defense here because they were not charged with assault, armed criminal action, or some other gun crime.  They were charged for merely displaying the weapon in what the prosecutor believed (or says she believed) was a threatening manner.

And here is the interesting procedural twist to this.  Suppose the judge agrees and dismisses the case.  The city prosecutor cannot appeal because in all felony cases the appeal is handled by the Attorney General.  And it is the Attorney General moving to dismiss.  Since the Attorney General is second only to the state courts in terms of his analysis of a statute, his words and his brief will be persuasive at the Circuit Court.  The fact that he is the top law enforcement officer in the state is alone enough to grant the motion to dismiss the case.  Unless the case has drawn an Emmett Sullivan wannabe, this should drive a stake into the heart of this unlawful prosecution.

One of the really great things about the Attorney General’s brief is that it points out that Missouri’s Constitution provides far greater protection for firearms rights than does any other state’s organic law.  Article I, Section 23 provides:

 I Section 23.  Right to keep and bear arms, ammunition, and certain accessories — exception — rights to be unalienable. — That the right of every citizen to keep and bear arms, ammunition, and accessories typical to the normal function of such arms, in defense of his home, person, family and property, or when lawfully summoned in aid of the civil power, shall not be questioned.  The rights guaranteed by this section shall be unalienable.  Any restriction on these rights shall be subject to strict scrutiny and the state of Missouri shall be obligated to uphold these rights and shall under no circumstances decline to protect against their infringement.  Nothing in this section shall be construed to prevent the general assembly from enacting general laws which limit the rights of convicted violent felons or those adjudicated by a court to be a danger to self or others as result of a mental disorder or mental infirmity.

Thus, the right to keep and bear arms, as formulated in Missouri, requires that if the McCloskey’s challenge the prosecution on the basis of the State Constitution, that the court apply strict scrutiny, and also that it strictly interpret the law.  No hearing should be required, but even if the Court were to hold one, the state would have to prove, beyond a reasonable doubt, that the McCloskey’s did not believe they were at risk.  Anyone who saw the murder of David Dorn in St. Louis only a few nights before is not going to buy that proposition for even a moment.  The likelihood is that the case will be dismissed.  The real question is what happens to prosecutor Gardner.

It is so refreshing to see a politician with an actual spine stand up and push back against a prosecutor that has gone rogue.  We need more AGs like Mr. Schmitt.

Member Post

 

Concerning the 7 weeks of on-going riots, following is an article from the (very liberal) Portland Oregonian today: Federal authorities answer questions about role in Portland Updated 4:08 PM; Today 1:38 PM By Maxine Bernstein | The Oregonian/OregonLive The acting secretary of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security on Tuesday doubled down on the need for federal officers’ […]

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I first heard this song on a cross-country drive from Albuquerque to Tampa in 1990, and I liked it. I was a long drive (we got into Talahassee at 4 am after driving from San Antonio) and apparently the song was very new or popular because it played pretty regularly that night. It wasn’t until […]

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Appeals to the “angels of our better natures” assume that the intended audience has “better natures.”  Attempts to shame the Chinese Communist Party into stopping their genocide of the Uighurs – a policy that includes forced abortions and forced sterilizations – have failed.  The CCP isn’t made up of “nice” people who care what the […]

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We joined the XXX Township Republican group when we moved to Town Y in the early 2000s. My wife became friendly with the Township’s administrative assistant. She knew well our local Republican congressman. When he was running for the R nomination, she coached him on acceptable positions. He was a typical fiscally conservative socially more […]

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ism-mania! So, over the past weekend, I hit one of my favorite channels, TCM, and caught the beginning of “You Can’t Take It With You”. I was instantly hooked. What stood out for me was the scene where Penny Sycamore is sitting behind her typewriter and admits to having writer’s block. She states “…I sort […]

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Republicans Are Mean. Right.

 

Your typical, non-political, nice Democrat Photo by shutterstock.com

Imagine a 50 year old soccer Mom picking up her son in her Volvo to take him to an off-campus restaurant for a decent meal. He’s a sophomore at The University of Wisconsin, and she graduated from Kenyon back in the 80’s. Neither have read or thought a great deal about philosophy or politics, since they’re both interested in other things. But both vote Democrat, because they’ve both been told their whole lives by everyone they looked up to that Republicans are mean. They’re not mean, so they vote Democrat. They sit down at a hip bistro in Madison, and the Mother takes her mask off and makes some comment about the impact of Coronavirus.

Now, just imagine this. Imagine that her son looked a little uncomfortable, then responded with this: “Yeah, well, I’ve been thinking about that and stuff. But just talking totally hypothetically, what if the COVID lock-down thing is just an effort to win the next presidential election?” His mother attempts to hide her shock as he continues. “What if that Russian collusion investigation with Mueller and Strzok and all really was all a hoax? What if they knew from early on that there was no evidence, but they pushed it on for years, in an effort to win the next presidential election? What if local politicians across the country are encouraging Black Lives Matter and Antifa to break stuff and hurt people, just in an effort to win the next presidential election? What if we shut down the economy and destroyed all those lives and businesses just to make it look like the economy wasn’t as good as it seemed under Trump, all just in an effort to win the next presidential election? What if…”

His mother looks very concerned for him, and interrupts him with, “Um, honey, what are you saying?”

“Yeah, well, nothing, really. But just think of all those people who’ve lost their jobs, had their property destroyed, had their businesses burned, and lost everything. Think of all the high school and college kids who didn’t get to play their senior season in whatever sport they do, never getting the benefit of all the hard work they put in over the years. Think of all the widows whose husbands died alone, because the hospital allowed no visitors due to COVID. Think of all the family vacations and lifetime memories that just never happened. Think of all the people who can’t support their families right now. Just think of all the pain and suffering that’s been forced on so many untold millions of people…”

President Donald Trump Photo by shutterstock.com

She asks again, “Um, Trey, um, what are you trying to say?”

“Yeah, well, Trump is a really bad guy, obviously.”

She looks relieved and says, “Oh, obviously!”

“Yeah, but suppose we hurt all those millions of people so bad. Lost jobs. Didn’t get to be with their loved ones as they die. Losing lifelong memories, and so on. Suppose we did all that just to win the next presidential election. And after all that, suppose we manage to get Trump voted out.”

“Right honey! Trump is horrible!”

“Well, yeah. Obviously. But then what do we get?”

*pause*

“Yeah, Mom, what do we get? We get one of the most corrupt politicians in the last 50 years, who was a little slow before and now doesn’t know where he is. He’s lied his way to the top, made one racist comment after another, he’s fondled little girls on camera, he’s made his whole family rich with his corruption, he’s…”

“Um, Trey?”

Joe Biden Photo by shutterstock.com

“Mom, look. My point is, we didn’t get Thomas Jefferson or Alexander Hamilton. We hurt millions of people. Real, real bad. In millions of different ways. We didn’t destroy Donald Trump’s life. He’s rich. He’s fine. But we destroyed lots and lots and lots of other people’s lives. For what? For Joe freakin’ Biden.”

*pause*

“All those people we hurt. All those people. All that pain. Was it worth it? If this even works. Was it worth it? Man, I don’t know.”

*pause*

“I mean, whatever happened to debates and town hall meetings? Do we really have to hurt so many people to get the right guy elected? Is this the only way to do this? And if this is the only way, is this the right thing to do? And even if it’s right to hurt millions of people to get what we want, is Joe Biden really what we want?”

*pause*

“I … I just don’t know, Mom. I thought Republicans were mean … “

His mother looks very concerned as she gazes off in the distance. Then she orders a double appletini and remarks on how beautiful the weather is, other than the global warming.


I don’t know if everything I mentioned was purely political, although the longer all this goes on, the more suspicious I get. And I doubt that most Democrats really want to even consider this possibility.

But suppose just one Democrat, somewhere, stops and thinks. Just for a moment. And he thinks, “Holy crap. Was all this just politics? All those people, all that pain, just to get some guy elected? My guy? My side is going to win an election by hurting all those people? Geez, is this really my side?”

He’d think a bit more, and then perhaps he might realize, “Geez, the whole reason I vote Democrat is that I’m not mean. And this is how we do politics? By hurting millions of people? What the #@$&?!?”

Surely some Democrats out there are starting to realize that a lot of this is simply Democrat party politics. And surely that makes some Democrats just a little uncomfortable. Right?

Right?

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These are discouraging days. I know that I’m depressed to the point of nausea by most of what I see in the news, especially knowing the effect that the anti-police attitudes, rhetoric, and behavior are having on those I love and serve as chaplain. The sheer, destructive stupidity of this historic moment…well,  frankly, it’s awful. […]

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Faced with fresh competition from Oregon Attorney General Ellen Rosenblum for the wide-open Democratic Vice Presidential race when Rosenblum filed suit to suppress federal law enforcement from enforcing the law. It was a masterstroke, stealing the headlines and sparking a moribund campaign for Mayor Jenny Durkan in Seattle to renew itself with a revitalized Sunday […]

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My apartment complex updates the rules every year. I was reading this year’s set when I noticed some which I think are new. Maybe I just skimmed over them last year, but I think there have been some pretty significant adjustments. So here’s what the apartment managers for the large complex in my college town must have […]

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Stormtroopers in Portland? I Don’t Think So!

 

There’s been a lot of controversy surrounding the alleged “blackbagging” of protesters at the Portland Federal Building demonstrations. I’m only aware of one instance of this having happened from a story in The Nation. There may be others. In that story, the detainee describes being detained, put in an unmarked vehicle, blindfolded with his own beanie, and hustled away to what turned out to be the Federal Building. He was Mirandized, his belongings were searched, and he was asked to answer some questions. When he refused to cooperate, the LEOs released him without charges having found nothing incriminating in his belongings (weapons, spray paint, etc.)

I’m not convinced that anything illegal took place here. The Nation is an extremely left-wing source with an agenda. They have an interest in driving a political narrative about totalitarianism and Trump having invoked the NDAA etc. when nothing of the sort is likely to have happened. I got curious about just what police are allowed to do in terms of arresting/detaining/questioning a suspect. Do they need a warrant etc? It seems the rules are determined by the Supreme Court case Terry v Ohio. Here’s an interpretation of the rules from this link.

“In Terry v. Ohio, 392 U.S. 1, 88 S. Ct. 1868, 20 L. Ed. 2d 889 (1968), the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that the Fourth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution permits a law enforcement officer to stop, detain, and frisk persons who are suspected of criminal activity without first obtaining their consent, even though the officer may lack a warrant to conduct a search or Probable Cause to make an arrest. Now known as a Terry stop, this type of police encounter is constitutionally permissible only when an officer can articulate a particularized, objective, and reasonable basis for believing that criminal activity may be afoot or that a given suspect may be armed and dangerous.”

So if there’s a riot going on at the Federal Building, and a large number of the rioters are dressed in black so as to make themselves difficult to differentiate (Antifa tactic), and law enforcement officers (LEOs) encounter someone a few blocks away after the rioters have been disbursed, who is dressed in the manner described, I’d say that constitutes probable cause to detain, question, and conduct a personal search (stop and frisk). Can they remove that person to another location to conduct the questioning and the search? I’m not sure, but it doesn’t sound unreasonable, especially in the circumstances where there are other rioters in the vicinity and it can be reasonably assumed that there will be interference encountered from the suspect’s accomplices if the search and questioning were to be conducted on the spot. That leaves the question of the unmarked vehicle and the unknown identity of the detaining force. I doubt the vehicle identification can be cited as a violation of protocol. Police use unmarked cars all the time. It doesn’t seem unreasonable to me that LEO’s should be required to identify themselves. At the end of the day though, we only have the word of the detainee(s) that the cops failed to identify themselves, and for all we know, that may simply be a courtesy which could have been extended, but not a requirement.

This is a political battle now as much as a law enforcement battle. If the left can spin up a narrative of Donald Trump as the authoritarian, that might just be enough to thwart legitimate law enforcement objectives of quelling 50 days of nighttime riots in Portland. Libertarians on my Facebook page are up in arms over police overreach and the looming security state. It’s not the first time that these well-meaning people (aka useful idiots) have failed to grasp the reality of the situation.

QOTD: Fathers and Sins

 

“Parents are not to be put to death for their children, nor children put to death for their parents; each will die for their own sin.” Deuteronomy 24:16 (NIV)

“For whatever measure you deal out to others will be dealt to you in return.” Luke 6:38 (NEB)

In evangelical circles, it’s common to hear someone say they have been “given” a scripture citation that resonates with a situation or personal challenge. It’s supposed to be the Holy Spirit tapping you on the shoulder with a gentle “Excuse me, but remember that verse in John’s gospel you learned in VBS in 1974? Take another look at it. You may find it of particular interest today.”

So, maybe it isn’t strange that these two verses bobbed up, separately, in my reading on the very day I learned that my high school was set to undergo a ritual cleansing to expiate the sins of its founders.

Yes, friends, I am a graduate of Robert E. Lee High School in Montgomery, Alabama. That’s the official name. We just called it “Lee.”

The school board has decided to rename the three largest high schools. Along with Lee, there is Sidney Lanier High School and Jefferson Davis High School.

Well, you can see the problem. Those gol-darned Confederates.

Lanier was founded around 1910, and named for an obscure Georgia poet you can be forgiven for not knowing. I have no idea why. I guess he may have passed through the city. Unfortunately for posterity, he served, again obscurely, in the CSA army.

The football team was the Poets. Really. That nickname didn’t get a payoff until its cross-town rival, Lee, was built in the mid-1950s. We were the Generals, and this gridiron feud was serious business through the ‘60s. Every season was capped with the Lee-Lanier game, which invariably featured a banner with the strange device, “The poet’s pen is mightier than the general’s sword.”

In 1970, Jeff Davis H.S. was built. Now, by that time there really was no excuse for choosing that name. But, while Davis was a Mississippian, at least he did live in Montgomery, the Confederacy’s first capital, briefly.

Now all three schools are set to get new names (to be determined later). It’s an appropriate move (although I might spare poor Sidney). Montgomery’s public schools have undergone re-segregation and are overwhelmingly black. Those Civil War “heroes” don’t look so heroic to the current students, or, indeed, most of the country.

If by renaming a few schools we can put to rest the bloody divisions caused by the sins of our great-grandfathers, then it’s well worth it. There’s a faint hope that our removing them from pedestals, literal and figurative, can put the blame where it belongs. Maybe we, their chagrined descendants, won’t have to bear the punishment for them.

But I fear our times are not noted for letting “each die for their own sin.” Collective and hereditary guilt seems to be the order of the day.

Jesus’ words as quoted by St. Luke should serve as a warning to zealots of every stripe. If they have ears to hear.

Running Out of Guns and Ammunition

 

Gun sales are through the roof. And so is the sale of ammunition. With the violence that has broken out across the country, Americans are making use of their Second Amendment rights. Many of us feel that we can no longer trust our legislators to protect us, as they tie the hands of law enforcement and regularly denigrate police departments.

The immediate problem is that the gun retailers are running out of products. Gun sales have been on the rise since 2,000, but they have increased significantly in the past year:

Americans sure are buying guns right now. June 2020 just recorded the highest number of background checks called into the FBI’s National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS) of any June in the history of the database.

This is a 135% increase from June 2019, according to the National Shooting Sports Foundation’s (NSSF) adjusted NICS figures (basically, the NSSF takes the FBI’s figures and subtracts some checks that are likely unrelated to gun sales). For comparison, the unadjusted June 2020 FBI NICS figure of 3,909,502 background checks shows a 70.6% increase from the unadjusted FBI NICS figure of 2,291,066 in June 2019.

Brandon Wexler, a gun shop owner in Delray Beach, FL made this observation :

‘Pretty much everything is out of stock,’ he said. ‘We have been doing it since the late 70’s and have never seen literally no supply available. As of last week, at all major distributors you could not get any guns. Everything was literally sold out. Can’t even get hearing protection.’

Ammunition is also in short supply. Manufacturers can’t keep up with the demand, especially for the most popular ammunition such as 9mm. We are considering taking a concealed carry self-defense class. My husband, who orders our ammunition online, says that everyone is reporting shortages. Our local gun store is also having difficulty keeping weapons and ammunition in stock.

So, what does all this mean? The chances are good that eventually, the manufacturers will catch up in production. But how long will that take, since gun and ammunition sales continue to rise? I’m also wondering about all the people who are buying guns and are also applying for their concealed carry permits. Will they make sure that they get the proper training? Will they practice regularly so that they can properly handle their guns? I understand that the Second Amendment doesn’t have those requirements for gun ownership and it shouldn’t, but as people gradually emerge from their lockdowns, will they realize the huge responsibility they have for carrying their guns safely? Will their anxiety levels be elevated and compromise their appropriate use of their guns?

We may have more to worry about than the bad guys.

COVID-19 Whatever Happened to “Do It for the Children”?

 

Now going on 126 days of house arrest, I thought about how the phrase “do it for the children” seems to have been memory-holed. It seems that the rationale for quarantining healthy children is that they are potential disease vectors to the vulnerable. Yes, there was (still is) some lame attempt to hype a particular and extremely rare problem in children to justify their own victim potential from COVID-19. But the stats are beyond question that children do not die and very few actually get sick from the SARS-CoV-2 virus, thus the only justification for their arrest and social isolation is the vector threat to older persons.

Doesn’t this turn the progressive plea “do it for the children” on its head? How many progressive policies were we supposed to implement “for the children”? Children were so special in the progressive universe that no liberty or freedom couldn’t be sacrificed or compromised in their name. Never mind that children would grow into a less free world; it was imperative for their safety and security.

But now, children are to be sacrificed on the altar of progressive control. They can’t even grow up to be unfree, they must be unfree now! Their unionized teachers refuse to return to the classroom until either social justice is obtained, universal healthcare is implemented, charter schools are outlawed, or whatever else the progressives want is acceded to with nothing whatsoever to do with educating the young. Children cannot be in classrooms, children cannot take music lessons, children cannot have birthday parties, children cannot be on the jungle gyms and other play equipment. This latter part is particularly ironic now that the CDC is downplaying the possibility that the virus is transferred through touching surfaces. So what is the rationale for fencing off playgrounds anymore?

I suppose the new progressive theme is “do it for grandma.” The hell with the future generation, let’s destroy their future in order to… do what exactly for the elderly and infirm? Kind of ironic that Blue State governors sent contagious patients into nursing homes, but scrupulously kept children out of schools and playgrounds?

What fine hell are the progressives not willing to impose upon us?

[Links to all my COVID-19 posts can be found here.]

Only The Real Rick and Morty Can Save Us.

 

I’ll start by saying that my intention here is not to get anybody on the site to become a regular viewer of a raunchy SciFi cartoon, but I recommend reading the post below – and if you have time, watch the clips I carefully picked (in total, they shouldn’t take up more than 8 minutes). Rick and Morty is a show about God’s dislike for the blindly religious; meaning, of course, bureaucrats.

If the Right has a demographic to play “get out and vote!” with, it’s young, unmarried, mostly white men (but definitely not all), aged 18 to 40. Perhaps it’s an issue that 22 years could span a single political demographic, but mine is an iPad generation; it is what it is. Anyway, those are our votes to lose. Of the group I’ve described, the easiest way to identify them is to point out that the majority of them play video games; they probably discovered internet porn before even having a girlfriend; and their choices of popular entertainment are likely disconcerting to the rest of polite society. I’d guess most of these have seen a fair share, if not all, of the series South Park, Game of Thrones, The Wire, Archer, Workaholics, Family Guy, Bob’s Burgers, and Rick and Morty. Each has some merit, most are liked for the wrong reasons. Bob’s Burgers might be the best, but Rick and Morty is the most important. It’s a show about a genius and his grandson. The title is a play on “Doc” and “Marty” from Back to the Future.

Rick is the smartest man in the universe. He is practically all-knowing and all-powerful, perhaps lacking only in clairvoyance. He’s considered a terrorist by the Intergalactic Federation (a government made up of mildly intelligent mosquitos), who, according to the often duplicitous Rick, hope to take over the Universe. The burden of his obsessive mind fuels raging alcoholism and often leads him to the conclusion that nothing matters. His partner is his grandson, Morty. The former is constantly dragging Morty into life-threatening adventures, and while Rick is often irritated with his grandson’s foibles, it becomes clear to the viewers that Morty is a genuine necessity. I’ll add two clips below to get us started: The first is the opening scene of the series, which fittingly encapsulates the show’s arc, particularly Morty’s development of confidence in order to hone in his grandfather’s seasonal insanity.

Note the jokey Christian overtones in the clip above. I doubt the creators are religious, but they aren’t dummies. I assume, if nothing else, they know secular stories don’t cut it. This second clip (from much later in the series) will give you a taste of the terrors that Morty is exposed to by spending time with his grandpa:

The thing about Morty is that his brushes with a seemingly cold and uncaring universe never completely diminish his decency, only his naiveté. Though the youngest member of the Smith family, a stultified nuclear unit, he becomes its leader. His father is the weak, often pathetic, Jerry – the greatest object of Rick’s ire; Morty’s mother is an alcoholic herself. She’s clearly intelligent, but embittered by her loss of options that came after marrying Jerry and carrying her eldest child instead of following her father’s seeming-tendency to put inconveniences out of the head and move on; then there’s Summer, Jerry and Beth’s firstborn. Her arc began later in the series. Initially, she was a typical self-obsessed teenage girl, but as she began to be included in Rick’s adventures, she’s developed into a character of equal importance. (It was Summer who was first to be told about one of Morty’s most disturbing revelations.)

The show really gets going in the last episode of the final season, wherein Rick is framed for murdering other Rick’s from other dimensions. This crime is “naturally” under the jurisdiction of The Council of Ricks, another government formed by the Ricks who lack our Rick’s independence. It becomes clear to us that they are no less of a problem to our world than is the first government we encountered.

Our culprit surprises us though… it’s the Anti-Morty. (By the way, in this episode, our Morty is deemed the “One True Morty” by his fellow sidekick captives.)

Alright, now that we’ve got the gist, I can bring us to the show’s most frighteningly eerie episode. The show’s third season opens up with Rick escaping from the Intergalactic Federation, but on his way out, he discovers that the Council (of Ricks) have kidnapped the real-Rick’s Morty and Summer. Rick’s wrath leads him to destroy both the Citadel of Ricks and the Bug Government. To what extent the latter survives, we aren’t exactly sure – and I haven’t seen the latest season of the show, but I believe the bugs make a return – but the Citadel, being made up of surviving geniuses and their submissive sidekicks, was bound to return. We discover their fate later in Season 3.

The episode continues to show dissatisfied Rick’s, working menial jobs despite their equal capabilities to their superiors, and all of the Rick-less Mortys, living in squalor and turning to crime. In the center is a an honest Rick-cop, who hopes to make a difference, and a highly competent Morty in a highly unlikely Presidential run. At the debate, candidate-Morty makes a convincing case for the fact that the Ricks and Mortys who dislike the system outnumber the few who do. (The entire campaign and speech is cleverly done, it allows the show’s bipartisan audience to see the candidate of their admiration in this 2017 episode… before ripping the rug from under our feet.) After candidate-Morty wins the debate, his just-fired Campaign Manager discovers some unsettling truth. Then he sets out to assassinate the potential frontrunner.

 

It’s no mere sitcom. It is situational, and it’s funny, but this show takes us way out of the house. The irrationality of love and family is pointed out, but redeemed; its multiverse is used to suck in the nerds, but mostly done to expose us to the nearly unlimited, yet daunting, opportunities that come from freedom; and the reality, and complicated nature, of Good and Evil are laid bare. For any of you who know smart young men that are finding a hard time living up to their potential, I recommend asking if they know Rick and Morty. You may find that this minor knowledge of something that interests them will foster some confidence in you from them. And I’ve found that guys like that really could use some adults to talk to.

I’ll hope to see you guys in the comments. But until then, as they say in Canada… “Peace Oot!”

My Two Days as a DV (Distinguished Visitor)

 

Four years ago in February, I found out that my book “GPS Declassified” had been named as recommended reading in the 2016 National Security Space Institute professional reading list. They invited my co-author and me to come out in July and address their classes. Then the commander of Air Force Space Command, Gen John Hyten (now Vice Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff) got us invited to address his staff and other military people. We flew to Denver and then drove to Colorado Springs on July 20th. I had difficulty sleeping due to the altitude but got through the next day on adrenaline. AFSC was at Peterson AFB. 2SOPS, where they control GPS, is just east at Schriever AFB. You go through the base security and then there’s another layer for 2SOPS. We met with senior people and talked about GPS for about an hour. Then we got a tour of 2SOPS. Even if was a bit of a dog and pony story, I still found the people there very impressive. The GPS satellites have individual characteristics and they adjust the constellations to optimize performance.

In the afternoon, there was the big show. We met Gen Hyten at 2:45 and then spoke for an hour. Thirty minutes were allotted for Q&A. We were told that at 4:30 all would rise and Gen Hyten would leave. Staff commented that it was rare for him to spend 90 minutes on one thing. 4:30 came and he said, “You all can leave. I’m staying.” People told me later that that had never happened before. Dang, we didn’t do too badly.

Friday, we gave three presentations to students and one to staff. There was a good line for our book signing. My wife was most impressed that we got an NSSI challenge coin. Saturday and Sunday, we walked around the Garden of the Gods. Monday, we flew back. It was nice for this obscure book author to be a DV for two days.

I look slightly dorky next to Gen Hyten.


Me in action

Signing books

I think that Jim Lovell’s books sold a few more copies than was the case for “GPS Declassified”.

Video of our presentation https://youtu.be/FSUSURff8is

Fauci Lies Again

 

Anthony Fauci praises New York’s coronavirus response: ‘They did it correctly’

“We’ve got to do the things that are very clear that we need to do to turn this around,” Fauci told PBS NewsHour. “Remember, we can do it. We know that when you do it properly, you bring down those cases. We’ve done it. We’ve done it in New York.”

“New York got hit worse than any place in the world. And they did it correctly by doing the things that you’re talking about,” added Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases — and a member of the White House coronavirus task force.

The population of New York is 19.45 million.

The population of Florida is 21.48 million.

The number of COVID 19 deaths in New York is 32,167.

The number of COVID 19 deaths in Florida is 4,894.

Not only does Florida have a larger population than New York, but it has a much higher percentage of high-risk elderly people. Yet, New York has managed to kill about 7 times the number of people who died in Florida. Fauci’s claim that New York “did it right” is ridiculous. This man needs to be fired not just from Trump’s White House team but from his job at NIH. The NIH long ago had a pristine reputation but in the last decade or two, it has shown itself to be in bed with big pharma. I honestly suspect that Fauci isn’t just gaslighting to defeat Trump in the election but is trying to increase demand for his imaginary vaccine and the profits made thereof. Jonas Salk donated the patent for his polio vaccine. No matter how many people were given the vaccine Salk didn’t make an additional penny. At this time, either Fauci commits to having his big pharma pals do the same or he can rot in hell with all the other rat bastards.

The number of cases is going up because of the massively increased testing of people who are in low-risk groups. They already have had the virus and their immune systems overcame it so they test positive for antibodies. Meanwhile, the death rate hasn’t kept pace with the new case rate. In addition, many people who again have antibodies and thus test positive have died of other causes. These people are being counted as COVID 19 deaths.

There is no second wave. New York screwed up by putting COVID 19 severely ill patients into nursing homes. These are just facts. Fauci should be fired for this nonsense.

Regards,

Jim

Member Post

 

Slum clearance projects were intended to replace impoverished, crime-ridden settlements with new, scientifically planned housing. In practice, vibrant communities with informal economies providing goods, services, and job opportunities were forcibly destroyed, and endless rows of drab, uniform, dysfunctional apartment buildings were erected in their place. The woke Left’s current revolutionary vanguard intends to burn down […]

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One More Time: The Notre Dame Fire

 

Man in custody after Nantes cathedral fire: French media

A 39-year-old man has been arrested in connection with a fire in the 15th-century cathedral in the French city of Nantes that blew out stained glass windows and destroyed the grand organ.

The man, a Rwandan refugee, worked as a volunteer for the cathedral and had been in charge of locking up the building on Friday night, TV channel LCI reported on Sunday, citing a prosecutor.

Now that we realize that it is possible for someone to commit arson on a world-famous cathedral let’s review what happened at Notre Dame.

After closing time (when all of the renovation workers had left) a fire started in what is called the attic at Notre Dame. This is a completely closed off area just under the peak of the roof. As there was no window or opening to the inside of the cathedral the fire grew unnoticed until someone saw the smoke rising from the roof some distance from the cathedral. By that time the fire had grown so large as to be uncontrollable. Arson was immediately dismissed as a possibility and repeatedly it was suggested that a faulty electrical wire was the cause. There was no electricity in the attic whatsoever. It seemed to me at the time, how easy it would be for one of the workmen just before closing time, to have slipped up into the attic, start a fire, and then leave the premises as normal. No one wished to speculate about this possibility or give up claiming that the most likely cause was an electrical fault.

As I saw it, there was a cause for the inability to consider arson. Politically correct wishful thinking didn’t want to risk discovering that the arsonist might be a migrant. I never speculated on who the arsonist might be but was appalled that nobody was interested in whether arson had occurred at all. Once again willful blindness from the left leaves society defenseless against very real dangers.

Even the reporting on this new fire was very strange. Again and again, they repeated that the damage was “not as bad” as with Notre Dame. A five-hundred-year-old organ was completely destroyed and it took 100 firemen hours to defeat the fire. However, don’t be too alarmed because “it wasn’t as bad as Notre Dame.” The sheer lunacy of this attitude should finally be getting through to some of the French. I hope so.

I think it is time to find out who set fire to Notre Dame.

Regards,

Jim

Member Post

 

Just because they are huge demographics you want behind you, they’re vote means the exact opposite of what it says. They vote like it is a fashion choice. If they are in danger of being naked, they vote based on their own personal needs. If they are comfortably clothed, they vote whichever makes them look […]

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