Thursday, July 31, 2014

Bending over backward to be correct in Utah.

Read this. And the comments.

What happens in Vegas . . .

. . . is not always as lurid as the ads make it seem.

Here, for example, I am competing in a game of Giant Jenga. The chances that I would be photographed in Maui playing Jenga are remote. (This is what kept me from blogging a couple of weeks ago.)

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Nobody can stand the Palestinians

And Arabs least of all.

You might not know it from the outcry from Hamas stooges, but however pained the western world feels about the deaths, injuries and day-to-day lousy standard of living of the Palestinians, closer to home, the people that know them best have no pity for them.

RtO has said this for years, but it was not really restating the obvious because virtually no one was in agreement. Today, even the New York Times cannot fail to notice the deafening silence from Arab capitals.

 “There is clearly a convergence of interests of these various regimes with Israel,” said Khaled Elgindy, a former adviser to Palestinian negotiators who is now a fellow at the Brookings Institution in Washington. In the battle with Hamas, Mr. Elgindy said, the Egyptian fight against the forces of political Islam and the Israeli struggle against Palestinian militants were nearly identical. “Whose proxy war is it?” he asked.
The Times story is both tone-deaf and remarkably uninformed historically, even if it does recognize, without really comprehending, what is going on.

In 1948, the Arab leaders cynically -- or perhaps naively -- exploited the racism of the Palestinian Arabs (who were not then regarded as, nor regarded themselves as Palestinians; that came later) as a public relations fifth column to subvert world opinion against the Jews (who then did regard themselves as Israelis, even if world opinion had not come to the same understanding).  They urged the Arabs to evacuate Israel, assuring them they could return as soon as the Jews had been wiped out.

At that time, borders and self-images were not as hard as they have since become. The people who became Palestinians, if they thought about it at all, probably thought of themselves as Syrians and Palestine (including Jordan) as properly part of an Arab Great Syria. Had the armies of Syria, Jordan and Egypt pushed the Jews into the sea, the soon-to-be Palestinians would have returned home, but they no doubt would have expected to be able to move freely around Syria.

If they had thought it through -- it seems unlikely any did -- they probably would have thought that in the event of an Arab defeat they could retreat to new homes in "Syria." That they would be -- in the language of the day -- DPs, displaced persons, segregated in camps would not have crossed their minds; and even if it had, in Europe DPs were being resettled, not confined permanently in "refugee camps."

That they are still in camps after 64 years has been a shock to them, and I have never read anything to indicate that they understand even now what happened to them. It is worth asking why they were not resettled.

It is obvious why they were not quickly resettled. The place (Jordan being too poor to be attractive) would have been Syria, but until 1954 Syria was in the hand of the most radical and violent of all Arab regimes. It was not in Syria's plans for pressure to be reduced.

The 1956 war removed the residual influence of Britain and France, and by that time the Arab states had learned that the United Nations (that is, the United States) would pay to feed the Palestinians. No reason for them to alter arrangements that were by then becoming customary.

Population pressures and increasing political sophistication was by this time generating a Palestinian diaspora. The Palestinian Liberation Organization was created in 1964, with the sponsorship and as a tool of Nasser, dictator of Egypt.

It planned the destruction of Israel but as the Arab regimes soon found, it was more dangerous to them than even to the Jews. The regimes of Jordan and Lebanon managed -- Jordan just barely -- to save themselves. Lebanon was destroyed, however, in the civil war.

Arab leaders learned to distrust the Palestinians, which is why none has ever done anything to bring the Palestinians into the pan-Arab polity they claim, when convenient, to want. At times, as in Iraq, they have massacred their Palestinian refugees when they became obnoxious.

Palestinians are more useful to Arab regimes as a club to beat the Jews and entertain their masses than as either sources of well-educated (compared to other Arabs) labor or as residents of another Arab state. But from time to time the Palestinians start listening to their own propaganda and making trouble for not only the Israelis but for the stability of the Arab states. Then the Arab regimes keep up the mask but behind the scenes expect Israel to clean up the mess.

In rank order of who really cares about the lives of the miserable refugees, from least to most, are the western stooges of Hamas, Hamas, the other Arabs and the Israelis.

For the Israelis, a tenderness for refugee lives does not require us to believe that Israelis are more moral or less bloodthirsty, but merely to acknowledge the obvious -- Israel has something to lose from a high body count of Palestinians, the others something to gain.


A sampling of political ads on teevee

Aren't I cute?
A sampling of political ads

I don’t own a TV so I don’t usually see political ads, but this week I saw several. Not all getting on air, I am sure, but a complete rotation during a news hour.

No attack ads but equally, with the exception of one candidate,  Brian Schatz, no issue ads either.

The gubernatorial ads for Ige and Abercrombie were bland and forgettable.

Colleen Hanabusa’s senatorial ad was very subtly done. Depending upon how you interpret the dog whistle, it was, at best, a veiled appeal to maintain the political style of the Revolution  of ’54; at worst, a racist appeal to localism.

If I am wrong, and no dog whistle was intended, then it was a waste of money, because otherwise it was as empty of content as it could be.

Schatz’s issues were uncontroversial enough: for Social Security, for background checks for gun buyers (not really a hot local item) and for environmental protection (although Hanabusa has criticized him for voting for a pale green environmental bill that allegedly exempts HC&S’ boilers, while she voted against it).

I am of two minds about issue ads on TV. On the plus side, they are at least better than the anodyne “aren’t I cute?” ads that are usual. On the minus side, as Schatz’ attempt shows, a claim to be “for the environment” needs some explication. (I got it by reading The Maui News; that is a good way to be an informed voter, although I will not be voting in the primary.)

One ad, though, shocked me and is the reason for this post. I wouldn’t have taken your time to note that Governor Abercrombie -- aka “Mr. Excitement” -- runs boring ads.

Congressional candidate Mark Takai had a poorly produced ad (with a voiceover so hurried I missed most of it) that opened with old news footage of the 442nd RCT and some gabble about Mark Takai in the tradition of the 442nd. Funny, I don’t recall that Takai rushed any machine gun nests in Italy.

It’s a bold, and disgusting, ploy for the 47-year-old Takai to claim the mantle of the 442nd, which laid down its weapons 69 years ago.

(A cursory search finds a Chad Blair report on Civil Beat from February which said Takai would be citing his military service, which he does as a “veteran of Operation Iraqi Freedom” although he never got to Iraq.)

I don’t know anything against Takai but I find his commercial repellant.

Last note: Shan Tsutsui has an unintentionally funny ad for his run for the do-nothing job  of lieutenant governor featuring do-nothing-much retired senator Dan Akaka saying Tsutsui “reminds me of me.” I saw that one three times and laughed harder at each viewing.

Monday, July 28, 2014

Book Review 330: Night

NIGHT, by Elie Wiesel. 120 pages. Hill and Wang paperback

This would be a good time to read -- or reread -- Elie Wiesel’s “Night,” always keeping in mind that all memoirs of the concentration camps were written by survivors, almost always those who, for one reason or another, got less severe treatment.

Elie Wiesel, for example, spent his first months at Auschwitz-Birkenau in an undemanding slave labor job sorting parts in an electrical factory.

Things got worse later and he barely pulled through.

The world did not want to hear such stories in the ‘50s, and it took a campaign by Francois Mauriac to find a publisher for “Night” in France. There was even less interest, and no academician to mount a campaign, in English-speaking countries.

Now, “Night” is famous, taught in schools, but one is left wondering exactly what impact is has. My copy was originally owned by a high school girl, and she left notes that make me doubt whether the power of the spare narrative, so evident to me, was felt by her. Apparently not.

In a late foreward, written to accompany a new translation by his wife, Wiesel asks himself why he wrote the book and, characteristically, remains uncertain. But we understand why we read them, at least as grownups.

“Night” is not about Jews but about Germans. By extension, about Palestinians, which is why now is a good time to read or reread it.

Saturday, July 26, 2014

Book Review 329: How Rome Fell

HOW ROME FELL: Death of a Superpower, by Adrian Goldsworthy. 531 pages, illustrated.Yale paperback

Adrian Goldsworthy felt obliged to spend the first and last pages of “How Rome Fell” explaining that the answer, whatever it is, cannot be copied over as a cautionary admonition to the United States today.

Not that he does not draw conclusions. Some historians claim history does not teach lessons -- a silly idea equivalent to saying that you cannot learn from experience -- but Goldsworthy does not do so. He claims that superpowers, when they fall, fall from within.

When I was a boy in the South, the fall of Rome was a favorite theme of holy roller preachers, although these men were so ignorant they could not have found Rome on an Esso map of Italy. They were persuaded that it was the moral depravity of the Romans. They were too stupid to note that the decline leading to the fall coincided with the Christianization of the empire.

Edward Gibbon thought the fall was the result of religion and barbarism. A German historian counted at least 200 proposed causes.

Goldsworthy is cautious. For one thing, the decline can be fairly precisely started in the third century, and he notes that we know so little about that time that if we were equally ignorant about the 20th century, we would know there had been a Great Depression and two world wars but would not understand how serious they were.

Still, he dates the beginning of the end to the murder of Emperor Commodus and the civil wars that followed. Surprisingly, he offers no discussion about why the murder -- not the first of an emperor -- was so dire.

The reason was that Augustus, 200 years earlier, had not devised a rule for succession in the constitution of the empire. There was a vague feeling that sons should follow fathers, but Roman emperors did not have many sons, or if they had one, tended to die (or be murdered) when he was an infant. There was no plan for the death of an emperor without an heir.

The empire was basically the army, so the strongest, best-placed general grabbed for the diadem. And others, too, often enough.

Goldsworthy identifies a structural change that this system of musical chairs began: the later emperors stopped using senators as legates to command armies or undertake other crucial tasks. They were afraid of creating a viable rival.

But if senators could not be trusted, the emperor had to do everything himself, which meant leading the army. If campaigns were necessary at opposite ends of the empire, one would be left unattempted.

Although he says relying on a small aristocracy -- around 600 men -- “may seem odd in this day and age,”  especially since they were “amateurs in the modern sense,” the method worked well in the Roman context.

By keeping the ruling class wieldy, it allowed emperors to judge whom to trust and whom to keep away from temptation. And until the breakdown in the third century, senators did not think of themselves as potential emperors, which helped keep them contented as subordinate servitors of the state.

Expanding the upper leadership to the class of equestrians -- perhaps as many as 10,000 men -- meant an emperor lost intimate knowledge of whom to rely on and whom to fear.

This is a more subtle argument than barbarism and religion, and Goldsworthy is at pains to show that the barbarians were never numerous enough, skilled enough or united enough to do critical damage to such a strong empire. He has much less to say about religion.

No empire ever lasted so long. The western empire lasted around 1,300 years (though much of that period as a republic), the eastern portion much longer.

The Hamas tunnels

Israel’s open warfare with Hamas is, so the government says, partly about the tunnels by which terrorists are introduced into southern Israel. This opinion piece in The Washington Post attempts, not entirely successfully, to account for the alarm the Israelis feel about tunnels.

Be that as it may, I wonder why there is not a tech defense against tunnels. Israel has one of the best archaeological infrastructures in the world.

Israel knows how to use airborne magnetic anomaly detectors and sidescan radar to identify long buried ancient sites. It ought also be possible to use seismic sensors to indicate where tunnels are being dug. In this Haaretz story, other methods are suggested, from something as simple as microphones (used during World War I) to microgravity sensors to satellite observation.

The purpose of this post is only to ask whether there is not a tech answer to the ancient military use of tunnels, not to suggest that a ground invasion of Gaza is not necessary on other grounds

Haaretz hints both that the Israel Defense Forces have been remiss and that they have tried at least some tech defenses with indifferent results:

Langotsky says it was a mistake not to give Military Intelligence and the IDF’s technological units responsibility for finding a solution to the tunnel problem. Instead, too much money has been wasted, he says.
For secrecy’s sake, the IDF, the Defense Ministry and the defense contractors developing the technology — such as Elbit Systems and Rafael Advanced Defense Systems — declined to answer TheMarker’s queries on the matter. Scientists from the Technion, where two teams are working on the tunnel problem, also declined to comment.
The Defense Ministry said: “All the technologies mentioned in the story are very well known to the defense establishment and have been examined in depth in light of the threat and soil conditions in the sector. For reasons of classified information, we are prevented from providing details on the use of each of these technologies.”

 RtO suggests that finding tunnels offers superb opportunities for psychological warfare, a chance to reverse the thrust of asymmetric warfare that usually works against the stronger side.

For example, a tunnel could be mined with an “Ambien bomb,” something to put terrorists to sleep as they emerge or wait near the Israel exit of a tunnel. (Strictly, such a  “bomb” would violate international law, but I do not think these laws are worth acknowledging.) Then the would-be terrorists could be hog-tied and perp-walked through Tel Aviv.

More fiendish would be turning the psychological reaction that Gerard DeGroot says is the tunnel’s reason for being against the tunnelers.

If it is possible, as Haaretz asserts, to detect people in a tunnel, then preset mines or air attacks at each end, sealing them in, ought to make even dedicated Palestinian would-b e martyrs reluctant to become tunnel militants.

A Fox News story, using IDF sources, says the Gaza entrances to the tunnels are hidden in mosques, schools, homes and sometimes UN relief buildings, which make locating both ends of a tunnel from outside problematic, although daring Israeli “tunnel rats” could overcome this problem.

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Open carry + Minnesota nice = ?


I will admit that he didn't pull his gat and shoot the CHILD in a hot rage. It was a cold rage.

Monday, July 21, 2014

K.I.S.S. (Keep It Stupid, Simple)

So, Gene Simmons becomes (I believe) the first Mauian to be the subject of the Washington Post's truth squadding, for his claim that the 1% pay 80% of the taxes and half the population pays no taxes.

Simmons scores "4 Pinocchios," which is the Post's way of saying: Big fat liar.

FOLLOWUP, August 16:

It's hard to understand why anybody listens to this guy:.

Sunday, July 20, 2014

The right side of history

NOTE: I began writing this post on July 3, then set it aside while on a trip to Nevada. Just as well. I have been advocating a free and independent Great Kurdistan for a long time -- long before RtO began in 2008 -- and no one agrees with me. So rushing isn't the issue.

But delay allows me to reference the opinion piece by Zalmay Khalilzad, which confirms -- if it needed confirmation -- the intellectual sterility and practical foolishness of the Bush foreign policy team. Not that the rest have been better, as this post will show:

It isn't always possible to have your political principles and be a practical politician, too. I suppose the most dramatic example in our history (setting aside the initial question of slavery and nationhood vs. antislavery and several nations at the Constitutional Convention) was the choice between the violently anticommunist Germany and the would-be subversive and antidemocratic USSR in the late '30s.

President Roosevelt chose to oppose the Germans, because Germany was an aggressor state, and the USSR was not.

Neutrality, or even standoffishness, was not a possible alternative, although millions of Americans wanted it to be.

Many rightwingers disagreed. They thought communism was the worst -ism there could be and wanted to fight alongside Germany to overthrow Bolshevism. Among well-known Americans who felt this way was George Patton. However, he followed orders and fought the Germans. But he was never reconciled to the idea.

In the foreign policy apparatus of the time, there were several influential voices who considered war with Germany both inevitable and the proper course of action; but their voices were unheard by the public. Among people who did speak out to influence public opinion, there was no agreement.

Newspapermen who had reported from Germany were almost united in understanding who the lead enemy was, but politicians were not nearly so united. Political opinion ranged from pure pacifism to admiration for Hitlerism to admiration for the Soviet Union. The latter required switches in direction depending upon whether Russia and Germany were allied or not. Very very few advocated war before war began.

Most controversies regarding foreign relations are less clearcut than Hitlerism, so it is not surprising that, for example, Americans were always uncertain about the best approach to take regarding Irish independence or the status of the Panama Canal.

In retrospect, and using Panama as a good example, it appears that the United States would have been better off supporting autonomy and local self-determination most of the time. Most of the time, though, it did not. At worst, by refusing to support nationalism in Vietnam, we ended up losing a good-sized war, killing millions of innocents and damaging the reputation of America in most of the world.

Nationalism won anyway.

It is usually claimed that the Kurds are the most numerous national group without a state of their own (this may not be true, as there are some obscure but numerous non-Han groups inside China). For some reason, the status of the Kurds does not resonate with Americans. I have never seen a Free Kurdistan bumper sticker like the Free Tibet stickers you sometimes see (at least in the hippie zones).

Yet the Kurds have never done anything to irritate us. They have never picked the "wrong" side in an international dispute, and they have been cruelly persecuted.

Why don't we care about Kurds?

At one time, advocating a free and independent Great Kurdistan would have caused resentment in Turkey, a state the United States was concerned to conciliate and strengthen because it was on the border of the USSR. This continued despite Turkey's genocidal policy towards the Kurds within its borders.

But for more than 20 years there has been no good reason to conciliate Turkey. The other three states that need breaking up to create Kurdistan are no friends of the United States and have never been.

Breaking up Iran, Iraq, Syria and Turkey is going to happen if southwest Asia is ever to be organized on national, rather than colonialist principles; and reorganizing southwest Asia is a requirement for establishing stability there, if that can ever be done.

As far as I know, no one in the American government, under any administration, has advocated a free Kurdistan. Nor have any academics nor any of the policy providers in the think tanks.

It would have been cheap and easy to have backed the Kurds. If we had asked and given them some modest help, they would have bumped off Saddam for us and them.

Now even Khalilzad is wagging his finger through the opinion pages of the New York Times and admonishing the government to prepare for a breakaway Kurdistan in Iraq. Why couldn't he have suggested that to Incurious George when he was ambassador in Baghdad?

He still doesn't get it. He prefers the colonialist structure of Iraq, although our invasion made that impossible to sustain.

It may be bloody -- it probably will be -- but circumstances are moving in favor of a Kurdish state. There is nothing America can do to stop it, and, sadly, nothing now it could do to support it.

History was on the side of the Kurds, and America could have been on the side of history.

And of what we often claim -- without much evidence to show we are sincere; think of East Timor -- to be our founding principles.


The only issue in the mayor's race

It is raining this morning, refilling the reservoirs and forestalling worries about an Upcountry water shortage till next year. Yet water is still the only issue in local politics. If we don't fix water, it won't matter what else we do.

The county is, at last and much too late, replacing Shaft 33, which is the immediate problem.

The long-term issues are moving to groundwater and, somewhat paradoxically, acquiring the Brewer watershed.

The Supreme Court's decisions on Waiahole Ditch and other water cases make it clear that over time, more and more surface water is going to be withdrawn from public uses. This is not a practical problem, as there is plenty of groundwater.

But it is a financial problem, since groundwater is more expensive. Not more expensive than we can bear, but more expensive.

On the plus side, it is more reliable, once we have it.

But it will probably be decades before drastic reductions in access to surface water are ordered. The county must acquire the Brewer watershed in West Maui.

If water is a public trust, and the court says it is, then watersheds are a public responsibility. There is no urgency in removing well-managed watersheds run by stable companies to public ownership, and besides, most of the East Maui and Molokai watersheds are already public lands.

But the West Maui watershed is owned by a non-operating company with almost no income, no financial strength and no staff to look after the forest.

Birds spread miconia, and so far all that attention has been focused on East Maui. What happens when miconia (or some other plague) arrives in the Brewer watershed?

Nobody is minding the store.

Alan Arakawa is probably going to be re-elected, although the memory of Bernard Akana beating Dante Carpenter proves there are no sure things in local politics. He does not understand the Brewer watershed.

I do not believe he understands water issues, period. Sixteen years ago, when he was running for mayor the first time, we happened to meet at a high school graduation party and had a long talk about water. I learned his ideas about it were far different from mine.

So far as I can tell, he hasn't learned anything about it since.

Recall he wanted to control the Brewer water intakes but did not want to spend money on the land that fed the intakes.  There really was -- and is -- no advantage to controlling the intakes; the water, so long as it exists, will come out of them and go into the ditches. Where else could it go?

In the end, he got neither and between his blunders and the County Council's thrashing around trying (and failing) to get a piece of the play, the taxpayers were mulcted of over half a million dollars. For nothing.

The last asking price I heard for the watershed (including the intakes that Arakawa was once willing to pay $7 million for) was around $20 million -- 4 elementary school cafeterias or a quarter of an airport access road. Cheap at the price.

The history of county water has been penny wise and pound foolish all along.

As far as I can tell, water is not an issue for any of the 6 or 7 candidates, most of whom are off on luddite drives against agriculture.

Friday, July 18, 2014

Being schooled

I have started reading Adrian Goldsworthy's "How Rome Fell," and while I haven't gotten to Chapter 1 yet, his discursive and chatty introduction contains some statements so provocative, it seems worthwhile to stop and think about them.

Goldsworthy is an English classicist, but that makes him, to a degree, an internationalist, what was called "an Atlantic man" (spending a lot of time on planes between Europe and North America) a few decades ago.

Fifteen years ago, he was one of six historians on a panel sponsored by the Center for Strategic and Budgetary Assessment and paid for by the American taxpayer (through the Office of Net Assessment, which I had never heard of). They were to discuss grand strategies, apparently with a view to heading off the American empire (which Goldsworthy does not believe exists) from going the way of the older empires.

A few months later, some real imperialists drove planes into the World Trade Center, and ended the "hugely encouraging" feeling Goldsworthy had had that "a government agency (was) genuinely trying to learn lessons from history."

Incurious George and his handlers were among the least likely people in the entire world to care about learning lessons from history. They were out to teach history a thing or two.

It seems unlikely that even without the Muslim attack, and even if some different set of politicians had been in office, the taxpayers would have ever realized any benefit from this sort of confab, but that is not the provocative statement of Goldsworthy's I want to draw attention to.

No, what Goldsworthy, an Oxford man, said that startled me was, "In shaping the new country, the Founding Fathers consciously hoped to copy the strengths of the Roman Republic and avoid its eventual downfall. [And, no, despite lefty fantasies, they were not inspired by nor trying to copy the political structure of the Six Nations confederacy.] These days, it is also fair to say that the different university systems tend to make educated Americans broader in the range of their knowledge than the British. Plenty of engineers or medical doctors in America will at some point have taken a course or two in history or even the classics, something which is unimaginable on this side of the Atlantic."

This does not entirely surprise me, as in England engineering is still pursued in the old manner of industrial training; some of England's best-known engineers never went to college. And in the better American engineering schools, undergrads get a strong serving of humanities. Not so much in the average schools.

And, of course, in the liberal arts schools Americans learn nothing of science or engineering, which helps explain how SHAKA could gather 18,000 signatures for its crackpot petition.

Still, I was startled to be told that Americans have a "broad" view. This has never been my experience. Politically -- and that is the context of a study of how Rome fell -- the only segment of the active population that show any interest in history are the Tea Partiers, and they study the crazy imaginary history of the Bircher Cleon Skousen (reportedly, Mitt Romney's favorite college teacher).



Sunday, July 13, 2014

The Florida diamond mines

The reason RtO has been silent this past week was that I was at the National Pawnbrokers Association convention, a full-time job.

One of the speakers was Martin Rapaport, a titan in the diamond trade, publisher of Rap Report of current diamond prices and buyer and seller of 2 million carats a year.

Reviewing the state of the diamond industry, Rapaport got a stir from his audience when he said, "More diamonds are coming out of Florida than Botswana."

He said he was not exaggerating, and a minister of the Botswana government told him they were worried about competing with the Florida diamonds, which are already cut and polished.

Baby boomers accumulated good quality diamonds in the '60s and '70s, and now, "A 75-year-old woman decides she doesn't need that 2-carat ring, plus she has grandchildren to help through college."

If she's 75, she isn't a baby boomer, but we got the point. He delicately did not say that the boomers are also starting to die off.

Some of the Florida diamonds of old-fashioned cut will have to be recut, and that will happen in India, where 500,000 cutters are training in the ancient gem center of Surat.

Opportunity for pawnbrokers, but he also said most will have to improve their diamond knowledge to take advantage.

Thursday, July 10, 2014

But I have to find time for this

CORRECTION: A reader tells me the link was bad. I was traveling and unable to check it. By now, everybody will be aware that RtO was referring to the Spring massacre. It has been nearly 3 days now and no report (that I have seen) how the killer got his guns. Here is a link to an early report.

How having a gun in the home provides security.

UPDATE: So let's review the situation up until the time the gunman shot seven and killed six of his own family:

He attacked his wife. He attacked his mother. He scared his brother enough to call the police. A divorce court judged him to be a threat to his children.

There is no mention in this story -- it is early yet -- whether the shooter was formerly a good man with a gun, or if he first acquired his gun after he was becoming known as a violent, but in a legal sense, not very violent person. No firearms or other weapons are mentioned in the early violent encounters. There is no mention of surrender of firearms under terms of a protective order, which is sometimes a condition in some jurisdictions. There is no mention of firearms or other weapons in the order of the divorce court.

It is hard to see, based on this limited information, that the "system" failed. Under our system, you get (at least) one free homicidal attack before you are tagged as "dangerous."

It is also hard to see how his victims would have been safer if they had had guns. Is a 15-year-old girl going to answer the doorbell at her home with a gun loaded, cocked and held in shooting posture? And even if she does, how likely is she to win a shootout with a homicidal, armed man already in attack mode?

But something did fail here. Or, rather, something worked exactly as the gundamentalists want it to work: Either a violent man was allowed to keep his gun; or a man well-known among those close to him to be not only a violent talker but also a violent actor was allowed to get a gun.

Since he was in Texas, he could have walked around waving that gun, and it would have been a violation of his "Second Amendment rights" to have stopped him, questioned him or excluded him from a public space, like the public road leading up to his in-laws' house.

Result: 4 more child sacrifices plus a couple of innocent adults.

Every gun owner in the country gets to own a piece of this legacy.

Blogging will resume Saturday

Because RtO is preoccupied with other stuff at the moment.

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Scoring in Valdosta

When I was a lad in Georgia, Valdosta was known for its high school football team, coached as I recall (but don't hold me to it that was a looooong time ago) by Wright Bazemore and the highest scoring team in the nation, higher even than Waycross, which was one county over and in a slightly lower (AA) class and was the nation's second highest scoring football team.

Valdosta had something like 11 or 12 players picked for scholarships to SEC schools, than which no higher educational attainment was possible.

Those were the days. This is what Valdosta is known  for now.

On the first day of the new Georgia Safe Carry Protection Act, a misunderstanding between two armed men in a convenience store Tuesday led to a drawn firearm and a man’s arrest.

“Essentially, it involved one customer with a gun on his hip when a second customer entered with a gun on his hip,” said Valdosta Police Chief Brian Childress.
Because, shoot, it ain't so easy to tell the Good Guy with the Gun from the Bad Guy with the Gun.

To the unending regret of goobers everywhere, nobody got shot, or even all shook up.

But if there HAD been a Bad Guy with a Gun somewhere in Valdosta,  no doubt some some open carry zealot would have pulled his hogleg on another open carry zealot, just like actually happened, and the Bad Guy would have gone about his business unmolested. Because gundamentalists are childish and delusional.