Dazed And Confused Ethics Phantasmagoria, 5/28/2022

Almost nothing in this post makes sense to me, beginning with the video above on Disney+. “What’s going on here?” People are losing their minds, that’s what appears to be going on here. (Incidentally, I cancelled our Disney+ subscription. I did not realize that the “plus” stood for pro-gender identity crisis/pro drag queen propaganda. If that was going to be a theme, I believe Disney was obligated to inform me.

1. In a related vein: Mattel.

What is this? What the hell is a “transgender doll”? Is this “Ick” or unethical? Surely there aren’t a sufficient number of male-to-female trans kids in the market to make this new Barbie, modeled after excessively praised trans-gender actress Laverne Cox, profitable, even considering the weird Barbie collectors, who would snap up a T-Rex Barbie if there were one.

It appears to me, and don’t hold me to this in my current state of confusion, that Mattel is pandering to an unhealthy and an unethical cultural movement to make gender dysphoria both desirable and epidemic. That would be irresponsible, and thus unethical. Also profoundly stupid. Continue reading

Comment Of The Day: “Update On The Uvalde Massacre Extension Of The Sandy Hook Ethics Train Wreck, Part 2: Supreme Court Justice Stephen J. Breyer’s Self-Refuting Dissent”

As it did eventually in the Parkland school shooting, the consideration of the accountability for the death toll of innocents in the Uvalde shooting has turned to the conduct of those charged with protecting the victims. It is a separate issue from the culpability of the shooter, whose conduct, intentions and ethical and moral bankruptcy remain the same regardless of the actions of those who helped or hindered it. It is also a separate issue from the question of what public policies might have realistically prevented the tragedy before it took place. It is germane, however, to the matters of government trust, accountability for the loss of life, and particularly the reasonableness of constructing a free society where citizens are entirely at the mercy of the competence, wisdom and character of government agents.

Especially because of the latter, some commentators appear to be trying to rationalize and even excuse the conduct of the police in Uvalde who, by their officials’ own admission, allowed the murderer to keep shooting while they prevented others from trying to intervene, while holding back themselves because they feared being shot.

Commenter Jim Hodgson, in this Comment of the Day on the post, “Update On The Uvalde Massacre Extension Of The Sandy Hook Ethics Train Wreck, Part 2…“:


I was the first supervisor of my previous agency’s SRO program, and I helped teach Active Shooter Response to all our law enforcement deputies for nearly fifteen years. Continue reading

Update On The Uvalde Massacre Extension Of The Sandy Hook Ethics Train Wreck, Part 3: Six Ethics Dunces

Gabe Kapler, San Francisco Giants Manager

Kapler, who is what is considered a deep thinker by the standards of Major League Baseball, refused to stand for the National Anthem. His explanation before the game:

“When I was the same age as the children in Uvalde, my father taught me to stand for the pledge of allegiance when I believed my country was representing its people well or to protest and stay seated when it wasn’t. I don’t believe it is representing us well right now.”

Erma Bombeck once wrote that it is impossible to argue with a six-year-old without sounding like a sic-year-old, and this applies to my going into much detail explaining why Kaplar’s gesture of protest is shallow, facile grandstanding and nothing better. He was a major league player from 1998-2010 and always respected the Anthem. Nothing that happened during those years made him feel the U.S. wasn’t doing the right thing? I don’t believe it. Nor is the National Anthem meant as a means of endorsing national policy. Nor is the fact the Kaplar’s father has a distorted concept of what showing respect for the nation, it’s history, its sacrifices and its values by joining your fellow citizens in an expression of gratitude and honor an excuse for his adopting a similarly infantile view.

On Ethics Alarms, I don’t allow commenters to pass moderation if all they can muster is “I agree” or ” I disagree.” It’s a lazy and useless response. It’s easy to say, “I don’t like this,” especially if you are ignorant and have nothing to contribute. OK, Gabe: what would you have the U.S. do about school shootings? We’re all ears. But he knows he works in San Francisco, where the USSR national anthem would probably attract as much fealty as The Star Spangled Banner. Insulting the nation is good enough: he doesn’t need to articulate an argument.

Gustavo Arellano, LA Times Columnist

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Fine, You Loved Your Maniac Son. Now Shut The Hell Up, Mom!

There is a point where loyalty, unconditional love and bias-born blindness can no longer be tolerated nor excused, and Adriana Reyes, the mother of mass murderer Salvador Ramos, reached that point and passed it.

Her various efforts to defend her now fortunately dead son or to mitigate his incomprehensible crimes do nothing but harm. They contribute just this to understanding of the tragedy: Ramos was raised by a stupid, distracted mother with the ethical instincts of a sea sponge. Thanks, Adriana, but we kind of figured that out. We don’t need the reminders.

Reyes has now said…

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Update On The Uvalde Massacre Extension Of The Sandy Hook Ethics Train Wreck, Part 2: Supreme Court Justice Stephen J. Breyer’s Self-Refuting Dissent

“…Insofar as the Framers focused at all on the tiny fraction of the population living in large cities, they would have been aware that these city dwellers were subject to firearm restrictions that their rural counterparts were not. They are unlikely then to have thought of a right to keep loaded handguns in homes to confront intruders in urban settings as central. And the subsequent development of modern urban police departments, by diminishing the need to keep loaded guns nearby in case of intruders, would have moved any such right even further away from the heart of the amendment’s more basic protective ends…”

—-Justice Breyer, dissenting in the 2008 landmark case of District of Columbia v. Heller, which held that the Second Amendment indeed protected as an enumerated right an individual’s right t”o possess a firearm unconnected with service in a militia, and to use that arm for traditionally lawful purposes, such as self-defense within the home.”

Brava to Ann Althouse, who recalled the passage above while discussing still more of the increasingly infuriating fact now emerging about the failure, incompetence and cowardice of the Uvalde, Texas police when a homicidal maniac began shooting kids in the Robb Elementary School.

I wrote, before seeing this, “The argument that citizens shouldn’t have access to guns isn’t supported by the alleged conduct by the police in this tragedy. In fact, the opposite is the case. If police won’t take risks to save endangered children and use their weapons, then citizens must have the tools to do the job the police won’t.”

Ann wrote, in response to the Times report that “when specially equipped federal immigration agents arrived at the elementary school…the local police at the scene would not allow them to go after the gunman…according to two officials briefed on the situation.”:

If the police don’t arrive and save us from violence, how can this event support the argument for restricting guns? This is the very situation that makes the most responsible people want to own guns. It reminds me of the summer of 2020, when there were riots, and the police stood down.

Or the Rodney King riots, where the LA police made local Korean businesses under siege fend for themselves.
Or Baltimore’s Freddy Gray riots, when the mayor also ordered police to “stand down.”
Other reports today on the complete police botch…

Children were calling for help, shots were being fired, kids were dying, and the Uvalde police were waiting for…something.

  • “Police admitted to a stunning string of failures — including driving right by the gunman — in responding to the Texas school shooting while children were being massacred inside, with the head of the state’s Department of Public Safety saying the time for making excuses about the botched response was over.”

Waiting to confront the shooter for nearly an hour was, NBC reports authorities as admitting, “the wrong decision.”


It would be profoundly ironic if this horrific tragedy immediately seized upon by anti-gun zealots as exemplifying the need to remove individual gun rights emerged as a persuasive example of why they must be protected.

Update On The Uvalde Massacre Extension Of The Sandy Hook Ethics Train Wreck, Part 1

As Glenn Reynolds quips in such situations, “You’re going to need a bigger blog.”

The most depressing post-shooting development is that the Uvalde police completely abdicated their duty and allowed the maniac in an elementary school to keep shooting children. Texas DPS Lt. Chris Olivarez explained on CNN why police officers were reluctant to enter Robb Elementary School while the murders were going on. “They could have been shot. They could have been killed,” he said.

Oh. Well that explains it then. Of course, the police outnumbered the 18-year-old and presumably had more training, they could hear the shots, and being armed themselves, they still has a better chance at survival than the children , but, hey, look out for #1, right?

The shooter entered  Robb Elementary School through an open door , barricaded himself in a classroom and killed 19 children and two teachers. Nobody stood in his way. He had been outside the school for 12 minutes, firing at a funeral home across the street. The first 911 call was made at 11:30 am, and police didn’t arrive until 11:44. A Border Patrol tactical team finally entered the school almost an hour after Salvador Ramos had started shooting students, at around 12:40 p.m. They were able to get into the classroom and kill Ramos. Continue reading

Tales Of The Great Stupid, Baseball Division: Incredibly, The Josh Donaldson /Tim Anderson/”Jackie” Fiasco Gets Worse


In Act One of this fiasco, covered here, narcissist African-American star White Sox shortstop Tim Anderson implied that Yankee third-baseman Josh Donaldson called him a racist slur—which turned out to be “Jackie,” a slur never before recognized as such. (My late mother used to call me “Jackie.” I can never forgive her… ) You see, Anderson had referred to himself as the current day Jackie Robinson in an interview a few years back, an example of hubris that would have gotten him eaten by a three-headed something if he was in a Greek myth, and Donaldson chose to rub it in when Anderson was tagged out at third. Deserved mockery is not racism, but Anderson’s manager, Tony LaRussa, claimed it was. Tony can read the room: today any criticism of a prominent black American is “racism.”

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Morning Ethics Warm-Up, 5/26/2022: Mug Censorship, A Scientist Is Cancelled, And Happy Birthday Duke!

John Wayne was born Marion Robert Morrison on this date in 1907, in Winterset, Iowa. His family eventually moved to Glendale, California, where he grew up and attended USC on a football scholarship. Through a series of events too complex to write about here, Wayne found his way into movies and eventually devoted his career to the mission of creating of an iconic American male hero. That creation, which included some dark elements as well as admirable ones (See “Red River,” “The Searchers” and “The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance”) that still has a strong influence, and I believe an overwhelmingly positive one, on the culture.

In this he was assisted by two of the greatest of American film directors, Howard Hawks and John Ford, but creating “John Wayne” was Marion Morrison’s life’s work, to the extent where he refused to shoot a character (who has shot him and was running away) in the back in his final film, “The Shootist,” stating that it would violate the principles “John Wayne” stood for.

The man was not the character and didn’t claim to be. He was well-read, preferred to wear sports jackets and slacks, loved chess and by Hollywood standards—not a high bar admittedly— was an intellectual. Wayne once said that he never though of himself as John Wayne and still had “Marion Morrison” locked in his brain. They called him “Duke” in his pre-Wayne days, so he preferred that name off camera.

There are only five genuine Hollywood icons: Chaplin, Marilyn Monroe, Shirley Temple, Fred Astaire and John Wayne, and despite efforts to “cancel” him, Wayne remains the most vibrant, influential, and visible of the group. When I was teaching ethics to lawyers in Mongolia, the judges and lawyers knew virtually nothing about American culture, but they knew (and admired) John Wayne.

Mission accomplished.

1. I’m old enough to remember when it was conservatives who were always trying to censor free speech...apparently many triggered Democrats on social media are demanding that the websites that sell this mug be shut down, or that the mug be censored “like those racist Dr. Seuss books.”

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