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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Ethics Dunce And Unethical Tweet Of The Week: Barack Obama

How many ex-Presidents have revealed themselves to be far bigger jerks than anyone suspected in their post-White House years? Until relatively recently, most Presidents died so soon after their terms were up that the situation didn’t arise. John Tyler joined the Confederate cabinet; Teddy Roosevelt torpedoed his own party and his old friend Taft in a fit of ego, but that really wasn’t out of character. Most have stayed relatively quiet and inoffensive. I think Barack Obama wins the booby prize for post-POTUS jerkism.

The tweet is gold medal pandering: the shooting and Floyd’s death have no nexus at all, except that they have both been exploited for their progressive agenda value. More dunder-headed still, these two issues are contradictory. Democrats have been crippling law enforcement in many cities and communities, putting law abiding citizens at risk; that was one of the results of the excessive and cynical frenzy over a single bad policing incident in Minneapolis. Now that police are sufficiently terrified and reluctant to police, Obama wants to make it harder for Americans to protect themselves. But hey, anything to help promote Black Lives Matter! Continue reading

On “Correct Pronouns,” Part 2

I began this inquiry two days ago, intending to complete it forthwith, but then a sick, broken, psychopathic teen in Texas murdered his grandmother, children and teachers with an AR-15 with the predictable Ethics Train Wreck gathering steam once again. Let’s finish up before something else goes wrong.

Ann Althouse is at fault: she flagged Roxane Gay’s New York Times advice column “Work Friend,” focusing on this question from the ubiquitous “Anonymous”:

In the past six months, my organization approved the optional inclusion of pronouns in email signatures. I learned that one of my team members uses nonbinary pronouns. In my written communication and conversation about that team member, I now use those pronouns, but I notice that no one else has made the adjustment. As the supervisor of this team, how can I fix this situation?I feel like the longer I wait to address it, the more disrespectful and complicit I’m being. I can’t police people’s language, but I would call someone out for other kinds of behavior I interpreted as disrespectful. (For what it’s worth, I don’t suspect anyone of being intentionally disrespectful by not using their colleague’s preferred pronouns.) The nonbinary colleague has not said anything to me about this being a problem, but I have to assume it feels dismissive. I feel I owe them an apology, but what I really owe them is better leadership. What would you do?

The advice columnist whose record of often obnoxious woke certitude ended up eating the issue sufficiently to require two parts to the intended post, responded,

“Thank you for asking this question. Everyone deserves to be treated with respect and part of that is using people’s correct pronouns.”

“Correct pronouns?” Doesn’t correct mean “factual and true”? The requirement that individuals and groups get to demand and enforce what is correct is, I think, one more manifestation of the Left’s slide into a totalitarian mindset, and the tendency of the easily subjugated, weenies and the “oh. well, if they care so much, why fight it?” crowd to let societal freedom die a death of a thousand cuts. Ann quoted one of Gay’s commenters, who wrote,

I am really curious about this pronoun business in business communication. Who decided that the new law of the land is that everybody gets to pick their pronouns however misaligned they may be to their publicly visibly persona, and everybody else needs to learn this and memorize? Who has time for this?

Of course, it is not a matter of time, but a matter of ethics. It is an ethics conflict, in fact, one that involves a clash of manners, consideration, principles, respect, fairness, responsibility, and the abuse of power. It is ethical—fair, respectful, caring—to agree to call a friend, colleague or acquaintance by whatever name they wish to be called, within reason. Not all names are appropriate in all settings, however: a boss that asked to be called “Love Bug” or “Sex Machine” in the workplace is engaging in sexual harassment. Unethical. Would one have to call someone by her “correct” name if she insisted on the title, “Your Majesty”? That’s getting closer to the issue here. Such demands (a request is a demand if one will encounter negative consequences for rejecting it) are a power play; one relevant ethics question is whether the conduct is justifiable. I object to jumping through hoops on command: Ethics Alarms will capitalize the “b” in Black when the stars turn cold, just as I rejected the abomination “of color” the first time it raised its colorful head.

Writing about the pronouns issue a year ago, Althouse, who has raised the question a lot, ended one post, “Personally, I feel that anyone who feels the need to announce their pronouns is childish and rude, and I treat them as such.” That discussion covered whether requiring/demanding/requesting that someone adopt one’s counter-factual, eccentric or debatable choice of pronouns is forcing others to adopt an ideology they do not share.

Of course it is. That’s the whole point. Continue reading

Mid-Afternoon Ethics Afterthoughts, 5/25/2022: The Wisdom Of Harry Lime

For simplicity’s sake, I’m going to tag all of the upcoming unethical doings in the wake of the latest school shooting tragedy as part of the Sandy Hood Ethics Train Wreck, which also included the Newtown shooting freakout. They are all the same issue, with the same rhetoric, the same appeals to emotion, and many of the same players, dunces and villains. “History repeats itself, and that’s one of the things that’s wrong with history,” Clarence Darrow said.

It is particularly nauseating, in my view, to have to listen and read the “other countries don’t have this problem!” talking point. Yes, the United States is unique in a lot of ways. The major point of uniqueness is that the US allows its citizens unusual freedom, and thus attracts and has always attracted risk-takers, iconoclasts, eccentrics, nut-cases, heroes, those who resent authority, and many who think that the guarantee of liberty and the opportunity to succeed or fail is the same as a promise of success. This, in turn, means that among the unpleasant byproducts of our liberties is more violence and more crime (also more personal responsibility). “We have spawned a new race here-rougher simpler, more violent, more enterprising, and less refined. We’re a new nationality and we require a new nation,” Ben Franklin tells John Dickinson in “1776,” and while that is only a manufactured quote from various writings of Adams and Franklin, Ben was right, as usual. The Bill of Rights reflects the needs and aspirations of that “new race,” so does the Constitution’s emphasis on the right to bear arms, and so does the proclivity of that race to abuse our unusual treasure of rights. For human beings and nations, the greatest strengths are often the greatest flaws. We pay a large and sometimes bloody price for our liberties and ideals, but if one supports the American experiment and where it has brought us, the conclusion must be that the cost is worth it.

Not everyone is cut out to be an American. Those who don’t like the culture should consider relocating somewhere less stressful, and accept the reduced upside in exchange for a more sedate set of risks.

That’s the lesson of the clip above from “The Third Man” above, in the final speech of the film by Orson Wells as the mysterious rogue Harry Lime.

1.The pro-abortion signature significance keeps on coming! CNN’s Dana Bash to the Governor of Arkansas: “Arkansas already struggles to support vulnerable children. Nearly 1 in 4 children in Arkansas lives in poverty….Do you really think that your state is prepared to protect and care for even more children if abortion does become illegal there?”

Bash did not get the answer she apparently anticipated, which would have been something like, “No, you’re right, Dana. It makes mores sense to kill them. Thanks for setting me straight.”

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Unethical Quote Of The Month: Stacey Abrams

“We know that increased turnout has nothing to do with suppression. Suppression is about whether or not you make it difficult for voters to access the ballot. And in Georgia, we know difficulty has been put in place for too many Georgians who vote by mail, who had to figure out a calendar of applying just early enough but not too late. You had to have wet signatures so they could print things out. Take a picture, upload it.”

—-Now official Democratic candidate for Georgia governor Stacey Abrams, huminahumina-ing her explanation for why the “vote suppression” law she said was an attack on democracy somehow didn’t seem to affect the voting in yesterday’s Georgia primaries, which saw record turn-out in both parties.

The school shooting in Texas luckily knocked Abrams’ doubletalk out of the news, though the mainstream media wouldn’t have reported on it anyway: Mustn’t reveal Stacey for the fake she is!

During a press conference yesterday Abrams leaped into “It Isn’t What It Is” infamy by responding with the above gibberish after a mean reporter asked how she explained the record voter turnout after the Georgia law she had condemned (and used to get Major League Baseball to pull its All-Star Game from Atlanta) was enacted. She argued that just because more voters came to the polls under the voter-suppressing new law than under the previous rules didn’t mean that the law didn’t suppress votes. You see, she explained, there is no causal relationship between turnout and suppression, and turnout is actually the “antidote” to suppression.

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On The Uvalde School Shooting

Yesterday’s murder of children and teachers at the Robb Elementary School in Uvalde doesn’t require an ethics verdict. The shooter was a monster, by any rational definition. The reactions and public statements provoked by the tragedy do require ethics verdicts, and they are largely the same. There was an immediate rush to embrace appeals to emotion, excusable with regular citizens, irresponsible for public officials, celebrities, and anyone who has enhanced influence in society.

Particularly revolting was how much was assumed or declared before the facts were known…and there still isn’t enough known, which shouldn’t be surprising since less than 24 hours passed. There are some things we can assume, however. We can assume that there will be another media-fueled freakout more or less exactly like the reaction to the Parkland shooting, but even more extreme because Democrats are desperate to find a distraction from the markers of their incompetence and failures before a reckoning can occur in November. We can assume—indeed we have already seen—that the exact same cliches, vague nostrums and deceitful statistics will reappear and be repeated, and from the same agents. I assume Don Lemon will be weeping soon on CNN, if he hasn’t already.

Primarily, I assume that the Barn Door Fallacy will take over, like it did after the Oklahoma City bombing, 9-11-01, and the George Floyd fiasco. The public, law makers, demagogues, pundits and news media will clamor for and maybe cause to come to pass draconian measures that will make life and society in the USA less free, less healthy, less conducive to human interaction, more expensive, more inconvenient, and more generally rotten, on the theory that a random catastrophe authored by a small number of human aberrations can be retroactively prevented. Barack Obama’s fatuous “if it saves one human life” nonsense will again make sense. The hope is that this tragedy creates an opportunity to eliminate obstacles to other Democratic policies. Senator Ed Markey (D-MA) said the quiet part out loud: “Abolish the filibuster and pass gun safety legislation now.”

If I permitted myself to respond to this near-certainty in kind, I would write something like the audacious conservative assassin Ace of Spades posted this morning…

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Update: So Kellyanne Conway’s Behind-The-Scenes White House Book Doesn’t Tell Negative Tales About Trump. It’s Still Unethical.

In this recent post, Item #4, I pronounced “Here’s the Deal,” former Trump campaign manager, PR flack and advisor KellyAnne Conway’s 500 page memoir of her White House days, an unethical betrayal of trust and professional ethics. According to the Washington Post,, Conway’s “tell-all” doesn’t do her former boss dirt, just other co-workers, like Jared Kushner and Anthony Fauci.

This post is to make a clarification: It doesn’t matter. Conway is still cashing in, and her book is still unethical. Workplaces do not work without mutual trust, and that means that no one can be candid, honest and spontaneous while thinking that what they do or say might be made public by an undeclared spy, mole, or blabber-mouth. Those like Conway who write books and get them out before the main characters have retired, died or faded from memory damage the workplace, politics, government, and human relations. They are ethics corrupters. They are selfish, destructive, betrayers. All of them. It doesn’t matter whether their fame arose from politics, Hollywood, the business world, journalism or someplace else. Such authors betray the trust of others for their own gain, unless every single individual mentioned by name for what they said or did has given advance consent.

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