Assorted Observations On The Sandy Hook Ethics Train Wreck, Las Vegas Strip Edition

  • I was serious about directing anyone seeking ethics commentary in reference to the Las Vegas massacre to all of the posts tagged with the Sandy Hook Ethics Train Wreck tag. So far, there is nothing new being said or proposed, just an unleashing of the same tactics, same fake “facts,” and same rending of garments and tearing of hair, whatever that is. I suppose this is healthy as a cultural release, though not in nay other respect. That tag wasn’t on this basic Ethics Alarms post, however, and it is the starting point for any of my commentary on gun control-related matters. The intentionally stark title: The Inconvenient Truth About The Second Amendment and Freedom: The Deaths Are Worth It.

Oh, hell. I’m just going to re-post it. Be back in a second.

There. It’s up.

  • So much of the blather everywhere is naked virtue signaling. One commenter here who should know better wrote on one of the other posts that I was criticizing those who were decrying gun violence. Who doesn’t decry gun violence? Why is it necessary to proclaim the obvious? Oh, you really are horrified that 59 innocent people were killed and 500 were wounded? What a sensitive person you are! You are so good, I must take your insistence that we have to do something as a substantive contribution to the discussion.

Decrying senseless violence and wanting gut the Bill of Rights in response are not the same thing, not even close. The first is gratuitous and obvious, and the second is emotional and irresponsible.

  • I would not be surprised at all if President Trump further muddled this already incoherent debate by endorsing some new (or old) gun control measures. He would do this, presumably, as he seems to make most decisions, from the gut, or the seat of his pants, or because it seemed like a good idea at the time. The chances that he has thought deeply about the issues involved are nil; the chances that he is familiar with the jurisprudence on the matter is less than nil. It would almost be worth it to watch the reshuffling of loyalties and support among the pundits and commentariat.

Real Nazis, after all, want to confiscate guns.

  • Once again, the NRA is being vilified, with the disgusting “blood on their hands” cry. The NRA isn’t sort of like the ACLU; it’s exactly like the ACLU, but with more integrity. If only the ACLU fought to defend the First Amendment as vigorously as the NRA defends the Second. Organizations that take the extreme position on any of the sections of the Bill of Rights create a necessary counterweight to fanatics who would tear them out of our Constitution and culture.

The NRA is extreme. It has to be extreme. The ACLU isn’t extreme enough, and because it will not take an absolutist stance (Like late SCOTUS justice William O.Douglas, who repeatedly wrote that no restriction on speech was justifiable or Constitutional), it has made itself vulnerable to bias, and harmed its credibility.

  • It is astounding to me—I guess I foolishly expect people to learn—that the eruption on the latest anti-gun fervor is again being led by ignorance, hyperbole and finger-pointing. The argument of  the Federalist essay I posted the link to this morning should be clear as glass: making this a partisan issue guarantees that nothing will get done. Democrats sounding like they are seeking a slippery slope leading to the banning of all firearms guarantees no action whatsoever, dooming even reasonable measures. Forever. Do they really not understand this? Do they really want to try to fix the problem, to the extent it can be fixed? I wonder.

Progressives mostly refuse to read conservative publications like The Federalist. They would rather be pure and stupid than informed and effective.  And this, my friends, is why Donald Trump is on his way to a second term.

  •  The tenor of much of the blather from elected officials and pundits reaffirms my belief that adulthood is a myth.  I keep hearing various versions of the lament, “We can’t let this go on! How can we stop it from happening?”

This is the public policy discourse equivalent of running in circles screaming. We Can’t Stop It. Oh, we can perhaps take measures to make it harder to modify semi-automatic weapons, so this exact same scenario is somewhat more unlikely. That’s not what the activists are asking for, however. By “it” they mean a random massacre by an apparent lone maniac using firearms. The only way to prevent that is to confiscate firearms, profile citizens, and install oppressive police state measures.

Paddock was a wealthy individual without any of the markers of a killer, who carefully planned a mass execution and had the resources to do it whatever the laws were. He seems most similar to Charles Whitman, the Texas Tower sniper, whose rampage may have been brought on by a brain tumor.  Individuals can do terrible things. This is a country based on the principle that citizens deserve autonomy, and when autonomy is given to irresponsible, crazy, angry, sick people, they can create havoc and mayhem, and eventually some of them will.

The inability to be able to process that inevitability is wilful childishness.

It reminds me of the old Werner Erhard scam, the Hunger Project, which preached that the way to end world hunger was to be convinced that world hunger could end. The conclusion that there is no way to stop someone like Paddock from using guns to slaughter people isn’t “pro gun.” It’s pro-Constitution, pro-equal protection, pro-recognize the facts staring you in the face and anti-totalitarian. Hall himself doesn’t actually have any ideas, mind you. He just says that we have to “try.” “Try,” in this case, coming from someone like Hall, means, “Let’s we if we can get away with laying the groundwork for mass gun confiscations, pre-crime measures, and limiting the classes of people who have a right to arm themselves.”

Sure, by all means, close the adaptation kit loophole. That doesn’t mean that anyone determined to convert a semi–automatic into an automatic weapon won’t learn to do it himself, or hire someone to do it for him.

  • I hate to write this, by I will anyway: the kinds of statements about guns I am reading and hearing, and always read and hear after one of these periodic tragedies, can only come from those who refuse to acknowledge the history, culture and culture of the United States. No nation on earth owes so much to guns. Guns gave America its independence; guns rid the nation of slavery; guns won the West; guns allowed ordinary people to turn a wilderness into a civilization. Guns symbolize individuality and independence, as well as self-sufficiency and the ability to fight against abusive authority. This is part of the United States of America, and those who want to excise it just don’t like the America we have very much, nor the national character. It isn’t just guns.

We will not give up the right to bear arms until the American character itself is indoctrinated out of existence. At that point, it won’t be the United States., and I increasingly get the impression that many progressives, perhaps most of them think that would be wonderful. Are they opposing  American culture because they were incompetently educated about core American values and history, or are they fully educated, but hostile to the values and character of their own country?

  • It’s ironic that I posted about the duty to confront uninformed opinions before the Vegas Strip shooting. It has generated astoundingly incompetent rants on Facebook and social media, all spreading ignorance, anger and hysteria, all making genuine dialogue impossible.

And then there’s my wife’s favorite:

  • The disconnect between the same end of the ideological spectrum demonizing the police while simultaneously seeking to make the public entirely dependent on the police would be the stuff of satire, if it wasn’t so tragic.

48 Comments

Filed under Citizenship, Ethics Train Wrecks, Government & Politics, History, Law & Law Enforcement, Popular Culture, Social Media, This Helps Explain Why Trump Is President, U.S. Society

48 responses to “Assorted Observations On The Sandy Hook Ethics Train Wreck, Las Vegas Strip Edition

  1. Glenn Logan

    Paddock was a wealthy individual without any of the markers of a killer, who carefully planned a mass execution and had the resources to do it whatever the laws were. He seems most similar to Charles Whitman, the Texas Tower sniper, whose rampage may have been brought on by a brain tumor. Individuals can do terrible things. This is a country based on the principle that citizens deserve autonomy, and when autonomy is given to irresponsible, crazy, angry, sick people, they can create havoc and mayhem, and eventually some of them will.

    Shorter version — mass shootings like this are part of the price of freedom.

    Further to your point, a Five Thirty Eight statistician, Leah Libresco (who is vehemently anti-gun) writes that analysis of all the gun laws on offer by the left would not help. Scientific evidence, if anyone needs it, that the problem is essentially insoluble by any means other than full confiscation of firearms and a repressive police state to enforce it. Consider:

    By the time we published our project, I didn’t believe in many of the interventions I’d heard politicians tout. I was still anti-gun, at least from the point of view of most gun owners, and I don’t want a gun in my home, as I think the risk outweighs the benefits. But I can’t endorse policies whose only selling point is that gun owners hate them. Policies that often seem as if they were drafted by people who have encountered guns only as a figure in a briefing book or an image on the news. [my emphasis]

    Back to Jack’s post:

    And then there’s my wife’s favorite:

    The disconnect between the same end of the ideological spectrum demonizing the police while simultaneously seeking to make the public entirely dependent on the police would be the stuff of satire, if it wasn’t so tragic.

    For me, this is typical of the left. Consider the free speech debate another brick in this same wall of idiocy. The left are actively attacking, and would revise on an instant’s notice, the first two amendments of the Bill of Rights, and not in the direction of more freedom. That right there, for me, sums up the problem with the progressive left, even if that were the only onerous proposals they had.

  2. philk57

    Jack – you wrote: “No nation on earth owes so much to guns. Guns gave America its independence; guns rid the nation of slavery; guns won the West; guns allowed ordinary people to turn a wilderness into a civilization.”

    I think that the case could also be made that the presence of guns in the hands of citizens played a part in preventing the USA from following the tyrannical impulse that seemed to take over much of Europe in the last century. I have often wondered how Wilson or FDR might have governed had they been able to disarm the populace and follow the crowd that praised the ability of the fascists to get the trains all running on time.

    • Japan did not invade the USA, in part, because of the recognition by their commander that a rifle would sprout from behind every blade of grass.

      I am firmly convinced that our guns prevent tyranny. Note the sudden posture change in the BLM actions the past few years, when armed citizens confronted lawlessness under color of law, making the optics of the moment very bad for the Obama Administration. Regardless of your views on that incident, the mere fact that government agents potentially battling citizens worried those in charge enough to back off. They knew the reaction of rural red state Americans was a dangerous fuse to light.

      I am also convinced that establishment politicians fear our guns, as they realize those they oppress can strike back, should they push to far or fast.

  3. ”Guns gave America its independence; guns rid the nation of slavery;”

    IMHO, the Left (most, not all) will concede the importance of these events while completely ignoring the necessary contribution of firearms.

    ”guns won the West;”
    *imperialistic, hegemonic genocide.

    ”guns allowed ordinary people to turn a wilderness into a civilization.” *please see the above.

    ”Guns symbolize individuality and independence,”
    *antithesis to the ”Lefty Way,” which is community/collective first.

    “self-sufficiency and the ability to fight against abusive authority.”
    *no need to be self-sufficient and no such thing as abusive authority when a benevolent, all-powerful ‘State’ is administered the *right* way and with the *right* people people in charge.

  4. Decrying senseless violence and wanting gut the Bill of Rights in response are not the same thing, not even close. The first is gratuitous and obvious, and the second is emotional and irresponsible.

    Interesting point.

    For a comparison, let us note the murders of Channon Christian and Christopher Newsom.

    https://legalinsurrection.com/2017/01/10-years-later-the-brutal-murders-of-channon-christian-and-christopher-newsom/

    According to your rationale, decrying these murders is not the same as wanting sundown towns or pass laws (which would have made it more difficult to commit murders like this)

    The only way to prevent that is to confiscate firearms, profile citizens, and install oppressive police state measures.

    Were not those football players who were taking a knee doing so because they opposed an alleged oppressive police state?

    I wonder how many people who supported taking a knee, who believed that America was a police state that oppresses minorities, now want gun control laws- which would be enforced by this same oppressive police state that they decry.
    I see you made this point already.

    The disconnect between the same end of the ideological spectrum demonizing the police while simultaneously seeking to make the public entirely dependent on the police would be the stuff of satire, if it wasn’t so tragic.

  5. Nothing will change the arguments of anti-gunners until they fully understand concepts like these prophetic words from Mrs. Q “There is no utopia. There never will be. Evil has always been with us and no matter how many guns are taken away from one group (and redistributed to another) darkness will continue.”

    As a means to achieve their end goal of disarming the public; anti-gunners are illogically proclaiming, with the core of their rhetoric, that an inanimate object is the source of the unimaginable evils that humanity unleashes upon one another; therefore, that inanimate object must be eliminated from the hands of the people and the evils will stop. It’s as if these people think that inanimate objects actually change the character of the person that touches/owns it, kinda like in the classic Bugs Bunny cartoon episode called “Bugs Bonnets” where Lots and lots of different hats fly off a truck with each one landing on Elmer Fudd and Bugs Bunny giving them a different personality.

    Hate is the source of evils that infect humanity, not inanimate objects. Remove inanimate objects and hate still exists; effectively deal with hate and inanimate objects become irrelevant.

  6. “I would not be surprised at all if President Trump further muddled this already incoherent debate by endorsing some new (or old) gun control measures. He would do this, presumably, as he seems to make most decisions, from the gut, or the seat of his pants, or because it seemed like a good idea at the time.”

    Since the election, every now and again, I’ll say the same Maxim in relation to certain news stories as I’ve heard countless other people on both sides of the aisle say: “This is Why Trump Won”. And when people say “This is Why Trump Won”, it hits me that they very rarely if ever use it in the context of policy, it’s always in the context of culture. Trump’s base doesn’t care about policy, and because of that, Trump’s base has some of the most elastic tolerances on issues I think we’ve ever seen. It’s why people called him the Teflon Don; policy scandals couldn’t stick to him, because policy wasn’t driving him, and he continues to win the culture war. His wall doesn’t get built? No one really cares, they care about the message saying “Build the Wall” sent. DACA gets passed in congress? Those aren’t the kinds of illegals they cared about anyway.

    Is gun control the issue that breaks Trump base? Maybe, probably not, but maybe. His base isn’t exactly famous for understanding issues, and it takes a certain level of understanding to see the benefits of an armed populace. But the gun debate has cultural connotations, most pertinently that there’s a culture around left leaning pet projects and control that Trump’s base is diametrically opposed to, and Trump’s base is going to love opposing them. If Trump surrenders on the issue… I don’t know where they go from there. Does his base follow him wherever he goes, or do they draw their own red line? I don’t think it’s the hill he dies on.

    Which is why it’s important that the GOP maintain enough of the legislature to kill the bills that are going to invariably bubble up.

  7. Other Bill

    Are Marshall family members eligible for COTD designation or is that not permitted by the FCC?

  8. Caleb Keeter is a complete dumbass.
    What other amendments should we compromise?
    How about the 4th? After all, if the police had greater power to conduct searches and seizures, without needing probable cause, they can catch criminals more easily.
    Or maybe the 5th? That beyond a reasonable doubt standard makes it easier for criminals to get away with their crimes. I mean, a preponderance of evidence standard would make it easier to convict criminals. And I am sure that it would be much harder for criminals to get away with their crimes if they had no privilege against self-incrimination.

    Or what about the 14th? Maybe we should selectively restrict the liberties of certain subsets of the population that are more crime-prone than the rest of the population. I am sure there is some conspicuous trait law enforcement can use as a proxy for propensity for crime. Maybe it even rhymes with wack.

    The thing is, a state that can ignore the 2nd would have little to no reservation about ignoring the 4th, 5th, or 14th.

  9. Here is the kind of logic that anti-gunners use, I just read this…

    “One shoe bomber tried to blow up a plane and now we take off our shoes.

    1,518 mass shooting since Sandy Hook…”

    There you have it folks, it’s irrefutable logic. Clearly the time has come to start confiscating firearms; and while your at it, confiscate bows & arrows, vehicles, knives, swords, hammers, baseball bats, pillows, and anything else that could possible be used by a hateful individuals to take the lives of others.

    • I wonder why the focus on mass shootings as if it is supposed to be a distinct problem from murder in general.

      Then I realize murder in the U.S. is at an all-time low…

      • Because, despite the style of weapons used in mass shootings accounting for LESS than 5% of firearm murders, the objective is to remove from the hands of the citizens that particular style of weapon.

        To be clear, when I say that particular style of weapon, I mean the type of weapon that would put the common citizenry on fairly equal footing with the common soldiery.

        I wonder why that type of disarmament is the neurotic focus of the Left?

        • They fear consequences for their possible actions. The fact that a determined assassin who is willing to die to kill the target terrifies them. Guns are only the first step: other freedoms would then need to be ‘updated for the times’ to be sure the aristocracy is safe from the peasants.

          • Matthew B

            Where there is a will, there is a way. ISIS has become quite adept as using trucks in Europe as a means of mass killing. There have been some creative responses (for example, NYC surrounded Times Square with sand filled dump trucks and garbage trucks for the new year’s celebration).

    • That’s exactly the kind of idiocy that there is a duty to refute.

      • Jack Marshall wrote, “That’s exactly the kind of idiocy that there is a duty to refute.”

        How would you refute this one?

        • I’d start by refuting the statement that there have been 1518 Mass shootings since Sandy Hook.

        • It’s a false analogy, and a Constitutionally ignorant one. There is no Constitutional right to wear shoes on a airplane. The relevant Constitutional provision is the Due Process Clause in the 5th and 14th Amendments : if our freedoms and property are going to be limited by government action, then good cause must be shown.

          The Fifth Amendment to the United States Constitution provides:

          No person shall … be deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law …[6]

          Section One of the Fourteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution provides:

          [N]or shall any State deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law .

          The test for Due Process, via SCOTUS:

          “[I]dentification of the specific dictates of due process generally requires consideration of three distinct factors: first, the private interest that will be affected by the official action; second, the risk of an erroneous deprivation of such interest through the procedures used, and the probable value, if any, of additional or substitute procedural safeguards; and, finally, the Government’s interest, including the function involved and the fiscal and administrative burdens that the additional or substitute procedural requirement would entail.”

          The requirement of having shoes checked before getting on airplanes is a minimal infringement compared to the legitimate government interest of protesting commercial airlines from terrorist attacks. In contrast, the sacrifice of a core right, the right to bear arms, is a massive infringement of liberty with multiple dangers that, as I noted in the recent (re-run) post, undermine the entire hierarchy of values underlying the creation of the nation.

          The comparison literally asserts that sacrificing the liberty and self-sufficiency of law-abiding citizens is an acceptable price to pay to avoid periodic tragedies caused by criminals, when it can’t be shown that any constitutional measure would actually have that effect anyway.

          But checking shoes does stop shoe-bombers.

          Short version: the analogy is moronic and ignorant.

    • It appears to be a meme that’s gone viral.

      There is a slight change from what I quoted above, the “…” is replaced with “and Congress has done NOTHING.”

  10. Here’s another one going viral…

    “If every black adult male in the United States bought and registered a semi-automatic rifle tomorrow Congress would pass gun control laws by Friday.”

    This it the kind of mindset the political left has.

    Propaganda rules; Critical Thinking Is Quaint (CTIQ).

    The end is near.

  11. It’s oozing from the woodwork…

    “The GOP insists that the Vegas shooters gun arsenal is a “right”, but medical treatment for his 500+ survivors is a “privilege”.”

    • It’s unfortunate that essential rights and liberties and concepts of Federalism, Checks and Balances, social contract, republican forms of government can’t all be distilled down to memetic blurbs.

      We’d easily win the culture war that way.

      Nope. Only pithy little dumb-headed populist emotion baiting crap can be boiled down to memes.

      This is why we’ll lose.

      • Z & tex; you’s had to expect that quite athwart would goeth all decorum when HRC ONLY won the popular vote, didn’t you?

        All is not lost, it’s always darkest before the dawn; it wasn’t over when the Germans bombed Pearl Harbor, am I right?

        To reassure you’s, Lefties, like the ones pushing these addlepated imbecilities, will self-destruct if you’s give them enough rope.

        For some epic Dumb-n-Dumber comedic relief:

      • Here are two memetic blurbs.

        “So, police who habitually gun down unarmed black men, oppress people of color, oppress communities of color, are supposed to enforce gun control laws in an even-handed manner?”

        “So, releasing robbers, rapists, and murderers from prison, to make room for those convicted of violating gun control laws, is supposed to make us safer how?”

        Also see this.

    • I was unaware of any law that prohibited the survivors from getting medical treatment.

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