D-Day 75th Anniversary Ethics Warm-Up, June 6, 2019: Stumbling As We Try To Keep America Worthy Of Their Sacrifice [UPDATED!]

U.S. WWII veterans from the United States attend a ceremony at Normandy American Cemetery and Memorial situated above Omaha Beach to commemorate the 75th anniversary of the D-Day, in Colleville-sur-Mer, France.

I have a special reason for being a devotee of D-Day: I may be here because my father missed it. He was supposed to be in the invasion, but as an observer, not a combatant. Dad never explained how he got that plum assignment, but before he had the honor, an idiot in his company blew part of my father’s foot apart while playing with a hand grenade nearby. (You’ll be happy to hear that said idiot advanced human evolution by blowing himself up in the process.) Thus Jack Sr. was in an army hospital on June 6, and had to wait for the Battle of the Bulge to be part of an iconic W.W. II conflict.

1. Somehow, I don’t think this is the society they thought they were fighting for…

At Rutherford High School in Bay County, Florida, a teacher  wrote “WTF” on a student’s science homework. His mother complained, calling the vulgar acronym “inappropriate.”

Boy, what a prude.

I just saw another of the increasingly common TV ads where evoking a vulgar word is used for humorous value.  One of the cell phone networks includes an exclamation of “Holy shirt!” (Get it? HAR!) when a father’s gray attire suddenly explodes into color as soon as the family upgrades its network.  “What the Shirt” is also a trendy shirt company.

In a culture where casual public vulgarity is treated as normal and even clever, it is no surprise that alleged professionals often have no functioning ethics alarms regarding their language, or any sense of respect, etiquette, gentility or decorum. After all, when a newly elected Congresswoman thinks it’s appropriate to shout “We’re going to impeach the motherfucker!” and suffers no adverse consequences, what do we expect?

2. Somehow, I don’t think this is the society they thought they were fighting for…wait, didn’t I just write that?

Sueretta Emke complained that she was dining with her family at a Golden Corral in Erie, Pennsylvania, when the manager told her that her attire was inappropriate and that some customers had complained. Asked Emke said the manager couldn’t answer when she was asked what was so inappropriate about her outfit. It was a mystery!

For some reason the phrase “res ipsa loquitur” keeps coming to mind.

Call me crazy, but I doubt that if  Ms. Emke’s croptop and Daisy Dukes had fit her more like this…

…anyone would have complained, or even if someone had, that the manager would have ejected her.  She was being fat-shamed. On the other hand, even at a Golden Corral, diners should have enough respect for others to adopt at least minimum standards of appropriate attire. On the OTHER hand—Did you know that Edward Albee wrote a play called “The Man With Three Arms? It was not a success—unless restaurants have stated, publicized and displayed  dress codes, it is unfair to arbitrarily discriminate against the unattractive exhibitionist and slobs while allowing the attractive ones to dine unmolested.

3 Somehow, I don’t think this is the society they thought they …Funny, I just had the weirdest feeling of déjà vu!

At John A. Johnson Achievement Plus Elementary in St. Paul, a little girl was getting ready to go outside and play  when she placed her backpack on the floor and heard a loud thunk. The 8-year-old  student opened the bag, and found a handgun She immediately told her teacher.

The principal secured the gun, which was loaded. The child told police she didn’t know how the gun got into her backpack, and she was released to her mother, who is  the owner of the gun.

The letter sent to the girl’s parents said that “there are consequences for students in situations like this.” Observations:

  • Why is the girl being sent back to a home where the mother allowed a loaded gun to end up in her daughter’s backpack? If that wasn’t child endangerment, what is?
  • Surely the school isn’t going to punish the student under some “no tolerance” rule. Are they?
  • Speaking of sensible gun reforms: this is how gun tragedies happen. A gun owner who is this negligent should have her license to own a gun suspended, the weapon confiscated, and her right to own any other gun similarly suspended.
  • As I have written here before, there should also be strict liability for gun owners, and if a child is killed or wounded because a gun is not properly secured, the owner ought to be held criminally liable.

4. But they WERE fighting for flag, country, motherhood, apple pie, and, of course, baseball, and its strange ethics…

The Hartford Yard Goats, the Double-A affiliate of the Rockies, were on the verge of tossing a combined no-hitter (that means more than one pitcher was involved) against the Trenton Thunder, the Double-A Affiliate of the Yankees. Facing a 3-0 loss as well as the ignominy of being no-hit,  the Thunder’s  Matt Lipka broke up the no-hitter with a perfect bunt with one out in the 9th. The next two batters went out quietly, and as the teams began to leave the field, a fight broke out because some of the Yard Goats shouted nasty words at Lipka.

You see, it is an unwritten rule of baseball that bunting late in a game to wreck a no-hitter is unethical and poor sportsmanship. The theory is that a no-hitter is such a great personal and professional achievement that the opposition should respect the effort and not seek to ruin it with a “cheap hit.”

This “rule” has always been badly reasoned at best in the Major Leagues, and makes no sense at all in the context of a Double A, minor league game, and especially this game:

  • A combined no-hitter is not a major individual accomplishment. The Major League rules don’t even recognize  combined no-nos as no-hitters at all.
  • The score was only 3-0. One out three-run rallies are not unusual at all, including in the 9th. The Thunder needed  baserunners, and Lipka was trying to help win the game, as he should have.
  • Minor leaguers are auditioning for the majors. As Bill Baer pointed out at NBC Sports,

“Lipka has been in the minor leagues for a decade. Making it to the major leagues, even for just a cup of coffee, would be huge for him. Beyond realizing a lifelong dream, Lipka would get better pay (prorated) and benefits, including health insurance. Will that bunt likely be the deciding factor for the Yankees? Probably not. But there’s a non-zero chance it could, which means Lipka takes that bunt hit every day of the week and twice on Sunday — no-hit bid be damned.”

  • Bunting for a hit isn’t cheap, it’s just another way to reach base safely. Few  players can bunt well, and the skill is becoming more useful that it has been in decades, because of the widespread use of shifts (where the defense aligns its fielders mostly on one side of the diamond, where a player’s spray charts indicate he is most likely to hit the ball.

The no-bunt rule has always been weenie-ism, not ethics. This is the United States of America, and our “national pastime” should stand for trying to win right down to the last out, until the last dog dies, and the fat lady sings, hopefully not in a croptop and Daisy Dukes.

42 thoughts on “D-Day 75th Anniversary Ethics Warm-Up, June 6, 2019: Stumbling As We Try To Keep America Worthy Of Their Sacrifice [UPDATED!]

  1. 1. WTF

    Boy, what a prude.

    Indeed. Because we all know WTF means “Where’s that fork?” and “What’s that, Frank?” Or maybe, “Wipe the fridge?” “Where’s that frog?” “What tragic fashion?” “When’s the festival?”

    I’m so confused.

    2. Res ipsa loquitur

    I can’t unsee that, Jack.

    Don’t people with known widely-unattractive attributes have an ethical duty to avoid causing their fellow man a loss of appetite in an eating establishment?

    Perhaps the lesson here is that if you’re going to attend an establishment like Golden Coral that encourages people to overeat, you should bring a strong stomach and be prepared for… sights.

    3. Gun in kids backpack

    Speaking of sensible gun reforms: this is how gun tragedies happen. A gun owner who is this negligent should have her license to own a gun suspended, the weapon confiscated, and her right to own any other gun similarly suspended.

    Sorry, Jack, but no. First of all, most states don’t require licenses, so there are none to revoke. Second, owning a gun is a RIGHT, not a privilege that can be “revoked.”

    Should she be criminally liable? Perhaps, based on the facts of the case. In this case, it looks like a slam-dunk yes. And if so, she could lose her right to own a firearm as a felon. Strict liability? Absolutely not.

    We don’t talk about revoking someone’s right to speak if they encourage a person to commit suicide and they do. We have laws to address that problem, but the right to own firearms is as inalienable as the right to speak. They are #1 and #2 in the Bill of Rights.

    • Sure we do. Criminals have their rights of liberty revoked. A judge can order a party not to speak about X in public. Restraining orders…there are lots of examples. If someone with a gun demonstrates that they cannot exercise the right responsibly,I see no reason why suspension for a reasonable time is unjust or unconstitutional. The alternative is to criminalize all manner of negligent behavior.

      • Okay, then I clearly didn’t understand you, even though I recognize, on re-reading, it was my error in comprehension. My brain substituted “revoked” for all the “suspensions” in there.

        I think what has happened is that I’ve become too sensitive to the anti-gun lobby and read things that aren’t there. That needs to change. I’ll do better next time.

        • I read it the same way… and was just as wrong.

          Still object to the idea that the state (fed, whatever) can keep you from owning a firearm without due process. Red Flag laws are just waiting to be overturned at SCOTUS.

          • I totally agree. There must be a due process for even a suspension of rights, including an opportunity for appeal. Otherwise, I believe it to be constitutionally challenged.

            • Indeed.

              It is explained by Paul Harding.


              I, personally, and on more than one occasion, have sat across a table from men who, I felt fairly certain, had raped young children. On more than one occasion, I have looked that man right in the eye and said, “You’re free to go.”

              When I said he was “free to go,” I meant it. I didn’t do a single thing to interfere with him in any way after that. One or more of those men might be raping a child right now, as you read this.

              Why haven’t I done anything to prevent those men from getting near other children? We, at least, have this whole “registered sex offender” thing in this country, right? Should I have put them on “a list?”

              The reason I didn’t do anything other than say “You’re free to go” is because the foundational laws of our country don’t allow me to do anything else. I won’t lecture, this time, on the specific functions of each amendment and how they apply, but at that point, the Constitution prohibited me from interfering with that man’s liberty in any way.

              I can interfere with people’s liberty when certain standards of proof are met.

              Reasonable Suspicion: I can detain a person for a few minutes and do a minimally-invasive pat down for weapons.

              Probable Cause: I can take a person to jail, do a more thorough search for weapons or contraband. A judge, within 48 hours, will review this case and check that, at least, my side of the story actually indicates probable cause. The judge MAY impose certain bail conditions, limiting the person’s liberties while he awaits trial, or the judge may order the person left in jail to await trial.

              At no point in that process do I have the lawful “power” to interfere with a person’s liberty in any way without being able to prove probable cause, with the exception of a few minutes of detention under reasonable suspicion.

              I couldn’t prove probable cause on that suspected child rapist, so I couldn’t interfere with his liberty in any way. The Constitution says so.

              The FBI couldn’t prove probable cause on the Orlando shooter, so they couldn’t interfere with HIS liberty in any way. The Constitution says so.

              That’s why he was able to go buy guns, and that’s why my suspected child molester may, right now, just be finishing up that child rape that he started when you were reading the beginning of this answer.

              Individual Rights and liberty are extremely dangerous propositions. In this country, there are real-life victims of your rights to due process, your right to be free from the removals of your liberties every time someone like me suspects you of being a child rapist.

              Some people don’t like guns. That’s a political issue. I get it. Do you like kids though? Do you like NOT being published on the internet as a legally-registered child rapist when you’re innocent? The price of keeping you (and me) off of that list when we’re innocent is that cops can’t put people on that list until a court finds proof of guilt, beyond a reasonable doubt. At the least, a court must find probable cause before even bail conditions can be imposed.

              You’ve probably heard “price of freedom” so often you’ve learned to tune it out. That child rapist who, right about now, is cleaning himself off while warning that kid to never tell anyone what happened? The suffering of that poor kid IS the price of freedom.

              You and I are enjoying the freedom from unreasonable intrusion upon our liberties every time a cop suspects us, and that poor kid is paying the price for it. Want to give up that freedom?

              If any of those men I released did hurt another kid, I have to live with the fact that I could have stopped them. I couldn’t have stopped them legally. I didn’t have the evidence. I could have stopped them though. I could have designed a frame up on another charge. I could have just murdered them – become a one-man lynch mob. I didn’t do those things though. I obeyed the Constitution. If that kid is suffering now, he’s paying the biggest price, but wondering whether that is happening right now, I have to admit, is exacting a little price on me as well.

              100 or so people shot in Orlando, countless lives destroyed,- That IS the price of freedom – your freedom and my freedom to not have our liberties restricted for more than a few minutes by a cop with no more than reasonable suspicion.

              The people in Orlando, and their families, really did pay that price. We all risk paying that price every day . We all pay that price, to a lesser extent, every time we agonize over whether it would have been better to violate the principles of the Constitution. . . just this one time.

              It IS scary. It is terrifying when you think hard about it. That is why, in America, just before we say “Play Ball” we sing a song which reminds us that if you want to live in the Land of the Free, then you had better be sure you’re the Home of the Brave.

              Free Speech for people who right about now are thinking this whole freedom thing is just too scary and should be done away with. . .

              Yeah, those guys are scary too when people listen to them, but that IS the price of freedom.

              We can’t understand the value of the liberties in the Bill of Rights until we understand the price we are paying for them.

  2. Re: D-Day; June 6.

    I always thought the “D” in “D-Day” represented something specific related to the European Theater (perhaps a reference to Normandy or France, or the European Theater). I have since learned that the “D” represents the day an important military campaign. So, “D” meant June 6th. D-1 meant June 5; D+1 meant June 7. Likewise, in military time “H” signifies the time a campaign is to start. “H-1” is one before, and “H+2” is two after the beginning.


    • According to my father, who made amphibious landings with the Army in the Pacific, the D stood for “Disembarkation” and D-Day was used to indicate the day any landing took place. Makes sense to me, one has to disembark in order to go ashore and attack the objective.

      I enjoyed your COTD.

    • Since the Normandy invasion was so momentous, it has become the convention that D-Day now pretty much only refers to that invasion, and we find different ways to refer to other amphibious landings. I think (but would have to double check) that the projected landing dates for amphibious landings during WWII were all generally referred to using the D-Day terminology. H-Hour is still used as the starting hour of any assault.

      On the other hand, this convention is probably aided by the fact that there’s probably only been one significant amphibious landing since the end of WWII (bonus points if you know which one). The modern equivalent would probably be a helicopter assault landing, as demonstrated in Vietnam and Iraq.

  3. #2 – This was a Golden Corral – an all you can eat, self-serve establishment. You pay upon entrance and then you eat your fill. I find that economic dynamic to be influential to my consideration of this issue. In a normal restaurant environment where you order and eat first and then pay later, a restaurant asking you to leave is usually saying “Hey, this is an issue, you leave and we’ll eat the bill.” In other pre-pay establishments like McDonald’s, the consideration is “Hey, she’ll be here for 5 more minutes and if she tries to buy more food, we’ll refuse service.”

    In this specific circumstance the consideration is “We’ve got her money, other patrons don’t want her here and we can refuse a refund to her because she’s already eaten a little – we may not have held up the full end of our bargain, but we’ve held up enough and if we kick her out now, we’ll save a couple of servings.”

    I mean, when they kicked her out, I can’t see that they offered her a refund or a to-go box so she could finish her meal.

    Additionally, since it’s a “present yourself and buy admission” Golden Corral at some point approved of her apparel decisions to admit her to the restaurant and later changed their mind upon complaints from others.

    • I wonder if the manager would do the same if I complained about the skinny, oily haired women with the neck and shoulder tats whose scruffy kids are running back and forth to dip their marshmallows in the chocolate fountain. Perhaps the manager would prefer to discuss the issue with her boyfriend who appears to have similar gang tats.

    • At “all you can” restaurants I’ve been to, I’ve always payed the bill on my way out; this was the only option. Some people will also bring a take out container, and be charged per pound when ringing up the final tab.

      This lets coffee and other beverages along the way be accounted for.

          • Golden Corral has a nice offering but people see the all you can eat policy as a challenge. We will occassionally patronize a buffet ( maybe twice a year) when we really don’t want to wait or don’t know what we want and want to sample various items – and I mean very small sample sizes.
            My chief complaint with most patrons is that they waste food. I once saw a couple scrape the cheese and Pepperoni off several dozen pieces of pizza. This behavior drives up food costs which drives up prices.

  4. Your take on point two reminded me of a cartoon that appeared in Playboy way back when I sneaking peeks. No I was not reading the articles. Anyway, the cartoon showed a couple being told by the Maitre’ D that gentlemen must wear a jacket and tie. His voluptuous date was drawn wearing a mini skirt and a see through blouse. A restaurant has to have standards.

    • No woman has any right to criticize anyone for avoiding being drafted. Until woman can be conscripted into service they are permanently barred from saying someone is a coward.

        • I suspect Ducjworth is ysing tgis attack as a veiled attack on Biden.

          Plus, I suspect if everyone who complains about “President Bone Spurs” has voted for the Vietnam War veteran in the 2016 Democratic primaries, we would not have a “President Bone Spurs”.

          • It seems only Republicans are required to serve. I don’t recall William J Clinton was a Viet Nam vet nor was Obama ever in the military. The draft ceased two years before I turned 19 but in 74 I tried to enlist in the Navy but was turned down because of high blood pressure. So when Tammy Duckworth decides that Trump was faking people like me take offense because only the induction office makes the final call on fitness to serve.

  5. #2: No argument that dress codes should be uniformly applied, but it’s a shame that the lack of personal awareness makes such rules necessary. I’m a big guy; 6-2, 250#, but I know what size clothing to wear to avoid being a spectacle. Of course, I’m also 65 years old, so there’s that….
    At a local Amish farmer’s market, signs outside read, “Thank you for dressing appropriately.” I have been going there for several years and I have never seen anyone dressed in any manner that I considered at all immodest or that would obviously offend the sensibilities of the owners. Maybe a few such signs need to pop up elsewhere (everywhere?).
    On the other hand, attend a local court-of-first-appearance and get a gander at what many people consider proper court attire. Mind-boggling!
    On that third hand, inappropriately dressed people are almost universally oblivious to the inappropriateness of their attire -even in court.

    • Shhhhhhh!? Don’t say that! You’re gonna make ’em mad!


      PS: Beto is Atlanta telling a gathering of lunch tablers that he is gonna force civil rights compliance or suffer federal funding disallowances. Get ’em, Beto. You rule! Check it out:


  6. 2. This is a delicate question: Does anyone know what she looked like sitting down? We can see what she looks like standing up in those clothes (some of her is already falling out). It’s possible the shorts or a snug crop top could have bunched or risen upon sitting and gave the other patrons far more than they wanted to see.

  7. #3: You don’t think they’ll enforce the “no tolerance” rule against a girl who happened to find a gun and immediately told the authorities? Slim hope- I mean, a school dropped a “no tolerance” suspension on a student who literally DISARMED an armed student to prevent a shooting, because he was involved in a gun incident- and indeed, had a gun in his possession (in the time between removing it from the gunman and walking it up to the bus driver.


    • This shocked me and since it happened in 2013, I’d figure we’d have more information to digest and this is all I could find:


      The key to this article for me was this passage:
      After arriving home, the student who had the gun pointed at him told his mother about what had transpired, and she promptly informed the Fort Meyers Police Department, according to the report. The next day, the county sheriff’s office arrested the suspect and searched his home, where investigators found and seized a loaded .22 caliber handgun.

      The rest of the article is constructed to bury the principal of the school but it never takes time to refute this quoted passage. If the disarming student turned in the gun to the bus driver, the incident would have played out there and the victim would not have told his mom about it and the deputies wouldn’t have gone and searched the suspect’s home for the firearm.

      Reading between the lines, I believe the principal – which is that the disarming student probably did disarm the suspect, but he then returned the gun to the suspect and everyone went home peacefully and no one made any reports to school officials. When the investigation started, the disarming suspect continued to obstruct, protect the suspect, and refused to cooperate with the investigation. This is why he was suspended, not because he was temporarily the hero.

      • At the time I could have sworn that he turned the gun in and another, different gun was found at the suspect’s house. It’s entirely possible that I simply misunderstood the story at the time, though, and my human brain has just solidified that misunderstanding over the intervening years. If your interpretation is correct then it’s much less of an obvious outrage, although I still get the uneasy impression that the punishment was more of a “how dare you not immediately fully cooperate with authority!” than anything related to his conduct at the time.

        Since this one seems like a too-close-to-call gray area, perhaps you would accept this gift as a substitute example of schools following zero-tolerance policies off a cliff:

        Hey, remember when that kid got punished for biting a pop-tart into (sort of) the shape of a gun? And when that other kid got punished for biting pizza into (sort of) the shape of another gun?

        • Yeah – F that school…but I’ll give you one even better: remember that time that deaf kid named Hunter was punished / prohibited from using sign language to sign his name because the sign for his name was to point his index finger in the classic shape of a gun?

          • I forget if I’ve shared this story here, but all I can say is I’m so glad I was in high school long enough ago, in a small enough school, for this interaction to have happened and not resulted in any punishment:

            Hunting season, Friday morning. A football player shows up just before lunchtime, covered in blood. When asked about it, he says he skipped morning classes to go out hunting and killed a deer, but didn’t have time to go home and change (by school rule you had to attend X hours of school to play sports that night).

            “Jimmy, did you come straight from the woods?”
            “Jimmy, is there a dead deer, a shotgun, and a gutting knife in your truck?”
            “Yeah, but it’s OK- I locked the gun and the knife in the cab!”
            “Jimmy, go home. Change clothes. Leave the deer, the gun, and the knife. We’ll let you play tonight, we appreciate you getting here on time.”

            • This is a great story of America-that-was! (bonus points to anyone (sparty? HT? ) who can get the reference. It is very obscure, sci-fi, and geeky)

              We used to have hunting rifles and shotguns in the school parking lot, loaded, and truck doors unlocked. Having a knife in you pocket resulted in it being confiscated… and returned at the end of the day. Third offense MIGHT get licks, depending on the demeanor of the student.

              We used to get licks for swearing

  8. There’s a few problems as far as labeling this particular incident “fat-shaming.” The woman claimed she was “nervous” about wearing the shirt and customers did, in fact, complain about her attire. So she knew there was an issue with her attire before she left home. She knew that nobody wanted to see her pale flabby belly sticking out over her tight jean shirts and under her short cropped shirt. And yet she wore it anyway. Because her husband (as was his marital duty) told her it was “sexy.” And as she suspected, people were grossed out. Who’s to blame here? The restaurant for protecting its business or a patron who ignored her intuition that her outfit was not acceptable or a husband who lied to his wife? Let’s suppose that the woman was extremely beautiful but wearing a very revealing outfit and a prude couple complained and she was asked to leave. Would that be beauty-shaming? As an office manager, I once sent an attractive woman home to change because her skirt was too high. No lie. She didn’t even argue. She knew she was “skirting” the accepted customs of work attire.

    And now I’m going to say something most people will find objectionable. Work appropriate attire is different for fat and thin people. Thinner people generally have more options than fat people because more styles of clothes look professional on a fit body and, in general, unfit bodies should be attired in a way that does not emphasize and advertise the fatness of their body. This isn’t unfair or mean or som kind of cultural oppression– it’s just what everybody knows even if some people can’t bring themselves to admit it. For example, a fit person can wear athletic styled fitted shirts. A fat person generally can’t because it’s going to be too tight fitting and look unprofessional. They need to wear looser clothes that fit their body. Think turtlenecks, sweaters, long dresses, etc. The more fit you are, the higher your skirt can go. But don’t get carried away– there is a glass ceiling on skirt length. The way to break through that glass ceiling is just hop on an elliptical once in awhile and match the men in your office mile for mile. Tone those legs. You want options? You’re gonna have to jazzercise your way into them. Otherwise the Golden Corral will lasso your butt and thin you from the herd. You may think you’re a prize heifer, but the Golden Corral is going to have the last say on that. I leave it to their good judgment and trained eyes to separate the blue-ribbon winners from the blue collar losers. They’ve been performing this service for us for over 46 years now, observing millions of diners scarfing up food at their all you can eat buffet and nobody knows better the difference between a diner who is merely flabby and one who is both flabby and actively flaunting it.

  9. 4) Given the game situation, if it were the major leagues I cannot imagine would blink at someone bunting for a hit in a 3-0 game. There was a player in the Rangers game this afternoon that bunted for a hit against the shift — and the announcers were quite approving. Now, if it were 13-0, or maybe if it were a perfect game……it’s a little dicier.

    I have never understood pitchers who get upset when batters bunt for a hit. It’s a part of the game — if you don’t want them to bunt, field your position or strike the guy out.

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