Ethics Warm-Up, 9/11/21:Remembering The Victims Of The Twin Towers, Pentagon, And Flight 93 Edition

I’m going to watch the film “Flight 93” again as my 9/11 commemoration. It is an excellent, if almost too clinical, approximation of what went on when the terrorists tried to fly a plane into the Capitol or White House, after picking what had to be the worst possible set of passengers to try to intimidate. Otherwise, I will avoid TV commentary today as I would the plague. Turner Movie Classics may have been making some wry commentary the last two days: first, it ran a series of old historicla disaster movies like “A Night To Remember” (The Titanic) and “San Francisco” (the earthquake and the fire). Then last night was “cult night.” September 11 and its aftermath was all about cults: Islam, Al Qida, neocons, Truthers.

This date will also always remind me of the utter incompetence of the news media. I will never forget the idiot on CNN who, after the second plane hit a tower, said when a colleague offered that it looked like a terrorist attack, that we shouldn’t jump to conclusions, that it just could be a coincidence. These are the people we trust to inform us about events affecting our lives.

1. Justifiable homicide? Tucker Gales, a 15-year-old from Columbia County in Georgia shot his father in the head with a .22-caliber rifle back in October 2020. Last week, a grand jury decided that Gales explanation that he did it because “he had enough of his father abusing his mother” was good enough for them. The teen will not be indicted. Good.

Wesley Gales’ had a well-documented pattern of violent abuse. He allegedly threatened to shoot his son in the head and “kicked his ex-wife in the groin area,” the The Augusta Chronicle reported. A few months before his son killed him, Wesley Gales pleaded guilty to domestic abuse and child cruelty charges. “The police visited the home multiple times since 2011. No action was taken to remove this family from the danger in the home. He pleaded for help on multiple occasions and the system failed him,” said Emily Martinez, the organizer of a GoFundMe campaign for Tucker. “It’s a sad day because this child had to take matters into his own to hands to defend and protect him and his mom.”

The grand jury call doesn’t surprise me, and it is consistent with a lot of cases as well. I once wrote an appellate brief for a man who was convicted of shooting the neighborhood bully who regularly beat him up. There were a lot of self-defense opinions holding that a potential victim with good reason to believe that an individual was getting ready to seriously injure him or her was justified in using deadly force. The fact that the shooter in this case was a juvenile made his case especially compelling.

2. Incompetent ad of the year! Here’s a WayFair ad for a coffee table:

Here’s another shot of the same photo:

Apparently the photo originated with the supplier. Nobody at Wayfair can read upside-down, I guess. An investigation is underway…

3. Do you think the pet groomer is liable for this? A dog grooming business in Louisiana had clipped two small white, fluffy dogs that looked similar, mixed them up, and gave them to the wrong owners. You know, just like “The Prince and the Pauper”! When Michael Walters picked up the dog he thought was his to take it to the car, the dog bit the strange man on his right index finger. Witnesses say that Walters dropped the eight pound dog and began punching it. The dog tried to flee, but Walters chased it down and kicked it. The dog died shortly thereafter from its injuries.

Walters told authorities that when he picked the dog up, it bit him on the finger and would not let go until he began punching it. Witnesses say otherwise, and that would still not explain the kick. Michael Walters was arrested and booked on one count of Aggravated Animal Cruelty.

Is the dog groomer at fault for the dog’s death? In law, I think this would qualify as an unanticipatable result, with Walters’ unhinged attack on the little dog an intervening cause. Ironically, Walters probably could get damages for the bite.

4. More vaccine resistance ethics. Unvaccinated Americans are largely driven by mistrust of the government and fears over vaccine side effects, and there is very little that can be done to persuade them to get the shots to combat the Wuhan virus and its variants, a new CNBC/Change Research poll claims. Well, you know: polls. This result, however, makes sense. In some respects, it’s almost good news.

Progressives not only don’t respect traditional Americans, they don’t understand them or the nation they represent. America was founded on the principle of individual freedom that the government could only interfere with under certain, limited conditions. The reflex response of many Americans to the government ordering them to do something is to say, “Yeah? Make me. It’s my choice, my life, and my pursuit of happiness.” This is a good thing. The more of such citizens we have, the more likely “It can’t happen here!’ is an accurate statement. But totalitarianism is on the rise on the Left, and it is being taught by the schools and popular culture.

It is unfortunate that the current instance of traditional, Declaration of Independence-embracing citizens refusing to take orders from their government involves a vaccine that is, I believe, essential to getting the country working and enjoying life again. However, the fault lies almost entirely with government officials, who have demanded when they needed to persuade, abused power routinely during the pandemic, lied, and been wrong repeatedly. Why would anyone trust the government now? Then, when everyone didn’t fall into line like good Germans, the news media and elected officials stopped to insults and accusations. Oh, yeah, that approach has always worked so well with Americans.

In John Wayne’s “The Alamo,” Davy Crockett tricks his men into staying to fight by forging a letter from Santa Anna demanding that they leave. “Who is that guy to tell us what to do?” is their reaction. The episode is fiction, but Davy’s instincts were correct in the movie, and that scene was written 60 years ago. If the Biden administration wants to get the hold-outs to consider getting vaccinated, it needs to say “please.” It needs to stop setting out to punish the Jan. 6 rioters for their misguided expression of outrage at what they believe was an abuse of their rights, when it hasn’t punished other rioters who were similarly motivated, but by different events. It also needs to explain why a government that reneged on its duty to Americans in Afghanistan should be believed when it says, in relation to the pandemic, “We’re the Federal Government, and we’re here to help you!”

11 thoughts on “Ethics Warm-Up, 9/11/21:Remembering The Victims Of The Twin Towers, Pentagon, And Flight 93 Edition

  1. Biden’s credibility with true moderates and conservatives is long gone. His bumbling attempts to hide the elephant in the room (Americans and friendly Afghans now abandoned in a terrorist state) and shift the focus to dubious climate change claims has sunk his rotten ship. The best thing he could do at this point would be to resign from the Presidency. Being the narcissist he is, he won’t of course.

  2. Prologue: I was on my way to work, trying out a different route to see if it was faster (it wasn’t). The news was on the radio reporting that the first plane had hit. Remember that there’d been a number of recent plane snafus so, at first, it was treated as being yet another idiot who wasn’t watching what he was doing. When the second plane hit, everyone knew what it was. Even the morning DJs. CNN was full of fools even then.
    1. Vigilante justice can be ugly, but, when it’s necessary, it shouldn’t be punished. Law enforcement failed this family. The kid did what he had to do.
    2. My heart breaks for the family whose precious pet was killed by this jerk. I recognize that pets are not people, but are the results when babies are switched at birth by accident? Real harm was done to this family because the business didn’t have a good system in place to make sure that two dogs of the same breed and color- hardly an impossible scenario- were given to the right owner.
    3. The book in question is another anti-American systemic racism screed. It was not an accident that it was there. Someone was grandstanding, virtue signaling and everything in between.
    4. The year-long pandemic mishandling, abuses of power and weaponizing the virus in order to wage a propaganda campaign against Donald Trump took its toll on a lot of people. My brother flat out refuses to get the vaccine, despite having an autoimmune disorder. Though my dad and stepmother are very healthy, they also refuse to get it because of the quick rollout and because of fears that it is being used as a method of population control.
    Two weeks ago, after a week with so-called head colds, they tested positive. Stepmother spent several days in the hospital. They have both had negative tests since and are slowing recovering. Unfortunately, my 91-year old grandmother who uses an oxygen tank on occasion, got it, too. She was vaccinated (thank God) and recuperated at home. My sister is livid. I’m just resigned There’s nothing I can do or say to change anyone’s mind. And if President Biden thinks that lecturing the unvaccinated is going to convince them, he’s got another thing coming. Do his handlers not know that conservative evangelicals will see this whole strategy of forcing private companies to to make vaccine mandates at the risk of economic penalties (likely resulting in the termination of non-compliant employees) as a precursor to the Mark of the Beast? Or do they not care?

  3. Proposal: redirect some of the pork from the recent proglibot pork bills, pay each of the unvaccinated 100k tax free in exchange for being jabbed, and call it an infrastructure bill.
    Humans are infrastructure too.

    Individuals with durable natural immunity from previous infection do not need a jab nor any more testing.

  4. “…a vaccine that is, I believe, essential to getting the country working and enjoying life again.”

    Do you really think these vaccines will accomplish that? Even if the country were 100% vaccinated, this nonsense wouldn’t end. Too many powerful interests have too much to gain by prolonging this madness. The vaccines don’t seem to do much to stop infection or transmission, so no level of vaccination is going to exterminate the virus. At best, they may reduce hospitalizations (though recent data from the UK shows that, for people over 40, more hospitalizations are vaccinated people than unvaccinated now. But it’s not clear to me if that’s a sign the vaccines aren’t working in those age groups, or if it’s a statistical result of older groups having more vaccinated individuals than younger cohorts), but they’re not going to reduce case counts by much.

    The only way this ends and we get back to “normal” is if people just do it. We all must stop playing along with measures that have repeatedly failed and accept the hard reality that everyone is very likely going to catch it eventually, no matter what you do. Reject government power grabs that use the pandemic as an excuse to infringe individual rights. This ends when *we* end it, not when some authority declares it’s over, because those authorities have no incentive to declare any such thing, regardless of the realities on the ground.

    Sadly, I’m no longer convinced that there are enough Americans with the grit to do this. A majority seem content to cower in manufactured fear and just “go along to get along” and not rock the boat. For myself, I’ve already had a thriving business destroyed by the pandemic response, and will likely lose my current job to Biden’s vaccine mandate, should it survive court challenges. I’m in a mood to rock some boats until they take on water.

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