As Bill Maher would say: “New rule!” I am no longer tolerating rude, nasty, disrespectful clerks, waiters, or service providers of any kind. Gus McRae’s handling of an obnoxious bartender in the memorable scene above from “Lonesome Dove,” which I have come to regard as the best Western drama ever put on a screen, high praise from me, may be a bit extreme, but only a bit. The frequency of insolence and general surliness from such employees has increased wildly in recent years—theories welcome— and the only way to stop the unethical trend is to resolve to make as much trouble for such jerks as possible. a) Tell them off. b) Complain to their supervisors. c) Tell the story to online consumer resources. d) Write to headquarters, and e) Don’t give up (I am still fighting it out with CVS over a complaint I registered almost six months ago.) I just walked out of a Staples after not one but two employees treated me like a bug, and resolved never to let such conduct pass again.
1. The “Pity the poor murderer!” defense is unethical, and should be banned. Melisa McNeill, the lawyer for Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School shooter Nicholas Cruz, is making the standard defense argument for monsters who have no other plausible defenses. Cruz never had a chance, he has bad parents, he had various maladies, he couldn’t help himself. This is an appeal to emotion over law or reason, a direct offspring of Clarence Darrow’s position that it is cruel to punish any criminals because they had no free will. The obvious rebuttal to the disingenuous and desperate defense is that millions have grown to adulthood with as many disadvantages or more and not decided to massacre innocent children.
“Wounded and damaged people wound and damage other people because they’re in pain,” McNeill told the jury in her opening statement at the Broward County Courthouse in Fort Lauderdale. “Nikolas was poisoned in the womb.”
Gee, there’s a “Make someone massacre high school students” poison? I did not know that!
This is no more nor less than prejudicing the jury. Once it is determined that a killer is legally sane, such defenses should be illegal.
2. I’m trying to think of the last time the District of Columbia didn’t have a ridiculous and incompetent mayor. It might be Marion Barry, who was sometimes ridiculous but never incompetent. Muriel Bowser might well be the most ridiculous and incompetent yet. Her requests for National Guard deployment to help the poor District, a “sanctuary city,” deal with the 7000 illegal immigrants Texas Gov. Greg Abbott (R) and Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey (R) started busing the Capital in April show astounding hypocrisy, not to mention stupidity. If the Pentagon granted her request, it could not avoid doing the same in the border states, which are often seeing more than 7000 illegals in a day. Ann Althouse makes the obvious point that the Washington Post reporters don’t have the integrity to make:
[W]hat is the number of migrants who came to Texas and Arizona since April and have not yet moved on to other states? Is 7,000 supposed to look like a huge number or a tiny number? And is it a military problem or not? Bowser proposes to militarize it within Washington, but would she view the entire migration across the southern border as a military problem?
Althouse loses some Ethics Alarms brownie points for using “migration.” The issue is illegal immigration. The mainstream news media has settled on “migrants” as its favorite euphemism—you know, like “choice” for killing human fetuses—and commentators who care about clarity and avoiding official deceit should reject this kind of deception rather than enabling it.
3. The Minnesota teachers union has a new outrageous justification for its racist “Fire whites first” contract. You heard the others in the head-exploding interview featured here: the racist policy didn’t matter because it was unlikely to be put into effect, and there is no legitimate complaint, for this is all a contrived issue pushed by conservative media. This argument, however, is a masterpiece of obfuscation: the contract doesn’t really call for laying off white teachers first, it just exempts from firing “teachers who are members of populations underrepresented among licensed teachers in the District, as well as alumni of historically Black and Hispanic colleges, and of tribal colleges.” Leaving just white teachers, of course. Let’s see, a Third Reich analogy would be Hitler claiming that they weren’t exterminating Jews, just exempting Aryan citizens from the death camps. [Pointer: Jazz Shaw]
People who think, reason and argue like that are teaching Minnesota’s children, and probably most children in the others states as well.
4. Clarification: George Floyd was indeed a “thug.” I just read a racial discrimination complaint that, among other things, alleged the creation of a hostile work environment for African-Americans because a manager described George Floyd as a “thug.” The description is fair, accurate, and not racially discriminatory. Floyd was found guilty of armed robbery with a deadly weapon, a felony categorized a violent crime. The first definition of thug is “a violent person, especially a criminal.” Floyd was a lifetime criminal. One may not like to hear St. George referred to with the term, but as the saying goes, while you are welcome to your opinion, you are not welcome to your own facts.
5. Mask Madness update! Fraser Ross, owner of the Kitson department store located in Beverly Hills, posted signs last week informing shoppers that wearing a mask was now banned in the store:
At Kitson we prioritize the safety of our staff and customers. We noticed a disturbing trend of individuals wearing masks to avoid identification in various situations including, but not limited to, shoplifting, verbal harassment, and physical assault. The mask mandate may have begun as a health precaution, but we believe it is now being used by some people for nefarious purposes. To that end, we enacted our own mandate of sorts. We do not allow wearing of masks in the Robertson store during regular business hours. Those people who wish to wear masks are free to set up an appointment for a personal shopping experience or visit our website. We also offer curbside pickup.
6. Man Bites Dog, metaphorically speaking…when California Governor Gavin Newsome does something that counters Ultimate Wokeness, that’s ethics news, and attention must be paid. Newsom vetoed legislation this week that would have allowed some California cities to open supervised drug-injection sites as part of a pilot program meant to reduce fatal overdoses. The program is nuts: the government cannot facilitate illegal behavior and have any credibility in enforcing the law. Using illegal drugs is unhealthy; that why the drugs are illegal. Newsom, of course, won’t dare challenge progressive orthodoxy openly, though he may secretly agree with Sidney Wang about the program…
Thus Newsom covered his rationale with Authentic Frontier Gibberish, “explaining,”
I have long supported the cutting edge of harm reduction strategies. However, I am acutely concerned about the operations of safe injection sites without strong, engaged local leadership and well-documented, vetted, and thoughtful operational and sustainability plans.