Comment of the Day: “Comment of the Day: ‘Hard Lesson Of The Walmart Tragedy: Bad Ethics Kills’”


My post about the tragic shooting incident in the Idaho Walmart continues to generate fascinating comments, not always directly related to the post. (Linking publications and websites to the contrary, I took no position on guns or gun control measures, though I have elsewhere on Ethics Alarms. The post’s positions were anti-incompetent gun ownership and anti-irresponsible parenting.) In the inevitable gun-related debates that have emerged, frequent commenter and blogger Shelly Stow opined that the need for guns to resist a government that attempts to crush individual freedom no longer exists.

This sparked the Comment of the Day, a history lesson as well as an explication for the need to have the last resort of armed revolution available, from 2014’s most prolific commenter, texagg04, and here it is, beginning with a quote from Shelly’s comment, on the post, “Comment of the Day: ‘Hard Lesson Of The Walmart Tragedy: Bad Ethics Kills’”:

“I disagree that, should our citizenry today become threatened by a government bent on tyranny, weapons in the hands of that citizenry would right the situation.”

Wait. What????

So, you are saying that IF we truly faced a tyrannical government at home THEN we aren’t supposed to do anything about it to overthrow it. And that’s precisely what you are saying if you think weapons in the hands of citizens isn’t the right situation.

What???? God knows in the face of a tyrannical government, sit-ins, hunger strikes, and demonstrations accomplish precisely nothing. Certainly no external forces would come to our succor — the UN, populated by precisely the kind of tyrannies we don’t want? No. Western Europe, which can’t even be bothered to solve it’s own problems? No…

Come now… Continue reading

Regarding the New, Improved Second Amendment, Indoctrination and Hanlon’s Razor

Just in time for the latest round of political exploitation of a gun-related tragedy, it has been discovered that a school history textbook used in some Texas  high schools (and probably others) mis-states the meaning of the Second Amendment, neatly editing away the part that all the controversy is about.

In fact, John J. Newman’s “United States History: Preparing for the Advanced Placement Examination,” rewrites the Second Amendment to the United States Constitution. On page 102 of Newman’s book (page 134 of the PDF version), the author summarizes the amendment in a way that distorts its meaning:


Could this be intentional? Well, it is certainly wrong, and one is not being conspiratorial to wonder how such a blatant error 1) got into a history text in the first place , 2) passed any review process, and 3) lasted this long.

It is well-established that the Second Amendment  guarantees the individual’s right to keep and bear arms, and not only in a militia. How far that guarantee extends is indeed a matter of intense debate, but Newman has misleadingly limited that right only to those who are members of a government militia, essentially editing the amendment right into obsolescence.  Though that is clearly where many anti-gun zealots, including Senator Diane Fienstein, CNN talk-meister Piers Morgan, and many others would like to see it go, it is not the current state of the law, and never has been.The Supreme Court opinion in  District of Columbia vs Heller (2008), which is not mentioned in the textbook, held that the Second Amendment “protects an individual right to 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.”

There is no defending Newman’s textbook, except as a justifiable attempt to destroy the Second Amendment by teaching students that the right to bear arms doesn’t exist in the modern world—in other words, by using deception and indoctrination. Continue reading

Why The Gun Bill Deserved To Lose, and Why We Should All Be Glad It Did

A bad day for Machiavelli is a good day for America.

A bad day for Machiavelli is a good day for America.

Consequentialism rules supreme in Washington, D.C.; that is the tragedy of our political system. If unethical conduct is perceived as having a positive outcome, few in D.C. will continue to condemn the means whereby those beneficial and lauded were achieved. Worse, the results will be seen as validating the tactics, moving them from the category of ethically objectionable into standard practice, and for both political parties

Thus we should all reluctantly cheer the likely demise of the Senate’s gun control bill yesterday. The compromise background check provision that failed wasn’t perfect, but it would have been an improvement over the current system. Nevertheless, the post-Sandy Hook tactics of gun control advocates, including the President and most of the media, have been so misleading, cynical, manipulative and offensive that their tactics needed to be discouraged by the only thing that has real influence in the nation’s Capital: embarrassing failure.

The tainted enterprise begins with the fact that it should not have been a priority at this time at all. Newtown did not signal a crisis; it was one event, and that particular bloody horse had left the barn. The supposedly urgent need to “prevent more Sandy Hooks” was imaginary, but it apparently served the President’s purpose of distracting attention from more genuinely pressing matters, notably the stalled employment situation and the need to find common ground with Republican on deficit and debt reduction. Meanwhile, the conditions in Syria have been deteriorating and North Korea is threatening nuclear war: why, at this time, was the President of the United states acting as if gun control was at the top of his agenda? It was irresponsible, placing political grandstanding above governing. In this context, Obama’s angry words yesterday about the bill’s defeat being caused by “politics” were stunningly hypocritical. The whole effort by his party was about nothing other than politics. Continue reading

Unethical Quote of the Week: Michael Moore

“If a man with an assault weapon goes into the school where Harry Reid’s grandchildren go to school tomorrow and kills his grandchildren, would he stand in front of that microphone at five o’clock and say, ‘I know how Dianne [Feinstein] had to witness the mayor getting murdered, but my grandchildren just got killed today, but, you know, we can’t get it passed because we just don’t have the votes.’”

Documentary Film-Maker Michael Moore, ranting about Senate Majority Harry Reid’s decision to remove Sen. Feinstein’s assault weapons ban from the Senate gun reform package.

This is when I should not say anything at all, my mother told me.

This is when I should not say anything at all, my mother told me.

I know ad hominem attacks are uncool, but truly: what an awful, awful man Michael Moore is. He lies in his documentaries; he engages in deceit routinely; he abused Charlton Heston, knowing he was in the throes of Altzheimer’s Disease; he praised Fidel Castro; he is, for all intents and purposes a Communist, his public statements are fueled by and designed to ignite hatred more often than not, and, on top of it all, he says unethical and asinine things like this. Moore is to progressives what Newt Gingrich and Donald Trump are to conservatives: any group that can endure, indeed, applaud such people has serious, deep-rooted ethical and cognitive problems. Continue reading

Ethics Quote of the Week, Sandy Hook Ethics Train Wreck Division: WSJ Blogger James Taranto

“It’s like a proponent of laws against hate speech standing on a street corner shouting racial slurs in order to “demonstrate how easy it is” to say offensive things under the First Amendment. Of course it’s ‘easy’ to do something that is perfectly legal and protected by the Constitution. That doesn’t mean you ought to do it, especially if you claim to believe it is wrong.”

—–Wall Street Journal blogger, pundit and wit James Taranto, describing the “stupid stunt”perpetrated  by Mark Kelly, the husband of  former Rep. Gaby Giffords, in which he purchased the kind of weapon he and his wife have been lobbying Congress to ban, a so-called “assault weapon,” in order to “demonstrate how easy it is to obtain” one.

At least Kelly didn’t break the law, like David Gregory, to show how easy it was to get an illegal magazine in Washington, D.C.


If this is the best argument you quiet.

If this is the best argument you have…be quiet.

Is this hypocrisy? No, it’s not hypocrisy. Kelly’s act is reminiscent, though not as certifiably cretinous, of stunt pulled by the foolish Ronald Miller, who walked into his child’s school and announced that he was going to start shooting people, just to show that he could. Kelly proved nothing. To someone who believes that a law-abiding citizen who believes he needs an assault weapon to protect his family against home invaders, Rodney King-style riots or the breakdown of civilization (never mind what Joe Biden or Andrew Cuomo think he needs), Kelly’s purchase proved only that the system works: a law-abiding citizen can buy a legal gun. The Horror. To anti-gun crusaders, Kelly proved that a gun they think should be made illegal is legal—but presumably they already knew that. Kelly was trying to demonstrate that legal conduct should be made illegal because people can currently do it?

Okaaaaay… Continue reading

The Newtown Massacre Ethics Train Wreck Picks Up An A-Lister!

I know—I need to settle on a consistent name for this particular train wreck. I’ve used at least three. Luckily, it is clearly going to be rolling along, causing ethics havoc in its wake, long enough for me to be consistent.

Hey, everybody! Bubba's on board!

Hey, everybody! Bubba’s on board!

Wow! They must be all-tingly on the Newtown Massacre Aftermath Express–Bill Clinton! The architect of one of the great ethics train wrecks of American history has deigned to come on board! What other A-listers will follow? Oprah? David Letterman? Even the President himself! Now, anything is possible.

The nation’s grandmaster liar bought his ticket with this Newtown-inspired statement, uttered at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, Jan. 9, 2013

“Half of all mass killings in the United States have occurred since the assault weapons ban expired in 2005, half of all of them in the history of the country.”

This was classic Bill, false and self-glorifying. After all, that ban that expired had been signed into law by Bubba himself. But as the Washington Post’s fact-checker, Glenn Kessler confirmed, his striking “fact” was a whopper. Continue reading