Update: The Great Stupid Meets The Sandy Hook Ethics Train Wreck

This really is like one of the old horror movies, but scarier, and real. I have no idea what to do about it. The sudden and, though no one wants to admit it, coincidental wave of shooting episodes last month (and bleeding into this one, literally) might as well have been part of a conspiracy to freak-out the American public and  cowardly lawmakers into surrendering the Constitutional right to bear arms in self-defense.

As always, our democracy’s Achilles heel is public ignorance, and the anti-gun news media and the usual demagogues have done a bang-up job this time around of both exploiting the ignorance and adding to it. It is especially ironic that the same side of the ideological spectrum taking aim at the First Amendment with its cynical attacks on “disinformation,””misinformation” and “hate speech” are engaging in all three daily, indeed almost hourly, in order to finally crush the Second Amendment rights of law abiding and responsible citizens—so the people who pay no attention to laws anyway will somehow be dissuaded from gun violence.

Good plan!

The escalated assualt is simultaneously dumb, intellectually dishonest and unethical…but effective. And it is coming from all directions all at once, like the fast zombies in “World War Z,” as long as we’re using horror film analogies. In my annoyed and fevered state, I can’t even organize all of it coherently, so I’m going to resort to bullet points for now:

  • As I predicted when the Uvalde shooting first was reported, the Barn Door Fallacy is in full swing. The shooter was 18, so banning gun sales to anyone under 21 is one of the most popular “Do something!” measures, because the law will go back in time and stop Ramos from murdering all those kids. That’s because he bought his guns; never mind that Adam Lanza, the Sandy Hook shooter, was also under 21, and just took his mother’s guns to go on his rampage. Since the privileges and responsibilities of adulthood mostly attach when one turns 18, the sudden conclusion that 18-year-olds are dangerously irresponsible lacks integrity and consistency. Is there a line there, or not? Why there? Why are people allowed to vote for who makes laws when we think they can’t be trusted to obey them? What’s magic about 21? If two or three shooters are over 21 and under 25, will “Do something!” mean that the right to own a gun will be limited again?

The Stupid! It BURNSSSS!

  • The lies (disinformation/misinformation/lazy, careless or deliberate confusion of terms and deceit) make fair and informed debate impossible. Semi-automatic rifles are called automatic weapons, “AR-15-style” is used without clarification; “weapons of war” is scary and useful as a cognitive dissonance trigger but meaningless; “assault weapon” has no agreed-upon meaning, other than “bad.” Those who wield this fog of language literally don’t care about meanings and definitions…
  • …bringing us to “comprehensive background checks,” another “Do something” trope. What does “comprehensive” mean? Under U.S. law, federally licensed gun dealers, importers and manufacturers must run background checks for all sales to unlicensed buyers. The law bans firearm transfers to anyone convicted of a felony or committed to a mental institution. But a private seller without a federal license doesn’t need to meet the same requirement. “Comprehensive” apparently means making private sales involve background checks as well; it also could involve adding more—much more—details about a purchaser to “check.” Regarding the latter, you don’t have to be paranoid to wonder what those details could entail.
  • Regarding the former: how would (or could) a private gun transfer background check law be enforced? Such laws would place a serious burden on the seller. What if I had a cash emergency and wanted to sell my WWII German Luger to a collector friend who had always admired it? Getting the background check would take too much time for my urgent cash needs. I know and trust the collector. If he doesn’t pay, take my gun and shoot up a school, how would the government ever find out about the transaction? Unenforceable laws are deceptive, pretending to be something they are not—effective. That’s unethical.
  • In order to pursue the (batty) argument that its the guns and not the sociopathic, law-defying, violent and often crazy people who use them that are the problem, the anti-gun mob is denying that the mental health of shooters is a primary issue. (This goes along, strangely enough, with the “blood on their hands” attacks on Republicans, arguing that they have not supported significant spending on mental health treatment—which continues to be hit-and-miss no matter how much money we throw at it.) Here’s the LA Times:

Blaming mental illness for mass shootings inflicts a damaging stigma on the millions of people who suffer from clinical afflictions, the vast majority of whom are not violent. Extensive research shows the link between mental illness and violent behavior is small and not useful for predicting violent acts; people with diagnosable conditions such as schizophrenia or bipolar disorder are in fact far more likely to be victims than perpetrators of violence.

This is Yoo’s Rationalization, “It isn’t what it is,” to the max. People who are not mentally ill do not shoot up schools. They do not go on shooting sprees that are certain to get them killed themselves. They do not shoot people “to get famous.” Mass shooters, like serial killers are, by definition, nuts. Laws are not likely to stop them.

  • And then we have “red flag” laws, which the public tends to like in polls because, as with so many of the “do something” measures, respondents have not thought about what they are or mean.  These are laws that the government could easily expand to remove rights from citizens who have done nothing illegal, or who have engaged in conduct in the past that has been dealt with and is over with. “Red flag laws” are pre-crime punishment, and should be ruled unconstitutional, though there is no guarantee they would be.
  • Polls that do nothing but sum up mass ignorance and manipulated uninformed opinion are being used as authorities. Mother Jones (I know, I know) got all excited about s new poll published by CBS News that “found” that “three quarters of Americans believe we can prevent mass shootings if we prioritize the goal of doing so.” In other words, “Do something!” How do we stop illegal gun violence? “Prioritize it!” Oh! More than climate change? “Well, maybe not more than climate change.” More than inflation? “Well, no, inflation is killing us.” More than fighting “systemic racism”? Oh, no, nothing’s more important than fighting that! More than abortion? “Are you kidding! That’s the most important of all!” So “doing something” about gun violence is, at best, fifth on our list of priorities, even from the perspective of the Left…which means it’s not going to be “prioritized.”
  • Meanwhile, the public is being fed lies by the President of the United States. “We should repeal the liability shield that often protects gun manufacturers from being sued for the death and destruction caused by their weapons,” Biden said in his hysterical “do something” speech last week. “They’re the only industry in this country that has that kind of immunity. Imagine. Imagine if the tobacco industry had been immune from being sued, where we’d be today. The gun industry’s special protections are outrageous. It must end.”

Ugh. Cigarettes are a consumer product that caused death and illness to uninformed users who had been deceived by manufacturers. If a driver uses a car to murder someone, can General Motors be sued? No. If someone beats in their wife’s brains with a baseball bat, can Hillerich and Bradsby be sued? No! Manufacturers are liable when their products are faulty and negligently produced. They are not liable, and should not be liable, when a purchaser uses the product illegally or negligently. All products have “that kind of immunity,” but when anti-gun zealots devised the idea of suing gun manufacturers anyway, a 2005 law called the Protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms Act (PLCAA), which shields gun companies from lawsuits based on the unlawful acts people commit using their products.

At the risk of repeating myself, “Ugh.” The Great Stupid and the Sandy Hook Ethics Train Wreck alliance is going to be much harder to fight off than Frankenstein’s Monster and the Wolf Man.

This Ethics Alarms Rebuke Of Instapundit Is Brought To You By Spuds

Spuds head small

Proving once again that dog ignorance and breed bigotry knows no partisan, ideological nor erudition boundaries, a bunch of conservatives are spreading false anti-pit bull propaganda. As is often the case, they don’t know what the hell they are talking about.

The impetus was an anti-pit bull abuse organization citing the work of Ann Linder, a Legislative Policy Fellow with Harvard Law School’s Animal Law and Policy Program, who wrote a paper, “The Black Man’s Dog: The Social Context of Breed Specific Legislation,” that argued that pit bulls have been unfairly tied to “gang violence by urban youths, as well as the hip-hop music scene.” The group then made the leap to arguing that anti-pit bull restrictions in the many American cities that have them are racist. Well, that’s demonstrably idiotic: the reason for all of those ignorant laws isn’t racism, but that the legislators passing them know zilch about dogs and are pandering to public hysteria. The hysteria is spread by the news media, popular culture, and a lot of otherwise intelligent people who should know better but don’t, and are too lazy and irresponsible to educate themselves. This group includes Conservative law prof and conservative pundit/blogger Glenn Reynolds. Shame on him.

Here’s the way it goes: since the pro-pit bull group cited a race-baiting Harvard scholar, that meant that the group must be made up of progressives, and thus wrong about everything in Instapundit Land. Conservative site College Fix posted about the foolishness of the “racism” claim. Instapundit host Reynolds snarked to his millions of followers:,

“Academics say fear of pit bulls is linked to… racism? I thought it was more about the biting: “Despite accounting for just 6.5% of all dogs in the United States, pit bulls were responsible for 66% of total fatal dog attacks between 2005 and 2017.” Why aren’t these academics following the science? I think they should be banned for “spreading misinformation.”

HA HA HA! Good one, Glenn! Why isn’t this academic checking his sources before making a high-profile ass of himself by spreading misinformation? As anyone with a smattering of canine education knows, there is no breed called a “pit bull,” but anywhere from four to eight distinct breeds that are lumped together as “pit bulls” by people, apparently like Reynolds, who don’t know a dog from a garden hose.

Continue reading

The Amy Coney Barrett Hysteria, PART 2

Part I is here.

More on this disturbing (but not  surprising) unethical phenomenon:

  • The Return of Anti-Catholic Bigotry. Who saw this coming? In 1960, the attacks on John Fitzgerald Kennedy for his Catholic faith were considered—by Democrats!—the equivalent of Cro-Magnon-level bias. Founded substantially by Protestants, the U.S. once viewed Catholic immigrants from Ireland, Italy and Spain with suspicion. Historian Arthur Schlesinger Sr. wrote that anti-Catholicism was “the deepest-held bias in the history of the American people.”

Funny, I thought the election of JFK finished that particular bias off for good. Nobody talked about religion as an issue when Bobby Kennedy ran, or in connection with Ted Kennedy. Other than the Kennedys, how many even know that these announced candidates for the President in the past were Catholics: Eugene McCarthy, Edmund Muskie, Jerry Brown, Bruce Babbitt, Patrick Buchanan, Tom Harkin, Alan Keyes, John Kerry, Rudy Giuliani, Newt Gingrich , Rick Santorum, Jeb Bush, Chris Christie, Bobby Jindal, Martin O’Malley, George Pataki, Rick Santorum, Marco Rubio, Bill de Blasio , Julián Castro, Kirsten Gillibrand, Beto O’Rourke…aaaaand Joe Biden.

Nobody cared, cares, or  should care. Yet in the New York Times, regular cop-ed writer Elizabeth Bruenig endorses anti-Catholic bigotry as a tool to block Barrett using  weasel words, saying attacks on Barrett based on her religion attacks may “not be entirely baseless.”  Why the shift? Why, it’s because Barrett must be stopped by “any means necessary,” and Democrats and progressives are willing to abandon any principle in that pursuit.

Incidentally, there are already a majority of Catholics on the Court: five, with Sonia Sotomayor, Chief Justice John Roberts, Samuel Alito, Clarence Thomas and Brett Kavanaugh all being raised in the Church. There were nine Catholic Justices before them, including liberal icon William Brennan, and conservative icon Antonin Scalia. Their faith was not an issue in either of their confirmation hearings. Continue reading

The Amy Coney Barrett Hysteria, PART I

We knew that whenever it was that Ruth Bader Ginsburg had to be replaced (and those of us who have not completely forgotten the immutable rules of mortaliy were not shocked when this occurred sooner rather than later) we knew that the Left would freak OUT. That they—by “they” I mean Democrats, “the resistance,” the Trump Deranged, pro-abortion fanatics, feminist ideologues and the substantial segment of social media that can be counted upon to react like the cattle in “City Slickers” when Billy Crystal turns in his battery-powered coffee grinder—would freak out quite this embarrassingly, however, I did not foresee.

This is only because I am an idiot, of course. The way the left has reacted and is reacting to Donald Trump’s election should have prepared me. Surely the despicable way they treated Brett Kavanaugh should have prepared me. It’s just that I find it hard—maybe I should say “painful”— to believe that one whole side of the political spectrum is capable of it all.

Need I mention that metaphorically running around screaming nonsense with one’s hair on fire is unethical? It is irresponsible citizenship, it is neither competent nor prudent, and it upsets the less-intelligent members of the herd, and it is wildly unfair to Judge Barrett.

Let’s just stick with that proposition, and concentrate primarily on examples that are res ipsa loquitur, meaning in this case that if you have to be told why some things are nuts, then you’re nuts too.

  • Senator Gillibrand’s tweet:

The fact that this outrageous statement is not out of character for the Junior Senator from New York doesn’t make it any more tolerable. The statement itself is another iteration of The Big Lie. Of course Barrett is qualified for the Court. Her former colleagues say so, the ABA says so, and and the current membership of the Court itself says so, since there are more than one Justice whose qualifications upon being confirmed were considerably less impressive.

Gillibrand represents the dangerous brand of anti-democratic thought her party is now peddling, albeit more openly and flagrantly than most of her compatriots, who are smarter than she is. That false principle is that only those who bow to Leftist cant are “qualified” to have any influence, legitimacy or power at all. Continue reading

Shameless Clickbait Or Frightening Evidence Of Late Stage Trump Derangement…Or Both?

The post is The Death Of Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg Pushed Me To Join The Satanic Temple.” Once upon a time headlines like this were cause for mirth when they appeared in the old National Enquirer or the World Weekly News. I think the best headline I ever saw—yes, even better than “Headless Corpse Found In Topless Bar“— was “Boy, 6, Gives Birth to Sextuplets.”

Still, this one is pretty special. The author says she is a lawyer, and she is clearly a lunatic, yet not that far removed from about half of my Facebook friends. Here are some of her statements…

 I am not the type of person who would normally consider becoming a Satanist, but these are not normal times. 

Rationalization #28, The Revolutionary’s Excuse: “These are not ordinary times.”! And the reason these are not normal times is because of hysterics like her…

Continue reading

Sunday Ethics Warm-Up, 9/20/2020: Tales Of The Great Stupid [Updated and Corrected]

1. Yes, these are the people who want to have power over our lives. Imagine: this woman isn’t mourning the death of a human being, she’s angry because that human being can no longer serve her interests. The human being in question continued to work for the public long after she could have retired with dignity and comfort, and this woman is furious that she wasn’t physically able to do so “until 2021.” Not only that, she posted this repulsive video with no apparent comprehension that it exposes her as a horrible human being. She just assumes that most who share her political persuasion are just as  incapable of empathy and compassion as she is. Maybe she’s right.

Again I must ask, “How do people get like this?”


Okay, I just stumbled on some timely satire. I generally hate memes, but this is genuinely funny. Forgive me.

2.  Speaking of memes and The Great Stupid, what can you say about an adult who would post this on Facebook in all seriousness, as if it was profound or true?

Continue reading

In Honor Of Our New Dog Spuds, A Timely Ethics Alarms Encore: “Unethical Website of the Month: Dogsbite.Org”

That’s not Spuds above; that’s Brad Pitt’s wonderful Staffordshire Terrier in “Once Upon A Time In Hollywood,”, one of many breeds dog ignoramuses lump into the category of “pit bull.” Spuds, whom we brought home today, is almost certainly at least part American Pit Bull Terrier, like the dog in the “Our Gang” comedies, but we’ll know better when he gains back more of the weigh he lost when his owner stopped feeding him. Here he is in our kitchen tonight..

Since he is among the  types of dog who will be subjected to the breed bigotry that has led to the deaths of so many smart, loyal, affectionate and harmless dogs across America and Europe, I’ve decided to re-post this essay from 2015. It is the all-time champion Ethics Alarms post for comments, with 339 and counting. It is also the post that has continued to attract comments the longest after a post went up: the last flurry of reactions from anti-pit bull hysterics was in February of this year.


Unethical Website of the Month: Dogsbite.Org

This despicable website, created by phobics, liars, fools and bigots to promote dog breed prejudice and persecution of responsible dog owners, is discredited by the vast, vast  majority of dog experts, breeders, and people with any knowledge of dogs. It is useful in a way, in that its rhetoric mirrors that of the anti-Jewish, final solution advocates of the Nazi regime, and the most virulent American racists, like the KKK. (A dog breed is exactly like a human race.) It also apes the logical fallacies of those who want to ban guns or engage in racial profiling.

Although a mass of data and history proves that pit bull-related breeds are no more inherently dangerous than any powerful breed and arguably less, Dogsbite.Org is leading a vendetta against both the breeds and lawful, loving owners, reasoning that dogfighting uses pit bull-type breeds, and pit bulls used for fighting are more likely to be dangerous (as any dog so abused  may be), so to kill two birds with one stone, it makes sense to wipe out not just any individual dangerous dog of the type but any dog that is a hybrid of the a “pit bull breed” and any dog that looks like what people think is a “pit bull”, in part because there is no such breed as “pit bull.” Continue reading

Morning Ethics Warm-Up, 3/10/2020: Freaking Out!

Good morning!

Oh! I nearly forgot!


1. This day in war ethics: The Allies completed the fire-bombing of Tokyo in 1945. Over 100,000, mostly civilians, were killed. The attack is less well remembered than the two nuclear bombs and the firebombing of Dresden, Germany, but more people died on March 9 -10 in Tokyo than in any other single air attack of World War II.

2. Coronavirus freakouts.  Stipulated: the news media and desperate Democrats want the public to panic over the virus, and to blame the President, obviously.

  • Two media doctors, “Dr. Oz” and Drew Pinsky, have been performing a public service of sorts by trying to inject some perspective into the escalating hysteria, and by pointing their fingers at a primary suspect for it, the news media. Pinsky, in an interview with LA’s CBS afiifilate: “A bad flu season is 80,000 dead, we have about 18,000 dead from influenza this year and 100 from corona. Which should you be worried about, influenza or corona. 100 vs. 18,000, it’s not a trick question. Everything going on with everyone using Clorox wipes and get your flu shot, which should be the other message… that’s good. I have no problems with the behaviors. What I have a problem with is the panic and that businesses are getting destroyed and people’s lives are getting upended. Not by the virus, but by the panic.”

Dr. Oz (Real name: Mehmet Oz), who was routinely featured on network news during the Ebola scare, was attacked yesterday as a “quack” by the left-leaning Daily Beast, which has a stake in promoting the panic. In fact, Oz is something of a quack, but he’s a popular one, and using his influence to stop people from being crazy is an ethical use of it.

  • “You know…morons!”  A United Airlines flight from Eagle County, Colorado, to Newark International Airport had to be diverted to Denver over the weekend  after a group of passengers freaked out when another passenger started  coughing and sneezing. He was suffering from allergies.  In Denver, the three hysterical morons were taken off the plane, while the innocent passenger continued on the flight.

Continue reading

Never Mind Coronavirus, It’s Time To Declare Trump Derangement Syndrome A National Health Emergency.

This isn’t a Babylon Bee joke.

The University of Massachusetts-Lowell Center for Public Opinion surveyed Democratic primary voters at the end of January, and someone had the inspiration of asking a question designed to gauge the extent of Trump Derangement Syndrome.  The survey found that nearly two out of three would prefer that a massive meteor collide with Earth, triggering an extinction-level event  “extinguishing all human life,” than for President Trump win re-election.

I thought the irrational Trump Hate deliberately and unceasingly promoted by the “resistance” and mainstream media false narratives, conspiracy theories and Big Lies was dangerous, but I didn’t expect this.

Caveats are in order: the YouGov poll used a relatively small sample of just 400 people and had a large margin of error of 6.4 percentage points. I also assume that a number of respondents would choose a dinosaur death over the Bad Orange Man as a symbolic expression of their opposition to the President rather than as a genuine conviction. (It they are anything like me–or my instinctively perverse son—they would.)

On the other hand, it does seem that the Democratic Party has been following a strategy of encouraging Trump Derangement as its best, and perhaps only , route to victory next November. If the economy holds, the party will be asking voters to vote against their self-interest and for one of the unattractive alternatives now compeeing for the role out of pure, blinding, hysterical hate. A political analyst was widely quoted around the web and social media this week based on an opinion piece in which she argued Trump would lose because so many voters would go to the polls to express their personal revulsion of the President, and that issues and the opposition won’t matter. Continue reading

Res Ipsa Loquitur: Woke Politics And Counter-Factual Progressive Cant Are Driving People Crazy

Here is another question to Slate’s sex advice column, “How to Do It”:

I’m a cis woman in kind of a classic millennial sex pickle: I’m really repelled by heterosexuality politically and personally, but I’m also really into dick. I’ve been thinking maybe I should look for bi dudes/ bicurious gay dudes, but I am not sure how best to do that. Rich, what would you think of a woman being on Grindr or Scruff? I do want to be respectful of gay men’s spaces and not horn in where I’m not welcome, but I really would love to find a vers guy with queer politics who would be up for casually dating a woman. What do you think? If you were me, where would you look?


My answer? Continue reading