End Of Week Ethics Exegesis, 1/20/2023, SCOTUS Ineptitude, The Child Shooter’s Parents, A Coinkydink, And More…[Corrected]

[NOTE: This was another one of those posts that I had to squeeze in and get up before I had a chance to do a careful proofing. Coming back to it hours later, it is so embarrassing to find all the irritating little typos: missing letters, transposed letters, words I thought I typed in but didn’t. Ugh. I’m sorry.]

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The mainstream media (and Democrats, but I repeat myself) is doing everything it can to try to make Lyin’ George Santos the big story rather than Joe’s Biden’s document scandal, which has nicely exposed Biden’s hypocrisy along with that of law enforcement and the Trump-Deranged. The Republicans have made it easier for them than it should be: Kevin McCarthy should have created a committee called “Shameless Lying Committee and placed only Santos on it, and made him chairman. Oh, maybe have Adam Schlitt on it to keep George company. McCarthy’s canned line about how Santos was elected to represent his district by voters and they deserve representation is worse than if he said nothing at all. Santos gets to vote on bills, and that’s all an incompetent, lazy, gullible district like his deserves. (If Santos says one more time that he’s done nothing wrong, I may jump out my office window.)

Back to the news media: This morning I watched CNN, Fox, News, and BBC all at once on the DirecTV “News Mix” channel. The experience would be depressing to anyone under the delusion that broadcast news is anything but a confederacy of dunces. As the abrasive and smug “Fox and Friends” kept repeating the same outrage about Joe’s stash of classified materials, CNN interviewed high school students in Santos’ district in an obviously carefully staged segment purporting to show that teens are more ethical and instinctively wise than their elected elders. (Hey, look at these kids! Let’s let 16-year-olds vote!) When one student said that Congress should vote to expel Santos, his grandstanding teacher didn’t point out that Congress can’t, probably because the teacher doesn’t know.

Neither CNN nor the teacher brought up Joe Biden’s career of making up credentials and experiences, which would have been an interesting counterpoint for the aspiring Democrats in the student group (there was one self-proclaimed future Republican, which doesn’t mean there weren’t others afarisd of getting wedgies) to ponder: the thrust of the segment was that Santos and the GOP acceptance of him pushed the students into the Blue.

MSNBC, as usual, was even more flagrant in its bias, and also funnier. It had—get this—Al Sharpton and former Republican National Committee chair Michael Steele discussing how corrupt and incompetent Republican House members were. Michael Steele calling anyone incompetent is like, well, Sharpton calling anyone corrupt. Steele is now a Never-Trump talking head for MSNBC in the Ana Navarro mold, because his flip-flop was the only way anyone would hire him to give his opinion on anything. He was a disaster as RNC head, embarrassing the party by such stunts as okaying a fundraising mailing that intentionally masqueraded as a census document—while the census was underway. Congress passed a bi-partisan law making such chicanery illegal.

Mostly Steele is just an idiot. I know I’ve mentioned this before, but it should be flashed up on the screen any time this dolt tries to be a pundit. When he was running to be re-elected RNC head (he lost), Steele was asked during the one debate among the contenders to name his favorite book. The other hacks (like Reince Priebus, the eventual winner) said that a Ronald Reagan’s biography was their favorite book, but Steele, trying to seem erudite, said “War and Peace.” “It was the best of times, it was the worst of times,” he quoted (from “A Tale of Two Cities”), causing questioner Tucker Carlson to facepalm.

1. The SCOTUS Dobbs leak can’t be found. That’s bad enough. Equally bad were the stunning revelations of sloppy procedures at the Court, probably long the status quo, that nonetheless made this scandal inevitable. From the 20-page report

1. Too many personnel have access to certain Court-sensitive documents. The current distribution mechanisms result in too many people having access to highly sensitive information and the inability to actively track who is handling and accessing these documents. Distribution should be more tailored and the use of hard copies for sensitive documents should be minimized and tightly controlled.

2. Aside from the Court’s clear confidentiality policies and the federal statutes outlined above, there is no universal written policy or guidance on the mechanics of handling and safeguarding draft opinions and Court-sensitive documents, and practices vary widely throughout the Court. A universal policy should be established and all personnel should receive training on the requirements.

3. The Court’s current method of destroying Court-sensitive documents has vulnerabilities that should be addressed.

4. The Court’s information security policies are outdated and need to be clarified and updated. The existing platform for case-related documents appears to be out of date and in need of an overhaul.

5. There are inadequate safeguards in place to track the printing and copying of sensitive documents. The Court should institute tracking mechanisms using technology that is currently available for this purpose.

6. Many personnel appear not to have properly understood the Court’s policies on confidentiality. There should be more emphasis on training so that all personnel fully understand the policies.

7. Bills were introduced in the last Congress which would expressly prohibit the disclosure of the Supreme Court’s non-public case-related information to anyone outside the Court. Consideration should be given to supporting such legislation.

Summary: The Court’;s security has been incompetent and inexcusable.

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Gee, Can We Lock Up The Parents For THIS Shooting?

Ethics Alarms has always maintained that when a child gets control of a real firearm and shoots it, the parents must be held criminally responsible, not only for the consequences of the shooting, but for allowing the child access at all. I also believe that this should be strict liability: I don’t care if the child is a whiz at picking locks or a precocious little Michael Corleone. If you own a gun and your kid gets a grip on it, you’re the menace to society.

I can’t imagine a more perfect illustration of the need for this policy than the story out of Richneck Elementary School in Newport News Virginia. A 6-year-old boy shot and wounded his first grade teacher yesterday. He apparently did it intentionally—he had some dispute with her, we are told—and is a good shot: she is in critical condition.

The Washington Post story about the shooting is infuriating:

Newport News Police Chief Steve R. Drew said at a news briefing…’We did not have a situation where someone was going around the school shooting.’”

Oh, the first grader wasn’t an active shooter then! We could guess that. What about the parents?

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At Least This Time They Didn’t Blame Pitbulls…

This is such a horrible Christmas story that even my fecund imagination couldn’t devise an appropriate graphic for it, yet attention should be paid.

On December 23 in Cave Spring, Arkansas, a family’s dog attacked and killed a four-day old infant girl. The dog bit the baby’s head, fatally injuring  the infant’s skull. When I read the story, my second thought after the obvious first one was “Now watch: this will be called another pit bull attack.” Amazingly, it wasn’t: the dog was a Siberian Husky. That didn’t stop the news media from attaching alleged pit bull horror stories to this one, like the attack by two Staffordshire terriers, one of several breeds called pit bulls, that killed two small children and injured their mother in October. I did learn something from the various articles: 32% of all fatalities from dog bites in the U.S. are children 4 years-old and under. Continue reading

One More Time: Hold Gun-Owners Criminally Liable When Something Like This Happens

We have covered such incidents before, but it bears repeating.

Tiffany Callaway, a Miami-Dade Corrections officer, left her five children unsupervised in her home while she was working. While she was gone her 13-year-old son got a shotgun out of a firearm case in the master bedroom closet. He accidentally discharged it. His eleven-year-old brother was fatally shot in the chest, and died.

In a masterpiece of gall, Callaway started a GoFundMe page to attract donations. “Imaging life without him is something we never thought we’d have to do as a family,” she said.

“Only goes to show it can impact anybody in the community,” said Miami-Dade Police Director Alvaro Zabaleta in another fatuous pronouncement that misses the point. “It” won’t “impact” anyone who doesn’t leave young children alone with access to deadly weapons.

Apparently no charges will be filed against the officer. Ridiculous.She is 100% responsible for the death of her child and the trauma to the older child who fired the weapon. She was negligent to leave them alone in the house, negligent in not training them regarding gun safety, and negligent in not having the gun secure, Police say they are investigating whether the gun was properly secured—what is there to investigate? A kid got a hold of the gun, which was loaded, and fired it! Of course it wasn’t properly secured: it it were properly secured, no one would have been killed.

No wonder anti-gun fanatics think guns just kill people all by themselves.

Ethics Quiz: The Children’s Fake Tattoos

This story comes to Ethics Alarms from New Zealand, but if it’s there now, it will be here eventually.

New Zealand-based tattoo artist, Benjamin Lloyd, specializes in realistic airbrushed tattoos for children. They look like an actual tattoos, though they are only spray painted on.

The average age of his human canvases is six.

“The kids are so amazed. As soon as they get the tattoo it boosts their confidence,” Lloyd says. “The only bad thing is that they don’t want to take a shower afterward.”

Is that really “the only bad thing?”

Your Ethics Alarms Ethics Quiz of the Day:

Is it responsible for parents to do this to their children?

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Ethics Quiz: Now THIS Is An Irresponsible Mother! So…

A 4-year-old Detroit girl is in critical condition after being shot in the arm and leg. Her mother is in custody: first she said that her daughter was wounded in an attempted robbery, then she admitted that her gun went off accidentally while she was cleaning it.

Twice.

Now, this ethics quiz is based on the facts as the mother stated them. According to the reports, there are many reasons to doubt what she is now claiming—for example, police say the girl’s mother said the firearm was inside the apartment, but they did not find any gun there after getting a warrant and searching. But let’s assume, arguendo, as lawyers say, that she is telling the truth. Let’s also assume that she isn’t crazy or a drug addict.

According to the ATF, these are the conditions under which a citizen can lose the Second Amendment Right To Bear Arms:

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The Parents Of Michigan School Shooter Ethan Crumbley Are Charged…Good [Expanded And Updated]

ethan-crumbley-parents

With rights come responsibilities. I have never been able to understand why law enforcement has been so reluctant to hold the owners and purchasers of guns that are used in crimes criminally responsible when those weapons fall into the wrong hands. Maybe this case will finally be a tipping point, one that should have tipped long ago, and perhaps in other areas of parental negligence other than gun crimes.

Jennifer and James Crumbley, the parents of Ethan Crumbley, the 15-year-old accused of murdering four students at a high school in Michigan (we are supposed to say that, but there is no question, and no doubt, that he’s guilty) have been charged with four counts each of involuntary manslaughter. The prosecutor laid out the reasons in a detailed statement. It seems awfully persuasive to me.

Among the facts cited in Oakland County, Michigan’s prosecutor Karen McDonald: Continue reading

A “Hard Cases Make Bad Law” Classic: The School Board President’s Kid’s Social Media “Hate Speech”

Cullman City

I’d make this an ethics quiz, but I think it’s too potentially important to treat as a jump ball. This is the kind of extreme mess that threatens free speech, especially when on entire political party is searching for an excuse to ban “hate speech,” once they have defined it just well enough to constrain political opponents.

In Cullman City, Alabama, the school board’s president’s son, who attends the school district’s high school, posted a video to SnapChat in which he could be seen and heard chanting “White power!” and “Kill all the niggers!” The video has been widely circulated among students. The parent of a black student who saw the video has demanded the resignation of Amy Carter (no, not THAT Amy Carter; don’t be silly), the school board’s president. The parent is also demanding that the school take action against the student. “Cullman City Schools would clearly punish our son if he made a video threatening the white students of Cullman High School,” she wrote in an email. “My son is one of a handful of black children in the school. Tell me how he wouldn’t be threatened by KILL ALL THE Ns?! Explain to me how this is not a threat.”

Well, I can answer that last part. Under First Amendment case law, the “true threats” doctrine holds that allegedly threatening speech cannot be punished unless the government can prove that the speaker meant to communicate a serious expression of an intent to commit an act of unlawful violence to a particular individual. A chant on a video posted on social media that mentions no specific student will not qualify as an actionable threat. Her previous question is tougher. The school and the town itself has a reputation for racial hostility toward blacks. The mother of the black student says her son has repeatedly been subjected to racist remarks during his four years as a student in the district. I see good reason for the video to be unsettling in that context.

On the other hand, I’m getting awfully tired of the “they wouldn’t treat a black adult/child this way if he/she did X” argument, which is almost never challenged even when it’s bigoted nonsense, as in the race-based attacks on the Rittenhouse verdict. It’s more presumed racism, and a cheat, a device to avoid making a solid argument.

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From The “I Don’t Understand This At All” Files…

Dem classroom ad

The Glenn Youngkin campaign—he’s the Republican running for governor of Virginia–has been circulating this campaign sign for McAuliffe, endorsing the statement that the Democratic candidate made in a televised debate that has his poll numbers in a freefall. (What McAuliffe said was “I don’t think parents should be telling schools what they should teach.”)

Could this possibly be a Democratic party-approved sign? I wondered if it was a “false flag” by the Republicans. The message contradicts what McAuliffe has been saying in recent days about supporting active parental involvement in public school education.

If the sign is genuine, what kind of person would approve of such a message? It’s stunning what goes on in some classrooms, everything from child abuse to mis-instruction to indoctrination. Parents who don’t monitor how and what their children are taught are irresponsible and negligent; it’s as simple as that.

Could the Democrats in Virginia be this stupid? How is that possible?

Ethics Observations On The Antifa School Teacher Scandal

Gipe

A “reporter” (I use the word loosely) for James O’Keefe’s Project Veritas somehow got Gabriel Gipe (above), an advanced placement teacher at Inderkum High School in Sacramento, California, to blather on happily about how he was indoctrinating his students in Marxist ideology and was proud of it. All of this was recorded, as is Project Veritas’s way. Gipe said, in part,

“I have 180 days to turn them [students] into revolutionaries…Scare the f*ck out of them… I’m probably as far left as you can go….I post a calendar every week…I’ve had students show up for protests, community events, tabling, food distribution, all sorts of things…When they go, they take pictures, write up a reflection — that’s their extra credit…So, they [students] take an ideology quiz and I put [the results] on the [classroom] wall. Every year, they get further and further left…I’m like, ‘These ideologies are considered extreme, right? Extreme times breed extreme ideologies.’ Right? There is a reason why Generation Z, these kids, are becoming further and further left…I have an Antifa flag on my [classroom] wall and a student complained about that — he said it made him feel uncomfortable. Well, this [Antifa flag] is meant to make fascists feel uncomfortable, so if you feel uncomfortable, I don’t really know what to tell you. Maybe you shouldn’t be aligning with the values that this [Antifa flag] is antithetical to…Like, why aren’t people just taking up arms? Like why can’t we, you know — take up arms against the state? We have historical examples of that happening, and them getting crushed and being martyrs for a cause and it’s like — okay well, it’s slow going because it takes a massive amount of organization…I think that for [left-wing] movements in the United States, we need to be able to attack both [cultural and economic] fronts. Right? We need to create parallel structures of power because we cannot rely on the state…Consistently focusing on education and a change of cultural propaganda. We have to hit both fronts. We have to convince people that this is what we actually need…There are three other teachers in my department that I did my credential program with — and they’re rad. They’re great people. They’re definitely on the same page.”

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