Ethics Hero: Bo Jackson

It’s still early on Saturday morning and I’m not quite up to the hard stuff, but this post is easy.

Retired superstar athlete Bo Jackson, who had memorable if tragically shortened careers in both the NFL and Major League Baseball before his hip gave out, has revealed that he flew to Uvalde, Texas three days after the 18-year-old gunman carried out the massacre, donated $170,000 and offered to pay for all funeral expenses for the victim’s families.

Jackson has never been a spotlight hound, and apparently acted because he had spent time in the city and was familiar with it, and because he was touched by the tragedy. The only pro-athlete to be both an NFL and an MLB All-Star told the Associated Press, “I don’t know if it’s because I’m getting old…It’s just not right for parents to bury their kids — it’s just not right.”

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Tuesday Morning Ethics Warm-Up. 7/19/2022: Harvard, Redheads, Uvalde, Bad House Guests And More

A lot of people find images like this, and the motto, offensive, presumably because of the association with Ronald Reagan, who brilliantly appropriated optimistic patriotism as a conservative value in response to Jimmy Carter’s “malaise” vision of the nation. Being negatively triggered by one’s own flag and expressions of pride and enthusiasm regarding the nation it represents is not a healthy state of mind, and therefore it is unethical conduct to actively promote such an attitude…which we now see being done every day.

1. It may be unethical, but Harvard at least has gall…In April, Harvard University set out to exceed its previous record for virtue signaling, committing $100 million to “redress its ties to slavery” after a report concluded that slavery played an “integral” role in shaping the University. This is the Cambridge version of reparations, and the flagrant act of misusing donated non-profit funds wasn’t even controversial. The whole board signed on without dissent, which shows how Borg-like the Harvard leadership is. “Diversity” of thought when wokeness is at issue is not welcome. In this month’s alumni magazine, amusingly, Harvard begs for contributions to keep the magazine operating at a high level (it is an excellent alumni magazine), as if  tossing away 100 million dollars on non-educational matters didn’t make the appeal ridiculous. As one contrarian alum noted in a letter to the editor, if Harvard can give away all that money to assuage its conscience about supporting and benefiting long ago from a legal and predominant practice that had gone on for centuries, “it doesn’t need mine.”

In other damning news from Old Ivy, the Harvard  web site calls Students For Fair Admissions v. Harvard,  currently pending before the Supreme Court, as a “politically motivated lawsuit.”  That’s the case in which Asian-American students allege that Harvard discriminates against them (like it discriminates against whites) in its admissions policies.  The web site states, “Harvard College does not discriminate against applicants from any group in its admission processes.” This is pure “it isn’t what it is” gaslighting. One can argue that affirmative action, which is the real issue  in the case, should continue and that it passes ethical standards via utilitarian balancing, but it cannot be denied that  the practice isn’t discrimination. The statement is a lie. Continue reading

California Makes Its Values Depressingly Clear: Minority Privilege Over Children’s Lives

Forget it, Jake, it’s California Town.

Two days after the Uvalde shooting, as all of California Democrats, progressives and anti-gun zealots were metaphorically screaming “Murderers!” at those who aren’t willing to gut the Second Amendment to pretend that various restrictions would stop evil lunatics like Ramos, the California State Senate voted to end a legal requirement that students who threaten violence against school officials be reported.

The old law mandated that whenever a school official was “attacked, assaulted, or physically threatened by any pupil,” staff must “promptly report the incident to specified law enforcement authorities.”

Gone. So, for example, the teacher in that screenshot above, taken from a video of an in-class assault, would not be obligated to report it. How odd that the state would eliminate such a restriction as the question rages over how so many people aware that the Uvalde shooter was an anti-social, gun-obsessed menace never alerted authorities. What could possibly be California’s thinking?

Oh, come on. It’s easy! I guessed—that proves it’s easy. The ACLU’s statement on why it supports the repeal tells all:

Decades of research show the long-term harm to young people of even minimal contact with the juvenile or criminal legal systems. Once students make contact with law enforcement, they are less likely to graduate high school and more likely to wind up in jail or prison. These harms fall disproportionately on students from marginalized groups: Black, Indigenous, and Latinx students, as well as students with disabilities, are disproportionately referred to law enforcement, cited, and arrested.

Taking the photo above as an example, that student is merely the victim of centuries of systemic racism, and justifiably enraged by a racist white supremacist culture. Reporting him just compounds the injustice.

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One General Ethics Lesson From Uvalde: We All Have A Duty To Be Proactive Citizens [Corrected]

As with virtually all of the previous mass shootings (and Salvador Ramos’s mother’s infuriating statements notwithstanding), there were a plethora of ominous signs that this 18-year-old was a virtual ticking time bomb, and that he had gun violence on his mind. Yet nobody with that information did anything. Yes, hindsight bias is, as the saying goes, 20-20, and yes, the fact that the Uvalde killer went through with his stated fantasies and desires and murdered 19 children and two adults is moral luck of the bad variety, just as his doing nothing would have been moral luck of the fortunate variety. The point is that pro-active citizenship could have prevented the tragedy, as it could prevent many tragedies.

More such information will probably emerge but so far we know…

  • For days, Ramos had been telling one girl online in Germany that he had “a secret” that he would eventually reveal. When he said he was about to attack the elementary school, she was not sure if he was serious and did not make any effort to contact the police.


This is basic ethics decision-making: if you are wrong about one course of action and the worst consequence is sounding a false alarm, and the consequence of the alternate choice is that people die, the decision should be clear. The girl now says she regrets her decision. That and 20 cents, my father used to say, will buy her a ride on the subway. Continue reading

What’s This? An Unemotional, Unbiased, Rational Analysis Of The Gun Debate In The Wake Of The Uvalde Shooting?

Indeed. Not surprisingly, it comes from the fertile mind of Prof. Eugene Volokh, proprietor of the esteemed legal scholarship blog The Volokh Conspiracy, now hanging out at Reason, after a brief residency at the Washington Post a long tenure as an independent site. Volokh takes his cue from the recent story, predictably buried by the mainstream media but fortuitously timed in the wake of the tragedy in Texas, of a gun-owning and legally-carrying woman in West Virginia who was attending a party when a man who began firing an AR-15-style rifle into the crowd. She drew her weapon and shot him dead before anyone was wounded.

Volokh asks,

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Comment Of The Day: “Update On The Uvalde Massacre Extension Of The Sandy Hook Ethics Train Wreck, Part 2: Supreme Court Justice Stephen J. Breyer’s Self-Refuting Dissent”

As it did eventually in the Parkland school shooting, the consideration of the accountability for the death toll of innocents in the Uvalde shooting has turned to the conduct of those charged with protecting the victims. It is a separate issue from the culpability of the shooter, whose conduct, intentions and ethical and moral bankruptcy remain the same regardless of the actions of those who helped or hindered it. It is also a separate issue from the question of what public policies might have realistically prevented the tragedy before it took place. It is germane, however, to the matters of government trust, accountability for the loss of life, and particularly the reasonableness of constructing a free society where citizens are entirely at the mercy of the competence, wisdom and character of government agents.

Especially because of the latter, some commentators appear to be trying to rationalize and even excuse the conduct of the police in Uvalde who, by their officials’ own admission, allowed the murderer to keep shooting while they prevented others from trying to intervene, while holding back themselves because they feared being shot.

Commenter Jim Hodgson, in this Comment of the Day on the post, “Update On The Uvalde Massacre Extension Of The Sandy Hook Ethics Train Wreck, Part 2…“:


I was the first supervisor of my previous agency’s SRO program, and I helped teach Active Shooter Response to all our law enforcement deputies for nearly fifteen years. Continue reading

Update On The Uvalde Massacre Extension Of The Sandy Hook Ethics Train Wreck, Part 3: Six Ethics Dunces

Gabe Kapler, San Francisco Giants Manager

Kapler, who is what is considered a deep thinker by the standards of Major League Baseball, refused to stand for the National Anthem. His explanation before the game:

“When I was the same age as the children in Uvalde, my father taught me to stand for the pledge of allegiance when I believed my country was representing its people well or to protest and stay seated when it wasn’t. I don’t believe it is representing us well right now.”

Erma Bombeck once wrote that it is impossible to argue with a six-year-old without sounding like a sic-year-old, and this applies to my going into much detail explaining why Kaplar’s gesture of protest is shallow, facile grandstanding and nothing better. He was a major league player from 1998-2010 and always respected the Anthem. Nothing that happened during those years made him feel the U.S. wasn’t doing the right thing? I don’t believe it. Nor is the National Anthem meant as a means of endorsing national policy. Nor is the fact the Kaplar’s father has a distorted concept of what showing respect for the nation, it’s history, its sacrifices and its values by joining your fellow citizens in an expression of gratitude and honor an excuse for his adopting a similarly infantile view.

On Ethics Alarms, I don’t allow commenters to pass moderation if all they can muster is “I agree” or ” I disagree.” It’s a lazy and useless response. It’s easy to say, “I don’t like this,” especially if you are ignorant and have nothing to contribute. OK, Gabe: what would you have the U.S. do about school shootings? We’re all ears. But he knows he works in San Francisco, where the USSR national anthem would probably attract as much fealty as The Star Spangled Banner. Insulting the nation is good enough: he doesn’t need to articulate an argument.

Gustavo Arellano, LA Times Columnist

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Fine, You Loved Your Maniac Son. Now Shut The Hell Up, Mom!

There is a point where loyalty, unconditional love and bias-born blindness can no longer be tolerated nor excused, and Adriana Reyes, the mother of mass murderer Salvador Ramos, reached that point and passed it.

Her various efforts to defend her now fortunately dead son or to mitigate his incomprehensible crimes do nothing but harm. They contribute just this to understanding of the tragedy: Ramos was raised by a stupid, distracted mother with the ethical instincts of a sea sponge. Thanks, Adriana, but we kind of figured that out. We don’t need the reminders.

Reyes has now said…

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Update On The Uvalde Massacre Extension Of The Sandy Hook Ethics Train Wreck, Part 1

As Glenn Reynolds quips in such situations, “You’re going to need a bigger blog.”

The most depressing post-shooting development is that the Uvalde police completely abdicated their duty and allowed the maniac in an elementary school to keep shooting children. Texas DPS Lt. Chris Olivarez explained on CNN why police officers were reluctant to enter Robb Elementary School while the murders were going on. “They could have been shot. They could have been killed,” he said.

Oh. Well that explains it then. Of course, the police outnumbered the 18-year-old and presumably had more training, they could hear the shots, and being armed themselves, they still has a better chance at survival than the children , but, hey, look out for #1, right?

The shooter entered  Robb Elementary School through an open door , barricaded himself in a classroom and killed 19 children and two teachers. Nobody stood in his way. He had been outside the school for 12 minutes, firing at a funeral home across the street. The first 911 call was made at 11:30 am, and police didn’t arrive until 11:44. A Border Patrol tactical team finally entered the school almost an hour after Salvador Ramos had started shooting students, at around 12:40 p.m. They were able to get into the classroom and kill Ramos. Continue reading

On The Uvalde School Shooting

Yesterday’s murder of children and teachers at the Robb Elementary School in Uvalde doesn’t require an ethics verdict. The shooter was a monster, by any rational definition. The reactions and public statements provoked by the tragedy do require ethics verdicts, and they are largely the same. There was an immediate rush to embrace appeals to emotion, excusable with regular citizens, irresponsible for public officials, celebrities, and anyone who has enhanced influence in society.

Particularly revolting was how much was assumed or declared before the facts were known…and there still isn’t enough known, which shouldn’t be surprising since less than 24 hours passed. There are some things we can assume, however. We can assume that there will be another media-fueled freakout more or less exactly like the reaction to the Parkland shooting, but even more extreme because Democrats are desperate to find a distraction from the markers of their incompetence and failures before a reckoning can occur in November. We can assume—indeed we have already seen—that the exact same cliches, vague nostrums and deceitful statistics will reappear and be repeated, and from the same agents. I assume Don Lemon will be weeping soon on CNN, if he hasn’t already.

Primarily, I assume that the Barn Door Fallacy will take over, like it did after the Oklahoma City bombing, 9-11-01, and the George Floyd fiasco. The public, law makers, demagogues, pundits and news media will clamor for and maybe cause to come to pass draconian measures that will make life and society in the USA less free, less healthy, less conducive to human interaction, more expensive, more inconvenient, and more generally rotten, on the theory that a random catastrophe authored by a small number of human aberrations can be retroactively prevented. Barack Obama’s fatuous “if it saves one human life” nonsense will again make sense. The hope is that this tragedy creates an opportunity to eliminate obstacles to other Democratic policies. Senator Ed Markey (D-MA) said the quiet part out loud: “Abolish the filibuster and pass gun safety legislation now.”

If I permitted myself to respond to this near-certainty in kind, I would write something like the audacious conservative assassin Ace of Spades posted this morning…

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