Tuesday, May 24, 2016

 

They Just Don't Get It

Here is a pretty long piece in the NYT about gun violence. There are a few very stupid things contained in it (which I'll get to) but the major flaw is that the journalist are blaming us non-journalist, everyday citizens for what the journalists in general are doing. Let's start with that.

The article is titled "A Drumbeat of Multiple Shootings but America Isn't Listening." The NYT analyzed 358 shootings in 2015 where the shootings had 4 or more casualties. Here is the money quote:

Over all, though, nearly three-fourths of victims and suspected assailants whose race could be identified were black. Some experts suggest that helps explain why the drumbeat of dead and wounded does not inspire more outrage.

Yeah, it's us racist jerks who don't care about black homicides, who are not outraged by the carnage wrought by 12.6% of our population. Whites are 72.4% of the population and it's all their fault that no one cares about the inordinate number of black murderers and black murder victims. I'm just channeling here the feelings expressed by the writers of the piece, I don't actually believe we are uncaring. I know I care a great deal about black murder victims, all murder victims. I believe there is a different explanation for the alleged lack of outrage about the numbers of black murder victims and murderers.

The real reason is that the press rarely covers most black murders. Sometimes, when the murderer is white, or a child is involved as either victim or murderer, there is some coverage by the news, but rarely when it's quotidian black on black murders. Why is that?

I suggest that the journalist don't cover quotidian black on black murders because the number of such murders do not put the black community in a very good light.

Let's look at the FBI stats from 2014. There were 11,961 murders that year and 8,124 were from firearms (5,562 by handguns, 248 by rifles and 262 by shotgun). Here are the racial breakdowns where the race of the perpetrator was known. Like most activities, the bulk of murders are committed by a person of the same race as the victim.

Of the 3,021 white murder victims (not just by guns) 2,488 were killed by white murderers and 446 by black murderers. That's 82.3% white on white murder and 14.7% black on white murder.

Of the 2,451 black murder victims, 2,205 were by black murderers and 187 by white murderers. That's 89.96% black on black murder and 7.5% white on black murder.

So that's not completely awful in a dispassionate, relative way. Blacks murdered whites at a rate nearly twice that of whites murdering blacks, but the numbers of murders across racial lines are pretty small. Likewise black on black murder was nearly 90% while it was only 82.3% with whites. I can't see any useful data in those last two statistics.

The bad news is the rate of murders by the race of the perpetrator per representation in the general populace. That statistic ain't so good for the black community.

The rate of white murderers per 100,000 white citizens is 1.1. The rate of black murderers per 100,000 of black citizens is 5.6, that is, roughly five times higher than for whites. Put another way, blacks are  responsible for nearly as many murders as whites (2651 versus 2676) but blacks are only about 1/6th as numerous as whites. If I were a bleeding heart rather than a logical mind, I'd not want to trumpet those statistics. I don't talk about them here because I delight in showing the black community penchant for violence and murder. I'm only bringing it up because the journalists implied often in the article that us whites are not outraged because we are racist or uncaring about black victims or both. The number of white cops shooting black victims which amount to murder or manslaughter is tiny compared to the slaughter in the black neighborhoods. But if a black is shot by a cop, even when it is fully justified, the members of the community where it took place are wholly outraged. They riot. They start movements like (Only) Black Lives Matter. There appears to be nothing of this for the everyday murders in the same neighborhoods. Are the other blacks not outraged when a young black man shoots a 6 year old or a baby? I can't believe they are not, but I'm just as sure their outrage is not covered by the press in just the opposite way the press covers a young black man killed by a white cop. But we non-murdering whites are the problem, were the ones indifferent to the suffering of all the victims of murder.

No. No sale. The journalists calling us indifferent and racist are the ones not covering the daily multiple murders of young black men by other young black men. Apparently they are unaware that they are doing just what they complain wrongly that non-journalist whites are doing. They just don't see it. They just don't get it. There is none so blind as he who will not see.

Now to the other stupid stuff.

The NUT evaluation of the 4 or more casualty shootings in 2014 revealed "how easily lives are shattered when a firearm is readily available -- in a waistband, a glove compartment, a mailbox or garbage can that serves as a gang's gun locker." Oh, right, of course it is the availability of guns which causes the murders, not the murderous heart of the murderer. If we took away as many guns as possible, there would be no problems with multiple shooting deaths and injuries. It's the guns' fault for being available. Of course disarming the law abiding and not the criminals would not cause any problems whatsoever. Right?

Also as they are wont to do, the journalists' estimate of gun murders in America each year is far in excess of the figures from the FBI. The article says 11,000 die each year from gunshots. The FBI says that is about the number of all murder victims and only 8,124 are from firearms. Strange that the journalists would get it wrong and thereby exaggerated the problem. I'm sure it's an honest mistake.





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Lessons Unlearned

There is an opinion piece in the NYT today authored by three Viet Nam War vets, two of whom served honorably in it, which purports to display the lessons we have learned from that war. I don't think so. There's more wisdom in the fiction of Game of Thrones last Sunday when a father tells his son: Do not seek out a fight but if you have to fight, win.


That's the lesson we need to learn from Viet Nam. If you have to fight, fight to win. Fight to destroy and occupy the capital city of the enemy, like we did to Germany and Japan. That's a long lasting peace bringer. Anything short of that all too often brings a second conflict. I'll give some examples.


WWI: There was an armistice before Allied troops ever entered Germany or Austro-Hungary or Turkey. So there was WWII with many of the same combatants 21 years later.


Viet Nam: Despite having first defeated the Viet Cong in 1968 and then fought the NVA to a standstill when it invaded South Viet Nam in 1973, and despite our concluding a peace treaty that year, the war ended only when the Communist North violated the treaty before the ink was really dry (and the Democrats in America betrayed our former allies by denying them any weapons, munitions or air support from us). The North invaded and then occupied Saigon and there has been no further conflict there. They knew how to end a way properly.


Gulf War I: There was an armistice before we occupied much of Iraq, certainly got nowhere near Baghdad. So there was the Gulf War II in 2003.


These are real lessons. The opinion piece is almost all blather.

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Saturday, May 21, 2016

 

Thought of the Day

The drums had been beating for weeks about a major New York Times expose in the works that would demolish Trump once and for all by revealing his sordid lifetime of misogyny. When it finally appeared as a splashy front-page story this past Sunday (originally titled "Crossing the Line: Trump's Private Conduct with Women"), I was off in the woods pursuing my Native American research. On Monday, after seeing countless exultant references to this virtuoso takedown, I finally read the article--and laughed out loud throughout. Can there be any finer demonstration of the insularity and mediocrity of today's Manhattan prestige media? Wow, millionaire workaholic Donald Trump chased young, beautiful, willing women and liked to boast about it. Jail him now! Meanwhile, the New York Times remains mute about Bill Clinton's long record of crude groping and grosser assaults--not one example of which could be found to taint Trump.


Camille Paglia

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Sunday, May 08, 2016

 

Mercury Transit





There's a little black spot on the sun today.
It's not the same old thing as yesterday.

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Sunday, May 01, 2016

 

Thought of the Day

May first. Which means I'm 4 short days from another holiday Americans have decided to celebrate.
Don't get me wrong, I'm all for another excuse to drink.
But Seriously Mexico: Celebrating beating the French is like celebrating managing to get your feet into the correct shoes.


Open Blogger at Ace of Spades HQ


The Mexicans won the battle of Puebla on 5/5/1862 but lost the rest of the battles that year and were conquered by the French the next year. The French had taken the opportunity to invade (and ignore the Monroe Doctrine) because we were up to our waists in American dead from our Civil War and couldn't do anything to stop them, which is all the more reason to mock them now. The French left Mexico in 1867 defeated by Mexico's guerilla tactics.


The French Foreign Legion, which can actually fight, suffered a defeat in 1863 in Mexico at the Battle of Cameron, where sixty some Legionnaires took on 3,000 Mexican troops and fought until every one in the Legion was dead or incapacitated. This is what the French celebrate, defeat, but a die-hard defeat and the classical heroic structure--defense of a narrow place against odds. We here in America also celebrate a lost battle in a successful war against the Mexicans. Remember the Alamo.

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Sunday, April 24, 2016

 

The Misallocation of Outrage

Several British and American movies in the past half decade have been good but are tainted by the under-odor of politically correct outrage, that is, outrage over things not at all outrageous. What follows are a few examples.


Now there are plenty of terrible movies that suffer from the same faux moral preening but I don't care about them, nor should you. Also I have to confess a bias for some actors and actresses that makes me call the movies they are in good. Let's start with the oldest.


I really like Bill Nighy and Rachel Weisz so I was glad to watch Page 8 recently for free on Amazon Prime. It's a Brit made-for-TV movie about the spy service there. I hate to point this out (because you'll never be able not to see it again) but Nighy suffers a pretty severe form of Dupuytren's Contracture. On both hands his little and ring finger are pressed down on the palm of his hands and are pretty useless. But back to the movie. It's eminently watchable, even compelling at times, and it is a very smart and tight script, but the center of the movie is supposed to be extreme outrage over the waterboarding our spy service did to three Islamic Terrorist. I can't get there. I'm not even a little bit outraged. Let's do some history.


Spies and saboteurs, and anyone else waging war not in uniform, are not protected by any international law and can be summarily executed upon capture. Perhaps there ought to be a military tribunal but if caught on the battlefield, that's not even necessary. Germany during WWII put some saboteurs into America by submarine and we captured them within days of entry and executed most of them within weeks of capture and the Supreme Court OKed it in a published decision, all in about four months. Ah, do I long for the good old days when our Government was competent and efficient and we won the war we were fighting. Oh, and one of the Nazis executed was an American citizen. Also, because of a quirk in our reflex system whereby you can simulate drowning, with absolutely no danger of drowning and any harm to the "victim," and with just a little water on a cloth over the face, the waterboarded have a severe natural reaction which can be useful to breaking down their resistance to telling their captors the truth. (If you waterboard for, let's say, a half hour at a time, that's torture; but discrete 30 seconds of a wet handkerchief on the face is not torture unless you demean torture to include this nothingburger in its definition-- I mean, what's next? We can't even use harsh language?).


So, the whole plot of Page 8 was trying to leak a report that British spies were involved in some meaningless way with American waterboarding. I feel a yawn coming on.


And there were two sequels to Page 8, Turks & Caicos and Salting the Battlefield. In the first, Weisz is replaced by the fallen actress Wynona Rider (who is looking very good) and there is the full quirky from Christopher Walken (who is not looking very good). So what evil is at the center of this spy plot? It seems that a group of men has overcharged the American Government for constructing the prisons for the illegal combatants (Islamic Terrorists) who are waging a declared war against us. Oh, the horrors. Overcharged our Government! (There is the side plot that loathsome members the group were allowed by her father to have sex with Wynona at a very young age, for which I can readily feel outrage and hatred). But we're supposed to feel outrage over corporate overcharging for prison construction? I'm in full yawn. And this same overcharging brings down the prime minister (Ralph Fiennes) in the second sequel, because after he leaves office, he plans to work with a corporation which includes the group that overcharged. Oh, the horror of working for a company tangentially connected with over-chargers! Here the female interest is Helena Bonham Carter (who is looking good). It is good to see some actresses from my youth still appearing in films playing smart, competent women in power, like Marthe Keller and Judy Davis (both of whom are sadly not looking so good).


But speaking of actresses from my youth, the still playing in theaters Eye in the Sky, features Helen Mirren of whom I am a big fan. She has had a very long career from when I first saw her in the excellent A Midsummer Night's Dream, when she was 22. It helped that in a lot of her movies after that, she walked around completely naked*, but I thought her most interesting work was the Prime Suspect series. Here she is much more like Jane Tennison in that series as she plays a Brit military intelligence officer seeking to capture Islamic Terrorists (particularly British subjects who have converted to that role). The terrorists avoid capture and are in a place where they cannot reasonably be captured so the bulk of the movie is Mirren trying to bring a drone delivered Hellfire missile down on their heads. But wait, extremely pantywaisted nancy boys (and an outraged witch) up the chain of command are willing to do nothing to harm the terrorists (in the act of loading up suicide bomb vests on two young Muslims to blow up presumably in a market or shopping mall in Nairobe) because there is a little girl selling bread in the probable blast area of the missile.


To the movie's credit, many of the Muslims are unabashedly evil assholes, and all the Americans involved up the chain of command are certain the Hellfire is the right thing to do; it's only the squishy Brits (other than Mirren) who are loath to pull the trigger (actually have the Americans pull the trigger). We used to bomb our enemies' homelands (during WWII -- a war we won) with the certitude that there would be thousands and thousands of innocent civilians killed; now we cry and have fits over a single one. That does not bode well for the outcome of the war being waged against us. War completely sucks, which is why we try so hard to avoid it. But if the illegal, wholly evil combatants in that war, illegally hide among civilians, then the resulting civilian deaths during combat are on them, not us. If you see this movie and feel we should have let the terrorists go rather than risk the collateral death of the cute little girl, please don't ever tell me you did. I will never see you as a serious person again.


* Incomplete list of movies where you can see all or a lot of Helen Mirren: Age of Consent, Savage Messiah, O Lucky Man!, Hussy, Caligula, Excaliber, Cause celebre, Pascali's Island, BBC2 Playhouse (Mrs. Reinhardt), Cal, The Cook, the Thief, His Wife & Her Lover, Prince of Jutland, The Passion of Ayn Rand, The Roman Spring of Mrs. Stone, Calendar Girls (out-takes), and Love Ranch. Of these, perhaps O Lucky Man! is your best bet for overall quality of the film.

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Saturday, April 16, 2016

 

Reporter Knowledge Deficit

The news accounts were fairly ecstatic. The Sandy Hook parents were seeking to nullify a law that specifically provides to gun sellers and makers what all manufacturers enjoy, namely, immunity from suits for illegal use of a legal product. And, mirable dictu, the poor grieving parents won the day and were proceeding on to victory over the nasty gun makers.


I wanted to read the opinion of the Connecticut judge who issued the denial of the gun provider defendants' motion to dismiss.


Now I have.


It is not the victory the reporters are reporting. It is a boring procedural matter order only. The court kept jurisdiction. That's it. There was no ruling that the complaint stated a claim on which relief could be granted (the dreaded Rule 12(b)(6) test for dismissing a complaint and awarding attorney fees to the complained against).


There still is not the slightest chance in heck that the grieving but litigious parents (who already split up the $1.5 million estate of the mother murdered by her son before he started shooting children) will win this thing. The law protecting the gun suppliers is too clear for even the most biased of liberal judges to be able to thwart.


Or so I think.

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Monday, April 04, 2016

 

Shot Rings Out in the Memphis Sky

I am fervently anti-conspiracy theory on all assassinations and terrorist attacks on the US in the last 75 years with one exception: Martin Luther King's assassination by James Earl Ray. And even there I've moved from belief to skepticism and back to belief. I admit the supporting evidence is a little thin.

I started out wondering how a prison escapee could fund his travels eventually to Memphis and after the shooting to Canada and then to Europe. How did he even get a passport, I asked myself? He had to have help, he had to have people paying him money to do what he did. But then I read a book and it turns out that Ray was the cheapest of the cheap. He could stretch out his dollars from odd jobs and small robberies amazingly. Also, what reason did I have to believe that it was harder to get a false passport in the past?

But there were things in the book that bothered me greatly. One is the witness testimony that during his moving in on Dr. King he would from time to time stop at phone booths and take a lot of change with him to make a call or two. What's that about? But this is the kicker: just prior to the shooting, Ray bought a Remington Gamemaster 760 pump rifle in .270 from a sports store and then returned it the next day for the same rifle in .30-06. Now I'm sure there could be a logical, non-conspiracy explanation for that, but I'm having trouble coming up with it. Us gun nuts know that the deer round .270 is not the man-killer the .30-06 is*. Ray had been in the Army and had used 30-06 in the M1 Garands he had fired. He had to have known it was the right round for killing another person. So why the waffling?

I think his "handler" -- the guy he was calling -- either told him to get the .270 and Ray up-gunned the round because of his experience or it was the other way around, he decided on .270 and the co-conspirator overrode that decision and sent him back to the store. It's a tiny peg on which to hang a conspiracy theory but I can't shake its implications and what it causes me to believe.

So, think about the amount of book paper wasted on frivolous and fatuous conspiracy theories about JFK because the left's refused to accept that a Commie offed the King of Camelot. Democrats have searched, unsuccessfully, for a way to blame it on anyone else for decades. Compare that immense library to the amount of book paper talking about a conspiracy to kill Dr. King, both for and against a conspiracy. It's about a hundred thousand to one, but there really is evidence of a conspiracy for Dr. King's murder.

* The difference between the same weight bullet is minimal for .270 and .30-06, although the .30-06 has greater energy. Generally, however, .270 only comes with 130 and 150 grain bullets. You can get much heavier bullets for the 30-06 and added bullet weight slows down the bullet but it hits with substantially more foot pounds of energy. Apparently, a 168 grain, .30-06 hollow point, boat tail bullet is the perfect one for killing another human, or so I'm told.

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