Tag Archives: responsibility

Aurora Shootings Part 1: What if…???

San Diego –– Some of my friends, knowing I come from Colorado and had been there and indirectly involved in the Columbine shootings (which I wrote about back then) have asked my reactions to the latest atrocity to happen in an Aurora theater since it too was in Colorado, in fact in the same metroplex, i.e. the greater Denver area.  I think there are two issues worth dealing with.  The first, how to try to make sure it doesn’t happen again, is now locked in a state of political gamesmanship to see which side can score more ideological points by spinning the very limited information coming out at glacial speed.  Of course politicians and political hacks on all sides have never ever been ones to allow a lack of facts to deter their evangelical fervor to paint the other side in the most egregiously insulting and religiously demonizing terms.

I am seeing it come to bloom in full flower on Facebook where, especially from the traumatized left, this has provided a gold mine of opportunity to espouse their pretty but historically ignorant rants on how if we, the people just give up all arms and all abilities to confront a government out of control and bent on autocratic domination, not only will the enlightened and ever-benign autocrats treat us wonderfully, sort of like cherished house pets, but the bad guys and real tigers out there will, out of social guilt I guess, pull in their claws, turn in their weapons, and renounce, probably in public meetings much like AA, their use violence against the sheeple in their midst.

I think that is the ultimate in social and historical ignorance.  And I think too little data has come out of this case to yet draw any definitive analysis about the shooter himself, his psychology, his ideology, his history, etc. that will not, due to unavoidable holes in the data, fail to do harm to society on one way or another if used as the basis for action.  Of course that has not slowed down the ever cute cartoons and bumper sticker pronouncements being shared all over the social media.

If course, in our inceasingly parasitic and entitled society it is ALWAYS someone else’s fault and never our own.  So far I have read the most inane pronouncements that the fault lies with guns per se (of course…), the internet, the evil school that was failing him in his doctoral quest, video games to which he was addicted, sex sites to which he also seems addicted, the movie in question for its display of violence  (even though people were seeing it for the first time), even some form of bad potty training that left him socially unprepared for the real world.

Possibly some or all of those are factors to be considered in the final analysis.  But data gathering is ongoing; much is still not known.  And only a fool of galactic proportions will attempt to draw conclusions about so complex a situation when it is known that not all of the facts are disclosed… only a fool would propose legislation on incomplete information.  I have been surprised at how many of my Facebook “friends” fall into that “foolish” category.  Sad.

Well, I have to confess… I’ve also done and said some foolish things in my time, God knows.  But I do not think of myself as a fool and so am not quite yet ready to publically publish my own analysis and prescriptions for resolutions until I have seen enough of the data forthcoming to do a proper review.  The media thus far seems hesitant in its revealing of data and is selective in what it shares which I can only ascribe to the fact that the raw data seems to be leading some place they do not like.  So knowing the editing of published data is in full swing, I’ll hold off a bit because it seems to me there are some real substantive holes in the data and too much contradiction usually explained by further information.

However there is another issue that can be tackled.  And it is truly an important one on a personal level.  What if you find yourself in the same situation somewhere.  There was a time when such an event would not have been allowed to unfold very far before some audience member simply took the bad guy out.  Not in California, of course, but in other places which felt comfortable with good guys having the ability to protect themselves.  But that takes away some of the dependency creating control of government so here in the golden state it is no longer allowed.

Even so, perhaps there was a time in our society’s evolution when the delusion of safety from such events, the “it can’t happen to me” syndrome, had some practical merit… but no longer.  The list of people who have, for whatever reason gone “postal” is growing and it has happened in the most unexpected of places which is to say… everywhere.

In the office, in schools, in theaters, in homes, in fast food restaurants, in churches, in shopping malls, we have seen some example of this play out.  Until this activity is properly reviewed and we get beyond the simplistic conclusions based not on facts forming an ideology but on ideology editing and filtering the facts, it will continue,  And sooner or later, no matter how low the odds, this horror show may someday come to you.

So a more immediate and vitally important question arises; one that goes to your own survival, becomes, “What then?  What if it happens to you?  How do you increase your chances of not begin one of the victims?”

For this, there is lots of evidence because, unfortunately there is lots of history.  Like reviewing game films to analyze tactics, however, we can use that history along with some military knowledge to offer some suggestions.  Unfortunately lots of people do not want to hear it.  It frightens them… and it should.  It paints a bleak picture requiring of them unthinkable action… and it does.  It makes them question deeply held ideologies… and it does and indeed should.  So they avoid it to avoid those painful reviews and thoughts.  Here is an example.

I spent four years writing producing and selling law enforcement training video for the Denver Police Department.  We produced a few presentations designed for the community and public as well.  Those programs were designed to work, in conjunction with further input from the police department, to increase public awareness and safety.  They were generally well received and we received a number of awards including one Emmy Nomination for works done in that vein.

But when we tried to interest the school systems in presentations on protecting their kids from an attack such as at Columbine, we hit a brick wall of resistance.  The schools told us time and again they believed it would only traumatize the kids and make them afraid.  What???  They were told about tornadoes and earthquakes.  When I was a kid we were trained constantly in the “Duck and Cover” techniques in case the bad guys launched the big one.  And though we knew that being vaporized in a bright flash and loud bang was a possibility.  What could be more disconcerting than that?  And yet the training made us feel more secure not more traumatized.  We were told that it might not save all of us but it might save some of us who did it right and that gave us hope and a plan.

Do fire drills make us afraid?  Do evacuation drills for earthquakes make us afraid or do that seek to minimize loss of life?  In high school in Missouri we tornadoes were a reality so we learned what to do when they occured.  Were we frightened of such things?  Sure, we would be fools not to be.  But we had a plan and a hope and were not ready to just stand there and be, like Dorothy, swept off to Oz.

But that was a long time ago and during the age of self-reliance and responsibility; it was not the current day of entitled parasites desperate to be protected and fed by others so perhaps it is different today.  You readers will have to decide for yourselves where you fit on that continuum and either stop reading now to avoid any damage to your fragile, already victimized psyches or decide you do not want to become excellent at being a victim and read on.

In every such shooting situation as happened at the Aurora theater, there are at least three categories of innocent participants (other than the perpetrators themselves).  There are…

  1. Those at point blank range who have little or no chance of survival.
  2. Those at mid range who have a reasonable chance of survival AND
  3. Those at longer ranges who have a very good chance at survival if they know what to do.

And among these categories based on relative placement to the locus of the attack, there are three types of personalities:

  1. Those who will panic and either freeze in place or try to run away without thought or plan.
  2. Those who will attempt to escape but with a plan in mind
  3. Those who will counter attack as if their lives were at stake, which, of course, they are.

If such a situation develops in your presence you have to understand, there are NO guarantees of survival no matter what you do or how carefully prepared you are.  All you can do is change the odds from being severely against you to being more in your favor.  But combat experience and history, whether in the military or on the streets shows, those odds, properly used, more often than not, make all of the difference between life and death or serious injury.  Using a doorway for cover in an earthquake does not guarantee survival but it increases your odds.

We are not talking about military engagements here between opposing enemy forces but about public danger from a potential mass murderer.   So for our discussion there are also several categories of possible assailants that might ever go on the attack in a more or less public place.

  1. A REAL assassin after a target.
  2. Real criminals holding you hostage or simply unintentionally catching you in a crossfire in a battle with law enforcement.
  3. The “pushed over the edge” semi-normal person who just looses it in rage or frustration and opens fire with some loose plan or target in mind.  And
  4. The psycopath/sociopath who opens fire for the love of death and destruction and a complete lack of empathy for those innocent people around them.

A real assassin is typically extremely well trained, practiced, able and willing to kill, but with very narrowed focus and an interest in minimizing collateral damage.  Unless you are on his or her target list you are generally pretty safe.  If you are on the list then unless you can match them talent for talent you are on borrowed time anyway so get your affairs in order as soon as possible.

Except in rare cases, all of the other category of assailant is probably not out to kill a particular person.  The exception is the disgruntled employee out for revenge over their manager or boss but one that person is dealt with any continued rampage puts them in the same category as the others.

Also, unless they have spent some hard prison time, most criminals, even bank robbers, are rarely calloused killers.  The Dillingers, Nelsons, Barkers, Barrows, et al are of another era.  Don’t be lulled into carelessness though.  A holdup plan gone wrong can change their game but it was not the game intended and now they, like you, are making it up on the fly.  It is certainly dangerous but it is not targeted.  And, unless they are a practiced killer, they, like most humans, are hard wired somehow to avoid killing other humans.  Unless pushed into it even most of the lighter weight bad guys will try to avoid it.  When pushed however, with no way out, then all bets are off as to their likely actions and you have to view and react to them like any other crowd shooter including the most psychotic.

OK so what to do and not do?

If you are in the first category of freezing or panicking then you stand an incredibly high chance of being injured or killed.  Here’s why.  The nearly inevitable result of a group of people in a panic with minimal routes of exit are that they all bunch up as the bottle neck of an exit is jammed.  That forms a mass and provides the easiest of all possible targets for the shooter.  Frightened people tend to bunch up for comfort and security, huddle together in a false sense of safety in numbers and only succeed in making themselves and those near them far better targets.

The shooter doesn’t have to be a good enough shot to pick off individuals, they just need to fire into the mass and as the outer layers are hit and fall away it exposes the next layer for them.  If they are shooting military ball ammunition (full jacketed) or very high power rounds, or if the stray bullet simply passes through soft tissue on one individual, then each bullet may penetrate several individuals and the hit ratio makes it look like far more shots were fired than actually were.

Further, shooting at a crowd’s back or sides presents an amorphous non-human target mass and so is less likely to engage any inner prohibitions and worse, as people fall with each shot, it increases the satisfaction of the shooter and “showing them” whose boss.  It may be the only time in their miserable lives they are in control of a situation and it feels good.  So they keep firing until empty or the gun jams or everybody is on the floor dead or dying.

(As an aside, the Aurora shooter had purchased a cheap aftermarket drum magazine but it was not well designed and could not handle the action so it jammed long before it was out of ammunition.  The shooter was so poorly trained he apparently did not know how to clear the jam.)

So rule number one is, don’t let yourself becomepart of that herd of easy targets running in complete panic into a bullet that was not even really aimed at you.  If you are not willing to prepare to engage the bad guy, at the very least make sure you belong with the second group of those who seek to escape but with a plan.  It does not guarantee success but starts immediately to improve your odds.

The plan starts with preparation: know where the exits really are.  Are you close enough to beat the crowd or by the time you get there will you simply be part of that massed target?  Is there any place that might offer hard cover (something that will stop or deflect a bullet) and you should also and always get in the habit of performing, in ANY place, what intel types refer to as “Situational Awareness.”  The Aurora shooter virtually telegraphed that something was wrong when he used an exit to (apparently) take a call instead of going to the lobby or simply silencing the phone and letting it go to voice mail like most would do.  And when he came back in through the emergency exit, much less now with hoody and weapons, all questions should have been answered on the spot.  Time to leave!!!

I know, It is hard in a movie where the screen demands your attention.  But living through the day us certainly worth some attention as well.  Isn’t it?  It is a sad commentary to think it is necessary.  But just what is your life and the lives of people you love worth?  Is it not worth a few minutes to become aware of your surroundings and keep an eye out for unusual activities?

The next thing to do, especially if you are in a crowd or crowded place, the moment the action starts, is to hit the deck and start crawling toward any cover you identified.  In a theoter, use the concealment of the chairs to hide your movement.  But knowing they are not bullet proof, get as fast as possible to any real cover or to an exit.  Those still standing will become the targets of opportunity and distractions to the shooter’s attention.  And before some prim and proper person retorts that they will not get down on that nasty, sticky theater floor with who-knows-what on it, let me make something clear to you.  Nothing spilled on that floor will be as bad for your future as your own blood.

If you are standing when the action starts, run at an angle, ideally about 45 degrees from the way the gunman is facing if possible.  Despite what you see in the movies, there is only about a 4% chance of a single running target at an angle being hit unless the ground is swept by true automatic fire.  Whether crawling or running, keep moving until you find hard cover or an exit from the firing.  There generally will remain plenty of easy targets for the shooter who will not want to waste ammunition on targets harder to hit.

Become aware of the shots fired and the duration of fire as well as how the gunman is using the weapon.  For example, it looks very cool in the movies for the gangsta to hold the pistol sideways but it destroys the ability to aim and balistically become difficult to hit a target, especially a moving one.  Full auto weapons, rare in these type of events, are often out of ammunition in a hurry.  An UZI or Mac-10 will empty a clip in a couple of seconds.  Listen for the receiver or bolt to lock open or click meaning either a need to reload or a jam.  Unless the gunman is a trained shooter that will, for a few seconds, distract them and turn their attention to the weapon not to you or the targets.  Now move and move fast.

But what if there is no place to run or take cover?  What if the bad guy is right on top of you at point blank range and your life as well as the lives of any loves ones are now in serious risk?  You have two very simple and very clear choices.  Resign yourself and your loved ones to their fates and do nothing… or devote every fiber of your being into taking the SOB out.

Make no mistake, this is the second highest risk course of action (the first is just sitting or standing there and trusting to fate) but your odds are better than zero and when that is all you have, you take it and run with it or die where you sit.  It is simply delusional to think that faced with a crazed killer on a rampage, your best bet is to sit quietly and smile to show them you are no threat.  Get real, no one was a real threat to them before and virtually all of their human inhibitions have been somehow silenced at this point.  Talking nicely to them is like talking nicely to a rattlesnake ready to strike.  Neither one can really hear you nor care what you are saying.  If the gunman has some intention of surviving this then anyone who has seen and can identify them is a threat and they will act accordingly our of primal self survival instincts.  This is the time to let your own primal instincts take over.

All humans are subject to issues of reaction time.  It takes about ½ second for the average brain to react to and identify action and start the response.  Action, especially direct action, is always faster than reaction.  Always (well unless some physical restriction or distance makes your actions much slower than normal).  So once you are committed, go for it with all of your strength and speed; let the adrenalin do its thing to help you.  You must be at your most ferocious and savage if you wish to survive this close encounter; anything less shifts the odds back into the gunman’s favor.

If possible move when their reaction to you will take the most distance and time to complete, or if they are distracted by somnething else or the need to reload or clear a jam.  Otherwise let surprise be on your side.

Don’t have any sense of false bravado here.  You are at a major disadvantage here unless your life has had its share of training to deal with such things as bullets coming at you; even then the guy with the gun has the best odds unless you are very good and very close.  If you do not have less than 10-15 feet of open ground to cover at a moment of distraction, then escape by running at angles is your best chance… when possible.

When it is not possible to run, the goals of your action are simple:  If you are otherwise unarmed, control the shooter’s hands to get the weapon pointed in some other direction (or out of his hands) and then incapacitate or kill the shooter.  And if another potential victim moves first, take advantage of that distraction to help them.  But do not fall back into “polite society mode” just yet.  This will be a true life and death struggle which you can survive only at the expense of the bad guy.  Let the miscreant gunman pay the price for this rather than more innocent lives and especially more than your own.  The moment you decide to be nice may be your last.

Much as adrenalin will help there is nothing that will help as much as practice and training.  The good news is that most non-professionals that end up on a rampage are not well trained either; but you can’t count on it.  There are good self defense courses nearly everywhere that use selected martial arts moves but designed for self protection and survival.  Take one.  No book, no blog, no video can ever properly prepare you for such an encounter.  Better than nothing at their best by helping you think through your actions, but worse than nothing if they give you a sense of invulnerability.  Take a class.  Until you have actually taken a punch I guarantee you the first one to your face will stun you into inaction.  And the first bullet or knife cut, even a flesh wound, will hurt so much as to debilitate you for a moment and that moment is all the bad guy will need to finish the job.

In a day and age when more and more people are giving their own survival over to the government in one way or another, who think the cavalry will be able to rush to the rescue and pull your sorry fat out of the fire, remember the old adage of the prepared:  “When seconds count the police will arrive in minutes.”  The only one that can save you during those first seconds… is you.

What if you are armed and trained?  Then take the bad guy out.  Period. End of discussion.

Learn to detect someone wearing body armor; if worn under their clothing, how does that change their appearance and basic conformation?  Police are often trained to do a three shot sequence: two shots to center of mass (the so-called “double tap”) and if the target is not on its way to the ground then one more shot to the triangle area formed by the brow ridge and base of the nose is all that is needed.  Personally I’ve never seen any real reason for the initial chest shots except for poor marksmanship or too long a range.  A person shooting into a crowd needs to be dropped in his or her tracks.

The “double tap” to center of mass is a fatal combination but incapacitation is not necessarily instantaneous… though it serves a PR function for the police department.  You have no such constraints and if you have armed yourself then you have the responsibility, in my opinion, to so well train yourself as to be capable of using your weapon with no collateral damage.

But remember, a heavy dose of adrenalin makes you stronger and faster but it also destroys fine motor skills in favor of gross motor skills.  Only training and muscle patterning will allow you to predictably hit the side of the Pentagon at 10 paces.  You can not be a nice guy and play Lone Ranger ro shoot the gun out of their hands, you cannot rely on a wounding shot, say, to an arm or leg, to incapacitate the shooter and bring the action to a halt, especially if they are on drugs.  To try that will get you or more people shot by now enraged shooters.  And finally, guns designed for easy and concealed carry are following design constraints opposed to designs to make the gun more accurate over distances.  Unless you invest as much money into customizing and training with your carry gun as you might spend on a small car, you are going into battle with a barely adequate weapon and not one anyone intentionally going into a gun fight would choose.  The only advantage of a concealed weapon is surprise and once that is lost the odds go back to the better armed.

The only shot guaranteed to end the encounter on the spot it to take out a brain or spinal cord.  Even a heart shot may allow 5-10 seconds of return fire unless hit with a round of such shock as to shut down the central nervous system.

If you are willing to act at all with a carry gun train yourself to take a very fast shot that will predictably end the encounter instantly.  Or leave the damn thing at home because you will otherwise just get yourself or others killed as well as providing another weapon to the bad guys..

In the end, if you find yourself in such a situation, the odds of survival are totally in your own hands.  Not the police, not the FBI, not the newsman, not the fireman, not the EMT, not the building owner or lessee… yours and yours alone.  To refuse to accept that ugly fact simply, in my opinion, adds more chlorine to the gene pool and I can only hope if we are in the same situation going down when the bullets start filling the air, your panic or complete inaction will provide the distraction I need to serve my own survival.  I’d really rather have your help dealing physically with the bad guy, but if you can’t or won’t help directly than will you at least give him a good distracting target of opportunity? If you wish to commit suicide by crazed gunman then that is your choice to make, but if you are going to do it anyway could you try to time it to give me, and any others willing to react, the best chance of success?

For those who have never faced death head on, I know that will sound unbelievably brutal and nasty.  I hope for you a world in which you will never have to face such stuff, never come face to face with the implement of your own impending death, never have to decide between life and death for yourself or a loved one.  That ought to be everyone’s goal and plan.

To be fair, in your favor are the statistics that show the vast majority of people, even including law enforcement officers, never have to face such things in their entire lives and careers.  But those statistics were meaningless for the moviegoers in that theater in Aurora, on the planes during 911, in the MacDonald’s in Chula Vista a few years ago, in the schools such as Columbine, Tierra Santa, or Virginia Tech.  Are you prepared for the plan to fail and those statistics to become meaningless for you or loved ones?

OK, at the start of this I mentioned the follow up part to better analyze the shootings from an political/philosophical point of view for the next part in this series.   But to try to avoid being as foolish as those already leaping into the discussion with their own conclusions, let me allow a little more time for more data to be revealed about the whole circumstances of this shooting.  I want to know the actual reality, not the Michael Moore style fantasy reality.

Moore’s idiot movie on Columbine showed an amazing ability to avoid the reality of the laws on the books at that time and create a perception of that place and time that bore virtually no connection to the truth.  How can i say that?  Good question.  First of all my years working with the DPD gave me access to people to talk about it from their side; my production company’s CFO was uncle to one of the Columbine students who was there and had his best friend killed at his side and survived by following some of the advice I have given here; and, for years i shot firearms competitively in the area, shot frequently at the police range with the instructors, and was a close follower and intimately familiar with Colorado and Denver, and Federal gun laws.  And i can tell you categorically that Moore’s movie was more lie than truth, more spin than fact, and so ideologically tainted as to render it a disservice to anyone seaking real answers to the real problems of public violence.

Do not base your own potential survival in such circumstances on such putrid ideological BS!.

Well, actually that is not completely candid or honest of me to say that. The truth is I am indifferent to the outcome if you want to lower your own odds of survival so long as you do not imperil those of myself, or of people I love.  But don’t get behind laws and regulations based on such skewed perspectives and, in the end, make matters far worse.  To do so, and only succeed in making it less safe for the innocents at the next incident makes you, in my opinion, as bad an actor as the gunmen themselves because you are contributing, albeit indirectly, to the carnage.

To stop or at least to minimize the incidents such as this needs a complex approach that encompasses review of some laws but also of the trends of our culture and society. Murder is and has been against the law for a very long time.  Trying to stop murder by demonizing the tools is like trying to enforce traffic laws by demonizing the automobile.

These things do not occur in a vacuum.  The important question is why do they occur and is it possible to try to stop or at least slow down the number of incidents.  I actually believe we can but not by getting softer and gentler and facilitating such things.  And not by making sure that the good guys, the innocent people, are rendered incapable of defending or protecting themselves.

Meantime, practice your situational awareness.  What actions or things are out of place?  In you classroom or office or home or wherever is there a place of safe and hard cover?  Are there the materials to make yourself bullet proof?   Can you turn your room or some room into a safe room if the building or campus comes under attack?  Get together with colleagues and friends to discuss it and see what you can do, as a group, to prepare yourselves for such awful eventualities.

Bottom line: start taking responsibility for your own safety because when seemingly out of nowhere and for no apparent reason, the bullets start flying or bombs exploding, you are the only one you can look to increase your odds of coming out of it alive.

When I next address this in Part Two I will have anough data to try to formulate me own solutions and, if necessary, laws that I think will help the situation.  But this is too important for ideologically inspire haste so bear with me.  A post or two may intervene because I don’t know what will be the speed of further data disclosures on the shooting and the shooter, but I will get back to it and try my best to offer some solutions.

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Posted by on July 26, 2012 in Uncategorized


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Will We Pay for the Government Feed Trough by Burning History?

San Diego – So just what will it take to convince you we are in dangerous times vis-a-vis our nations, its culture, its values, its morals, its very spirit?  Well, interestingly, both major sides of the political aisle are in agreement with that assessment.  The difference is in what to do about it.  But this is not a new or particularly unique debate since it has been around not just for years but for centuries. That means that for centuries the history of our attempts to move from from being hunter-gatherers and throw away our species’ core nature in the bargain to becoming first agrarian and then industrial societies where civilizations and various forms of government have been tried, leaves us with a pretty good record of not only what works and what doesn’t but of the nearly inevitable progression from something powerful and uplifting to something mean and crushing.

It is not as if that history has been locked in secret vaults so no rascal can read and spread the revolutionary data to the masses; it has been out there and available from the the days of the Ancient Greeks and Romans down to the present.  And now, with the internet, one need not have to sit at the feet of some master intelligence (usually self-proclaimed) to learn that saga.  One need only have a desire and the most modest of typing skills to access that information.  All of those great civilizations of history have reached a tipping point where the next step could save them or drag them to ruin.  Some even made a correct decision at one time but failed to learn from it the next time.  In the end, the story has come to the same conclusion and for startlingly similar reasons as nation after nation from Babylon to Britain has risen to greatness and then been swept back into the list of lost, or at best (and rarely), somewhat common place status unable to again achieve their former glory.

And then it was our turn to enter the lists and rise to a status even the ancients would envy.  But I would argue that our tipping point is upon us.  Some say it has passed and we blew it so why worry.  Perhaps, but I’d like to think that the internal fire that ignited those people who came to, bled for, sacrificed for, and somehow, maybe by divine providence or the sheerest of luck at the assemblage of courage and intellect, created The United States of America is still alive in enough of us.  No longer an open flame, surely, but perhaps still an ember that can be blown back into life.

Our country was founded upon the principle of FREEDOM as I’ve noted before.  But what is freedom founded on and how is it maintained.  The answer is that it is a product of individual and personal responsibility.  Only that responsibility can provide us with true freedom and the ability to enjoy, as the document so eloquently states, “Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness.”  Only that responsibility lets us see clearly that the last phrase does NOT guarantee happiness; it only guarantees that we are free to pursue it as best we can.

The problem is, as it seems like it has always been, the citizens of successful nations quickly forget that their pursuit of happiness is not something created by the government, it is in them.  Instead they come to think, after a period of soft sheets and warm meals that the government is  in the business of providing the happiness itself.  And they forget that the reward of what Maslow called “self actualization” — our highest level of human need — derives only from our own efforts and soon tire of the efforts and instead look to the government to simply provide for them… period.  They have forgotten the heady euphoric rush of the endorphins that flow from a person following the success of prodigious effort and that the flow is proportional to the effort.  And soon become content with just laying back, watching the tube, listening to brain numbing noise passing for music, and decide the only effort they want to expend is what is required to hold their hand out for the government to fill.

It starts with a few, perhaps even some legitimately victimized by others or blind-sided by life but soon it spreads to others who learn to use and abuse that noble largesse for ignoble self centered purposes.  And then, like a cancer, the parasitic cry for “social justice” arises and, if voiced with sufficiently skilled rhetoric, sounds like a reasonable thing.  The government food trough gets bigger and bigger.  More groups decide to cash in on the handouts and marginalized segments of society grow as fewer and fewer are wiling to step back to the era of self responsibility.  They protect themselves from scrutiny and evaluation with unions and political correctness… and grow in numbers.  Whether it is the Goths, Vandals, and Huns at the gate or mobs of looters of both goods and spirit inside the gates, sooner or later the numbers reach a point to overwhelm the system already rotten and dying.

We hide behind the idea that it could not happen to us and deny that history has no reason to treat us any differently than it did the Pharaohs and Caesars.   And like a cultural Oedipus who blinded itself after screwing the mother country, we no longer can see where we are going.

It is not as if there have been voices crying int he wilderness and trying to get our attention.  In 1857 a famous British author and historian named Thomas McCaulay wrote the following lines

“The day will come when [in the United States] a multitude of people will choose the legislature. Is it possible to doubt what sort of a legislature will be chosen? On the one side is a statesman preaching patience, respect for rights, strict observance of public faith. On the other is a demagogue ranting about the tyranny of capitalism and usurers and asking why anybody should be permitted to drink Champagne and to ride in a carriage while thousands of honest people are in want of necessaries. Which of the candidates is likely to be preferred by a workman? … When Society has entered on this downward progress, either civilization or liberty must perish. Either some Caesar or Napoleon will seize the reins of government with a strong hand, or your Republic will be as fearfully plundered and laid waste by barbarians in the twentieth century as the Roman Empire in the fifth; with this difference, that the Huns and vandals who ravaged the Roman Empire came from without, and that your Huns and vandals will have been engendered within your country, by your own institutions.”

The Spriit that created this country and carried it to the forefront of civilization is not about government handouts, indeed not about government control.  From the first Madison wrote that

“In framing a government which is to be administered by men over men, the great difficulty lies in this: You must first enable the government to control the governed; and in the next place oblige it to control itself.”

I would suggest that a simple mathematical appraisal of the state of our government today reveals that we have not obliged it to control itself and have, instead, facilitated and perhaps perpetuated its loss of self control and abrogated our right, our duty, of control over it.  Are we willing to take it back?  Or are we so desperate for being taken care of we will risk our country and our future for just a little more slop at the government’s trough?  We now see a marvelously crafted attempt to do an end run around us to get more money from us for that trough and to diminish the role of enterprise where our self reliance and responsibility are demanded.

Is that really what you want for you and for your children?  if so you will soon have a chance to support it or, if not, a chance to oppose it.  While I still can, I am determined to oppose it.  THe question for you is, who will you believe?  Forget me and other writers on all sides, forget the politicians whose motives are increasingly suspect.  But you do have a record to look at and its called history.  So will you believe those who argue for a system that sounds warm and fuzzy but never once in history worked and never once failed to lead to tyranny and authoritarianism?  That has a virtually guaranteed outcome.

Or will you decide that history is pretty clear and that the only way to get us back on the track of greatness is to reject the warm and fuzzy, reject the easy route, accept the individual and collective responsibility for yourselves first and then your country?  The truth is if we turn it around this time we may only be buying time.  But if we buy a generation or two then they can make their own decisions but at least we may leave our children a better place than we found; not a worse one.

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Posted by on September 13, 2011 in Uncategorized


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Legislating Immorality

San Diego – I rarely check my Facebook page.  I was talked into getting one by a colleague but I have to be honest, it is so often far too infantile for me to bear.  I honestly have no interest in whether “friends” of mine I actually barely know if at all are enjoying sushi at the fave place or if the latest BFF is so cool.  I think most of what I see depicts individuals truly disconnected emotionally, trying to replace personal intimacy (and no, I do not mean sex) with cyber pleadings for attention and are generally, desperately in need of a life.  If it were not for a few really creative people who espouse some fascinating perspectives I would simply cancel it.

But today I was greeted by the posting of a link to the story about an 11-year-old girl who was gang raped (all of it captured on a cell phone video so I refuse to prefix this documented crime as “alleged”) by a group of men.  According to AP,

“The authorities have arrested 18 people, including two of Cleveland’s [DK: Cleveland, Texas not far from Houston] star high school athletes and adults with criminal records.” 

What makes this of special interest is that the community activists from which those men came are all blaming the young girl for the rape.  And no, this is not an Islamic group where you would expect that sort of idiocy.   Generally this sorry collection of offenders is from a group that normally blames bigotry, of which they themselves are incapable, for their woes.  But there are no possible ways to tie this act to current or past race-based inequities real or imagined so the only one left to blame, since as members of an entitled victim class they could not possibly be responsible themselves, is the little girl.  And to their shame they went for it.

They said she looked older.  Older than 11?  So, did she look 20 or even 18?  And even if she did, does anyone in any group having some remaining shred of morals think it is OK for 18 high-schoolers and adults to rape a young girl… or even an adult woman?  Apparently they do; not just them but their own community of enablers who are now joining ranks to protect them from the evil ‘man’ who wants to hold them accountable.

First some disclosure: I believe the abuse of a child should be a capital offense.  That abuse takes away not just their childhood but too often takes away their chance at a meaningful loving life.  The perpetrators have not taken life, per se, but they have taken away, in all too many cases, the possibility of being able to fully enjoy and participate in the life they have left.  I have no problem with seeing that act, proven to a scientific certainty, being cause for forfeiting the life of the perpetrator; not as payment, that is a debt that cannot ever be repaid, but as simple punishment and an object lesson that we are done accepting and facilitating this sort of behavior.

Of course that will never happen.  We have grown into a generally indolent and in some ways sociopathic society that wants quite the opposite: we want a life in which choices and behaviors are free of consequences and concepts of Right and Wrong are tossed aside.   We seem to want a life where we can endlessly repeat that we are sorry as a ticket to escape accountability and preferable to not even have to acknowledge that we have done anything wrong at all.  And we are facilitating that desire legislatively by increasingly providing legal cover if not outright excuse for perpetrators of all sorts.

I hear all of the time there is nothing we can do since we cannot legislate morality. Really?  Morality is nothing more than a paradigm that assigns accountability for behavior. And the more we legislate away that accountability then clearly, the more we legislate IM-morality into existence and common behavior.  And we have gone out of our way to legislatively remove accountability for behavior and made it harder and harder for the victims while making it easier and easier for the perpetrator to elude responsibility.

This is one big reason why, after Law School I did not go on to practice law.  I never came to believe that as a defense attorney it was my job to get the guilty acquitted, only to help guarantee a fair trial.  Unfortunately that attitude is a quick way to go broke as an attorney, so I returned to image making as at least a less ethically slimy way to go broke.

The law says that as an individual I have a right to protect myself from the “reasonable anticipation” of harm.  I cannot take that so far as to become the aggressor myself but short of that I can do whatever it takes to protect myself.  I would contend that a society, as a collection of individuals, has an equivalent right to protect itself.  Our society was established based on a set of governing principles, our behavioral “paradigm,” and we have a right to defend it against any who would seek to tear it down.  It does not take some religious notion imposed on the paradigm for most of us to understand that gang raping an 11-year-old girl is not something that should be condoned… for any reason; or that it was somehow her own fault.

Even had she acted seductively, we have decreed that children under a certain age cannot understand the consequences of their actions and are not accountable.  This is supported by law and by study after study in psychology.  Only in the Muslim world are men viewed as so inherently weak of character and women so inherently evil that the women must be seen as the source of all deviancy and the ones to punish while the men go free since they are, collectively, merely pawns in the hands of the evil seductresses.

That was not our way or our view at least as we set this society in motion.  We created, rather, a society and culture in which the work ethic was highly prized, in which individual freedom and integrity was equally valued.  We so trusted our collective integrity that we established laws where we were bound by a simple oath to tell the truth and neither torture nor even the benefits of chemical inducement were used to determine whether or not we were telling the truth.  We could not even be forced to lie to save ourselves since our Constitution decreed that we could not be forced to be a witness against ourselves to avoid us having to lie about it.

But little by little that paradigm has been chipped away as more and more people, and sadly enough often the lawmakers themselves, seek to find ways to avoid accountability and responsibility for behavior that would be rightly seen as abhorrent and possibly seditious.  Seditious?  Of course.

When you act in such a way as to damage the foundations of the society and its paradigms then you are slowly destroying the foundations of that society.  If you honestly believe the founding paradigms need to be changed then the Constitution itself shows you the way to do it; and it has been done a number of times over the years.  It took us a pathetically long time to recognize the value and power of women and recognize that in the Constitution via an amendment, yet even before that time we may not have allowed them to vote but we never, as a society, thought it was OK to rape young girls.    Until the Constitution is changed, so long as those foundational laws stand, then ignoring them or spinning them to one’s own ends is destructive to them and therefore to the society formed and defined by them.  And that is clearly “subversion of the Constitution” which is accepted as a form of sedition.

I do believe in freedom but follow the old law school dictum that you (all of you) have an absolute right to swing your arms; but that right stops at the end of someone else’s nose including mine.  Following that concept, I believe that people have a right to believe anything they want and to act on it but that right stops when it starts to collide with our society’s nose.  I think they have an absolute right to search out places — other places — that share their beliefs and go there to be among philosophical friends and live with the consequences of those philosophies.  But they have no right to impose those views on this society until or if we decide, as proscribed in the Constitution, to change the rules.  We have no legal or ethical mandate to allow someone else’s society to punch our society in the nose.

And to the point of the news report that started this line of thinking, I believe the act of this community to gather around and support the perpetrators of this heinous, and to me capital crime, clearly demonstrates that at least in some communities, our attempts to legislate immorality have worked extremely well.  We have come to a point where we have allowed groups to believe they have no personal responsibility for even the most outrageous and egregious of behavior and that fault for all inappropriate behavior by members of that group must, by definition, be found elsewhere.

I beg to differ.  No, wait, there is no reason to beg here; I insist on differing and so should anyone claiming even a loose connection with ethics and morality.  I believe life is about choices… choices and consequences.

Any individual or collection of individuals that can justify the acts of adult men choosing to be involved in the rape of an 11-year-old girl — or ANY girl for that matter — have no place in my society.  Their attitude, and of that anyone who supports them, is not diversity, it is despicable depravity. Excusing that attitude is not enlightened tolerance; it is craven cowardice.  So much for “the land of the brave.”

In my opinion, if you honestly believe that ANY adult male should have done anything other than try to protect that girl then I do not wish to share breathing air with you and think you need to be exiled to some middle eastern country where they seem to share your perverted outlook, but in one way or another be removed from our society and from the protection of its laws.  If you cannot protect a young girl, much less participate in her assault, then I think you deserve ZERO protection under our laws and should be declared, as in the ancient laws, OUT LAW, i.e. outside the law’s protection and fair game.

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Posted by on April 18, 2011 in Uncategorized


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