Archives for category: Crime

img_3595-1One of the reasons I refused to vote for Trump: the fear that he would escalate the War on Drugs as well as the much-less ballyhooed (but perhaps even more pernicious) War on Property. And now it has begun in earnest.

“U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions threatens to make himself one of the biggest threats to your liberty,” writes Paul Jacob. “President Donald Trump’s pick for Attorney General just promised to encourage police departments to seize the personal property (cars, houses, cash) of criminal suspects.”

IMG_3918And the new Attorney General has delivered. Sessions has rolled out his new policy, claiming that “President Trump has directed this Department of Justice to reduce crime in this country, and we will use every lawful tool that we have to do that,” Sessions said. “We will continue to encourage civil asset forfeiture whenever appropriate in order to hit organized crime in the wallet.”

But the vast majority of civil asset forfeitures are directed against people who have never been charged with a crime.

It is normal Americans who have been “hit in the wallet.” Besides, as Paul Jacob put it, “No one is a criminal, before the law, until proved in court. Taking away property to make it harder for suspects to defend themselves — which is what RICO laws and other Drug War reforms intended to do — is obviously contrary to the letter of the Fourth and Fifth Amendments as well as the spirit of the U.S. Constitution.”

This is a complete return to police state practices, an amazing flouting of the rule of law, an affront to both liberal civilization and conservative caution.

The fact that our police and local governments engage in any practice that confiscates property without trial is so egregious it is hard to know where to begin.

Though Trump’s AG, Jeff Sessions, is the one advancing this practice, it is worth noting that Obama’s first AG, Eric Holder, demonstrated his sole restraint in a minor pulling back from “adoption,” the not-very-common process of taking over confiscation prerogatives from state and local governments. Reason’s C. J. Ciamarella explains that politic jurisdictional finagling pretty well . . . and the “logic” of the share-out spoils system, too: “Law enforcement groups say asset forfeiture is a vital tool to combat drug trafficking and other organized crime, and they argue the equitable sharing program provides essential funding for police equipment. The body armor used by police at the Pulse nightclub shooting in Orlando, one attendee at Wednesday’s meeting noted, was bought using equitable sharing funds.”

I have a cheaper, more Constitutional solution that may very well have prevented the extraordinarily high Pulse body count: allow nightclub (and other public business) personnel to conceal carry the weapons needed to take down mad jihadists. That is, reëstablish gun rights everywhere — definitely not rely upon militarized police phalanxes.

We have every reason to be disgusted with Sessions and Trump. But let us not forget that the Obama Administration was actually quite bad on this, too — as it was on so much else. Over the last ten years $3.2 billion in assets were confiscated from people not even charged with a crime.

Think about it, then ask yourself: what would Thomas Jefferson do?

One thing, he wouldn’t be voting Democrat or Republican.

Jefferson started a new party over a similarly insane and unconstitutional federal government practice.

What shall it be, then? A “Liberal Whig” Party? A Responsibilitarian Party? The Receivership?

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N.B. Image of Sessions is by James Gill and has been nabbed from Paul Jacob’s Common Sense site. Below is a screenshot of a post by one of my pro-Trump friends on Facebook:

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Atheists: Suppose there is a zero chance of being caught—why wouldn’t you cheat or steal if the Abrahamic God can’t judge you?

…the title question answered (by Yours Truly) on Quora*:

Ask a different question: suppose there is zero chance of State government from catching you or even noticing you, why wouldn’t you cheat or steal?

Utilitarians and criminologists have long known that for a punishment to work as a deterrent, what counts is not the severity of punishment, but the swiftness and certainty of punishment. And yet each one of us has hundreds, thousands of situations each year to cheat and steal without being noticed, yet few of us commit the worst acts. Why not?

Is it the Abrahamic deity?

There are an amazing number of believers in prison. Why did they commit their crimes?

If any Deity exists, His/Her/Its punishment be obviously neither swift nor certain. Similarly, the State is a mere instrument of fallible man, and is neither omniscient nor omnipotent. And yet most folks don’t commit much substantive crime.** Why is this?

One possible answer: Because we live by a variety of enticements as well as by threats. Among those enticements are rewards accruing to those who practice the habits of sociality and morality. Further, the rewards of long-term thinking and broad-wise (social) consideration are many, especially in a society where the dominant form of coöperation is voluntary, as trade is. Besides, we simply do not have the brainpower to choose to be good in some situations and bad in those (few?) situations where we could get away with it. Finally, we empathize with each other, and this empathy broadens our sphere of consideration, directly dissuading us from harming others, and even nudging us to imagine our and others’ future selves. So, even sans direct punishment by the State, or punishment by a deity, we tend to do right by others.

Indeed, criminals usually fall into two of the following three categories:

  1. young male
  2. low inteligence
  3. poor education/few work skills

The first indicates high testesterone, which is associated with risk-taking and violence. The more testosterone, the more your passions are likely to work against empathy and long-term self-interest. The second and third predicaments limit one’s ability to gain through coöperation with others, thus tempting a person to get ahead by cheating or stealing.

Were the Abrahamic Deity to wish us to be less criminal, He might have made us all smarter and regulated our hormones better.

But, the truth seems to be that we are products of evolution; we stumble on as best we can. Which, it turns out, is surprisingly well, considering our strange heritage and all our psychological and somatic disadvantages.

When you start looking at the facts, and at more complicated networks of incentives and disincentives, you should not be surprised to learn that atheists tend to be smarter and less criminal than most other of what one pollster calls “the seven faith tribes.” They even can boast of longer marriages . . . that is, fewer divorces than believers.

They are, perhaps, the True Blesséd of the Deity. It might behoove believers to emulate them.

Another question to ask is Why do believers in an Abrahamic Deity do so many horrid things? Or: why would they act so badly if they believe eternal punishment is a necessary factor in making people better?

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* Minor edits have been made from this answer’s original publication on Quora.

** We all commit infractions under the current manner of governance, of course. Why? Well, there is so much regulation, such a proliferation of laws — but that is another story.

“No Peaceful Transition,” promised the protest/riots organizers’ Web page, earlier this evening. The page later ditched the motto.

Since the 1960s we have been living a myth: protests that disrupt public traffic and private ingress/egress are “non-violent” and heroic. But the myth is merely a self-serving story, a crucial lie, that those on the left tell themselves and everybody else, thereby taking license to lord it over others.

We now witness the moral depravity that is at the heart of the notion.

Protesting something is staying on the sidelines and making your views known. Rioting is a mob abridging others’ rights. Most unlicensed protests turn riot because they are riot in ovo.

The mob is now a tyrant, and the worm, as they say, may soon turn — the worm, here, being the masses of truly peaceful people, who may now at last see the tyranny at the heart of the self-righteous mob.

The culture war may be going bloody this week. Someone was shot at a Milo protest in Seattl. We will see how far the violence goes.

“No peaceful transition” indeed.


Mr. Sotomayor has a dim view of the rioters:

The Young Turks seem to accept the nonsense from the folks dressed mostly in black:

But here is video without commentary:

The key to understanding the Clinton Email scandal: it failed to progress because Obama is in deep. Up to his neck. He was caught with full knowledge of his Secretary of State’s outrageous flouting of the laws, and we have the records of his underlings scurrying to protect him.

It was understandably tricky — I mean, would you want to face down the most powerful man in the world? Hence Comey caved to pressure, this summer, as I explained months ago. But in his bizarro summary he signaled all we needed to know.

James ComeyWhat he had not counted on? His underlings went into near-open revolt. And they may be willing to take on the President of the United States.

There are insiders in Washington whispering “revolution” and “coup.” A bit dramatic, but not without some accuracy.

Contrary to Clinton-symp memes floating around Facebook (based on Clinton Machine lies and nothing else) the Clinton bathroom-based Email server was hacked multiple times by foreign governments. was not secure and uncracked — it is merely the case that we have no direct evidence of hacker tampering. Reliable experts testify that the server’s security was so rudimentary that a high-schooler could have cracked it, which means, surely, that major foreign powers did.*

My guess is that Russia, China, Israel, France and Iran have all that information. But that is just a guess. Whichever foreign powers have that information will not of course tell. Because each of these countries would have bargaining chips against the new Commander in Chief.

This gets funnier and funnier as we descend into madness.**

The U.S. of course is doomed. But perhaps we should let it go. If our two major parties give us Hillary and the Donald, it may be time, at long last, to call it an epoch and write the obits.

Or perhaps I am wrong. Maybe honorable FBI agents will save the whole shebang. Could it come to pass that the timocracy within the bureaucracy will save the democracy from the plutocracy — and thereby restore the republic?

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* My sources for the hacking story, providing Hillary-like specifics, recanted a few days after stating it. Hence this edit.

** Some of the madness is partisan lying. There appears to be no truth to the rumor that the FLOTUS and POTUS Twitter accounts were scrubbed of any Hillary mentions. I hate these partisan liars. They do not make the case against corruption any stronger. the opposite is the case. Indeed, this is so obvious that one has to wonder if such rumors are part of the Clinton Machine propaganda and dirty tricks divisions. (Am I paranoid enough, yet?)


In the 1970s, unions were out of control in Great Britain.
Fun fact: some of the leaders of some of the unions were paid by Moscow to monkeywrench the system.

So, British unions served as tools of the Communists. This is not an unfounded accusation. This is a fact gleaned from evidence in the Soviet archives, to which scholars were granted access in the early 1990s (since rescinded).

Now, compare and contrast:

Today, Hillary Clinton and her team charge Julian Assange and WikiLeaks with being subsidized by Putin’s Russia. The batches of Clinton campaign emails, as indexed and published by WikiLeaks, are castigated by the Clintonistas as attempts by Russia to influence the American election in favor of Donald Trump.

Shades of the Cold War!

img_0742Note, the Clinton camp is not denying their leaked emails’ veracity. Instead, they are merely trying to poison the well of respectsbility, using shame to dissuade anyone from bringing up inconvenient truths about Mrs. Clinton’s many, uh, shenanigans.

The anti-WikiLeaks/Russian subversion charge would be easier to accept, and its defendants more excoriable, had we not learned from these very same emails that the Clinton team itself had encouraged, during the primary period, friendly media outlets to promote Trump over his GOP competitors. Why? For the secret purpose of scuttling the candidacies of Republicans they thought harder to beat, primarily Rand Paul.

The Clinton team is attempting to blame Russia for doing what it itself did! And on flimsier evidence than has been so far supplied.

trumpinghillaryIt is possible, in politics, to be too clever for one’s own good.

The British paid agents of the Kremlin were traitors, back in the 1970s, sure. And what Maggie Thatcher did to them was necessary for the survival of the country.

But Julian Assange? Is he an enemy of the U. S.?

No more than Hillary herself, who appears to be a traitor . . . well, at the very least to her own cause, her own campaign.

She thought she could bleed trump by pushing Donald Trump, and take the last tricks of the campaign to win the election handily. Now, it appears, she may not succeed. It is still possible for Trump to win (though if you watch CNN, that seems impossible), even if oddsmakers put Hillary out ahead. Unless Trump’s reputation completely implodes in these last weeks, whatever the Electoral College meld tallies out to be, it will be a close election.

And if Hillary does indeed fail, she will have no one but herself to blame.

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See: http://tomwoods.com/podcast/ep-756-was-margaret-thatcher-a-libertarian-hero/ and http://rare.us/story/leaked-email-shows-how-much-hillary-clintons-campaign-feared-rand-paul/. Visual meme, at top, courtesy of Paul Jacob at ThisIsCommonSense.com.

So, under interrogation by Congress, FBI Director James Comey admitted that had one of his underlings done what Hillary Clinton did, that employee would have been fired.

Sigh. Americans apparently think so little of their national security that they are preparing to hire as COMMANDER IN CHIEF a person so careless that she would lose security clearance and be fired if a mere employee.

O, the comeuppance that America shall receive.

John Fiske booksWhat I dislike most about modern life are bad laws. Bad laws encourage disloyalty among citizens and criminality among police.

Bad legislation thus cuktivates the very “anarchy” that government is supposed to prevent.

And the most witless response to this is to demand loyalty to law . . . without context. As a principle in and of itself.

What must be done is to change the law.

If you folks keep voting for the same goobers over and over, you will merely increase the “anarchy” — de facto lawlessness, disorder — of modern tyranny. Which is to say, you play a part, in every vote for an old-timer incumbent, in the deepening corruption of soctal life.

Further, demanding that new law be enacted after every crisis is foolish on the face of it, perverse at base. Many laws cause more problems than they can possibly solve, and to not admit this is to fly in the face of human experience. If a candidate can think of no law or program he or she would try to repeal, that candidate is at least a fool, probably a dunce, perhaps even a knave.

Also: expect a candidate for office to be capable of subtlety. If there is no evidence of this in a candidate — if everything is claimed to be simple, no complexity admitted — then vote against that candidate.

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timo-dither

Hillary Clinton Takes Part In Ceremonial Swearing-In As Secretary Of State

On Fox last night, erstwhile ambassador John Bolton called FBI director James Comey a coward.

And that was my first thought, too.

But Comey concocted a script that served two purposes: it got him off the hook with his bosses, all party movers and shakers, while providing all the data we the outsiders need to make the obvious induction.

The investigation was rigged, we all knew it going in, and Comey spelled it out.

Of course, you have to be able to read, and hold more than one idea in your head at a time . . . that is, read a statement as ironic. But not ironic-funny, ironic-sinister.

Indeed, Comey’s official statement was such a thing of beauty that he should be commended.

And perhaps given some slack. Not a coward. Legitimately afraid.

When a hostage writes an official statement, one forgives him for the evasions and the strange perspectives. These are the tells. The classic evasion between “extremely careless” and the legally relevant term, “gross negligence,” is one; another is focus on an irrelevancy: the intent of Secretary of State Clinton to undermine security. (She intended to hide information, and, indeed, did; she intended to flout the rules, and did — but did she intend to commit or aid and abet treasonous breaches of security? Irrelevant to other prosecutions, but somehow relevant to hers.) All these and more (including admission that the investigation into that House of Corruption, the Clinton Foundation, remains ongoing) tell us what we need to know.

Comey is hostage to partisan Washington, as corrupt a place as any on the planet.I don’t know, exactly, what the establishment has against him. I do not know precisely what he is afraid of. But he is afraid of something, perhaps something so trivial as his future career and the esteem of his colleagues, most of whom are probably Democrats. (The Democracy is the Party of Government, after all.)

Clinton, Obama? These are people deeply in over their heads, desperately clinging to lie after lie to keep their party in power, and to keep the Leviathan of State on course, distributing goodies to the kept classes and insider cliques and cabals. It is amusing that the party of these insider governing classes calls itself “democratic.”

It isn’t.


Visual meme courtesy of ThisIsCommonSense.com.

H. L. Mencken, America’s greatest writer of popular non-fiction c. 1910-1940 (George Santayana being the nation’s greatest producer of elitist non-fiction prose during that period), was never impressed with the broad run of journalism or politics. He scorned the usual manner of reform as “Uplift,” and denied that it did much actual lifting up.

Sketch of H. L. MenckenThis you can witness in this criticism of gun control, from the 1920’s. In “The Uplifters Try It Again” (Baltimore’s The Evening Sun, November 30, 1925), Mencken demonstrates his understanding of what law and its enforcement is, actually, rather than the fairy dust version promoted by his competition in the word biz. 

This essay is worth studying. Mencken takes something familiar to us even unto this day, and shines some light:

“Crime statistics,” it appears, “show that 90% of the murders that take place are committed by the use of the pistol, and every year there are hundreds of cases of accidental homicide because someone did not know that his revolver was loaded.” The new law — or is it to be a constitutional amendment? — will do away with all that. “It will not be easy,” of course, “to draw a law that will permit exceptions for public officers and bank guards”—to say nothing of Prohibition agents and other such legalized murderers. “But soon even these officials may get on without revolvers.”

As elsewhere, his contempt for the journalist-as-savior is obvious. Mencken considered most journalists messianic mountebanks — just as were most politicians. Actually, the passage under attack hailed from The Nation, a magazine he praises in the general. But in this essay he takes as an exception, for, as he sees it, it is a grand example of a lapse at The Nation:

Ever and anon, in the midst of its most eloquent and effective pleas for Liberty, its eye wanders weakly toward Law. At such moments the old lust to lift ’em up overcomes it, and it makes a brilliant and melodramatic ass of itself. Such a moment was upon it when it printed the paragraph that I have quoted. Into that paragraph — of not over 200 words — it packed as much maudlin and nonsensical blather, as much idiotic reasoning and banal moralizing, as Dr. Coolidge gets into a speech of two hours’ length.

It is obvious that Mencken had mastered the invective. (I quote only a few snippets, even from this one essay.) But what of his argument? He has one. “The new law,” he writes, would have but one “single and sole effect”:

to exaggerate enormously all of the evils it proposes to put down. It would not take pistols out of the hands of rogues and fools; it would simply take them out of the hands of honest men. The gunman today has great advantages everywhere. He has artillery in his pocket, and he may assume that, in the large cities, at least two-thirds of his prospective victims are unarmed. But if the Nation’s proposed law (or amendment) were passed and enforced, he could assume safely that all of them were unarmed.

Mencken was the chief critic of mere “good intentions” of his day. And he saw the problem everywhere, for there are what we now call “unintended consequences.”

The real victim of moral legislation is always the honest, law-abiding, well-meaning citizen — what the late William Graham Sumner called the Forgotten Man. Prohibition makes it impossible for him to take a harmless drink, cheaply and in a decent manner. In the same way the Harrison Act puts heavy burdens upon the physician who has need of prescribing narcotic drugs for a patient, honestly and for good ends. But the drunkard still gets all the alcohol that he can hold, and the drug addict is still full of morphine and cocaine. By precisely the same route the Nation’s new law would deprive the reputable citizen of the arms he needs for protection, and hand them over to the rogues that he needs protection against.

This is a logical position. It is still controversial, however.

Recently, on Facebook, I linked to a graph on unbiasedAmerica.com:

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I framed the graphed information in this manner:

Perspective helps. Which is one reason I don’t think anyone, right or left, should be talking about chucking constitutional rights right after a still comparatively rare shooting.

A friend of mine, a journalist, responded:

Who’s talking about chucking the second amendment? That’s an invention of the NRA. All the serious suggestions I’ve seen are for things like waiting periods, background checks, linking databases, studies, gun safety equipment, and so on. It’s akin to someone in the 1970s saying, “What do you mean all cars must come with seat belts? Everyone! They’re trying to outlaw cars!”

Why is it OK to have traffic laws, food safety laws, zoning laws, rules for air traffic controllers, law enforcement officers, doctors, lawyers, and teachers, while gun ownership must be the one area where there can be no rules at all? There seems to be some kind of collective hypnosis on several areas in the U.S., but this one is the most baffling to me.

I reacted, briefly, in a number of ways, and friends and followers on Facebook leaped to respond, as well. First, about the Second Amendment:

Lots of people talk about getting rid of it. Most are a tad quiet right now, and cover their beliefs, because after Heller, it is “not serious” to go all the way.

We have plenty of gun rules right now, and most of them are not very effective. For obvious reasons.

And yet I do not think those obvious reasons are very obvious to my critic. He wanted to make the context regulation in general, of which he is an enthusiast, while I tried to steer the discussion back to the topic of crime stats and secular trends, especially now that gun crimes are going down, over the long run:

Much of quality regulation is security theater, and much of it was enacted not to improve quality but to reduce competition. There is an extensive economic literature on this subject.

I don’t believe everything the government tells me. Much of what it does, even in good intent, goes horribly wrong — see the War on Drugs, for example.

I went on, saying that “We have actual gun warfare in cities where they [guns] are illegal,” to which my friend responded with a correction:

There are no U.S. cities I know of where guns are illegal. Some do have strict restrictions, which is what I think you’re referring to. But those cities take those measures for a reason, precisely because they’re so violent. Study after study says Chicago, for example, would be even more violent without the restrictions, and that the guns used there come from other parts of the country with more laissez faire gun laws. Chicago can’t control its borders the way a country can.

My friend will not mention, apparently, that the violence in those cities is almost wholly a factor of African-American poverty and the War on Drugs. The idea that these unnamed “studies after studies” can accurately predict the counterfactual strikes me as absurd. There is a lot of evidence to the contrary, for example (again) the secular trends in America outside our hellhole inner city bastions of chaos and “welfare.” What is the trend? As guns increase in private hands, violence goes down. At the very least, all violence has gone down.

But more importantly, there is what gun controls actually do: prevent some people, who are law-abiding, from acquiring, owning, or carrying guns, while letting some others do so, because of special privilege or because they have special connections. Or because they go outside the law to obtain the weapons they want.

Recently in Britain, an MP was shot. Though there was a lot of hysterical political manipulating of the story, I saw not one example of a big deal being made of gun control. Why not? Oh, right: Britain already has gun control — a sweeping crackdown that did, in fact, take guns out of private hands — and yet the malefactor somehow had a gun.

Consider the tale of John Stossel, who tried to exercise his right of self-defense by personal armament — that is, get “permission” (which is something a person with rights does not need — in New York. He was insulted, sent through a Kafkaesque paperwork nightmare, given the runaround, made to cough up fees, and provide an essay why he needed to carry a sidearm.

The fact that he regularly got death threats from leftists was not enough. He was denied.

It is only the extremely well-connected who get such permits. In New York. Or Chicago. Which leaves only criminals and high mucky-mucks able to defend themselves. (People like Trump and Hillary.)

Why my friend does not see this — why he does not get that regulation such as he wants does not have the univocal effect that he supposes; why he does not recognize that regulations like this have been around for a long, long time, and have been ineffective; why he does not see them as inadvertently (?) racist and elitist at core, I do not know.

He is a journalist. A successful one. Respected. I expect such people to be skeptical at heart. But they are only selectively, as I challenged him:

If the government licensed journalists, regulated who could and could not blog, or require waiting time for background checks before writing about politics, I would hope you would have the sense to see how these regulations infringed on the First Amendment.

He did not respond to this challenge, other than say he was glad not to live in America any longer. Or recognize that the failures of one set of gun “controls,” when they lead to worse conditions (as they always do), only snooker the credulous into believing that more regulation is necessary. And thus laws multiply. And, as Tacitus and other ancients made clear, the more the laws, the more corrupt the state.

As John Stossel noted in his program devoted to idiotic regulation, after he failed to get a concealed carry permit, the system that “regulates” such activities was shown to be corrupt — cops even went to jail. A week after our Facebook exchange, this news story hit the wires:

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Yes, an outspoken and politically powerful California politician, well known for his anti-gun (I mean, “reasonable gun control”) advocacy, was caught in the underground gun-running business. Transporting the very kind of guns he said “shouldn’t exist.”

Talk about Bootleggers and Baptists! In Leland Yee, they were one and the same!

Just like in the War on Drugs, the War on Guns leads to more violence, more death of innocents, and a culture of corruption, in politics and policing.

I understand why not very bright common folk — Mencken’s “booboisie” — might think gun control would work. But why would a smart, skeptical journalist be so snookered? It stretches the credulity.

Oh, until you recall Mencken and his criticisms of his own industry, of the messiah complexes of too many journalists. Then it all makes sense, I guess.

If you have not read Mencken before, the essay discussed here is a good start. But there is a great wealth of writing by him available, and most of it is great. Try A Mencken Chrestomathy, or the Prejudices.

I wrote a foreword to an early book of his, available, I think, on iTunes, Barnes and Noble, and Amazon, as ebooks. It may not be the best place to start in the Menckenian oeuvre, but it surely provides a key to his life mission, and his character:

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Fifty dead and even more wounded in the Pulse Massacre. The victims? Patrons of a gay night club. This targeting of gays by a Muslim mass murderer is the first such that I am aware of.

But is hardly surprising.

The event has been called a “mass shooting,” an “act of terrorism,” an “act of evil” and an “act of hate.” All these seem reasonable, though I prefer the neutral but exact word massacre, too little used in the age of terrorism.

I guess it is not often used because its defining phrase, “indiscriminate slaughter,” seems a tad out of place, since the targets in this case were almost certainly selected because they represent an offense against Islam. (And Islam? It means “confident submission” . . . to God. But it really means submission to those who would kill to persuade.) This, despite the fact that the Islamic world often sports long-tolerated patterns of homosexual behavior and culture.

Expect hypocrisies and antinomies from any major religion.

A religiously inspired massacre, the largest such atrocity on U. S. soil not counting shooting in war, that is what it is. So of course there is of course a lot of nonsense being said about it.

Indeed, most people seem to get loopy when it comes to such atrocities. The word “terrorism” is thought by many to be precise. But it is worth noting that there are several dimensions to the idea, and loose thinking about it inspires over-use and misuse. In this case, I don’t really know if the motive of the now-dead murderer Mr. Mateen was really to instill fear, or just kill people he disapproved of. But he did declare allegiance to ISIS. So the political element was there.

But then, ISIS purports to be Islamic in its very name. So focusing on the religion as an inspiration for this act of violence is hardly out of line. ISIS would be the first to concur.

Still, there is no evidence that Mateen was trained by ISIS, or had close ties. He was likely just inspired by the group.

So we must look closer at the basic motivators, not just the institutional ones.

Self-righteous denigration of others is quite a heady brew. Islam in its modern context — as an ideological bastion of very old and very bad ideas, among people beleaguered on all sides, wounded and outperformed by the West, betrayed by their own leaders, outshone and marginalized and brutalized — breeds all sorts of resentments, from envy (familiar trait among Western socialists) and spite (familiar enough to anybody) to frustrated rage (with a tinge of righteousness to muddy our thought).

The Quran itself is no great succor, since it quite literally instructs its people to kill and conquer and rule. But the Islamic world is not in a position to rule. They inhabit some of the poorest regions on the planet, and those that are rich because of oil reserves, they bring very little to the civilizational table other than redistributive consumption. The Islamic peoples, in nation after nation, are not great workers. Hence their atavistic practice of slavery.

But Mr. Mateen was an American whose parents hail from Afghanistan.

And here we have the real problem. And it remains Islamic. It is not the first generation of Muslim émigrés that we really have to worry about. It is usually the second generation disaffected who commit these horrible acts. And it is ideology — Islam is an ideology, remember — that changes opinion and inspires acts of an extreme sort.

What are we to make of it? I won’t preach love or hate. I think those of us capable of extended thought should collect and retain as much information as we can, look at the problems from as many sides as is feasible, and try to promote justice as much as possible.

It won’t be easy.

For now, I merely note that the Pulse Massacre is a fine example of initiated force. Mr. Mateen may have thought that he was justified, perhaps because of some other deaths elsewhere in the world, by the U. S. government, or by American infidels, or what-have-you. But he could not justify his initiation of force against people who had literally nothing to do with those other, distant crimes. A citizenry is not wholly responsible for the acts of its government. It may have been cowardice that led Mr. Mateen to select innocent homosexuals as his targets rather than paid agents of the U. S. government. Or laziness. But by deflecting his attention away from any possible malefactor against people in the Mid-East who share his religion, he scuttled any defense, no matter how tenuous, that his act was retaliation, and thus not initiation of force.

So, it is good that he is dead, then. No need for an extensive trial.

Though that could have been instructive.