Archives for category: Crime

Bill Clinton's Shadow

This just in — in the mail:

Richard Posner's Sex and Reason.

I have been meaning to read this book since it first came out. I wanted to review it, but the magazine I worked for at the time was run by a crazy boss, and his rule was that review copies that came in belonged to him, and, alas, not to his employees even if they reviewed the book in the magazine.

Talk about unreasonable! So I never read it, never reviewed it. Such was the magazine’s loss.

Anyway, Posner’s tome could not come at a more auspicious time, for taboo sexual relations all the way from risqué jokes up the ladder of evil to rape are on our minds.

But I have not read it yet. So I cannot comment. What I can honestly comment on are yet more elements of the current wave of sex abuse allegations. And have. Though some, like previously today, I would not direct to strangers on Facebook, others I did place on that site. Like this, below:

While I believe (or at least “strongly suspect”) that the Roy Moore and Hollywood sex scandal pile-ons are true, my caution advises me to bracket out all opportunistic and witch-hunty accusation binges, and suggest discounting them as possible fabrications.

I remember the mania of Satanic child-abuse cases in the ’80s and ’90s, all of which turned out to be false. But they looked so real at the time. (Though I had doubts, back then, big doubts from the beginning . . . largely because I know that children fib regularly, and are easily manipulable.) When there is a “cause” that leads people to pile on, some of those doing the piling are almost invariably opportunistic liars. The trouble is, we have no way, by hearsay and reporting alone, to judge such accusations. So we don’t really know what to make of most of them.

Then, I wouldn’t vote for Roy Moore even if he were a eunuch on estrogen.

It is true. I do believe most of these accounts. I speculated yesterday why so many people in the public eye seem to have these problems, and I guess I should reiterate at least one point: those who are given to breaking basic taboos are also the same kind of person to take up professions where those taboos are easiest to flout, and which feed the egos of the people doing the flouting.

But I am greatly worried about all the precipitous judgments outside courts of laws, especially when it all depends upon testimony and nothing else.

It’s not just that men can be corrupted by situations of power, and seek out those situations because of a predilection for corruption itself, but also because women (and anyone, for that matter) can be corrupted by waves of accusation, by herd behavior, mobbing. And no doubt some of these accusations are opportunistic lies.

They are, I think, this: too much too late.

Had they been made earlier, then the crimes (or slights) could justly find proper redress. Now it just looks bad, even in cases where the accusations are true and the accused are in the wrong.

This being said, when The Atlantic, today, published an article taking up the feminist movements near-united defense of the oft-accused Bill Clinton, I tagged my Facebook post “It’s about freakin’ time.”

twv


P.S. And then, in the Schadenfreude Department:

And a sensible perspective, with a proposal:

P.P.S. A final thought of some substance: The context of a sexual offensive maneuver can turn it from a slight of etiquette to an assault. For instance, a disgusting suggestion when you have exit from a room may be just that, a disgusting suggestion. But if someone has blocked the door and looms over you saying it, it does indeed become something much more serious. (I wrote this before watching the Feminism KEK video by Diana Davison. And yes, this too was pulled from Facebook.)

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Stephen Willeford

On Sunday, Mr. Stephen Willeford, a late middle-aged Christian man with an AR-15 (the rifle most despised by gun control advocates, often called “an assault rifle”) stopped a mass murderer who was systematically executing those remaining alive after his initial horrific barrage of gunfire. Willeford brought a halt to the evil man’s executions just as the shooter was standing above a fearful victim on the floor. How did Willeford do this? By engaging him with gunfire. A pursuit followed, and before the chase was over, the Christian had shot the criminal twice, severely wounding him. Police picked the mass murderer off in the end, but there is no question that the AR-15-wielding citizen saved at least one life . . . and possibly many more.

img_0452He is precisely what many deny exist: a good man with a gun.

Among the many lessons?

  • It is useful to have a high-powered, easy-to-fire semi-automatic rifle at hand and know how to use it.
  • It is useful to have ammo pre-loaded in multiple magazines — our hero might have saved more lives had he possessed three or four magazines in full ready, since, after identifying the sounds he heard as gunfire, he took some time obtaining and loading one of the several magazines he used that day.
  • And yes, this turned out to be precisely one of those situations in which owning a lot of ammo and magazines that hold many rounds each was crucial for justice to be reëstablished.

Also, Willeford was not merely an NRA member, he was also an NRA-certified instructor in firearms use.

It is now well known that existing firearms regulations might have stopped the assailant from acquiring his arsenal, but government agencies failed to do their mandated jobs. “New regulation” does no good if government is (as it often is) incompetent. The killer bought his guns illegally according to current law.

Were it not for the creepy times we live in, I would be amazed to learn that a universal upswelling of praise of and honor to Mr. Willeford failed to develop.

Instead, much of the major media has engaged in really icky innuendo and defensiveness as well as denial of facts and misstatements of common knowledge about firearms.

Also, I have heard no small amount of anti-Christian snark.

Creepy America.

twv

N.B. Steven Crowder’s interview with Willeford, though cringeworthy in some respects, is must-see on this issue.

This synopsis first appeared on my Facebook page the other day. That is indeed where most of my blogging starts these days.

img_0050Yesterday, in my first assay into the definition of “mass shooting,” I stopped short of the real oddity of the term, which I was surprised to find nearly everywhere online — the all-too-common assertion that such shootings happen every day in America.

Every day? Really?

When you drill down, you discover that the term has been wrenched away from its original purpose to describe scenarios where one or two or a handful of persons massacre strangers in public, to include gangland turf war murders and much more.

So, what are the definitions? Well, there is some fluidity to the meanings, of course. But we can get some mostly reliable ideas about what these terms of art mean in rigorous usage. The concept of “mass murder” is now defined like this:

The FBI defines mass murder as murdering four or more persons during an event with no “cooling-off period” between the murders. A mass murder typically occurs in a single location where one or more people kill several others. Many acts of mass murder end with the perpetrator(s) dying by suicide or suicide by cop.

Princeton’s Wordnet puts a number of words together:

slaughter, massacre, mass murder, carnage, butchery (noun)
the savage and excessive killing of many people

“Excessive” strikes me as begging an uncomfortable question about what the right number of people to be killed might be.

Now, “mass shooting” is a subset of mass murder, obviously:

mass shooting is an incident involving multiple victims of firearms-related violence. The United States’ Congressional Research Service acknowledges that there is not a broadly accepted definition, and defines a “public mass shooting” as one in which four or more people selected indiscriminately, not including the perpetrator, are killed, echoing the FBI definition of the term “mass murder.” Another unofficial definition of a mass shooting is an event involving the shooting (not necessarily resulting in death) of four or more people with no cooling-off period. Related terms include school shooting and massacre.

Several of the constituent terms in these definitions are contestable, expecially the concept of “indiscriminate selection.” Really? On some level, most mass shooting victim groups are targeted for very clear reasons. The Pulse nightclub shooting, for instance. It was not accidental or random: a gay nightclub was the perfect target for a radicalized Muslim lowlife. Same with the Dylan Roof’s attack upon a church, whose racism was a key factor. Or the more recent case of a black Muslim who shot up Christians at a white church.

In all of these cases, the groups were selected for their representative nature, as embodying the focus for some grievance.

Of course, what we are seeing is preference on one level (the group, with definitions of groups as all-important) and indifference on another (the individuals, indiscriminately selected). A similar distinction must be made in the pure theory of choice, where preference is the usual rule of choice, but indifferent selection can occur among things of equal value to the chooser. (The latter concept explains why Buridan’s ass is more of a joke than a real philosophical puzzle. Even asses assess options using indifferent selection to avoid preference paradoxes.)

A better definition seems to come from a study covered by CNN in late 2016:

Between 1966 and 2012, there were 90 mass shootings in the United States. Mass shootings are defined for the study as having four or more victims and don’t include gang killings or slayings that involve the death of multiple family members. These shootings include the Pulse nightclub shooting in Orlando in June 2016 — the worst mass shooting in US history — and others in an Aurora, Colorado, movie theater and at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut, both in 2012.

Note that in under half a century there were 90 such events, about two per year. Currently, however, major newspapers are claiming that there is a mass shooting every day. Take the infamous fake news outlet, The New York Times:

More than one a day.

That is how often, on average, shootings that left four or more people wounded or dead occurred in the United States this year, according to compilations of episodes derived from news reports.

So ask yourself: if the secular trend for murder and gun violence is down, how can mass shootings be up? Have interpersonal shootings gone down so much that they offset the dramatic growth in mass shootings?

IMG_4096Seems unlikely. The key is the nature of the study the Times cites: “compilations of episodes derived from news reports.” They are not throwing out family killings and gang and drug-war related shootings. They are counting everything above a mere three victims.

This is probably to sell papers. If crime is generally down, how can you pitch panic?

So the Times and other mainstream media sources try to make things look like they are worse than they are.

Now, I do not want to suggest that gang warfare killings in, say, Chicago are not a real problem. They are. Indeed, they tell us a great many things relevant to crime fighting and gun control as political topics. But they are are far afield from terroristic, vindictive, and spree murder events. Including them may make a jump in the rate of mass shootings per day to skyrocket from 2/365 to 1/1, but this is hardly responsible journalism.

And there is no great mystery behind this. In addition to selling papers, it is obviously in service to an ideological agenda orthogonal to the truth.

twv

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Mandalay Bay Hotel

The horrifying shooting at the Las Vegas country-and-western concert — from the Mandalay Bay hotel — is  being widely reported as “the biggest mass shooting in modern American history.” The accuracy of this depends on that word modern,* and perhaps on narrowing down the definition of what a shooting is, too.

The death count, it may be worth remembering, has so far not reached Branch Davidian levels.

But, admittedly, the Waco event was perpetrated by the government against a besieged community, and mainly done by arson — though guns played an all-too-infamous role. The biggest “mass murder by arson” case that I am aware of is the Happy Land nightclub arson, committed by the late Julio González in 1990. His fire killed more people than has (by current count) the gunfire of Stephen Paddock.
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A much larger peace-time atrocity took place at Wounded Knee in 1890. Hundreds dead. But that, it is worth remembering, was a shoot-out, not a shooting spree. There were deaths on both sides, though the Indians got it worse. Much worse.

The Wounded Knee massacre is relevant in the context of the predictable calls of my progressive friends (and leftists across the Internet, as well as the major media commentariat)  for more gun regulation.

Why recall Wounded Knee?

Because it was, in essence, the result of gun control, a gun confiscation attempt by the U.S. 7th Cavalry Regiment.

If my progressive friends get their way, there will be many more massacres of the Wounded Knee variety.

Think it through. Would you be shocked to learn that most white Americans in the late 19th century thought the agenda of the 7th Cavalry was “reasonable gun control’?

So I guess what people mean when they call Paddock’s spree shooting the largest “mass shooting in American history,” is that Paddock’s was the largest non-government-initiated mass murder. With guns. Oh, and recent.

Meanwhile, ISIS has claimed “credit” for the shooting, referring “to Paddock by the nom de guerre Abu Abd al-Barr al-Amriki and said he answered a call to arms by its leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi,” according to the previously linked article.

US officials have said they are examining the claim, but are yet to find any evidence linking the shooter to any organised terrorist group.

As if not to be upstaged, folks on the left can be caught everywhere insisting that the Las Vegas event be called “terrorism” . . . but perhaps only if we designate it non-Muslim terrorism — “terrorism by a privileged white guy,” perhaps.

Since we know, at present, of no political or socio-cultural point Paddock was trying to drive into our minds, it cannot be called terrorism in good conscience.

But it is odd to see the Left and Muslim terrorists once again siding up on one side of the line . . . of ideological fire.

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* On my Facebook feed, the necessary word “modern” seems most often elided. But most news outlets have been careful in their wording. The article I linked to was fairly precise, calling the event “the worst mass shooting in modern US history.” Note that modifier, “modern.”




N.B. Breaking stories about a large electronic funds transfer to the Philippines by Paddock, soon before the shooting, might possibly churn up an agenda so far not disclosed.

HUMA-weiner

It is universally acknowledged that Anthony Weiner, now sentenced to prison and a hefty fine for messing about, online, with an underage female human,* has a deep-seated and quite weird fixation on taboo Internet flirtation of an overtly sexual nature.

Whew. That was a mouthful.†

“There’s just something wrong with him.” That seems to be the conventional wisdom.

In all the discussion of his perversions and prevarications, though, I’ve never heard anyone blame his compulsive fixation either on his marriage to Huma Abedin or to her more-than-professional connection with the poisonous Hillary Clinton.

I would be willing to entertain such notions. There is a sort of Sauronian, sexually chthonic power at the heart of the Clinton-sphere, quite capable of pulling in and corrupting otherwise innocent people.

Of course, more likely it just pulled in another creep.

twv

* This is for future, alien historians, to distinguish Weiner’s humdrum fixations from post-Contact fornications.

† That’s what she said.

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?

twv

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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fingerpointing

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?

twv

* 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?

twv

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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.