Very late Sunday night round-up and Open Thread

Victorian posy of pansiesThomas Lifson asks an important question, one that should override any chatter about Elliot Rodgers’ use of guns, knives, and cars to kill his and injure his many victims: Was he yet another mass murdering young man on psychotropic drugs? If so, he would be another member in a select club of murderous young men on prescription drugs.

These drugs have helped millions of people function, but society needs to have a serious conversation to determine if there’s a subset of young men whom the drugs turn into psychopaths. Until we recognize this potential problem, we have no way of dealing with it.

***

I’m still brooding about my craptacular implosion from being a driver with a 36-year-long perfect record to becoming one with two moving violations in one frigging week. I felt better when a dear and valued friend told me that she’s had many more. I know that’s silly, but it made me feel like less of an idiot.

I’m still bugged, though, by the fact that one ticket was from a sting set up to turn random law-abiding citizens into potential violators and “lessons to the community,” while the other was from a red light camera that has no discretion, only triggers. Yes, I feel paranoid. And when I read that new cars include in their GPS/Navigation systems information about the speed of the road on which one is traveling, as well as real-time information about whether one is speeding, I felt more paranoid. So did a car reviewer at the National Motorists Assocation:

Cars so equipped “know” exactly what the speed limit is on any given road, at any given moment — just as they know the name/number of the road itself. They also know when you’re “speeding” — as Mazda’s helpful little helper helpfully lets you know. I have no doubt they also know exactly how much you’re “speeding,” too. This is not — yet — displayed.

But bet your bippie it is recorded.

All new cars — by law — are being fitted with Event Data Recorders (EDRs) or “black boxes” that record this data — and many others things besides. The ’15 Corvette will — reportedly — take video of your driving. And store it. See here.

I come from the generation of drivers that respects rules of the road 99% of the time, because I know they’re reasonable insofar as they protect people and property, and speed traffic along. However, 1% of the time, I fudge a little, while still respecting the spirit of the rules. For example, as my tickets show, I scoot through a turn on a yellow or I don’t stop for someone on a corner who’s manifestly having a conversation with someone and has no intention of crossing.

In the old days, you understood that the gamble was whether a cop happened to catch you. Nowadays, though, the gamble is gone: manned and unmanned cameras, videos, and even spying cars — they’re all out to get you. It feels uncomfortably like a road that’s moving us quickly to 1984.

***

At the New Editor, another reminder that, in Illinois, it’s not the law that matters, it’s the Democrat party candidate. Democrat judges will interpret the law however they need in order to ensure that the correct person is on the ballot.

***

Many of us have pointed out that Obamacare is a terrible tax on young people, who are going to pay ridiculous amounts on insurance in order to fund older and sicker people. It’s only fair to point out, I guess, that when it comes to the really old and sick, Obamacare is gouging — and potentially killing — them too. In this way, socialism is the great equalizer: sooner or later, everyone gets equally screwed.

***

I once pithily remarked that, to professional black agitators, because blacks were once forced to work as slaves, now all work is slavery. Melissa Harris-Perry, one of MSNBC’s myriad resident idiots-without-the-savant-part, now accuses the NBA of enslaving all those black men to whom it pays millions of dollars. If that’s slavery, count me in. Too bad I can’t dribble or shoot. Sigh.

***

Remember the scandal about Valerie Plame? She was the one whose secret identity was allegedly exposed by someone in the Bush White House after she had already gone public. That last little detail didn’t matter, of course, because it was the Republican’s fault. Heads had to roll, and Scooter Libby ended up in jail.

I have a feeling that the media is going to be much more mellow about the fact that the White House itself sent out a memo to 6,000 reporters expressly identifying America’s top spy in Afghanistan. Plame was a nebbishy, nobody, troublemaker, so no harm was actually done. This person, though, is in one of the world’s anti-American hot spots and this massively incompetent White House just handed out his name.  It’s a dual scandal:  first, that the White House did it; and second, that the media doesn’t care.

***

A man in Brussels uses a gun to kill four people at a synagogue. Hey, doesn’t Brussels have gun control? Why yes, yes it does. I think we call this bad guys with guns killing Jews . . . kind of like WWII.  Funny how gun control doesn’t work when bad guys with bad ideas need guns.

***

Neo-neocon caught Chuck Schumer saying that, if Republicans don’t vote for amnesty, Obama “will have no choice” but to grant immigrants amnesty. Neo finds in this language scary echoes of the Enabling Act by which the Nazis managed to give Hitler the power to do whatever the heck he pleased to get the job done, a job that eventually included war, genocide, and national self-destruction.

We’ve always felt that our constitution protects us from this, but the Democrats have given us clear and repeated warning that they do not give a damn about the Constitution. (Obama, especially, has never had anything nice to say about this contract between government and the people limiting the government’s power.)

Be sure to read the comments to Neo’s post, too, because there’s a good discussion about situations in which it is reasonable and appropriate to make analogies to the non-genocidal goings on in Hitler’s Germany.

***

People used to speak of “guts and glory,” when they talked about the military. The Democrats have focused on the guts part and taken it to mean, not courage, but actual spillage of guts, with Americans either as bullies killing others or as victims being killed. Andrew Klavan points out that the guts are an integral part of the glory. Without the courage and the risk, what glory is left? You could just as well be a hairdresser.

***

And finally, if you haven’t yet read or heart Adm. William H. McRaven’s commencement speech at University of Texas (my sort of alma mater, since I got my law degree there), you must, you really must. It is one of the most entertaining and compelling statements of important life lessons that I have ever heard:

If you’re like me, and prefer to read, rather than hear, speeches, the Wall Street Journal has a written version of the most memorable part of his speech.

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  • jj

    The Event Data Recorders in cars were an idea promulgated primarily by your friendly insurance company; only secondarily by your local heavily-armed-and-dangerous moron contingent.  If you have an accident (or whatever it’s coming to be called, the word ‘accident’ is rapidly fading from the lexicon) the first thing your insurance company will do is check the black box which, just like the ones in airplanes, records what was going on during the last minutes of the car’s activity leading up to the crash.  If they discover you were going 39 mph in a 35 mph zone, or you didn’t have your seat-belt fastened, or whatever; they have the option to tell you you’re not covered, as you were operating the vehicle in an unsafe manner, and therefore outside the parameters of the contract between you and them.  (There is, for all kinds of BS reasons promulgated and accepted, more or less, by us all – though we didn’t know we were doing that – in airline cases, no 5th Amendment protection against self-incrimination from this kind of intrusion, either.)  Your car’s totaled?  Too bad, you get not a nickel from us: you were operating outside the law.
     
    So add your car to the list of things spying on you in this ‘free society’ – what a sad joke that one’s become – we’ve managed to build for ourselves.  Accept that you’re watched whenever you enter the mall; whenever you enter – or don’t even enter but use an ATM – the bank; whenever you drive across a bridge or through a tunnel with a toll plaza; whenever you enter public transportation; whenever you go near a big box store from Wal-Mart to Home Depot; and whenever you get behind the wheel of your own goddam vehicle.  And of course if they lose sight of you for so much as a second, your phone will tell them where you are.  (And yes, the goddam government can watch you through the camera in your computer monitor or smart TV pr smart phone just as readily as criminals can.  (And can you tell which is which?))
     
    Free society?  That was always something of a joke, given the number of regulators we’ve been permitting among us since at least FDR’s time; but now it’s just a sour tag-line.  We may be the most spied-on, least-free society on the goddam planet.  And we did it to ourselves, the Heads-Up-The-Ass Gang, unable to see, shoot, or think straight.

  • Libby

    In addition to anti-depressants, I wonder if Elliot Rodgers was a post smoker, which also is a common denominator amongst recent mass shooters. I wouldn’t think it the cause (maybe they’re using it to self-medicate/sublimate bad thought and impulses), but heavy pot use by minors can affect brain development.
    * * * *
    After the Valerie Plamegate feeding frenzy (for 1+ year, complete w/Vanity Fair spread and inspiration for two movies), the Democrat & MSM outrage over the outing of the CIA station chief will probably be….non-existent. Shame the CIA didn’t see this coming – guess they were too busy hating and kneecapping George Bush. While I wouldn’t discount plain old incompetence, I have to wonder if he wasn’t purged just as so many military leaders have been under Obama.

  • http://bookwormroom.com Bookworm

    Friends of mine have suggested that incompetence had nothing to do with outing the CIA station chief in Afghanistan.  It could just as well have been deliberate.  Possibly….  But I still hold to my theory that you don’t pick fights with the organization that collects the secrets.

  • Charles Martel

    I think we’re getting prit near the time to start hanging our homegrown Mussolinis from some lamp posts. 

  • http://ymarsakar.wordpress.com Ymarsakar

    ” I have to wonder if he wasn’t purged just as so many military leaders have been under Obama.”
     
    That’s a very convenient way to purge someone, if I may say so myself. Libby’s idea might as well have been my own there.
     
    “It could just as well have been deliberate.”
     
    The world is becoming a mad, sad, place, Book, when people that live where you live, start thinking and talking like me.
     
    As for drugs, Book, there’s a lot of good reasons why I don’t use drugs and prefer other methods of healing and health. The marijuana crowd and various other binge drinking freaks of fun, the life of the party, may look down on that as being too sparse.
     
    Well, if you get people like me drunk, stoned, high on drugs, uppers, downers, stims like cocaine or meth, the last thing you’ll be worried about are Eliots and McVeighs every few years. You’ll be seeing one, personally on your door looking at You, every few weeks.
     
    It’s not really necessary to keep taking drugs. All it takes is once, to disable the brain’s self corrective measures and disable certain life preservation instincts. They are, after all, mind altering drugs and there’s no proof that your mind is no longer altered when you stop. All it takes is once. For most people who are sheep, that’s not really a problem they believe. After all, they would never have the capacity to kill or harm another human.
     
    There are lots of exceptions though, and not even the media knows about them, since they only know the bombs that go off. They have no clue how many “ticking bombs” we have here in the US. It’s more than they think.
     
    Chelsea Clinton was just now propagandizing for the need of “anger” for social justice and changing the world. Heh. Ever wonder what happens when you combine “anger” with “changing the world” and put the cherry on top of lethally crazy human wrecking balls together? Nobody ever thought of that?
     
    Certainly anti depressants and other drugs can “control” the mind of a slave. But unless he keeps taking them, which many of them seem to stop taking, what then controls them? Society and morality that was wiped out of existence by the drugs?