From the Gracies:
Hat tip: The Political Commentator
In my post about the parent who advised her daughter, who was coming under imminent attack, just to stand there, I included a link to a Castra Praetoria post about the wisdom of self-defense: you may get hurt, but you’ll be better off in the long run.
If you’re interested in more self-defense thoughts from a man who has devoted his life to defending his nation and to ensuring that the young men and women he trains can defend themselves as well as fight the enemy, you can read these posts too:
One of my pet peeves is bullying. I’m not talking about bullying amongst students, although I certainly don’t like that. I’m talking about the bullying from school districts and Progressive parents who work overtime to ensure that children are brainwashed into fearing self-defense so much that they would rather be led as lambs to the slaughter than stand up for themselves. The schools are dividing students into two classes: the bullies and their institutionally created helpless victims.
I’m fulminating about this because of a story I found in the San Jose Mercury News. There really was bullying going on — students attacked a 15-year-old classmate — but what makes me crazy is the fact that the mother ordered her child to take a beating, while the child celebrated the fact that it was better to get beaten up than to have problems with the school administrators (emphasis mine):
Ann Benediktsson, a 15-year-old Dougherty Valley High School student, was walking home on Thursday when a classmate approached her to say she would soon face a peer in a fight.
Ann’s mother, on the phone with her at the time, told her two things: Run home, and if a fight happens, do not fight back.
“It was the hardest thing I have ever had to say in my life,” Kate Benediktsson recalled. “I felt useless.”
Minutes after speaking to her mother, Ann ran into her peer in a park along with over two dozen other students, waiting to witness the event. While Ann attempted to keep her attacker from pulling her hair and socking her jaw, the bystanders pulled out their phones and filmed. In a video Benediktsson obtained of the fight that she later posted to YouTube, students can be heard egging on the fight, sometimes cheering when Ann’s attacker made contact.
Ann never threw a punch.
“I am proud of how I handled it,” Ann said. “I’m glad I didn’t hit back because the principal and teachers would have just said it was a spat between teenagers.”
I cannot believe that a mother told her child to be a punching bag for bullies. Moreover, I cannot believe that a mother told this to her girl child. One of the primary lessons women learn in every self-defense class is this: if you fight back against someone who is assaulting you, you are likely to suffer physical injuries, but you are also much less likely than the passive victim to be raped or killed.
In the African savannah, when lions stalk wildebeests or gazelles, the lions do not like to have to work hard for their meal. They want the lame and the weak stragglers, not the vigorous animals that put up a fight. Human predators are the same. A women who walks with an upright, energetic step, and who is aware of her surroundings, simply isn’t as appealing as the gal shuffling along with her head down. And if that shuffling gal, when attacked, suddenly finds some gumption and fights back, the predator will often back off in any event and look for an easier victim. (For more on the psychology of self-defense, I highly recommend Gavin de Becker’s The Gift of Fear and Other Survival Signals that Protect Us From Violence.)
The mother in the above news story essentially taught her daughter to be shark chum. Moreover, while the mother ordered the “principled” stand, it was her daughter who ended up taking a beating. The daughter was certainly an obedient child, but I do rather wonder if the mother would have stood there that passively if it was she, rather than her child, being attacked.
I wasn’t the only one thinking it’s a bad article that celebrates the next generation of victims. Although the article garnered only eight comments, one of them was right on the mark as far as I was concerned:
sorry but I rather take a suspension and stand my ground than to be hit upon, that is the problem with parents these days oh don’t fight back, I taught my son how to defend himself and in doing so he is respected because those who tried to fight him lost. I hate bullies. Everyone should know how to defend themselves.
Ever since my kids hit school, I’ve given them a single message: Never be the one to start a fight but, if someone else starts the fight, you make sure to end it. And don’t worry about the school’s subsequent response. If you had to use physical force to defend yourself, and if the school attempts to punish you, I will take the school on if I have to go all the way to the Supreme Court. I’ve never had to make good on this promise, since no one has ever physically attacked my kids. I suspect that, with my instruction ringing in their ears, they don’t walk around like shark bait.
By the way, I always back up this instruction to my kids by telling them that, had Jews not been conditioned by centuries of oppression to avoid arms, put their heads down, and try to appease authorities, its likely that the Holocaust wouldn’t have happened. Please understand that I’m not blaming those victims. First, no one could ever have imagined what the Germans intended to do. Second, the Jews’ behavior wasn’t a conscious decision. It was the result of a thousand years of conditioning. Israel, thankfully, while not blaming the victims, nevertheless learned the lesson. Like my children, Israel won’t start a fight, but she will finish it.
Incidentally, reading this news report about a school district’s institutional hostility to self-defense effectively bullying a child into victimhood, a behavior the child’s mother reinforced, reminded me of a post that America’s Sgt. Major wrote a couple of years ago at Castra Praetoria, explaining how to deal with bullies. I highly recommend it, because it’s both enjoyable and instructive.
I may not own a gun, but I cherish my right to own a gun should I want one. Ever since Hurricane Katrina, I’ve realized that police cannot always be there to protect people. What I’ve also realized, is the police officers can be just as dangerous when they’re on the scene as when they’re not. This thought has been swirling around in the back of my brain ever since I started learning about a practice called “swatting.” Swatting happens when a person, either as a (stupid) prank or from real malevolence, calls 911 and reports a hostage situation at the target’s address. These reports always require a SWAT team to appear. Homeowners find themselves awakened when the police surround their house or burst through their doors. The there’s a high likelihood that something terrible will happen, such as the police shooting a befuddled homeowner who appears threatening.
Even without swatting, though, the police can be dangerous because they don’t know who the bad guys are. With the best will in the world, in a confused situation, it’s impossible for them to tell who’s the homeowner and who’s the intruder. In Fort Worth, Texas, police shot a grandfather who, hearing a ruckus from his neighbor’s house (police searching for drugs, as it turned out), grabbed his gun and went over to help out. He never even made it off his driveway but was, instead, was shot dead by the police. I’m not blaming the police. I’m just citing this particular story as an example of the fact that, in fraught situations, police are justifiably nervous and can’t tell good guys from bad. Neighbors, however, know each other, and a homeowner certainly knows who shouldn’t be in his house.
I’ve been introducing my children to the music of my youth, and Kenny Roger’s Coward of the Country came up on my mental playlist. I always liked that song, because it ends with the worm turning, which is a satisfying moment:
Listening to the song with my children, though, I got depressed. You see, the song told from Tommy’s point of view — how he forswore violence because his “Daddy died in prison,” and then, after three men gang raped Becky, he wept over his father’s photograph, and bravely beat the gang rapists up, having suddenly realized that violence sometimes has a purpose. Hooray!
Until today, however, I never thought about Becky:
There’s someone for evr’yone and Tommy’s love was Becky.
In her arms he didn’t have to prove he was a man.
One day while he was workin’ the Gatlin boys came callin’.
They took turns at Becky… there was three of them!
When I was younger, I don’t think I quite understood that “taking turns at Becky” meant she was gang raped. I just kind of . . . I don’t know, mentally skipped that part. Now, though, I fully understand what happened. Poor, poor Becky, who was married to a man who had made it very clear throughout his life that he would not lift a hand to defend her.
If Tommy had made it plain from the start that he was opposed to gratuitous violence, but that he would fight to the death to defend those he loved, as well as other innocents and defenseless people, he still wouldn’t have ended up in jail. The big difference had he shown his willingness to fight if necessary is that Becky wouldn’t have been gang raped.
That’s the thing about owning a gun. It doesn’t mean that everyone who owns one is going to go crazy, shoot up bars, rob banks, kill people, and end up dying in prison. What it means is that you’d better not mess with a gun owner. Just because the gun owner isn’t proactively violent (i.e., a criminal), doesn’t mean that he (or she) won’t be violently defensive when his/her back (or the backs of those s/he loves) are up against the wall.
This is fundamentally a Democrat song. Democrats disarm themselves and everyone else, and then, when the damage is done, they turn vicious. What’s left behind is a blood bath.
The conservative way is better: warn people in advance that they’d better not mess with you, and then no one dies.
Oscar Pistorius — the Blade Runner — was indicted for murder in South Africa, after he killed his girlfriend, Reeva Steenkamp, by firing four shots from his bedroom through the bathroom door. Pistorius claimed he was acting in self-defense. The prosecution contends that he and his girlfriend had a violent argument, that he beat her head with a cricket bat, and that he then intentionally shot her to death (although firing shots through the door seems like an inefficient way to do it). Presumably a trial will help reveal a truth, if not the truth.
In any event, Joe Biden has clearly been following Pistorius’ killing career closely, because Biden has now stamped his imprimatur on the Pistorius school of self-defense (emphasis mine):
F&S: What about the other uses, for self-defense and target practice?
V.P. BIDEN: Well, the way in which we measure it is—I think most scholars would say—is that as long as you have a weapon sufficient to be able to provide your self-defense. I did one of these town-hall meetings on the Internet and one guy said, “Well, what happens when the end days come? What happens when there’s the earthquake? I live in California, and I have to protect myself.”
I said, “Well, you know, my shotgun will do better for you than your AR-15, because you want to keep someone away from your house, just fire the shotgun through the door.” Most people can handle a shotgun a hell of a lot better than they can a semiautomatic weapon in terms of both their aim and in terms of their ability to deter people coming. We can argue whether that’s true or not, but it is no argument that, for example, a shotgun could do the same job of protecting you. Now, granted, you can come back and say, “Well, a machine gun could do a better job of protecting me.” No one’s arguing we should make machine guns legal.
Wow, Joe! How can you be wrong on so many levels? First, the shotgun has a much harder kickback than the AR-15, so people, especially lightweight people (such as women), can’t handle it better than the alternative. Second of all, firing a gun into the air as he advises is illegal. And third, shooting through the door means you’re shooting blind.
Colorado State Rep. Joe Salazar’s ham-handed, even troglodyte, advice for campus women worried about rape came as no surprise to me. My experiences at UC Berkeley thirty-odd years ago left me fully prepared for this Leftist approach to females and true self-defense, an approach that hides both misogyny and an overriding fear for the men involved in a potentially dangerous situation.
Long-ago, when I attended Cal, my economic situation — too poor to afford on-campus housing, too middle-class to get meaningful financial aid — meant that I lived at home and commuted. This was not an ideal way to attend college. I spent an awful lot of time in transit and I had a hard time maintaining a social life (something made harder by the fact that I worked my way through college).
A significant chunk of my transit time was devoted to finding all-day parking and then walking to and from that parking. The closer one got to campus, the more limited the parking options were: there was resident-only parking, 30-minute parking, 1-hour parking, 2-hour parking, etc. Since my job and my classes kept me on campus all day, I usually ended up parking between a mile and a mile-and-a-half away from my classes. The walk, although time-consuming was pleasant, although less so if I had a lot of books to carry or it was raining.
In my senior year, however, things changed, because there was a rash of rapes and assaults on women near campus. I was less than thrilled when, during winter’s early, dark afternoons, I had to walk to my car alone.
Since many women around this same time were unhappy about walking to their dorms, apartments, and cars alone, the campus police instituted an “escort service.” With this service in place, women could go to the campus police office and an authorized man (I don’t know if they were employees or volunteers), armed with a walkie-talkie, would walk them to their destinations.
I immediately availed myself of the service — only to discover that it wasn’t a service at all. The deal was that these escorts were not allowed to exceed a half-mile radius. The reason given was that their walkie-talkies didn’t work outside of that radius, so it was unsafe for them to go further. You got that, right? It was unsafe for the men to exceed a half-mile radius but presumably more safe for the women to continue on their own.
The nice escorts would stand at their little boundary to listen in case they heard your screaming. Frankly, I really didn’t feel that this auditory aid amounted to much. You see, the reality of this so-called “escort service” was that I was left on my own on Berkeley’s dark and unfriendly streets.
Given the program’s manifest inadequacies, I rather quickly abandoned the whole notion of applying to the campus police for aid in getting to my car. Not only was it unhelpful, it actually increased my risk. Since there were only a few escorts available at any given time, I had to hang around the office waiting and waiting, even as the skies grew darker and the streets scarier.
This experience at UC Berkeley was the first time I ran headlong into the Progressive’s devotion to lip service over actual service. They made lots of noise, but they cared more about men than about women, and more about image than reality.
Those unpleasant evenings on campus, when I felt alone and defenseless, returned to me in living color when I heard about Colorado State Rep. Joe Salazar’s bizarre advice to women facing a scary campus environment:
It’s why we have call boxes, it’s why we have safe zones, it’s why we have the whistles. Because you just don’t know who you’re gonna be shooting at. And you don’t know if you feel like you’re gonna be raped, or if you feel like someone’s been following you around or if you feel like you’re in trouble when you may actually not be, that you pop out that gun and you pop … pop around at somebody.
The gloss is that “he cares.” The reality is that this ostensible “caring” is mere lip-service. What Salazar carelessly let slip is the misogyny that underlies so much strident feminism (perfectly realized in this amalgam of this Koran and an anti-rape rally). The Nanny state is built upon the elite’s belief that individuals cannot care for themselves, and nowhere is this more obvious than in the claim that women are incapable of recognizing danger or acting appropriate when they do recognize it.
Moreover, rather than worrying about high-risk women being hurt, Salazar is terribly worried that low-risk men will get hurt (“you just don’t know who you’re gonna be shooting at”). Here’s the deal Rep. Salazar: the good guys, the men who don’t rape, don’t stalk women and they don’t interview women (“Hey, babe, can you tell me the time? No? Too bad. You’re cute. You know you’re cute, don’t you?”). What they do is to keep a respectful distance and attitude. Do that, and you won’t get “popped.”
In other words, Salazar is my UC experience all over again: lip-service and misogyny, wrapped up in a package of making sure that the men are safe.
It’s not just Salazar, of course. Looking at this much-publicized advice from University of Colorado. Apparently awed by the abilities its bulimic students have shown over the years, the university advises women who are threatened to vomit on demand (emphasis mine):
I especially like that first one: “Be realistic about your ability to protect yourself.” With that advice in mind, ask yourself this: Am I more likely to protect myself against a power-hungry predator who may be hopped up on drugs by doing this?
Or by doing this?
By the way, don’t fall into the trap of thinking that Salazar’s going to be humiliated about this one. Although the conservative blogosphere is pointing fingers, liberals who were outraged by Todd Akin’s stupid rape quote are perfectly fine with Salazar’s stupid and demeaning advice to women.
And why not? They agree with it. Moreover, their agreement matters because, just as the Dems used Akin and women to give Obama that last little push he needed to get into the White House, Dems are planning that same strategy with women and guns. They’re already starting the “women who love their communities hate guns” trope, which we can expect to get worse with time.
Long-essays like mine are great at educating women about guns and warning conservatives about future gun attacks, right? Oh, God no! I wish. In a short-attention span universe, I am a poison pill. After the first paragraph, the average voter’s eyes are rolling back into her head, she’s reaching blindly for her TiVo clicker or her smart phone, and she’s totally tuned out.
The reality is that, in short-attention span America, we do not need long essays like mine. I’m a pre-programmed essayist, though, and, sadly, I can’t seem to help myself.
What I’d love is to be more visual, so that I could create pithy posters or punchy videos that could easily be circulated on Twitter and Facebook, all of which drill home the same point: guns make women safer, not less safe.
If you have photoshopped a poster that puts together gun statistics (such as these) in a clever, easy-to-see way, or you’ve created a video that does the same, let me know, and I’ll do my best to promote it. Dems are already planning for the next election, so we need to as well.
I’ve got a new post up at the PJ Tatler:
For the past few days, the internet has been buzzing about two amazing self-defense stories, each involving young people. The first to hit the wires was the story of 19-year old Sarah McKinley.
On Christmas Day, McKinley’s 58-year old husband died of cancer, leaving her alone with their three month old baby. When two knife-wielding men attempted to break into her home to steal her late husband’s painkillers, McKinley grabbed her guns, called 911, and asked for help. In a polite colloquy with the 911 operator, McKinley asked if it was okay to shoot the intruders if law enforcement, which was still several minutes away, didn’t arrive in time. The operator said McKinley, who fortunately lives in a state giving homeowners the right to armed self-defense, could do what she needed to do to protect her baby. McKinley did just that:
Read the rest here.
Not only is this a beautiful example of self-defense (watch Derek Mothershead move in smoothly, disable the robber’s gun hand, and throw a powerful
left hook haymaker at the robber, landing him on the floor), I just love Mothershead’s money quotation about this serial criminal:
If he wants money. Get a job. Work, like everybody else in this world.
I finally figured out the Second Amendment when Hurricane Katrina struck. I mean, I’d always known before that the police can’t be everywhere and that they often show up to mop up after a crime, because the criminal and done and gone so quickly. The knowledge that they’re out there is certainly a deterrent to crime generally, but it cannot stop all crimes specifically. Knowing that intellectually was not the same as understanding that viscerally. Hurricane Katrina brought the whole thing home: with the best will in the world, it was impossible for New Orlean’s police to protect citizens literally left adrift by the Gulf’s raging waters. Those with guns protected themselves. Those without were vulnerable.
Mike McDaniel gets this. A former police officer and current Second Amendment stalwart, he understands the limits of what the police can do, and the point at which the citizenry is responsible for its own care. It’s a post that’s worth reading. I don’t have a gun in my house for various reasons, but it doesn’t mean that I don’t think you shouldn’t have one either.
One of the blessings of blogging is that I’ve met so many wonderful people. I haven’t met most of them in the conventional sense — that is, I haven’t been in the same physical space with them — but I’ve corresponded with them over the years and feel I know them as I well as if I’d met them at a PTA meeting, Republican gathering, soccer game, or at the dojo. One of those people is Mike McDaniel, who blogs at Stately McDaniel Manor. Read Mike’s writing and you know you’re in the presence of a mensch.
This particular mensch happens to be a big Second Amendment advocate, and he recently published an article at the Gun Values Board about the rising number of women who have guns. We women are raised to be afraid of guns, but more and more women are recognizing that a gun is a great equalizer. Whether you’re facing a random crazy person or an insanely angry spouse, a gun provides women with the margin of strength that nature denied them.
I used to think that guns meant mayhem. I’ve now come to understand that guns in the hands of amoral bullies mean mayhem. A moral, armed citizenry is a safe citizenry.
America’s First Sergeant has a related post, not about guns per se, but about our obligation to defend ourselves. As he makes clear, there is a difference between bullying and self-defense. The Left has raised a generation of children who cannot make this distinction, meaning that the bullies rule.
(P.S. America’s First Sergeant is also a mensch, although I’m not sure you’re supposed to say that about a Marine Sergeant.)
We spend a lot of time talking here about the way our Progressive culture infantilizes young people. Just think about the way the whole liberal world had a collective head explosion when Newt suggested that young people get jobs to learn the value of discipline and achieve the satisfaction of wages. But all is not perpetual babying of our youth when it comes to the Progressive education establishment. Woe betide the child, even a 7-year-old, who dares to transgress political correctness. Under those circumstances, no consequences is too severe, both to punish the malfeasor and to stand as a warning to all other children tempted to violate Progressive norms.
I speak, of course, of the child who punched a bully in the crotch (something, by the way, that we are all taught in self-defense classes is the best way to disable a predator) and was charged with sexual harassment. The story would be a non-story had the incident been treated the old-fashioned way, with both bully and victim hauled off to the principal’s office, to get proportionate punishments (with, I hope, more serious punishment going to the bully). In my day, those punishments included staying after school, missing recess, perhaps a one- or two-day suspension and the dreaded “I’m going to have to tell your parents about this.”
Mark Steyn summarizes perfectly the horror unfolding here, and I do mean horror. This is not just a silly joke about an over-reactive school administration. This is a life-long sentence for the 7-year-old:
There may be “another side” to this story, but it’s hard to foresee any version of events in which a First Grader can plausibly be guilty of “sexual assault”. Nevertheless, if found guilty, Mark Curran when he turns 18 will be placed on a “sex offender registry”, and his life will be ruined. If officials of the Boston public schools system genuinely believe that when a seven-year old kicks another seven-year old in the crotch that that is an act of “sexual harassment”, then they are too stupid to be entrusted with the care of the city’s children. If, on the other hand, they retain enough residual humanity to understand that a seven-year-old groin-kick is not a sexual assault but have concluded that regulatory compliance obliges them to investigate it as such, then they are colluding in an act of great evil.
Sometimes societies become too stupid to survive. If you’re wondering how a candidate’s presidential campaign can be derailed by allegations of “gestures” of “a non-sexual nature” that made women “uncomfortable” two decades ago rather than by his total ignorance of foreign policy and national security, well, this stuff starts in kindergarten. The loss of proportion and of basic human judgment in the American education system ought to be an unnerving indicator.
Yeah, you got that right.
I used to love Star Trek : The Next Generation. I still get a kick out of the time-space continuum episodes, but the neocon in me cringes at the relentless Leftism that some of the plots display. Still, there were the moments. This was one of my favorites:
That line (“if you prick me, do I not . . . leak”) has been running through my head today, ’cause I’ve got a migraine. When I get bad migraines, my eyes tear. I’m not crying — that is, there’s no emotion connected to the tearing. It’s more like the pressure in my brain forcing tears out of my eyes. In other words, like Data, I leak.
This leaking precludes higher brain function. In addition to doing a lot today (including a self-defense against weapons class, at which I was unusually clumsy), my leaking eyes made me disinclined to sit down and blog. It’s just distracting.
Tomorrow or the day after, when I’m feeling a little less lachrymose, I’ll tell you about the self-defense classes (yes, I took two this weekend), because they’re pretty interesting.
I’ll continue the faux Shakespearean vein of this post by saying, “now to bed,” which is definitely the best place for someone with an imminently exploding brain.
One of the most basic principles of Anglo-Saxon common law is a homeowner’s right to defend himself against intruders. Oh, wait! That’s not quite true anymore. In England, which practically gave its name to the notion that “a man’s home is his castle,” homeowner self-defense is against the law (emphasis mine):
Myleene Klass, the broadcaster and model, brandished a knife at youths who broke into her garden – but has been warned by police that she may have acted illegally.
Miss Klass, a model for Marks & Spencer and a former singer with the pop group Hear’Say, was in her kitchen in the early hours of Friday when she saw two teenagers behaving suspiciously in her garden.
The youths approached the kitchen window, before attempting to break into her garden shed, prompting Miss Klass to wave a kitchen knife to scare them away.
Miss Klass, 31, who was alone in her house in Potters Bar, Herts, with her two-year-old daughter, Ava, called the police. When they arrived at her house they informed her that she should not have used a knife to scare off the youths because carrying an “offensive weapon” – even in her own home – was illegal.
Mind you, the above rule is separate from the fact that the UK’s strict anti-gun laws have cut off completely one way in which homeowners can defend themselves against intruders. The inevitable, is that burglars feel free to break and enter occupied houses, since they needn’t worry about staring down the wrong end of a gun barrel. (Crime, too, has sky-rocketed.) What’s different about the rule announced in the above article, is that it isn’t just about removing the homeowner’s most effective instrument of defense; instead, it’s about destroying entirely even the thought of self-defense.
I think Miss Klass is to be highly commended for doing whatever she could to defend herself and her daughter against these intruders. After all, if she ever cracks open a paper in England, or turns on the news, she knows that Yob violence is out of control. Britain has successfully turned itself into Anthony Burgess’ Clockwork Orange-vision of a nation equally divided between compliant victims, on the one hand, and brutal psychopaths, on the other.
Thank goodness that, at least in Oklahoma, people are still allowed to defend themselves against home intruders. Otherwise, one very brave and frightened woman, instead of having successfully and with great physical and moral courage defended herself, could be as dead as the average British homeowner:
(You can hear the whole 33 minute long 911 call here.)
I took my daughter to the doctor today for what turned out to be a sinus infection. The pediatrician is a lovely man — kind, skilled at his work, and (obviously) good with children. I trust him as a doctor. As a deep thinker, though, well . . . the jury won’t be out very long.
My daughter is a chatterbox and somehow she drifted into the fact that she met the flight surgeon for the Blue Angels and that’s the job she wants: to be in the military, but not have to kill people, except in defense. The doctor said, “I can understand why you want to be a doctor, but why would you want to be in the Navy?” My daughter looked at him blankly. She’d just described to him an incredibly exciting and responsible job with amazing people. What more could she say?
I filled the silence: “Join the Navy, see the world.” He looked at my as blankly as my daughter had looked at him, and then said, “Join the Navy, kill people.” Out of deference to the situation, and recognizing the fact that his mind was locked, I refrained from saying, “Some people need to be killed.” In my head flashed pictures of Mao (70 million dead under his leadership), Stalin (around 30 million dead under his leadership), Hitler (25 million or so dead as a result of his war), and Pol Pot (one third of his country laid in shallow graves). But I didn’t say anything. I knew that he, being a liberal who cannot seem to accept the lessons of history, wouldn’t have understood.
My daughter, bless her heart, did understand. In the car on the way home, I discussed with her the fact that there is evil in the world. I said causes are often irrelevant. Whether the perpetrator didn’t get enough oxygen at birth, belongs to a religion committed to the deaths of others, got beaten as a child, or intersected with any other root cause no longer matters once the perpetrator is arrayed against you with weapon in hand. It’s a no-brainer that, if you face this situation as an individual, you must and would defend yourself. In the same way, a nation facing an enemy determined to annihilate it must also act to defend itself. Further, when you see the guns aimed at you, self-defense often means firing the first shot. (Something every American who watched old Hollywood westerns easily understood).
In America, it’s our volunteer military that provides this defense. These men and women willingly do the dirty work to keep us safe. My daughter instantly understood the saying, often attributed (wrongly) to Orwell, that “People sleep peaceably in their beds at night only because rough men stand ready to do violence on their behalf.”
As if to underline my point, as we drove home, the 40s channel on my XM radio played a song paying homage to General MacArthur. I said to her, “Can you imagine a song nowadays praising the military?” There was a huff from the back seat. While her imagination can encompass evil, it couldn’t stretch to an American popular culture that openly admires our volunteer military. Or, as she said, “It’s despicable that there aren’t songs like that. I’ll write one.” And as musical as she is, she just might.
This clip of today’s Sotomayor hearings may just have hit upon the most important constitutional question that faces us all as we confront our devolution into the Obamatopian State.
In this segment, Senator Tom Coburn (R., OK) asks Judge Sotomayor whether she agrees that Americans have a basic right to self defense. The ensuing silence is deafening. It is enlightening in that it reveals her not only to be mendacious but clueless: asking herself whether the Constitution grants Americans a right to self-defense, the judge could not even answer her own question. She said that she could not think of such a Constitutional right.
Now, granted, Judge Sotomayor has a difficult job. She needs to communicate answers which sound rational, reasonable and wise while obfuscating what she truly believes. Not everyone is adept at such two-track thinking and thus, the wheels turn slowly. The net effect is somewhat akin to a cell phone call fading in and out of range as the caller ducks behind rhetorical hills. So let me help her out by pointing to one of the underlying foundations of our Constitution as enumerated in the Declaration of Independence . . . you know, the one that refers to a God-given right to “life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness”.
My life is my own. It was given to me by God, or so says the Declaration of Independence. Supposedly, the State can make no claim upon my life . . . at least this is what I presume to be the underlying principle of the 13th Amendment banning slavery or involuntary servitude. Yet, this is exactly what the State does when it professes to dictates if, when, how and under what circumstances I am allowed to preserve (or end, for that matter) my life. It asserts a right over my life that could only exist if my life was subject to the whims of the State. At that point, I would not be a free citizen.
Just for the record, I will refuse ever to cede that right to the State, even on pain of death. I was born free and I fully plan to die free. I will never accept the right of the State to dictate if, when and whether I must sacrifice my life to another. This is a big part of what makes me an American.
Other countries don’t accept this and it’s not just barbaric backwaters like North Korea and Iran. British or Canadian passports, for example, quite explicitly (even proudly) proclaim their members to be “subjects” of another human being, Her Majesty the Queen. Although there is talk about redefining British subjects as “Citizens of the EU”, the words EU and “free” hardly go together, do they. Citizens of the EU quite explicitly do NOT have a right to self-defense.
Now, in fairness, the 13th Amendment does not preclude voluntary servitude and I suspect that this is where many of my fellow citizens on the Democrat /Left long to go. They want to abdicate their freedoms under the delusion that a benevolent master will relieve the burdens and responsibilities of freedom from their shoulders in the coming Obamatopia. To them, I say you’re welcome to it: just find a way to finance it yourselves and then get out the way of those of us that insist on staying free men and free women. After all, making claims on my labor without my consent also violates the 13th Amendment. Perhaps we really are devolving into a two-tier society: one of citizens, the other of serfs.
The title of this post is the cri de coeur of a father whose son died in his arms. We can all sympathize with how he feels — except that it gets a little more complicated when you read the story about how his son died. You see his son, armed with a gun, and an accomplice, armed with a knife, tried to rob a 21 year old man at a BART (Bay Area Rapid Transit) station, a robbery accompanied by threats to kill the victim. The victim fought back and, in the melee, managed to inflict a fatal stab wound on the assailant holding the gun:
A 23-year-old visitor from the East Coast had just gotten money from an ATM when he told his friend on a cell phone that he had a bad feeling about two men approaching him at the Fruitvale BART Station in Oakland.
His worst fears were realized when one suspect, Victor Veliz, 18, held a folding knife with a 5-inch blade to his neck and the other, Christopher Gonzalez, 18, threatened to shoot him Thursday night, authorities said.
In a blind panic, he lashed out at his attackers, grabbing the knife from one of them and punching the other as his friend listened in horror on the phone.
Without realizing it, authorities say, the man stabbed Gonzalez in the chest. Gonzalez stumbled to his family’s home around the corner, collapsed into his father’s arms and died.
The victim immediately turned himself in and is not being charged. He was upset to learn that, in defending himself, he killed a man. The dead man’s father is upset too, but not that his own son’s wayward conduct brought about his death. Dad is upset that the victim dared defend himself:
Javier Gonzalez sobbed at the loss of his son, who worked with him in his roofing business and at Oakland Raiders games.
“I’m angry at both of them,” he said of the robbery victim and Veliz. “They took my son away from me. He was a hard-working kid.”
He added, “My son is dead. I want somebody to pay for this.”
Dad gets something of a pass here, because I can’t imagine the horror of having my son die in my arms. Nevertheless, I still find it unnerving, at a deep cultural level — a level about personal responsibility — to hear a man laud as a hard-working kid the son who tried to rob a man at gun and knife point, while blaming the real victim for defending himself against this murderous assault. I can understand blaming the dead guy’s compatriot (you know, “his friends led him down the wrong path”), but to blame an innocent victim of a felonious crime hacks me off.
A security guard shot and killed a man wielding two Samurai swords Sunday on the grounds of a Scientology building in Hollywood, police said.
The unidentified man approached three guards around noon in the parking lot of the Scientology Celebrity Centre, Los Angeles Deputy Police Chief Terry S. Hara said.
The man was “close enough to hurt them” when one of the guards shot him, Hara said. Detectives were questioning the guard to figure out the swordsman’s motive and determine whether the shooting was justified.
Here’s the videotape taken of the event:
I’m no fan of Scientology, but it certainly sounds as if the security guards did the right thing when it came to self-defense.
In a bizarre act of unexpected intelligence, the British government passed a law allowing Brits to defend themselves in their own homes (and on the streets) without fear of reprisal — not from the burglars within, but from the government forces without:
Home owners and “have-a go-heroes” have for the first time been given the legal right to defend themselves against burglars and muggers free from fear of prosecution.
In practice, householders are seldom prosecuted if they harm or even kill an intruder but the Act will give them greater legal protection
They will be able to use force against criminals who break into their homes or attack them in the street without worrying that “heat of the moment” misjudgements could see them brought before the courts.
Under new laws police and prosecutors will have to assess a person’s actions based on the person’s situation “as they saw it at the time” even if in hindsight it could be seen as unreasonable.
For example, homeowners would be able stab or shoot a burglar if confronted or tackle them and use force to detain them until police arrive. Muggers could be legally punched and beaten in the street or have their own weapons sued against them.
However, attacking a fleeing criminal with a weapon is not permitted nor is lying in wait to ambush them.
You can read more here.
You really have to wonder what the world is coming to when English government does something sensible.
My earlier post about the knifing atrocity in Japan, which seemed to happen without any citizen attempts to block the attack, garnered a lot of interesting comments. Danny Lemieux now sent me the perfect follow-up link to Bruce Bawer’s blog. (I can’t find any permalinks there, but just land on the June 9, 2008 post, which is currently the top post, of course.)
In this post, Bawer discusses a story which I’d heard through my email network, but that, rather significantly, never made the media — any media. Gay Patriot (who is the sole media outlet for this story) describes what happened:
At a fashion show to promote tolerance of gay people on April 30, a national holiday in Holland, celebrating the birthday of the late Queen Juliana, a group of ten Muslim youths dragged gay model Mike Du Pree down from the catwalk, beating him up and breaking his nose. A second model who tried to help out was also attacked.
Typically, given that its Bruce Bawer doing the writing, Bawer’s post goes beyond the obvious, which is that Islam is a profoundly intolerant religion, and that it is exporting that intolerance in violent fashion to the West. Instead, Bawer is horrified by the metaphorical sheep involved in this instance:
Another appalling fact here is this: according to one of the stories, Mike du Pree was defended by “another model.” There is no mention of anyone else rushing to defend him. I don’t get it. On no day of the year is Amsterdam more crowded with people than it is on Queen’s Day. This is especially true of Rembrandtplein and the streets leading into it. I suspect the side street on which this event took place was Halvemaansteeg, a little alley that is lined with gay bars and that connects Rembrandtplein to the river Amstel. For one thing, I can’t imagine why the cops couldn’t get there in time — on days like Queen’s Day there’s always cops staked out on Rembrandtplein to deal with rowdies and such.
But forget the cops. How come the story only mentions du Pree being defended by “another model”? How many gay guys were at that fashion show? How many dozens or hundreds of men, on this most crowded of all days in Amsterdam, were within shouting distance of this atrocity? Did any of them do anything? Dan links to du Pree’s web page, on which he describes himself as being between 170 and 175 cm (5’7″-5’9″) tall and as weighing between 50 and 55 kg (110-120 pounds). In a country where the average guy is over six feet tall, that’s a little guy. There were almost certainly gay guys at that show who were a foot or more taller than Du Pree. Did they actually stand there and watch him get his ass kicked without trying to do anything? Certainly they must have outnumbered the Muslim gangsters. Where’s the solidarity? Where’s the initiative? This is just plain chilling.
I hope it turns out there was some resistance. But there’s no indication in the Dutch articles that there was. And that’s the scariest part of all this, the sheer passivity. It’s like when Anna Lindh was murdered in Stockholm. People just stood there, waiting for somebody else to do something. Somebody whose job it was. Hayek was right: the capacity for resistance — the capacity of even conceiving of resistance — is bred out of people in social democracies. And it’s not as if gays in Amsterdam can say they were taken by surprise. In the last decade, conditions for gay people in that city have been heading steadily south. It was just about time for something like this to happen. Amsterdam gays should have been prepared.
A society that can’t defend itself should be prepared to die or be enslaved. It’s that simple, with the Jews of Europe serving as a depressing example.
There is a horrific story out of Japan today about a man who crashed a truck into a crowd of people, and then proceeded to complete the carnage by stabbing as many of them as possible. The story says that the man ended his spree only when surrounded by police:
A witness told NHK the suspect dropped the knife after police threatened to shoot him. An amateur video filmed by a mobile phone showed policemen overpowering the bespectacled suspect.
I’ve never been in a violent situation (thank God), so I have absolutely no idea what the dynamics are. I don’t know what it feels like to be paralyzed by gut-clenching fear. I don’t know what I would do if a maniac headed towards me (or anyone else) with a knife. And I don’t know how many people were already incapacitated because of the initial truck crash. But . . . . But . . . .
It’s always seemed to me that the nature of a knife is that, in a crowd, it’s a “one person at a time” weapon. When Brits used to boast about their lower death rate from crime, it was easy to point out that they had just as many violent attacks, only they did it less efficiently with knives in bars. In other words, back then, they were as willing to kill as Americans but, because they didn’t have a gun culture (something that has changed, as they now have both a knife and a gun culture), the damage was more limited.
How is it, therefore, that this guy was able to inflict such spectacular damage with a knife? Was there no one there who could take on a guy wielding a knife? It’s possible, of course, that everyone in proximity was already too damaged by the car crash to be of any defensive use, but I do wonder.
I suspect that, as Ymarsakar (who blogs at Sake White) might say, modern Japanese society has bred itself down to sheep-like status, with its individual members incapable of defending themselves any more. All they do is wait for the guard dogs to come to their defense. (Jews, between 1938 and 1945, learned that the guard dogs often do not come. That’s why Israel, up until recently, has done such a damn good job of defending herself.)
Do you all have more information or different opinions? As you can see, I’m just wildly hypothesizing here about a story that struck me as both horrible and peculiar.
UPDATE: I wasn’t the only one who noticed this. As 11B40 points out in a comment, CDR Salamander made exactly the same point, only better, because he knows about combat and combat training.
As I mentioned earlier, I’ve returned to martial arts after a ten year hiatus. I wasn’t good then, and I’m worse now (and definitely more rickety), but oh! how I love it.
One of the things I’m learning at this dojo, which I didn’t learn in my last go round at martial arts (since it was very pure Karate), is basic, fairly brutal self-defense. One of the techniques is called “I don’t want to fight.” To do this technique, you stand in front of your opponent who, presumably, has gotten aggressively right into your face. Your hands are up in the air in a gesture of surrender. You say, “I don’t want,” at which point you grab the back of his head. Then, at the same time that you say “to fight,” you swing your elbow at his face, followed by two groin kicks with your knee.
The gals in my class and I have had a hard time with this one. Even for practice, we don’t like getting into each other’s space, and keep trying to do this from arm’s length — which doesn’t work. The coordination is also difficult, with one quickly going from grab, to elbow punch, to knee kicks. We all realized, though, that I had an even more fundamental problem than coordination and “space” when I practiced the technique with the nice nice lady who was my partner.
It started off well enough when I said “I don’t want” and grabbed her head. It fell apart when, totally without realizing it, instead of next saying “to fight” and hitting her with an elbow strike, I said, instead, “to hurt you,” and complete missed my next hit.
I sincerely hope that, if I ever do find myself in a dangerous situation, I do want to hurt the person!