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A sexual predator passes away

George Mendonsa, the Navy sailor whose passionate kiss in Times Square symbolized a nation’s exuberance over the end of WWII, has died. He was 95.

As NPR reported in a brief obituary:

As a sailor in the Pacific, Mendonsa had been aboard the aircraft carrier USS Bunker Hill when Japanese kamikaze pilots attacked. Men were trapped in the fires of the ship, he said, and others jumped overboard and waited to be picked up.

Hours later, Mendonsa’s ship transferred the injured to a hospital ship called the USS Bountiful.

“I was watching how the nurses were taking care of the wounded as we were sending them over,” he told the Library of Congress. “And I believe from that day on I had a soft spot for nurses.”

A few months later, fueled by jubilation and a few drinks, Mendonsa walked up to the woman in Times Square.

“It was the uniform she had,” he said. “If that girl did not have a nurse’s uniform on, I honestly believe that I never would have grabbed her.”

Mendonsa didn’t say anything to the woman; he just kissed her. “It happened. She went her way and I went mine.”

YouTube fighting the Culture Wars

YouTube Bans Firearms Demo Videos

YouTube will ban videos that promote or link to websites selling firearms and accessories, including bump stocks, which allow a semi-automatic rifle to fire faster. Additionally, YouTube said it will prohibit videos with instructions on how to assemble firearms.

This is Culture War. Does YouTube ban videos about any other highly popular legal hobby?

Looks like these excellent videos are still up. I used them when I started building AR-15s myself. I’ve never bought an AR-15, I’ve built all of mine from parts. because I’m evil.

How Americans die

I always go to the CDC when I want to see what’s killing people in America.

  • Number of alcoholic liver disease deaths in 2014: 19,388
  • Number of alcohol-induced deaths, excluding accidents and homicides in 2014: 30,722

George Clooney thinks the NRA is bad, very bad. But George Clooney also got rich making and selling literal addictive poison that kills 50,000 Americans every year not including those killed by drunk drivers: … ent-2017-6

That’s a fuck of a lot more dead Americans than are killed in firearms-related accidents or crimes.

Do you think the US media will pick up this story?

Monday morning fascism

Regarding disturbed people who suddenly start shooting up schools and churches, the fale is in the media and others who whine that someone should have “done something” before the act. It was the same with Elliot Rodger (who I think was actually visited by police) and maybe Jared Laughner.

Memo to everyone in America: this is still a free country, despite your best efforts. You can’t be arrested for acting weird or different or even hostile. Maybe we’ll get there when the social justice utopia is inaugurated and precrime can be prosecuted, but not now.

What else do you have to do to get a psych evaluation? He was making credible threats all the time. Isn’t that against the law

A friend

Depending on circumstances, it can be. But what do you mean by “credible threat?” People make threats all the time and nothing happens. Then when someone shoots up a school everyone agrees, “Oh yeah, those were credible threats all right.”

A psych evaluation (how do you force a psych evaluation?) doesn’t stop anything unless it leads to a 5150 (involuntarily confinement), and that’s pretty rare. The cops who visited Elliot Rodger couldn’t even get into his house (that pesky Fourth Amendment, almost as bad as the Second), and since he wasn’t actually doing anything dangerous in their presence, there was nothing they could do.

It’s not that easy to lock up people against their will in the US. I know most people from both parties aren’t happy about that. Maybe they will make a change so we can be more like China or Turkey or North Korea, which the media have recently been telling us is really not all that bad; the guy in charge has a comely sister.

Cowering as a form of personal defense

While I was waiting for my bagels this morning, I saw the first few paragraphs of this article in the Chron:

They’ve prepared in drills. They’ve heard prayers. Now students want real solutions to gun violence

The opening words caught my eye:

Turn out the lights. Lock the doors. Hide. These are the simple steps — easy to remember, hard to forget — that teachers and students across the country are told to take if a gunman targets their school. And that’s what many did at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School.

It wasn’t enough.

Damn right that’s not enough. I had hoped that after 11 September 2001 we as a society had learned that it’s actually dangerous to go along with the bad guys, that failure to fight back will get you killed. But no, a few years later along comes some disturbed kid with a couple handguns who kills 30 Virginia Tech students and faculty while they cowered under desks in an attack that could have easily been defeated shortly after the first shots were fired.

Ingrid attended an “Active Shooter” seminar at her old employer, Southern California Edison. The theme of that exercise was that survival could only be assured by fighting back, and that an office environment is full of potential weapons. It was really refreshing to hear about it, especially considering that a utility is almost like a government agency. But I guess some institutions are done with pretending: shit like this happens, there’s no way to stop it, and people need to be prepared if it should ever happen to them.

But not in schools, not when it comes to protecting our own children. Suggesting the state does not really have an absolute monopoly on the legal use of force, well, that’s simply beyond the pale. We will let children die before we make that concession. It’s as simple as that.

Self defense is not simply a human right, it’s a moral obligation. It’s actually been illegal in the UK since about 1950! And plenty of Americans want it to be illegal here too. I can’t begin to understand why. What the fuck is the point of candles and flowers when you won’t even concede that victims should have had the right, the will and the training to defend themselves?

“Active shooter” drills in schools should not be about cowering under desks in the dark, they should be about fighting back. Every student should know what to do. The biggest boys in the room should instantly jump up and hurl chairs at the attacker until he is down and when he’s down they should kick him into insensibility. Raw, savage violence. I don’t like it either, but I like mass shooters even less. It’s nothing less than a matter of life and death.

And don’t stop there. There are plenty of dangerous people out there who aren’t shooting up classrooms. If we really care about our children we would admit this unpleasant fact to them and show them how to defend themselves.

But that would be too much, wouldn’t it?

The Intellectual Dark Web

A friend from Norway brought to my attention this brilliant piece by Douglas Murray, where is is explaining the intellectual dark web to his conservative British readers.

On such issues discussion has been shut down almost entirely. Not least because the mainstream media has become terrified of ever being caught on the ‘wrong side’ of any debate.

I think that’s important. I have never agreed that the mass media have this agenda they are trying to shove down our throats (though I am sure it might sound that way when I complain about them). In fact, they are lazy cowards, that’s the problem with them. They push the accepted narratives simply because it’s the easiest thing to do.

I first realized how completely useless the media were during the Bush Wars, when no one except a couple dudes from the McClatchy papers would ever question the ridiculous utterances of Bush and Rumsfeld (because, I guess, questioning senseless wars would appear to be “unpatriotic”). That wasn’t a right vs left thing, that was a Fourth Estate (Fox and CNN, the Times of London and the New York Times) that simply refused to do its job. And they haven’t gotten any better, and Trump Derangement Syndrome has driven them off the rails anyway.

The Internet died a little today

John Perry Barlow, Internet Pioneer, 1947-2018

It’s just as well he exited when he did.

I remember when the Web was young people like him were dedicated to keeping it free and open and uncensored. These days I notice in places like Ars Technica that the big challenge everyone agrees on is how YouTube and Twitter can more effectively stifle unpopular views.

No one, it seems, is any longer interested in a free and open and uncensored Internet.

Elon Musk might be a charismatic genius, but he’s a terrible speaker

But you should watch this speech anyway.

I like this guy. It’s easy because I’m not a TSLA shareholder. I love how he’s trolling everyone with his flamethrowers and orbiting roadsters, but I also like his suggestion that humanity needs big goals. He’s too young to have experienced the excitement I got out of the Apollo Program, but he recognizes how important that is for any civilization that aspires to be considered, well, civilized.

Right now I think America’s aspirations, at least, have been most threatened by the small-minded people behind NASA and in the Congress. The history, goals and performance of, for example, the SLS program, are scandalous compared to what Space X has achieved.

We are lucky to have visionary billionaires like Musk and Jeff Bezos who are willing to think the big thoughts that are impossible for the the bean counters and drones of government.

Elon Musk wins this one

I think the fact that a Tesla Roadster is orbiting the sun (not the Earth), probably forever, is the biggest win of the decade and also epic trolling of other ego-centric billionaires.

Top that, Larry Ellison and Richard Branson.

Definitely not terrorism

I haven’t been paying much attention to Sweden, but now I can start to see how surreal things are getting there.

A 60-year-old man bent to pick something up outside a subway station in Stockholm.

It exploded, blowing up his hand and killing him.

Police can’t say for sure what the device was or why it exploded. Rescue official Lars-Ake Stevelind told the Swedish broadcaster SVT that “someone has used some type of explosive material” for the object. The Aftonbladet and Expressen tabloids claimed that it was a hand grenade, but police spokesman Sven-Erik Olsson dismissed that as speculation, according to the Associated Press.

Police say that they don’t believe terrorism is to blame or that the victims were targeted.

Sure, I can see that. I used to visit Sweden quite a lot back in the 1990s, and everyone knew you never picked up things off the ground since they could easily be explosives. That shit was just all over the place.

The victim was being irresponsible.

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