Smart people saying smart things

Irin Carmon: “Notre Dame’s real dead woman”

We all have heard by now how denial and institutional culture contributed to Jerry Sandusky’s ability to continue assaulting young boys for years, under cover of the Penn State football program. But once that was exposed, it was rightly considered an unambiguous evil. But the sexual assault of women can and is often explained away — including the Notre Dame donor who justified his continued support … by saying that Seeberg had been sexually aggressive, that “she was all over the boy.” In other words, it’s not just the players who are banding together around their brothers whether they’re rapists or not; it’s the adults around them who are turning a blind eye because they consider other things are more important. And they’re willing to believe anything except that these nice boys can be rapists.

Tim Murphy: “Preppers Are Getting Ready for the Barackalypse”

Humans have been preparing for the worst for millennia, but modern Americans have turned it into an art form. At the dawn of the Atomic Age, suburbanites scrambled to build backyard shelters and the government stockpiled food in anticipation of the day after. The spiraling inflation of the 1970s brought with it a spike in gold sales and backwoods land purchases. During the Clinton years, camo-clad survivalists prepared for the black-helicopter invasion, and Y2K briefly made prepperism mainstream. But perhaps the best salesman for the notion that we’re on the verge of financial, technological, and political collapse has been the current occupant of the Oval Office. Stevens says of the president, “He is the leading promoter of this without even knowing it.”

Larry Alan Burns: “The conservative case for an assault weapons ban”

Bring back the assault weapons ban, and bring it back with some teeth this time. Ban the manufacture, importation, sale, transfer and possession of both assault weapons and high-capacity magazines. Don’t let people who already have them keep them. Don’t let ones that have already been manufactured stay on the market. I don’t care whether it’s called gun control or a gun ban. I’m for it.

I say all of this as a gun owner. I say it as a conservative who was appointed to the federal bench by a Republican president. I say it as someone who prefers Fox News to MSNBC, and National Review Online to the Daily Kos. I say it as someone who thinks the Supreme Court got it right in District of Columbia vs. Heller, when it held that the 2nd Amendment gives us the right to possess guns for self-defense. (That’s why I have mine.) I say it as someone who, generally speaking, is not a big fan of the regulatory state.

James W. McCarty III: “Theology for the Miserable Ones: Reflections on Les Miserables”

He was wronged by his community. And, while the community didn’t repay him for that wrong, the bishop, in a mediating position, did. Valjean doesn’t just receive mercy from the bishop. He finally receives justice. He receives compensation for the countless injustices he has endured.

After this act of restorative justice Valjean is able to go revitalize a city by running a socially responsible business and governing that city with a vision of the social good that includes mercy and care for neighbors. And then, when faced with the injustice he inadvertently committed against Fantine, he spends the rest of his life making right what he helped to make wrong. This is not just a supererogatory act. It is not some act from a saint. It is Valjean’s application of his understanding of what justice demands. Justice demands restoration in whatever way it is possible.

In short, when watching Les Mis don’t stop, as Christians are wont to do, at mercy and grace. The bishop didn’t stop there and neither did Valjean.

 

  • Lori

     

    I responded, “Maybe.  But one thing I can tell you for sure is that I’d
    be much more likely to take up arms against the people in militias to
    prevent them from taking over the government.”  

    Exactly. And good for you for telling him that straight out.

    I’m honest enough to admit that time may not leave me on the right side of every issue. There are decisions that I’ve made that I believe are right, but which I acknowledge future generations may see differently. In spite of what some people try to sell, there’s no way to know that you’re on the right side of  every issue. I don’t like that much, but I accept that I can’t guarantee that I’ll be on the right side of history in every case. However, I can damn well make sure that I’m not on the wrong side of issues we’ve already settled. One way to do that is to stear clear of movements that have their roots in neonaziism and/or  Lost Cause neoconfederate bullshit.

  • OriginalExtraCrispy

     Dallas-Fort Worth is built on a clay foundation. Basements would crack, so you won’t find them in any modern houses unless you paid a prohibitive amount for extra structural integrity.

  • Lori

     

    You’re not giving us much to go on there.   

    That was poorly phrased. Sorry :)

  • OriginalExtraCrispy

    I love apocalypse fiction. Zombies. Disease. Natural disasters. Love it. And I still don’t stockpile food and water and whatever else the preppers think you should be stockpiling. I don’t live in an area where we’re likely to get the kind of natural disaster that could cause serious problems for more than a few days, and I think our citizens are mostly safe from our government. I think Obama will serve his last four years, then another guy will come in and serve his/her 4-8 years, then another and another.

  • Kiba

    Ah! I figured it had something to do with all that damn clay. Thanks ^_^

  • Jenny Islander

    A lot of “homesteading” or “country” prepper/survivalist types think that if you can raise and train a dog, you can handle any animal.  Some of these supremely un-self-aware animal owners put photos of their nightmarish “barns” and “pastures” online to show how independent and self-sufficient they are.  And of course their poor dull-eyed horses have projecting hipbones, slipper hooves, and wormy coats–and the dogs don’t look like much either.

    So I wouldn’t be surprised to learn that your neighborhood prepper confidently expected to stroll over to your place, find you lying splayed dead of heartbreak at not being able to hear All Things Considered anymore, and just start up your horse and drive it over to his own yard.

  • http://apocalypsereview.wordpress.com/ Invisible Neutrino

    What’s interesting (in the not so great way) is for all that the Preppers and Survivalists like to talk of defending against unspecified nameless hordes who will take their things, they seem to want to put themselves in a position to do smash and grabs for other people’s* stuff.

    It’s like they expect to be robber barons who can just live off the existing infrastructure forever and not have to do any actual work on their own to keep making use of what they’ve got left.

    (And it occurs to me that that is an apt description of the state of affairs in the USA in particular, Canada less so, in which the wealthy figure they don’t have to contribute to the communal structures and byways which all people benefit from)

    —-

    * I finally found simple rules for correctly writing plural possessives! Go me :D o/

  • reynard61

    “Actually, the firearms industry provides almost all of the NRA’s money. Dues are just the icing on the cake.”

    Cite please? And if that’s true, then the gun makers and sellers should have no logistical complaints about separating the lobbying arm from the “educational” arm. (Though I can see them kicking, screaming, weeping and gnashing their teeth about how they’ll lose the cover of being able to tell the American People that the gun lobby is a “grassroots” organization…)

  • http://twitter.com/FearlessSon FearlessSon

     The secret of surviving in any crisis situation is not THINGS, it’s people. When I was finishing BASIC they has this thing at the end called Operation Victory Forge. it was the big graduation excersise and the key to OVF was that an individual Soldier could not make it no matter how good that you were. Only the whole team could make it by pulling together and working as a unit.

    You know, this meshes nicely with the role-playing analogy we have going here.  It is like running a raid in something like World of Warcraft.  I do not care how good your gear is, unless you know the encounters, can do the safety dance, stick to a plan, update your teammates, and trust the other people to fulfill their role as they trust you fulfill your own, you are going to die and get the rest of us wiped too.  

    Gear might help, widen your margin of error, but at the endgame it will not substitute for knowledge and proper teamwork.  

  • AnonymousSam

    It is in contradiction to Wikipedia, for whatever that’s worth.

    According to published statements, the organization’s total income for 2011 was $218,983,530 with total expenses of $231,071,589. Approximately one half of the NRA’s recent income has come from fundraising, sales, advertising, and royalties. The majority of the remainder originates from membership dues, and approximately $2,100,000 originates from gun manufacturers.

  • reynard61

    “I suspect the classification for that type is ‘mentally healthy’. Willfully misinformed and misunderstanding re how the world is and how it works, but mentally healthy.”

    Then maybe (and I’m sure that you won’t like what I’m about to suggest, and for that I apologize) we need to re-think that particular definition of “mentally healthy”. (Maybe define it as a borderline pathology akin to paranoia?) I’m all for people with mental illnesses not being persecuted for their condition. (I’m a diagnosed ADD/ADHD myself.) But putting firearms into the hands of people who have a persecution *and* “I’ll-live-forever-if-I-can-just-shoot-my-way-through-the-Apocalypse” complex is a sure recipe for more Newtown-style massacres.

  • Ethics Gradient

     Sadly, the Vice President has been doing his bit to encourage preppers to think that what you need for natural disasters is a reliable way of shooting your fellow survivors:

    the vice president doled out a bit of advice for how to protect
    oneself after a deadly earthquake, telling one questioner a shotgun is
    more effective than an assault weapon. “If you want to keep people away during an earthquake, buy some shotgun shells,” Biden said.

    I think this is a uniquely American point of view. Other nations worry about clean drinking water, shelter, access to doctors in a natural disaster; the USA thinks how to arm itself. Though, in practice, it doesn’t get round to the carnage after a hurricane or quake; everyone helps their neighbours, just like the rest of the world. But the insistence on being armed is there in the planning.

  • Lori

    It’s like they expect to be robber barons who can just live off the existing infrastructure forever and not have to do any actual work on
    their own to keep making use of what they’ve got left.  

    Some folks clearly didn’t watch “Life After People”. Our shit does not maintain itself.

  • reynard61

    “What’s interesting (in the not so great way) is for all that the Preppers and Survivalists like to talk of defending against unspecified nameless hordes who will take their things, they seem to want to put themselves in a position to do smash and grabs for other people’s* stuff.
    “It’s like they expect to be robber barons who can just live off the existing infrastructure forever and not have to do any actual work on their own to keep making use of what they’ve got left.”

    In other words, a Vulture Culture. (Though that’s probably an insult to vultures, which actually serve a useful service in the environmental niche that they occupy. These types? Not so much…)

  • Lori

     

    Though, in practice, it doesn’t get round to the carnage after a
    hurricane or quake; everyone helps their neighbours, just like the rest
    of the world. But the insistence on being armed is there in the
    planning.   

    Not for the majority of us. Gun ownership for any and all reasons is declining.

    As for Biden’s comment, context is important and that wasn’t provided in the link. It’s one thing if someone asked what they should do to protect themselves in case of natural disaster. It’s another if someone claimed to need an assault rifle to protect himself in case of natural disaster. In the first case Biden would be doing what you say—placing being armed ahead of other concerns. In the 2nd case he’s making a point about the lack of any practical need for assault weapons*.

    *General point—no need to have the discussion about how ridiculous it is to talk about assault weapons and blah, blah, blah. The term “assault weapon” was coined by gun manufacturers in an attempt to sell their product. Now that it’s become part of common usage in a way that doesn’t benefit them they want to act like it’s the most stupid and/or offensive term known to man. No.

  • Tricksterson

    Nah, dark hints are a much better tactic.  Fear sells and the bottom line is what its all about

  • Tricksterson

    I was thinking Aftermath myself, a now obscure but very cool RPG.

  • Tricksterson

    Even his past aside, considering how long he’s been out of the loop I’m surprised anyone takes him seriously.  They might as well be quoting G. Gordon Liddy.

  • reynard61

    “It is in contradiction to Wikipedia, for whatever that’s worth.

    “According to published statements, the organization’s total income for 2011 was $218,983,530 with total expenses of $231,071,589. Approximately one half of the NRA’s recent income has come from fundraising, sales, advertising, and royalties. The majority of the remainder originates from membership dues, and approximately $2,100,000 originates from gun manufacturers.”

    So the NRA is/was operating at a *loss???* How can this be?!?!?! And the gun manufacturers only put up a paltry $2.1 million? Ha! I knew it! Those cheap bastards *are* mostly coasting on the NRA’s dime! Talk about Corporate Welfare!

    Well, I think that the above cite (assuming that it’s correct and the numbers for 2012 are similar, of course) pretty much makes my case. The NRA either needs to cut off the parasites that are the gun manufacturers ((best case) or demand more money from those parasites to keep the bills paid so that they don’t have to suck it from the membership’s veins. (Yeah, like *that* will ever happen…)

  • Lalouve

    My neighbour and I are fond of discussing disaster survival (generally under the name ‘the zombie apocalypse’), and one thing that struck us about a lot of preppers is the small groups: a family, or even single indiviuals. In case of a zombie apocalypse, those single individuals will die from trusting the wrong people because, after a few months on their stockpiled food, they will be too lonely to judge carefully who to trust.

    We, on the other hand, will settle in on our farm with our friends and offer food, shelter, and medical assistance to anyone in need.

  • Tricksterson

    Thing is real LARPers would have a leg up on these people.  Not so much because many of them actually do have skills applicable in a real emergency (high number of people with EMT training and many with various martial arts skills and midevalist hobbies) but because every LARPer I ever knew had a network of people they could rely on, an immediate one of anywhere from a half to a full dozen and a wider one numbering in the hundreds.  Your LARPing buddies, even if they didn’t start out as your friends always wound up as same.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Charity-Brighton/100002974813787 Charity Brighton

    Also, LARPers don’t generally assume that people who they don’t know personally deserve to die. That alone makes it much more likely that they’ll give aid to others and receive aid in turn in the event of a widespread calamity.

  • Sgt. Pepper’s Bleeding Heart

    Not a fan of this sweeping generalisation:

    In short, when watching Les Mis don’t stop, as Christians are wont to do, at mercy and grace.

    Justice is a particularly non-Christian concern, eh? Huh.

  • http://blog.trenchcoatsoft.com Ross

     (Sheepishly raises hand)  I’ve got 10 gallons of bottled water, duffel bag with a spare week of my pills, high-calorie food bars, chemical lights, three ways to make fire, two knives, a first aid kit and a jar of quick-clot, a pocket saw-chain, crank-radio, a bundle of cash and a pack of nasa thermal blankets.

    In case of weather emergency, terror attack, brief zombie apocalypsi, or armed insurrection by republicans.

    Didn’t it used to be the far left hippie counter-culture types who dreamed of bugging out, forswearing The Man and human society and going off to hug nature?

  • http://apocalypsereview.wordpress.com/ Invisible Neutrino

    Ah, but what mental image comes with the hippies? Definitely not angry guys with guns who have itchy trigger fingers.

  • Lori

    Why would be be sheepish about that? I used to have some of that stuff and honestly chided myself for not getting around to getting more to getting more. I lived in California. Being prepared to manage with minimal official assistance for a few days in the event of an earthquake is just good sense. We also had some of that stuff in the house in the winter when I was a kid. You never knew when a blizzard or ice storm was going to knock out the power and make getting out of the house impossible.

    You only need to feel sheepish about having those things if you think they make you a Manly Man of Manly Action, prepared to triumph in the post-apocalyptic future.

    Preparing for a week = just good sense

    “Preparing” for Armageddon = just stupid

  • Kiba

    My grandmother and I have a camp stove, little two burner thing that runs on a tiny canister of propane, that we use when the power goes out since everything in our apartment is powered by electricity. It also comes in handy for making s’mores when you don’t have a fire place. ^_^

  • SergeantHeretic

    My Assesment of every major crisis that has ever happened is this. The one thing that allows anyone to survive and bounce back is the help and assistance provided by OTHER people. The reailty is that everything these “Doomsday LARPers” are doing is tailor made to insur their own deaths. The following are the things you DO NOT DO if you want to survive a major collapse or disaster.

    1) Do not isolate yourself from others. isolation is your enemy. You cannot predict with any accuracy what will or will not happen and it is all but certain you do not have EVERY skill set to deal with EVERY problem.

    2) Do NOT hoard or stockpile major amounts of needed suplies. they are by definition limited and WILL run out far faster than you think they will. Once they are all gone, you are in the middle of nowhere with nothing and no one has any reason to help you. No stockpile no matter how large is sustainable.

    3) Do not alientate/demonize other people. DO not behave as if other people outside your immediate family are by definition “The enemy” the time WILL come when you very well might be living on the sufferance of these others because you ran out of food/water/medicine and come crawling out of your little midden beging for their help. If you treated them like crap and threatened them with death at every turn, that could be a problem.

    The answer to survive a major disaster regardless of how big is is is co operation, community, and sustainability. the larger your given group the greater your chances of survival. Pool knowledge, pool resources, give a damn about other people. in a post collapse situation/environment misanthropic hoarders are not “Rugged survivalists” they are dead men walking.

  • EllieMurasaki

    Hurricane preparedness kits. It was always entertaining when we went to do the annual trade-out-the-food-and-books to see what treasured books would appear out of the bins that the previous year we’d considered just entertaining enough to get us through if we were to be in a shelter away from our usual books for days on end.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Patrick-McGraw/100001988854074 Patrick McGraw

    Loved the Les Miserables article. Two things that it brought to mind:

    1) There was an article in The New Yorker a few weeks ago bemoaning that people love the musical, because it is sad and doesn’t have dancing and they should really watch Singin’ In The Rain. And also claiming that LM has no social relevance to today.

    2) Terry Pratchet’s mastwerwork, IMHO, is Night Watch, which is heavily influenced by LM. The main character Sam Vimes has a lot of similarities to Javert, but with a key difference that someone described as “To Javert, justice is the punishment of the guilty. To Sam Vimes, justice is the protection of the innocenyt.”

  • EllieMurasaki

    Do you hear the people sing?
    Singing a song of angry men?
    It is the music of a people
    Who will not be slaves again!
    When the beating of your heart
    Echoes the beating of the drums
    There is a life about to start
    When tomorrow comes!

    TELL ME that has no relevance to today. Go on. Tell me Occupy wasn’t and isn’t singing that every day. (Not necessarily literally.)

  • Jenny Islander

    Indeed, our local government suggests that everybody have the supplies on hand to live without infrastructure for at least a week.  We live on the Ring of Fire, after all, and the last tsunami basically folded the harbor and the downtown area into one big debris sandwich.  Plus even a moderate earthquake will block the mountainside road connecting us with our airport and cut our connection to the hydroelectric dam that keeps the lights on while simultaneously wrecking the backup generator.  Plus we are directed to be ready if the fish processing plants that line the waterfront start leaking gaseous ammonia.  

    Preparedness is one thing.  Sitting on a pile of supplies cackling about how the “zombies” won’t stand a chance against your assault weapons is something else entirely.  

  • Jenny Islander

    Forgot to add that there is often no evidence that the “homesteading” “independent” types can ride the horses they keep in those junk infested mudpits they call pastures.  Or sometimes even catch them.

    If your only photo of your horse is of an animal in full gallop far away . . . ur doin it rong.

  • Jenny Islander

    I’ve been struggling with a response to the first linked article, BTW.  I guess this is the least ragey thing I can say:

    I was angry for years that the boy who (egged on by his grinning buddies, one of whom years later seemed completely unaware of any reason why I shouldn’t make nice conversation with him, but that’s a whole other rant) rubbed up against me and stuck his hand into my shirt in the school library simply disappeared, without my being able to tell him exactly what I thought of him.

    But here’s the thing: He said nasty things into my ear and rubbed up against me and put his hands inside my clothes, and I turned around and slammed him very hard in the face with a book.  And he was immediately expelled, and I never had to see him again.   And nobody ever, ever, EVER said one word to me about how wrong it was to protect myself .  So thank you, high school administration of my youth, for choosing the right course of action.

  • Lori

    I never kept my books and music directly in the emergency bin, but I had some that I kept in a backpack just in case. I would sometimes switch things out and it was amusing to see what I had thrown in there the previous time. I used to think of it as “So that’s where that went” day.

  • Hilary

    “all they care about is protecting their PRECIOUS things.”

    Pavlovian cue to  “Myyyy . . . . . .Preshhhuussss. Gollum, Gollum!”

    Sorry, couldn’t help it.

  • OriginalExtraCrispy

    Yeah, I didn’t mean to imply that anyone who is prepared for disaster is a prepper. Many people live in areas where that’s truly a smart thing to do.

    I’ve always thought that in the event of the kind of apocalypse the movies portray, finding the biggest group of people is always your best option. Good to know that’s what the experts recommend, too.

  • BaseDeltaZero

    What’s interesting (in the not so great way) is for all that the Preppers and Survivalists like to talk of defending against unspecified nameless hordes who will take their things, they seem to want to put themselves in a position to do smash and grabs for other people’s* stuff.

    It’s like they expect to be robber barons who can just live off the existing infrastructure forever and not have to do any actual work on their own to keep making use of what they’ve got left.

    If TSHTF, or we get TEOTWAWKI, or whatever, the people who hide from and/or aim deadly weapons at everybody who comes to the door won’t survive the first winter.  Eventually people will stop knocking and let them rot.

    Most preppers don’t even talk about skills; they talk about stuff.  But what do they expect to do when they run out of stuff?

    Pretty much this, exactly.  In their mind, the only thing they need is guns.  One of the links here talked about how it’s easier to start a gunfight than to survive one – that’s exactly their plan.  If they want something, they’ll just take it, and kill anyone in their way.  Their plan really is to become raiders…

    Of course, the obvious flaw in this plan is it only works briefly, and a handful of guys with a few dozen assault rifles are not the equal of a potentially fortified group of a hundred with a smaller number of guns.  Especially once someone decides they’ve had enough and hunt you down.  They don’t even need to take your fortress-house, but in all seriousness, it won’t last long if they do attempt it.  Funny how they never consider the possibility, of say, someone burning them out.

    Particularly ludicrous in this case, as women invented agriculture. 

    Any sort of evidence of this?  Especially since agriculture was invented in a lot of different places independently.

    Gear might help, widen your margin of error, but at the endgame it will not substitute for knowledge and proper teamwork.  

    It is necessary however – go in without adequate gear, and you won’t be able to keep up, and eventually you’ll be crushed, no matter how good you are.

  • banancat

     The only way to deal with a collapse of civilization is to rebuild civilization.

    You’re right that these people overestimate their own ability.  Even healthy people will need bullets for hunting animals, sharp knives to make arrows, or the knowledge of how to make a sharp knife and arrows from it.

  • http://apocalypsereview.wordpress.com/ Invisible Neutrino

    Pretty much this, exactly.  In their mind, the only thing they need is
    guns.  One of the links here talked about how it’s easier to start a
    gunfight than to survive one – that’s exactly their plan. 

    If I may be forgiven for a slight re-application of a famous quote

    “Some post-apocalyptic plans don’t react well to bullets.”

  • http://apocalypsereview.wordpress.com/ Invisible Neutrino
  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Patrick-McGraw/100001988854074 Patrick McGraw

     

    TELL ME that has no relevance to today. Go on. Tell me Occupy wasn’t and
    isn’t singing that every day. (Not necessarily literally.)

    Heck, let’s JUST look at Fantine’s story, and at what various talking heads and elected officials have been saying in just the past year.

  • http://apocalypsereview.wordpress.com/ Invisible Neutrino

    Also, the 1% / 99% paradigm has been leaking into social media and even TV shows and movies. “Arrow” recently had an episode where two characters were arguing over why a person’s name made it onto a list of highly corrupt people, and one of them said, “Well, it’s not all one-percenters, apparently.” (or something to that effect :) )

  • Consumer Unit 5012

    Didn’t it used to be the far left hippie counter-culture types who
    dreamed of bugging out, forswearing The Man and human society and going
    off to hug nature?

    Yep.  The right-wing’s “Go Galt” silliness amuses me mightily, since it can be parsed as ‘Turn On, Tune In, Drop out’, albeit with more guns. 

    Incidentally, when did survivalists get termed “Preppers”?  That term keeps tripping me up, since I think of ‘Preppies’ and then wonder why Tad and Muffy are holed up in a bunker instead of Kennebunkport.

  • Sgt. Pepper’s Bleeding Heart

    Incidentally, when did survivalists get termed “Preppers”? That term keeps tripping me up, since I think of ‘Preppies’

    When capitalised, I keep seeing it as Pepper’s and going “yeah, what?”

  • BaseDeltaZero

    ‘Survivalist’ apparently got a bad reputation somehow…


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