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.
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.