Wednesday, December 13, 2017

Up the Down Staircase

--the great Terence Stamp, as Priscilla

Ever tried "punctuation sex", Henrietta?
Hyphens are kisses, commas are maybes,
and a period is a definite no.
And then of course, there's the...
limitless realms of semicolons and apostrophes.
I shudder to think what
an exclamation point might mean 
--Up the Down Staircase (1967)

~So... You actually make money by dressing up like a woman?
~Oh, sure. You can make a fine living in a pair of heels
--The Adventures of Priscilla, Queen of the Desert (1994)

Now let us sport us while we may,
And now, like amorous birds of prey,
Rather at once our time devour
Than languish in his slow-chapped power
--To His Coy Mistress,
Andrew Marvell

In the previous piece we asked, "How and why has have the grotty gropings and sexual mis-adventurism of the powerful -- the previous bailiwick of the tabloid news -- become a part of the national evening news cycle?" A newly-prim Blanche DuBois may have begged her sister Stella not to hang back with the brutes, but brutes are what we are, after all, so why are we surprised?

But so hopped-up are the liberal harridans on their outrage du jour that it does not matter to them that this skulking behavior is not political news, nor is it anything new. Neither is it the sole domain of either gender.  

To wit: it is not behavior unknown to Democrats. Right. In fact, sexual voyaging should more acceptable to those of a liberal bent who reject an Old Testament vengeful "Thou shalt not" kind of God, no?

We speculated that the Angry Birds of the news desks are scatter-gunning in their efforts to damn the current power elite as enabling this behavior (which obviously has stolen the Presidency from the Other Rightful Power Elite ©), and to thereby redeem the liberal cause in the process. If achieved, this would be a notable two-fer.

Since their wildly speculative new machinations do not seem to gain much traction, they are going back to the tried-and-true. They figure that by the sheer weight of lead which they are throwing, surely something will stick.

Here, yer own humble boots-on-the ground reporter broadcasting from Ground Zero -- i.e., the most liberal college in the university -- reveals the twaddle for what it is. What follows are three archetypal examples of hypocrisy as witnessed by me, up-close and in-person.

They demonstrate why liberalism has become irrelevant and can no longer provide guidance for a better world. Sensationalist outrage has transcended reality. They advocate both for and against bigotry and the needy as it suits them, thus losing any claim to a consistent or meaningful agenda.

#1: In a Human Sexuality course, a Gore Vidal-narrated video on "other genderedness", "Middle Sexes", was shown. The film glamorized the world of the Asian "girl boys" -- young men who vamp as women. This behavior was depicted as a time-honored tradition, suggesting that perhaps half of Asian men choose this path.

Despite the happy voice-over, the constant was that they were performing in one way or another for curious tourists. It was a lifetyle borne of economic need. Nonetheless, the focus was on the "sex positive" aspect of the behavior.

The program concluded with the story of a man who left his wife and child to marry one of these girl-boys whom he had met on vacation. The man said he was not gay, and when the interviewer asked if the male genitalia of his new partner bothered him, he protested vociferously, "No! Just look at her -- she's beautiful."

Indeed, the boy posing as girl was lithe and petite, and his make up was impeccably applied, but his situation is that of being cared for because of his created appearance by a married Western man. This seems the height of objectivity and disingenuousness.

But wait, there's more! The kicker occurred outside of the classroom, where a flyer advertised an upcoming talk by an immigration lawyer and social worker who worked to liberate and integrate former workers in the sexual tourism trade into United States society. In a nutshell, "We will apotheosize the Freak, but when you tire of it, we will welcome the refuse of your misadventure, too."

This sounds a little like having your cake and eating it. Stripping the ethics from the argument we can say say this flip-flopping will ensure that therewill always be jobs for lawyers, counselors and social workers, a cause for the liberal die-hards, and sex for horny tourists with money.

Moral: You can't be both against a behavior (i.e., trafficking in sex with minors or sexual tourism), and for it at the same time. (Well, not and be taken seriously.)

#2: In the same class, the instructor provoked a discussion on gender expectations. One woman insisted that she should be able to walk down the street naked and not be groped or propositioned by a man (no word on women).

Perhaps for her, one might agree that would be a fairly reasonable expectation, but not so for most women. C'mon, folks, this is either a red light behavior or a sign of mental instability.

We have cultural norms for a reason, and bearing a lot of flesh is a symbol signifying a desire. Maybe her view would be correct in a nudist colony, but is it really pretty to think that this should be a cultural norm for all of us?

One hapless young man offered that, while he thoroughly abided by the "'No' means 'no'" message, if he were clubbing and saw a woman with a drink wearing a tight dress up to her buttocks and wearing 6-inch heels, he would presume that she might be receptive to at least an opening gambit. Given no quarter, his honesty drew howls of execration from the females, who were now animated by the liberal professor to argue for what never was and never shall be -- a gender neutral society. (At least, if there were, they would die out pretty quickly due to lack of interest.)

Interrupting the moment of uproar was an African-American woman who daily sat with a group of her fellows in the back who spent most of their time on their PDA's. Praise be to her, for she could take the callowness no more.

"I'm just talking for myself now, but when I'm wearing that party dress up to here and got my 6-inch heels on, my hair and nails done, I expect to be in some man's bed by the end of the night."
That was all, and she went back to the computer. I applauded her. (Does anyone hear the sound of two hands clapping in a silent sea of 40 brainwashed liberal wanna be do-gooders? I think not.)

To my surprise, following that admission, one brave girl from the defending cohort admitted that her roommate had a closet full of "Shame Shirts". The credulous professor professed ignorance as the student described the behavior as that of co-opting one of a man's nicest shirts for one's own following a one-night stand. A spoils of battle, as it were, thus showing that women could be players, too. (Who knew?)

Moral: Denying the facts in favor of a preferred reality does not make it so.

#3. (While it is hard to choose a favorite this may be it, as it so nicely encapsulates the hypocrisy being discussed)

After waiting over five minutes to speak a presenter after his talk at a recent symposium, I thought to press forward as one of the organizers had cornered him. The man was explaining a series of photos he had seen of early 20th century Jewish scientists, and was animatedly trying to get a response from the implacable speaker, to no avail.

"I mean they all looked ALIKE, with those faces and noses ... y'know what I mean?!?"
He was smiling, and seemed bemused by his racial acuity, but he was not getting the laugh he'd hoped for. He then noticed me waiting patiently behind him and trundled off, the curious smile still on his face.

I thought, "How incredibly tone deaf." The speaker had mentioned the Rwandan Massacre, and how facial features were one means of determining who was to be eliminated. He had also spoken about the lineage of soldiers in his family, dating back to the Battle of Culloden (1746), and the miseries suffered by the various fighting men. Mostly, he was an economist, and he was considering how to meet the needs of society with diverse peoples.

It was surprising to hear such bigotry from this esteemed member of our Philosophy Department. What followed was equally surprising, in context.

The next presenter was a Jewish professor with one of "those faces and noses". His opening gambit was a visual in which he went for the cheap and easy laugh among the gathered liberals about "The Orange Man" (i.e., our President, Mr. Trump.) He had not not heard what was said on the same dais a few minutes earlier, when he and his were someone else's punchline.

Why was this person, who's categorization was the object of another equally educated person's derision, demeaning and categorizing Mr. Trump? Was he simply trying to fit in, to say, "I'm one of you -- please like me!", or did he really hold a contempt for this man of whom he knows not, but who he felt qualified to disdain? Unknown.

Liberals have become hateful, exclusionary and arrogant. They are the new Bubble Boys in the American political arena, such as it is, the media maestros, organ grinders playing the tune in the do-si-do of hatred.

The Mobius strip of disdain shows that they have lost whatever high ground they once occupied.

Moral: One may not hate a group and concomitantly claim for righteousness or inclusivity.


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Sunday, December 03, 2017

Off With His Head

--The Red Queen has spoken

Well, I talk about boys, now,
What a bundle of joy!  
--Boys, The Beatles

 One way or another I’m gonna find ya
I’m gonna getcha getcha getcha getcha 
--One Way or Another, Blondie

No one will ever win the battle of the sexes.
There's too much fraternizing with the enemy.
--Henry Kissinger

 'Cause I gonna make you see
There's nobody else here
No one like me
I'm special, so special
I gotta have some of your attention 
give it to me 
 --Brass in Pocket, 
 The Pretenders 

And you're boring, and you're totally ordinary, 
and you know it.  
--American Beauty (1999)

The Game of Cat and Mouse: Can't Have One Without the Other

Subtitle: It really IS an Idiot Box.

Today, we'll peep in on the Battle of the Sexes, cos, hey, the news outlets say it's news. We are RangerAgainstWar after all, and in the annals of martial history this one has been going strong since time immemorial, with nary a durable truce. (And just like the Wars on Poverty and Drugs, it has a zed chance of conclusion of hostilities.)

Comparatively, in the longevity arena, the Phony War on Terror (PWOT ©) is a piker.

My stupefaction at what passes for media news is boundless. Over the past couple of weeks, the news ventured credulously into the oft-lurid territory of power and sexual dynamics, games as old as the day is long.

That commentators like Public Television's Mark Shields and David Brooks must feign shock and play "Captain Renault" to the female anchors tests the limits of credulity.

This is not an apologia for the Droogs

In last week's Public Television's Friday news roundup, Mr. Shields perhaps unwittingly let some ray of sunshine fall upon the Trump Administration when he circumambulated around the story, trying to tie up the requisite disparate parts.

Saith he, because Mr. Trump is who he is, he may be making male rutting behavior that much more unpalatable to the masses. Well, certainly he gave it a college try, but for attributing any Good Thing to the current White House, Mr. Shields will no doubt get a wrist thumping .

The thing is, since most of these newly-revealed sexual improprieties occurred many years hence -- many during Democratic presidencies -- are we to assume that Democrats have a certain "Penis Protection Society" for its wayward male members?

Why were we not shocked then? Perhaps the slippery morality of the bobos allowed the secretive behavior to continue. Are we entering a more morally black-and-white time?

Do you think that you're made out of gold and-uh, can't be sold? -- Jimi Hendrix

The horreur du jour is simply: Powerful men are taking sexual favors from guileless women. Are you as shocked as I?

Mrs. Clinton may not have won the election, but the press is giving her revanchist acolytes their moment in the sun to skewer the feral (mostly) White Men via yet a new avenue.

The doughty liberal women rejoice as they lasso the powerful men like so many head of steer. Those leading this charge have been handed the Consolation Prize in the never-ending Liberal Collective Anger Sweepstakes.

These bruised yet stalwart Hillary Clinton minions are trying to make the power-money-sex troika sexy headline news again, some 50 years hence.

The Bad Boyz have been dropping like flies. Senator Al Franken, Hollywood's Harvey Weinstein, newsmen Charley Rose and Matt Lauer, etc. And no longer are the accused innocent until proven guilty.

So horrid is their behavior that the trap door must be opened as if on a Vaudeville stage and the perp must then disappear presumably into a gulag run by female prison guards like in a bad Russ Meyer film.

Feminists demand this behavior -- Who knew? -- stop, and that the alleged perpetrators be summarily dismissed from their area of operations. A hundred years on, The Perils of Pauline have been re-packaged for modern consumption, with Wonder Woman to the rescue of the hapless Pearl White.

The press states that Mr. Trump qua Trump has ripped the scab off some great festering disease in our society committed by men much like him. As an archetypal powerful white male, he is the great abettor and enabler of this great undertow of exploitation.

Don't buy it.

First it was the press's frightening indictment that the President was responsible for a renascent white supremacist movement. Now, it is as though the fictional character Don Draper from tv's Mad Men has infected American men with some new, as-yet unseen, aggression.

We secretly yearn for that ur-Male, but want to castrate him when he arrives. Just look at the number of military programs, movies and video games produced in which the macho protagonist fights and gets the girl(s), too. It is the whole cake and eating thing.

The heady combination of power and sex is as old as Salome's dance and Delilah, and then some. It is capitalism at its finest: Opportunity meets availability. Consumption occurs 'til satiation, or until the Next New Thing comes down the pike.

Since one may not re-engineer the chemical makeup of the human being, one would need some broad, consistent and formative re-education to change unwanted social behaviors. Unfortunately, the United States is burdened by both a highly-sexualized, and a highly Puritanical background, resulting in some deep schizophrenia regarding relations between the sexes.

More to the point: why is this headline news, and why when the alleged offenses are often many years after the fact? Rather than some great awakening on behalf of the offended, it is not hard to imagine that powers arrayed against these powerful men troll about to find these women, offering the correct incentives for their testimony.

Of course, we are talking here of grown women, not minors. Consenting adults. It is a game they chose to play when they entered the fray of competition (in Hollywood, politics, etc.), and a price many are willing to pay, to give favors in order to receive.

It is an understood if unsavory quid pro quo. Don't cry wolf when it is you who walked into the wolf's den.

This is all nothing new.

And who are these men? Does power confer privilege only occur among the entertainment and political set (entertainers of their own sort)? Does sexual favoritism and exchange not transpire among the more mundane, simple folks like you and me?

How does everything old get new again, entering our never-ending chorus of outrage and indignation? Are there not other topics more worthy of coverage on the nightly news?

Does Anyone Really Need to Say This?

Watching the media coverage evinced no response so much as, "be an adult, and be smart. If you don't want to get dirty, do not play with dogs or pigs."

Shame on the press, for they know that firing at this target will leave them with Maggies Drawers flapping in the breeze every time.

[Update: An unedited cy. of this piece went on 12/4/17.]

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Saturday, November 11, 2017

Forget Me Not

--Forget Me Nots


Happy Veterans Day. It's an odd thing to say, looked at one way.

"Happy" is not the usual discriptor for the things a soldier must do. Is it a day for "Happy Veterans"? Are we happy that others -- the veterans -- do the things we would rather not think about, i.e., "We're happy that it is you, and not me"?

But to the aphorisms:

1) Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) is the soul dying faster than the body.

2) PTSD = feeling, thinking and reacting to the unreality of a situation.

3) Moral Injury is the phantom pain of the lost soul.

4) It is simple to kill a man, but doing so is never simple, nor is it easy, unless one had lost touch with his soul.

5) Remembering is not the same thing as not forgetting. (Coda: Forgetting is not the same thing as not remembering.)

6) If I am at peace with myself, then meditation is superfluous. My life is my meditation.

7) What if your memories are totally false? Worse, what if they are true?

8) You can't live in the past, but the past can live in you.

9) Films like "American Sniper" are neither history nor entertainment. These reiterations provide a rebranding of the Phony War on Terror (PWOT). They seek to legitimize the illegitimate.

To be heretical, they are the iconic "early eight-month baby" in church-sanctioned shotgun weddings. They are the Immaculate Conceptions of the war theatre.

10) Counterinsurgency Rule One: "First, do no harm".

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Thursday, November 09, 2017

All Atwitter

--Dud Raphael foresee some Baby future Rangers?

Read more »

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Saturday, October 28, 2017

Guns or Guitars

--Upwards, Kandinsky

 I started out clean but I'm jaded
Just phoning it in
Just breaking the skin
--Bent, Matchbox 20

 Between who you are
and who you could be
Between how it is
and how it should be
--Dare You to Move, Switchfoot

There's something wrong with me chemically
Something wrong with me inherently
The wrong mix in the wrong genes
I reached the wrong ends by the wrong means
--Wrong, Depeche Mode

Strangled by the wishes of pater,
Hoping for the arm of mater,
Get to me sooner or later
--Holding Back the Years,
Simply Red

Why, you do not even know what
will happen tomorrow.
What is your life? You are a mist that appears
for a little while and then vanishes
--James 4:14

[This is a re-post from 03 May 2009. We will be back next week with new thought. -- ed.]

Ranger waxes philosophic. (Next we know, it'll be a review on "The Secret" or "What the BLEEP Do We Know!?", and he'll be franchising energized waters):

Life does not have one beginning or end. Our beginnings and our ends are multiple, some beautiful, sad or just plain insignificant. Significance does not always attach to one's life.


What is the beginning? Is it birth? Is it anything at all?

Is the continuum the process and the life meaningless? Or does meaning accrue to the life, with the process being merely incidental? What assigns value to our lives? How does value accrue to a life which is simply an awareness briefly passing through the time continuum?

Is time even real? Is it circular or linear, does it compress or expand, speed or slow down? Does time even matter, or is it only our consciousness which gives it any relevance. Vacheron and Blancpain would like you to think they are demonstrating a phenomenon of importance, but maybe not. Without man, time seems meaningless. Like so many things, it simply is.

Our lives can be viewed similarly. Individually we are the center of a Twitter- and Facebook-centric universe, which is irrelevant, save to communication companies. Psychologists say narcissism among youth is on the rise -- little wonder. The Twitter egocentric universes exist exist inside a cosmos of expanding and contracting realities, in which any one reality matters little.

If there is a God, life shrinks to insignificance, and if there is none, we are still small, but without any imputed meaning. Did God exist for eternity, and if he did, why is this significant? Our own lives are insignificant regardless of religious, philosophical or political utterances to the contrary. Life gains particularity only at junctures of time, space and awareness.

At 16, a young man wanted a guitar with lessons, to which his mother replied, "Only hillbillies play guitar." Strange reply coming as it did from a Pennsylvania ridgerunner. Regardless, this teen received no guitar, but he did get a brand-new Sears & Roebuck Remington 30-06 rifle -- a hefty piece for a young shooter.

Both rifles and guitars strike chords in men's minds, some major, some minor, some suspended. Both lead to refrains and endings. Was this a beginning or an end? A rifle or a guitar was the choice. Chords and notes, or slings and shot groups?

A rifle can become a way of life, just as can a guitar.

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Sunday, October 22, 2017

A Battle Implement

In my opinion, the M1 rifle is
the greatest battle implement ever devised
--General Georgw Patton

Let us assume that General Patton's belief is true. If so, you should know that the United States government has been selling the M1 as war surplus to legal, law-abiding citizens since the 1960's.

In addition, although a weapon of war these weapons were also sold for a minimal price to the Civilian Marksmanship Programl (CMP) for its purpose of training citizens in correct and safe shooting skills -- all prefectly legal and sanctioned by the U.S. government. Today, the M1 rifle is still used as a National Match rifle.

Some background

All of our armies since 1776 have used the rifle as their basic weapon. The rifle squad of the rifle platoon of the rifle company are the basic combat elements of any successful army. (Ranger, like all who wore crossed rifles as their branch designator, is trained as a basic riflemen.)

In 1871 it was clear that rifle marksmanship in the Civil War was deficient, so the governmet and private citizenry later formed the National Rifle Association (NRA) in an effort to ensure a basic level of rifle competency among all male citizens. To this end, the government also supported a Directorate of Civilian Marksmanship (DCM).

When Ranger was a young Boy Scout, any group such as the Boy Scouts, that had ten or more members received free ammunition and rifles from the DCM as a means of promoting civilian rifle marksmanship. This was in accordance with national policy.

The DCM supported all aspects of competitive marksmanship to include safety classes. Civilians and the government shared this function and the CMP still exists today.

Every civilian range that Ranger has visited has dual functions, serving both civilian and government entities. Federal and state entities cannot afford to run ranges that can be easily contracted from civilian sources.

In addition, police and sheriff's officers use these civilian ranges on contract, as do the Reserve Forces of all service branches. Ranges serve a social and recreational function as well as mission orientation one for the government forces. (On major military posts there is always a gun and skeet club that provides recreation to the soldiers.)

Government and civilian shooters compliment each other. Often times, civilian instructors provide instructions to military personnel. In my day, the military was tasked with supporting civilian marksmanship.

Because of his DCM training, Ranger entered the Army as a trained rifleman, later participating as a shooter in National Matches after qualifying in the DCM/NRA Small Arms firing school. This is shared to show that gaining rifle expertise was available to all citizens with the government's imprimatur, and the training often served as an entryway to later shooting projects in the Armed Forces.

Rifle expertise was not a thing to be feared. Somehow, this fact has been lost, as rifles have become a suspect and maligned.

As an aside, all of my childhood friends bought M1 carbines and 1911 A1 .45 calibre pisols from the DCM for $20 each, postage extra, shipped via U.S. mail. All of these men later served in the armed services; they are still proud owners of their DCM purchases.

Ranges are not places that breed trouble.

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Sunday, October 15, 2017

Son of a Gun, 2

People are dumb, panicky 
dangerous animals and you know it. 
--Men in Black (1997)

Is that what this is about? 
You're angry because you got lied to?
--Falling Down (1993)

Most folks can't afford to build an underground shelter but, 
with a little know-how, you can use and prepare your home 
to be a shelter against fallout or a biological or chemical attack. 
It's much simpler than you might have imagined
--Sheltering in Place: A Family Guide
(water filter insert)

Polls indicate that most United States guns are purchased strictly for the purpose of self defense. Prior to this recent trend, guns were purchased primarily for hunting and sport shooting.

Curios and relics are not a gun control issues, and should be separated form the current political discussion. Any efforts to regulate that collector market is a waste of effort any money.

But there is a real, palpable craziness afoot in the U.S., and the issue remains the "kill your neighbor" (K.U.N.) type guns. High-capacity military clones are the item du jour. Weekend gun shows have become military arms bazaars.

When Ranger began his marksmanship career, bullseye targets were shot with service rifles. While NRA matches are still of the professional old-fashioned concentric circle type, the majority of the gun world now uses picture-type targets of people, or silhouettes.

The focus of many gunman has shifted to shooting people.

For fun, go to a bookstore and peruse gun and survival magazines. The stock-in-trade for many is to prepare people for an impending conflagration.

Major gun parts supplier Brownell's has an online catalog filled with trick-out items for the aforementioned kill-type guns. (In a not-unworthy side note: many of the items in their catalog are listed as "Made in America".)

The madness can be seen in many arenas. Ranger recently bought a simple water filter and noted that the accompanying literature addressed survival -- "preparedness products" -- which might arise in vague future dire situations, as well. The "prepper" mentality has seeped into our culture through many avenues.

Before proceding, the fantasy tricked-out rifles do have sporting and hunting functions. A M-16 clone is legal for hunting in most states. The only requirement is that the user employs only five-round magazines and not the 60-round mags found in the catalogs.

To my mind, the problem is the plethora of K.U.N. guns on the open market. It is an open discussion as to how this issue might be addressed. Since the demand and easy availability of these guns is a fairly new issue, understanding that phenomenon might be a good starting place.

The media talking heads usually have no grasp of the subject matter. The "experts" were discussing "clip size" recently, but no modern K.U.N. gun uses a clip; all modern firearms use magazines. From these basic misunderstandings issues ever-wider misconceptions.

Further, the media coverage of the topic never mentions that one of the only industries which remains succcessful and employs U.S. workers is the gun industry. If all of the tricked out guns are outlawed, then unemployment rates will increase.

So herein is a contradiction: help the economy by limiting gun regulations, or potentially help the occasional nutters and career criminals who wish to commit wrongdoing with a gun.

Talk amongst yourselves.

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Tuesday, October 10, 2017

Son of a Gun, 1

Don't take your guns to town son
Leave your guns at home Bill
Don't take your guns to town
--Don't Bring Your Guns to Town, 
Jerry Douglas

Walk away from trouble if you can
It won't mean you're weak if you turn the other cheek
I hope you're old enough to understand
Son, you don't have to fight to be a man
--Coward of the County,
Kenny Rogers

Come on people now
Smile on your brother
Everybody get together
Try to love one another
Right now
--Get Together,
The Youngbloods

[Note: some excellent related commentary has occurred in the previous RAW posting, It's Only a Game.]

What good are words in the discussion of gun violence and gun control in today's United States?

How can one be heard in a society where attitudes are sclerotic all-round? Events like the recent mass-shooting atrocity in Las Vegas only serve to tighten the cordon.

Ranger is a gunman and will remain so until death. I am not a threat to public safety and welfare. I am not an National Rifle Assocation (NRA) member, nor do I believe the members of that organization to be anything but honorable citizens.

Our society has been suffering a breech reaching back several decades between two sides who feel they are advocating for the same thing, namely: how does gun ownership comport with the safety of U.S. citizens. People draw their lines allying themselves with various movements and organizations, and like most such historical syndicates the high-minded ideology fails, the adherents left wallowing amidst a sea of partisanship. 

The factionalism displaces the urgent questions: "What is happening?", "Is this something new?", and "How can the threat be best removed and the safety of the largest number of potential future innocent victims be reasonably ensured?"

On one side are those who staunchly support the 2nd Amendment gun ownership rights. Theirs has been a love-hate alliance with the government since the nation's founding.

The role of citizens vis-a-vis guns has morphed wildly over the course of our nationhood. In the beginning, the armed citizen was not viewed as an adversary of the national project, but served as its linchpin, or at least, as a staunch pillar thereof.

Until 1840, the smoothbore muskets of the U.S. military were inferior to the rifles of the general public. Today, soldiers and police possess military automatic weapons far outstripping anything permitted to the citizens, weapons of war that they may use for any purpose.  

The Civilian Marksmanship Program brought citizens on-board as members in good-standing of their communities who would learn safe shooting skills. [Few discuss the conversion from gun owners as pillars of society to the suspects that they have often become today due to tragic events like the Las Vegas shooting. Ranger will discuss this in a future post.]

Opposing them are those who call for ever-stricter control over gun ownership rights. Their project, like those of the 2nd Amendment advocates, sees the primary issue of mass violence as the gun itself. For them, it is a simple equation: Limit the sorts of guns available and --voila -- the problem of gun violence goes away.

It is unlikely that these pro-control advocates even know that truly automatic rifles -- to include belt-fed and machine guns -- can be purchased simply by paying the $200 special tax required be the feds to own such a weapon. Do they know that no such weapon has ever been used in a violent crime?

Further, several elected leaders call for bans on M16 Black Rifle clones, mistakenly calling them "weapons of war". They are not, as civilian versions are neither fully automatic nor are they military grade.

Further, what if the citizens were permitted to have automatic rifles? Why may the police have them while the citizens they are sworn to protect may not? Check for yourself the photos of recent national disasters like the flooding in Houston or Puerto Rico: the soldiers passion out water have fully automatic rifles slung on their bodies. 

Why? Do the citizens exist for the safety of the police, or vice versa?

But if we are honest and answer the aforementioned urgent questions, we must define the problem and see what actual solutions are available.

Generally-speaking, the gun control rights activists are liberal West- and East-Coasters. Broad-brushing, they often belong to the middle- and upper social strata, their most privileged members are what might be called the Creative Class (versus the majority of those who inhabit the vast middle swath of the country).

Taking a flight of fancy for a moment, presumably, they believe in the infinite perfectability of the human being. Presumably to that end (or perhaps, to pervert or exploit it), they have created myriad outlets for your viewing pleasure and virtual participation.

A majority of these games, movies and programs involve extreme weapons violence of the most heinous sort. Hollywood and Silicon Valley is only too happy to exploit guns for fun (all virtual, mind you).

Following Hollywood's fashion, music and movie lead, see the omnipresence of violence and death being imprinted even upon the human body -- knives, guns and skull-and-crossbones on clothes and tattoos abound. To paraphrase Snoop Lion-nee-Dog on doggies and their bones, Hip Hop ain't hoppin' without guns, and Hollywood has brilliantly sold that decrepit bill of goods to all youth. (Their cover: they're just following the mode of the streets.)

But you can handle this incessant onslaught of blood and destruction and go back to your loved ones and merely tolerated ones unscathed, yes? And if you can handle technicolor gore, surely if one were a gun owner, one could show good trigger control in the face of a "Falling Down" type of morning, right?

Ah, but if you have the slightest doubt that the pressures of modern society might unhinge a vulnerable person, how could you in good faith partake in the creation and dissemination of said materials? 

And surely a gunman, say, a former military rifleman, might be capable of unleashing an onslaught of carnage with simply a good rifle and sight, no?

We love guns, until reality intervenes.

[To be continued ...]

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Sunday, October 01, 2017

It's Only a Game

At a time when the world seems to be spinnin' hopelessly out of control,
There's deceivers an' believers an' old in-betweeners,
That seem to have no place to go
--Hands on the Wheel
Willie Nelson

People forget
Forget they're hiding
Behind an eminence front
Eminence front, it's a put on
--Eminence Front,
The Who

And I don't know why I have to make a song.
Everybody talks about a new world in the morning.
New world in the morning takes so long
--New World in the Morning,
Roger Whittaker

Singing' don't worry 'bout a thing
'Cause every little thing gonna be alright
--Three Little Birds,
Bob Marley

This is hardly a news story; not by a long chork. But it's what suffices today.

Ranger and I do not run to the latest media brouhaha, but this one is tangentially of local interest, so we will deconstruct it.

Black football players are kneeling again this week a la Kaepernick. It seems some sort of black-white provocation, and surely the media and the Tweeters are giving it legs. 

What is the proximal story, and what is distal?

Proximally, the United States saw an increase in media coverage of black interaction with the police over the eight years of the Obama administration. Concurrent with our now-ubiquitous social media feeds, beatings and shootings of blacks were uploaded in real-time, usually with no back story; certainly, no vetted back story. (That's the way they do it, today.)

The predictable reaction was increased social unrest, specifically in epicenters of racial violence. The Black Lives Matter (BLM) movement was hatched. 

And bi-racial footballer Colin Kaepernick grabbed some ink by kneeling before his games. Kaepernick cribbed his move from religious University of Florida footballer Tim Tebow, who took to "Tebowing" before games in a petition to his Creator to keep him and his fellows safe during the game (and hopefully, to make all the viewers happy.)

Genuflecting is a position in the mode of solemnity before one's God. What this reverential position otherwise has to do with a prosperous footballer is not clear. It seems like so much grandstanding. Yes, you too can have your 15 minutes of fame.

Before whom are they genuflecting, and why?

So what is behind the Kaepernick's addition to the sorrows? He must feel badly that his unknown black father was a "shoot-and-scoot" kind of guy, his biological mother's baby daddy abandoning his destitute mother before Mr. Kaepernick was born. He was later adopted by a white family.

The reality must hurt, and it reasonable to assume that the footballer would seek for an answer to such despicable behavior. None can know the answer, but the charitable among us look backwards, to generational insults for explanation. 

Perhaps it was the selling out of Colin's ancestors by fellow tribesmen to European slave traders in a long-forgotten African past. Perhaps, the experience of relatives being slaves in America.

Whatever the genesis of his father's behavior, kneeling says, "This is an implacable Mobius strip" from which we may not exit.

It says, "This legacy of dysfunction is an ever-widening gyre, destined to continue playing itself out beyond me. I bow in sorrow before the inevitiblity."

But who in our nation has not known sorrow? 

Our Native Americans have reason for sorrow. So does the Vietnamese Army officer we know who spent 10 years in a re-education camp and took another ten making it over to the U.S. (He is now working in a restaurant kitchen.) 

Japanese spent time in internment camps during WW II. Jewish people were used as slave labor unto death less than a century ago in Nazi Germany, and were not welcomed by the U.S. as refugees in their time of dire need. A friend has interviewed Rwandan Masssacre survivors who carry on. We have reader at RAW whose family was touched by the Armenian Genocide.

And so it goes. What distinguishes one from the other? How does on hierarchicalize? 

I submit it is our response alone that dignifies and provides salvation to the former victim. One must choose for ascendence and life rather than blame and anger.

Meanwhile, the kneelers do nothing exalted, bring nothing uplifting to our consciousness.

In any event, the kneeling is a depressing sight, especially coming as it does from a man who was fortunate enough to have people lift him up in life after his unfortunate beginning, and who was then earning an eight-figure annual income. 

It seems like a gesture of solidarity, but does it comport with the facts? Florida State University had a decent black sports role model a few years back in Charlie Ward who went on to finance youth mentor leadership camps post-career (in the days before FSU players became better known for stealing clothes from department store, lobsters from Publix and raping young women.)

Or look at footballer Knowshon Moreno, who was photographed crying during the National Anthem.  He said he was, "excited", "blessed" and "privileged" to play this game,

Gratitude and generosity are the only positions from which one may reasonably expect to generate positive change.

But you must have the example, the imagination, to see that charity is a finer way to effect change than is an impotent gesture of solidarity. When one is gifted with largesse, charity become justice. It is there where Kaepernick et al. fail.

In any event, football  is a sporting event. People tire of the ceaseless calls for atonement, the politicization of everything. There has to be a place to get away, to celebrate good-natured rivalries, even if just for a few hours. 

If the kneelers want to be political, let them enter politics. The pay isn't that good (unless you like Tallahassee's Andrew Gillum, currently under FBI investigation for graft.)

A more sure route for a sports hero with bucks to make a difference is to funnel some of that money into school programs, to ensure young men and women can learn another way. I personally know of two non-profits making a real difference in this arena. 

10-year Army veteran Vincent Hunt's "Creator's Camp" is helping young people develop and realize their dreams, teaching them skills for becoming future intra- or entrepreneurs.

Another, Wings for Kids, is an estimable after-school program now in three states. They told me they would come to Florida if someone would invite them.

To the footballers: you don't have to kneel. You can make a positive difference.

I'll hook you up. It'll be dope, I promise.

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Sunday, September 24, 2017

This is Only a Test

--Congratulations, you were a "participant"

I never took the smile away from anybody's face
And that's a desperate way to look
For someone who is still a child 
--In a Big Country,
Big Country

 And why should I call your name,
When you're to blame
For making me blue? 
--Wasted Days and Wasted Nights,
Freddy Fender 

and the best at murder are those who preach against it
and the best at hate are those who preach love
and the best at war finally are those who preach peace 
--The Genius of the Crowd, 
Charles Bukowski

[This is a prelude to our concluding segment on the stories we tell, "Circle Jerk III: The Frontier".]

I do not watch the news, as the mandatory agenda and relentless editorialization is onerous. But occasionally, it cannot be avoided.

Like Douglas Adams' holistic detective Dirk Gently, the gestalt does not escape my vision.  To that end, two segments in a recent BBC World News America broadcast neatly collided for me.

First was a story on the propriety of leaving graphic Syrian violence uploads on You Tube channels. The commentator suggested that discretion was the key as, "People live on their platforms." 

They live there, mind -- not just visit, not just type or read. Live. In a 5 x 8" screen. Even International Humanitarian Law would frown upon such living conditions.

 And the Band Played On

Second, catty anchorwoman Katty Kay was sputtering over the bipartisan meeting called by the President with Democrats Nancy Pelosi and Chuck Schumer. Clearly, this move was in violation of the party line that Mr. Trump is untenable.

"But he's 'toxic'", said Mrs. Kay (her go-to descriptor for the President.) The horror accompanying her protestation had the desperate look of someone who has been gobsmacked: the gig was up. Nothing normal was supposed to happen, yet it did.

It sounded like the silence after the horrible scratch of an agly needle on a rare vinyl album; it will now never be the same.

Instead of what might have been interesting speculation regarding a meeting on healthcare that looked a bit like a convocation from the film, "Cocoon", we get Kay, beside herself, asking her guest for some understanding of this, to her, inexplicable event.

In an embarrassingly simple explanation, the guest explained to Kay that as the U.S. President is the head of the Executive branch, he is allowed to do this sort of thing. (In fact, he noted, this is exactly the sort of thing candidate Trump promised to do.)

In such moments one perceives that the vitriol against this "impossible" President is just so much night music, a nocturne designed to both palliate and arouse the insulted Clinton faithful. The media enabled them to feel a false sense of power by unceasingly feeding -- in fact, designing -- their corrosive hatred.

While the media story is that chaos reigns, the more banal reality is that the administration churns on, doing the work of government.

A responsible press would sift through the daily docket to find the boring but important news which merits coverage. Instead, you will hear about shoes, hands and the inappropriateness of Mr. Trump's every utterance because it is a cheap and easy way to entice the faithful to update their feeds without much thought.

These two stories explained why what should have been the story of the century -- analyzing and perhaps even celebrating the election by the people of a candidate far outside of the mainstream -- has gone missing. 

While this election could have spurred an honest and incisive discussion about why such a happening, that would require actually looking at the state of the American people. 

Instead, we have been trained to mock the President and all attendants, and have been offered no insight. Those who voted for him are stupid little puds worthy only of our derision (right?) Comedians like Jon Stewart may be proud of their legacy.

[Note: Mr. Stewart exited stage right, perhaps aware of the Roman circus - runaway train which he had ushered in. Because he could be sharp or funny, or because he had that elastic Buster Keaton face, it became o.k. to outrageously disrespect the news. But people began THINKING of that AS the news.

No one is funny today, however, though the disrespect continues. Both he and the now-retired David Letterman have left a much meaner world in their wake.]

Today, an inroads is always found to bring any disaster back home to Mr. Trump. We all know the drill: he is white and wealthy, therefore, he emboldens poor and marginalized people to crawl out of their hidey holes and disturb the rest of us.

At least, that is the media's story and they are sticking with it. It has incited their faithful to expulse untold reams of bilge over the last year.

(Addendum: The contrapositive of the story is that if we had a person of color or a woman President, the white men would not some out of their hidey holes, and their needs and concerns would be staunched. And of course, to the party line Democrat, this would be a Good Thing.)

But as with a hurricane, such passionate energy eventually dissipates. Perhaps some of the erstwhile livid and animated viewers are becoming like Sasha Baron Cohen's character Borat at the Texas rodeo, or maybe his rapt listeners. 

In the midst of Borat's impassioned diatribe about how the U.S. is going to win their "War of Terror" in increasingly contorted and ridiculously vicious ways, the supportive screams of the crowd begin to die down at his uttermost declaration (May you destroy their country so that for the next thousand years not even a single lizard will survive in their desert.)

At some point every dupe tires, and perhaps, realizes that he has been had.

And so it goes. All of the madness to which we have been exposed, causing us to to cry out against our duly-elected President, has probably been a proving grounds for the use of social media, like a test to see how wastewater permeates an unsaturated zone.

Meanwhile, some other people who know the score and see the futility, are reading Financial Times, The Economist or The Wall Street Journal, and are not spending too much breath on these things that obsess the lives of the hoi polloi.

The people who "live" on their smartphones and happily re-tweet endlessly unvetted "news" bits, have been played. They have proven to be someone's useful idiots, as they are pricked hither and thither, like hapless paramecium, whose thumbs cannot twitch fast enough (if paramecium had thumbs, that is.)

They were not even paid the $15 a Gallup Poll might have to pick their brains. By willingly surrendering their contacts and their wits, the angry re-Tweeters have proven quite useful to someone, as they dart under their Petri dish cover (i.e., smartphone screen).

Someone will use this enormous trove of free behavioral data you have provided. Count on it.

Cold comfort, but Big Brother loves you.

NEXT: Ranger on Vietnam

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Tuesday, September 12, 2017

A Bridge Too Near

Science does not have a moral dimension. 
It is like a knife. 
If you give it to a surgeon or a murderer,
each will use it differently
--Wernher von Braun

[Note: "Circle Jerk III: The Frontier" coming soon.]

For the last few months we have been bombarded with emotional drivel about removing the statues of Confederate States of America heroes. (This being but one example of the copious multitudes of emotional drivel on the media tap that RAW chose to look at.)

But the opening football game of the ACC college season in Atlanta, GA, brought the matter into its technicolor hypocrisy for Ranger. Specifically, it was the location.

Why, you ask?

The game was held in the Mercedes Benz Stadium. You may know that Mercedes Benz, along with BMW, Volkswagon and IG Farben all supported Hitler with his racist fantasies. They robustly enabled his international criminality and crimes against humanity, and specifically, his program to eradicate the Jewish people.

All major German corporations actively engaged in the genocide by using slave labor subjected to abysmal conditions and starvation diets, and worked unto death, times. But it doesn't seem to bother us as we sit fatted before the football game in the stadium funded by their ill-gotten monies.

No, in fact, we are untroubled by the re-location of these same German industries to the Southeast right-to-work states in order that they may hire workers at one-third the cost they would have to pay workers in Germany -- and the U.S. workers have no benefits, to boot. This outrage gets nary a peep, while we seem to have the attention and energy to attack memorials of our own Civil War, and a few pathetic slogan-carriers who look like Cousin It frozen in time from the The Munsters.

While we see fit to attack our pathetic marginalia holding anti-Jewish signs at a march to retain Civil War memorial statues, we do not bother to attack anti-Semitism in all of its guises. In fact, it is a convenient good when enlisted by liberals to support a plethora of entrenched anti-Semitic organizations.

This is called "hypocrisy".

Are we the people who supposedly won War World II? Are we now become their servants?

Since we seem so keen these days to get up in arms, why do we not bulldoze their factories, and leave our CSA heritage alone?

Ranger would rather see a Confederate statue than a monument to a foreign-owned factory with blood on its hands employing non-Union labor to avoid paying what they would pay their own -- shades of 1945. Our Southern population is the newly-exploited cohort in a time-honored behavior for these companies.

And while we are in the protest mode, why not dismantle all NASA memorials to U.S. space programs since all or our efforts sprang from the efforts of SS Maj. Wernher von Braun and his Nazi comrades? Their factories also enslaved and starved workers in the V1 and V2 rocket experiments, experiments later happily assimilated by U.S. efforts.

This should be more egregious to us than a Confederate statue.

It's amazing how quickly we forget. Is it from convenience, poor education or lack of attention spans, or a combination thereof?

We vote for Rebels over historical Nazi corporations any day of the week.

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Wednesday, September 06, 2017

Circle Jerk 2: Queensberry Rules

A freedom which is interested only in denying freedom
must be denied. And it is not true 
that the recognition of the freedom of others
limits my own freedom
--Simone de Beauvoir

So let's leave it alone 'cause we can't see eye to eye
There ain't no good guy, there ain't no bad guy
There's only you and me and we just disagree
--We Just Disagree
Dave Mason

It's funny how the colors of the real world
only seem really real when you viddy them
on the screen
--A Clockwork Orange (1971)

And if you want to be me, be me
And if you want to be you, be you
'Cause there's a million things to do
You know that there are
--If You Wanna Be Free, Be Free,
Cat Stevens

self-flagellation does not equal integration
--Lisa (doing her best Johnny Cochran)

{We refer readers to the comment thread our previous post, Circle Jerk I. It is a candid and considered dialectic of the evolution and position of thoughtful RAW (link) readers. 

Think of it as "My Dinner with Andre", with gravitas.}

You didn't know?

FirstOne may think as one wishes, and believe what one wishes. Those are the primary and foundational human freedoms, upon which all others are contingent. There is no second, for we are not going to the next step of potential action, as actions are circumscribed by the laws of civil society.

This obviates the need to discuss the Charlottesville marchers. It is a full-stop, Q.E.D. right there.

However, seeing as our media and society has fixated upon, ostensibly, the topic of civil rights lately  -- with relish -- we will look at them to figure out the answer to the question, "Why?" and, "Is their concern genuine and relevant apropos their topic?"

If we agree that one's thoughts and beliefs are one's own, why the move to persecute anyone for his beliefs? We have not yet Orwell's Thought Police to torment and imprison us (though DARPA is probably working on that app.)

Don't Give Me No Hand Me Down News

Following the recent Charlottesville march supporting the retention U.S. Confederate War General Lee's statue, the media has been giving overwhelming coverage to supposedly mandatory contervailing thoughts and behaviors to the those of the marchers (whether stated or inferred). These are presented as necessary correctives to be imposed upon the dissenters.

To watch the talking heads is to imagine that we are like Captain Renault in "Casablanca", shocked that people believe different things. But Renault knew the game.

Maybe we are actually more like Gomer Pyle, USMC, with his authentic gesture of  profound discombobulation. "Gol-ly!"

The topic might make a nice solid 3000-level Philosophy course on ethics and morals ("Why do people believe what they believe?"), but focusing on conflicting ideologies -- and preferencing one -- is not the stuff of national news. In fact, no university (aside from Berkeley, perhaps) would have the temerity to go to the next step and instruct upon how to eradicate or silence difference.

Surely any true liberal arts activist would cry to the high heavens if freedom of expression were curtailed. At least, that is how the United States used to be run.

Morality may be neither judiciously nor judicially mandated. It may at times be a curiosity and a perversion, but it is NOT actionable news. It deserves no front page ink.

So why is this even a thing?

In parts of the South, blacks celebrate their 1865 emancipation from slavery, the religious likening Mr. Lincoln's War to Moses's dictate to Pharoah ("Let my people go".) Of course, it is not exactly the same thing, but this part of the analogy to Christianity holds: Jesus doesn't make much sense without the cross.

Erase the Roman soldiers and the Crucifix and you just have a gentle guy spreading platitudes about love. So you can't have Jesus without the cross.

While General Lee was hardly anyone's crucifier, he is a representation of the Confederacy. Being as the CSA was an actual separate entity within our nation, then if for no other reason than historical accuracy, scrubbing statues and other testimony from our midst makes little sense. The statues have stood for the last 100 or so years, so why the move to rent them now?

Kipling's Jungle Book and Twain's Huckleberry Finn have both been bowdlerized to meet the politically correct policemen's standards. But in doing so, they have lost the very fire against racism which they had contained. They are happy little stories now, with nothing to rub you raw.

Throughout the South, including in many predominately black counties, statues of Confederate soldiers stand, facing North. it is a reminder of the horror of the Civil War which the young nation endured to become a Union.

So what are we really talking about when we talk about racism? Why were the people duking it out in the street in Charlottesville predominately white people? Can we reify the viewed phenomenon in order to see it as more than a salacious bloody news bite?

The Night They Drove Old Dixie Down

The marchers had a clear agenda and a permit to march, and they did so with the blessing of the ACLU. If we accept the media's presentation, they were mostly middle-aged white men who have been left behind in a technological society, and find value in identifying with the past.

They have either been adversely affected by the mandates of the Civil Rights era, or know someone who has been. The Equal Opportunity era was not about them, and racial quotas signified the end of white male dominance.

If they wish to march to preserve a commemorative statue, it is their right and they are permitted to do so. We moved through the Civil Rights and EOE era 50 years ago; the project was a judicial one, not one of neuro-engineering human thought and belief. In case you had not noticed, the human is not a perfectable organism; this is as good as it gets.

In any event, who is our Solomon, and who dictates what constitutes "right thought"? Who may choose and install our beliefs?

The Confederacy lost, and its sympathizers know that. Many have direct familial ties to that tragedy. For them, the history is living, and the desecration or removal of a monument is a felt offense.

They are like comedian Richard Pryor's black men who hold their crotches: Y'all took everything else ... we're just checking to make sure they're still there. The white marchers are checking.

Like a mute garden of stone, the continued existence of the thing will not affect history moving forward. In fact, the infinitely stronger argument is for the retention of the monuments as a reminder of the horrible sacrifices made all 'round.

The protesters are more difficult to understand. White and predominately young, they use the few and the worst placards of the marchers as their animating cause, signs expressing bigotry towards Jews and blacks. But Jews and blacks were not protesting, so what gives?

Who are these malcontents who gather to wale with such fury upon those with whom they ostensibly disagree? How are they mobilized to perform their violence? What fuels them, and what is their raison d'etre?

The protesters (not marchers) were crusin' for a brusin', fired up and ready to go. More agile and confrontational than the marchers, they looked like nothing so much as hipsters fancying themselves nuevo Che Gueveras. 

But they were not fighting the power. The protesters were goading the marchers into a reaction, and taunting is schoolyard bully behavior.

They were attacking a dissipated cohort. Those from barren former factory towns know the bounty once theirs will not return for them.

The protesters are reminiscent of the character Malcolm and his misfit cohort in Anthony Burgess's A Clockwork Orange. They probably hit the Milk Bar (Starbucks) after a performance, for how to fuel the next round of "ultra-violence"? (Maybe they just return to their group homes and take their medicine.)

The larger point is, they have achieved nothing by expulsing their anger upon a crowd of non-violent legal actors. In a charitable reading of what is their driving their hatred, perhaps the protesters are resentful that they may not retroactively join the Union forces.

But more likely, they are a bunch of prigs who are angry that they missed the counter-culture movement of the 1960's. Today, gays may marry, so we are really at the end of the line as far as finding civil rights causes to fight for.

Knockin' down statues and telling people they may not believe what they believe? Kind of embarrassing. Once they have performed their diffuse violence, the beliefs of the people they are protesting remain. Their action is rendered entirely impotent. Worse, they are guilty of intimidation and illegal assault.

Beliefs are inviolable. If anything, when the marchers confront such white hot fury they will be strengthened in their beliefs, for they have been transgressed upon, furthering their feelings of alienation and resentment.

Hypocritically, many of those same protesters exploiting the few anti-Jewish placards also support the BDS movement and would be glad if the Jewish homeland disappeared. These are the same people who would disallow Stanford Jewish student Rachel Beyda from sitting on a committee because she is Jewish.

But back to Religion 301

People believe different things, and in seeking meaning they often affiliate. Their associates and they often believe they are special in some way, perhaps chosen as favored by God. This is all good in Democratic Republics like the U.S. which have both freedom from coercion to believe and the concomitant freedom to believe anything. One's mind is terra incognita.

The Judeo-Christian doctrine brings many fine things to the table of civilization. But true Christians do believe that non-believers will go to hell upon death, while they will go to the Elysian Fields. Mormons and Urantians believe they will go to another planet upon expiration. If you are not a believer, you might find these things disagreeable.

The Dalai Lama makes it his business to love all, but dollars to doughnuts, there is someone out there who thinks he is the anti-Christ. Nonetheless, all may believe as they wish. One world is enough for all of us, as the song goes.

Freedom of speech, assembly, religion -- all very fine things, inviolable in even the smallest way, for the smallest abridgment would nullify the whole. Liberalism is not the State religion; we do not have one.

On the spectrum of black power and liberation, one might choose to affiliate with Marcus Garvey, Haille Selassie, Farrakhan's anti-Semitic Nation of Islam or the Black Lives Matter movement, Frantz Fanon, Malcom X or the peaceful Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., among others. No one's gonna cold-cock you for it.

Yet the media gleefully reported the first white marchers to lose their jobs due to doxxing (revelation of anonymous marcher's personal data): a Chick-fil-A worker and a roofer. What has been accomplished? Proof that you are more powerful than they?

Do you feel better that these people are now unemployed? I do not.

I do not feel good knowing that there are vengeful bands of brigands in my midst, people hailed by many for inciting violence. Who is next on their list?

It was bully behavior and nothing to apotheosize in a functional democracy. Yet in a non-sequitur, the media rushed to feature black commentators on the spectacle, despite the fact that they were not a part of it.

The PBS NewsHour featured the usually reasonable Leonard Pitts and Carol Anderson , a black female academic from Emory, who said, either disingenuously or without understanding, that America needs to have a place for all Americans.

All, apparently, except the marchers.

Ironically, Public television had just concluded a six-part series on the American Civil War. Historian Shelby Foote gave informed testimony to the tragic regional devotion of Confederate General Lee, a man who had written passionately about the plight of slavery and the damage which the peculiar institution wrought on both Whites and blacks. He, like Jefferson before him, saw the permanent mark which would be left upon the nation.

None of the featured historians suggested Lee was a monster whose image should be struck from our collective memory. In fact, Lee's example is of nothing so much as the tragedy borne by capable military men who must perform their terrible duties, leaving unspeakable wretchedness in their wake.

The news cycle hasn't the time for such nuance, does it, when it is ultra-violence that keeps 'em tuning in.

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