RANGER AGAINST WAR: Eight Million Ways to Die <

Tuesday, May 08, 2018

Eight Million Ways to Die

The neighbor ... shot at the dog from an upstairs window
 with a bow and arrow. 
The dog’s owner ran back into his house 
and came out with a Walther P-38,
a World War II souvenir.
The neighbor also ran outside with his bow and arrow,
and the dog’s owner shot him dead 
--Eight Million Ways to Die, 
Lawrence Block 

In modern war ...
you will die like a dog for no good reason
--Ernest Hemingway

He who has a why 
can bear any how
--Victor Frankl

Recently, we participated in a local initiative of our mayor's office, a community dinner called "The Longest Table". It actually takes place around a lot of 6-10 person tables at venues throughout the city. The purpose is to allow community members to voice their opinions on various topical matters, and to enjoy a civil evening of hopefully provocative sharing.

Last year was our first in attendance, and each table had its own monitor to facilitate discussion and note commonalities and differences. Sadly, this year's event was more of an ad hoc affair, and lacked that direction. (Perhaps because our Mayor Gilllum's office is currently involved with an FBI investigation.)

As a result, it was interesting to see how opinionated and righteous people can be, sans helpful direction. However, most people are not professional mediators, thus can be forgiven their indiscretions.

Moreover, in today's wired world, it is a small blessing when people actually unwire from their 24/7 media feeds in order to communicate face to face. That said, the comedown in empathy was palpable at the event. Mostly, participants opted out of dialog on anything of any import, probably because they know how quickly fever-pitch would be attained.

At our table, discussion was opened by a self-proclaimed former service member who began the usual rant regarding the badness of our current president. No one took the bait, to their credit.

But Ranger did engage with the man's second concern regarding societal violence; particularly, youth crime.

Ranger observed that extreme and life-like violence was a part of many young people's lives on video and computer, and that when young minds are bathed in this toxic brew there must be some causal relation between time spent and exposure to this extreme violent depictions, and possible anxious, anti-social or violent behavior in the consumer.

A young woman, a recent college graduate, insisted there was no research to prove such a linkage. Since we had no data before us, further speculation on the topic was D.O.A.

But let us consider the matter further here. Has the opposite been proven?

Is there research showing that prolonged exposure to violent media produces sound mental health and a sense of equanimity? Perhaps, it facilitates calm and reasoned thinking?

Shy of that, is there any proof that there is no effect from repeated and early exposure to such violent images and sounds? Have we even lived this "lifestyle" long enough to have a meaningful longitudinal study?

Everyone's favorite traveling protest show --the Parkland (FL) student marchers -- are  weekly  calling for a ban on and confiscation of all semi-automatic rifles. This would mean that 100-year-old rifles would be confiscated to quell the emotional demands of the teeny-boppers and their elder fellow travelers.

Okay. So we ban semi-auto rifles. What then about semi-pistols? Does this ban extend to our police? Or do they remain as armed and dangerous as a U.S. Army rifle platoon?

Let us not be goose-steppers here at Ranger, and take our collective heads out of the ground of public boilerplate.  

To wit: Toronto and London, both sites of recent terrorist killings, have draconian gun control laws. Yet the criminally crazy may still murder and maim en masse.

Just rent a van and mow them down. No aiming, no choosing a good site position. Sure, it lacks finesse and is as brute as murder can be.

But dead is still dead, whether via a slug from an elegant Walther PPK or under the tires of a moving van, dead like a dog in the street.

Outlawing any class of individually owned firearms will not stop the killing. While Ranger is not an NRA member, he acknowledges the correctness of their position that Americans are not crazed killers, and the U.S. citizenry is not the enemy.

When one is intent on committing an act of mass violence, the means for doing so are manifold. Remember that the last 16 years of war began with the commandeering of another means of of conveyance, the airplane, to kill thousands of people. There was no move to ban planes.

Banning semi auto or black rifle clones will not eliminate the problem. There is no simple solution to these episodes of violent crime.

We have a puritanical history, so banning things that can be abused always seems like a good idea. (Though it is odd that Democrats like this approach, as it has such a patriarchal, Big Brother overtone.)

But the holes in this argument to ban-as-solution are so big you can drive a truck through them.
Our own Temperance movement and the subsequent 18th Amendment (and it's subsequent repeal with the 21st) is a good example. If you want it and cannot buy it legally, you will get it another way.

In addition to alcoholism, obesity in the U.S. is a huge problem today. Big Pharma must love the profits, but the medical system is weighted down caring for the manifold illnesses consequent to a life spent in a state of Type II obesity-triggered diabetes.

So how do we change this poor behavioral pattern of overeating bad food choices?

Do we ban sugar? If we did, there are substitutes in defilade which still trigger the insulin response, and which would probably produce even worse bodily results.

Remember the Good Thing that liberals espouse, namely, that we are one world and irrevocably interconnected? If isolationism is not a good, and not even possible, then how can a ban on transnationally available goods work?

And yet, for a determined person, banning things within our borders begs only the simple question: how then do we get it here? Whether it is a moonshiner or an importer, someone will gladly oblige, if the price is right.

How does a waiting period to take possession of a legally-purchased firearm a measure that improves our security posture?

A resourceful mind can weaponize many objects. With any will, there is a way. Therefore, limiting access to discrete objects are not where the solution is to be found.

Guns, knives, planes, trains and automobiles are not the problem we are addressing when considering the problem of mass killings.

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

No one needs a fully automatic transmission to get from point A to point B. Nor do they need a high capacity vehicle (e.g. a Rider truck). Those are two vehicle attributes used by the military in their assault vehicles of war.

Nor do civilians need hand held bayonets or fighting knives (aka cutlery found in too many kitchens). Those are also weapons of war that are slaughtering people on the streets of England every day.

What of the "napalm" I have in my garage. It could be fuel for my lawn mower.....or it could be incendiary assault bomb material. Images of Dresden to be shown...or that infamous pic of the Vietnamese girl with her clothes burned off and smoldering, agonized look on her face. Do you ant that to be your daughter?!!!?

The deer carcass on the side of the road - eye sore or mobile bioweapons lab?!!? Deer carcasses are a source of anthrax don't you know.

Finally, no civilian need chemical weapons (i.e. the acid that is being used to attack people in the UK and Europe...or wasp spray...or Draino).

This is fun...attach words like "assault", "weapon", "war", "automatic" to just about anything and it becomes a scary excuse for politicians to exert more control over their dupes (i.e. you and me).

Throw the scoundrels out, says I.


Wednesday, May 9, 2018 at 11:47:00 AM GMT-5  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Meanwhile another sanctimonious lefty liberal bites the dust. I refer to New York's AG. (I would have added, "of course", except that so many lefty liberal hypocrites are biting the dust these days that one can't be sure as to which one is being referred to). Not only for beating and otherwise abusing women, threatening them with the power of The State should they complain, but...and this is my fav part...he beat her until she conceded to calling him "Master" and accepted by called, by him, as "Brown Slave". oh ha ha ha oh ho ho. Liberals, please stop already. My sides are aching. You guys are killing me here. And this guy promoted himself as a champion of women and minorities. God...liberalism is such a sham.

Of course this uber-liberal AG was also a huge champion of gun control. Trust him, he'll keep us all safe.

The bigger the liberal, the bigger the hypocrite control freak.


Wednesday, May 9, 2018 at 11:57:00 AM GMT-5  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Apologies All. That last was a bit over the top, even by my standards.

I know there are good well meaning people that are liberals. The problem is, these days, that any huckster can tell them that they are team members in the hate Trump/onward progress! movement and the huckster gets elected and worshipped. It's a mob frenzy. The good well intentioned people end up like lemmings at the cliff's edge.

IMO, progress would be people minding their own business, the Constitution, human nature and striving for at least a modicum of rationality.


Wednesday, May 9, 2018 at 3:19:00 PM GMT-5  
Anonymous David said...

Speaking as the resident of one of those heavily regulated despotisms I would point out a couple things.

The violence in our societies is small scale and large scale. The general level of gun violence in Canada is an order of magnitude lower than in the U.S. It's hard not to argue this is unrelated to the heavier regulations of guns.

That said, it's also related to the history. Canada regulated guns easily because it never had that many guns to begin with. I don't know if the U.S. could just, say, issue new gun regulations and expect to achieve the same results. I mean, Canada can't even convince people not to smoke pot. The only people who will give up their guns in the face of a new regulation would be the ones who weren't going to use them with murderous intent anyway.

Wednesday, May 9, 2018 at 5:24:00 PM GMT-5  
Anonymous jim hruska said...

both parties are to blame for the goat screw that we call a country.
we eschew adult leadership.
in fact the concept of leadership is completely destroyed in our leadership/mandarin class.
the dems are foolish enuf to actually believe that they must move more to the left, and the repubs are doing the same to the right. what we need is a center party that will reflect the needs and politics to shore up the center.
my concern is the way that we now are ruled by Executive orders that clearly by pass the intent of our constitution. this is not a criticism of Trump(altho he is guilty of such)
an example is the iran deal that just went south. HBO by passed congress and did it illegally, imo,and Trump followed suit in flushing it.
neither acted legally. Are we now an executive order society?
the next point is - why are we screwing with Iran?
how is this America first?
if we are trying to slicky boy NK, then why do we flush Iran when both are similar.?
if we are dealing with NK, we should do the same with Iran.
why do we think that 1 is reliable and the other not?

i find the US position to be absolutely absurd. we are the only nation to pop megaton bombs, and we have enuf stockpiled to destroy society, and yet we criticize countries who quite legitimately view them as being defensively required to repel invasion.
that was the lesson of Saddam/khadafy/ that we reinforce daily with our childish bellicose rhetoric.
in closing its my analysis that the present administration wants a war with Iran. simply put we always support our wartime presidents, and that would be a great wag the dog move for a phony america first regime.
jim hruska

Thursday, May 10, 2018 at 11:26:00 AM GMT-5  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I agree 100%. Our leaders on both sides of the aisle are not leaders. They are more akin to carnival barkers and river boat gamblers.

Yes. Where are the representatives of the center?

Domestically, I think Trump is a center candidate. In fact, he ran on a platform that was developed by Bill Clinton, re; social issues and Bush senior re; economic issues. Bill Clinton and, in fact, many dems who are now radical kookoos, used to make strong words against illegal immigrants, welfare suckers, etc.

Rand Paul is another. I'd even vote Dem if Tulsi Gabbard ran for POTUS (assuming her Rep opponent was a loser...so after 2020).

I refuse to consider anyone that thinks I should be punished for being white anything other than an enemy. So that rules out 99% of Dems.

As we have discussed before - many times - our policy in the MENA and the larger Muslim world is idiotic. Let them all kill each other for all I care. However, the amount of money that comes to afore mentioned barkers and gamblers from certain MENA factions means that us peons gonna have to fight and die to keep the money flowing into the elites. Elites = both Reps and Dems.

They want to go spastic believing Trump colluded with Russia? Well hot damn! What about colluding with the Saudi sponsors of 9/11? 'Cause that's what we've been doing - all the while spying on Americans to make sure no one rocks the money boat.

I'll keep my guns, thank you. I can still shoot minute of elitist at a few hundred yards.


Thursday, May 10, 2018 at 1:40:00 PM GMT-5  
Anonymous Dave said...

I must say, one of the surprising things to emerge in the past year is how, well, globalist and fellow traveler-ish the Trumpists turn out to be. So the president's campaign was colluding with foreign powers to sway the election? No biggie! We're all friends! Who cares about sovereignty?

If American foreign policy in the Middle East is so idiotic, then you have to ask yourself, why is your supposedly centrist president unable or unwilling to see what you do?

I often wonder what, if it happened, might persuade people that putting their trust in elites not to behave like elites might be a bad electoral strategy.

Oh look, the president is saying on Twitter that 91% of the press should have its press "credentials" revoked as punishment for being insufficiently positive in its coverage of his administration. Yeah, that sounds like a free and stable democracy to mee

Thursday, May 10, 2018 at 7:33:00 PM GMT-5  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Like the media, you are being way to literal in interpreting what Trump says. He's all about the subtext; and you're missing it.

Which brings us back to weapons and bans. The pen is mighty than the sword and the first casualty of war is the Truth. Information ops is a weapon of war.

Therefore, to create a safe society, we need to regulate speech. Civilians cannot be trusted with weapons of war after all, right?

Now, is the media weapons qualified?


Friday, May 11, 2018 at 8:43:00 AM GMT-5  
Anonymous David said...

Ah, of course. The great leader speaks in a special code that only the chosen elect among his loyal followers can properly understand.

Friday, May 11, 2018 at 11:59:00 AM GMT-5  
Anonymous jim hruska said...

it's valid to say that the far right has buzz words that excite the entire hive.

Saturday, May 12, 2018 at 8:43:00 AM GMT-5  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

As does the Left.

When CNN tells the story of a man being removed from a Waffle House, they like to emphasize the descriptors "African American" man. They all then just know that the removal was due to Racism. Outrage dials up to 11 before the facts are known (if they are ever). When Trump wants a travel ban on people from certain countries that have terrorism problems and are too failed to be able to provide a good background profile, the Left has no problem reading Racism into Trump's motives. So on and so forth.

Both sides seem to relish interpreting the subtext of the other all the time. It's like a daily Rorschach ink blot reading.


Sunday, May 13, 2018 at 9:49:00 AM GMT-5  
Blogger Lisa said...

Yes, avedis. What you are calling a daily Rorschach cannot be denied. There is no purity in language, not even the barest attempt.

This is Chomsky's linguistic performance. Semiotics, and its agenda.

jim: would you agree that all of the Left also performs to "excite the entire hive"?

Isn't that where the fun and money comes from?

Monday, May 14, 2018 at 11:02:00 AM GMT-5  
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