Rad’s video

I just got around to watching Cristina Rad’s rebuttal of Jaclyn Glenn — it’s often difficult to find a spot of time and a quiet place to watch videos when I’m flitting about. It’s very good.

It pins down a lot of my difficulties with the “He’s Crazy!” brigade. It’s just not an explanation. It’s about as useful as declaring that he’s possessed by a demon. It’s also as universally applicable: was Adolf Hitler insane? How about George W. Bush? Nelson Mandela? Richard Dawkins? If you’re just going to say that mental illness is believing strongly in something that other people find repugnant, then they’re all bug-buggering nuts, and ought to be locked up.

Or if you’re going to try and narrow it down to just those who rationalize doing physical harm to others (you’d have to be crazy to murder people, you know!) then please, do send the men in white coats to pick up Obama. And all the legislators who passed ‘stand your ground’ laws, and support the death penalty. And the entire roster of the Texas Open Carry organization. And at last, we’ll be able to lock up Sheriff Joe Arpaio. It might also mean you get locked up, but I’m willing to pay that price.

I think part of the problem is an excessively reductionist attitude that leads to a kind of identity essentialism. You are who you are because that is your nature (an entirely circular argument), and that nature is determined, so that if you differ from my nature, it can’t be because you are misinformed, confused, miseducated, or warped by your circumstances — it must be because your nature is broken and defective. And sadly, there’s nothing to be done about that other than to label you as someone outside the healthy circle of humanity and ostracize you.

That’s also visible in the recommendations some people make to deal with these problems. Bullies, rapists, misogynists are treated as an external force of nature, rather than as part of our communities already — they only possible response is for us sane ones to change our behavior to defend against them. We can’t possibly recognize the bullies’ existence as part of us, because that would change our essential view of our society as a good one. So we set them apart, insist that it is neither our responsibility nor within our power to change their beliefs, and we let ourselves suffer to maintain the fiction. The demons will occasionally possess one of us, making them an Other, and thereby justify isolating them.

Gosh, I hope the word doesn’t get out that you have to be insane to not go to church. Or has it already?

There’s a simple solution to every problem

And it’s usually wrong and makes everything worse. I see that the Baltimore police have a response to a panicky pet. No excuses for the dog; it was lost and apparently a bit frantic, and tried to bite someone.

Nala’s owner, Sarah Gossard, said that her dog “had a collar around its neck with tags, with my phone number. She was just the sweetest dog and would never hurt anyone. She was just scared that day, and through all of those events — being scared and lost, thirsty, hungry — yes I’m very sure that she bit someone, but the actions after that were not OK.”

So what should the police have done? Caught the dog to prevent further harm, sure; maybe even fine the owner for negligence. I can imagine lots of ways to appropriately deal with this real problem. Officer Jeffrey Bolger came up with an innovative solution.

After the dog, named “Nala,” was secured with a dog pole, Officer Jeffrey Bolger approached the dog and slit its throat. According to the charging documents, before cutting Nala’s throat, Bolger yelled, “I am going to fucking gut this thing!”

Oh. So we’re out of the realm of ‘appropriate’, and into the realm of ‘extreme lashing out’. In that case, the proper Bolger response to Bolger ought to be simply putting Officer Jeffrey Bolger down…quickly and humanely, of course, because we aren’t barbarians.

But I guess if we’re going to abide by the law, maybe instead Bolger should be arrested (he was) and fired (not clear if he will be).

I’m just curious why a policer officer was out serving and protecting while carrying a knife suitable for throat-slitting. Is that standard issue in Baltimore?

Your daily school shooting

Today, it’s at Reynolds High School in Oregon.

We are waiting on news of the shooter’s race to determine the cause behind this one. If he’s brown, this will be an act of terrorism; if he’s white, he’s mentally ill or has been playing too many video games; if he’s black, it’ll be that violent rap music. I can just tell the media are all distressed because they don’t know what narrative to follow yet.

At least one bit of certainty that they’ll be able to rely on is that for sure it has nothing to do with guns.

So…when is George Will going to retire?

There ought to be a pasturage somewhere for out-of-touch old white men. His latest nonsense, in which he tells women to shut up about rape, will raise a few eyebrows.

They are learning that when they say campus victimizations are ubiquitous ("micro-aggressions," often not discernible to the untutored eye, are everywhere), and that when they make victimhood a coveted status that confers privileges, victims proliferate.

What exactly are these privileges one obtains when one is a victim of sexual assault? Name one. Show me one woman who covets being raped.

Will isn’t even aware of his inconsistency. He tries to do simple math and fails to recognize his failure.

The administration’s crucial and contradictory statistics are validated the usual way, by official repetition; Joe Biden has been heard from. The statistics are: One in five women is sexually assaulted while in college, and only 12% of assaults are reported. Simple arithmetic demonstrates that if the 12% reporting rate is correct, the 20% assault rate is preposterous.

Or that the 12% reporting rate is incorrect. The 20% number has been confirmed by the CDC, including both assault and attempted assault (an attempt can be traumatic, so there are no good grounds to exclude that), so it is likely very sound; the 12% reporting rate is an inferred estimate, because there is no directly measured number of unreported assaults — if there were, they’d be reported. So what should be understood from the “simple arithmetic” is that the frequency of reports is far lower than 12%.

But think about what Will is saying: being assaulted is supposed to be a “coveted status” that “confers privileges” on college campuses, but somehow, even with his inflated number, the vast majority of incidents are being kept secret by the victims. Why? Don’t they want their prize from the box of Cracker Jacks?

I’ll also note that Will complains that sexual assault includes nonconsensual touching as well as forcible penetration. I don’t get this attitude. Why does he want to narrow the definition of assault so much? Does he think it would be bad if someone walked up to him and shoved a dildo up his ass, but it’s OK if they instead slide their hand down his pants and gently cup his balls? There are a heck of a lot of things one could do to George Will short of literally raping him, and I think he’d agree (as would I) that a great many of them would represent criminal violations.

Perhaps he simply thinks all women ought to be accessible to a little involuntary fondling.

“Defend” does not mean “kill”

We had another terrible person armed with a gun swagger into a peaceable place here in the Pacific Northwest, and he callously killed one person and wounded three others at Seattle Pacific University before he was stopped. The student who stopped him used a can of mace to do so. That was brilliant: why don’t we endorse the use of non-lethal weaponry by our citizens? There’s no need for guns. The whole NRA/gun-fondler argument for the necessity of self-defense is taken care of by weapons that don’t kill people.

The perfect guy, the supreme gentleman

Seven people were murdered and another seven wounded in a drive-by in Santa Barbara by a deeply disturbed MRA/PUA. He considered himself a frustrated Alpha Male who was owed sex by women, and when he couldn’t get it, he decided to punish random women. Dave Futrelle has a complete transcript of his manifesto, along with the video he made (the video may disappear; youtube has been busy deleting copies).

Hi, Elliot Rodger here.

Well… this is my last video. It all has to come to this.

Tomorrow is the day of retribution. The day in which I will have my revenge against humanity. Against all of you.

For the last 8 years of my life, ever since I’ve hit puberty, I’ve been forced to endure an existence of loneliness, rejection, and unfulfilled desires. All because girls have never been attracted to me.

Girls gave their affection, and sex, and love, to other men but never to me.

I’m 22 years old and I’m still a virgin. I’ve never even kissed a girl.

I’ve been through college for two and a half years, more than that actually, and I’m still a virgin.

It has been very torturous.

College is the time when everyone experiences those things such as sex, and fun, and pleasure. But in those years I’ve had to rot in loneliness.

It’s not fair. You girls have never been attracted to me.

I don’t know why you girls aren’t attracted to me, but I will punish you all for it.

It’s an injustice, a crime, because I don’t know what you don’t see in me. I’m the perfect guy, and yet you throw yourselves at all these obnoxious men, instead of me, the supreme gentlemen.

I will punish all of you for it. (laughs)

On the day of retribution I am going to enter the hottest sorority house of UCSB… and I will slaughter every single spoiled, stuck-up, blonde slut I see inside there.

All those girls that I’ve desired so much, they would’ve all rejected me and looked down upon me as an inferior man if I ever made a sexual advance towards them while they throw themselves at these obnoxious brutes.

I will take great pleasure in slaughtering all of you.

You will finally see that I am in truth the superior one. The true alpha male. (laughs)

Yes, after I’ve annihilated every single girl in the sorority house, I’ll take to the streets of Isla Vista, and slay every single person I see there.

All those popular kids who live such lives of hedonistic pleasure while I’ve had to rot in loneliness for all these years, they’ve all looked down upon me every time I try to go out and join them. They’ve all treated me like a mouse.

Well now, I will be a God compared to you. You will all be animals. You are animals, and I will slaughter you like animals. I will be a God, exacting my retribution, on all those who deserve it.

And you do deserve it, just for the crime of living a better life than me.

All you popular kids. You’ve never accepted me, and now you’ll all pay for it.

And girls, all I’ve ever wanted was to love you, and to be loved by you. I’ve wanted a girlfriend, I’ve wanted sex, I’ve wanted love, affection, adoration, but you think I’m unworthy of it.

That’s a crime that can never be forgiven.

If I can’t have you, girls, I will destroy you. (laughs)

You denied me a happy life, and in turn, I will deny all of you life. (laughs) It’s only fair.

I hate all of you, humanity is a disgusting, wretched, depraved species. If I had it in my power, I would stop at nothing, to reduce every single one of you to mountains of skulls and rivers of blood, and rightfully so.

You deserve to be annihilated. And I’ll give that to you.

You never showed me any mercy, and so I will show you none. (laughs)

You force me to suffer all my life, and now I’ll make you all suffer.

I’ve waited a long time for this.

I’ll give you exactly what you deserve.

You know, I think I kind of understand why women wanted nothing to do with this guy.

It doesn’t help that this severely mentally disturbed individual was feeding on a steady diet of the misogyny pouring out of various so-called “men’s rights” channels and websites.

Some of the worst people in America

Gun fondlers are contemptible. Smug sexist men are despicable. But the intersection of gun fanatics and misogynists is the worst.

Ever since the Sandy Hook massacre, a small but vocal faction of the gun rights movement has been targeting women who speak up on the issue—whether to propose tighter regulations, educate about the dangers to children, or simply to sell guns with innovative security features. The vicious and often sexually degrading attacks have evolved far beyond online trolling, culminating in severe bullying, harassment, invasion of privacy, and physical aggression. Though vitriol flows from both sides in the gun debate, these menacing tactics have begun to alarm even some entrenched pro-gun conservatives.

The article in Mother Jones is a depressing litany of all that is awful about our second amendment lunatics. Just one example: Jennifer Longdon is an advocate for responsible gun ownership — she wants more background checks, registration, and gun safety. She’s also a victim of gun violence herself, paralyzed in an attack. This is how the gun fondlers react to such people:

After a fundraiser one night during the program [a gun buy-back program], Longdon returned home around 10 p.m., parked her ramp-equipped van and began unloading herself. As she wheeled up to her house, a man stepped out of the shadows. He was dressed in black and had a rifle, "like something out of a commando movie," Longdon told me. He took aim at her and pulled the trigger. Longdon was hit with a stream of water. "Don’t you wish you had a gun now, bitch?" he scoffed before taking off.

"It was like a mock execution," Longdon says, recalling the intense surge of adrenaline and how the incident triggered her PTSD from the 2004 attack that nearly killed her and her fiancé. She called the police, but they were unable to track down the perpetrator. By the following Saturday, Longdon was back at her post helping run the buyback.

Jebus. Those people are sick and fucked-up.

Charles Pierce is a bit angry

And he should be. So am I. The state of Oklahoma tortured a man to death, in the name of justice. Clayton Lockett was a bad man who committed a deeply evil act: he shot a young woman who caught him in a robbery and then buried her alive. I have no sympathy for the guy at all. But the state of Oklahoma convicted him and then sentenced him to death by lethal injection…and botched it. It took him half an hour to die, choking and seizing.

Isn’t torturing someone to death what Lockett was convicted of?

This is the problem: the death penalty ends up turning all of us into murderers, and I’d rather not promote the same brutality that Clayton Lockett committed. It dehumanizes us. All you have to do is look at the first five comments on the news story in the Miami Herald.

Why over complicate it, use a long drop gallows, or a bullet to the head.

Who cares how he died! Maybe he should of thought of this before he beat a women to death in her own home while he was trying to break and enter

how sad gee I wonder if he had the same feeling about his victim, before he killed piece of sht
if it where me I would had made it long and slow

Did the victim die humanely?

did u hear what this scum bag did to his victim he isn’t human anyway got just what he deserved

We’re just fostering barbarism when we don’t reject these kinds of sentiments…and it makes it hard to reject them when states support them.

Also, another thing that strikes me about these many stories of botched executions, is why is this so difficult? We have countries and a few states with legal euthanasia, practically every veterinarian has put pets to sleep without this ghastly botch, and I’ve personally euthanized many large lab animals — killing gently is easy. There are many drugs that are dangerous because they can kill you quietly, painlessly, almost without you noticing; people buy them, often illegally, for the pleasant effects at low doses.

So why does our bloated, over-funded penal system have such difficulties with this whole process? It’s almost as if the commenters up above are running the whole show, and are maliciously screwing up the procedure to cause maximum agony.

The murderers of Stormfront

The SPLC has done an analysis of Stormfront’s contribution to murder. It’s a bit unsettling: it has story after story of proud racists posting unashamedly on Stormfront, and then going off to gun someone down. And so many of them fit this profile!

A typical murderer drawn to the racist forum Stormfront.org is a frustrated, unemployed, white adult male living with his mother or an estranged spouse or girlfriend. She is the sole provider in the household. Forensic psychologists call him a “wound collector.” Instead of building his resume, seeking employment or further education, he projects his grievances on society and searches the Internet for an excuse or an explanation unrelated to his behavior or the choices he has made in life.

His escalation follows a predictable trajectory. From right-wing antigovernment websites and conspiracy hatcheries, he migrates to militant hate sites that blame society’s ills on ethnicity and shifting demographics. He soon learns his race is endangered — a target of “white genocide.” After reading and lurking for a while, he needs to talk to someone about it, signing up as a registered user on a racist forum where he commiserates in an echo chamber of angry fellow failures where Jews, gays, minorities and multiculturalism are blamed for everything.

Assured of the supremacy of his race and frustrated by the inferiority of his achievements, he binges online for hours every day, self-medicating, slowly sipping a cocktail of rage. He gradually gains acceptance in this online birthing den of self-described “lone wolves,” but he gets no relief, no practical remedies, no suggestions to improve his circumstances. He just gets angrier. 

And then he gets a gun.

Also chilling: Anders Breivik was a fan. Such a fan that he took care to protect Stormfront by lying about his involvement.

Hours before he began his terror campaign, Breivik E-mailed a copy of his racist manifesto to two other influential Stormfront members, Billy Joe Roper (see related story, p. XX) and Timothy Gallaher Murdock, who runs the racist WhiteRabbitRadio.net. In his manifesto, Breivik claimed he was banned from Stormfront, though a search shows no suspension. Breivik later admitted he was not removed as a registered member.

“I was never kicked out of Stormfront,” he said last September. “Instead, I attacked them in the compendium in order to protect them … [as] an army of leftist journalists otherwise would strike hard.”

Read it and learn how horrible human beings can be…and how participation in Stormfront can be a useful marker for evil.

That doesn’t fit my definition of ‘decent’

A few years ago, a Canadian teenager, Amanda Todd, killed herself after being harassed and extorted online. A man used flattery to get her to flash her breasts…and then used the photo he took to demand more, backed up by incessant threats online, revealing the photo to Todd’s friends, and promising to make her life hell forever. In at least one bit of justice, though, the Dutch police have now tracked down and charged the 35 year old man who preyed on teenagers worldwide through the internet. Do watch the video; the anger rush you’ll feel when you hear the jerk’s lawyer say that his client is “a decent man and a nice man” will make it worth it.

I pointed out back then that some members of the atheist community have a vile lack of empathy. I will mention it again. Miri rages against the online idiots who insist that internet activity can’t really do psychological harm — they diagnose freely over the internet, and claim that you can’t possibly develop stress disorders from the bullying tactics of the usual slymey suspects — Miri tears that argument up with basic scientific facts from the field of psychology (remember the days when skeptics at least paid lip service to science?)

I’m just going to point to Amanda Todd. Her death wasn’t virtual.

I’m also baffled by the reasoning: if it’s not ‘real’, if the only activities that can have a direct effect on someone’s sense of well-being are face-to-face, a punch in the nose, a bomb going off…then what the hell are you doing harassing people on the internet in the first place? Smart people who find themselves doing things over and over that they sincerely believe don’t work will stop doing them. I am compelled to believe that either they’re very stupid, or they are lying when they claim that their activities can’t possibly have an effect. Or both.