Crossing the Rubicon

The riots have, in this blogger’s opinion, crossed a Rubicon into what might escalate into something resembling a Civil War. Yes, people say “the war is coming” with relative frequency in Right-wing circles, and up until now, said war has not come.

But look at this video and tell me that things have not changed:

https://twitter.com/_S70DD/status/1298602154438074370

For reference – because the video is muddled a bit – I will narrate what happened as best I can tell from the various videos and pictures I’ve seen. The guy on the ground with the rifle was assaulted by a guy with a skateboard, and another man with a handgun (see picture of his mangled arm and handgun here). Rifle-guy shot both. Skateboard-guy died of a chest wound, and handgun-guy had a fair chunk of his arm blown off, and ran to the police for protection. The irony of that last point should be lost on exactly no one.

A gun battle in the streets followed. Watch the whole video.

Elsewhere, another gun battle occurred at a used car dealership, in which one person was shot in the head and killed: see video here. One gun battle in the streets we might write off. Two? It’s getting a lot more difficult.

Roving gun battles in the streets between political factions is an escalation we have not seen since at least the 60s, and even then, there is, IMHO, a palpable difference. The rioters, while having some centralized targets like police stations and courthouses (which have been the targets of a ‘siege’ of sorts in Portland), are also engaging completely random targets like used car dealerships, which have nothing to do with any political motivation, save that they are there. Back in the 60s – at least from what I know of it – you had more of a counter-culture vs Establishment mindset. And while there is some of that here, there’s also a lot of essentially random looting, violence, arson, and otherwise that has no real justification – and it’s everywhere. We had it in my hometown. Any sizable city in America has probably experienced at least some of it.

We have random diners accosted in various locales, told to join the rioters in a fist salute to Black Lives Matter, or be surrounded by an angry, threatening, screaming mob. Black Lives Matter protesters roam through suburban neighborhoods demanding that homeowners give up their homes and property to the mob. Remind me just who are the fascists here?

It seems to me that we might have crossed the Rubicon, and Civil War, or something akin to it may be inevitable at this point. If true, I don’t imagine the conflict would be anything like the first war between the states – the geographic and demographic issues are more urban vs. rural than they are North vs. South. Let’s posit for a moment that Trump wins reelection. Does anybody think the violence will lessen if that eventuality happens?

What is Biden wins? I wonder if we might see an escalation there, too – some kind of emboldened strategy for revenge on the Trumpites. But of the two options, Biden probably represents less violence in the very near term – with potential for things to get more ugly should the Democrats attempt some kind of political crackdown on the Right (a possibility I think is very likely).

In any event, one blog I follow has a running “minutes to midnight” style summary of where we are on the Civil War clock. And we’re in stage 9… out of 10. With 10 being open warfare. At least according to his barometer, anyway. I don’t think he’s wrong, and if anything things have gotten worse since he wrote the last post.

Did we cross the Rubicon over the last few days? Only history will tell us for certain. But me? I think it’s very likely that we just did.

Keep your ammo dry.

Police Overreach, Rioting, and a Noxious Rhetorical Climate

Unless you’ve been living under a very impressive rock – like a bad Brendan Fraser movie about people stuck in a bunker for decades – you know about this George Lloyd business. I’ve seen the video. If you haven’t, you should do so. It is pretty incriminating for the officers involved. I’ve never been much of a thin blue line kind of guy, but I definitely check out here. I know two very good friends who have been screwed over by exceptionally bad police overreach. Francis, over at Bastion of Liberty, surely knows one of them – he is a friend we have in common.

Police petty tyranny has been growing worse in recent years, and we add to that a certain tendency of some urban police departments to engage in soldier-LARPing behavior, well the problem only gets worse. Add to that the condition of various inner-city black communities, the current political climate of race-baiting social justice activism, and the fact that COVID-19 lockdowns have surely driven people mad with boredom and lack of social contact, and you have a perfect storm for this rioting behavior.

It’s hard to blame it on any one thing, save that the poor behavior of the officers in question surely struck a match and stuck it firmly in a powder keg of epic proportions. Personally, I am exhausted of this repeating cycle, which has been a thing since at least the early 90s and the Rodney King riots. Questionable police behavior (sometimes not really so bad, and other times absolutely inexcusably idiotic) leads to racial animus, which results in barbaric looting behavior. We’re all spiraling toward a singularity of stupid, the gravity pulling us deep into a descending orbit, too strong for any of us to escape.

Political rhetoric has become absolutely poisonous. Sure, it was bad in 2016, but this year it grows worse, and I grow weary of it. Every discussion even coming anywhere near a political point is liable to turn into a land mine. Friendships are breaking. Families are cracking. America is burning and creaking at the seams. I don’t know how much longer this dysfunctional system is going to continue to limp along. We may be witnessing its slow death. Or maybe we’ll bounce back again, and our country will be undone at some unspecified point in the future. It’s hard to say.

With the election approaching, I think it’s only going to get worse.

Sadly, I think underneath all the nuclear-level rhetoric, the unleashed ids, the emotional appeals and post-hoc rationalization, both sides of the American political spectrum are clutching a piece of the truth. I’m not sure how many people want to hear that, but I’ve become convinced that it is true. I posted the following summary on Twitter earlier:

  1. In general, policing has gone very bad in many ways.
  2. Black communities in most major cities suck.
  3. At least some of the suck is self-inflicted.
  4. I despair of any of that changing in the near future.
  5. We’ll be here again. And again
  6. Racial profiling is almost certainly a thing.
  7. It is not without some rational basis.
  8. Both facts poison interactions between cops and blacks.
  9. White liberal race-baiting doesn’t help.
  10. Neither does ‘thin blue line’ garbage.
  11. No political faction wants to tell the whole truth because it will piss off constituents who don’t want to hear it.
  12. Both major factions possess at least some components of the truth.
  13. I feel like some character in Battlestar Galactica. “All of this has happened before.”

The black communities in most major cities are littered with problems. Violence, crime rates, economic depression – you name it. Rightists are right about that. Leftists want to blame white racism, but that doesn’t hold up to investigation. Surely, even if Leftists believe racism to still be bad even they must acknowledge that it is far less bad than, say, the Jim Crow era. Why do these problems continue? Why do we see so little progress? I was rereading Larry Elder’s Ten Things You Can’t Say in America today after a debate with a Leftist on this subject, and it struck me how little had changed since then on matters of race, saving that acrimony continues to worsen. The same issues from 20 years ago are little changed today. What gives?

Police officers know this as well as anyone. Let’s be real, they certainly do racially profile (the Left is right about this); stereotypes about violent crime have a basis in fact, and cops know it. And, from the other direction, blacks certainly are inclined to see cops as the enemy, the attitude leaks into police interactions all the time. Combine those two factors, and the chances of an interaction going bad increase dramatically. And when that happens, prepare for protests that, likewise escalate in severity. Riots, looting, mob interactions – all intermingling with the still-peaceful (but emotional and crazy) main element – while the cops either stay on the sidelines as Rome burns, or escalate the situation even more themselves.

In some ways, it almost doesn’t matter that this particular policing incident really was bad. If it had been a legitimate death, it still had the potential to flare up into what we have today. We are at the point that any police interaction with the black community has the potential of blowing up into a national orgy of combined protest-riots. This one is the worst I’ve seen in my lifetime. There is a protest scheduled down the street from where I live tomorrow – it is likely they won’t bother my neighborhood (it is known that a lot of military folks live around here), but even the potential is strange to me. There were burnings and lootings all over Tampa Bay, especially in the University Mall/Temple Terrace area.

Tampa is not exactly a city known for rioting behavior. I cannot imagine how bad it must be in other major cities.

And we’re not even halfway through 2020 yet. The election looms over us, while the COVID-19 pandemic continues (and may be exacerbated by the riots – we don’t know yet), and political rhetoric has reached levels that make 2016 look like a picnic in the park. We may solve the police overreach issue – though I really doubt it, now – but the broader issue about any police interaction with the black community potentially triggering national riots remains no matter what might be done about that. I think we’re well beyond the ability to solve this in any constructive manner.

I’d like to be wrong. I’d like for someone to pour some water on this fire, to rein in police overreach, to deal with qualified immunity, poor recruiting, travesties like civil asset forfeiture, etc… I’d also like to take us back from 5 minutes until midnight on the racial rioting clock. But I doubt either will happen anytime soon.

Like I said, I feel like it’s an episode of Battlestar Galactica, and I’m reciting the catchphrase. All of this has happened before and all of this will happen again. Again. Again. Again…

 

A Friend Encounters the Left in DC

Lately, the political world has narrowed. It has become small. When the shooting happened at Pulse, in Orlando, I saw folks I knew distraught over the affair. I knew people who lost friends there. I’ve DJed in that area many times. It was too close for comfort. It is one thing when such violence is far away, and quite another when you realize how near to you the lightning struck.

Well, it’s happened again, and even closer this time.

My friend Louis, who lives less than a block away from me, has now been a subject of national news after an altercation over his support of Trump.

Because of ongoing legal matters, I cannot tell all of the details. What I can say is this: Louis acted in defense of himself and his family.

He brought his Trump “Make America Great Again” hat with him on his vacation to our nation’s capital. Louis has been a strong supporter of Trump from day one. In this, we sometimes disagreed, on occasion, as my support for Trump was somewhat more grudging and less enthusiastic. But nonetheless, he wanted to support our President on his trip to DC, and I can’t blame him for that. While in a restaurant with his wife and two daughters, he was heckled by three men over his hat. There were threats made in front his family. I won’t repeat them here, but note that they were targeted at his wife and daughters as much as at him.

Louis tried to leave the restaurant, not wanting to deal with that sort of thing while on vacation, but while waiting for an Uber ride to pick him and his family up, the three came outside and continued with their heckling and threats. And then one of the men struck him.

Suffice it to say, once they turned the situation physical, it did not go so well for them. 3 on 1, and they got their asses handed to them.

DC Police, of course, sided with the Leftists immediately. After all, it’s not exactly a bastion of Trump support. They tried to charge him with a hate crime, despite the fact that it was the anti-Trumpers who kept following him (this much has already been proven from cameras inside the restaurant), and it was them who struck first. Fortunately, it appears that his lawyer got the hate crime charge struck down, at least. But Louis’ defense will be expensive, and victory is not at all assured, unless camera footage from outside the restaurant can be found covering the incident. The punishment is the process, and he’s suffering it now.

Our political world is narrowing. Or, at least it sure feels that way to me. Used to be I didn’t know anyone who had been through political violence like this. Now, it’s becoming routine. Not to mention Antifa has been calling Louis and his wife continuing with various threats, and trying to post bad reviews of his business. Standard operating procedure for them, I suppose. Our block is ready for them, of course, should they try anything particularly stupid.

But, being cowards who only attack with 3 to 1 superiority (and still lose), I doubt we have much to worry about. Until the next such incident, anyway. Next time it could be you, dear reader, or even me.

Be ready.

See the Face of the Enemy

Tom Kratman has written more than a few pieces on the Progressive mindset, the sort of velvet-gloved tyranny they seek to impose on everyone else. But today’s column is a doozy. Observe:

A look through the enemy’s eyes, Part II

It ties in neatly with another piece I read this morning from the esteemed Daniel Greenfield: THE CIVIL WAR IS HERE.

For some time now, Leftists in California have made mouth noises about secession, though nothing has come out of that (nor do I expect it to). The reason is that Progressivism doesn’t desire peaceful coexistence. Progressives are unable to share power. Indeed, they are unable to share anything.

The notion that some folks of like mind might get together and form a country of their own is anathema to these people. They suffer no equals where power is concerned. It is all or nothing with them.

If you asked the average Southerner on the street what he thinks of California leaving the Union, he’d probably say something along the lines of “good riddance, the sooner they go, the better.”

Nothing is stopping Progressives in America from moving to Canada, or the European Union, or any place, really, that is more Leftist than America. Yet they stay. Why?

Daniel Greenfield explains for us:

This civil war is very different than the last one. There are no cannons or cavalry charges. The left doesn’t want to secede. It wants to rule. Political conflicts become civil wars when one side refuses to accept the existing authority. The left has rejected all forms of authority that it doesn’t control.

The Left wants to rule. It wants dominance across the entire world. They won’t leave the United States, nor secede their portion of the country from the rest, because they want absolute control over the entire Earth.

It’s about world domination, the old game of tyrants and would-be conquerors. It’s not about helping the poor, or the sick, or the disadvantaged. Just as World War I wasn’t about liberating the Serbs from Austria-Hungary.

It’s about defeating all opposing ideologies, and imposing a singular worldview on to every living human being. Naturally, the humans who fail to accept the program won’t be suffered to live.

Observer the glee Tom Kratman discovered in our enemy:

Another use is after the cops have drawn blood. Destruction of police vehicles via Molotov to the back seat and fuel intake is an effective way to escalate things. And watching police dance like a damned soul all aflame is still a beautiful thing.

Tom explains his own opinions on this man’s celebration of lighting people on fire:

“A beautiful thing” to burn someone alive, is it? I can see it being a necessary thing, in military terms, where necessary means little or nothing more than advantageous. But “beautiful” he says. And some people think it would be overreaction to shoot these people on sight. My ass.

Understand this clearly. To a Progressive of the Black Bloc persuasion, your violent, painful death is beautiful. Are you still concerned what they think of you? Does it still make you feel bad when one of these guys calls you a racist, or a sexist, or some other thing? They want to kill you.

Now, of course, the average garden-variety Leftist isn’t as overt as his Black Bloc ideological kin. And to be fair to him, he probably wouldn’t want to see you die, certainly not violently and painfully. But at the same time, he is willing to turn a blind eye to this violence, to make excuses for it, and to protect the guilty when they are caught.

But again, if he’s willing to allow this behavior, however tacitly and unofficially, does it matter what he thinks of you? Should you care about his opinion of you whatsoever?

Daniel Greenfield explains our choices:

The choices of this civil war are painfully clear.

We can have a system of government based around the Constitution with democratically elected representatives. Or we can have one based on the ideological principles of the left in which all laws and processes, including elections and the Constitution, are fig leaves for enforcing social justice.

But we cannot have both.

In other words, the options are to fight, or to embrace social justice in all particulars. Escape is no longer on the table. Secede isn’t on the table either. There is no where to run, and no legal recourse which the Left will respect.

The settling of our grievances has come to civil war. For now, the war is mostly a cold war, fought within the government itself, as Trump’s administration attracts the ire of almost every branch of the bureaucracy, media, and entertainment factions of the Progressive movement.

But don’t misunderstand, it is a war that could go hot at any moment. Best to be prepared.

If there is any optimism to be found here, you may see it in Tom Kratman’s piece, where he informs us that, in the end, our enemies may be making a serious error by pushing things this far. They have forgotten that wars are fought by human beings.

One is tempted to counter with, “What right have you, as an anarchist, to try to impose rules on my machine gun teams as they mow you down?” This whole section illustrates something I strongly advise the reader to look into in Lee Harris’ excellent book, Civilization and Its Enemies. The short version is that these people are, however dangerous, fundamentally unserious. They are not revolutionaries; they are unpublished and unpublishable playwrights, writing fantasy plays in their heads for themselves to star in, in which plays we lesser beings are reduced to the level of morally insignificant stage props.

They think of us as stage props, as their moral and intellectual inferiors, as dullards, rednecks, and uneducated hicks. They have more hubris than Napoleon taking on Russia. One suspects that their assault will fare just about as badly in the end. But either way, best to be ready for them nonetheless.

Musing on Police Beatings

Police brutality is a hot topic these days, and for good reason. Some of the cases have been egregious, with flash-bangs dropped in a baby’s crib, or a man suffocated for selling loose cigarettes. Others appear to be more of a case of suicide-by-cop. Michael Brown, thug and thief, certainly wasn’t an innocent man. Nonetheless, I am wary of the over-extension of police powers, and this continual problem with unconstitutional search and seizure. The precedent is bad.

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It might make the officer guilty though.

But the issue is, pardon the pun, hardly as black and white as the media portrays it. To explain, here’s a personal story relevant to the situation:

Several years ago, my former roommate’s car was stolen. The apartment above us was inhabited by an old, ex-State Trooper, who had one of those faces that looked like it was carved out of wood, a sort of expression I’ve seen many times on combat veterans. So when the cop cars showed up, and they were taking my friend’s statement, the old guy came out to see what all the fuss was about.

Right around that time, one of the cops reported that the car had been found some miles away, ditched on the side of the road, with the radio ripped out and some vandalism done to it.

While the cops were talking with dispatch, the old State Trooper took a puff from his cigarette and explained how this was all going to go down. He said that the perps would probably be found nearby. Prints would be on record and all, and they’d have a laundry list of priors. Even though this was grand theft, they’d probably get off with some probation, maybe a bit of jail time if the judge was in a really shitty mood.

He waxed nostalgic and smiled (I distinctly remember this semi-predatory look on his face). He said back in his day they didn’t bother with all that fuss and paperwork. Wasn’t worth it, he said. Why run a kid’s future with a record like that, or waste the judge’s time? No, he explained, back then they just took the kids out behind the shed and whooped the tar out of ’em. Gave ’em an ass kicking that they’d remember all their lives.

He said: “and you know what? They listened. You whoop a kid like that, and he doesn’t do that shit again.” As the cops came back to give my friend a lift to wherever the car was found, the old man shook his head and walked off, and left me wondering which way was ultimately better. Beating the shit out of the perps once or twice, or going through the same song and dance for as long as the perp lived and remained free.

I don’t really have an answer for you, but it’s food for thought.

Lies, Race and Scapegoating the Cops

It’s time to revisit an issue that has probably wandered back into the dark recesses of the average American’s limited intellect. Police departments are still considered by your typical Social Justice advocate to be barely one step above the Nazi SS. And this article featured on Gawker exposes the idiotic mental hoops one has to jump through to believe that narrative.

In recent weeks, the White House has reaffirmed its commitment to strengthening “community policing” around the country.

Whatever. The speechwriters and a bunch of Blue Ribbon, fact-finding commissions told the White House to “reaffirm” some goodthink to the public at large. Tomorrow, Obama will express solidarity with the African dung beetle. The day after, with the victims of transphobic genderqueer oppression. Why is this news?

The suggestions for building better “relationships” and boosting “trust” are comprehensive but, for a national crisis brought on by the killing of unarmed black people, there’s one thing conspicuously absent from the public policy solutions: the acknowledgement of racism.

That’s because it doesn’t exist. Oh, I’m sure there are individual racist police officers (hint: not all of them are White, either). But the police departments do not have any institutional racism codified in their headquarters. Mein Kampf is not circulating the halls of your local Sheriff’s office. There is no policy saying “go forth, officers of the law, and murder as many Black people as you can.”

Rates of violent crime are down and have been falling sharply for more than 20 years. In fact, since the early 90s, the national homicide rate has fallen by 51 percent, forcible rapes have declined by 35 percent, robberies have decreased by 56 percent and the rate of aggravated assault has been cut by 45 percent. And black Americans have contributed to the decline. For blacks, rates of robbery and serious property offenses are the lowest they’ve been in more than 40 years. Murder, rape, assault, domestic violence—all down.

Gawker contradicts itself here. It basically just made a case for how effective more aggressive policing has been in the last two decades, and is then arguing for us to stop doing it, because it’s racist. That’s lunacy. I mean, just why do they think that drop in crime happened?

However, much of the statistical portion of the article is true, if misused and twisted. Remember how bad New York was, at one time? Aggressive policing brought the crime rate down considerably. Crime, overall, has dropped considerably in recent years. You see, a nation with a serious crime problem essentially has two options, both of them bad. Aggressively enforce the law, stop & frisk, profile, post cameras and cops everywhere, etc… Or it can choose to change the culture of (or simply remove) the community producing the criminals. It’s an uncomfortable truth, but we know which community produces the most violent criminals. Read this report on The Color of Crime.

In fact, nearly half of white Americans polled believe that violent crime has increased in the last 20 years. Another 13 percent believe that it’s stayed the same. Less than a quarter of whites realize there are less violent crimes today than there were in the 90s when the crack epidemic and gang violence were at their height. Even more, whites overestimate just how much blacks are involved in “serious street crime” and, on average, believe that black people commit a larger proportion of crime than whites do.

Notice the intellectual sleight of hand here. They say that, on average, Whites believe Blacks commit a larger proportion of crime than Whites do. then they imply that this is somehow an unfounded notion. This is, in fact, a true belief. On a per-capita basis, Blacks are seven (7) times more likely to commit violent crimes. Worse, most of the victims of these crimes are also Black! Gawker is, in a roundabout way, arguing for more Black deaths. A bit racist, perhaps?

The way the author wrote this, to steer around and imply things that are left deliberately unsaid, tells us that he knows this. In simple terms, the author is a lying charlatan trying to construct a false narrative, but doing so in a way that leaves room for plausible deniability if caught.

In a country that has identified black people as its criminal element, public safety (and perceived security) is more tied to the suppression of blacks than it is to the suppression of crime. And as long as the public insists on its myth of black criminality—almost as an article of faith—police practices will be impossible to reform.

It isn’t a myth. Even Black officers of the Law know this. Black cops don’t want to be responsible for Black neighborhoods, and I don’t blame them. Sending them in to police those areas alone (a suggestion that crops up from inane Social Justice advocates from time-to-time) would result in more Black officers being shot. Again, racist.

This police officer understands the problem.

A grand jury believed it. A great many Americans find the story believable—most without ever even having to hear it from Wilson’s lips or read the transcript.

Gawker is arguing for the Grand Jury’s ruling in the Wilson/Brown affair to be overturned. They won’t say so openly, of course. In Modern American discourse, everything is implied rather than openly stated. Most people writing on these issues are intellectual cowards.

The thing about the Wilson/Brown affair is that the whole thing rapidly grew larger than life. Battle-lines were drawn even before testimony and evidence came out. Nobody cared about the ruling per se. They only cared if the ruling justified their own preconceived notions about Race in America. If a White officer shoots a Black suspect, the presumption of innocence on behalf of the officer is thrown right out the window. It’s a presumption of guilt that the media forces the officer to disprove. It’s wrong.

“…And knowing that identity is not simply defined by what we are, but what we are not, can it be that our police help give us identity, by branding one class of people as miscreants, outsiders, and thugs, and thus establishing some other class as upstanding, as citizens, as Americans? Does the feeling of being besieged serve some actual purpose?”

The thing of it is, a good many Blacks are these things. No, not all of them. The Youtube video I posted is proof there are good Blacks. Thomas Sowell is, in my opinion, the greatest living economist in the world. He’s a Black man. Despite all that, the Color of Crime data tells it to us straight. Blacks are seven times more likely to be those things than the rest of America.

Why is it that Asians, who also suffered severe discrimination at various points in American history, do better than Whites in almost every metric, including criminal stats? Why is it that Latin Americans, while not doing as well as Whites in these areas, are still far better than the Black community?

Charles Barkley, of all people, gives us a hint:

Thug culture is destructive, of that there can be no doubt. And yet, this culture is glamorized and held up as a model for young Blacks. Furthermore, as Larry Elder notes frequently, Black families have been destroyed in recent decades. Over 70% of Black children are born out of wedlock. There are many single mothers on welfare. This has terribly damaged the Black community. Whatever Leftists tell you about single parenthood, it is, at best, a deficient condition (though some mothers manage anyhow). Children generally do better with two parents. That’s common sense. The formula of glorified Thug Culture plus a number of unruly teens in single-parent households is a recipe for disaster.

White Americans of good conscious will have to confront their boogeyman head on. Because the truth is that there can be no “community policing” in black communities without engaging the community, without engaging black people and our distortion in the American imagination.

This notion of “community policing” is idiotic. Police officers go where there is crime and attempt to stop said crime through enforcement efforts. Not all cops are paragons of virtue. And I’m not a fan of how police departments have been overstepping Constitutional bounds in many cases. But, consider the alternative to their efforts. It would look something like inner-city Detroit – a place most cops don’t go anymore. Yeah. I wouldn’t want to live there either.

People like the author of Gawker’s piece ensure that no meaningful culture change in the Black community will ever happen, because they think even identifying the problem is racist. And so, failing that, aggressive enforcement is the best we can do. But they’ll complain endlessly about that, too. Again, racism.

One gets the idea that they actually want more dead Blacks on the streets to serve their Progressive narrative.

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