Guyau

The Truth Will Set You Free

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According to ABC News last night:

"Philando Castile's mother and two of his uncles are condemning a shooting in Dallas that left five police officers dead and wounded several more.

"In an interview with CNN, Valerie Castile says her son would not have approved of the shootings 'because he believed that all lives matter'.

"Police say Dallas suspect Micah Johnson was upset about the fatal police shootings of Castile in Minnesota and Alton Sterling in Louisiana.

"Tracy Castile says while the video of his nephew's death is horrific, he is glad it came out. He says he and his family are looking for due process. He wants the officer involved to be 'treated like any other criminal'.

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Travis Smiley remarks in TIME - "The NRA Means Not Really for African Americans"

"When Philando Castile was murdered in Minnesota, after apparently telling the police officer that he had a gun in the car that he was licensed to carry, the best the NRA could come up with was a statement calling his execution 'troubling'.

“Troubling?

"What’s troubling is the absence of the NRA’s full-throated Second Amendment defense which it rushes to air whenever any questions are raised about a white citizen legally carrying a concealed firearm.

"What’s troubling is that it appears that the race of Philando Castile is the primary reason the NRA has toned down its typically vigorous pro-gun frontal assault in defense of all guns under any circumstances."

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I grew up with rifles and shotguns in the family. They were for hunting. We did not suffer from the later mass delusions that our guns were needed to resist the US and State governments (like somehow the citizenry would come to rise up and agree on the right year and direction [one's own direction] of the revolt). Near the end of my close association with my family down there in Oklahoma City area, in the late '60's, I recall many of them started buying handguns. They had not owned any previously. With these new guns too, the purpose was not to resist the governments. It was to defend oneself against "the niggers." No, none of them ever had had nor ever would have any legitimate occasion to use the handguns against the race they so feared and hated. I think the NRA was pretty much white in those days, perhaps to this day. / My grandfather had worn a pistol whenever he went into town (small, country town called Caddo, in the "Little Dixie" area of OK) in the early years of the twentieth century. It got stolen from the check at some dance hall, and he never replaced it. Creeping civilization. So we inherited only rifles and shotguns. His brother John, my father's uncle, once killed a black man, well before my generation. The man was stealing one of John's hogs, so John jumped the thief with a knife, slit his throat, practically cutting off his head. No static from the law, so far as I ever heard. From when I was a child in the '50's, I remember my parents' generation reminiscing about it with a proud smile all around. And often they would tell us the old proud saying of their childhood: "The sun never sets on a live nigger in Caddo."

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The implication that Philando Castile was shot because the officer was white and that he shot the man because the man was black is premature and therefore terribly unwarranted.  This is the kind of unsubstantiated claim that makes young black men more fearful than they should be.  It can lead some of them to resist lawful instructions and lead to violence that wouldn't otherwise have happened.  The belief by young black men that they are being hunted by white police can cause white cops to feel more tense and even jittery. 

If it turns out that the cop acted out of racism, that still isn't the same as branding law enforcement itself as racist.  But that is what is happening.  The 99.9% of non-racist cops are being branded in a way that will destroy their ability keep us a nation of laws.

When racist accusations are thrown around when there is no justification it divides us along racial lines.  It is divisive.  It is how a race war gets started.

The NRA is an organization that defends the right of citizens to own guns.  There is nothing that gives the government a right to discriminate between using a gun for hunting, target practice, collecting, or self-defense.  I've never seen anything that would support the claim that the NRA is racist.

I too grew up in a house with rifles and shotguns.  In Wyoming most families back then hunted.  I left Wyoming many decades ago and no longer owned a gun.  But I now advocate that everyone acquire a handgun and take classes on how to use it for defense.  Not to defend against governments, not because of current racial strife, and not because of crime levels, and not because of terrorism, but because society is starting to unravel and we don't know what will happen next.  We don't know if it will unravel so as to leave everyone at danger of violence.  Civilization can be a pretty thin veneer when sudden and severe political or economic disruptions happen. 

I've seen individual acts of savagery by thugs - first hand, but only as the exception and not the usual - I can tell you, I don't ever want to see that shift where it becomes common, even is for a short time.

 

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Hi Steve. From the audio of the video, it is very unlikely the officer was out to get a black man. His utterances are of overwhelming horror at what he has just done. And he gives his lines about the reason for what he has done (kind of beginning a justification account, though still in extreme stress over what he has just done), and the woman immediately contradicts the sequence he is alleging. Rather oddly, he does not seem to call for medical. Perhaps he realized that there was no hope, and that the man was dying and would cease in a few seconds more. He seems to be shocked that he has just fired multiple rounds (3-5, by the woman's perception of them) into the man and that the man is dying because of it. The racial element would likely be, I expect, only in extra fear and suspicion of black people that could go into the officer's extreme response (and with two other people---mother and child---in the car) and how the officer behaved in the whole encounter prior to the beginning of the video (which we the public haven't seen).

Concerning the legality of guns for civilians, I think the Dallas shooting is not essentially different than the one in Orlando. It would be good if we could prevent such crazy individuals from getting those rifles, though I don't know the technicalities of how that could be set up while still allowing the general citizenry to own them. It is my understanding that the attractiveness of that particular rifle is that it does not have so much kick as our old rifles, so one can site and fire in a faster sequence, and the rifle tears up the flesh much more than the rifles we had in our youth.

Among the 800 or so protesters at the Dallas shooting, it is reported that 20 of them were sporting, legally, their rifles. I think that would deter me from continuing in the demonstration. A few years ago here in Lynchburg, some men (white civilian men) were carrying and showing their holstered pistols at places like the grocery store and in the queue at the voting site. You could tell that people did not like that and avoided contact and friendliness with such characters. Naturally, we wonder how nuts and how hot-head such a display-character like that may be (here in our culture, not the wilder culture of my grandfather). They have stopped doing that display stuff the last few years.

I don't think the US is coming apart.

A few years ago, at RoR, a couple of participants were saying that Obama would get the country to where there would be no more free speech or elections. Over the top, I thought, and I was easily right. Beyond this particular President, in the libertarian set, I've heard talk of imminent economic collapse of the US for decades. (I have to admit, however, that the level of the national debt and continuing deficit spending and the possibility that the Democratic and Republican nominees for President will do nothing but set targets for balancing only by the end of or beyond their own term is very worrisome.)

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4 hours ago, Guyau said:

It would be good if we could prevent such crazy individuals from getting those rifles, though I don't know the technicalities of how that could be set up while still allowing the general citizenry to own them.

Hi Stephen,  I agree.  It has to be some kind of judicial act that embodies the protections of representation, due process, confront the accuser, etc.  We still have, in most or all states, 36 hour holds, or 72 hour holds, where a person is examined to see if they are a danger to themselves or others, but I don't think they are used that often, and a follow-up commitment proceeding has been hampered by changes in the law to prevent whisking the homeless out of sight under those proceedings.  This may be one of those problems that isn't solvable in today's context.  Long term, the best answer towards reducing this kind of thing is a robust economy and free schools... but I won't go into my reasoning on how those would help with this problem.

4 hours ago, Guyau said:

It is my understanding that the attractiveness of that particular rifle is that it does not have so much kick as our old rifles, so one can site and fire in a faster sequence, and the rifle tears up the flesh much more than the rifles we had in our youth.

I haven't heard yet what rifle the Dallas shooter was using, or what ammo.  If it was the AR-15, it does have a light kick.  But with practice people can fire other semi-automatics just as rapidly and just as accurately.  The Dallas shooter was military trained, and would have been familiar with M-16 which is the military version of the AR-15.  The big advantage to the AR-15 is the relatively flat trajectory and high level of accuracy at fairly long distances.  In the military they want to severely wound rather than kill because it uses up more of the enemies resources to care for wounded and because of that they use a full metal jacket on the lead slug (which is fairly small).  For civilian defense people get hollow points or some kind of ammo that is intended to be much more disruptive when it hits.

4 hours ago, Guyau said:

Among the 800 or so protesters at the Dallas shooting, it is reported that 20 of them were sporting, legally, their rifles. I think that would deter me from continuing in the demonstration.

I'd have gone home as well.  In Arizona I sometimes see people carrying pistols openly in holsters - it isn't that unusual.  As for concealed carry, I think the number is much higher than people would suspect.  I was in the grocery store parking lot, walking towards the store and a fellow was sitting on his motorcycle, wearing biker-type cloths, with a gun on his hip.  But the look on his face wasn't threatening.  I said Hi, he was friendly, and I asked him about his gun and we talked for a minute.  There seem to be a lot of different gun-oriented subcultures.

 

4 hours ago, Guyau said:

I don't think the US is coming apart.

I hope you are right.  The human ingenuity that we see people exercise to find a way out of a problem when it looks hopeless is in some way multiplied over an entire large economy.  Recessions are cured by all the different players modifying their actions, cutting costs, converting unproductive assets to cash, and so forth.  But that ingenuity eventually isn't enough to overcome the size of burden of government when that burden continues to grow - generation after generation.  It feeds on the what would have been amazing booms following major technical revolutions.  Anyway, I first found myself in a panic over the "coming collapse" in about 1971 after reading Harry Browne's book that explained how the economy was going to collapse.  But, like you said, the level of debt (and I'd add the level of regulation) will eventually tip the balance.

But the big collapse that I fret over is not necessarily coming from economic malfeasance by the government, but by intellectual malfeasance coming from the philosophers.  How long can a culture run on bad premises?  It is bad premises that have torn up most of the middle East.  To the degree bad premises are acted upon, weaknesses are built into systems and there is a degree to which it is cumulative.  Common sense, the good side  of mixed premises, human ingenuity - these help stave off sudden disaster, but in the end I believe society unravels if it can't get the majority of cultural change to flow from good premises.  There are vastly different rates of decline for varying regions of the world with different levels of economic stability, stable traditions, stable political systems, predominate philosophies, etc. 

I also suspect that a graph of a long-term collapse or unraveling of a culture would be exponential in that towards the beginning the rate of change would be so slight that we would not tend to notice it as a persistent trend.  And towards the end the rate of acceleration would be near vertical - that is, when things start going bad, it can suddenly lead to violent chaos and panic.

But, I've been wrong on predictions of the future far more often than right.

4 hours ago, Guyau said:

A few years ago, at RoR, a couple of participants were saying that Obama would get the country to where there would be no more free speech or elections. Over the top, I thought, and I was easily right.

Yes.  But there are changes that have spread through the culture that we would never have predicted.  When we project into the future it is too easy to think of major political items like free speech being gone, but in reality, the move towards suppressing free speech would have to be more subtle.  Changes in FCC rulings that intimidate broadcasters, restricting some kinds of speech on a campus to a "free speech area," conservative speakers being shouted down at universities till they no longer accept those gigs, IRS targeting conservative organizations, political correctness used like a social club to shift speech, and on and on and on.  Like an incoming tide it slowly creeps up the beach getting this and that area just a little wet to start with.

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